By Constantinos Psillides
THE Russian Embassy in Nicosia raged against journalist and author Makarios Drousiotis yesterday, with an open letter published in daily Phileleftheros.
The embassy berated Drousiotis for his recently published book “The Invasion and the Big Powers: the realpolitik of the US and duplicity of the USSR” in which he attempts to debunk the commonly accepted notion that Russia has been a staunch ally of Cyprus and that the United States had previous knowledge and orchestrated the 1974 military coup that led to the Turkish invasion.
In the letter, the embassy appeared especially irate at the fact that Drousiotis is employed as a special advisor to president Nicos Anastasiades
“The author’s motives are known and of no interest to us. What bother us, in regards with his scientifically low-level and politically unacceptable book, is not the fact that it was written by an amateur, but a special advisor to the president. Is that a coincidence?”
The government said the writer’s views did not represent the president nor did they bind him. Drousiotis echoed this position in a statement he issued later in the day.
The letter is scathing, attacking Drousiotis on his book and refuting his conclusions.
The embassy’s letter touches upon the government’s foreign policy, pointing out that Drousiotis’s writings do not coincide with president’s Anastasiades repeated assurances that any shift in policy will not affect the country’s relationship with Russia.
“The author’s attempt at exculpating the US and NATO from their involvement in the Cyprus problem can be interpreted in the context of the government’s shift in foreign policy. But his botched attempt at staining the USSR seems peculiar, since the president publicly stated that the shift in foreign policy will not affect Cyprus’s relationship with traditional allies, one of which is Russia.”
The government spokesman issued a statement saying that Anastasiades had made it clear to the Russian ambassador that Drousiotis’ or any other researcher’s views did not represent him.
The president’s views concerning the principled policy followed by the Soviet Union and Russia are well known through the many pronouncements of gratitude thus “no one is allowed to link positions and views, or views that are freely expressed through scientific research, with the official positions of the Republic.”
Drousiotis said his book was the product of five years of research and it was finished before last year’s presidential elections.
“Any attempt to link its publication with current developments is unfortunate,” he said.
Drousiotis said it was “unorthodox” for a foreign embassy to engage in a personal attack, using derogatory language, against any citizen of the host country because it disagreed with the results of a research on historical events that happened 40 years ago.
“We live in a democratic country and I take for granted my right to research and expression. I expected the political parties in my country, even if they disagree with my views, if they cannot defend, to at least tolerate this right,” Drousiotis said.
The comment is seen as a shot at main opposition AKEL which reacted angrily at the contents of the book.