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Tales from the Coffeeshop: The euphoric peasants of Arslikhan

Politicians and hacks came under a magic spell as soon as Mother Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (standing) set foot on the island

By Patroclos

POLITICIANS and hacks of the Cyprus Republic came under a magic spell as soon as Mother Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov set foot on the island, transformed into euphoric peasants of the remote Soviet republic of Arslikhan being visited by a big-shot Kremlin official in the good old days of the USSR.

By Wednesday night when Lavrov departed they had run out of plaudits for the wonderfulness of Mother Russia, and of ways to express their gratitude… and of saliva. There were a lot of parched, dry mouths on Thursday, which may explain why CyBC television’s political correspondent with the eighties hairstyle, Stella Michael, did not give US Secretary of State John Kerry the same gushing treatment when reporting his visit and contacts.

On Wednesday night’s TV news on the CyBC there was mention of Russia’s “principled positions/stand” 10 times in the first 10 minutes and in case anyone missed this point there was also a sub-head on the screen for several minutes which read, “Crystal clear stand on principles from mouth of Lavrov.”

You could not help thinking RIK was engaging in brainwashing rather than news reporting, a bit like the public broadcaster of a totalitarian regime.


THE SHOW started with news headline that “Russia reconfirms its stand on principles on the Cyprus problem.” It then covered the statements made by Lavrov and Ioannis Kasoulides after their meeting. Kasoulides said the government “expressed its appreciation for the unremitting principled position of the Russian Federation.”

During the lunch at the presidential palace Prez Nik expressed his “gratitude” to Russia for its “commitment to international law” and said it was “a privilege” to have Lavrov as a “close friend.”

Emotional House president Omirou felt “deep gratitude and respect for the support in our struggle to solve the Cyprus problem,” thanked Lavrov for Russia’s “perennial support” and also paid tribute to the Soviet Union for selling us guns in the 1960s. All this led him to the conclusion that Russia “is a true friend.”

Nobody expressed any gratitude to John Kerry when he arrived nor was the US described as a friend, as neither he nor his country have ever taken the principled positions Russia has taken on the Cyprob. The unprincipled Yanks, have stupidly tried to help and encourage the two sides to reach a settlement, and have been relentlessly abused by us for their efforts.

If they did nothing except take principled positions, we would kiss their ass just like we do to every Russian official that sets foot in Kyproulla.


THE PARTIES of Arslikhan did not restrict themselves to kissing Russian ass they also drew moral comparisons between the Yanks and the Ruskies. EDEK which has upped its moralising since being taken over by the Botox pioneer Marinos Sizopoulos said in an announcement:

“Mr Lavrov, with crystal clear positions, with a stand of non-recognition and non-upgrading of the pseudo-state gave clear messages of confirmation of the unchanging, through time, position of Russia for support of the Cyprus Republic and the solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of international law and the European acquis.

“In stark contrast to Mr Kerry, who confirmed the stance and behaviour of the USA for indirect recognition of the pseudo-state and deviation from international legality. The Kerry visit constituted, in substance, the continuation of the US policy of undermining the Cyprus Republic.”

What was astonishing was that EDEK’s brown-nosing did not once mention “principled stand.”


THE BOTOX socialists thought of a more idiotic way of proving that they love Russia more than the rest of the hard-line parties. Siz wrote to the Prez to urge him to offer military facilities to Mother Russia.

EDEK also set up a poll on its website asking people to vote on whether “Cyprus should offer the same military facilities that it offers France to Russia.” Of the 890 morons who voted 90 per cent agreed that a country’s defence alliances should be decided by public demand.

The green demagogue Perdikis also sent a similar letter to Nik but did not claim ownership of the idea. He asked the prez to examine the suggestion of some Micky Mouse group calling itself “Cypro-Russian association of culture, entrepreneurship and Orthodoxy” which, demanded “the granting of facilities to the Russian navy, air force and special forces in exchange for defence protection and/or liberation of our country if conditions permit it.”

Perdikis is so stressed by the prospect of losing his seat in the House now the election threshold has been raised, he is prepared to champion the most ridiculous group for the promise of a couple of votes.


YOU HAVE to question the wisdom of offering military facilities to countries fighting the Islamic State. It is as if we want our Kyproulla to become a terrorist target.

It is bad enough having Britain now sending bombers from Akrotiri to hit IS targets in Syria – after its Parliament approved the strikes on Wednesday night another eight warplanes were to be sent to here – without bringing the Russians in as well. Thankfully, the French turned down Kasoulides’ offer, a few weeks ago, to use the sunshine isle.

And the Brits, instead of showing a bit of gratitude to Kyproulla are now trying to cause problems to our tourist industry. On Thursday, the day air-strikes begun, the Daily Express carried an article under the headline, “Is it safe to travel to Cyprus? The terror threat REVEALED?”

The story did not reveal much of a terrorism threat, reporting that Cyprus was “ranked relatively low” by the Foreign Office in a map it released detailing which countries faced the highest threat. But I doubt the headline endeared the paper to Cypriot hoteliers who are expecting another cash bonanza next year, now that nobody wants to go to Sharm El Sheik.

They will be praying that no other UK paper decides to do a similar story.


WHAT is going on at the state-owned Co-op Central Bank? Last year the taxpayer paid €1.5 billion for its re-capitalisation and now the government has gone to the legislature seeking approval for the expenditure of €200 million for another re-capitalisation.

And some say this will not be enough because its capital needs are much higher. This is what happens to a credit institution with a human face as our politicians liked to describe the corrupt co-ops. We are now paying for their human face.

What the government wants to avoid is the involvement of the European Central Bank in Co-op Central Bank’s recapitalisation. From 2016 all systemic banks of the eurozone will be under the authority of the ECB which could decide that the Co-op would have to re-capitalise through a bail-in of deposits, a prospect the government wants to avoid at all costs, even if these run to several hundred millions.


THE GOOD news is that the government will take this money from the other banks. There was a tax on deposits imposed by comrade Tof in 2011. The idea was to use this money to prop up banks in difficulties, but all the cash raised was used to prop up the state which won the bankruptcy race.

Now the government wants to re-activate the deposits levy to re-capitalise the co-op, but the banks, quite rightly, are protesting. They would be funding a rival bank that is competing for business with them. A banker, who visits our establishment occasionally, said that the reason the co-op needs new capital is because it has lowered its loan rates in an attempt to take business away from the other banks.

Meanwhile the Alliance of Demagogues which takes a populist stand on everything said it would not object to government assistance so long as the co-op was not privatised next year. If only that were possible – we could also charge a premium for its human face.


POOR old Nik got a lot of stick from the uber-patriots for failing to block the deal between the EU and Turkey aimed at tackling the refugee crisis. There was mass outrage when it was revealed that negotiations would open on five chapters which Cyprus had blocked because Turkey refused to recognise the Republic.

According to our mole at last Sunday’s EU-Turkey summit Nik expressed no objection to the opening of the chapters. He had adopted a constructive approach, quite rightly, not wanting to scupper the EU’s plans for dealing with the refugee crisis. And as the Commission’s head honchos said, by the time accession negotiations begin there would probably be a settlement in Kyproulla. Their optimism is the direct result of not taking a principled stand on the Cyprob like Lavrov does.


WHAT riled the uber-patriots more than the opening of the chapters was the fact that Nik was filmed exchanging pleasantries with Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu after the summit, as the leaders gathered for the obligatory photograph. What was worse was that Nik stood next to Davutoglu for the picture, even though protocol dictated he should have stood next to the Romanian president.

This was what Simerini’s uber-patriotic columnist and Putin devotee Costakis Antoniou wrote about the photo-op: “In brief, Putin-Anastasiades: For a downing of a plane and the death of a pilot, Vladimir Putin refused to meet Erdogan. For the slaughter of a people, the colonisation, the seizure and occupation of half the territory of his state, Nicos Anastasiades begs for a picture with the slaughterer…”


WE OFTEN joke about Kyproulla acting like a Russian satellite, but this is a bit too close to the truth to be funny. Ten days ago, Cypriot police accompanied by two Russian investigators raided the Nicosia law office that represents Bill Browder and the Hermitage Fund and seized a host of documents.

The Russians sought legal assistance from the servile Cyprus government in relation to the posthumous prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and tortured to death in a Russian prison after uncovering a $230 million tax fraud in 2007, and his employer Browder who now lives in the UK.

No other country has granted legal assistance to Russia for this case as the Council of Europe had conducted a two-year investigation and found that Magnitsky and Browder had been prosecuted on trumped up, politically-motivated charges. The Russian authorities have now re-opened the investigation claiming that Magnitsky, who had made the tax fraud public and paid with his life, had actually stolen the money.

Of course the satellite state could not refuse the request for legal assistance from its bosses in Mother Russia that is always re-confirming its principled stand on the Cyprob.


INTERESTINGLY, Browder had also reported to our useless, anti-corruption unit MOKAS in 2012 that some 30 million bucks from the tax scam had been laundered through banks in Cyprus, providing it with documentation to support his claims. MOKAS, needless to say, has done nothing since then, except pass on the information to the police which has also done nothing. But on Tuesday, when the Cyprus Mail published the story, there was panic at the police unit in charge of the investigation. Cops had dropped everything and begun an internal investigation to establish who had leaked the information to the Mail. Our government was happy to help the Russian authorities prosecute a man they had sent to the grave, as long as nobody found out about it.


FORMER EDEK deputy and minister of justice in the Ethnarch’s government Doros Theodorou was always a bit of buffoon. Last week he decided to show off his literary sophistication by penning an article about the need for pluralism in the media and the danger of monopolisation of information. He warned of a Big Brother taking over our lives, just as Franz Kafka had written in his book. He was so certain Kafka had written about Big Brother he kept referring to the author in the article.

The article is posted on the EDEK website under the headline, “Big Brother came to Cyprus before he was discovered by Franz Kafka.” The truth is that Kafka never discovered Big Brother, but how was Doros, who is not the bookish type, supposed to know this?

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