Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Putin and the province of Kyproulla

It was clear who was the happier of the two at the meeting, an ecstatic Nik displaying the boundless joy of a governor of the remote Arslikhan province

PREZ NIK was glowing, wearing a broader grin than we have ever seen before, as he was welcomed by President Putin to his Moscow palace.

He extended both arms as he approached Putin so that the handshake would be even more cordial, grabbing his host’s elbow as they shook hands. The stone-faced Putin attempted a smile for the photographers but was a bit forced and did not last longer than a couple of seconds.

It was clear who was the happier of the two at the meeting, an ecstatic Nik displaying the boundless joy of a governor of the remote Arslikhan province, granted an audience in the metropolis by the Supreme leader in front of TV cameras. It was multiple orgasm time.

Watching the pictures on TV you half-expected him to get down on his knees and kiss the supreme leader’s feet in a show of gratitude for the audience that would not only boost his re-election prospects, but was also a very good advertisement for his family law office, which he has nothing to do with nowadays, in Mother Russia.

The beaming Nik also awarded Putin the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, the highest order of merit bestowed by the Republic on civilians. Was it for his services to democracy or for annexing a large chunk of foreign country, we were not told by our presidency, but it may have had something to do with Putin’s perennially principled position on the Cyprob.


THE PRINICIPLED position was repeated at the news conference given by the leaders, with Putin saying the Cyprus solution had to be found by the Cypriots themselves, without prepared formulas and pressure from outside.

This is Russia’s code language for support of the continuation of the status quo, Moscow knowing very well that the Cypriots themselves, without help from outside, would never agree to a solution. This is why any outside help is referred to as ‘pressure,’ something Moscow never applies, as a matter of principle, in its relations with other countries.

The day after the meeting, Tass News Agency, quoting ‘information’ – code for government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides (he was present at the meeting) – reported that in relation to the Cyprob, Putin said “his country would not accept any kind of arbitration or any type of artificial time-frames.” He noted “that it was the two sides that would have to take any decisions, without anything being imposed by the guarantor powers or third countries.”

The opposition to time-frames and arbitration was music to the ears of the rejectionists, which is why the closet hardliner Christodoulides leaked it, not realising that it exposed our government’s subservience to Mother Russia.

If the Cypriots themselves agreed to arbitration and artificial time-frames would Putin forbid them accepting these? The obedient, comrade Tof made Moscow’s ban on artificial timeframes and arbitration his official mantra when he was president, repeating it every time he spoke in public. Now we know where he got the idea from.


THIS WAS not the only revelation about what was discussed privately between Putin and the prez of the Kyproulla province. According to Tass, Mother Russia also expressed the desire that all five permanent members of the UN Security Council participated in an international conference on Cyprus, “as had happened in cases of other international crises.”

Is there an international crisis in Kyproulla that we missed? Not only is there an international crisis, but Edek’s deluded chief Dr Sizopoulos, a champion of the international conference for Cyprus, endorsing Putin’s alleged proposal, said international conferences were held for much less important world issue than the Cyprob.

Speaking of our grand delusions, Disy outdid Dr Sizo in the announcement it issued about Nik’s visit to Mother Russia. “With the systematic diplomacy that backs the Anastasiades strategy and brings tangible results, the President has succeeded in Cyprus having an importance, bigger than its geographical size.” I thought Averof was one of our rational politicians, but I stake no claim to infallibility, as I thought Nik would make a good prez. It is entirely possible, however, the announcement was dictated to Averof by Nik.

Returning to Russia’s desire to attend a future conference on Kyproulla, does this not go against Putin’s assertion that the Cypriots themselves should find a solution? What would Russia’s role at the conference be, if it wants a settlement to be reached without outside interference?

Perhaps it will be there to prevent any interference from the other four permanent members of the Security Council, it invited. And for how many years would this international conference last, given that Putin will not accept any type of artificial time-frames?


SEVEN bilateral state agreements were signed during the Moscow visit. One not signed was related to the co-operation between our ministry and Russia’s prosecutor-general, that will allow Moscow to demand the handing over of any Russian national that has fallen foul of the Putin regime and enable its investigators to raid offices in Kyproulla.

Apparently the signing did not take place because the prosecutor-general was away, but it would not be a surprise if Prez Nik was advised not to sign such an agreement as giving Moscow excessive legal powers in Kyproulla might not go down well with our EU partners, who already suspect we are behaving like Russia’s satellite in the Union.

Our government has suffered enough ridicule in the international media for the way it was doing everything it was ordered by Moscow in the latter’s effort to prosecute millionaire investor Bill Browder. Russian investigators were given the green light by our justice ministry to carry out investigation in Kyproulla, but they were stopped at the last minute by court order secured by Browder’s lawyers.

This decision incurred the wrath of the Russian foreign ministry, which issued a strongly worded announcement about our state’s disobedience. It expected to do as we were told even though Interpol and several other European states turned down Russian requests for assistance regarding Browder.

Browder is being persecuted by Moscow, because of his campaign demanding justice for his accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured to death in Russian prison after exposing a $230 million fraud. Kyproulla is the only country in Europe prepared to assist Mother Russia’s persecution of Browder and was very apologetic after the court decision.


AT TUESDAY’S meeting, according to Tass, Putin brought up the Browder case (how smart was Christodoulides to tell this to the agency?).

“Once he briefed the president of the republic about this case, he told him that he absolutely understands the legal framework of Cyprus and that Russia expects there will be a decision that will satisfy her and would allow the two countries to co-operate; he expressed at the same time, satisfaction with the broader, exemplary co-operation of the two countries in the field of justice.”

Maybe something was lost in translation or in the way the info was conveyed, but the way Tass reported this matter, would suggest that either Putin already knows what the court decision would be or he is dictating what it should be so that it will satisfy Russia. And we cannot possibly allow the rule of law to get in the way of the rule of Putin.

Putin made another request of Nik but less forcefully. He asked that the Russian language was taught at the schools of Cyprus. He has a point. If we are going to be a proper Russian satellite, we have to teach our kids the language of the ruling country, as they did in Poland, Bulgaria etc


WHILE Nik was in Moscow, Kyproulla’s celebrated resistance hero and national saviour Nikos Kotzias was in Ankara kissing Turkish backside and praising Tayyip Erdogan, whom he described as the “great leader of the neighbour” invited to visit Athens, “because out people stand to gain from the co-operation of the two countries.”

Kotzias’ “patriotic nationalism” was exhausted on the Cyprob and none was left for him to display in his dealings with the country that wanted to turn us into a protectorate. His friendship offensive in Turkey did not receive extensive coverage here, as the media did not want to disappoint his big fan-base, which includes party leaders and presidential candidates.

One of his most zealous supporters, Phil, downplayed the visit, banishing its reports about the Greece-Turkey love-in to its inside pages, but then on Friday it made the chubby foreign minister the subject of its front-page lead. Kotzias had brought a message from Anakra. According to Phil, “before the next phase of Cyprus talks” there would be “dialogue between Athens and Ankara on the issues of security and guarantees,” a move that has the full support of Nicosia.

If there is any truth to this, it would set the stage for Kotzias to retake the role of resistance hero by ensuring the dialogue fails and the next phase of the talks is avoided.


LAST SUNDAY, Phil reported that the government that the government planned to submit coordinates regarding its EEZ north of the island to the UN. It would then try to engage in negotiations with Turkey about the delineation of its EEZ.

Anyone with half a brain would see this as electoral theatre by Nik, wanting to show off his allegedly assertive policy to hard-line voters. There is zero chance Turkey would negotiate with the government it does not recognise, about what it regards as its continental shelf. In short it is pointless decision, of the type our politicians specialise in, guaranteed to lead nowhere.

But because our politicians love the politics of pointlessness, they began rowing over the ownership of the decision. Nikolas 2018 accused Nik of “selective copying from the proposals of the new strategy.” Nikolas had a nerve to accuse Anastasiades of copying his strategy, said a Lillikas spokesman and added:

“Nicolas Papadopoulos continues in the most provocative and arrogant way to copy, almost word for word the proposals that Giorgos Lillikas presents and submits for years now.”

I think it is time our state established an office that issues copyright for original Cyprob ideas, no matter idiotic they might be, and royalties could be paid every time a politician decided to use one.


IN THE CASE of the EEZ north of Kyproulla, it would not be Lillikas who would collect the royalties, but the bash-patriotic academic and advisor of the president on strategic matters, Dr Eleni Stavrou. She reminded the bickering politicians that she was the first to come up with this loony proposal in October 2014. In an interview with Phil at the time, she said:

“It was a mistake that we declared and licensed only the EEZ of the free areas. We should also have licensed the EEZ of the occupied area. We should have given the privilege of exploitation to a very strong country like Israel. It is the one that would have the interest, the determination and the power to exploit it.” Give this woman the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III. She has earned it.


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