MOTHER Russia’s ambassador to Kyproulla, Stanislav Osadchiy, in his unofficial role as self-appointed, governor-general of the province publicly reprimanded Disy chief Averof Neophytou last Monday for being a naughty boy, and expressing a mildly disrespectful opinion about Moscow’s principled stand on the Cyprob.
Osadchiy, employing the liberal pedagogical approach, did not order Averof to come to his office for a caning, but confined himself to shaming the Disy boss with a written rebuke issued by the embassy. Interfering in domestic politics might be considered to be outside diplomatic conventions by most ambassadors, but for one doubling up as a governor it is believed to be a duty.
He cannot permit an uppity local leader to question Moscow’s propaganda that has become gospel in the province, no matter how diplomatically this was done. In an interview in last Sunday’s Phil, Averof said that Russia was forging closer relations with Turkey on political and energy issues, and therefore could not be as supportive of the Greek Cypriot cause as it had been in the past.
He did not put down Mother Russia for this, saying “it is reasonable for Russia to pursue her national interests,” and concluding: “No country would support the interests of another country at the expense of its own.” Averof based his cynical reasoning on a mistaken assumption – that Russia behaves like all other countries and puts its national interests above its principles.
This has not been the case on the Cyprob, on which Russia would rather tell Erdogan to go to hell than compromise its principled stand, which involves never once mentioning the words Turkish occupation.
THE GOVERNOR is also guilty of basing his reasoning on a mistaken assumption – that all we locals are naïve morons that will believe anything he says. In his rebuke of Averof he put a positive spin on closer relations with Turkey that even a bird-brained Akelite would not buy.
“Our contacts with Ankara serve the Cypriots as these make it possible for us to convey our stance directly to the Turkish leadership.” And when Russia puts her national interests aside and conveys its principled stance on a settlement of the Cyprob directly to Erdogan, it will only be matter of time before the latter takes his troops out and Kyproulla is re-united.
Betraying his KGB background, Osadchiy also engaged in a bit of classic Soviet-style misinformation, accusing Averof of having ulterior motives and working for evil forces. “Some partners of the Cyprus Republic would like to break up relations between Russia and Cyprus so as to avert the involvement of Russia in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Averof was not just a naughty boy for questioning the principled stance, he was also doing the dirty work of some of our partners (the evil US, UK, EU perhaps) that do not want Russian involvement in the eastern Mediterranean. He must be a foreign agent, working for the forces of evil.
How he could ever achieve the objective of averting Russia’s involvement in the eastern Mediterranean by stating the obvious about Moscow’s ties with Turkey, only Osadchiy can tell us.
IF THE US ambassador had publicly censured a party leader for saying that America was pursuing its interests in strengthening its relations with Turkey (in fact party leaders and newspaper columnists are constantly condemning the pro-Turkish Yanks and Brits) and implying he was serving Russian interests, the political lynch mob would want to drink her blood.
There would be indignant articles in the papers about the arrogant imperialists of Nato, the party leaders would demand the immediate deportation of the ambassador, expressing outrage and giving sermons about her provocative and unacceptable behaviour, which showed contempt for the Republic’s sovereignty etc…
But when it is Russia’s governor-general doing the interfering, there is not a whisper of protest. In the Averof case, two parties took the role of Osadchiy’s enforcers, condemning the Disy chief for expressing his opinion. Akel chief, comrade Andros, like a loyal guard-dog seeking a pat on the head from his master, said Averof “provoked a justified reaction from the Russian Federation”.
He also gave some advice to Averof. “The president of Disy is also the leader of the governing party. He must be doubly careful in his references to foreign states, more so in the case of a member country of the UN Security Council, with which our countries always had excellent relations… Russia like the Soviet Union before it, keeps a principled stance on the Cyprus problem.”
This is the leader of the party that viciously attacks the US on a daily basis and blames it for all the problems of the world, including the demolition of Syria by the Russian air force. He does not know the US is also a member of the UN Security Council.
THE OTHER former pro-Soviet party, Edek, also urged Averof not to exercise his right to free speech. “We do not have the luxury of entering a confrontation with countries like Russia,” it said, making out that Averof had called for an end to diplomatic relations. All he did was state an undeniable fact, which Edek’s and Akel’s Stalinist censors have banned from being publicly aired.
“The Soviet Union and Russia have a steadfast position of support for the Cyprus Republic which they backed in difficult times,” said Edek. “Regardless, if today, for her own reasons, Russia is improving her relations with Turkey, this does not mean it is abandoning its positions on the Cyprus problem.” The Soviet Union may have collapsed 19 years ago but some of our politicians and the Russian ambassador are acting like Kyproulla is part of the Warsaw Pact.
If it were, Averof would be in a gulag by now.
WE SHOULD not knock the gulags, because if we had one we could have sent the insufferable bosses of the teaching unions there for a couple of years. They could still be paid and get their promotions, but at least we would not have to put up with their relentless moaning and lying every day.
The biggest lie was that prez Nik led things to a confrontation in public education. He gave everything the union bosses were demanding and they rejected the agreement they had co-signed, because they wanted even more – to be given credit in the next school year for the extra 45 minutes per week they would teach this year.
It was a step too far, with Nik finally discovering his cojones and telling them enough was enough. Hopefully, they will stage the strikes planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be no more attempts at mediation and more strikes to follow. Let them prove that their struggle is not about the money when they get their pay cheques at the end of the month with the strike days deducted.
THE MIGHTY Odysseas, to his credit, has not given up his campaign against the teachers. Last week he brought up the union-imposed scam of the deputy head teachers. He wrote: “The schools are full of deputy heads (DH). On average, secondary education has nine deputy heads per school. For every four teachers there is one DH. Not only are they paid more but they only teach 8 to 14 periods (6 to 10.5 hours) per week. The fact is unbelievable.”
The unnecessary DH positions were created so there could be more promotions, more money and less teaching for more teachers. The argument is that the nine deputy heads carry out “coordination duties” and therefore have no time to teach; they are coordinating how to spend their free time.
IN THE END, the bad press forced Prez Nik to abandon his plans to appoint the wives of the TV political correspondents as advisors at the presidential palace. The two women both wrote to the president, in separate letters to inform him that they could not accept their respective appointments, which they had accepted a few days earlier.
“My dignity as a person, but above all as a wife, does not allow me to close my eyes to the unfair and inhuman targeting of my husband, his professional integrity and conscientiousness,” wrote one of the rusfeti beneficiaries. The other did not want her appointment to be “used maliciously by some to cast shadows on my husband’s work.”
Many politicians got on their high horses to condemn these cases of rusfeti last weekend, conveniently ignoring the saying about people in glass houses. From what I have heard, holier than thou Giorgos Perdikis employs his niece as a parliamentary assistant while Dr Theocharous’ daughter is parliamentary assistant for a Solidarity deputy. She is probably driven around by her mum’s police guard when the MEP is in Strasbourg, defending the interests of the Cyprus Republic.
NEGOTIATOR Andreas Mavroyiannis continues making public speeches about the possibility of Unficyp withdrawing. Last Sunday he spoke at a memorial service and on Wednesday night he made a speech and took questions at an event organised by the Business and Professional Women.
Speaking to the women, he started off by saying that when his daughter told him she wanted to come back to Cyprus he told ‘bravo, bravo, very good,” but inside he was crying. Why was he crying inside at the prospect of his daughter coming back to Kyproulla? Is it because Unficyp would not be here to protect her, or because he did not want her to live in a divided country?
Does our negotiator have so little faith in the future of the country he has helped shape? Perhaps it is because it will be a bit more difficult to get her a job at the foreign ministry. Last Monday and Tuesday more than 1,100 people sat exams for eight positions at the foreign ministry.
ANY RATIONAL person would have thought it was an April Fool’s story, but it was published on the front page of Phil on September 9, under the headline, “A mystery seeks answers: The fire at Mati and the scenarios about the presence of Saint Paisios.”
The story referred to the fires in Greece, which killed more than a hundred people and said a “strange figure of a priest on a bench at the time when the flames were approaching the camping area of Ayios Andreas, disappears mysteriously, the wind changes direction and the children of Rafina are saved… Coincidences or something else? Nobody recognised him as a priest of the area. He strongly resembled Ayios Paisios.”
Ayios Paisios is a darling of Phil because he prophesied that the “blond race” (the Russians) would annihilate Turkey. So the paper had to believe Paisios performed the miracle, changing the direction of the wind and saving the children. The bigger miracle that was ignored by the paper was that Paisios had come back from the dead to save the children. He died in 1994.
PAISIOS’ predictions are another reason why we should heed Akel and Edek’s advice and avoid saying anything that would cause offence to Mother Russia. The blond nation might get so pissed off with our disloyalty it might decide against fulfilling the saint’s prophesy.