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OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: I can’t believe it’s silence that greeted outspoken ambassador

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Facing his own war, Christodoulides already seems to have snagged the support of Greece's Dendias

OUR POLITICIANS suffered a collective loss of their courage and speech faculty this week after President Putin’s henchman in Kyproulla, Ambassador Stan Osadchiy issued his unveiled threats against our country for aligning itself with the EU rather than Mother Russia over its special military operation to de-Nazify Ukraine.

Stan’s threats appeared on Wednesday in his favourite newspaper Phil, which, over the years he has been posted here has published countless of interviews with him aimed at fooling the low-intelligence natives. This was different from the usual interviews, however, as he adopted a very strict tone, accusing the government of hostile behaviour and threatening the end of our relations with Russia if we remained aligned with the EU.

The threat was greeted with deathly silence. The government said absolutely nothing and neither did our brave politicians, who have made it their national duty to put foreign dignitaries in their place when they bad-mouth Kyproulla or say something deemed politically inappropriate.

I checked the local Tass news agency, which posts all the announcements issued by the political parties and individual deputies, and there was not a single announcement about Stan’s threatening outburst. Not a word. They had all gone deaf and dumb.

They show their fearlessness and utter their brave and defiant words only against Yank and Brit diplomats as well as poor old UN officials, who do not answer. But when Mother Russia’s ambassador talks, they turn into obediently loyal poodles.

 

STAN, in the interview, stopped suppressing his feelings of superiority towards the dumb natives, whom he warned would be in trouble if they did not realise that their interests were best served by remaining blindly loyal to Moscow.

“We are closely following all the steps and actions of the Cyprus leadership,” he said, pointing out that “at the present stage, we perceive the sanctions, supported by Nicosia, in solidarity with Brussels, as non-friendly.” Then he issued the threat for this non-friendly behaviour.

“The line which is followed and is aimed at the demonisation of Russia and which has been imposed by the other side of the ocean, we consider to go against the interests of Cyprus and is catastrophic for our economic, spiritual and cultural relations, that have existed for centuries.”

How would Dr Sizo, Junior, Dr Eleni, Lillikas and Stef-Stef have reacted if such comment were made by the ambassador of the US or of the UK? They would be competing over who would make the most scathing remarks, organising lynch mobs and demanding the offending ambassador was deported for interfering in our affairs and undermining our government.

But the ambassador of Mother Russia can say what he likes because of his country’s perennially principled stand on the Cyprob, exemplified by a total disregard for our sovereignty.

Russian Ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy

THE INTERVIEW, understandably, featured all the propaganda we had been hearing from Moscow. Here is the highlight.

“In this fight against the ‘black plague’ we are doing everything so that the victims are as few as possible. We do not indiscriminately bomb towns, areas where people live and social infrastructure targets. We do not do what others have done, flattening entire towns and villages.” Was he referring to Syria?

To be fair, Stan is not the only Russian ambassador resorting to aggressive and threatening comments against the guest country. Russia’s ambassadors to Turkey, Greece and Bosnia have engaged in similar rhetoric.

In Greece, in a post of the embassy website, Greeks were urged to watch the Open TV channel, which belonged to Russian billionaire and close friend of Putin, Ivan Savvides. Greece had also been accused by foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova of “Russo-phobic hysteria” and “defamation of Russian policy,” because it decided to send arms to Ukraine.

In Bosnia, which expressed a desire to join Nato, Russia’s ambassador Igor Kalboukhov said that while Bosnia had the right to decide if it would join Nato, “Moscow has the right to react to this decision based on its own interests.” To avoid any misunderstandings, he added: “We have shown what our expectations are in the example of Ukraine.”

 

KYPROULLA, meanwhile, is facing its own crisis even if it has no plans to join Nato. The price of a pitta of kebab is going to rise significantly, because the price of pork is expected to rise be between 20 and 25 per cent this week.

You cannot blame the poor old souvlitzis for a price hike as all the components of a humble pitta of souvlaki have gone up. Bakers are charging more for the pitta, cucumbers and tomatoes have become a rich man’s vegetables, while only the price of parsley and onions have remained stable.

Perhaps kebab shops will offer the option of a budget pitta, without vegetables in it. Or they could follow the example of the bakeries, which have kept some prices stable but made the product smaller. The tashinopitta I usually buy on a Saturday has significantly shrunk in the last few weeks, but the price remains the same.

So, we could have a pitta with fewer pieces of pork, no cucumber or tomato, at the old price and crisis averted. Of course, the government could subsidise each pitta to avert the danger of large numbers of low-income earners becoming vegetarians and wanting to vote for the Greens.

 

HALLOUMI inspections will be introduced this week by the government to establish that our favourite cheese has the minimum required content of sheep and goat’s milk, as the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) provision stipulates.

Cheese labelled ‘halloumi’ will be obtained from shops by agriculture ministry inspectors and taken to the state lab to be tested. No inspections had been carried out since the PDO was approved, and the government has been under pressure from the sheep and goat farmers to take action as producers were allegedly still making halloumi exclusively with cow’s milk.

Legal action would be taken against producers of fake halloumi, it was reported. As for the fake halloumi, rather than disposing it, it could be marketed along the lines proposed by this paper, some time ago, as a new brand of cheese known as, ‘I can’t believe it’s not halloumi.’

Man for all seasons: Andreas Mavroyiannis

LITTLE progress appears to have been made in the presidential elections horse-trading among the opposition parties. The problem is the disagreement over who would be the candidate. Akel and Diko have been haggling for several weeks now without making any headway.

A couple of days ago Diko came up with the idea of proposing its deputy Christiana Erotokritou in the hope the comrades might be more amenable to a female candidate. The comrades did not bother to respond, nor to counter-propose Irini Charalambidou even for a laugh. I suspect that negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, is waiting in the background, ready to make a move when all other possibilities have been exhausted by Akel and Diko.

He is after all a man for all seasons, whose positions cause offence to nobody, is both pro- and anti-settlement, pro-West and pro-East. The ideal candidate to unite an Akel-Diko alliance.

 

MARIOS Garoyian of Dipa should not be underestimated as he is also seeking to have a role. A former House president and ex-leader of Diko overthrown by Ethnarch Junior, he has told friends that his party’s ideology is focused not on selling its hide to the highest bidder but on selling it to the candidate most likely to win the elections.

As nobody, at present, can predict who the winner will be, Garoyian has come up with the proposal for a national unity government, which would mean most parties would back the same candidate and he would be guaranteed to be on the winner’s side.

His proposal was rejected by comrade chief Stef-Stef, whom he met on Friday as part of the ongoing horse-trading initiatives. Stef-Stef said the objective was to end Disy rule and not to join it in a unity government, which was a fair point. Perhaps Garoyian will volunteer to be the head of the unity government.

 

NIKOS Christodoulides has completed his period of reflection and plans to announce his candidacy before Easter, reported his unofficial spokesman, Andreas Bimbishis in his semi-official mouthpiece Phil on Saturday.

In a far from objective report, the only source of which could have been the candidate himself, Bimishis told us that “despite the war he is facing, Nikos Christodoulides is showing he is holding out.” The war was “taking place at all levels, including events that were not electoral, such as the presentation of his book in Athens.”

We were told that the war consisted of the main speaker Greece’s foreign minister Nicos Dendias, who appeared on video, being pressured not to take part in the presentation. To suggest the book presentation was not electoral is one of those white lies the Paphite specialises in.

Of course it was electoral, aimed at showing voters he has the support of Greece’s foreign minister, with whom he has at least one thing in common – their close ties with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

 

THE PLUG piece for Christodoulides forecasted that similar phenomena as those in Greece will multiply, and the ex-minister’s “camp is preparing for a tough war, mainly from the part of Averof Neophytou, especially if opinion polls are showing the same tendencies as today.”

The tendencies referred to are that the Paphos pretty boy is way ahead in opinion polls. I like the way he is also being presented as a potential victim of Averof’s war so he can persuade more idiots to support him.

 

I READ on the BBC website that the former vice president of the Bank of Cyprus Vladimir Strzhalkvsky, a client of the Limassol law office that Prez Nik has had nothing to do with since 1997, has run into a spot of bother. His yacht The Ragnar is stuck in Norway because nobody will sell it any fuel, as he is known to be a close buddy of Vladimir Putin.

Any chance of our prez sending some fuel with his private jet to help the man leave Norway? Stan would certainly approve of such a gesture and we might re-enter Mother Russia’s good books.

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