Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new ambassador to Cyprus according to a presidential decree, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Tuesday.
“By official decree of the President of the Russian Federation, Murat Magometovich Zyazikov is appointed as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Cyprus,” the presidential decree reads.
The dismissal of the previous ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy was also made public via another presidential decree.
According to the Kremlin’s website, Zyazikov, aged 65, had worked for state security services KGB and FSB before being elected as president of the Republic of Ingushetia in 2002. In 2008 he assumed the role of the advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.
He is reportedly considered a close ally to Putin because of his province’s proximity to Chechnya.
Zyazikov also identifies as a Sunni Muslim.
Daily Politis citing unnamed diplomatic sources said that the appointment does not necessarily run counter to the interests of the Republic of Cyprus, however, Zyazikov’s religious identity is of special importance as a Muslim Russian ambassador will carry a different and enhanced status within the Turkish Cypriot administration.
Talking to Cyprus Mail, lecturer at the University of Cyprus’ department of Turkish and Middle Eastern studies Dr Zenonas Tziarras said the appointment “leaves extortionate hints about an enhanced Turkish-Russian understanding on the issues of Cyprus” and that it “is a message sent by Russia to Cyprus as well as to Cyprus’ partners in reaction to Cyprus’ pro-western turn.”
An unnamed diplomatic source commenting on the matter told Cyprus Mail that “he is the choice of the Russian Federation, an ambassador accredited to the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic will cooperate with him much like it has cooperated with his predecessors.”