Thread: Cyprus Crisis!
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:39 PM
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Tyburn Tyburn is offline
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Even allowing for inflation, 10 billion euros can still buy you quite a lot these days.

For example, if you were Russia, and you used your 10 billion to bail out Cyprus, you could buy another few decades of European dependence on you for energy.

You might also get a dent in people's confidence in the EU thrown in. If you invested it all wisely, in the longer term you could even get a warm-water naval port out of it.

Not bad a return.

The Russian offer to better the terms of the EU bailout for Cyprus is not just commercial. It is an attempt to regain influence in a region of growing energy importance.

Russia had already lost power in the Mediterranean and Middle East when Egypt was flipped and turned towards the USA.

After the implosion of the Soviet empire in 1989, Moscow lost any chance of a quick return to the region and was left only with a small port on the coast of Syria to play with.

But Russia is now back on its feet, and the discovery of the potentially huge gas field in the eastern Mediterranean has given it an opportunity to again engage in the region.

It has already done a deal via Gazprom with the Israeli's over its gas fields, and is now trying to get in on Cyprus's potential gold pot.

Europe has for years been looking for a way to wean itself off energy dependency on Russia, and Cyprus was one route.

However, if Gazprom secures the rights to explore the Cypriot gas fields, this will give Moscow massive influence there.


Influence is power and that power could feasibly result, down the line, in Cyprus suggesting that the British bases on their island close.

From there, the possibility of a Russian base might emerge in what is a key part of Nato's Mediterranean strategy and an intelligence gathering post.

The UK, Greece, Turkey, and the US - all Nato members - might object. But money talks and we have seen in the last decade that Russia wins some and loses some.

The ties between Cyprus and Russia are not just commercial and political.

We should not underestimate the cultural ties between the two, which are based on Russia's perception of itself as the guardian of Orthodox Christianity.


Whether Russia wins this geopolitical fight or not, it will continue to watch with interest the political and social fallout of the euro crisis and the democratic deficit which has been part of it.

The EU has crossed an intellectual line in Cyprus. Previous bailouts of other countries may have required austerity measures, but now unelected Eurocrats, in consultation with Cypriot leaders, have told the people that they are going to take up to 10% of their money without asking them. In Cyprus they have a word for this - theft.

This has been noticed across the European Union. If it might happen in Cyprus then it might happen in Greece, or Spain, or Italy. The raison d'etre of the Union is to ensure prosperity and the safety of its peoples, not to take money from their bank accounts.

The Cypriot politicians fear they could become the target of retribution from the people and so have hot-footed their way to Russia.


Not only might they get what in the short term looks a much better deal from Moscow, but, and this might be really what's going on, they might force Brussels to offer a much better deal to prevent Cyprus from "falling" to the Russians.

Either way - terms and conditions apply.
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