The initial wave of sanctions, enforced by the UK and the US against Cypriot entities (individuals, law firms, service companies) for facilitating transactions to those impacted by the sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, has given rise to a climate of speculation. The imminent release of a new list has become akin to making predictions in a betting game. This terminology is circulating within journalistic and political spheres, and the profound impact of the consequences, both on the Cypriot economy and the individuals directly affected, fuels a discussion that encompasses various aspects, ranging from the literal involvement of money laundering to a pessimistic outlook on how Cyprus, as a prominent service hub, will navigate through this phase – a dialogue that initially emerged from the 'Golden Passport' scandal.
The approach here is simple: Some feel that by circumventing international sanctions imposed on Russia and its oligarchic Sistema due to the war, they can deceive the authorities of countries that, in conjunction with the conflict in Ukraine, are reshaping the security framework of the global system for the next several decades. Essentially, they are convinced that their self-serving enrichment, which undermines the international standing of the occupied Republic of Cyprus - concerning a matter related to the invasion and occupation of Ukraine - will also yield advantages for the service sector established by Cyprus, all while remaining unnoticed.
Obviously, apart from being fraudsters, these individuals are also foolish. Because while they choose to live by the gun, as the "crafty Anglo-Saxons" say, when they are caught red-handed and their assets are frozen, they suddenly remember the Cypriot service system, the workers who will be affected, and the malicious foreigners they consult with, amidst conspiracies, to undermine Cyprus' accounting and law firms. It's the same hypocrisy, at this level, as in the case of the Deputy Ministry of Culture, where their official email presented them as working for the ministry itself - underestimating our intelligence - and then claimed it was just an experimental test they conducted.
The hypocrisy of the Cypriots who exploited the good professional practices of other workers in the service sector and dare to point fingers is the key to understanding the corruption and the culture of kleptocracy that has prevailed in Cyprus throughout history. It is related to the perception of easy enrichment as well as the lack of genuine and selfless patriotism, not the kind that involves shouting and showmanship.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the impending sanctions are poised to significantly impact a large portion of the service industry. Moreover, they will shed light on the inherent vulnerabilities of an economic model that, much like its equally money-focused American counterparts, is built on a "laugh now, cry later" mentality. These sanctions have forcefully revealed our hypocrisy, yet those who arrogantly believe they hold the upper hand, following in the footsteps of Nikos Tsiforos, fail to grasp that there are equally formidable players out there. Unlike them, these players don't joke around because they hold the coveted currency... the dollar.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]