Leaders from the Russian business community in the Republic of Cyprus are calling on the government to reexamine sanctions in the wake of the war in Ukraine, saying the measures were hurting the island nation.
Experts from the Russian community in Cyprus on Monday held a roundtable meeting to discuss ramifications of sanctions imposed by the Cypriot government on Russia and Russian business on the island.
Based on Facebook post by the Russian House in Cyprus, the participants included counselors of the Russian embassy and local representatives from Russian cultural and business groups on the island.
The roundtable discussion delved into matters affecting the Cypriot economy and the country’s Russian community, with the post summarizing issues such as rapid price hikes including bread and thousands of Russians on the island losing access to their funds.
Nicosia voted in late February in favor of EU sanctions against Russia, prompting Moscow to include the island nation on a list of “unfriendly countries” while banking and travel ties between the two nations came to a screeching halt.
'The Russian-speaking community has been supporting the country's economy for many years, investing in key sectors, paying taxes on time and in full'
This week it emerged that the names of at least four Russians with Cypriot citizenship were included in the EU sanctions list, meaning authorities on the island had been called upon to freeze financial assets belonging to the individuals.
But the roundtable argued most Cypriots were against the anti-Russia sanctions, while also crying foul over measures that were affecting many Russians who made investments in the local economy and contributions to the local culture.
“What is going on now? Cypriot banks have imposed restrictions and bans on transactions with Russian residents and companies controlled by Russia. Due to unjustified and unfair pressure, a number of Russian firms are leaving Cyprus to go to neutral jurisdictions,” the FB post said.
“We ask that sanctions imposed be reexamined and efforts be directed towards the development of a sustainable economy and multinational community in the Republic of Cyprus, for the benefit of its citizens and all those who have chosen Cyprus as their place of residence and business,” the statement said.
The post also highlighted warnings that if sanctions were to remain in place, conditions in Cyprus could drive the economy into a deeper recession where even necessity goods could be scarce.
“On the contrary, sanctions against Russia in the last few years had the opposite effect on the country itself,” the post said, pointing to investments going back to Russia and imported goods being replaced by domestic products.
Russian cheese goes from horrible to gourmet
Earlier this week reporters and vlogers illustrated the domestic production changes by pointing to cheese, saying Russian cheese had been known to be “horrible” and Russians would always buy imported products.
But after sanctions started to have an impact on the Russian market, local businesses have been stepping up to the plate to make better-quality products, with many Russians favoring European-style cheeses produced domestically.
“The Russian-speaking community has been supporting the country's economy for many years, investing in key sectors, paying taxes on time and in full. At the same time, Russian-speaking residents are an important and integral part of society, participating in its social and cultural life,” the roundtable’s statement said.