12° Nicosia,
22 May, 2024
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Russian election influence in Cyprus raises eyebrows

Russian citizens in Cyprus make electoral waves

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

Numerous intriguing revelations surface from the unfolding of the presidential elections in Russia, casting a spotlight on the Russian communities nestled in Cyprus.

These communities, casting their ballots in both the free regions and the Occupied Territories, are pivotal players amidst the backdrop of strained Russia-EU relations, exacerbated by ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine and years of relentless conflict.

Against this geopolitical canvas, the Russian diaspora in Cyprus exercised their voting rights, affording seasoned observers the opportunity to glean both qualitative and quantitative insights into these communities—often entwined with regional and global narratives impacting the credibility of the Republic of Cyprus.

Where and how they voted
While concrete data on the final turnout of Russian voters in Cyprus remains elusive, independent estimates suggest a robust participation, exceeding 10,000 in the free areas and ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 in the Occupied Territories. The Central Election Commission of Russia ("Tsentrizbirkom") officially disseminated figures solely for foreign capitals, revealing notable dynamics.

Notably, in Nicosia, out of 8,158 registered voters, 5,149 exercised their franchise, with Vladimir Putin clinching the second position with 22% of the vote, trailing behind his contender, Vladislav Davankov, who secured 47%. Although unverifiable independently, these figures echo patterns reminiscent of the Russian elections in 2018.

The electoral process unfolded seamlessly in the free areas from March 15th to 17th, with polling stations scattered across Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, and Ayia Napa. Preceding this, from March 1st to 4th, polling stations were operational in the Occupied Territories, marking a historic milestone in electoral logistics.

120,000 strong
Official reflections on the Russian elections in Cyprus underscore the burgeoning presence of Russian citizens within Cyprus' territorial embrace. During the election night, the Russian Ambassador to Cyprus, Murat Zyazikov, underscored this reality in a televised address, underscoring the pivotal role played by the diaspora. The tally stands at a staggering 120,000, with a significant portion—50,000—finding residence in the Occupied Territories.

This revelation reverberated within the Turkish Cypriot community, sparking political reverberations between the established government and opposition figures within the CTP ("Republican Turkish Party"). The presence of 50,000 Russians in the Occupied Territories intricately intertwines with their mobility—whether via Turkey or the free areas—under the shadow of EU and Western sanctions catalyzed by the Ukrainian conflict. This migration trend has escalated markedly since March 2022, heralding a new chapter in Cyprus' geopolitical tapestry.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Ukraine  |  Russia  |  politics  |  elections

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