News / Europe

Russia Backstops Cyprus Bailout Despite Anger

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) chairs a meeting with his deputies at the Gorki state residence outside Moscow, March 25, 2013.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) chairs a meeting with his deputies at the Gorki state residence outside Moscow, March 25, 2013.
Reuters
Russia signaled on Monday it would backstop the European Union's bailout of Cyprus despite anger that the weekend rescue deal would impose heavy losses on uninsured depositors, many of them Russian.

President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to negotiate the restructuring of a bailout loan it granted to Cyprus in 2011, having rejected Nicosia's request for easier terms during crisis talks last week.

Putin "considers it possible to support efforts ... aimed at overcoming the crisis in the economy and banking system of this island state,'' his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russia has repeatedly expressed its dismay at Europe's handling of the debt crisis in Cyprus, while resisting the entreaties of President Nicos Anastasiades to offer significant financial support of its own.

Countries that received Eurozone bailouts:


  • Spain, 2012: $129 billion
  • Portugal, 2011: $100 billion
  • Ireland, 2010: Ireland: $110 billion
  • Greece, 2010 & 2012: $316 billion
But, following the agreement of a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) European bailout deal over the weekend, Moscow's position has softened.

While Russia has complained over discrimination against businesses that rely on Cyprus as an offshore center, the Kremlin has been careful not to become embroiled in a potentially open-ended financial and strategic commitment that could become a nexus of friction with Europe.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev - who ranks below Putin in Russia's ruling hierarchy - earlier criticized the bailout deal that will inflict heavy losses on uninsured deposits of over 100,000 euros at the two main Cypriot banks.

"The stealing of what has already been stolen continues,'' Medvedev was quoted by news agencies as telling a meeting of government officials.

Cyprus had requested an extension of the existing 2.5 billion euro Russian loan, and a reduction in the interest it charges to 2.5 percent from 4.5 percent.

Russia also last week turned down a Cypriot offer of stakes in its banks and offshore energy reserves in return for around 6 billion euros in new financing, a sign that Moscow is reluctant to become over-extended financially and geopolitically despite a strong balance sheet that is underwritten by oil revenues.

Russians are believed to account for most of the 19 billion euros of non-EU, non-bank money held in Cypriot banks at the last count by the central bank in January. Of 38 billion euros in deposits from banks, 13 billion came from outside the EU.

Speaking after the meeting with Medvedev, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said losses to Russian investors in Cyprus were not yet clear.

He also said that the Cypriot unit of state-controlled VTB, Russian Commercial Bank, would not be affected by measures taken by the government. Russia hopes that further financial support will not be needed.

"What is happening is a good signal to those who plan to move their capital to ... Russian banks,'' he was quoted as saying. "We have very stable banks.''

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More