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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid