The Kremlin can hardly believe its luck these days. With the US dithering over Syria and the EU hopelessly lost, wandering in the ruins of its euro project, Russia is enjoying plum opportunities to reassert itself on the world stage.Case in point, Cyprus. Here’s the latest from OpenEurope’s morning news digest:
The Cyprus Mail reports that the Central Bank of Cyprus has slammed the EU/IMF/ECB Troika for distorting the results of the money laundering audits, suggesting the Troika only focused on the weaknesses and drew too many inferences. Separately, Famagusta Gazette reports that Cyprus and Russia have agreed to deepen cooperation in defence matters after Russia requested facilities for Russian Navy vessels in Cyprus.
Cyprus is so adrift and desperate that Russia, despite having refused to help with the bailout in its hour of need, is looking like an attractive partner. Will Russia be getting a base in the EU itself to offset the possible loss of its Syrian facilities?Both the Russians and the Cypriots have incentives to exaggerate what may not be a major development: Russia wants to look busy, active and on the march, and Cyprus would presumably like to frighten both the EU and the US into some kind of action by hinting that it has other alternatives. So it’s hard to know yet exactly what, if anything, is really going on.But there is no doubt that Western policy failures are helping create opportunities in the Mediterranean that even a much weakened Russia can hope to use.