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THE DEVOUT churchgoers and Orthodox fanatics, who have been living on myths spread by monks (also known as prophesies of the holy fathers) about the ‘blond race’ (Russians) liberating Constantinople from the Turks and returning it to its Byzantine splendour, were dealt a bitter blow last week by Mother Russia.

President Putin appointed as his country’s ambassador to Kyproulla, Murat Magometovich Zyiazikov, a Sunni Muslim, who, on a personal level, is likely to feel more affinity with the occupiers than with the island’s long-suffering Greek Orthodox majority. He might not even count himself as a member of the blond race of liberators that will set up the Third Rome.

Mother Russia’s devotees on the island would have excused the fact that Zyazikov had worked for the KGB and its post-Soviet successor FSB as well as his tyrannical six-year rule of Republic of Ingushetia of which he was the hated president, as long as he was not a Muslim.

Zyazikov, was sacked as president of Ingushetia in 2008, by the then president of the Federation, Dmitry Medvedev. The sacking followed the killing of opposition journalist Magomet Yevloyev, by police in Nazran, who had arrested him at the airport, after he had a row on the flight with Zyiazikov.

As long as the Rik/CNA/Phil journos that interview the new ambassador, extend to him the slavish deference they showed to his predecessor, they have nothing to fear.


SOME have speculated that his appointment was a favour to President Erdogan, which is a more comforting hypothesis than the other one doing the rounds.

That Putin found his ambassador of nine years – the meddling, didactic and patronising Stan Osadchiy – too soft and wanted a representative that would be tougher with the locals, especially now that a few more people were questioning the political establishment’s embarrassing subservience to Mother Russia.

What more could Zyazikov do than Stan, who openly issued his directives through our state media and Phil, regularly told us what was in our interest and, after the start of the war in Ukraine, issued strict warnings that sounded very much like threats about the government’s decision to impose EU sanctions.

As recently as a few weeks ago, Stan lashed out against our authorities for failing to charge a drunken Ukrainian woman, who threatened a group of demonstrating Russians with a kitchen knife, with attempted murder and for releasing her on bail. Nobody was injured in the attempted murder, which Moscow saw as an ‘act of terrorism’ (see also final item).

There is another theory about Zyazikov’s arrival. Being an ex-KGB and FSB man, he would make better use of the embassy’s spying unit, to keep tabs on Russians living here and ensure none were publicly expressing doubts about Putin’s special operation.


FORMER permanent secretary at the foreign ministry and ambassador, Alexandros Zenon, broke with his ministry’s traditional know-towing to Moscow, by once telling Stan to leave his office.

Talking on Radio Proto about the Zyazikov appointment last week, Zenon referred to nasty Stan’s meddling, which often caused uneasiness and problems on issues of political and church diplomacy. Stan had also publicly censured the Church for recognising the autonomy of the Ukrainian Church and slammed the Ecumenical Patriarch for serving in the Turkish army.

In one meeting in his office, Zenon told the radio show that Stan “demanded we unlawfully violated commitments we had made to the EU” so that Russian interests and designs could be served. “He also told me very clearly that they had surveillance on us. That is our telephones etc.” This was when Zenon said he ended the conversation and asked Stan to leave his office.

The shocking revelation that the Russian embassy was engaging in phone-tapping, made by a serious and respected ambassador received no media coverage, only Politis picking it up. I suppose none of the others wanted to jeopardise relations with Moscow, for fear it might abandon its principled stand on the Cyprob and stop eavesdropping on our politicians.


CHAIRMAN of the Health Insurance Organisation, Thomas Antoniou, was given the Zeta treatment by the media after his forced resignation over conflict of interest. The committee on conflict of interest found that this existed given that Antoniou’s wife, a physiotherapist, was Gesy provider.

Antoniou, the Akelite chairman of the HIO for 10 years, had put his resignation at the disposal of Prez Nik in early August, and the prez had to accept it on Wednesday when the committee handed him its report. The prez set the tone, by saying he accepted Antoniou’s resignation “with regret.”

This was the prompt for the media chorus to embark on its lament for his departure, the line being that “as a people we should be grateful to Antoniou for the greatest reform that has been made in our recent history and not present him as a con-man and so easily accept his removal,” said one columnist. Another asked, “would we have Gesy if Thomas was not the chairman of the HIO?”

The consensus of his disciples was that he had been punished because he refused to compromise with the government, Keve and Oev which wanted to appoint the Antichrist, Dr Agathangelou, to the board of the HIO. The sacred cash-cow that is Gesy has now acquired its first martyr.


RATHER disappointed that Odysseas did not issue a statement of the ‘I told you so’ type, after the committee on conflict of interest issued its report about our Thomas.

When the issue of conflict of interest first arose, Odysseas, in his role as investigator of everything, announced he would investigate, although nobody asked him to and the matter was none of his official business.

The day after the government announced it had referred the matter to the committee, he issued his own findings declaring there was conflict of interest but he was completely ignored, which must have been very hurtful to his ego. He has now been vindicated, and we are all ecstatically happy for him.


PERMANENT Secretary at the health ministry Dr Christina Yiannaki was honoured by the management team of the Sheba Tel HaShomer hospital in Tel Aviv, during a visit there, for her “service to public health for many years.” She was accompanied by health minister Michalis Hadjipantela.

Being a shameless cynic, I suspect that Dr Yiannaki’s honouring may have had something to do with the fact that she arranges for many Cypriot patients to be sent at the taxpayer’s expense, to the Tel Aviv hospital that was honouring her.

I was comforted to note that my cynicism was shared by at least one more person. A member of the Kyproulla Twitterati, known as Gourounaki, who tweeted the following about the honouring of Dr Yiannaki.

“It is like me being honoured by my neighbourhood kebab shop because I eat a mixed every day and I am its best customer.”


INTERIOR minister Nicos Nouris said that amendments to the law on the administration of Turkish Cypriot properties will be submitted to the House next month, in order to cover a €7 million deficit in its funds.

He claimed the deficit was caused by the very low rents charged, although there is a sneaking suspicion, too many of the beneficiaries do not even pay the low rents.

The amendments, if approved would also give the holder of a TC property, ownership rights as he/she would be entitled to leave the property to his/her children. This would be an incentive to the beneficiary to invest in the upkeep of the house, Nouris said, rather unconvincingly.

After making refugee status a hereditary right, the government has decided to make the leased TC properties a hereditary right as well. So if a childless refugee has a TC property and passes away, would he be able to pass the house on to his widow, if she is not a refugee? And if she has children from a previous marriage that were living in the house with the couple but were not refugees would they inherit the house? I bet the amendments do not address these questions as the only objective is to grant property rights without title deeds.


THE COORDINATING Council of Russian Compatriots announced that it would have a picket gathering outside Larnaca district court at 8am on Monday, when the suspect who was brandishing a knife against a group of Russians, will hear the police charges.

According to the information of the committee the suspect “could be charged with light offences, which does not reflect the seriousness of her action.” It also informed us that the ‘Russia Investigative Committee’ had initiated a criminal case against the woman, for “attempted murder of two or more persons on the basis of ethnic hatred.”

Presenting Russians as victims of world persecution, the committee said, “today we are defending our right to a fair and impartial trial.” Shame they do not recognise this right for the Ukrainian woman who will be charged on Monday, and who the coordinating committee has already found guilty of attempted murder. This why it will have a lynch mod outside the court to protest against the charges for “light offences.”


Patroclos is the pen-name of Kyriacos Iacovides, who has maintained his sanity despite writing this column for more than 30 years. Tales from the Coffeeshop first appeared in April 1991 with the objective of offering some light reading in the Sunday Mail. Its target audience was the people who do not take life and Cyprus politics, too seriously.

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