Russians in Cyprus

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A Russian minimarket in Limassol

A 2001 government census showed that there were 4,952 people of Russian origin living in Cyprus,[1] most of which had arrived in Cyprus in the 1990s. Although press reports in 2011 stated that over 100,000 people of Russian origin live in Cyprus,[citation needed]the 2011 government census showed that there were only 10,520 people of Russian origin living in Cyprus. Of these, approximately 4,580 (around 50%) live in the city of Limassol.[2] Russian schools and Orthodox Churches have been built, and a Russian-language television, newspaper and radio service has been set up.[3]

"It must be said that the infrastructure for Russian-speaking people in Cyprus is excellent. Limassol is considered to be the most Russian of all Cypriot cities. There are Russian schools here, which apply the Russian education system, children’s hobby clubs and dance and musical schools. There are Russian shops, Russian radio and Russian newspapers. This is why a Russian speaker feels very much at ease in Limassol."

The Voice of Russia "Russian Cyprus"[4]


The ties between Russia and Cyprus have been both historical and religious. More than 900 years ago, on the way to the holy site of Palestine, father Daniel Sysoev made a stop on the island, and became the first Russian writer to tell of the local sights. This is mentioned in his book, The Law of God, which describes his journey.[5]

Organizational and Cultural cohesion[edit]

In recent years, Russian language and culture are strengthening their positions on the island. For example, in 2000, a monument to the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was opened in a city park in Limassol. Last year, a monument to the first Russian pilgrim to Cyprus, Father Daniel, was erected on Stavrovouni Monastery. In 2010 the Russian Orthodox Church has received title to a parcel of land near the city of Limassol, Cyprus. The deed was transferred on November 19 to the benefactor's council for the construction of the Church of Russian orthodox St. Nicholas Cathedral. The church will become the main Orthodox church for the Russian-speaking community on the island.[6]

Members of the Russian diaspora in Cyprus have taken further steps toward organizational cohesion. An example of this was the first conference of Russian compatriots in Cyprus, which was held at the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Nicosia on December 20, 2008. At this forum, which was attended by delegates from 33 Russian organizations in Cyprus and representatives from the Russian embassy, a range of issues related to “Russian Cyprus” was discussed.[citation needed] Prospects for the consolidation of Russian communities on the island, problems related to preserving and promoting Russian language and culture, and protecting the civil and socioeconomic rights of Russian compatriots were among the topics covered. The conference adopted a draft concept on how Russian organizations on the island should function in light of these goals.[7]

Russians expats in Cyprus can meet up with others from their home country at regularly held InterNations Events.[8]

Cyprus-Russian Festival[edit]

Vestnik Kipra Publishing House in association with the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Cyprus and the Limassol Municipality organizes the Cyprus – Russian Festival since 2005.[9] Every year more than 15,000 people gather at Limassol’s Molos to celebrate the unique relationship between Russia and Cyprus. More than 500 actors, dancers, and singers from both countries take part in a non-stop 8-hour program. The Festival is customarily opened by the President of Cyprus.[10][11]

Business ties[edit]

The Russian market is very attractive for the Economy of Cyprus.[12][13] Numerous High-net-worth Russian Businessmen have been given citizenship, including the billionaire Alexander Abramov, in exchange for their services to the Republic.[14][15][16] In September 2010 Dmitry Rybolovlev became the major shareholder of the largest Cyprus bank, the Bank of Cyprus, after buying 9.7% of its shares.[17][18]

Cyprus-Russian Business Association[edit]

CYRUBA was established in 1996 under the backing of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Russian Embassy in Nicosia.[19] The goal is to strengthen the relations with the Russian market and the promotion of Cyprus as an International Business Center along with the attraction of Foreign direct investment.[20][21][22]

Eurozone Bail-in[edit]

During the European debt crisis, Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said, the government was pursuing a loan from Russia to improve its bargaining position in case it has to turn to its Euro-area partners for emergency aid.[23]

""We are here because of the climate, because of the same religion, the language -- we can use English -- because we are not far from home, and we want our kids to grow up in a safe environment and have a European education." [24]

The initial shock of the Cyprus banking crisis left some Russian Cypriots feeling victimized.[clarification needed] However, Russians have said that they have experienced far worse economic downturns.[citation needed] The benefits of island life are displayed everywhere in Cyprus' second most populous city with its large Russian population, and the attitude is generally positive.[citation needed] That is despite the fact that the Russians are among the most affected peoples by a levy on deposits in failing banks that is being imposed as part of an EU-IMF bailout.[25][26] Russians had about $19 billion in deposits in Cyprus mainly through companies they established in Cyprus. By the end of 2012, Russian banks had about $12 billion placed with Cypriot banks and had loaned about $40 billion to Cypriot firms, according to estimates by the international rating agency Moody’s.

"The deposits of Russian citizens who suffered will be compensated with Bank of Cyprus shares. In fact, Russian citizens will get a fairly large share of the bank’s capital and correspondingly, get some control of the Bank of Cyprus,”... the Cypriot government will do everything possible to minimize Russian citizens’ losses on their deposits with Cypriot banks."

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with Russian business television channel RBC TV.

Business - RIA Novosti [27]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Population Census 2001 Vol:4
  2. ^ Population Census 2011
  3. ^ Brits and Russians in Cyprus April 14, 2010
  4. ^ Russian Cyprus October 7, 2010
  5. ^ "Priest Daniel Sysoev. The Law of God: An Introduction to Orthodox Christianity". Issuu. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  6. ^ Russian Orthodox Church has received title to a parcel of land near the city of Limassol, Cyprus. November 19, 2010
  7. ^ Russian Cyprus December 20, 2009
  8. ^ "Russians in Cyprus - Russian expats in Cyprus |". Retrieved 2016-06-13. 
  9. ^ Cyprus-Russian Festival January 9, 2013
  10. ^ 7th Cyprus-Russian Festival June 9, 2012
  11. ^ 7th Cyprus-Russian Festival June 9, 2012
  12. ^ Cyprus Profile: Foreign Direct Investment
  13. ^ Cyprus continues to be the leading source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Russia
  14. ^ Prime Property: Russians in Cyprus
  15. ^ High Beam: Russian billionaire Abramov gets Cypriot citizenship
  16. ^ Mondaq: Super Wealthy Opt For Second Citizenship
  17. ^ Dmitry Rybolovlev gained control of 9.7% of Bank of Cyprus September 23, 2010
  18. ^ Cyprus Russian Business: Деловые новости Кипра
  19. ^ Cyprus-Russia Business Association (CYRUBA)
  20. ^ Cyprus Russian Business Association
  21. ^ Invest Cyprus: Cyprus FDI Statistics
  22. ^ Central Bank of Cyprus - Eurosystem: FDI Report 2012
  23. ^ Russia Awaits Cyprus Request for Bailout Loan, Storchak Says Bloomberg June 21, 2012
  24. ^ Glopal Post: Russians say Cyprus good life is worth it, for now
  25. ^ Glopal Post: Russians say Cyprus good life is worth it, for now
  26. ^ How do Russian people live in Cyprus
  27. ^ "Cyprus to Compensate Russian Depositors With Bank of Cyprus Equity". 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-20.