expats in cyprus

Expats in Cyprus



folk festival rehearse
consider publish contribute
tax proud vacation
island compare prosperity
estate real estate expatriate
deliver municipal monument
era hospitality draw/drew/drawn (2)
tradition miss speed of life
single double reportedly
invest average to be honest
bogus loophole play a role
evade publicity dependance
crisis nervous opportunity
discuss quarter ambassador
currently foothold negotiation
triple further downside
guard freighter suspicious
cargo conflict account for
rumor armed globalization
fund refer put pressure
seek critic clean up
fixture ghetto permanent





These Russian school children are rehearsing new music numbers they’ll be performing in the next Russian folk festival in Limassol.

But they only know Russia from vacations: their home is Cyprus.

Natalia Kardash also considers this harbor city her home. Thirteen years ago the business woman made the move from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

She now publishes Viesnik Kipri, or Cyprus News, a Russian-language newspaper.

She’s proud of how the Russian community has contributed to the prosperity of the island nation.

“International businessman working here, paying taxes here, buying food, renting flats, buying property. Yes they are important for the economy. And compared to the number of people living in Cyprus –- 50,000 Russian people compared to 800,000 Cypriots, it’s quite a big number.”

Many of the expatriates live in Limassol. It’s common to hear Russian in the streets and shops here. Visitors will also find Cyrillic lettering on delivery trucks, as well as on real estate offices and restaurants.

There’s Russian beer in the supermarket.

And in one of Limossol’s municipal parks, there’s a monument to the Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin. It was a gift from the mayor of Moscow.

Cypriot president, Dimitreus Kristopous, was a student in the Russian capital back in the Soviet era.

Kardash says the two countries had good relations even back then. And the island’s tradition of hospitality has drawn Russians ever since.

“You know the speed of life here is slower than in European countries or in Russia. But we see that people enjoy living, enjoy communication. They enjoy being with family, and that’s what many people miss.”

In summer Russian is often hear in the hotel and in the beaches. Fewer and fewer tourists are arriving from the EU; but the number of Russian vacationers has almost doubled in the past twelve months.

Many Greek Cypriots are happy to see them.

“They feel a lot more closer. They feel welcome,” says Demetrius Georgiades, a journalist. “To be honest, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s historical: we are both Christian Orthodox. But as I said, it’s difficult to tell why.”

Money certainly plays a role. Since the start of the euro crisis, an average of 60 businesses have closed here each month.

But the Russians are continuing to invest. They currently account for more than a quarter of the deposits in Cypriot banks and around a third of its international investments.

Many of those investors however are exploiting tax-loopholes. They’ve set up bogus firms to evade the Russian tax authorities. In Cyprus, the companies pay only 10% tax.

The firms don’t want publicity. When we tried to film the newly founded RCB Bank in Limassol, security guards quickly arrived.

The financial crisis is making many international investors nervous. But others see the country’s problems as an opportunity for Russian-Cypriot relations.

You know that $2.5 billion was received on very good conditions as a loan for the Cyprus government,” says Yuri Pianykh of the Russian businessmen of Cyprus. “So it means that we have very good economical ties.”

The Russian ambassador and the Cypriot finance minister have a lot to discuss. The Mediterranean nation is reportedly in the final stages of negotiations for a further five billion dollar loan.

But that dependance has a downside.

Freighters carrying suspicious cargo have been seen leaving Limassol’s harbor, some say carrying Russian weapons for Syria and other areas of armed conflict.

And although people are watching their words, the Russian mafia is rumored to have gained a foothold on the island.

“Globalization at some point in time will put pressure on everyone to clean up its act and I think we are in the process of doing this,” says Georgiades. “But I’m sure some of the money going through Cyprus you referred to how much these funds are — some of them I’m sure would be “dirty money”.

Critics say the government in Nicosia has grown too dependent on Russia. But while Cyprus seeks to deal with both Brussels and Moscow, the Russians have become a permanent fixture.

“They are not trying to live in ghettos in let’s say one area of Limasoll and you will call this a Russian village,” says Kardash. “No. They live anywhere. They go to the same restaurants Cypriots go. They visit the same events. They go to the same beaches. So they feel like part of the country.

So even if the economic crisis deepens, the Russians appear to be in Cyprus to stay.


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1. Where were these children born?

2. Natalya is probably from Moscow. Yes or no? Who is she? What is her job?

3. Are the locals happy to have (Russian) expatriates on their island?

4. Do Russians on Cyprus have to know Greek?

5. Why have many foreigners moved to Cyprus?

6. Have Nicosia and Moscow signed deals or contracts?

7. Foreigners live apart and separate from the locals. Is this true or false?
A. Are you from Cyprus? Do you live on Cyprus? Have you been to Cyprus?

B. Would you like to live on Cyprus? What country would you like to move to or have a vacation home?

C. Where do (rich) people from your country like to migrate to?

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