Russia's invasion of Ukraine could have been designed from a textbook based on the Turkish invasion of Cyprus: The same accusations, the same arguments and the same rhetoric: Enemy encirclement, genocide and peacekeeping operation, not invasion. It was in exactly the same context that the secession of Ossetia and Abkhazia into Georgia was organized and carried out. The resolutions of the UN General Assembly on Georgia (where there is no veto of Russia) could well refer to Cyprus, which, however, abstained from voting in order not to look bad in Russia.
Russia's policy on the Cyprus issue, which even a few days ago our President reiterated in his interview with Alpha, is not only a self-evident ridicule, but something much worse: submission to the most authoritarian regime in the world, which has turned its back on its invasion. 1974 and convinced the victim that he was his protector.
The role of Russia
Let the reader recall that I was the first to publish in 2014 a comprehensive study of the insidious role of the Soviet Union in 1974, in my book “The Invasion and the Great Powers.” The Russian invasion of Ukraine helps us to understand some harsh realities from our own experiences from the invasion of 1974, which were hidden under the carpet for decades.
Russia wants its neighboring states that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union to be subservient to Moscow. All the countries in Eastern Europe that overtook and joined NATO and the EU were saved. None of these states wants to be under Russian influence again. Ukraine's desire to join NATO and the EU has to do with the expectations of Ukrainians to maintain their national and personal freedom. The alternative was to become Belarus and be ruled by a Lukoshenko.
There are many in Cyprus who see the crisis in Ukraine as a result of a NATO conspiracy, ignoring the fact that Ukrainians themselves are seeking freedom, democracy and security because they do not sleep peacefully at night next to an authoritarian Russia. They are the same – which unfortunately are not a few – who consider NATO as our evil demon. Soviet propaganda spread throughout society, regardless of ideological differences, that NATO had planned the coup and the invasion. Fifty years later, there has been no evidence to confirm a NATO conspiracy against Cyprus. Our evil demon is the choice of Cyprus to stay out of the security system of the West. This came at the cost of losing a third of its territory. And the obsession with this wrong choice, the loss of opportunity to recover.
In the Soviet-invented theory of a NATO conspiracy against Cyprus in 1974, there is a subdivision that was cleverly concealed from public opinion in Cyprus but strongly cultivated in Turkey: NATO conspired with Greece to become a Union. For Russia, Turkey was not part of the NATO “conspiracy”, it was its victim, and it coordinated with it to thwart it. From the first day of the coup on July 15, 1974, the Soviet Union took to Greece to declare that it would not allow “this dangerous development to prevail in Cyprus and in an area close to its borders.” In other words, any NATO expansion into Cyprus through the Union was considered a threat to Russia for its own security and thus it was legitimate to intervene. Such a plan did not exist and was never proven. But Russia denounced NATO and Greece overnight for the coup as part of a NATO conspiracy, but never Turkey for the invasion.
Russia asked for and received two assurances from Turkey: It would not annex part of Cyprus and would accept Makarios' return. Any annexation of northern Cyprus would result in the unification of the southern part of the island with Greece and de facto NATOization of the whole of Cyprus. And the return of Makarios would ensure the continuation of Cyprus's stay in the Non-Aligned Movement. Acting under Soviet influence, Makarios slipped into denouncing Greece for invading Cyprus, naively hoping to return to power after a mild Turkish military operation.
I record these events in all their detail in my book “The Invasion and the Great Powers”. After its release, the ambassador of Russia asked, through “Liberal”, for my head, and the whole political system in the country complained to me that I had undermined the relations of Cyprus with the friendly country. There are many facts that document the insidious Russian policy in the Cyprus issue. In this article I will focus only on the most critical day in our recent history, July 20, 1974:
When the Security Council convened to discuss the ceasefire in Cyprus, the Soviet Union did not give its consent, condemning the coup. Finally, Resolution 353 was adopted, which had been drafted before the invasion and called for the withdrawal of military personnel from Cyprus, meaning the Greek officers. The only compromise Russia accepted was an addition to the ceasefire and the start of talks, with no reference to Turkey. On July 21, USSR leader Leonid Brezhnev proposed to US President Richard Nixon the immediate adoption of a new resolution by the Security Council calling on Greece to withdraw its military personnel immediately, without any reference to him. According to an analysis of the contents of the letter by the State Department, “the Soviets interpret the Security Council resolution as asking for the withdrawal of Greece.”
To date, there has not been a single nominal condemnation of Turkey for invading Cyprus. The Cypriot political system calls this misery a “timeless policy of principles” in the Cyprus issue. The Turkish invasion was followed by the disbandment of NATO's southeastern wing, with the United States imposing an arms embargo on Turkey, which reacted by closing US bases to monitor the USSR nuclear program. Since then, Russia's national interests have insisted on maintaining the status quo. This is Russia's only contribution to the Security Council. Every time UNFICYP's term is renewed, the military media invents British intrigues against Cyprus, which always result in “rescue interventions” by Russia.
We are under the influence /p>
From 1960 until today, Cyprus has been under the influence of Russia, which has penetrated the whole spectrum of political life, economic activity and the media, killing one after another all the efforts that have been made to resolve it. Cyprus. There was a gap in this long-standing dependence in the 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed. Then Cyprus joined the EU. We often hear the simplistic criticism against Europe that it implements a policy of two measures and two stations, because it did not decide measures against Turkey. Europe took very drastic measures against Turkey: it accepted the whole of Cyprus as a member with the Cyprus issue unresolved. In essence, Europe brought Turkey to its knees in the Cyprus issue. In Crans Montana, Turkey was forced to give Cyprus what it had been asking for for decades, but the three Nikos (Anastasiadis, Kotzias and Christodoulidis) torpedoed the talks and began pursuing a policy of excluding Turkey from energy plans in the Eastern Mediterranean. Russia, which has invaded Ukraine because its security is threatened, has encouraged a weak Eastern Mediterranean state to play a role in Turkey's siege strategy. And this was sold to the public as a well-studied policy of alliances and collaborations, while it was a provocation against the creation of common energy interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In 2014, on the occasion of the annexation of Crimea, US Vice President John Biden visited Cyprus with a comprehensive proposal for a solution to the Cyprus problem, exploitation of hydrocarbons and detachment from Russian influence. Immediately after Biden's departure, the Russian factor was mobilized. The President told us the Russians not to worry, and that Cyprus would continue to be Moscow's scapegoat in the EU, giving it information on the sanctions being discussed against Russia. (All the details in my book Crime in Crans Montana).
Moscow intervened and canceled Biden's plan because a solution would restore NATO cohesion. When the last initiative was raised in the background to guarantee a solution by NATO, the ambassador of Russia was waving his finger at us from the televisions and not a single politician was found to put him in his place. Russia did not need to intervene militarily in Cyprus to prevent NATO involvement in the solution, it has been bombarding it for decades with propaganda and controlling it with the market of influence.
Finally, EU membership offered Cyprus some security, but only joining the Western security system will effectively protect us from any danger. That would be a new strategy, not a recycling of the bankrupt anti-Western approach. Anastasiadis was elected with great expectations that he would change the fate of the country. Unfortunately, he proved too small, incompetent, cowardly and corrupt to be able to accomplish such a great national goal. The rest of the political system is just as dependent on the stereotypes that they were forced to issue a statement condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and when an airstrike from Akrotiri in Syria took place, they spoiled the protests.