The whole reason behind Cyprus’ sudden decision to impose a new tax on banking deposits was due to the country’s need for a bailout of at least 10 billion euros from the European Union. The tax was a condition of the help.

Russia, whose political and economic elite holds anything between 10 and 20 billion euros in those deposits,  hinted early on that it could help out financially to such a friendly country in dire needs. With foreign exchange reserves worth $537 billion (as of January), it certainly could afford it. But it decided not to.

Russia flexed muscles, reminded of its financial powers and rubbed the West in its weaknesses, but showed no camaraderie. Ukraine should remember this modus operandi, and keep it in mind at all times. 

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