Russians looking to protect Cypriot… investments?

The American Interest and Hot Air are covering this one pretty well, so here’s the executive summary: the EU wants to raid Cypriot individual bank accounts in exchange for a bank bailout; this is freaking out Russians crony capitalist oligarchs, who have been using said banks to deposit their… questionable… gains for the last decade; and so the Russian energy company Gazprom is making a counter-offer to stabilize the banks, in exchange for what are frankly speculative natural gas exploration rights. The Cyprus government may or may not take that offer, but they will probably use it as leverage in order to screw over… somebody.  Either the EU, or the Russians, or maybe both.  Reply hazy: try again later.

That’s pretty much it, except for this operation: if you’re really worried about crony capitalism, check out Russia’s.  They make the Obama administration look like pikers, and the average Republican White House look like Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek’s love child.

Cyprus to raid private bank deposits, on orders from European Union.

Basically, it goes like this: the EU bails out Cypriot banks to the tune of 10 billion euros, in partial exchange for a 6.75% to 9.9% raid on Cypriot personal accounts (which is supposed to net about 5.8 billion euros in revenue), collectable probably now Tuesday*. See also here, here, and here.

Naturally, the subjects of Cyprus (I can’t in either good conscience or grammar call them “citizens”) are freaking out and trying to yank what money they can out of the banks; many wonder if the rest of the EU is going to follow suit.  Should the average European be worried?  Well, Walter Russell Mead (who is not entirely sympathetic to the Cypriots, given that they’ve been operating as money launderers to various unsavory Russians for some time) notes this: Continue reading Cyprus to raid private bank deposits, on orders from European Union.