Russian PM Medvedev bashes ‘absurd’ Cyprus bailout plans

By Anna Malpas and Benoit Finck, AFP

MOSCOW–Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday hammered current European proposals to solve the Cyprus crisis as absurd, while Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris was set to hold further talks in Moscow on aid.

At the opening of a conference in Moscow with the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, Medvedev slammed the European strategy to bail out the near-bankrupt eurozone member. “This scheme that is being discussed on Cyprus now looks absolutely absurd,” Medvedev said, adding that it undermined trust in the banking system. Medvedev complained that Russia had not been adequately informed. Barroso argued that Russia had been consulted on Cyprus, including his own conversation in December with President Vladimir Putin, although he acknowledged the bailout plan was a last-minute compromise.

In an interview released by the Russian government early Thursday, Medvedev compared the actions of the European Union, the European Commission and the Cypriot government to “a bull in a china shop.” In the interview to European media, Medvedev threatened that Russia could pull out of a double taxation treaty with Cyprus and consider reducing its euro reserves. The crisis in Cyprus has led to the blocking of the bank accounts of Russian government agencies, Medvedev complained.