A pro-Russian rally in Limassol, Cyprus, garnered both support and counter-protesters on Saturday.
Members of the city’s Russian community showed their support for their home country. While much of the world has rallied behind Ukraine, which was brutally invaded by Russia in late February, some Russians in Cyprus have expressed support for their country.
The coastal city of Limassol is home to a large Russian population. Prior to the country’s passport sales scandal, in which government officials and prominent political figures were recorded discussing the sale of passports to third-country nationals, Cyprus had very lax immigration laws .
Massive pro-Russian rally held today in Limassol, Cyprus today.
The city is known as the “Moscow of Cyprus”. Thousands of Russians have permanent residency.
Revoke it, send them back to Putin.
Genocide supporters are not welcome in the EU. pic.twitter.com/bpq66pCKbD
— Visegrad 24 (@visegrad24) April 9, 2022
Many Russians, especially wealthy people, have moved to the country or bought real estate there. According to recent reports, around 40,000 people of Russian origin live in the country, which has a total population of around 1.2 million.
Pro-Russian rally in Cyprus
Limassol, in particular, is a hub for the country’s Russian community. With a Miami-like coastal vibe, the city is home to luxurious apartments and mega yachts owned by Russians and Cypriots.
As the pro-Russian rally took place, counter-protesters supporting Ukraine gathered nearby to express their support for the country.
A Twitter user noted that given the number of Russians actually living in Cyprus, the pro-Russian rally was very low and the support for Ukraine in the country is very high, as Cyprus was brutally invaded by Turkey. in the 1970s.
Living in Cyprus and knowing how many Russians live on the island, I can assure you that this event failed. 20 cars? 500 people? In Ukraine, anti-war events gathered more than 5000 people. pic.twitter.com/0yScKbkCjQ
— Charis Tsevis (@tsevis) April 9, 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was carried out using the country’s alleged ‘genocide’ against Russian speakers in breakaway regions as a pretext, mirrors Turkey’s claims in 1974 that they illegally and brutally invaded Cyprus due to alleged crimes against the Turkish Cypriot minority in the country.
These similarities have drawn attention following the war in Ukraine, and many Cypriots have stood alongside the Ukrainian people, many of whom are currently displaced like many Cypriots after the invasion.
Despite this, the large Russian presence in Limassol, which has even been jokingly dubbed “Limassolgrad” in Russian, made its support for Russia known on Saturday.
In Limassol, the country’s second most populous city, pedestrians often hear as much Russian as Greek spoken. Countless shops and restaurants also display signs exclusively in Russian.
A pro-Russian demonstration also took place in Athens last week. Hundreds of protesters, many waving Greek and Russian flags and honking their horns, staged a procession in solidarity with Russia through central Athens on Monday.
The demonstrators passed through Syntagma Square, which at the time hosted a pro-Ukrainian rally.
Some of the vehicles were spotted sporting the infamous “Z” symbol which is seen as symbolizing support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. The logo was first spotted on the side of Russian tanks and military vehicles piling up on the border with Ukraine.
The Ukrainian embassy in Greece has condemned a pro-Russian rally that took place in Athens, saying that holding such an event while Russian troops and mercenaries were destroying Ukrainian towns and killing Ukrainians was “all totally unacceptable”.