MOSCOW (22 March 2013) – In a move that has taken even seasoned Kremlin watchers by surprise, Russia today agreed to purchase Cyprus in a bold stroke to save the troubled archipelagic country and by extension the Eurozone.
The two countries had been in talks to avert a Eurobank austerity measure that would tax Russian oligarchs' cash holdings squirreled in Cypriot banks when, a source with knowledge of the negotiations revealed, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades sought to relieve some tension with a joke.
"Well, you could always buy us," Anastasiades said.
An uncomfortable silence spread over the room, the source who was present at the talks said.
"Mozhno," (We could), replied Russian President Putin.
Anastasiades was a bit taken aback, but soon realized that in every joke there is a measure of wisdom. Putin reportedly turned to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who raised his left eyebrow in assent.
"Budem," (We will) Putin continued. "Russia has long sought a base in the Mediterranean, and we have good relations with Turkey. We will do this."
President Anastasiades, the source present at the talks said, broke out into a cold sweat, realizing that the negotiations were fast spinning out of his control.
"But, excuse me, Mister President," Anastasiades said, "you cannot just buy a whole country. There are 800,000 Cypriots."
"Now they will be Russians."
"What is your GDP? $25 billion? You have public debt of $15 billion, so this is simple deal. We will buy you for $30 billion. You pay off your debt and have $15 billion to spare. Enough to run your deficit economy for a decade."
"Listen, this is good thing for you. You are a net importer. When you become part of Russia, you will become an export country overnight. You will send us oranges, we will send you gas. You will keep our money in our banks, host our tourists. We will rename Nicosia to Nicosiovich. It will be like a new Cuba. Only closer. With a Russian naval base."
"You don't seriously think that the US and the EU will accept this?"
"What business is it of theirs? This is just between us."
Another long, uncomfortable pause descended over the room. Finally, Anastasiades broke the silence.
"What–... um, how soon can we close?"
Putin turned to Medvedev, who this time raised his right eyebrow.
"One week," Putin replied. "We can close on April 1."
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