Cyprus Torn Between Strong Allies Over Bailout Money
Eurozone finance ministers reportedly won't approve a final bailout deal for Cyprus until after February elections there. The vote is expected to bring to power a conservative who will do everything that the current communist president is refusing: cut public sector jobs, slash wages and, above all, privatize public services. Everyone in the Cypriot government but president Demetrios Christofias agreed in November to austerity measures proposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The delay is terrible for Cypriot banks, which were hit hard by the Greek debt crisis and are desperate for recapitalization funds. Worsening matters is Russian leader Vladimir Putin's call to repatriate $1 trillion of Russian cash abroad. At least one fifth of the deposits in Cypriot banks are Russian.