Russians Escaping to Cyprus
RUSSIANS ARE MOVING TO CYPRUS
The Yeltsin era saw many Russian nationals buying property and settling in Cyprus. Most of the Russians came to Cyprus in the 1990’s and today we count over 80,000 people of Russian origin living in Cyprus, predominantly in Limassol. The Cypriot people in general have always been friends of the Russians, dating back to the time of Makarios. The fact that most of them belong to the Orthodox Church has also helped to cement relations between these two nationalities with many Russian nationals feeling very at home in Cyprus. Limassol now boasts 3 Russian speaking schools with over 600 students and many Russian businesses have opened in and around Limassol to cater for the Russians who have chosen to make Limassol their home. Cyprus has also become a favorite destination for Russians tourists. Visas are easily obtained through the Cypriot Embassy in Moscow by email and there is no charge. In 2016 a record number of over 3 million tourists arrived in Cyprus. Of these nearly 1 million were from Russia, a marked increase from previous years.
The renewed interest that the Russians are showing in the real estate market in Cyprus has been spurred on by the ‘golden visas’ that the government is promoting. Permanent residence can be obtained with a €300,000 property investment and citizenship with a €2 million investment. To sweeten the pot the Cypriot government has speeded up the process and Russian nationals could have Cypriot citizenship and by extension EU citizenship in just 3 months. According to reports this new incentive, Citizenship by Investment, has brought in over €4 billion in revenue over the past two years, mostly from the Russian market. The Cypriot government has also introduced favorable tax incentives which is also an important factor for foreign investors.
There are so many Russian nationals in Limassol that it has been nicknamed “Moscow-on-the-Mediterranean” A drive around Limassol will convince you, the Russian shops in some areas outnumber the Greek and the newly built marina boasts many yachts with Russian names. They even have their own radio station ‘Russkaya Volna’ and a plethora of Russian restaurants and numerous banks and other financial businesses, especially Russian offshore companies.
The fact remains that obtaining citizenship by investments for the worlds wealthy has never been easier. With other choices like the Caribbean and Malta as an example, why do Russians favor Cyprus? With the new regulations, obtaining Cyprus citizenship is the easiest and quickest in the world, but that is not all that is bringing the Russians to Cyprus, similar religion and lifestyle with the Cypriots is also a key attraction, and since there is already an established community particularly in Limassol, the consensus is that more Russians who are lucky enough to afford it, will be joining us soon. As they say the more the merrier, everyone all around is happy, especially the Cyprus economy.