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19 March 2013

The Cypriot banking crisis and an old Scottish country saying

Cypriot banking regulator
When I had stopped laughing at the crocodile tears—a useful expression implying hypocritical emotion—of protest from Russian offshorniki at the “unfairness” of the levy which the EU proposes to force Cyprus to impose on deposits in its sinisterly “haven”-like banking system, I remembered a good old saying that is common amongst Scottish gamekeepers and refers to the plight of ordinary birds which are mistaken for vermin, like crows, that most keepers shoot on sight.
     The point is that the near 10% levy on large deposits (over Euro 100,00) will hurt not only those whose money was, in essence, stolen from the Russian “commonwealth” by the rigged privatisations in the 1990s, and who therefore cannot justifiably complain if someone else steals some of it from them. It will also hurt other, presumably small, but still significant, savers. 
Russian moneygarch
     They appear to have hoped to follow the lead of those who stole so much of Russia’s capital and wanted to park it somewhere outside the reach of the feeble Russian legal system. The smaller savers’ money might not be ill-gotten, but their motives seem to me to be as venal as those of their oligarch role-models. I am not sure many people feel a great deal of sympathy with them in their unexpected plight. They had hoped to increase their already moderate wealth, but they got shafted. I expect the common reaction will be: so what?
     In Scotland, as I say, there is a good expression which is used as a warning to people who may not be bad in themselves but who keep bad company and who therefore risk becoming the victims of rough justice on the part of the authorities. It seems to me to be directly applicable to the smaller Russian savers in the Cyprus bailout situation: 
“If you fly with the crows, you’ll get shot with the crows.”

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