Fiasco or brazen challenge?

Early Tuesday morning, the Cyprus media space saw scandalous reports of the alleged acquisition of the Vuni Palace Hotel and Casino by Film Heritage Inc., a company allegedly afiliated with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The complex is located in the occupied part of Cyprus, in the city of Kyrenia.
Overly massive and zealous sharing of such dubious reports always suggests the orchestrated nature of the spin. However, fortunately, this particular media attack can hardly be considered successful. By the way, Cypriot officials and many local media outlets rather soberly and without haste assessed the situation and made the right tentative conclusions.
Let’s take a closer look and analyze this ugly effort.
The original source was a Turkish platform OdaTV, which posted the text and video on June 1, 2024, at 12:06 (updated at 14:23). The content’s target audience was the Republic of Cyprus. After all, it is widely known that the Cypriot political elite and general public always react painfully, which is completely justified, to any commercial or other type of foreign presence in the northern part of the island.
Much to the disappointment of the masterminds of this dark PR campaign, the spin never went viral. Apparently, someone’s shoulder straps were sticking out too much from between the lines of the article.
Two days into the release of the original piece, someone was forced to either give some hints or directly point to the Cypriot media that some sort of an “information bomb” was set off… And so they did, hoping to reap fruit this time.
It is worth noting that this part of the mission was more successful. Within two hours, “information support for the active measure,” as Russian intelligence refers to such cases, was already in circulation across about a dozen Cypriot media platforms. SIGMALIVE was the one highlighting the topic most prominently, becoming a pioneer in offering unverified data to its domestic audience.
However, either due to the excessive anxiety over the thwarted effort in Turkey, or in the heat of passion, even specialized websites covering sports events joined the effort to share the original piece. Or maybe it was all financially motivated? Who knows…
The array of articles offered two versions of content which serves as an additional argument in favor of the orchestrated effort. For the sake of objectivity, it should be noted that many outlets in Cyprus did accompany the text with their own remarks about the extraordinary zeal of Russian platforms around this particular topic, suggesting that this was a Russian malign operation in progress.
By the way, please note that the traditional Russian mouthpieces in Cyprus, surprisingly, missed this newsbreak for some reason. Either they weren’t paid or maybe they just decided not to tar themselves with this one.
Let’s dive into more details of the so-called “information support for an active measure.” Here it is best to refer to the report by the Cyprus Investigative Reporting Network (@TheCIReN). According to the express analysis run by the think tank, the initiators of the malign effort created a hoax site, Vuni Palace Hotel and Casino.
Based on the official platform, (registered in 2006), the hoax version was launched on May 29, 2024, at Some information was altered in line with the tasks of that “information support for an active measure”, filmed a story, and accompanied it with a manipulative caption. That was pretty much it.
By the way, similar practices and tactics are typical for the Russians trying to do someone dirty. This has been repeatedly exposed and explained by various researchers. Also, if we dig deeper, quite interesting relationships can be found between the server service provider and the masterminds behind the “active measure”.
So here are some conclusions.
The media attack pursued the following goals:
— discrediting President Zelensky and the state of Ukraine ahead of the Peace Summit in Switzerland;
— setting up a “diplomatic zugzwang” for the authorities in Cyprus on issues of bilateral relations with Ukraine and its leader;
— provoking public debate and discussions in Cyprus as to the feasibility of further solidarity with Ukraine in its clash with Russia; and
— giving an opportunity to local sympathizers of the “Russian world” concept, including communists, to show their effort for that Russian “bread” they’ve been eating.
They are only two questions to be answered. Who benefits from this? Whose style is it in the first place?
You are welcome to draw your own conclusions although the answers are just too obvious.
And finally, what does this mean for Cypriots and their government and what implications will arise?
We hope that this will contribute to the end of Russia’s presence and attempts to dominate the media in Cyprus.

Worn off spin doctor