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04/01/2013

Help save Russian oligarchs: Donate to 'Cyprus Aid'

Laiki bank
These women were the first in line at the Laiki bank in Nicosia, Cyprus on Thursday, the first day the banks re-opened after being closed for nearly two weeks. (Tanya Talaga/Toronto Star)

Talk about taking the European economic bailout measures to new heights. A massive “Cyprus Aid” concert is taking place today in Nicosia.

Cyprus Aid organizers have clearly borrowed from Neil Young and John Mellencamp’s “Farm Aid” idea. "Farm Aid" is one of the longest running benefit concert series in the U.S., raising upwards of $40 million to help struggling farmers.

The all-day "Cyprus Aid" solidarity concert will host nearly 50 of Greece and Cyprus's biggest musical and performing arts acts from 1 p.m. until midnight.  They include Lina Nicolacopoulou, Alkinoos Ioannides, Demetra Galani, Christos Thiveos, Christos Dantis, Evridiki, and Antonis Mitzelos.

It doesn’t cost anything to attend the benefit concerts and the artists are all performing for free, but donations from money to food items, “medicines and other basic items” are encouraged.

As the release states:

“In the last few days, we have experienced a cold shower, and lived through intense emotions and rapid, successive reversals.  The sole thing of which we were certain was the uncertainty facing us,” organizers state.

They add they want their “apolitical voice” to be heard as only the language of music can.

“The widespread feeling of frustration and false expectations was the common denominator that brought together a group of actors and other friends who decided to put up a practical demonstration of our resistance against what is forthcoming,” they said.

Cyprus would have gone bankrupt last week if not for the European bailout of $13 billion and another $7 billion being raised by the Cyprus government, in part, by confiscating funds out of bank accounts larger than $131,000.

While many ordinary, hard-working Cypriots have now lost part of their life savings, so have wealthy Russian oligarchs who had stashed away money in the former tax haven.

No doubt all will appreciate any aid they can get.

RELATED: Europe’s economic crisis: How the rich avoid paying their tax bill

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. She has just returned from covering the bailout crisis in Cyprus. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

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