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It was in February 1989, thirty years ago, that the first independent press bureau in Russia began to work. The bureau was mine. Death and revolution were my preoccupations. At the time, the foreign press corps in Moscow was dominated by the well-known American and British media. The Americans were as much the favourites of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For the first time President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly has abandoned the distinction between  American partners and American enemies. In this week’s speech, Putin said that in response to the threats of missile attack the US is introducing against Russia, Americans in their command centres, all of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In this week’s address to the Federal Assembly – Russia’s equivalent of the State of the Union speech to the US Congress, and the Queens’s Speech to the House of Lords  – President Vladimir Putin has removed the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (Vladimir Gundyayev), from the seat […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When Karl Lagerfeld (lead image, centre)  died this week, the Financial Times epitaph was that he “helped build up the French fashion house [Chanel] into a business that generated revenues of $9.6bn in 2017. Lagerfeld was unmatched in his output and at one point during the 1990s was designing collections for […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the programme for the special form of Russian governance which Vladislav Surkov (lead image, right*) calls Putinism for the next hundred years, there is no power-sharing with businessmen (oligarchs or merchants), social classes, intelligentsia, the Russian Orthodox Church, political parties, parliaments,  the Constitution or  the civil and criminal courts. Rule […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow No ambition in Russia runs wider and higher than that of Igor Sechin, 58, chief executive of Rosneft. To help fill the Venezuelan treasury, deter attacks on President Nicolas Maduro, reinforce his army,  and show the world he’s the Russian who can defeat both types of war the US is waging […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In February 1989 I started the Moscow Bureau with a first despatch to Ta Nea, then Greece’s leading daily newspaper. That was thirty years ago, a generation in time and several generations in Russian politics. A generation is the time it takes for individuals to grow into adulthood acquiring the shared […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Leonid Lebedev (lead image, centre), a Russian oil and electricity trader and patron of  Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades (right),  is set to lose his multi-billion-dollar claim for a stake in the sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft, according to papers  released by the New York State Supreme Court. The Rosneft deal, priced […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For the first time in Oleg Deripaska’s 95-lawsuit history in the British High Court, the aluminium oligarch has been judged by the court to be a liar, a thief, and a thug. “By force or threat of force,” Justice Sir Nigel Teare declared in a judgement published last week, Deripaska had seized […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality, the triad of Tsar Nicholas I (lead image, left), is no longer as dead as tsardom. It has been revived by Patriarch Kirill (right), leader of the Russian Orthodox Church; backed by the Kremlin; and is now unopposed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and its […]