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By John Helmer, Moscow Sergei Frank, a former federal transport minister and chief executive of the state shipping company Sovcomflot since 2004, is unique among Russian state officials. He is the only one to have been adjudicated by a series of UK judges to have lied, been dishonest in evidence-gathering, and vindictive in his use […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow December approaches, opening the last stretch of the presidential election campaign that  concludes in sixteen weeks’ time, on March 18. What to watch for as President Vladimir Putin holds his December meetings with the oligarchs who rule Russia’s future, and the voters who will be the victims of it?  As the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian state bank VTB has corroborated its role in managing a complicated set of loans, insider transfers and repurchase agreements for Oleg Deripaska’s aluminium and electricity holding, EN+, which issued global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange last week. Since the listing, the Russian group has lost $140 million […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Stealing diamonds is a common crime. Stealing diamond mines is not unheard of, particularly  in Africa. But the Grib diamond mine in the Arkhangelsk region of Russia is the only diamond mine to have been stolen four times in just twenty years. This is a record in the history of the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Medovukha, Russia’s fermented honey drink known in English as mead, is at least one thousand years old. If it’s what the Greeks meant by ambrosia, the nectar of the gods, then it is as ancient as wine, Dionysos’s tipple. Whether Rurik the Viking* brought mead with him to ancient Rus, or […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The threat of costly environmental damage to Lake Baikal by power plants of the EN+ group, owned by Oleg Deripaska (lead images),  has been raised this week  by Russian and Chinese activists with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The UK regulator is considering whether to allow an initial public offering (IPO) […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Niccolo Machiavelli once called moral philosophy the child of civil war. That also makes moral philosophy after the fact, after the crimes. War winners write histories; losers and martyrs write philosophies.   Tsar Nicholas II (lead images) was killed, along with his family, because the Romanovs were a dynasty threatening the revolutions […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s aluminium oligarch, has lost his campaign to stop negative press reporting of his business conduct. In a judgement issued on October 17, a federal Washington, D.C., judge dismissed in a summary judgement, without trial, Deripaska’s claim to have been defamed by the Associated Press.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Desperate measures by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma this week sharpened the focus on what the Russian state company Rosgeologia (Rosgeo) and state banks, VTB and Gazprombank, are doing to arrange a $400 million contract for a new gasfield off the South African coast – and pipe promises of billion-dollar royalty […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Roman Abramovich (lead image) is the leading shareholder of the Russian steel, iron-ore and coal mining group called Evraz. Among Russia’s leading steel groups, it ranks second in output of crude steel; fourth in market value. It is the leader in indebtedness. By international measures, Evraz also leads its Russian peers in […]