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By John Helmer, Moscow The Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra (lead image, left) resigned his post this week after admitting he had publicly and repeatedly lied that he had met with President Vladimir Putin when he had not done so.   The Dutch press, which initiated the investigation exposing the lie, reports that in his […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska (left) has issued a statement decrying a text and YouTube broadcast  published last week which allege improprieties on a fishing trip off the Norwegian coast when Deripaska hosted Sergei Prikhodko  (right). The trip occurred in August 2016. At the time, Prikhodko was Deputy Prime Minister and head of the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow What is more alluring than a Swiss smile – and I don’t mean the ones displayed by the girls around Cornavin railway station in Geneva.   The question which Russian visitors, residents, and hopeful residents are asking is whether the Swiss have decided to abjure the smile and impose an informal […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Dmitry Pumpyansky’s (lead images) TMK, Russia’s largest steel pipemaking company, has announced that it is withdrawing its initial public offering (IPO) of shares in its US subsidiary, which had been planned for later this month on the New York Stock Exchange.  The announcement has appeared in the western media, but not […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow ‘All politics is local’ was something Tip O’Neill, the late Massachusetts congressman and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, used to say. ‘A week is a long time in politics’ was something Harold Wilson, the late British Prime Minister, said at about the same time.  This week,  you have several […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Steven (Steve) Mnuchin (lead image, right), a New York banker who has spent a year being Secretary of the US Treasury, is worse at dissembling his racket than his better-known American peers at racketeering,  Alphonse (Al) Capone of the Chicago Outfit (left) and Charles (Lucky) Luciano of the New York Commission […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Dmitry Pumpyansky (lead image, left), the 53-year old oligarch who dominates the Russian steel pipes business, knows how to pay for protection. Last week the US Treasury listed him as an oligarch whose corruption record and closeness to the Kremlin may qualify him for sanctions, according to Section 241 of the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow As midnight tolled in Washington, DC, and January 29 slid into January 30, the deadline for the US Government to produce a report to the Congress listing Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin slipped by in the darkness. No dog barked.* Required by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow No matter how intelligent elephants are, they won’t learn not to defecate when performing at the circus. Generations of circus managers and animal trainers have wrestled with the problem, but the elephant sphincter has forced them to bow to the inevitable.  The solution they have come up with is to employ clowns […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Andrei Kostin, 61, the head of the state-owned VTB Bank, has enjoyed a long career as a state official and state banker.  His reputation among his international banking peers does not highlight expertise in treasury operations  or investment ingenuity. Rather, Kostin is reputed for being the trusted executor of his shareholders’ instructions, deliberative, […]