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by John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Vadim Belyaev (lead image)  is not the first Russian bank robber to take Cyprus citizenship on his way to safe haven in New York City, and then find himself facing a billion-dollar recovery lawsuit from his Russian pursuers in New York Supreme Court.  He is, however, the very first to attempt […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with It was the 412th of Francois de la Rochefoucauld’s maxims that doesn’t stand the test of either time or money. “Whatever degree of disgrace we may have brought upon ourselves,” he said, “it is always within our power to re-establish our reputation.” For years Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, the controllers of […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with Death can be a coincidence, but not in the Russian aluminium business. So when Dmitry Bosov died of a pistol shot at his home near Moscow on the evening between May 5 and May 6, and Anatoly Bykov was arrested by federal agents in Krasnoyarsk on May 7, everyone with well […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with Malcolm Turnbull is the most intelligent man ever to become Australian prime minister, and to have left office more stupid than he began. Among the governments south of the Equator, this is without precedent. Since Turnbull served as head of government for only three years, 2015 to 2018, when he was […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with If Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot and Joshua Barabbas had combined to produce the eye-witness book on the life and death of Jesus Christ, whose anniversary falls this month, it wasn’t heard of when it was newsworthy, in the first years of the first century AD; readers have been deterred from looking […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with For catching birds it’s old-fashioned child’s play to put salt on their tails. But fooling the bird in order to get close enough with the salt-shaker, before the bird takes off, is a job for grown-ups.   When it comes to catching fugitive bankers, money launderers and the families of corrupt […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with The High Court in London has the duty to set the standard for distinguishing between Russian honesty and chicanery (the British varieties too). But it lacks the power. If the court had that, the Prime Minister, the House of Commons, the Secret Intelligence Service, the BBC, Oxford University Press, and the […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with The English read detective stories for the pleasure of unravelling the crime,  proving that even if there are perfect crimes, in the majority of cases the perpetrators don’t get away with them because the detectives are usually cleverer. That’s fiction. In real life,  Russian crimes are different. In the majority of […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with “We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans,” President Vladimir Putin told the Federal Assembly last week. About  the overcoming part, his staff aren’t so sure. The week before, when asked to identify the guest list at Putin’s annual Christmas reception for […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with In our last episode, Denis Diderot, the French philosopher in Paris, had sold his library to the Empress Catherine in St. Petersburg. For his bonus, he had received a ticket to meet and talk to Catherine directly. At their first meeting at a masked ball in the Winter Palace, Diderot […]