Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

akhromeyev

On August 24, 1991, Marshal Sergei Fyodorovich Akhromeyev committed suicide. He had returned from his holiday at Sochi responding to the attempted removal of Mikhail Gorbachev from power. According to the reports of the time, he hanged himself in his Kremlin office, leaving behind a note. One version of what it said was: “I cannot live when my fatherland is dying and everything that has been the meaning of my life is crumbling. Age and the life that I have lived give me the right to step out of this life. I struggled until the end.”

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001

By John Helmer, Moscow

This is the season for bears to be good to the bushes. When bears eat berry seeds, they pass straight through and on to the forest floor, where, packaged in a warm pile of manure, they can germinate. Where I’m going, summer is for berry-eating, so you’ll have plenty of manure, er germination, to observe in September.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001

Chris Cook with John Helmer, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Click to listen

Gorilla Radio is broadcast weekly by Chris Cook on CFUV 101.9 FM from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. The radio station can be heard here. The Gorilla Radio transcripts are also published by the Pacific Free Press. For Chris Cook’s broadcast archive, click to open.

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

1841a

By John Helmer, Moscow

All law students in England, meeting the law of torts for the first time, used to study Scott v Shepherd. That was a case decided in 1773 in which a man in a marketplace was struck in the face by a lit firework that put out his eye. The legal rule was — if you toss fireworks, you are liable for blinding a man, even if you didn’t mean to.

In the preliminaries to this week’s meeting in St. Petersburg, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been playing games with fireworks. The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, wasn’t closing his eyes. At the conclusion of their meeting in St. Petersburg on Tuesday afternoon, Putin’s eyes revealed more than his mouth about Erdogan’s incendiaries.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001

By John Helmer, Moscow

With just days before lawsuit deadlines expired last month, a Sydney, Australia, law firm has filed a new compensation claim on behalf of a victim of the Malaysian Airline MH17 crash of July 17, 2014. The new case, filed in the Australian Federal Court on July 5, targets the airline on behalf of a single Australian applicant. It also makes a pitch for relatives of all 298 passengers and crew who lost their lives on the flight, to join the gravy train, whatever their nationality and wherever they live. How much money the lawyers are seeking, they refuse to say.

The new case has been brought by a Sydney law firm called Leitch Hasson & Dent (LHD). The firm has already lodged a parallel case against the airline in the New South Wales (NSW) state court. The same lawyers, led by an American, Jerry Skinner (lead image), have also filed a case in the European Court of Human Rights; that claims compensation from the Russian government for allegedly masterminding the destruction of the aircraft and supplying the weapon used. A parallel claim in the European Court, lodged for some of the same MH17 victims by a German lawyer, Elmar Giemulla, charges the Ukraine Government with negligence in allowing airspace over a war zone to remain open , and with liability to compensate those killed.

One plaintiff, Tim Lauschet of Sydney, is pursuing his interest with Skinner and Giemulla in all four lawsuits; his mother, Gabrielle Lauschet, was a passenger on MH17. It is unclear how closely the lawyers in these cases are cooperating with one another to boost the number of targets in order to increase the payout, and the lawyers’ take. By suing in the Australian court last month, and inviting all other victims’ families to share in the proceeds, legal experts believe the evidence and argument for liability in the new case may undermine the claims against Ukraine and Russia in the European Court. On July 5, the day the federal court case commenced in Sydney, the European Court issued a notice to the lawyers to explain why their claims should not be dismissed.

(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001

By John Helmer, Moscow

Coming soon to a Moscow office building, shopping mall, or warehouse near you, nothing and noone at all.

According to a new report on Russian real estate market conditions through March 31 by the Moscow office of Cushman & Wakefield, the current vacancy rate for Class-A offices is almost 29%; for two-year old shopping centres, 30%; for shopping centres in planning or construction, 40%; and for warehouses, 10%. Every fifth square-metre of existing office space is now vacant – a first in Russian office-building history – and this isn’t expected to change, Cushman & Wakefield are forecasting, for another two to three years.

Everywhere rents are falling, and for the first time ever, landlords desperate for money will accept lease agreements in roubles. New construction is dropping like a stone – so far this year, zero Class-A offices, zero upmarket malls, and almost zero warehouses. The main construction companies are increasingly overdue at the bank – one dollar in five of the loans which real estate developers have borrowed to construct their projects is overdue for repayment. New investment in real estate is thus improbable — unlikely to recover to $4 billion per annum, the level of 2010, for another two years. “No bad news is the best news,” Cushman & Wakefield conclude
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001a

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Financial Times of London has replied in defence of its reporting on Sergei Pugachev (lead image, foreground), a Russian businessman on the run from a UK High Court conviction and two-year prison sentence.

In the Moscow evening, following yesterday’s publication on the Pugachev case, two emails were despatched, a long and a short one.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image1837

By John Helmer, Moscow

Pug dogs don’t live long. It’s because they lack proper noses, so they suffer from difficulties breathing in and out. That accounts for what everyone meeting a pug knows – they make a lot of noise trying to breathe.

Less well known is that while pugs hiss, snuffle, and snore, their body temperature is going up. For many pugs this is terminal — their organs are roasting internally. The better off pugs live longer if they sit in their owners’ laps without moving and eat little. Fat pugs suffocate and roast quicker than slim ones.

At the Financial Times there are many lap dogs, but the management has never acknowledged a problem of hissing in print; roasting internally is not a risk. Lionel Barber (lead image, left foreground), the newspaper’s editor, encourages hissing, particularly by reporters who specialize on Russia, Catherine Belton (centre) and Neil Buckley (right). They concentrate their efforts on the misdeeds of the Russian government; they are especially pit-bullish on President Vladimir Putin. They are cat’s paws, however, when it comes to the Russian oligarchs whose defence for stealing fortunes from Russia is that Putin made them do it; or that Putin trumped up criminal charges when he was stealing their fortunes for himself.

Sergei Pugachev (lead image) is a Russian businessman who made most of his fortune borrowing from state banks and bondholders, and not repaying. After ten trials before the UK High and Court of Appeal, eleven British judges have judged that Pugachev is a liar, guilty of deceit and dishonesty. But not Barber, Buckley, Belton and the Financial Times.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001a

By John Helmer, Moscow

On August 9, in St. Petersburg, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The moment is revolutionary. There has not been a comparable political turning-point in the 67 years since the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); not in the century since the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany against Russia in World War I; nor in the two centuries since Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II and the Russian Tsar Alexander I aligned against Napoleon and the British.

Russian sources say they are sure the Russian secret services did not warn Erdogan or help his forces prevail in the July 15-16 coup against him. After Erdogan began his counter-coup, and in the fight still continuing between Erdogan’s Islamic forces and the regular Turkish military, the sources add, there has been, and there will be, Russian help. It is more for the future, they explain, than for last week’s outcome that Turkish deputy prime minister Mehmet Şimşek told his counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Tuesday: “I would like to thank you for support regarding recent events in Turkey, for supporting democracy and the Turkish government.”

The Russian sources say it is already agreed the two sides will pay a soon-to-be settled price in two-way trade; gas, nuclear and other energy projects; plus tourism. Much more is at stake, though, one of the sources adds. “Putin and his advisors believe Erdogan is still in danger. They support him now for the opportunity to reorganize the relationship with Turkey. They mean to secure Russia from encirclement on the southern frontier and the Black Sea, dismemberment of the Caucasus, and attack on the Kremlin by its enemies. Right now, as Europe collapses, the enemy is the US with NATO in support. If Turkey breaks with the US, NATO is a paraplegic. We shall see how Putin and Erdogan choose to portray the new Rome*, the new Byzantium* next Tuesday.”
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

image001a

Statement by IOC Communications Director Gerry Rice on the Managing Director’s Urine Sample

July 22, 2016

In response to press queries, Mr. Gerry Rice, Director of Communications at the International Olympics Committee (IOC), made the following statement today relating to the Managing Director’s urine test in France:

“As we have said before, it would not be appropriate to comment on a case that has been and is currently before the French judiciary. However, the Executive Board has been briefed on recent developments related to this matter, and continues to express its confidence in the Managing Director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties. The Board will continue to be briefed on this matter. ”

Source: http://www.imf.org/en/news/articles/2016/07/22/13/01/pr16353-statement-by-imf-communications-director-gerry-rice-on-the-managing-directors-legal-case