Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

d1613

By John Helmer, Moscow

Reading a new 789-page history of a Soviet spy, Alexander Orlov, who defected to the US seventy-seven years ago with the equivalent of a million dollars in Cheka cash, and conned the CIA, FBI and several American publishers into giving him a second million, can’t be all work and no fun.

For one thing, the book reveals what a mendacious fool Ernest Hemingway was when he was in the Spanish Civil War composing novels, plays and journalism that made him rich then, famous still. For another, the book suggests that Kim Philby wasn’t half as far-sighted and clever as his British intelligence superiors were blind and stupid. And finally, in Oxford University Press’s (OUP) breakthrough contribution to recent Ukrainian history, the author – in Kiev just days before the February 2014 coup which toppled the president – received estimates of the famine death toll in Ukraine in 1932-33 from “the first non-biased chief of the Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrayiny (SBU)”.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

d1614

By John Helmer, Moscow

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that his government cannot raise bilateral financing from the European Union (EU) or the NATO allies, and now requires $50 billion, triple the $17 billion agreed with the IMF last April.

At a meeting on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, with an IMF delegation headed by managing director Christine Lagarde (lead image), Poroshenko, his finance minister, Natalie Jaresko (2nd from left) and National Bank of Ukraine Governor Valeriya Gontareva (1st left), also disclosed that Kiev will default on repayment of its sovereign bonds unless there is an immediate agreement from the US-based Franklin Templeton group and other bondholders to accept a moratorium on their coupon payments and postponement of bond maturities for several years.

Lagarde announced that the terms of the current IMF staff mission in Kiev, which arrived on January 8 under former Bulgarian finance official Nikolai Gueorguiev, should now be revised.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

d1612

By John Helmer, Moscow

Roman Abramovich has bought two houses, and is negotiating for at least one more, on East 75th Street in New York for about $70 million. The New York papers are reporting that Abramovich is planning to live there with his family because his wife prefers it for her work. Abramovich’s spokesman insisted yesterday that Abramovich’s “main residence is Moscow”.

So why is the well-known crony of President Vladimir Putin buying American assets which may be sequestered, the transactions reversed, his funds frozen or lost, by US Treasury sanctions and by the US Government’s campaign to oust Putin from office? Has Abramovich been offered a guarantee of asset protection from the Obama Administration if he is buying for the one individual the US Government wants to put in exile there – Putin himself?
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

b1

By John Helmer, Moscow

Ksenia Yudaeva, the first deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) in charge of Russia’s reserves and the foreign exchange rate, was sacked on January 14. A notice appeared on the Tass wire in the evening of the Old New Year’s holiday, quoting Governor Elvira Nabiullina (above). She defended herself and Yudaeva. “I want to emphasize especially that we keep both strategic and tactical reference points in the monetary policy; the ideology of the monetary policy will maintain continuity with how we worked in 2013 and 2014.” Yudaeva, claimed Nabiullina, was keeping her title and her seat on the CBR board as “one of the best economists in the country.”

The action was disclosed the next day when Yudaeva’s replacement, Dmitry Tulin, a veteran central banker who has served twice before, was officially announced. The text of the CBR release didn’t mention Yudaeva. It said: “Dmitry V. Tulin has been appointed as a First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia from 21 January 2015. Dmitry V. Tulin will take up monetary policy issues.”

The Kremlin’s economic policy advisor, Andrei Belousov, had let the cat out of the bag before the Tass notice appeared, telling the press at a Moscow economic policy forum that Tulin’s appointment to run monetary policy “wasn’t a chance appointment”. He intimated that Yudaeva wasn’t up to her job because “the central bank now faces new challenges, and the tasks are more complex than during the previous period.” He meant Nabiullina too; but since Tulin is capable of running the show without demanding Nabiullina’s head, er title, she has hung on to it.

A spokesman for the Central Bank said this morning she doesn’t believe that in the recent history of the Central Bank, any governor has been dismissed for incompetence.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

d1610

By John Helmer, Moscow

The case for foreign investment in Ukraine is to be made by a specialist in sado-masochism, cosmetic surgery, and undress. Jaanika Merilo (above), 35, a member of the Estonian parliament of Ukrainian origin with US and UK training, was appointed the government advisor on foreign investment in Kiev on January 5. She will report to Aivaras Abromavičius, a Lithuanian and Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade since December. In a press campaign this month which Merilo has authorized, she likens herself to the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

111

By John Helmer, Moscow

The response of President Vladimir Putin to this month’s killings in Paris was immediate and unequivocal; so too Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (image, left). But on receiving French President Francois Hollande’s invitation to participate in the head of state, head of government demonstration in Paris on January 11. Putin declined, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (right) was not sent in his place. The substitution of Lavrov has not been noticed or explained in the Russian media.

The Russian response to the Charlie Hebdo demonstration wasn’t as absent the US government’s. No high US official participated in Sunday’s demonstration: Eric Holder, the US Attorney-General, was in Paris on the day, but not on the street. The only US representation there was the newly appointed US Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, a money-raiser for President Barack Obama’s election campaigns.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

1600d

By John Helmer, Moscow

President Vladimir Putin’s summons to the oligarchs for dinner on December 18 turned out to be a teddy bears’ picnic. And why not – they got all they came for, and more. The country outside got decidedly less, but for the time being how little is a state secret.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

1607d

By Ajay Goyal

The Russian rouble has plunged over 52 per cent this year yet the Russian economic crisis might represent a unique opportunity for Cyprus to secure a major trade relationship with Russia without stepping outside the sanctions regime.

The Russian government and central bank might impose capital controls to stem the flight of hard currency. Some leading members of the Russian State Duma have proposed limits on the foreign exchange withdrawals by outbound Russian tourists.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

1606d

By John Helmer, Moscow

MiningMaven of London is a leading source of analysis for the global mining, minerals and metals sector. For this week’s interview on what will happen next in the war against Russia, pocket your telephone, and toss your paper. Tune in here.
(more…)

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

1603d

By John Helmer, Moscow

A federal US court in Colorado has begun proceedings on charges that Natalie Jaresko (lead image, right), the US national who was appointed Finance Minister of Ukraine this month, lied to the US State Department and violated US passport laws, after she misled a Ukrainian court in September into issuing a judgement it lacked the legal authority and the evidence to make.

Documents presented to the US court on November 21 also accuse the US Embassy in Kiev of being improperly influenced or misled into accepting the record of a Ukrainian court proceeding from which Ihor Figlus, Jaresko’s husband between 1989 and 2011, says he was excluded unlawfully. Figlus is a US citizen of Ukrainian extraction now living in a suburb of Denver. He is alleging in US District Court that Jaresko has tried to persuade the State Department to issue a US passport to the 10-year old daughter of their marriage with a ruling from a Kiev judge who believed the child was a Ukrainian citizen, not an American. Jaresko, according to Figlus, has manipulated the State Department with “rulings obtained in a foreign country whose judicial system is widely recognized by the Government of the United States as being deficient and corrupt.”

According to a Ukrainian legal specialist cited in the US court file, Jaresko “deceived the [Ukrainian] court” by preventing Figlus from participating in the proceedings, and then getting the court to rule on the child and violating Ukrainian law “which it could not apply in this matter.” Figlus has asked the Colorado court to order the State Department not to issue the passport.
(more…)