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By John Helmer in Moscow Mikhail Prokhorov is an accomplished athlete, whose sports include skiing, basketball, kickboxing, and waterskiing. He is also an upstanding Russian patriot, dedicated to the introduction of high-technology skills to Russians who have been crippled in their ball-handling skills by seventy years of Marxism-Leninism. In response to the reports appearing here […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Dying of laughter isn’t the worst way to go. In the ancient world, it befell to the Stoic philosopher Chrysippos to be contemplating one day the relationship between altruism and heroism. Into his viewfinder two donkeys appeared. It isn’t clear whether they started drinking wine from a cup Chrysippos had […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow In the original game of basketball, invented by Dr James Naismith in 1892, there were 13 rules. Rule 5 was the disqualifier. In the playbook of Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, there is just one rule – and that’s the disqualifier. Mikhail Prokhorov’s decision to buy into the American […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has presented two bears to Switzerland, with the warning that if any harm comes to them, or to Victor Vekselberg, a Russian oil and aluminium oligarch, all the Russian money that goes into, or is presently sitting in Switzerland, may vanish. The Swiss Foreign Ministry says […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Shares of uranium mining companies, like other energy sources, generally follow the commodity price, so when oil and the others collapsed a year ago, the Russian uranium miner, Priargunsk Chemical and Mining Company (ticker PNGO:RU), went down with them. From a historical peak of $800 per share struck in April […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Hard on the heels of a Russian Foreign Ministry warning to Canada against denying an entry visa to Senator Mikhail Margelov last week, a veteran of Volgotanker, once Russia’s largest oil transportation fleet, announced today that he is challenging Interpol for encouraging the arrest of travellers on charges trumped up […]

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On December 14, 2008, as then President George Bush was speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, Mountazer al-Zaidi rose abruptly from about twelve feet away, lifted his right arm, and tossed a shoe at the president’s head while shouting in Arabic: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Canada has refused an entry visa for Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin’s special representative to Africa. The reason, according to Canadian sources, is Margelov’s past connexions to the KGB, the Soviet intelligence agency. While officially, the Canadian Embassy in Moscow and government in Ottawa refuse to comment publicly on individual visa […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow A Republic of Guinea tribunal ruled this week in Conakry that United Company Rusal, one of the largest bauxite, alumina and aluminum producers in the world, unlawfully acquired its shareholding control of the Friguia alumina refinery in the country in 2006, and should make restitution. The judgement comes before the […]

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By John Helmer in Moscow In the sharpest warning issued to date by an international ratings agency about a major Russian steelmaker, Standard & Poors (S&P) said yesterday there is “significant doubt about the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.” Evraz is Russia’s largest steel and mining group. It is controlled by the […]