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By John Helmer, Moscow It is the most famous argument in favour of suspending disbelief in the history of the United States. Every year the trillion-dollar retail sector of that country turns several billions of dollars in profits by merchandising the belief through the cash register. That is, the belief in Santa Claus, first raised […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow China’s appetite for iron-ore to make steel is one of the engines driving the entire industrial world. No mystery there, and no news.

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By John Helmer, Moscow How real is the downturn in Russian company valuations and the sell-off in Russian stocks ? Here’s what the Financial Times reports today, following the cancellation in London of the three Russian IPO’s – Koks, Chelyabinsk Pipe, and now Nord Gold:

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By John Helmer, Moscow The key figure behind years of allegations against three Russian partners — Oleg Deripaska, Michael Cherney (Mikhail Chernoy), and Iskander Makhmudov — appears to have turned turtle, and sought a meeting with Cherney in Israel late last month.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Not even Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a smelter inauguration, Bloomberg promotion, lashings of gold paint on the factory walls, and fourteen hundred spotless white worker uniforms have given Chelyabinsk Pipe (Chelpipe, ChTPZ), Russia’s third largest producer of steel pipes and tubes, the dressing-up required to attract international buyers for its […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Note to readers: The Australian dollar has been at or above parity with the US dollar for several months. All dollar amounts reported in this story are in Australian dollars unless indicated otherwise.

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the Naughty-Boy School of Government, it is required for the boys to apply for the master’s permission to sit; stand; ask a question; refill their inkwells, and leave the room to answer the call of nature. In the history of the great English Public Schools, a great deal of bladder […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Standard Bank is close to selling out its Russian bank interests, along with its 36.43% stake in Moscow-based Troika Dialog, to Sberbank, the Russian state savings institution and dominant retail bank in the country.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alrosa, Russia’s state diamond monopoly, will be ready to hold an initial public offering (IPO) by late 2011 for a 20% stake in the company, Alrosa’s chief executive Fyodor Andreyev said cryptically on the sidelines of a Moscow investor conference on Wednesday. But will international investors be ready to buy shares […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In December, when we last visited with Mikhail Prokhorov, the only Russian to own an American basketball team, he appeared to be announcing that he prefers his ball to his shovel, and is getting ready to sell Polyus Gold, Russia’s leading goldminer, to “one of the leading gold companies in the […]