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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s not a good time to be a steelmaker — not if you are in Russia, not if you are in China, and certainly not if you are in the US or the European Union. But if mining manganese, the vital steel-hardening alloy, is what you do for a living, the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow “I have always been fond of the West African proverb, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; and you will go far.’” That was Theodore Roosevelt in January 1900, when he was thinking of the Caribbean Sea, and when he was US Vice President. No one has ever found the evidence […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The last time Russian beer drinkers did something unusual was in the unseasonably cool summer of 2011, when sales of the big brand beers dropped sharply. Read all about it. It is happening again, on this occasion during winter, only now the drop in consumption is even more dramatic. This time […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian government has forced the chief executive of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) to resign. Andrei Dyachkov, who was appointed to run the shipyard holding in June of last year, signed a letter of resignation on April 30, and then took sick leave. He is reportedly in hospital for […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Righteous indignation is to investigative journalism what Joseph Goebbels was to truth. So what was really going on in the last days of April when the London media celebrated the Russians who this year topped the UK Rich List, but discovered something going badly, maybe criminally wrong at Eurasian Natural Resources […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Nigerian judge Okechukwu Okeke has retired from his Lagos court rather than appear for the trial, scheduled in Lagos on April 30, of the Russian crew of the security tender, Myre Seadiver. Sources in Lagos told Fairplay the trial has been postponed for a second time on account of the […]