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By John Helmer, Moscow Having destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, the next big event for the regime-changers of the western media will be the Downhill at Sochi. If our brave reporters can’t find sexual disorientation and repression, they will provoke it during the Pair Skating. The Canadians will discover the Federal Security Service rigged […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For as long the Russian tax man can remember, Oleg Deripaska has managed to keep his tax bill far below his Russian peers in the metals business. As national champions go, Deripaska is it for tax minimization. In good years or bad years, whether the London Metal Exchange price for aluminium […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow So far everything about the metamorphosis of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has gone like the cartoon – surprise launch into the air; flight without turbulence; soft landing among a flock of wellwishers; much cooing. Just how well those wishers intend towards Khodorkovsky, and he towards them, is now to be tested. That’s a […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Never let it be said that in Russia deeds done out of the goodness of the heart go unnoticed by the state. Nup. Not even when philanthropies are paid for with cash accumulated in violation of the state’s policy of deoffshorization. Nup, nup. There is even a special award minted by […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It was a specialty of the Chicago Irish at the turn of the 20th century. A Mickey Finn was a drug that was slipped into your cocktail without your knowing, in order to incapacitate you. When you came to, the only thing you knew was that you were missing your valuables. […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Evraz, the steelmaking group owned by Roman Abramovich (third figure from left) and Alexander Abramov (fourth from left), has just issued a notice to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange that it has been unable to complete the proposed sale of its South African unit, Highveld Steel & Vanadium, by a December 31 […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Lights! Camera! Action! Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of the Russian state aluminium monopoly Rusal (title image), calls his security men to a meeting in a soundproof room he’s decorated with a collection of west African masks on the walls. Clicketty-click the subtitle rolls on to the screen, MOSCOW 2009. “Whaddya know […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Andrei Melnichenko has extra reason to be concerned about the sunlight — and we aren’t talking financial transparency. The owner of Eurochem, a large Russian producer of fertilizers, says he has evidence that sunlight on his surfaces reveals rash, blotches, separations, lines, starring and sagging. He says he’s paid to see […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Interpipe, the heavily indebted Ukrainian pipemaker owned by Victor Pinchuk (centre), owes at least $120 million to Russian banks, led by state-owned Sberbank controlled by former Minister of Economic Development, German Gref (wall picture, left). But the Russian bankers are not represented in any of the loan restructuring negotiations which are […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian Government has decided that state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) may buy control of Novorossiysk Shipyard (NSY) from the Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport Company (NCSP), which is currently in the midst of bitter conflict between state shareholders and Ziyavudin Magomedov (picture, right). The takeover has been promoted by Dmitry Rogozin, deputy […]