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By John Helmer, Moscow Vladimir Lenin was one day asked about the ethics of a party member who was marrying an heiress. The party wasn’t a “finishing school”, Lenin said, but the money would come in handy, no matter how the lady in question, or her parents, acquired it. “A scoundrel,” Lenin recommended, “may be […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Diamonds are a bit like champagne: even in the worst of times, demand can grow among consumers, and for producers, sales revenues and profits too. Good news isn’t usually the honey which attracts this particular bear; and Alrosa has been producing plenty of it. Released early this month, the company’s financial […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Eastern Ukrainians are convinced that the Kremlin will serve their interests best in the current tussle over constitutional rights, law and order, if President Vladimir Putin keeps Russian forces on the Russian side of the frontier. This view isn’t changing as partition of the country hardens, and violence in the east […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Multibillion dollar contracts between GlencoreXstrata and United Company Rusal, signed for trading of aluminium and alumina late in 2011, appear to have unravelled in a London arbitration court. However, because the arbitration has been conducted behind closed doors, Glencore is refusing to confirm or deny that the company is facing liability […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The US Navy has announced that it has called back its frigate, USS Taylor, from the Souda Bay repair dock in Crete, and ordered her into the Black Sea from April 22. The Navy announcement says the mission is a routine one “consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law. Taylor’s […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Victor Pinchuk is either the greatest of patriots among the oligarchs of eastern Ukraine for having promoted an alliance with the European Union and the US presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Or else he’s made a colossal miscalculation, sacrificing his Interpipe steel combine for no market benefit, not even relief for […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow On Thursday President Vladimir Putin described NATO missile batteries aimed at Russia’s Black Sea coastline as threatening the nuclear defences of southwestern Russia. It was the first time the president or Russian defence officials have put Crimea into Russian strategic survival doctrine. US Navy deployment in the Black Sea of ships […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Evraz group, controlled by Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, is listed on the main board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It is also the second most indebted steelmaker in Russia, with a current debt of about $6.5 billion, and a loss on its 2013 balance-sheet of $572 million. This […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Easter holidays have come early for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) User-Generated Content Hub (UGC) in London. That’s the BBC’s centre for expertise whose purpose is to make sure that published images, still and moving, soundtracks, and other documentary film material, are authentic, and mean what the Corporation says they […]