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By John Helmer, Moscow Petro Poroshenko disappointed most of the audience at Victor Pinchuk’s Kiev party on Friday and Saturday by suggesting that he is ready to trim the terms of Ukraine’s partnership agreement with the European Union in order to meet President Vladimir Putin’s demands. But that’s exactly what Pinchuk (front row, 6th left) […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the picture, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, an American, is applauding as the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), Valeriya Gontareva, beats a dead horse. For the metaphorically minded, the dead horse is the Ukrainian banking system. For the literally minded, Gontareva claims the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Mikhail Abyzov (centre) is the man in charge of keeping the Russian government transparent, accountable and so far as the name of his ministerial commission can be stretched through 235 government press releases since his appointment in May 2012, open. But the Minister for Open Government has a secret he keeps […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Boris Titov (centre) has proposed the revival of Crimean winemaking with at least $20 million in state budget funds each year for the next five. If everything goes according to his plan, the outcome by the end of 2019 will be a state winemaking corporation, ripe for privatization, with 140,000 hectares […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow After the steady rise of enthusiasm for war in Ukraine voter polls through the summer, Ukrainian politicians in favour of the military campaign against Donetsk, Lugansk, and Russia, have suffered a dramatic loss of support across the country. This was reported in Kiev on September 3. In the first countrywide poll […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Bank robbers of the manual, stick-up type have a reputation for a sense of a humour. That may be a comfort to them, because they usually get caught. Bank robbers of the International Monetary Fund type lack even a sense of irony, because they expect not to be caught, and never […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian government commenced its counter-sanctions programme a month ago, on August 7. This extended what had been a quarter-billion dollar loss for Australian meat exporters, beginning on March 31, to more than $7 billion in losses for the European Union plus Canada and Norway. In a briefing Prime Minister Dmitry […]