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By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian oil company Tatneft has launched a successful surprise attack in the UK High Court on the personal assets of Igor Kolomoisky (lead, left) and Gennady Bogolyubov (right). It is claiming $334 million in payment for crude oil Tatneft delivered in 2008 to a Ukrainian refinery which Tatneft controlled at […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The US is intensifying the pressure on Cyprus to accept a secret NATO plan to keep Turkish forces on the island. Victoria Nuland, the State Department official in charge of regime change in Russia and Ukraine, met for talks last week with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and with Turkish […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A rare drawing by Ilya Chashnik, a Russian artist who died in St. Petersburg in 1929, was sold last month by the Tajan art auction house after a warning that the provenance claimed for the work was false. The work was sold on March 8, according to Tajan’s specialist for modern […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Faking of Russian paintings by forgers, certified by fraudsters pretending to be experts, is on trial in St. Petersburg and Wiesbaden, Germany, but until the verdicts are delivered, there is no certainty of value, no reliable pricing. Suspicious canvases are surfacing regularly in all the European capitals, including Moscow. But as […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alexei Kudrin, the finance minister in charge of the 2008 financial crash and two-times deputy prime minister, was sacked in September 2011 for overweaning ambition by President Dmitry Medvedev. No Russian politician has ever been cut to size so publicly as Medvedev did it to Kudrin. He has now been chopped […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The confrontation last week between Russian aircraft and a US-Polish naval operation in the Baltic Sea, within shooting distance of Kaliningrad, was a long anticipated and professionally executed exercise by the military commanders of all three countries. “Unprofessional”, as Admiral Mark Ferguson commanding US Naval Forces in Europe called it, was […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Clifford Gaddy (lead image, left) has never recovered from his 20-year infatuation with Anatoly Chubais and Alexei Kudrin. Neither has Gaddy’s boss at Brookings Institution in Washington, Strobe Talbott (right), the regime changer-in-chief at the State Department in the 1990s, when Boris Yeltsin was his man in the Kremlin, and the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Marche Slave and The Farewell of Slavianka, Tchaikovsky’s and Agapkin’s marches against the Turks, are always going to be popular in Moscow, whatever the Turks do. John Philip Sousa is not a name that’s heard on Moscow radio, and his Stars & Stripes Forever will not be broadcast. Far from […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Mr Hiccup (left) was the lead character of an Italian-Swiss cartoon of thirty years ago. His chronic hiccups persisted for years, inflicting cost, pain and misfortune on almost everyone unlucky enough to meet him. In each of 39 episodes Mr Hiccup tried a new remedy, but he always failed. Others paid […]