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By John Helmer, Moscow Yulia Skripal’s appearance in a British garden and her speech for one minute fifty-five seconds provides fresh evidence, less of what is happening to her in British custody, and more of what is not happening. What is happening is that Skripal gave a memorised speech in front of a camera and […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The State Duma voted on Tuesday to approve the nomination of Alexei Kudrin as Chairman of the Accounting Chamber, the state auditor and budget watchdog. The vote was 264 in favour; 86 opposed. No presidential nominee for the post has been elected over so much parliamentary opposition. Forty-three deputies voted against […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Under pressure from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC),  an accused Swiss art fraudster, Yves Bouvier (lead image, right),  has become the target of new  money-laundering investigations of art dealings involving Russian businessmen. Oleg Deripaska and Suleiman Kerimov (1st left) were hit by US sanctions announced by OFAC […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The lapels on a man’s coat do what a brassiere does for a woman; they display the urge to overwhelm  others.  A pointed, exaggerated urge.     So when President Vladimir Putin wore peaked lapels in public for the first time on February 9, 2017, he meant to signal he was intending […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The longer the delay in the official announcement of who is to be the new Russian Defence Minister, the plainer it is that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wants to oust Sergei Shoigu from the job because he is a rival presidential succession candidate; and because President Vladimir Putin is afraid of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Tom Wolfe (lead image, centre, right), the American investigative writer, died on Monday in New York aged 88. The New York Times, as deaf still to the meaning of words as Wolfe was once acute, reports  the cause was an “infection”. When I knew him in 1970 I was a commissioning […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Once again, Alexei Kudrin (lead image), candidate for the second most powerful post in the Russian government after President Vladimir Putin, has had his ambition circumcised. The state news agency Tass reported Kudrin as confirming yesterday that he has accepted nomination as the new head of the Accounting Chamber, Russia’s state […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Victor Vekselberg and his Renova group were put out of business by the US Treasury in the April 6 sanctions list. The reasons announced  were that Renova is owned by Vekselberg,  and Vekselberg “is being designated for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy;” and also because there […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Since the Middle Ages, so for almost a thousand years, the hat which symbolized European learning was the mortar board. It originally meant the wearer had graduated with a university degree. It also symbolized that he had more degrees and more learning still to earn.  It was a symbol of the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow President Vladimir Putin is considering whether to appoint a vice president for negotiating an end to sanctions with the US and the European Union (EU), and an about-turn in Russia’s foreign and defence policy.   In the scheme proposed by former finance minister Alexei Kudrin (lead image, centre), the job would […]