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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with In our last episode, Denis Diderot, the French philosopher in Paris, had sold his library to the Empress Catherine in St. Petersburg. For his bonus, he had received a ticket to meet and talk to Catherine directly. At their first meeting at a masked ball in the Winter Palace, Diderot […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with It doesn’t suit any of the sides in the US presidential campaign to acknowledge that the terms President Vladimir Putin agreed this week for the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Syria to become permanent are not those which Russia’s Defence Ministry, General Staff, Foreign Ministry and Foreign Intelligence Service […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were both born under the sign of Libra. The zodiac directs them, on the positive side, to be cooperative and diplomatic; on the negative side, to be indecisive and vacillating. For likes, Librans click most on harmony and balance. October 21 was […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with After one of the longest, bitterest negotiations ever held between President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov forced the Turks into an agreement for a Turkish military enclave inside Syrian territory between Tal Abiad and Ras Al-Ain (Sari Kani). […]

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By Gary Busch, London*   @bears_with The roots of the Syrian Civil War start with conflicts over who controls Syria’s energy supplies. The war continues, especially in the Kurdish areas of the north, in a fight over water which has been growing desperately scarcer for everybody – Syrians, Kurds, Turks, Iraqis. Achieving a final conclusion to […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping that his meeting with President Vladimir Putin, scheduled for next Tuesday in Sochi, will give him the same battlefield advantages on Syrian territory which Putin conceded in their Idlib Agreement of last September. By fixing the Putin negotiation at the limit of the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union is John Heathershaw’s métier. Heathershaw is a professor at the University of Exeter where he specializes in studying and teaching “conflict, security and development in authoritarian political environments, especially in post-Soviet Central Asia.”  Recently, he took exception to my critical reviews of books on […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Boris Dubrovsky (lead images), President Vladimir Putin’s governor of Chelyabinsk between 2014 and March 19, 2019, has long been at risk of lung disease, and he is now reported to be in a Swiss clinic for treatment. His prognosis is uncertain. More certain it is that Dubrovsky will not be […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Dominic Cummings, presently a powerful and wealthy 47-year old special advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was hard at work in Moscow and Samara for three years, between 1994 and 1997. He has acknowledged himself that “I worked in Russia 1994-7 on various projects.” This was no news to […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with The British Government’s narrative that a Kremlin-ordered assassination plot against a former GRU agent, Sergei Skripal, in March of 2018 also caused the death of a woman, Dawn Sturgess,  three months later,  has collapsed for lack of evidence admissible in court.   After nineteen months of investigations by hundreds of […]