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On August 24, 1991, Marshal Sergei Fyodorovich Akhromeyev committed suicide. He had returned from his holiday at Sochi responding to the attempted removal of Mikhail Gorbachev from power. According to the reports of the time, he hanged himself in his Kremlin office, leaving behind a note. One version of what it said was: “I cannot [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has taken sides in the homicide trial of Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian military volunteer who is standing trial in Russia for the murder last year of two Russian journalists reporting on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Jerome Vacher, the resident representative of the IMF in Kiev, [...]

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It’s traditional at this time of year to rest, chew things over, do a little flossing of the teeth, and return sharper than ever.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Leonid Lebedev (lead image) has been charged with stripping millions of dollars from TGK-2, the regional electricity utility he controls. Details of the lawsuit have been revealed this week in the files of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI). The 4-page court filing of June 24, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was unsure until the last minute on Friday that the Ukrainian government in Kiev would get their delayed loan instalment of $1.7 billion. The board and management were much swifter in erasing personal communications which the IMF representative in Kiev, Jerome [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s midsummer. Time for the oligarchs, even the insolvent ones, to go aboard their yachts, and set sail for the resorts of the Mediterranean. Oleg Deripaska’s Queen K is this week cruising in the eastern Aegean between the Greek islands and the Turkish coast. Andrei Melnichenko’s A is in the Gulf [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russia’s misfortunes aren’t exactly sweet for the country’s leading sugar producers, but they can’t complain. On the back of sharply rising sugar prices in January, first-quarter earnings and profits have jumped at the listed sugar producers, and the trend is expected to continue through the second quarter. Prodimex, the leading sugar [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Leonid Lebedev (lead image) has been ousted from the Federation Council, the Russian senate, after serving twelve years as a senator representing the Volga region of Chuvashia. This follows a Council investigation exposing earnings from offshore entities which Lebedev had failed to disclose in his official income and asset reports to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced yesterday that it has managed a successful private placement of a quarter of the stake it owns in Lenta, the Russian supermarket chain. The press release by Anthony Williams, head of the EBRD’s public relations, said the selloff had “attracted strong interest [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940 wiped out Amsterdam as the centre of the global diamond trade at the time. When the war ended, Antwerp, across the border in Belgium, was preferred by the diamantaires, and so it has remained. Until last week, perhaps. That’s when the Belgian courts [...]