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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 [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow With announcements they will trade crude oil in different directions, Russia’s state oil companies have this week put the kybosh on Ziyavudin Magomedov’s (lead image, left) attempt to establish himself as the oligarch in charge of Russia’s westward oil trade to Europe. Magomedov’s demise follows the decline in political influence of [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the seedier studios of California, when the director cries “We’ve got wood!” he means the male lead has an erection, and it’s his cue to start his business while the cameras roll at a pornographic scene. Russia’s plywood business isn’t as sexy, but it’s faster growing and bigger too. It’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In publishing on Russia, there comes a time when a writer, journalist, bank analyst, television presenter, or academic produces something so lacking in truthfulness, so replete with fawning and meretriciousness, that this website must kill and skin another goat; dry out the vellum; and have a fresh scroll inscribed with the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Records uncovered in Canada reveal that Oleg Deripaska’s (lead image, right) Moscow holding EN+, which is the controlling shareholder of United Company Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly, is controlled by Cash Titan Mining Corporation Group Ltd. This company has an office at 1 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario. The premises exist, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow What to do if you are a Russian mining company with a billion dollars’ worth of asset exposure securing large debts, and your chain of production is struck at start and finish by corruption scandals, international litigation, popular protest, collapse of government authority, and homicidal violence? The solution is to pretend [...]