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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 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 The old saw about how to make a small fortune can be adapted in Vitaly Mashitsky’s case, but you must still start with a large fortune — he’ll take care of the rest. In a surprise to the amber industry of Kaliningrad, where about 95% of the world’s supply of amber [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow What if the Ukrainian government resumes the war noone wants to pay for – not the US, the European Union, Poland, Canada, least of all Kiev? Public statements by Ukrainian and international officials identify two payment deadlines for war, and for peace. The first falls on May 31, Natalie Jaresko, the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Insiders at the Russian aluminium monopoly Rusal say that chief executive and control shareholder Oleg Deripaska has been miscalculating the effect of share price surges Rusal has enjoyed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in recent weeks. That’s because the share price gains have been quickly reversed – and because Rusal’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When Ukrainian warlords need a well-earned rest from fighting the civil war, there’s always Cleveland, under State Department protection, or Miami for the warm weather. Igor Kolomoisky has accumulated more than a quarter of a billion dollars in US investments through a chain of front companies which stretch from several American [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Cyprus Government’s unit for combating money-laundering will consider an investigation of Igor Kolomoisky if it is requested by the Ukrainian or US Governments, Eva Papakyriacou revealed on Tuesday. Papakyriacou is the head of the unit, whose acronym, following the Greek, is MOKAS. She declined to say if there has been [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska, control shareholder and chief executive of the Russian state aluminium monopoly Rusal, hasn’t exactly made a positive rate of return for Asian investors. In fact, share-buyers at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are likely to conclude that he’s made a hash of every venture he’s tried to bring to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A porcelain figurine (lead image, left) produced by the Popov Manufactory of Moscow sold in London on Wednesday for £2,700. The auction by MacDougalls revealed unusually strong demand from Russian collectors. They paid record prices for some figurines, including Tsar Nicholas I (right), from the Sipyagin Manufactory, who fetched £29,700. The [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Igor Kolomoisky, the single largest beneficiary of international lending to Ukraine and until Tuesday night the most powerful figure in the country, has lost his residence permit for Switzerland, according to a reliable source in Geneva. Coming after the news of Kolomoisky’s armed and vocal clash in Kiev with Ukrainian President [...]