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By John Helmer, Moscow President Barack Obama has done something no president of the US has done in public, outside of wartime, for more than a century. He has attempted to issue a personal insult to another country and its president by belittling both. At the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam on Monday, in front of Rembrandt’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Nothing so reveals the character of the men on the commanding heights of the Russian economy than a lawsuit in an international court initiated by their wives against one of their tradesmen. In the case which recently came to light, Aleksandra Melnichenko (nee Nikolic), wife of the fertilizer oligarch Andrei Melnichenko, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow After months of delay, Victor Pinchuk’s Interpipe group revealed in its financial report for last year — issued at the start of August but given a release date of May 23 – how much financial trouble the Ukrainian pipe and steelmaker is now facing. The impact of this on the international [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If seated in the dark at the Bolshoi Theatre, even a man of consuming narcissism as Boris Yeltsin was could tell the tights from the tutus. But Yeltsin saw himself as the prima donna, battementing and glissading into the old tsar’s box, Dress Circle centre front. At the Bolshoi, Stalin preferred [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The value difference and profit opportunity between a genuine piece of art and a fake are so large, there’s no deterring entrepreneurial forgers. Until now, the cleverest schemes have, ethnically speaking, been the specialty of Englishmen, Americans, and well-known art auction houses, museum curators and experts in connoisseurship. That last term [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Never was a Russian design more nobly intended for the edification of London’s upper class since Karl Marx scribbled away at the British Museum Library. Never were the fetish of the object and the alienation of labor more artfully combined. Had Mr Bean done it, the Prime Minister and the Mayor [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Victor Vekselberg won a major UK High Court action on Friday, and the presiding judge, Justice Guy Newey, has ordered that he should get his money’s worth returned. No ruling of fraud was allowed. The amount may turn out to be less than Vekselberg has spent on lawyers and experts over [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Now we move on from the lesson of how to be victorious over big people and bullies when still small —that’s for getting through the daytimes with ВЛАДИМИР ВИЗАНТИЙСКИЙ – to the lesson of how to write a short sentence and say everything that must be said at the same time. [...]

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My beloved Russian died on December 9. When he needed breath and his heart was failing, there were five who prevented me from reaching him. I grieve for him. For them, another reckoning. If you will take to the mountain road, it is possible to breathe and sing this song.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Constructivism, that combination of industrial design ideas applied to post-revolutionary Russian urban growth requirements, has been struggling to survive the assault of commercial real estate development since 1991. The current exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Art, entitled “Building the Revolution” reveals how many of the buildings of the Constructivist era [...]