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By John Helmer, Moscow If the flock of smart tarts speaking Russian into their smartphones along King and New Bond Streets in London last week were a sign, nothing much has changed in the Russian art market. Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the art auctioneers, would be the last people to say if or when the bottom [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Putting money where the mouth is, the value of Russian artworks has reached a record high this month at auctions of Christie’s, Sotheby’s and MacDougall’s. Bad mouthing by the US State Department daily briefer is cheaper, as the US Government endorses Ukrainian government hate speech in referring to Russians in general [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Backstage at the Theatre du Chatelet on May 9, 1909, the curtain had come down on Vatslav Nijinsky’s performance of the Polovtsian Dances, an adaptation to Alexander Borodin’s music of the Tatar warrior dance. The Tatars flaunt their prowess, and their alluring slave girls, before their captive, the defeated Prince Igor. [...]

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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 [...]