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By John Helmer, Moscow General Vo Nguyen Giap has died in Hanoi, aged 102. There has been no general of his quality and achievement in modern times. He defeated the French and the Americans, and in two separate wars drove them as decisively out of Vietnam as Kutuzov drove Napoleon out of Russia. Giap, his [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The share price of United Company Rusal, the state-controlled Russian aluminium monopoly, lost 3% in value in Hong Kong Stock Exchange trading on Monday on news that Barry Cheung, a prominent Hong Kong businessman, had resigned from the Rusal board as his own business collapsed, and that he was the target [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Roman Abramovich (left) landed in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon. Abramovich is an influential shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining and metals company, on whose dividends the loss-making United Company Rusal now depends to stay out of the red. Rusal is the Russian aluminium monopoly, but Hong Kong is home [...]

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Hong Kong May 17, 2013: 0850 Dear Mr. Helmer: I have no wish to comment on whatever article you wished to write, but since you have put it to me and I have to disagree with you in many of the statements made, in particular:

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By John Helmer, Moscow So far Elsie Leung Oi-Se has been paid $632,000 by United Company Rusal to listen attentively, read carefully, and speak her mind at meetings of the main board of directors, and also the audit committee of the board. Rusal titles her an independent non-executive director. She is one of five of [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s not a good time to be a steelmaker — not if you are in Russia, not if you are in China, and certainly not if you are in the US or the European Union. But if mining manganese, the vital steel-hardening alloy, is what you do for a living, the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In Russian, it’s called шило в жопе; literally, a bootmaker’s awl in the arse. In New York Yiddish, it’s shpilkes in tukhas, which is a bit gentler because the sharp instrument in the posterior is a needle. The meaning, in general and in the Japanese case, is a case of self-induced [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the Kremlin corridors under the new management, it is generally acknowledged that one of the stupidest things former President Dmitry Medvedev ever did was to order Russia’s representative on the UN Security Council to abstain from the vote and veto of the no-fly zone resolution aimed at the Muammar Qaddafi [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Barry Cheung (second left), the new board chairman of United Company Rusal and the first non-Russian chairman of a Russian monopoly, is viewed by his countrymen and business peers as a technocrat, a politician, and a businessman, in that order. The one business he reports in the curriculum vitae released by [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow There are only so many ways a Russian company can make its performance look better to the markets without resorting to magic tricks.