Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow In a few days’ time, on August 1, Gerda Taro would have turned 104. The encomiums would have been bound to describe her as the oldest, possibly the first, woman photojournalist. But Taro hasn’t made it. Instead, on July 26, 1937, she died after being crushed by a Spanish Republican tank [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow Rarely is it possible to find a history professor’s work on Russia to be self-evidently what it isn’t – and yet to find its premise locked by high-ranking US Government officials into a state policy of Kremlin attack and Russian regime change. J. Arch Getty III is a professor at the [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland (right), was born in 1961. She is too young to have read Graham Greene’s book, The Quiet American, published in 1955 to explain why US attempts to liberate Vietnam by inventing a “Third Force” of locals would end in death [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow It’s possible to imagine that when Kornei Chukovsky wrote about crocodiles telephoning Moscow for take-out galoshes to eat (1926), or about the bear who beat up a crocodile and saved the sun from his jaws (1916), he was doing something secret and political for adults, instead of making children laugh and [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow Once in a blue moon it is crystal clear – McChrystal clear, for reason shortly to be explained — why Anglo-American warmaking is bound to fail, and why Russian resistance to it – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Chechnya, Georgia, Libya, Syria – is the model the rest of the world should [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow At the freedom-flush Moscow parties of the 1990s, I was never sure whether Alexander Venediktov (2) was real, or a Vladimir Mamyshev-Monroe (1) impersonation. Mamyshev-Monroe died last month in what is described as a shallow swimming pool in Indonesia. Venediktov is alive, and like Mamyshev-Monroe does his radio turns on Ekho-Moskvy [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow At your peril, the one thing you must never say to a ranking Israeli intelligence officer, even one in mufti or retirement, is that he is suffering from a superiority complex. For the clinical symptoms of the affliction include conceptual deafness, ideological blindness. These stem from the frontal-lobe idea that the [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow The Russian tactic of giving an adversary an exit through which to escape was coined by Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov (left) during the war against Napoleon. He called it the “pont d’or” (golden bridge). The meaning was that Napoleon and his army should be allowed to retreat out of Russia, harassed, starved, [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow Patrick Leigh Fermor (d. June 11, 2011) was to travelogues what Christopher Hitchens (d. December 15, 2011) was to journalism – a race to show off. Veracity was always a scratching if verisimilitude would run better – and if serious money was at stake. Heiresses made the best mounts, and once [...]

Email This Post - Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow When it comes to laughing at satire and caricature, tastes change. Laughable drunkenness in one generation is as hilarious as the comedians Yury Nikulin, Georgiy Vitsin, and Yevgeny Morgunov were on the Soviet screen together. Nowadays the display of alcoholism is sad – take the Russian movie actor Gerard Depardieu, for [...]