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By John Helmer, Moscow A year ago the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) reported that through the statistics collected by its 60 associated central banks, total bank lending to Russia had jumped by $25 billion in the January quarter. That was the largest quarterly increase of Russian lending and borrowing in BIS records. It was [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian justice being what is, it is exceptional when the chief executive of a company owned by Oleg Deripaska (right) is arrested and carried off to prison on charges of fraud. As the days lengthen through which Deripaska’s man must spend behind bars – 16 as of today — interrogated by [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow From small seeds, big truths can be cultivated, pressed, packaged, and retailed profitably. Lies, too. The elder daughter of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, Gulnara Karimova, was so named because in the Uzbek language Gulnara signifies the flower of the pomegranate. The Persians say the same thing. Last week, after months of [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If you are a dog, then you know that 99.96% of your genes are shared with the wild grey wolf; and that both of you evolved from Papa Canid. This doesn’t mean that if you meet each other in the wilds, you’ll not turn on your fire-control mechanism, like our Chinese [...]

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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, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The result of the US presidential election, giving Barack Obama victory in both the popular vote and an even bigger one in the Electoral College vote by state, shows that one traditional rule of thumb still applies — incumbents must be down by a 5% margin in the polls at the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Vladimir Ashurkov was advertising his principles last week in the Moscow Times. He is currently executive director of the Foundation for Fighting Corruption, one of the organs of the political opposition led by Alexei Navalny. Ashurkov is described by the newspaper as the principal fund-raiser for Navalny, and himself a candidate [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s a pity it had to wait until the Facebook folly for a lawsuit to be launched against Morgan Stanley on the double-barrelled charge — the investment bank and underwriter lies in its prospectuses and makes saps of share-buyers. According to the federal US court filing, “the [Facebook] registration statement and [...]