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By John Helmer, Moscow Soviet-era officials had a peculiar standard of professional morality and ministerial responsibility, as this is known in the political democracies. Make a colossal mistake, the red directors used to say — take the blame on yourself. Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev was the last Russian official of rank to do so. The anniversary [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Once upon a time when the US Government used to plot the overthrow of allied European governments, Ronald Reagan was President, and George Shultz his Secretary of State. On March 25, 1986, Shultz arrived in Athens, intent on delivering an ultimatum for the Greek Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou; Shultz thought he [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Multi-billion dollar lending to Ukraine by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank has stopped amid growing doubts among country board directors at the two international organizations that the Ukrainian Government can meet repayment commitments and loan covenants for 2015, or deliver on reform promises and budget financing targets tabled [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The report of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on CIA torture is long on details, very short on Russia. For the full report, click. There are just five references to Russia; all are footnotes to intelligence reports produced by several US government agencies for review by them all. Three [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The new finance minister of Ukraine, Natalie Jaresko, may have replaced her US citizenship with Ukrainian at the start of this week, but her employer continued to be the US Government, long after she claims she left the State Department. US court and other records reveal that Jaresko has been the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Edward Lucas has revealed that he is virtually leaving the UK for Estonia. His wife, Cristina Odone, too. That may be strategic, because they think they should be closer to the front line in the war against Russia. It may be personal, because they want to be closer to their family [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When the Russian delegation arrives in Peru next week for a fresh session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is proposing several initiatives for debate and vote. None of them proposes to cut greenhouse gas emissions below the target set a year ago by President Vladimir [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When an elephant means to put his foot down on something with the objective of crushing it, a German speaker uses the same word as in English – trample (trampeln). When the intention and the outcome are emphatic, an English-speaker can say trample underfoot. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel (lead image) [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If one man aims to prove, all by himself, that Russia is a country ruled by a handful of cronies of the President, that man is Arkady Rostenberg.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Mikhail Abyzov (centre) is the man in charge of keeping the Russian government transparent, accountable and so far as the name of his ministerial commission can be stretched through 235 government press releases since his appointment in May 2012, open. But the Minister for Open Government has a secret he keeps [...]