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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 President Barack Obama issued an order yesterday imposing sanctions against seven Russians whom he and his government blame for the crisis in Ukraine. At the bottom of the Obama list at Number 7 is State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina (left), chairman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs. She [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A Russian declaration of war and the despatch of troops to secure the Crimea would be very serious things, if they materialized. The Financial Times reporter, Kathrin Hille (image), is the only person in the entire world who claims to have been told by “a senior government official”: “If Ukraine breaks [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A reporter for the New York Times has scooped the global press in Sochi. Named David Herszenhorn, the newspaper’s specialist on the New York City borough of Queens, the reporter has uncovered a plot to kill a group of stray dogs – by poison darts causing suffocation — in front of [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When the last war with Germany was ending, the British intelligence services rounded up as many of their German counterparts as they could find, and interrogated them. They were taken by surprise, as a series of reports by Hugh Trevor-Roper, then a signals intelligence analyst, uncovered as early as 1944.* For [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Once upon a time, not so long ago, the United States and Russia appeared to agree that the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, was a crook. It now appears that whatever government officials say in private, in public it is now US policy, along with that of the multilateral banks which [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow So far everything about the metamorphosis of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has gone like the cartoon – surprise launch into the air; flight without turbulence; soft landing among a flock of wellwishers; much cooing. Just how well those wishers intend towards Khodorkovsky, and he towards them, is now to be tested. That’s a [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Never let it be said that in Russia deeds done out of the goodness of the heart go unnoticed by the state. Nup. Not even when philanthropies are paid for with cash accumulated in violation of the state’s policy of deoffshorization. Nup, nup. There is even a special award minted by [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska’s (image right) associates inside Rusal say the company is so short of cash, the chief executive has no alternative but to squeeze the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon (left), and threaten to publish details of his offshore bank accounts, unless he comes across with almost $350 million. But Rahmon, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Three hundred and ninety years ago the Dutch water-boarded and then executed a group of British merchants on the trumped-up allegation of plotting to seize the Dutch fortress on the island of Ambon, now part of Indonesia where it is called Maluku. Remember the Amboyna Massacre! became fighting talk in London [...]