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By John Helmer in Moscow In outer space, as everyone knows, the absence of the force of gravity produces the appearance of weightlessness. Everything floats away. The markets have decided that Russia is now without gravity; its equities are without weight, and at risk of floating away. Late last year, the RTS, the principal stock [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow In the Kingdom of Russian fertilizers, there has been the Power and the Glory of hugely profitable export margins and high-flying share prices. But there is only one Will which can be done. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Acron’s Novgorod chemicals plant last Sunday, January 25, and he appeared to [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Jonathan Oppenheimer, the embattled heir to Nicky Oppenheimer and to the struggling De Beers group, and Vagit Alekperov, chief executive and controlling shareholder of LUKoil, one of Russia’s leading oil producers, have started fighting again over the disputed Grib pipe; also known as the Verkhotina project in the northwestern Russian [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Premature ejaculation is not usually an event which gentlemen call a public meeting to disclose. At least, not unless they are selling a cure. The announcement this week in Moscow by Tye Burt and Yevgeny Ivanov, chief executives of Kinross Gold (KGC:US) and Polyus Gold (PLZL:RU), that they have signed [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Once upon a time, in not so ancient Greece, a crooked banker had the idea of hedging the consequences of his crimes by buying a popular newspaper, and also a popular football team. But the risk hedges didn’t work quite as he intended. The banker was indicted and jailed in [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow When it comes to the heroics of the free press, London reporters and their proprietors prefer to tell of chests bared and bloody corpses on foreign streets, preferably in places designated by Her Majesty’s Secret Service as enemy country. Moscow, for example. In the City of London, by contrast, the [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow It was the the 19th century German politician Otto von Bismarck, who famously claimed that politics is the art of the possible — before he sent his armies to invade westwards. To judge the outcome of this month’s “gas war”, initially between Russia and Ukraine, but then involving many of [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Noone, least of all Dmitry Pumpyansky, should be faulted for not anticipating exactly when the oil and gas bubble would burst. But what can be said of Pumpyansky’s calculation that he had at least two more years of defying gravity, and no hedge against the risk that he might be [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow The wave of bad news that has been expected to hit, and keep on hitting Novorossiysk, Russia’s leading outlet on the Black Sea — weakening rouble, falling cargo volumes in and out, dwindling revenues –struck first in November. But it seems it didn’t return to strike the port in December. [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Russian oligarchs are famously bad as bird-fanciers. As corporate takeover tacticians, when times were good, they were reluctant to share their premiums in buy-sell transactions. Not for them, the proverbial wisdom that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Taking the latter bird’s position, they preferred [...]