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By John Helmer in Moscow South of the Sahara desert, the Kremlin doesn’t have a strategy so much as a checklist of commercial interests. These days it can ill afford even those. But when it was decided in the spring that President Dmitry Medvedev would make his first presidential visit to the region, he was [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow The Russian and Azeri governments have taken the air out of a scheme to provide Europe with an alternative source of gas supply to Gazprom, which signed an agreement on Monday with the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). When it comes to putting the gas into high-priority [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow In Russia today, there is a word that dares not speak its name — and it isn’t the one that got Oscar Wilde into his famous trouble at the Old Bailey in the spring of 1895. That word is банкротство — “bankruptcy”. In the short history of Russian politics, it [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow The Udokan copper deposit, in southeastern Siberia, will not be mined any time soon, according to government and commercial mining sources in Moscow. For miners, who have been watching this particular copper pot pass from one hand to another, including BHP’s very briefly in 1992, this should come as no [...]

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    By John Helmer in Moscow The grain trade war between Moscow and Cairo took a fresh twist this week, following the announcement during President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Egypt on Tuesday that the two governments have agreed on terms for direct, large-volume shipments. A Russian government briefer has claimed that Medvedev agreed with [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow The Mechel steel and mining group — Russia’s largest producer of stainless steel and coking coal — is the only Russian metals and mining company to submit to the regulatory requirements of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That began in 2004, when Mechel, then owned by Igor Zyuzin [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow The buyout offer for minority shareholdings in Toronto-listed High River Gold (HRG:TSX) now looks double-doomed. A combination of minority shareholders has now formed that is numerically strong enough to prevent the Russian Severstal group, owned by Alexei Mordashov, from suceeding in his 22-cent offer for the 42.7% of shares he [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Responding to a request from PolishedPrices.com for clarification of the June 20 election of a new Alrosa board of directors, without chief executive Sergei Vybornov, Alrosa spokesman, Yelena Nikiforova, has provided the following company statement. “The largest shareholder of the company in the name of the government of the Russian [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Igor Zyuzin, the controlling shareholder of the Mechel steel and coal-mining group has disclosed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that he has pledged as security about 158 million of his shares in the group, in order to secure bank loans now under negotiation. Mechel is the Russian [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Sergei Vybornov, chief executive of Alrosa, has been omitted from the new board of directors, known as the Supervisory Board, according to a company announcement posted after the annual general shareholders meeting on June 20: http://www.alrosa.ru/press/releases/detail.php?ID=4338 Other changes in board membership have also been disclosed in the new board listing; [...]