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By John Helmer in Moscow Dodon was the power-mad, menopausal tsar in the opera, Zolotoi Petushok (Le Coq d’Or, Golden Cockerel), by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and he is making his comeback in St. Petersburg. This time the role is being played by Valery Gergiev (image), who usually keeps to the conductor’s podium in the orchestra pit, [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow After weeks of fierce, behind the scenes campaigning for votes to boost Rusal’s takeover attempt against Norilsk Nickel, shareholders of the latter struck back at Monday’s Annual General Meeting, flooring Deripaska. Rusal has issued a statement promising a counter-attack at a proposed Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders – if, within [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow As Ronald Reagan used to say, when stumped for words in the presidential debate against then President Jimmy Carter: There you go again! When the Russian owners and managers of High River Gold announce they are launching bankruptcy action in the Russian courts against Prognoz Silver LLC, you ought to [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow A new London investment company called Vallar is being floated by two men whose most recent claim to public trust is what they have done, or advised doing with Russian money — Nathaniel Rothschild with Oleg Deripaska’s company Rusal, and James Campbell as a director on the Evraz board — [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Never let it be doubted that sunshine comes out of the EBRD’s arse after all – along with $50 million. According to a June 23 announcement from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) headquarters in London, the bank is proposing to lend the Joint Fruit Company (JFC), Russia’s dominant [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met yesterday at Novokuznetsk city, in the Kemerovo region, with families of miners who were killed at the May 8 explosions that destroyed the Raspadskaya coking-coal mine, one of Russia’s largest. In remarks published on the prime ministry website, Putin hinted that he holds Raspadskaya’s management [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow Even if you had all the kit you need – auditor’s green eyeshade, diamantaire’s magnifying loupe – it is not easy to find what is news in yesterday’s release of Alrosa’s financial report for 2009, audited according to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

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By John Helmer in Moscow Everyone who is watching the World Cup has his or her favourite moments of the competition. Depending on their national or other allegiances, many prefer to speak of extraordinary wins; the South African team’s defeat of France 2 to 1, for example. For me, it’s been the bravery of defence [...]

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By John Helmer in Moscow A news agency report from Cairo yesterday, claiming the Egyptian health authorities have quarantined a new Russian grain shipment in port, has been disputed by the Russian inspection agency, and by grain shippers in Moscow, who are not sure whether the action signals a resumption of last year’s weevil wars [...]