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The greeting card looks happily auspicious. But as many Russians know, or should remember, the month of January 1937 saw the second of Stalin’s show trials against alleged Trotskyists, the epitome of evil in Russia in those days. That was followed in June of 1937 by the trumped-up trial and execution of Marshal Tukhachevsky and [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When a man of quality like Robin Lane Fox finds beauty in a row of cabbages, it’s churlish to do anything but admire his acuity and taste. And if the cabbages are in the kitchen garden of Jacob Rothschild, the 4th Baron Rothschild (left) and father of Nathaniel Rothschild (right), let [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska is running out of friends who stick up for him, especially at the Finance Ministry in Moscow and the Federal Tax Service. Deripaska doesn’t deny that the practice of tolling, through which his United Company Rusal has saved at least $5 billion in tax payments to the Russian treasury [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Tod Browning was an American filmmaker of the early 20th century who suffered from circus obsessions, alcohol, wife and career troubles, which distracted him from showing an interest in the Russian revolution. While the Bolsheviks were planning their takeover of the Kerensky government, Browning made his first feature film. Called Jim [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Suleiman Kerimov is a businessman of note. He is also a member of the Federation Council, as the upper chamber of the Russian parliament is called. His long parliamentary career began in 1999, when he was elected to the State Duma, as the lower chamber is known. Unlike any elected deputy [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A Moscow newspaper claims today to have seen a document confirming that Russia’s diamond-mining monopoly Alrosa is trying to sell a 50% stake in the Lomonosov diamond field to Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining company based in London. Alrosa is the largest producer of diamonds in the world at present; Rio [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow This is the season for believing. But less than a fortnight ago, one of the three wise men in the picture – left to right, Filaret Galchev, Alexander Nesis, Suleiman Kerimov – was saying aloud (privately) that the problems of satisfying stakeholders in the proposed Russian potash consolidation were so complicated, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow No major shareholder obstacles now stand in the way of the reorganization of Alrosa’s corporate structure, but conversion to the open shareholding company format will take another six months, company spokesman Andrei Polyakov told Polishedprices.com today.

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By John Helmer, Moscow In Oleg Deripaska’s short career history, his Russian partners don’t last for long. The record for sufferance is held by Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney), whose agreement to lend Deripaska money and grant him trustee rights over Chernoy’s 13% shareholding in United Company Rusal lasted for more than five years – between [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Prime Minister has asked Russians to send him their choices of a name for a young Bulgarian shepherd dog, which was presented to him by the dog fancier, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, when the two met in Sofia on November 13.