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By John Helmer, Moscow On Wednesday, the Russian Grain Union, representing most of the country’s grain traders and exporters, said that if the export embargo on grain is extended from July 1 to the year’s end, the expanding surpluses of grain in the southwestern growing regions will force domestic prices down to the Rb3,000 ($107) [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When the electricity bill goes up in Russia, that is called “liberalization”. Editorialists in countries which don’t enjoy cheap electricity call that a good thing. By which they mean that Mother Nature’s special discount for Russia should be erased, and its competitive advantages in global trade destroyed.

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By John Helmer, Moscow On April 25, President Dmitry Medvedev appeared for an interview on the Moscow internet television channel Dozhd (“Rain”). According to the chief interviewer, Natalya Sindeyeva, the advance work by the president’s staff did not include either request or discussion of what questions the president would be asked. Perhaps there should have [...]

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Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, As you know, yesterday I delivered a report on the government’s performance in the State Duma. I spoke not only about our performance, however; in point of fact, I spoke about the results of our common endeavour because the government only organises the work of the social sectors and the [...]

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Excerpts of interview with a journalism school group in Siberia, April 20, 2011 – Where do you work? Moscow, London – What are you working on now?

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By John Helmer, Moscow Just four months since the first Russian crude oil started pumping into Daqing, the northeastern Chinese oil town, the Russian pipeline company Transneft has charged the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) with violating their supply contract, and is threatening to open court proceedings in London.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oligarchs aren’t elephants who go somewhere secret when their time is up. There’s no fabulous, ivory-rich boneyard for them. So when Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK), the legendary Siberian steelmill owned by Victor Rashnikov, announced yesterday that there are two candidates for his position as chief executive, it doesn’t mean that Rashnikov [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Indirectly but without ambiguity, Alisher Usmanov acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday, in a Moscow newspaper he owns, that he has failed to sell shares in his principal asset, the Metalloinvest iron-ore mining and steelmaking group, to anyone. His recourse, he also made clear, is to hold hands with Oleg [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The long-serving chairman of the Supervisory Board of Alrosa, the state diamond mining monopoly, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin(background image), has announced he will step down at the next Alrosa shareholder meeting scheduled for June 30. Kudrin’s exit from the board has been ordered by a presidential decree, issued on April 2, [...]