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By John Helmer, Moscow Mikhail Prokhorov’s last attempt but one to gather popularity among Russians was the idea that they should be compelled to work harder each hour and for up to 60 hours per week. That doesn’t sound like an election clincher anywhere in the known world, does it?. Prokhorov’s last attempt but two [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska has been losing ground to Russian rivals in Mongolia, and is facing unprecedented administrative sanctions in Ukraine and Russia. The commercial effect is to force upwards the cost line on his balance-sheets, squeezing the earnings from which he must pay his debts and shareholder dividends. The political effect is [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow South African James Nieuwenhuys has taken over as chief operating officer of Moscow-based Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest goldminer. The mining company, owned in roughly equal parts by Mikhail Prokhorov and Suleiman Kerimov, has been unsuccessful in months of effort to find a major international mining company to partner, or to take [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska (right), the chief executive of United Company Rusal, not only persuaded Muammar Qaddafi and his son, Saif al-Qaddafi (left), to invest in Rusal shares to support the company’s listing in Hong Kong last year. It now appears the Libyans also bought a stake in Norilsk Nickel to assist Deripaska [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alrosa’s chief executive Fyodor Andreyev has announced that the state-owned diamond monopoly of Russia holds diamond reserves of 1.23 billion carats. Calculated according to the Russian mineral reserves classification, he said that 1.014 billion carats are proven, 211 million carats are probable. The new numbers were mentioned in a briefing for [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Suleiman Kerimov has applied to the Prosecutor-General in Moscow with a request for an investigation of allegations that he was at one time involved in money-moving operations of Hassan Ali Khan, an Indian hawaladar. Breaking the silence of his spokesmen at the Federation Council, where Kerimov is a senator representing his [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It is quite legal to play lowball, the variant of poker in which the lowest value of the cards you hold in your hand wins over higher values in the hands of the other players. It is less legal in the retail market if a sale is offered at a lower [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Dominique Strauss-Kahn — the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and if he is acquitted on sex crime charges, the front-runner to be the next President of France — has yet to speak in his defence, and respond to the indictment lodged in Manhattan Criminal Court last week.

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By John Helmer, Moscow It was just five weeks ago that First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was pledging his allegiance to President Dmitry Medvedev and his unswerving compliance with the April 2 presidential decree ordering ministers of state to vacate their seats on state company boards. In Shuvalov’s case, he insisted that under no [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Far Eastern Shipping Co (FESCO), the troubled Russian dry-cargo fleet and ports group owned by Sergei Generalov, broke even on its operations last year, according to international-standard accounts for 2010, just released in Moscow. But Generalov was unable to stop the rot in his fleet arm, and only by radical amputation [...]