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By John Helmer, Moscow If Sergei Frank, chief executive of Sovcomflot, the state-owned Russian shipping company, had not been judged recently in the UK High Court to be dishonest, vindictive, and unbelievable, a warning from a global ratings agency of potentially bad news to come about his company may not be as serious as the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alexei Mordashov’s plan to revive the initial public offering (IPO) of his goldmining group Nord Gold has been reported to be aiming at a relaunch date before Christmas; his first attempt at selling shares on the London market was called off in February when market conditions were much more favourable to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In retrospect, Alexei Kudrin, deputy prime minister and minister of finance, has turned out to be less stupid than Mikhail Prokhorov, when offered President Dmitry Medvedev’s poisoned chalice. On the other hand, by declaring yesterday the race for prime minister is now wide open to all-comers, Kudrin invites a chancy political [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Joint Fruit Company (JFC), once the owner of Russia’s largest fleet of banana boats and the largest importer of bananas in the Russian market, is slipping on something much bigger than one of its own fruit skins. But the company and its owner, St. Petersburg entrepreneur Vladimir Kekhman, insist everything is [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Until now the principal reason Russian businessmen ran for election to parliament was to secure legislator’s immunity from criminal prosecution. Lobbying their business interests into legislation, or drawing money out of the federal budget into their company projects and pockets, didn’t require getting elected or taking a parliamentary seat.

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1. It looks like there’s going to be a hot autumn in Moscow? Or is that just an illusion due to very vocal electioneering and of course the media accompaniment?

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By John Helmer, Moscow Michael just isn’t cracked up to be George. The warrior qualities of Russia’s patron saint could come in handy in politics – aim, endurance, fearlessness – but Mikhail Prokhorov has managed in his three-month political career to demonstrate their opposites, and to prove – stunningly if you calculate his personal wealth [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The state-owned Russian tanker company Sovcomflot revealed this week that its profits are sinking, and that despite months of effort Morgan Stanley, Sovcomflot’s banker and broker, has been unable to attract market demand for its shares. As the much delayed privatization and initial public offering (IPO) of Sovcomflot shares fail once [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow There is no negotiation under way and no agreement between Alrosa and India’s state-owned Minerals and Metals Trading Company, MMTC, for a private placement of Alrosa shares in Indian hands, Russian sources, including a high Alrosa official, told PolishedPrices.com today. They were responding to a string of recent press reports from [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The big difference between the penny dreadful and the novels of the great crime writers is not the characters who wind up dead, nor who did it to them, nor how; but rather what truth the tale reveals about the society in which the crime takes place and the humankind responsible [...]