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By John Helmer, Moscow Ignore the plot entirely, but try this Stalin point from a novel called Archangel. The story by Robert Harris, written in 1998, is about a semi-alcoholic professor of Russian history – Englishman, with a New York address — who is hot on the trail of Stalin’s personal notebooks, which he thinks [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the Russian system, oligarchs can pretend to be patriots, but noone believes it. Nor does anyone, least of all outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev, believe them to be committed to competitive business. But if you sit in the Kremlin, trying to run the power vertical over the wall to the rest [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alrosa’s state-owned shares will not be privatized until 2017, if then, a Kremlin document reveals this week. The document is a 35-page briefing paper compiled by the Ministry of Economic Development, and presented by the Minister, Elvira Nabiullina, to President Dmitry Medvedev on January 24. In a tabulation of the government’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The future for Russian goldmining companies this year is bleak — even if the price of gold goes up. The major Russian goldminers are all expected to fail to reach their mine output targets, so they will be able to sell less gold at what are expected to be higher costs. [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Never before has the American electorate been given the opportunity to vote for a president whose first name gives away everything he stands for. And I’m not talking about Honest Abe — Abe meant nothing. In the history of Newts the climax was first reached in 1934 by Augustus Fink-Nottle (left), [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The first Dance with Bears appeared in the Russia Journal, edited by Ajay Goyal, a decade ago. It began as a short commentary appearing once or twice a week. The title came from Astolphe de Custine, the greatest observer of Russia ever to be obliged to conceal what he was writing [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In Abakan at this time of year the sun doesn’t rise until 10 in the morning, and by 5 it’s too dark to see much. It’s always been this way in the days which follow Kreshenskiy Moroz (the Feast of the Epiphany, old calendar). This week in the capital of the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The state-owned maritime conglomerate, United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), will acquire the Vyborg Shipyard, on the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg, the USC spokesman Alexei Kravchenko confirmed to Fairplay in Moscow on Friday.

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian steel companies have been ordered by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to clean up their emissions, and pay for it out of their owners’ profit stream and dividends. If they agree, he is promising to provide tax and other offsets for their balance-sheets. Is he kidding? According to the press [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow “Russia’s federal security service, the successor to the KGB, has launched a cold-war style attack on non-governmental organisations and human rights groups, linking them with alleged espionage by British diplomats in Moscow.The accusations against the British diplomats come within weeks of Russia assuming the presidency of G8 from Britain and just [...]