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By John Helmer, Moscow When he was last spotted at his own devices, Ziyavudin Magomedov announced on September 20 that some time in the next decade he and Gazprom intend to build a refinery to convert natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) in bunker form to power a Magomedov fleet of newly designed, newly [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the century-old story of the little boy and the four tigers, the latter force the lad to give up his clothes with threats to eat him, if he doesn’t come across. Then in a frenzy of envy and greed, the tigers chase each other until they turn to butter. Unscathed, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the good old days, when Rusal, Russia’s aluminium monopoly, was taking in great volumes of cash and Oleg Deripaska, the controlling shareholder, had his associates emptying it for other business as fast as they could, Deripaska operated a fleet of aircraft, large and small. That the biggest of the fleet, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Spy novels are a dime a dozen – make that £10 before they are remaindered; the fact that some of them are written by ex-spies or counter-espionage agents doesn’t make them more precious for their veracity or insight. What makes Stella Rimington (right) a cut above (or below) is what she [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian consumption of wine, beer and vodka declined during the last economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, and the early signs are that this is happening again. But cognac is in a very special category. All the alcoholic drinks, but one, respond to the availability of money in Russian consumers’ hands. [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When it comes to interior decoration, no one does gilding better than Alisher Usmanov. And when it comes to serving delicacies to journalists, none cooks up the hors d’oeuvres better than he does. In the international stock markets, however, these qualities don’t quite cut the mustard. In consequence, in London this [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Gennady Timchenko is usually so discreet, he engages lawyers to warn reporters away from peering too closely at his private life. So when his friends, all of a sudden and in unison, start telling a Moscow newspaper that he has decided to move back to Russia, Timchenko is either acting out [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The London Paralympics aren’t over for BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley. Even if he wins gold, he’s finishing with fewer limbs than he started with. According to the Financial Times version of the negotiation to date between Rosnft, BP, TNK-BP, and between Igor Sechin, Bob Dudley, and Mikhail Fridman, a deal [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The disclosure of the costs Roman Abramovich incurred in defending against and defeating Boris Berezovsky’s claims — confirmed by an order of Justice Dame Elizabeth Gloster on October 12 — have turned out to be less for Berezovsky to pay than had been speculated in the press. But that’s because he [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Vladimir Ashurkov was advertising his principles last week in the Moscow Times. He is currently executive director of the Foundation for Fighting Corruption, one of the organs of the political opposition led by Alexei Navalny. Ashurkov is described by the newspaper as the principal fund-raiser for Navalny, and himself a candidate [...]