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By John Helmer, Moscow The text of the Guinean Government’s agreement with United Company Rusal for the prolongation of its Dian-Dian concession – one of the largest unmined bauxite deposits in the world – reveals an escape clause to enable Rusal to avoid the obligations the Guineans have been trying to enforce since the concession [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Sergei Kirienko has a reputation which survives no matter how selfish his aims, destructive his methods, ruinous his results. He was small enough to be looked down upon by President Boris Yeltsin; he hasn’t grown under President Vladimir Putin. As prime minister in 1998 – the smallest, shortest PM in Russian [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska, the chief executive of the state aluminium monopoly Rusal, believes in an ethical code in which there’s little room for recreation, let alone holidays. He says: “I simply enjoy working. Work just happens to be something I have always enjoyed doing ever since I was a child. With the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oligarch ownership hasn’t given Russian goldmines a good name, or at least not a stable one. So if you take the 5-year view and judge that the gold price has peaked, while the cost of developing new mines is going up, the grades going down, you don’t need to be an [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow President Vladimir Putin will raise with African leaders this week the case of the Myre Seadiver and its 15-man Russian crew, who were arrested and imprisoned in Nigeria last October. The story so far. Putin will be in Durban, South Africa, on March 26 and 27. The Myre Seadiver crew have [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If seated in the dark at the Bolshoi Theatre, even a man of consuming narcissism as Boris Yeltsin was could tell the tights from the tutus. But Yeltsin saw himself as the prima donna, battementing and glissading into the old tsar’s box, Dress Circle centre front. At the Bolshoi, Stalin preferred [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When Nathaniel Rothschild sued for libel in the UK High Court in 2011, he was claiming that a report in the Daily Mail, published by Associated Newspapers on May 22, 2010, had libelled him for reporting that he had taken Peter Mandelson on a private jet-plane trip to Moscow to eat [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The US, Germany, Turkey and the NATO allies think they have almost all the ordnance required to produce regime change in Syria, as they had in Libya. But they don’t appear to have the €5 billion required to do the trick in Cyprus, after the regime change the Cypriots themselves had [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The share price of United Company Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly, has dropped into the three Hong Kong-dollar range for the first time. In three years of its stock market history, the company’s chief executive, Oleg Deripaska, has let slip about $13 billion in value, two-thirds of Rusal’s original worth. At [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Starting sometime this morning and ending by lunch hour, President Vladimir Putin called an urgent meeting of government ministers and advisors responsible for the economy. Reporters were not allowed at the scene; no list of those attending has been released by the Kremlin; no official photographs have been published. The Kremlin [...]