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DwB_1664
By John Helmer, Moscow

Last week a Vienna, Austria, court ruled that US government charges against Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash are unsubstantiated and unlawfully motivated by political scheming. Next up for the rule of evidence and of law — the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg must judge whether European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia are unsubstantiated and unlawfully motivated by political scheming.
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DwB_1661

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Moscow Times, a small English-language daily outlet for a string of foreign causes since 1992, has been sold by its Finnish owner, Sanoma. The new Russian owner, Demyan Kudryavtsev, told the newspaper on Tuesday he won’t be closing it down, but will be changing what it does. He told a Moscow Times interviewer the publication has “huge potential”, but that it is behind the times technologically, and failing to meet the needs of consumers.
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DwB_1663

By John Helmer, Moscow

A Vienna, Austria, court has ruled that Victoria Nuland (right), the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, attempted to pressure the President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich (left), into accepting Ukrainian association with the European Union (EU) by threatening Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash with arrest, extradition to the US, and imprisonment on allegations of bribery several years ago in India.
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DwB_1659_

“Journalists and activists should be trained and funded to investigate this world. Currently there are brave groups working independently in various countries, but little coordination. Those investigating corruption need to be protected by a legal fund so they are not intimidated by threats of libel.” — Peter Pomeranzev, April 15, 2014, US House Foreign Affairs Committee (early dementia symptoms: can’t spell, can’t check, lost track of time).

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DwB_1660

By John Helmer, Moscow

Heeeeeeeeere’s Sasha, Boris, Andrei, Olga, Zahar, Ella, Sergei, Seriosha, Pavel, Natalia! That’s the top-10 of the top-100 Russian politicians auditioning for election and power, picked this week by 26 experts; paid for by the Kremlin budget; and reporting to Vyacheslav Volodin. He’s the deputy head of the President’s administration in charge of electioneering.

You’re a voter but you’ve never heard of the Top-10? How about the ten names of the top-100 whom the experts classifiy as moving up: Sergei Aksyonov, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Natalia Poklonskaya, Anatoly Aksakov, Valery Rashkin, Sergei Kalashnikov, Vladimir Gutenev, Mikhail Starshikov, Oleg Shein, and Alexei Zhuravlev?

Still in the dark? Try the five new names whom the experts didn’t acknowledge as comers a year ago: Nikolai Nikolaev, Konstantin Dobrynin, Nikolai Starikov, Konstantin Babkin, and Mikhail Terentiev. Can’t recognize who they are – never mind, these candidates are being selected for the Kremlin vote. Your vote comes later, if at all.
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DwB_1658b_

By John Helmer, Moscow

What if the Ukrainian government resumes the war noone wants to pay for – not the US, the European Union, Poland, Canada, least of all Kiev?

Public statements by Ukrainian and international officials identify two payment deadlines for war, and for peace. The first falls on May 31, Natalie Jaresko, the US minister of Ukrainian Finance, has told the London Times, when $15.3 billion in sovereign bond debt must be written off “through lower interest rates, longer payment terms, and in some cases, a cut in the sum owed.” The second deadline falls a month later, at the end of June, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must decide whether the government in Kiev has met the conditions required for payment of $1.5 billion, the second instalment of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) which commenced just six weeks ago. A default on May 31 will make inevitable a delay in IMF loan disbursement in June. The combination will halt the European Union promise to start a new €1.8 billion in Macro Financial Assistance (MFA).

Russian sources believe that unless Kiev starts a new military offensive in the Donbass within days, when cross-border Russian action can be blamed, creditor governments pressured into paying and bondholders into conceding losses, there won’t be enough cash later on to pay for troops, machines and ammunition.
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DwB_1656

By John Helmer, Moscow

Disclosure by Russian officials of state companies of their annual incomes and property is required by Russian law. There are four exceptions. The first is when the officials required to disclose don’t want to. The second is when the prime ministry is persuaded to let them. The third is when the Kremlin is persuaded not to disagree. The fourth is when President Vladimir Putin says it’s up to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to settle the matter.
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DwB_1655

By John Helmer, Moscow

Andrei Melnichenko (lead image, left) and Nathaniel Rothschild (right) are offering $100 million in cash, plus refinancing of at least $450 million in debt notes expiring in eight weeks. That’s money London bankers say Rothschild doesn’t have, and Melnichenko can’t borrow. The offer is for the takeover of Asia Resource Minerals Plc (ARMS), a London-listed operator of coalmines in Indonesia.

From his Channel Island headquarters Rothschild has announced the deal with Melnichenko for a joint takeover bid. But in Cyprus, where he is headquartered, Melnichenko is saying nothing. In Moscow, the Russian interpretation is a combination of scorn for Rothschild, and a determination to make out of an improbable business deal in Borneo the appearance of international clout which Russian business has lost. According to Russian investment banker number-1: “I have spent enough time in Indonesia so that I never even try to do business here – the deck is stacked against you. Nat is a serial [expletive; translation, passive recipient of forcible intercourse], and he is in for yet another treat.” Russian investment banker No. 2: “Russians are trying to break out of the corner in which the Americans have confined them. They will use any pretext. – any kind of foreign venture is designed to make Russian business legitimate and powerful looking. This is driven by the huge inferiority complex now felt by highly leveraged men like Melnichenko. They need to show they still can [expletive; translation, active initiator of forcible intercourse].”
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DwB_1654a

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Eastern European alliance in the war against Russia is cracking up.

In Poland, voters will elect a new president on May 10, and then a new parliament and prime minister by October 30. On present polls, the pro-American war factions are unlikely to win. That will mean the elimination, at least in Poland, of Radosław Sikorski (lead image, left), last year’s Anglo-Polish foreign minister, this year’s speaker of the Polish parliament (Sejm); and of his Anglo-American wife, Anne Applebaum (right).

The Siklebaums aren’t the only casualties. Victoria Nuland, leader of the war party at the State Department in Washington, tweeted from Warsaw last week: “I think countries like the United States and Poland, need to do everything we can to support the Ukrainians.” Polish officials told Nuland, after downgrading her meetings to the lowest possible protocol level, that enough is enough.
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DwB_1653

By John Helmer, Moscow

Andrej Babis is the one of the wealthiest men in eastern Europe — if you bite bread, read a newspaper, fill your car with fuel, or put fertilizer on your window box in Prague, chances are you owe Babis money. He is also Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Finance Minister, and candidate to become the next Czech President.

When Babis announced on Friday in Washington that he is planning to sue the US foreign policy establishment for libel, he wasn’t bluffing. His aim is to stop the US State Department, American officers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and the war party in Kiev from attacking him as a Kremlin stooge.

The rise of Babis is also the takeoff of another albatross which is about to hang itself around the neck of candidate to become President of the US, Hillary Clinton. For it’s her campaign booster and pollster, Douglas Schoen and his old firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), which claim credit for inventing Babis’s political party, Akce Nespokojených Občanů (Action of Dissatisfied Citizens) – the acronym ANO also means “yes” in Czech – and putting Babis in power. From non-existence in 2011, ANO took 19% of the votes in the Czech lower house election of 2013, a close second behind the ruling Social-Democratic Party; 17% in the Czech senate election of last October. According to the American pollster, PSB’s Czech-educated executive, Alexander Braun is the winner of several US awards for his Czech political campaigns. He also claims credit, along with Schoen, for advising “notable clients…includ[ing] Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton, as well as presidents in Mexico, Ukraine, and Philippines.”
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