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By John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with Philip Short, a journalist from the BBC, has published a new book which claims to be a biography of Vladimir Putin. It isn’t. What it is instead is a biography of one hundred and twenty-three westerners — what they claim to know about Russia’s leader  and what for commercial motive, reason […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with In the rest of the world it is known as the cultural cringe. In Russia the wish to be loved by Americans is known as liberal reform. In the very first paragraph of a new book called “Collapse: the Fall of the Soviet Union”, the author, Vladislav Zubok – the name […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with Before presidential dementia became fashionable in the US, there was, Russians used to joke, Leonid Brezhnev. Once on a visit to a hunting lodge not far from Moscow, I was told by the forest ranger that he used to assist in setting up for a Brezhnev shoot. It was very late […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with On the subject of Russia and the Russians, American exceptionalism pops up in the most unexpected places. Take the case of a new book from the Russia-warfighting publisher Random House of New York fetchingly sub-titled “In which four Russians give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life”. The Guardian, lead […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with When it came to ingratiating American presidents, no Russian leader tried harder than Mikhail Gorbachev followed by Boris Yeltsin. Vladimir Putin did his best to match their examples with Bill Clinton.   Putin was slow to learn, slower to anger. That began in 2008 when Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, broke a […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with There’s a lot to be afraid of in life. Mine has been dominated by the fear of suffocating to death. Compared to that, verbal insults, the headmaster’s cane, my father’s screaming, army camp, police on horses, Harvard University, the doorman at Fortnum’s, bad reviews, Russian gunmen, Georgian gunmen, and threats by […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Faster than a speeding bullet — more powerful than a locomotive — able to leap tall lies at a single bound. More farsighted than Clark Kent (alias Superman), greener than Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), more tenacious than Peter Parker (Spiderman), as sworn to vengeance against lawlessness as Bruce Wayne (Batman). That’s […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil in his mind, it was Zbigniew Brzezinski (lead image, left),  the national security advisor for President Jimmy Carter (right) when the US plot to start the war against the Soviet Union on the Afghan front was hatched in […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Catherine Belton (lead image, left), a reporter on Russia for the Financial Times and Reuters, was abandoned this week by her publisher, Rupert Murdoch’s (right) HarperCollins, and obliged to sign an out-of-court settlement in London with Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven of Alfa Bank and the LetterOne group. The publisher has agreed […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Two Dutch nationals, David Petraeus and Sandra Roelofs (lead image, centre), were involved in the US planning of an invasion of the Donbass region, eastern Ukraine, in the days running up to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, when 193 Dutch and 38 Australians were among […]