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By John Helmer, Moscow “Always George’s problem,” John le Carré (lead image, left) has written in his latest resurrection of his best-known MI6 officer, George Smiley (right), “seeing both sides of everything. Wore him out.” “Breathtaking”, claimed an Irish novelist with no government experience, in a London newspaper review. “Gripping”, chimed a BBC journalist whose […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Jonathan Haslam, an Englishman employed by Anglo-American universities to report Soviet and Russian political, military and espionage history for the past century until now, suffers from a tic.  That’s tic as in fanatic, the adjective Haslam applies to everyone who is a target of his history. But look again: Haslam’s tic […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A bad smell is emitted by those who go about their business claiming to be more virtuous than others when they are not. Take Keith (Konstantin) Gessen’s (lead image) newly published autobiography cum novel about his time in Moscow. The word for the book is a cross between the noun fart […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow December approaches, opening the last stretch of the presidential election campaign that  concludes in sixteen weeks’ time, on March 18. What to watch for as President Vladimir Putin holds his December meetings with the oligarchs who rule Russia’s future, and the voters who will be the victims of it?  As the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The grand house domestic serial which has been one of the staples of British television is quite impossible in Russia. That’s not because pre-revolutionary Russia lacked the aristo palaces and gilded families, or that nostalgia isn’t popular on television. It’s because the gap between the upstairs family and the downstairs servants […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow  If you were the only person in the world who thought yourself a genius, it would be an embarrassment to be named Barry Parsnip. Robert Zimmerman solved the nomenclature problem. He became Bob Dylan – and Hey Presto! He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016. Barry Parsnip (aka Boris […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Max Hastings’s hatred of Russians not only produces error after error to discredit the Russian side of his history of secret intelligence operations in World War II. The evidence Greek historians have uncovered and published of what the British secret services, directed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, did to prepare the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Sir Max Hastings, author of a new book claiming to be the first to compare the secret intelligence performances of the British, Americans, Germans, Japanese and Russians in World War II, has posted a picture of himself on the dust-jacket as a weasel. “The best single volume written on the subject” […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In a few days’ time, on August 1, Gerda Taro would have turned 104. The encomiums would have been bound to describe her as the oldest, possibly the first, woman photojournalist. But Taro hasn’t made it. Instead, on July 26, 1937, she died after being crushed by a Spanish Republican tank […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Rarely is it possible to find a history professor’s work on Russia to be self-evidently what it isn’t – and yet to find its premise locked by high-ranking US Government officials into a state policy of Kremlin attack and Russian regime change. J. Arch Getty III is a professor at the […]