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By John Helmer, Moscow Extracting guilty pleas from the innocent was the specialty of the Spanish Inquisition and its Grand Inquisitor, Tomas de Torquemada (lead image, centre). Extracting guilty pleas from the dead is the specialty of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (right), and Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov (left), head of the Church commission investigating […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Since the American war against Russia began in 2014, the market for Russian art has been driven by rich Russians running away, both buyers and sellers, as well as Americans making disposals. This week, in the semi-annual London auctions, there was a surge of demand for the art which American Russia-haters, […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Niccolo Machiavelli once called moral philosophy the child of civil war. That also makes moral philosophy after the fact, after the crimes. War winners write histories; losers and martyrs write philosophies.   Tsar Nicholas II (lead images) was killed, along with his family, because the Romanovs were a dynasty threatening the revolutions […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow You might say that Russian realism as the style of painting embodying the national spirit, came into its own with “Barge Haulers on the Volga” (lead image), the famous oddity painted by Ilya Repin over three years, 1870-73, following his graduation from the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.   […]

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  By John Helmer, Moscow Mystery moves in a godly way, wonders to perform. Even on state television, in Russia’s secular democracy.     President Vladimir Putin (lead image, right) was taken by surprise, he said yesterday, by the first question ever asked during his annual Direct Line national broadcast about the affairs of the Russian […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For one day  in London every June and December, the Russian assets which regularly pass through greased palms on terms dismal for their repetitiveness,  are of a beauty to make you forget the damage the trade does to the country and its people. The Russian Art Week auctions are the occasion. […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The name Isaac (lead image, right), son of Abraham (centre) and Sarah (left) in the Old Testament book of Genesis, meant “he laughs”. That was because Isaac was conceived when his mother thought she was long past child-bearing,  so Abraham started laughing at her news. He got more serious, later in […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow There have been many, many advertisements for the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, but none as alluring as those he composed and performed for himself. Now that he has died, and his body is to return this week from Oklahoma for burial near Moscow, there will be many more advertisements. Some will be […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow There are large departments at the Pentagon and NATO headquarters for fabricating lies and faking news. They create the threats against which military forces are the defence. The more threats there are in circulation, the more it costs to produce them, and also to defend against them.  So President Donald Trump […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow On March 1, the Brussels art dealer Bru Sale has announced it will auction  184 lots in a collection the dealer in charge,  Didier Sacareau,  is calling Russian art paintings and drawings. Works by some of the best-known artists among the Russian avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century are on […]