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By John Helmer, Moscow The British author of a new biography of Richard Sorge (lead image, left), the Soviet spy hanged by the Japanese on November 7, 1944, disqualifies himself from being believed on the very first page of his book, and on the last.   Sorge, reads the first line, “was a bad man […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Every spring, when it’s certain no more snow will fall on Moscow, it helps to remember these things, and look forward with hope.   

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Reuters news agency has published a retraction of an “exclusive” report on operations between the Venezuelan and Russian state oil companies, PDVSA and Rosneft, after disavowing the US-supplied source. Reuters has also acted after Rosneft applied for a criminal investigation of the media company’s operations in Russia by Moscow prosecutors. […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow On April 16, 2019, the New York Times made a mistake. The newspaper acknowledged it swiftly, publishing a three-line correction. “Correction: April 16, 2019 – An earlier version of this article misstated the C.I.A. tenure of Nicholas Dujmovic. He served as an intelligence officer for 26 years, not 23.” The mistake […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Emmanuel Macron does not recognize that he has been elected to be the president of a secular state. France, according to Article One of the French Constitution,  is “ a Republic indivisible, secular (laïque),  democratic and social.” Though he often mistakes the same constitutional point, Vladimir Putin made no mistake when […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For the second time in as many months President Vladimir Putin has publicly endorsed India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to win the Indian national election now under way. On April 12, in a four-and-a-half-line posting,  the Kremlin announced that Modi had been awarded the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The case for and against Julian Assange (lead image, 3rd from left) will keep him in the UK for at least eighteen months, probably two years, possibly three, according to leading London lawyers.  The UK will have a new government by then; the US too. In the interval, Assange’s lawyers are […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow This week, desperate for attention in New York’s overstocked literary market, a biographer of Vladimir Nabokov’s wife and of the witches of Salem, has reported the one-hundred year anniversary of the departure of the Nabokov family from Crimea in April 1919. “Amid frantic, last-minute negotiations, under a spray of machine-gun fire, […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The indictment of ex-minister Mikhail Abyzov is a clear signal; the arrest of former Khabarovsk Governor and ex-presidential representative Victor Ishayev is another.  The system of high-level administrative protection, on which these two notoriously corrupt figures have relied for the past twenty years, has ceased protecting them. There is a legion […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In crowded city life, crabs – plural – meant an invasion of lice into warm body parts covered by hair. For readers who are virgins or who have had Brazilian waxing and can’t imagine running into the crabs, the illustration shows the little fellows in the hair of the head. In […]