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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 The British Embassy’s Press Office has stopped answering its telephones in Moscow.  It is also refusing to respond to emailed requests like the name of the Embassy defence attaché, a naval officer, who appeared at the Russian Defence Ministry on Wednesday to listen to the official protest of HMS Defender’s 31-minute, […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with The British government has selected a new team trusted with state secrets to run the inquest into the alleged Novichok death of Dawn Sturgess three years ago.  The appointments of former Court of Appeals judge, Lady Heather Hallett,  and Martin Smith as legal advisor will commence at a court hearing in […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with Vadim Belyaev (lead image)  is not the first Russian bank robber to take Cyprus citizenship on his way to safe haven in New York City, and then find himself facing a billion-dollar recovery lawsuit from his Russian pursuers in New York Supreme Court.  He is, however, the very first to attempt […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with The plot to rid the British Government of the man who combined more domestic and foreign policy-making powers than any British official in peacetime was not a clandestine Kremlin operation directed by President Vladimir Putin. But the sacking of Sir Mark Sedwill, the grammar school head-boy who became Cabinet Secretary and […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow   @bears_with The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) isn’t likely to have heard the old Australian working-class expression that a man is too crooked to lie straight in bed. It meant that lying and  cheating are in the nature of a deformity, and can’t be operated on or cured.  “The Salisbury Poisonings”, the three-part, […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with For catching birds it’s old-fashioned child’s play to put salt on their tails. But fooling the bird in order to get close enough with the salt-shaker, before the bird takes off, is a job for grown-ups.   When it comes to catching fugitive bankers, money launderers and the families of corrupt […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with It is exactly two years since the case of two Russians, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, began with their collapse on a park bench in the middle of England on the afternoon of March 4, 2018. On their anniversary it is necessary to tell this story. But it isn’t the story of […]

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by John Helmer, Moscow  @bears_with The English read detective stories for the pleasure of unravelling the crime,  proving that even if there are perfect crimes, in the majority of cases the perpetrators don’t get away with them because the detectives are usually cleverer. That’s fiction. In real life,  Russian crimes are different. In the majority of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has announced that Yulia Skripal is not being held incommunicado, against her will, and in violation of her legal rights “if she consents to any assistance provided”. Last week’s videotape of Skripal signing a paper and making a brief speech was arranged within four days […]