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By Marios Evriviades*, Athens Can a man gasping for breath as he is is forcibly suffocated with a plastic bag over his head,   articulate his survival problem multisyllabically with a medicalized request to which he invited his killers to consent? “I’m suffocating… Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic”.

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By John Helmer, Moscow In medieval sheep-herding practice it was customary to hang a bell around a single sheep in the flock to alert the shepherd to where they were heading. The shepherd used to castrate the bellwether ram first, so his bell didn’t ring needlessly. Doubts about his leadership of the flock are natural. […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Australian head of state, a retired army general, has told an Australian reporter that when he was placed next to President Vladimir Putin (lead image, centre) during the centenary World War I armistice ceremonies in Paris on Sunday, he was sorry protocol disallowed his striking the Russian president . “It […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Sisto Malaspina was killed on Friday outside his Pellegrinis coffee bar in Melbourne, Australia. The police are calling it a terrorist incident related to the war in Syria. More than fifty years ago, Sisto taught me why nobody in Italy, or in the rest of the world, could make espresso and […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The end of the Soviet Union, and the election in 1991, then re-election in 1996 of Boris Yeltsin as President of the Russian Federation, are usually depicted in Russia as a kind of election defeat for the Communist Party as well as of leftwing, socialist or communist policy.  Yeltsin’s destruction of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on the eve of yesterday’s elections in the US that “there is no need to delude ourselves hoping that they will somehow clarify things [how Russian-US ties will develop]. So far, there is no definite trend towards normalizing relations.”   This morning, Konstantin Kosachev, head […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow What better occasion can there be for a fresh assessment of Vladimir Lenin than  the November day when the Russian Government claims to be celebrating the expulsion of the Poles from Moscow in 1612, although most Russians regard the date as the anniversary – the 101st this year – of the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow How many angels can dance on a pin has been an issue of dispute among churchmen for several hundred years. If their livings depended on the credulity of believers, the question would not have lasted as long. Even without divine intervention, the Russian Orthodox Church is a permanent motion machine in […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A man loses his life while he’s on a mission for one or two countries’ secret services in their attempt to change the regime of a third country. It’s a life or death risk he’s running but he calculates he’s well protected.  He miscalculates; the outcome is fatal. The third country’s […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska has been in love, tough love, with the High Court in London for years. That’s to say, he regards the court as one of his personal appendages with which to pummel his rivals into doing what he demands.   Since 2005 the court record shows Deripaska has been a principal, […]