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by John Helmer, Moscow 

It was the US strategy for dismembering the Soviet Union, and then destroying the surviving Russian part, to install individual politicians and formations of economic assets controlled by Washington. The first chosen was Boris Yeltsin; then his prime minister Yegor Gaidar and chief of staff Anatoly Chubais; and then the oligarchs who emerged from the 1996 presidential election campaign controlling almost everything that counted.

Yeltsin’s removal and replacement by Vladimir Putin in 2000 was another US operation through the oligarchs.

When they began to lose control of the reviving Russian military, and the Army took tighter control of Putin, the US methods for the destruction of Russia accelerated across the border with the Ukraine.  As this US military strategy has now led to the near-total destruction of the Ukraine, and of everything the US and NATO have put on the battlefield, there remains for the US its last Russian card to play. This is the oligarch card.

The sanctions war began in March 2014 and has been running against Russia’s strategic economic assets and its technological capacities to wage war against the US.   It has aimed at the Russian oligarchs, not because they are Putin’s “cronies” – as the US Treasury regularly refers to them — but to compel them to take sides with Putin and the Army, or against them.  This is the oligarch trap – and for the time being only a few have fallen into it: Mikhail Fridman and his partners, Pyotr Aven and Alexei Kuzmichev of the Letter One group of banks, supermarkets, energy, and communications; Oleg Tinkov of the Tinkoff bank; and Arkady Volozh of the Yandex group are the most obvious casualties.   Oleg Deripaska isn’t more loyal to the state than to the oligarchy, but he hasn’t fallen into the American trap because US sanctions against him began much earlier.

At Putin’s annual dinner for the oligarchs, the president appears to cater, they appear to kowtow, in a public ceremony of loyalty which means less of that, and more of favour than either of them lets on. In this year’s ceremony, there were eighty at the table – three state officials plus Putin, and 76 oligarchs, the largest number in the nine-year record of the dinner. But unlike the earlier dinners, the Kremlin and the oligarchs are keeping secret not only what was said, but also the names of the invitees.  For the oligarchs who are already sanctioned by the US and the NATO allies, this secrecy is no benefit. The secrecy instead is for the domestic political purpose of concealing the terms on which the oligarchs will continue to dictate the state’s economic priorities, and prevent the state recovering the assets the oligarchs have been stealing from the beginning.


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by John Helmer, Moscow 

Mistakes are what we are taught to make. Recognizing and correcting them are what we learn on our own. Repeating mistakes after recognizing them for what they are – that’s what a dunce does.

In this most intimate of memoirs, John Helmer tells the story of his life, his mistakes and misfortunes. In the retelling of his sex life, his political defeats, his financial losses, and more besides, the reader is invited to laugh and then to pass the severest of judgements. But can they match what Helmer reveals has been tried or done to him already?   


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by John Helmer, Moscow 

Between Guy Fawkes Day and Thanksgiving, a short break to complete the new book.


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by John Helmer, Moscow 

Religious fundamentalists think that because God is on their side – more, that God has Chosen Them to be His People — they can leave it to Him to keep tabs on history, remember the lessons of the past, count the years, tote up the gains, costs,  and losses.   So long as God doesn’t issue any red alerts or insolvency notices during their prayers, when the Chosen People get up they can concentrate their minds and resources on preparing for the future. When the murder of a million or two Palestinians is the future which the Israelis and Americans are concentrating on now, it’s obvious that they and their God have not been re-reading the Melian Dialogue, if He did in the first place.

That’s Sections 84 to 116 of Book Five of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, which he wrote over twenty years of the war, from 431 to 411 BC, leaving off before Athens and its army were defeated and lost everything they thought they had won.

It was in 416 that the Athenian army laid a starvation siege to Melos; then when the Melians surrendered, the Athenians murdered every man and enslaved every woman and child. After that, the Athenian empire of Melos lasted just eleven years before the Athenians were driven off the island by a Spartan force the Hellenes had become too weak to resist. The German empire of the island didn’t murder as many; they were driven off after just two years, from 1943 to 1945.

What Thucydides has reproduced in his book is the argument for genocide if you think you are strong enough to get away with it.  

Its main point — the most remembered today of the lines from the book — is the Athenian declaration: “When these matters are discussed by practical people, the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they must.”  

This is what US President Joseph Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are insisting upon. It’s what Biden means to demonstrate with his fleets in the eastern Mediterranean, northern Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf.  

This is slaughter of everybody in Gaza because the Americans and the Israelis have the power,  for the time being.


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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the coming winter phase of the Russian offensive in the Ukraine, the electric war will be run quite differently from the way the first electric war was directed last winter.

The impact on the Ukrainian grid and on the country’s and military’s capacities to cope will be  more destructive than a year ago. The reason for this, Ukrainian sources have been saying publicly and Russian military assessments now confirm, is that most of the money which the US,  the European Union,  and the World Bank have provided Kiev officials over the past nine months to repair, reconstruct, and prepare the country’s power generating and distribution system for the coming winter has been stolen.

The US and NATO command and control centres inside the country for running the war will be operating in the dark, not only because of the precision of the Russian missiles and drone operations, but because of the corruption of the Ukrainians. They understand that defeat and capitulation are coming; they are running away with the loot before it’s too dark, too late.


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By John Helmer, Moscow

Russians have never had a higher level of confidence in the Army since the end of World War II,  according to a national poll just published by the independent Levada Centre of Moscow.

This also means a record level of confidence in the General Staff to outwit the principal enemy of the country, the United States, and defeat it and its allies on the Ukrainian battlefield. Most Russians now believe this war will take the Russian Army at least another six months, and more likely a year to finish.

This new poll signals that most Russians believe it prudent not to fight the US with the same intensity in two long wars at the same time – in the Ukraine and in the Middle East — because the Army has decided so. This is despite the overwhelming Russian support for the Palestinians in their fight for survival against Israel. No poll is allowed to measure and publish this support,   and the emotional reaction the majority of Russians feels towards the operations of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the US military to destroy the population of Gaza.

“We should not, we have no right and we cannot allow ourselves to be carried away by emotions,” President Vladimir Putin announced on October 30.  

“We must clearly understand who in reality is behind the tragedy of peoples in the Middle East and in other regions around the world, who has been organising this lethal chaos and who benefits from it. In my opinion, it has already become clear to everyone, as the masterminds brazenly act in the open. These are the current ruling elites in the United States and its satellites who are the main beneficiaries of the global instability that they use to extract their bloody rent. Their strategy is also clear. The United States as a global superpower is becoming weaker and is losing its position, and everyone sees and understands this.”

This is the president running for re-election in five months’ time, speaking directly to Russian voters, reflecting what the polls on his desk tell him they already believe.

The Levada pollsters report there  is a small increase in war weariness across the country, with 56% now saying they favour the start of peace talks soon, compared with 48% measured a year ago, in September 2022. This, however, reflects public belief in the success of the Army in defeating the Ukrainian-NATO  counteroffensive,  and in advancing Russian control of the new Donbass territories and along the front line from Kharkov to Odessa. “In October 2023,” Levada reports, “62% of Russians across the country believe that the special military operation is progressing successfully (12% very successfully, 50% rather successfully), over the past 5 months their number has increased slightly. The opposite point of view is held by 21%.”  

The Levada survey reveals also that “Moscow stands out from other localities. Muscovites are less willing to move on to peace talks — only 38% hold this opinion, while in other localities about half of the respondents believe that it is necessary to start peace talks.  Among those who approve of Vladimir Putin’s activities as president, there are slightly more supporters of peace negotiations than supporters of the continuation of hostilities — 51% and 42%, respectively. The majority (72%) of those who disapprove of the president’s activities believe that it is necessary to move on to peace negotiations.”   

Long war is the assessment of the higher educated, higher class Russian urbanites over forty.


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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Semites, the Semitic peoples, and speakers of the Semitic languages started as a figment of the German imagination in the late 18th century and early 19th century.

It quickly became a German racial epithet, used in contrast to Aryan. By the time Adolf Hitler came along, this was the pseudo-scientific doctrine in which the Germans lumped both the Jews and the Arabs into a single category – the inferiors of the Aryans.

That is one of the reasons Hitler refused to listen to the advice of his general staff on aiding the Arab nationalist forces in Iraq, Syria and Palestine in the Wehrmacht’s war plans against the British and the Soviet Union. The pseudo-science of Semitism and Aryanism, and the idea of anti-Semitism which the Germans, together with the British and Americans,  adopted in the run-up to World War II was spelled out at Harvard University by an anthropologist called Carleton Coon; he cribbed directly from German academics, turning out papers on the Berbers of Morocco and advancing his racial superiority-inferiority ideas between 1925 and 1939. When the war began, Coon joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) where he demonstrated his keenness for pistol shooting, hare-brained sabotage missions,  and homicidal mania.  Among his wartime schemes he proposed to remove the Arabs of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) as unfit to rule; replace them with the restoration of the French empire; and kill those French officials whom Coon judged to get his way. He was one of the planners of the assassination of Admiral Francois Darlan, the French military commander, in Algiers on December 24, 1942; Coon’s pistol was the murder weapon.**

American murderers of the Arabs like Coon then — like Israeli murderers of Arabs now — have succeeded in establishing their doctrine of exceptionalism and racial superiority in state policy as the successor to the doctrines of Aryanism and Nazism which were interrupted by Hitler’s suicide in 1945, then the Nuremberg trials concluding in 1946.  The crime of racial and cultural genocide became international law in 1948.  It was  then modified by the new Israeli state doctrine of anti-Semitism: this decriminalised the genocide of the Palestinian people; and outlawed instead media criticism, political opposition, even science for threatening the legitimacy of Israel’s Basic Law of Arab exclusion,   and Israeli military operations to enforce it.

In the present war between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas on the Gaza battlefield  – “the American project”, as the Russian Foreign Ministry called it in a statement on October 29  ***  – the doctrine of anti-Semitism as a race hatred crime is being applied to protect the race hatred crime being perpetrated against the other Semites,  the Palestinians.

This doctrine, however, has had a negative impact on the ability of the Israelis and the Americans to wage their war. A fresh Russian analysis of the military intelligence failures exposed by Hamas in its offensive of October 7, illustrates how and why the Israelis failed to anticipate because they underestimated their Arab adversary; and because they regarded him as a racial inferior.


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By John Helmer, Moscow

In the war at this stage, the Israeli-American force for genocidal killing and displacement of the Palestinians of Gaza appears to be winning. Not on the ground so much as in the consent of their western allies to supply the logistics, pay the bills, and endorse the morality of the crimes.  

By the time William Shakespeare picked up the idea that force can compel consent, the maxim he made popular had already been expressed in English for two hundred years.  In All’s Well That Ends Well, he has the Countess ask her clown why he wants to marry. He replies: “My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives.”  Usually left out of this famous exchange is that the jester explained he had “other holy reasons”. The Countess liked hearing them even less, so she sent him off stage.

In the Gaza operations so far, and in the ideology which Israeli officials and journalists are repeating to the western media, the devil aims to drive every Palestinian, the born and the as yet unborn, to death.  In such a war the first need for Hamas and the Arabs is to survive in order to keep fighting. Nothing is more sure than the “holy reasons” Shakespeare put into the mouth of Lavatch the Clown, that surviving to fight the long war will defeat this devil’s needs in the end.  

In practical politics, Israel and the US either win their genocidal war swiftly now, or else they will lose the long war. Russian military sources are reporting the US is resupplying the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at a rate of two US Air Force (USAF) transports every hour, moving from the continental US through bases in the UK, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus. US sources have acknowledged the logistical effort is too great to continue for long. Right now the US Navy and USAF cannot continue delivering on the promised resupply of the Ukrainian forces in their war against Russia, while at US bases in Syria and Iraq  the Pentagon is privately evacuating troops while publicly striking at their Arab attackers.  

The Arab, Iranian, and Russian media are reporting that in response, Hamas and Hezbollah are maintaining a frequent rate of fire against IDF and Israeli territorial targets. They are not yet attacking Israel’s offshore gas production platforms, which provide most of the fuel for the country’s electricity generating plants. They are not yet disabling Israel’s ports and airfields. The Russian military assessment is that for the time being the Hamas and Hezbollah capacity remains intact and in reserve. The Arab side is exercising restraint.

What then are the needs which must now be addressed by the allies of the Palestinians, the Arab states, Iran, and then Russia?

On Sunday, Russia officially called this war “the American project”.   This followed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote last Friday, October 27,  when the US and Israel led a tiny minority in favour of their short war, including a half-dozen island states sinking slowly into the Pacific Ocean.    

A Moscow source confirms the US is the priority Russian target because the IDF cannot continue in Gaza as the US capabilities exhaust themselves. He believes that US over-exertion in the Middle East will accelerate the Russian military’s move on to the offensive on the Ukrainian battlefield, and shorten thereby that war. The public statements for mediation between the warring parties issued by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his ministry are not the full Russian story, the source believes. The first need in Lavrov’s mediation, he says, is between the General Staff and the Kremlin. The second priority is to let the Americans demonstrate their weakness across the region by conserving the Palestinians in place, deterring Egyptian and Jordanian concessions, and preventing a direct attack on Iran. “The real Russian position , not the public statements , ultimately comes down to what level of military cooperation the Ministry of Defense has with Teheran. The Syrian and Ukrainian wars have made this very deep. I expect the Foreign Ministry’s public line will change when the Palestinian casualties reach 20,000. As the official Israeli statements against the Russian government already make clear, they know what is going on behind the scenes. It’s not just the Caucasian Muslims now but most Russians feel there’s been enough crying support for Israel. Lavrov will catch up.”

“I would say the real work now in Moscow is on ensuring the Americans do not directly attack Iran. The rest is going to play out according to the General Staff’s road map Lavrov could and should have in front of him. Call it the long war for short.”


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By John Helmer, Moscow

According to the rules-based order of the US and allied states now fighting their wars against Russia, Palestine, Syria, Iran, China, and North Korea,  the enemy states are dictatorships by single men ruling by decree without elected legislatures, imposed by armed forces and propaganda apparatus using by terror methods. In a nutshell, the democracies versus the fascists.

In fact the opposite is the case. The US, France, and Germany are more efficiently fascist than the United Kingdom, but this is a matter of degrees.  Since October 7, Israel has become more visibly fascist at the same time as it is proving less efficient, compared to its past in reputation and in fact.

When it comes to performance on the battlefield, where the fascist states must dominate in order to continue to subject their domestic populations, the power of their arms, money, propaganda is being defeated.  This is happening in circumstances when the gender (he/she/they) of the dictatorship is as irrelevant as the mental competence. President Emmanuel Macron is a case of the first; President Joseph Biden a case of the second.

Every so often in the Russian press it is possible to catch a glimpse of how the domestic  democracy really works. Of course, such glimpses and snippets don’t make political science, nor antidotes to the fascist ideology of the US side.  They are also examples of how Russian money talks when it is at home.  

Here is the touchstone question in the history of all the democracies of the west, and, incidentally, the trigger of many of their civil wars and wars of independence – who should pay tax to the state, who should decide, and how much?  

During Boris Yeltsin’s regime there was a giveaway of assets, with an additional free-for-all concession scheme to foreigners investing in mining and oil and gas drilling. There were as many names for these schemes as there was ingenuity in the stealing.

To put a stop to that, recover revenues for the state treasury, and transfer the benefits from foreign corporations to local oligarchs, the individual and special-interest favouritism of the 1990s was replaced with two across-the-board or gross taxes – one on production out of the ground and a second on oil, gas and minerals exported over the border.  The first of these has been called the Mineral Extraction Tax; MET for short in English, NDPI  in Russian.   

Since 2019 the Finance Ministry has been transferring its tax collection priority from export duty collection to MET. In the new trading blocs created by US and NATO economic warfare, this also protects the secrecy of Russian export and shipping transactions. Sanctions war is the final nail in the Yeltsin coffin of production sharing agreements (PSA) and other tax favours for western corporations.  

Naturally, the Chinese interest in understanding and negotiating terms of investment and trade with Russian miners and oil and gas suppliers has grown. This is an example of recent research by the think tank of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to assist future calculations of investment margin and net profitability in projects CNPC is negotiating with its Russian counterparts, Gazprom, Rosneft, and Novatek.

The CNPC researchers  express the purpose of their study more discreetly,  and also more politically — “to investigate instability of tax regime which is one of the main concerns for decision making in asset acquisition…to reduce aboveground risk of unstable fiscal regime and boost international investment in Russia. Also, [to make] key suggestions…for international investors who are interested in oil and gas assets in Russia.”    Here is their diagram of how MET operates in the larger Russian treasury scheme of revenue collection:


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DD&A = Depreciation, Depletion and Amortisation, the accounting scheme allowed by the state as a tax offset or deduction in the calculation of property and profit tax. Source: https://hal.science/
A Polish think-tank interpretation of the transfer of tax collection from export duty to MET, the so-called tax manoeuvre, can be read here.  In this self-serving history of taxation during and after the Yeltsin regime, this International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff paper noticed that “the underlying problem was a lack of political will to take tough actions against politically well-connected taxpayers”.  

In this news report by Octagon, published last week in Moscow,  the current political contest is analysed between Gazprom and Rosneft, the leading state-controlled energy corporations. The principals named in the contest are Alexei Miller, chief executive of Gazprom, Igor Sechin, his counterpart at Rosneft, and Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma.

For the back story archive on Miller, click to open;  for Sechin, click;  and Volodin here.  

The one decision-making, power-wielding name missing from this Russian report is the name which is never missing from the foreign media – Vladimir Putin.

The Russian text has been translated verbatim without cuts or editing. Illustrations and captions have been added for clarification.

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Left, Igor Sechion; right, Alexei Miller. Source: https://octagon.media/
A Harvard University  propaganda outlet has attempted to discredit Octagon’s reporting  as state controlled with the objective of “discrediting stories from independent newsrooms, criticizing protestors, or vilifying the Ukrainian government.”  

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 By Anna Tavolga

The downside of the unplanned increase in the wholesale gas tariffs scheduled for the next two years will be an increase in the tax on the extraction of natural resources. The corresponding bill was adopted by the State Duma in the first reading on October 17. According to the legislators, the measure will allow replenishing the budget by withdrawing additional revenues from gas producers which they will receive from indexing.

However, the increase in the mineral extraction tax for Gazprom will be lower than for the other gas producing companies. The head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, has called for correcting the mistake. Will the regulators and legislators acknowledge this?

A new round of confrontation between Gazprom and Rosneft in the gas field was outlined this week. Three days after the adoption of the bill providing for an increase in the MET for gas from 2024, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin received a letter from Igor Sechin. In his appeal, referred to by Kommersant, the chief executive Officer of Rosneft points to the ‘disparity’ that will arise in the event of the adoption of the law.

Judging by the figures given in the bill, the discrepancy is quite significant. The MET rate is planned to be increased by a special coefficient (Kkg) introduced this year. From January 2023 to June 30, 2024, this is to be 134, from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025 – 285, from July 1, 2025 – 305.*

The document provides that the Kkg indicator for the owners of the Unified Gas Supply System will be set in the first half of 2024 at 303, for independent companies, 555, in the second half of 2024. The coefficient for Gazprom will then grow to 454, for independent companies to 706. From January 1, 2025, for Gazprom it will be 428, for independent companies, 779; in the second half of 2025, the state monopolist will receive a coefficient of 448, independent companies, 799. Finally, from January 1, 2026, the Kkg will be 464 and 863, respectively.

As a compromise to eliminate the disparity, Igor Sechin proposes to increase the MET coefficient for everyone to the level provided for Gazprom.

The head of Rosneft sees the main injustice in the fact that his company supplies gas only to the domestic market, mainly to power plants. Indexation, as previously reported by Octagon, will not affect the electric power companies at first, which means that Rosneft will not be able to become its beneficiary [by raising its gas price]. At the same time, the MET will be increased for all gas produced.

In addition to equalising all gas producers in terms of adjusting the mineral extraction tax, Sechin puts forward the idea of imposing an additional tax on companies which  receive increased revenues from their gas supplies to premium export markets. In this not so veiled form, the proposal would compensate with additional tax revenue for the state treasury.

The main goal of adjusting tax legislation in its various aspects is to increase budget revenues – this has been repeatedly declared by officials. In the first nine months of this year, the federal budget received 34.5 percent (5.6 trillion rubles) less oil and gas revenues compared with the same period of last year. From the proposed increase in the mineral extraction tax, the Ministry of Finance is expecting additional revenues to the treasury in the amount of over a quarter of a trillion rubles for 2024-2026.

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Source: https://www.taxnotes.com/f
Read more: https://www.forbes.com/

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Source: https://www.taxnotes.com/

At the same time, the agency provides forecast estimates of the revenue that gas producers will receive from the indexation increase in tariffs. In particular, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Sazanov has noted that Gazprom’s revenue from the increase in gas tariffs in 2024-2026 will amount to about 120-130 billion rubles per year.

It is claimed that by adjusting the MET according to the new legislative amendment, more than 90 percent of these funds will be withdrawn.

The State Duma Committee on the Budget explained the difference in the adjustment for Gazprom and other manufacturers by the fact that it is necessary to equalise the economic conditions of conducting business activities of various enterprises. If we proceed from the volume of sales, Gazprom’s contribution to the replenishment of the budget will indeed be higher than that of other companies, but how fair in actual fact  the preferential taxation scheme is a moot point – power politics is what is visible here, not logic.  

‘The introduction of different rules for manufacturers of the same product is a violation of the antimonopoly legislation. It is not clear what kind of alignment of conditions we are talking about. Are Gazprom’s costs higher? The corporation enjoys a monopoly right to pipeline exports, owns the pipe monopolistically so the independent producers must pay for access to it, while production conditions in the Far North and new fields are harder for the independents; that is, they incur heavier costs. But for all that, Gazprom is protected by the halo of a state system–forming company,’ Leonid Krutakov comments to Octagon; Krutakov is Associate Professor of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation.

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Left, Alexei Sazanov; right, Leonid Krutakov.

According to the expert, in fact, the amount of mineral extraction tax for independent producers will be about twice as much as for the gas monopoly. It follows from this that if 90 percent of the profits to come from the gas price increase are withdrawn from Gazprom, then the rest will have to give more than 100 percent to the state.

‘That is to say, Gazprom will be able to raise its prices by only 10 percent, and independent producers will suffer additional losses – they will not just compensate for the increase in tariffs, but they will also have to pay the Ministry of Finance,’ Krutakov continues.

As a result, this measure, if implemented in its current form, will lead to an increase in prices, from which the consumer will suffer first of all, the analyst believes.

Taking into account the Russian climate, where heat and energy costs per unit of product significantly exceed European ones, a drop in domestic production is inevitable. The implementation of promising projects which Rosneft and Novatek are engaged in is also under threat.

Krutakov believes that the adoption of the controversial bill in the first reading was the result of lobbying efforts by Gazprom’s management, but now the intervention of the head of Rosneft creates a certain intrigue.

‘Will Igor Sechin’s requests be heard? Let me remind you that he is the executive secretary of the presidential commission on the development strategy of the fuel and energy sector. Accordingly, from the outcome of this story we will see whose political resource is the stronger,’Krutakov is convinced.

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A session at the Kremlin of the Commission on the Strategy for the Development of the Fuel and Energy Industry, October 27, 2015, at which President Putin acknowledged the commission chairman, Igor Sechin. Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/
The last session of the commission reported by the Kremlin was on August 27, 2018; source: http://en.kremlin.ru/
The last record of Sechin discussing MET with Putin was at a one-on-one meeting they had on April 1, 2019.  Putin asked if “the budget manoeuvre, an increase in the mineral extraction tax (MET) and, consequently, the so-called reverse excise tax? Is this an effective mechanism?” Sechin avoided a direct answer. “We are working with the Government on this. The Finance Ministry is looking for sources to implement this reverse tax mechanism, the so-called adjustment coefficient (ratio). But we are keeping the prices down”.  

The first signals from the authorities have already arrived. On October 25, Alexei Sazanov responded to Rosneft’s appeal. He said that the Government has also received proposals from the oil company and the issue is being worked out. ‘The material balance is being looked at in order to make a final decision. Now all this is being studied,’ the official said.

The date of consideration of the bill in the second reading, judging by the information on the document page on the State Duma website, has not yet been determined.

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[*] Kkg=corrected coefficient of gas. This is the resulting sum of a complex calculation of production and price variables, including amount of reserves, reserve depletion, region of production, complexity of extraction technology, viscosity and other characteristics of the oil, etc. For an outline of how the coefficient formula is calculated, read this.  

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By John Helmer, Moscow

The Palestinian strategy against Israel is aimed at destroying Israel’s capacity to survive in its present state in a long war.

This means attacking the invincibility of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and their so-called Iron Dome defence; this began with the cross-border offensive on October 7, and continues with daily drone and artillery attacks on targets inside Israel, as well as resistance to IDF incursions in Gaza.

The plan also means exposing the weakness of the state’s infrastructure and economy; extending the battlefield across all of Israel’s territory – the ports, power plants and electricity grid, communications, and financial markets —  making the cost of occupation of the Arab territories unendurable. In a long war, two of Israel’s leading exports earning more than 40% of the state’s trade —  diamonds and tourism — face ruin.*

“The Israelis cannot withstand one year of fighting in a war,” Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein told his general staff in 1983 during a discussion of planning for a regional war of the Arabs against Israel.** In the forty years since then, the evolution of military technology and tactics has expanded  the power of small national liberation armies like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, of proxy principals like Iran, and of the strategic balancing role of Russia and China. Their combination now has shortened the Zionist state’s endurance in a long war, and that of  its proxy principal, the US.

The Israelis and the Jewish diaspora comprehend this reluctantly. For them,  the short war must be correspondingly shorter. This means the genocide of at least a million Palestinians in lives and displacement.

The war to do that has now become an international war – and this is a war the US cannot sustain. As a Pentagon insider said publicly this week, “because there are so many draws on the logistics and support infrastructure of the Pentagon, we’re not prepared to go in in a concerted way. What we are seeing right now is death by a thousand cuts. Our adversaries know we are stretched so they are going to make us stretch even more, so we can respond even less.”  

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, acknowledged the point in Moscow on Thursday: US naval, air force,  and marine reinforcements deployed around Israel and Gaza are “American tactics to strengthen their own security (this is how it should be interpreted) at someone else’s expense.” They are backfiring on Washington’s capacity to defend US forces in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and in land bases in Syria, Iraq and Jordan.  “On the contrary,” Zakharova added, the US military deployment “will further rock the situation in the Middle East, create additional tension that can spill out beyond the region.”  

Zakharova’s warning came in the Moscow afternoon. By then Russian Foreign Ministry officials had held meetings with a Hamas delegation, and officials from Iran, Egypt,  and Kuwait. Across the city at the same time, President Vladimir Putin held telephone talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Kremlin communiqué reported: “Russia and Turkiye have practically overlapping positions.”   

Israeli and US-led media censorship and propaganda are concealing the breadth of impact of   the Palestine warfighting plan, and the deepening military and economic weaknesses of the Israeli state.  

The longer the war continues, the plainer the evidence is on the battlefield that the single-state scheme of Israel and the US is no longer possible. Whether Israel and the US can be compelled to withdraw to the 1967 borders and a new Palestinian state created with partition, demilitarisation, and international security guarantees – the basis of the Russian position announced again on Thursday in Moscow — remains to be fought over.

In this long war, the gods do not favour the Chosen People.