GLAZYEV, THE JOKER IN THE PACK

It was the 19th century English poet William Wordsworth who once warned that “in modern business it is not the crook who is to be feared most; it is the honest man who doesn’t know what he is doing.”

Since self-proclaimed presidential candidate Sergei Glazyev isn’t a crook, and he sues television broadcasters for moral damage for so much as suggesting that not all his qualifying signatures are valid, let us hasten to our conclusion by declaring that he is, or at least was, an honest man, who doesn’t know what he is doing. According to those who have known him since he was a precocious university student, it has always been so. Glazyev’s problem is that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know about himself. That can be a fatal, if not quite tragic flaw, in politics. It is not something that anyone else in Russian politics need be afraid of.

When it comes to fatal flaws, Dmitri Rogozin, Glazyev’s erstwhile partner these days, has seen them before. In 1995, for example, when Rogozin was manager and strategist for a political movement called the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), Rogozin was the brains behind the political rise of General Alexander Lebed. Like Glazyev, Lebed was an honest man, who didn’t know what he was doing. Like Glazyev too, he had an ambition for power; an intolerance of fools; and a vanity that couldn’t abide an insult, but was easy prey to flattery.

Lebed was Rogozin’s candidate to fire up Russian voters during the 1995 Duma election campaign as an alternative to Yeltsin, whom Rogozin detested, but found useful; and to the Communist party, whom Rogozin judged to have no usefulness, nor any future for himself.

Rogozin explained Lebed’s positioning to me in June of 1996. That was six months after Lebed had helped push KRO over the 5-percent barrier, and into the new Duma – only to see Yeltsin use fraud to lower the official vote tally, and keep him out. Yeltsin’s aides then approached Rogozin and Lebed with a fresh offer. They would help Lebed to double his vote in the first round of the presidential election, in order to draw votes away from the Communist Party candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, then well in front of Yeltsin among the majority of voters. If Lebed could neutralize Zyuganov’s lead, Yeltsin’s men promised a fresh deal. Lebed could have his choice of a senior post in the new Yeltsin administration, they said, in exchange for directing his voters towards Yeltsin in the second round against Zyuganov. Lebed asked for a revival of the vice-presidency. It was agreed, Rogozin said, that he would get a post with “broad authority to control the force structures and the right to confirm candidates for all major ministries.” When Lebed won just over 14% in the June 16 ballot, he had demonstrated his part of the bargain. Yeltsin had barely managed to stay ahead of Zyuganov, 34% to 31%. All that remained was for Yeltsin to promote Lebed to the Kremlin, and for Lebed to endorse Yeltsin in the second round. Within twenty-four hours of the poll, Lebed took the post of head of the Security Council. The power in the portfolio was kept secret, however.

As Rogozin explained what happened next, Anatoly Chubais, the presidential campaign chief, intervened. Just three days after Lebed’s appointment, Chubais forced Yeltsin to fire the two crucial advisors, Alexander Korzhakov and Mikhail Barsukov, who had been behind the Lebed deal. For seventy-two hours, Lebed thought he had been in charge of the government, when Chubais made his move. Once Korzhakov and Barsukhov were out, Lebed found himself isolated, and compared to Chubais with Yeltsin, impotent. It was a position that Rogozin had warned Lebed to avoid, but the general wouldn’t listen. It was also the end of Lebed’s power, before he had even begun to exercise it. It was the end of Rogozin’s support for Lebed.

It’s a charming coincidence that, after Yeltsin won the presidency over Zyuganov, and Chubais had reinforced himself, Lebed engaged Glazyev to serve as his deputy in charge of economic security. It’s a post that didn’t last long. Glazyev doesn’t like to talk about it nowadays, especially not when it is recalled that he and Lebed went on the attack against oligarchs like Vladimir Potanin. For a time, Glazyev even attempted to reverse Potanin’s illegal grab of Norilsk Nickel. But with Glazyev under Lebed’s boot, and Lebed under Chubais’s thumb, Potanin won out easily. Glazyev is so uncomfortable about what happened then, that when asked several times last year, during his campaign for the Duma, whether he backed the Norilsk Nickel workers in their campaign against Potanin, he refused to answer. Even during Potanin’s fraudulent, if feeble campaign to prevent the election of union leader Valery Melnikov to become Mayor of Norilsk city, Glazyev kept his mouth shut.

There are very few new tricks in politics, and so it isn’t exactly another coincidence that when Glazyev and Rogozin led their Rodina (“Motherland”) bloc in the December parliamentary election, they aimed their fire at a target they defined so vaguely that it wouldn’t embarrass Glazyev to name names. In 1996 Rogozin and Lebed made a deal with Yeltsin that they would campaign aggressively, but never attack Yeltsin personally. Only the voters were fooled. In 2003 Glazyev never attacked President Vladimir Putin, nor did he attack any of the oligarchs by name. In January, after Glazyev announced his run for the president, a Moscow newspaper asked him what he had to say about the incumbent. He replied, without using Putin’s name: “The Kremlin’s pursuing a policy of passively following price fluctuations in the global fuel market. This policy deprives us of economic growth because it encourages the brain drain and capital flight.” If this is an honest man saying what he really thinks of a politician he’s trying to beat, it’s plain he doesn’t know what he is doing.

During the Duma campaign, I asked Glazyev to say what he thought of the sale of Yukos to a foreign oil company. He refused to reply. When Vedomosti recently asked him to speak directly on the arrest and jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Glazyev responded:

“Business and government should be separated, since the government promotes national interests while business promotes its own interests.” I have tried to get him to be specific. Does he believe Putin is backing the oligarchs in general? Roman Abramovich in particular? What does he advocate for government policy towards Norilsk Nickel’s shareholding control by Potanin? Does he favour restructuring the Deripaska aluminium empire in any way? Glazyev evades the questions by instructing his spokesmen to say he’s too busy. The refusal to answer is obvious, nonetheless.

It is also obvious that the break Rogozin once came to with Lebed has occurred again with Glazyev, and with about the same speed as before. The only difference is that in 1996 Lebed failed to anticipate the double-cross which Yeltsin pulled on him, after Lebed had surrendered. Maybe this time Glazyev has pulled the double-cross first, deciding to run against Putin, after doing what the Kremlin wanted him to do during the Duma campaign. However, if Glazyev is honest about running against the president, he doesn’t seem capable of moving his mouth in that direction.

Over his years in politics Glazyev has come to regard himself as an ace. But the facts speak louder than he does. He is more the joker in the pack – the card that game-players can use to serve any value or function at all.

MORDASHOV TO PAY $570 MN FOR ITALIAN LOSSMAKER

Ahead of official announcements by Severstal and Lucchini, sources close to the Russian steelmaker expect that Severstal will sign an agreement this week to pay $570 million for a 62-percent stake in the Italian steelmaker, Lucchini. The family-owned business has been losing more than a quarter of a billion dollars per year, and is carrying debts of about $2.4 billion. By contrast, Severstal’s debt at the end of 2004 was just under $500 million.

Exactly why Alexei Mordashov, the oligarch who controls Severstal, should want Lucchini to damage his Russian balance-sheet has yet to be explained by Severstal. As announcements of the deal were appearing Tuesday in Italy, Lada Astikas, spokesman for the Severstal international group, told The Russia Journal she could confirm nothing: “At the current stage, the Severstal Group doesn’t have information about this matter,” she said.

One reason for the caution in Moscow is that Mordashov’s Italian deal, if confirmed, would be the largest Russian investment abroad since fellow oligarch Vladimir Potanin had his Norilsk Nickel mining company pay $1.16 billion for a 20-percent shareholding stake in South African goldminer, Gold Fields. That transaction, on March 29,2004, violated Russian capital control laws. The Kremlin,increasingly suspicious of attempts by the oligarchs to drain their Russian companies of cash in order to buy offshore assets, told Potanin to reverse it. He has yet to do so,

Severstal’s acquisition of Lucchini is roughly double the value of its purchase of another bankrupt foreign steelmaker, Rouge Industries in Detroit, last year. In value transferred offshore, Mordashov’s newest acquisition ranks just ahead of the $461 million, which Oleg Deripaska, the controlling shareholder of Russian Aluminium, is proposing to pay for a 20-percent stake of Queensland Alumina Limited, a major supplier of the alumina required to produce aluminium. That deal has yet to be approved by either the Russian or Australian governments. Current Russian capital control laws require Central Bank review of the deals, and the deposit of half the transaction value in a Central Bank account for a period of about 60 days.

According to Lucchini’s press leaks, Severstal is to purchase a new capital issue by Lucchini with two instalments of cash. Half is payable now, and the second payment will fall due in a year’s time.

Severstal will have an option to raise its stake to 70-percent, if the Lucchini family agrees to further reducing their shareholding. For the present, and following the capital issue which Severstal will acquire, according to the terms of this week’s agreement, the Lucchini family will retain a diluted 25-percent of the plant while 13-percent will remain with Banca Intesa SpA and Unicredito altaliano SpA, the principal creditors of the debt-laden steel maker. In 2004, Lucchini reports revenues of Eurol.9 billion ($2.5 billion). In 2003, revenues were Eurol.8 billion, but losses totaled Euro256 million.

Lucchini Steel produces 2.3 million tons of crude steel annually from old blast-furnaces at plants in Italy, and another 1.1 million tons from more modern electric-arc furnaces at a French subsidiary, Ascometal. In total, its output was 2.9 million tons in 2004.

Severstal’s main Russian plant, Cherepovets, is producing about 10 million tons of steel per annum, and with Rouge added, the total is 13 million tons. This steel is rolled into what the industry calls flat products. Lucchini produces an entirely different assortment of what are known as long products, especially rails. Part of the reason for Lucchini’s losses has been that the price of the raw materials required for turning out steel — iron-ore, scrap, and coking coal — have been going up faster than its sale revenues. However, Severstal almost certainly cannot provide any of these inputs to enable Lucchini to economize.

According to Moscow steel analyst Rob Edwards, “Severstal will post revenues of $7.2 billion in 2005; this would rise to $8.7 billion were the deal [with Lucchini] to be consummated.” He is skeptical that the deal will be profitable for Severstal. “Unlocking real long-term synergies between Lucchini and Severstal will be a more complex issue,” he said, using polite investment banking language instead of the language of risk. “Capacities at every level of the Severstal business are already stretched to deliver into rampant global demand.

Strategically, the deal would be very positive for Severstal, but again, we have to assume that Group margins will further erode, as we have seen as a result of the [Rouge] acqusition in 2004.” In short, Mordashov is about to spend half a billion dollars for a lossmaker. Why?

One theory offered by steel industry analysts is that through Lucchini, Severstal can establish a presence within the European Union, and thereby evade the tight restrictions which the Union imposes each year on imports of Russian steel. In theory, Severstal’s Cherepovets mill can turn out low-cost semi-fabricated steel, which can then be re-rolled into more valuable products for sale in the European markets which limit would otherwise limit the entry of Severstal’s metal. However, with a Severstal plant in Latvia subject to no flexibility in the European import quota for this year, Severstal has already discovered that owning European steel plants does not, and maybe cannot, breach the quota wall erected by Brussels.

Another industry explanation is that, in buying lossmaskers, Mordashov is in essence using cash that might otherwise be taxed by an increasingly diligent Russian Tax Ministry, and converting it into offshore assets that may, one day, generate untaxable benefits for Mordashov’s offshore fortune; this is currently estimated to be worth more than $5 billion. A Tax Ministry report to the Prime Ministry last September noted that Severstal was paying far less tax than the norm among Russian oil exporters, employing a variety of transfer pricing and tax optimization schemes. This isn’t exactly money-laundering, as Brussels understands the term, at least not yet. In any event, Italians in command of declining industries are desperate for any cash lifebelt that is tossed at them, whatever the source.

Some of Mordashov’s fellow steelmakers believe there are more cost effective methods for optimizing on Russian taxation than buying offshore losses. They regard Mordashov’s forays — he has also been negotiating to buy Stelco, a bankrupt Canadian steelmaker; Krivorozhstal, the state-owned Ukrainian mill; and Vitkovice, a state-owned Czech plant — as exhibiting more personal vanity than commercial sense.

Late last year, Mordashov told a steel industry conference that he anticipates “a situation in the steel industry where within a few years four to six companies each had a capacity of about 100m tonnes of steelmaking per year. We would like to be among those companies.”

Even with Lucchini’s output added, Severstal’s aggregate output this year would be no more than 16 million tons. To meet his ambitious target, Mordashov has 84 million tons still to buy.Such over-reaching ambition may have its political value, if the atmosphere for the oligarchs were to deteriorate more sharply at home, and if President Vladimir Putin were to try to retrieve his falling support among Russian voters by a fresh campaign to attack the oligarch fortunes at their root. In the past decade, oligarchs on the defeated list — Vladimir Gusinsky, the media mogul, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky of Yukos — used their cash to buy what they thought would be powerful American support to shield them from the Kremlin. When he acquired the American palladium miner, Stillwater of Montana in 2003, Potanin did much the same thing. Mordashov’s entry into the US steel market, and now his move into Italy, may, in his thinking, be a similar insurance strategy against a new Kremlin campaign.

NOVOSHIP AGREES TO MERGER LIMIT, AS RUSSIAN SHIP MONOPOLY VETOED

By John Helmer in Moscow

Limits on the transfer of shares between Russia’s state-controlled tanker companies, Novorossiysk Shipping Company (Novoship) and Sovcomflot, will fall short of the ambition of Sergei Frank, former Transport Minister and chief executive of Sovcomflot for two years. An international IPO of what may be, potentially, the third largest oil tanker fleet in the world, has also been vetoed for the duration of the Russian election campaign period, and the distribution of the IPO value premium put off.

A paper swap without merger will be acceptable to Novoship’s chief executive, Sergei Terekhin. “Whatever the state will decide to do, we will do it, ” he told The Russia Journal through spokesman, Tatiana Prokopenko.

Russia’s Minister for Economic Development, German Gref, confirmed to The Russia Journal, also through his spokesman, that he has agreed to a limited tie-up between the state shareholdings of the two companies. However, he continues to oppose a merger which would consolidate the two companies into a single shareholding, with unified charter capital and management. According to Gref, the formation of a marine monopoly is unacceptable. “We are very attentive to the fact that may be no exclusive service provider”, he said.
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NEW RUSSIAN APPROACH TO COAL-MINE ACCIDENTS — GIVE THE MINE TO THE STATE

By John Helmer in Moscow

Less than a year after announcing the purchase of major coalmine group Prokopievskugol for about $100 million, Vladimir Lisin, one of Russia’s richest men and proprietor of the country’s most profitable steelmaking group, Novolipetsk, is selling the coamine back to the state for a rouble. That is considerably cheaper than the half-billion dollar cost of saving miners’ lives at the Prokopievskugol shafts where 34 men have been killed in the past six months.

Prokopievskugol (“Coal of Prokopievsk”) has eked out a precarious living on the edge of bankruptcy and mine collapse for more than a decade. It has passed through the hands of several erstwhile owners. It was last owned by Iskander Makhmudov, a coal and copper magnate, who sold it to Lisin a year ago. It was included in a package of coal and coking assets, for which Lisin reportedly paid in two instalments, indicating that about $100 million was paid for Prokopievskugol immediately; another payment of about $90 million was delayed through much of last year. Lisin’s outlay compared with $147 million in coal sale revenues which Prokopievskugol earned during the first nine months of the year.
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BISTRO, BISTRO CRIED THE RUSSIAN TO SARKOZY

By John Helmer in Moscow

Did Nicolas Sarkozy, the small rightwing candidate for President of France, benefit from the brief imprisonment in Lyon of one Russian billionaire, and from the award of a medal, days later in Paris, to another Russian billionaire, who happened to be the business partner of the first?

And was Sarkozy helped by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, ministre blanchisseur, official custodian of French culture, receiver of kickbacks, and arranger of unorthodox donations to presidential campaign chests?

In short, on January 30, when Donnedieu de Vabres awarded the medal of Officer of the Legion of Arts and Letters to Vladimir Potanin, was this the end to an ingenious quartet of hostage-taking and ransom on the French side, procuring and precious metals on the Russian?
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RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.

In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration:  “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”

By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”

 To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.

A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”

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IF IT SMELLS ALLURING, IT’S RUSSIAN – IN WARTIME L’ORÉAL (FRANCE) AND ESTÉE LAUDER (US) MAKE A BAD SMELL



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour  of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.

Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.”    Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the  6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.    

Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected,   Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.  

The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.

Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the  Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving  grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world.  Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.  

The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery  now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.

Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.”  Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.  

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.

Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”

The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire,  the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.  

In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010.  The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”

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IN THE FOG OF WAR THERE’S THE GUTERRES CERTAINTY AND THE CADIEU CERTAINTY – GORILLA RADIO SEES THROUGH THE COVER-UP



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month  to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders,  knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.   

Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.

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DID UN SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES COMMIT A WAR CRIME AT AZOVSTAL?

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.

In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”  

This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.  In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.  

Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials,  to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.

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THE LAST DITCH IS POLAND – RUSSIA’S PHASE-3 PLAN FOR WESTERN UKRAINE



By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO  hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.

“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”.  He means the Ukraine border is the red line.

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THE MATLIN PLOT, THE BROWDER PLOT AND THE NEW YORK TIMES PLOT



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.

US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11   highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.

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YELLOW COAL, THE FUEL MADE OUT OF RACE HATRED — MAY DAY MESSAGE FROM SIGIZMUND KRZHIZHANOVSKY, 1939



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.

Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.

The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other.  Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilification of society.

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IS CAESARISM THE PROBLEM, THE SOLUTION, A FANCY DRESS COSTUME, OR A PROPAGANDA CARTOON?



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them.  It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.

When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.

While his wife and the Navy officer  who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion,  or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.  

The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.

What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States,  is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken;  and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase.  But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.  

Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”

In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.

With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”,  is just the ticket from now to then.

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