MARKET TREATS TREW’S RESIGNATION FROM OXUS GOLD AS PORTENT

By John Helmer in Moscow

Another Xmas mystery at Oxus – CEO leaves, unlocks value.

The idea that Santa Claus brings presents to those who deserve them comes from the original St. Nicholas, a bishop of the Byzantine era. He was famous for his gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three miserable daughters of a pious Christian in the diocese with dowries, so that they would not have to become prostitutes. Names and addresses aren’t given.

The deal also made Nicholas the patron saint of those who specialize in giving with one hand, and taking with the other – pawnbrokers.

The Christmas mysteries at Oxus Gold, the London-listed junior, have been chronicled by Mineweb as the share price collapsed in November on no news, and then hesitated with two announcements from hedge fund, RAB Capital Special Situations, that it was buying Oxus shares (November 26), then selling them (December 10). Accompanying RABcap’s moves, the management of Oxus has been assuring the market that all is stable.
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A NEW YEAR’S GREETING

Many things can make a person greater than he or she really is, except for time.

Time activates the bacteria that strip the flesh off the bones, until only a forensic pathologist can detect the tiny signs of individuality; and even they add up to nothing more than a catalogue of pain and death.

Time unravels the outcomes of all endeavours. The maddest passions, the wildest exploits, the most ruthless ambitions, the most victorious strategy – all lose their genius in time.

I was brought up on the reverse. I read, and was accordingly certain, that mankind produced heroes whose deeds outlived themselves. Even small deaths, the ones we as schoolboys used to stand at attention to remember twice or three times every year, defied time. The evidence of that was surely that we were standing there saluting, wasn’t it?
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MITTAL TRIES TO CRACK RUSSIA OPEN – AGAIN

By John Helmer in Moscow

Despite several rebuffs this year already, and problems faced by other non-Russian putative investors into the country’s steel sector, ArcelorMittal tries to set up new steel mill near Moscow.

For the great Anglo-Indian families — I mean, wealthy Indians who live in London — it is galling to observe the contrast between the ease with which they draw passports and titles from the British government; and the difficulty they encounter arranging a cup of tea with the President of Russia.

But then it oughtn’t to be so difficult for the Mittals or the Hindujas to appreciate the traditional Russian maxim — never stand between a dog and a tree.
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ZUBKOV ONE-LINER BOWLS PLATINUM HAT TRICK

By John Helmer in Moscow

Russian PGM sales controller complains market reaction isn’t cricket.

A one-line decree, issued by Russian Prime Minister Victor Zubkov, has stumped Russia’s platinum producer, Norilsk Nickel; the state agency for export sales of platinum, Almazjuvelirexport; and the government body in charge of issuing export licences, the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade.

Whether Zubkov was warned to anticipate the market impact or not, international spot trading in platinum has driven the metal price up 6% this week to a record high approaching $1,520/ounce.
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OXUS GOLD’S SHARE PRICE — SEASONAL TIDINGS OF COMFORT AND JOY

By John Helmer in Moscow

London market plays Scrooge as RAB sells Oxus Gold for 100% premium.

The streets of all the Christian cities of the world are filled at this time of year with buskers singing carols, holding out hands or buckets to receive offerings of money for the less fortunate in this world.

It must have been in this spirit that on December 10, Oxus Gold, the London-listed junior gold miner, announced that its principal shareholder, RAB Special Situations (Master) Fund, has granted Zeromax GmbH, its second largest shareholder, an option to buy up to 52.254 million of Oxus shares. RAB proposed to sell at 80 pence per share until December 18, with the possibility of extending the offer to January 31, 2008. On the day, RAB made this offer, the market price of Oxus shares was 40 pence. Thus, it seems the seasonal charity was on the Zeromax side, and it was RAB doing the busking — for a premium of 100%.
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FIGHT FOR NORILSK NICKEL GOES TO BANKER’S RISK COMMITTEE

By John Helmer in Moscow

The casebook of the great modern neurologist, Oliver Sacks, contains the extraordinary case of Dr Tony Cicoria, who was struck by a bolt of lightning, and left for the rest of his life with an insatiable desire for classical music. Uncontrollably, he heard a piano playing in his head, and would try to write it down. This was difficult, because he had paid little attention to music for most of his life, and had forgotten how to notate it.

The usual brain scans have all been tried, but noone, not even Dr. Sacks, knows how the near-fatal bolt of electricity has caused such an inspiration.

About the recently disclosed sale, purchase and loan agreement between Mikhail Prokhorov, part-owner of Norilsk Nickel, and Oleg Deripaska, controlling shareholder of United Company Rusal, something like the mysterious bolt of electricity must have struck, because of the strange and unprecedented inspiration that has followed.
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POLYUS GOLD TO VOTE ON ASSET RANSOM

By John Helmer in Moscow

Ivanov tries a second board meeting to push through mine licence and share transfer.

In Russian villages, they say the law is like a sleigh. A clever man can steer it either way. If the villagers knew about share emissions, their suspicion would be the same.

On December 18, the board of directors of Polyus Gold is scheduled to consider a proposal for a share emission, which is being steered by Mikhail Prokhorov, at the moment the controlling shareholder of Polyus, and his chief executive, Evgeny Ivanov. They are proposing the board agree to a share emission by Polyus subsidiary, Polyus Exploration (Russian name, PolyusGeologoRazvedka, PGR) that would do two things – dilute the stake of Prokhorov’s rival, Vladimir Potanin, in the new company; and transfer gold exploration and mining licences, plus mine company shares, from the parent company to the affiliate, in order to pay for the vesting.
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NORILSK NICKEL ASSET SPINOFF – REVENGE PLAY BY PROKHOROV

By John Helmer in Moscow

The war over Norilsk Nickel’s shares to trigger owners’ battle on Friday.

“Let the man who seeks revenge,” the old Chinese proverb warns, “remember to dig two graves.”

For months now, Russia’s most valuable mining asset, Norilsk Nickel, has been the object of a bitter personal war between the two men, who took the asset from the state a decade ago – Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov. Norilsk Nickel has a current market value of $52.2 billion; its share price on the Moscow exchange is currently $274. But the value is under pressure from the war, and on Friday this week in Moscow, they will stage a new battle. The occasion is an extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting, called to vote on the 11-month old plan to create a new company, Energopolyus. Prokhorov has said he will vote his 28% stake in the company to prevent the spinoff of non-core electricity assets into Energopolyus, which was agreed by Prokhorov and Potanin last February.

The fight over the division of the assets Potanin and Prokhorov have co-owned for more than a decade has turned vengeful — and Prokhorov has started digging graves. A banker close to him has told Mineweb Prokhorov isn’t so much opposed to the spinoff, as determined to throw a spoiler in the transaction, creating uncertainty and confusion for the bankers being asked to lend on either side of the split between Potanin and Prokhorov.
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PUTIN’S ENDORSEMENT IS NO BLANK CHECK FOR MINING

By John Helmer in Moscow

Putin’s endorsement of Medvedev, and vice versa, leaves mining policy issues up in the air.

President Vladimir Putin did his best to make the selection of Dmitry Medvedev, 42, his former chief of staff and St. Petersburg lawyer, as natural an endorsement as he could of the capabilities of a man he’s worked with for 17 years. But Prime Minister Victor Zubkov went one better. He revealed the power politics behind the selection.

Putin stage-managed the announcement in Monday’s meeting with Boris Gryzlov, the outgoing parliament speaker and leader of the dominant incoming party, United Russia. It was the classic Russian line: the tsar is the father of the people. According to Gryzlov, “we believe that [Medvedev] is the most socially oriented candidate and has demonstrated his abilities well in leading the national projects and the demographic program. “Putin declared: “We have worked closely through all of these years, and I completely and fully support this choice.” This was the classic Bolshevik refrain – loyalty to unanimity, unanimity of the loyal. Victor Ilyukhin, a senior Communist Party figure, responded with the classic statement of the left opposition, identifying Medvedev as without party principle, ideology or conviction: “Medvedev is insecure, weak. Putin can have full control of him.”
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IN RUSSIAN POTASH MARKET, NUMBER-2 TRIES HARDER

By John Helmer in Moscow

Silvinit, until now a second string potash producer, challenges Uralkali, with state help.

Until recently, Silvinit, a major Russian potash miner, appeared to be playing second-fiddle to its larger, and financially more powerful mining neighbour in the Urals, Uralkali. But in the hungry Russian resource market, with potash’s accelerating value multiples in the commodity and share markets, the fiddler can wind up being on the menu to be eaten — and that appeared to be the direction in which Silvinit was headed.

One takeover candidate was Uralkali, which listed its shares in London in October, and has since seen its market capitalization rise to $11.4 billion — more than double its listing target. Uralkali is controlled by Dmitry Rybolovlev. In October 2006, Uralkali had announced an IPO plan for the sale of 21% of its shares, offered at the time at $2.05-$2.45 per share. This past October, the company placed 12.75% of its stock at $3.35/share. The current price ranges between $5.35 and $5.75.
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ABRAMOVICH DEFIES GRAVITY IN HIGHLAND GOLD PURCHASE

By John Helmer in Moscow

Confidence in Roman Abramovich’s staying power supports Highland Gold’s value

Top-secret documents have recently been discovered, proving that sex between consenting adults cannot be managed in space. That’s because zero gravity makes the normal positions impossible. US and Russian experiments are also reported to have been carried out to determine what positions make it possible. The secrecy is so tight, mining newspapers can’t discover what these are.

The fareastern Russian province of Chukotka is not exactly outer space. It may be zero-value – the equivalent of weightlessness in some asset sectors — but it’s not zero-gravity. Still, it remains an official secret how precisely the governor of Chukotka, Roman Abramovich, one of Russia’s (and England’s) richest individuals, has managed twice to couple with the region’s most valuable gold deposit, Mayskoye, coming away each time with a pleasurable profit.
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TWO FRESH EXPLOSIONS LEAD TO CALLS FOR CLOSING UKRAINE COAL MINE

By John Helmer in Moscow

Ukraine demand for coking-coal weighed against rising death toll in possible decisions to shut down coal mine where 106 miners have been killed and many injured in methane explosions.

Ukrainian miners have proved that when it comes to methane, lightning can strike twice, and thrice, in the same place.

This week, the Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko ordered the suspension of operations at the Zasyadko coal-mine in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine after a third, and fatal, explosion in the mine on Sunday. His political rival, Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich, has also issued a public call for suspending mine operations.

In the latest incident, five were killed, and 66 injured, 9 seriously, according to a local miners’ union source. He told Mineweb there have been three methane explosions at the mine in the past fortnight — on November 18, when 101 miners were killed; on December 1, when there were no fatalities, but 44 miners were hospitalized; and on December 2, when 5 miners were killed. “I can’t tell you if there is any decision to close the mine, but methane concentration seems to be dangerous, ” the union source said.
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OXUS GOLD SHARE PRICE – WHEN NO NEWS IS BAD NEWS, THEN GOOD NEWS

By John Helmer in Moscow

Is holding hedge fund a gold share price hawk or a vulture?

On Thursday of last week, Oxus Gold, a junior gold miner listed on the London Alternative investment Market (AIM), lost 18% of its market value, pricing at 25.5 pence, with a market cap of GBP93 million. The chart of the company’s share price shows that it hit this year’s high in May at 66.25 pence. It then held in the 50 to 60-pence range until November. But from then, the price plummeted downwards.

During October, the price of gold was marching steadily upwards from $730 per ounce to hit November highs of around $840.

Oxus, whose principal gold assets are in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, is flummoxed by the share movement. “As far as I know,” Oxus investment relations shpokesman Julia Flowers told Mineweb, “there isn’t anything to cause the share price to go down.”

Two days later, on Friday November 30, the price shot up 28% on a trading volume of almost 5 million shares (1.4%). Today, on smaller volume, the share price gained another 9%. It is currently at 35.5p.
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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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