Terms of new nickel-iron-ore combination put pressure on Rusal and Deripaska
“Though poverty and want are an irresistible temptation to the poor, vanity and great things are as irresistible to others”.
As she got up from a night of bedding with a high-paying prince in France, this was how Roxana, Daniel Defoe’s least successful hero, philosophized. But in Defoe’s 18th century novel, Roxana was meant to be a practical warning against marriages of convenience; as well as the short-lived allures of sex and cash.
Mikhail Prokhorov, the latest of Russian oligarchs to be moving his fortune elsewhere, is reported to suffer from irresistible temptations, and to have been quite successful at satisfying them. Vanity he is known to have, and great things have come to him, too. Not less can be said of Alisher Usmanov, semi-proprietor of the iron-ore and steel holding Metalloinvest, which yesterday began to pass beyond his control, at a discount he has begrudged having to accept.
Through the keyhole, watch carefully at our two Roxanas, as they climb into and out of their separate beds — I mean, bids. (more…)
The FSA investigation of Polyus Gold’s affairs hears duck quacking.
Last February, Interros, the Moscow asset holding of Vladimir Potanin, was getting ready to go to the High Court in London to enforce Potanin’s rights in KM-Invest, a special purpose vehicle Potanin controlled with disgruntled partner, Mikhail Prokhorov.
At stake was a 7.4% stake in Polyus Gold, Russia’s leading gold miner, which KM-Invest held for the two men. KM-Invest’s establishment documents provided for UK court jurisdiction, in the event of disputes.
At the time, 7.4% of Polyus was worth about $775 million. Last week, it reached $1.1 billion, before falling again. The gyrations of share value are part of the conflict between Potanin and Prokhorov, as Mineweb has already reported, as Potanin tries to gather the votes himself, and the support of minority shareholders, to stop Prokhorov from carving-out the exploration assets of the company, and starting an entirely new company, Polyus Exploration, under his exclusive control. (more…)
Brokers put fingers in the dyke, as Kremlin takes fresh bite out of profit
According to the tale of Hans Brinker, the brave little Dutch boy stuck his finger in the Haarlem dyke to save the Netherlands from being flooded.
In truth, the tale was a 19th century American invention. Until 1950 there was no dyke, no finger, and no little Hans. Then the Dutch Bureau of Tourism thought too many visiting Americans believed the story, so they erected a statue to Hans, and moved the non-existent exploit to Spaarndam, where the statue was.
Brokers and investment bankers are like that; and it’s at volatile times like these that you are bound to see a great many fictional fingers aiming to keep real floods at bay. Take, for example, the reaction of Renaissance Capital, a big Moscow house, to the disclosure last week that the Kremlin is thinking of intervening to hold steel prices down.
What is happening is that domestic steel prices have been going up so fast, traders say their quotes are obsolete within 24 hours. They joke that, after crossing the thousand-dollar level in April, hot-rolled coil (HRC) is now approaching the thousand-Euro mark, with no flattening or downturn in sight. (more…)
South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said there has been a breakthrough in negotiations with the Russian government over terms for the Russian space agency to launch a South African communications satellite.
She said she hopes to “see the launch of the satellite by the end of this year.” Dlamini-Zuma headed a delegation of more than 30 South African officials and businessmen in Moscow for a 2-day session of the bilateral intergovernmental committee on trade and economic cooeration (ITEC).
Ronnie Mamoepa, the Minister’s spokesman, told Business Day/Weekender, that resolution of delays and disputes over the satellite launch was the “priority” of this week’s talks.
The Russian text of the protocol, which Dlamini-Zuma and Yury Trutnev, Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources, signed late Friday set a deadline of July “to finish consultations to find the solution to the problems connected to the launch of the satellite ZA-002”. Asked about the reason for the delays, Mamoepa said they were technical ones.
The text of the protocol indicated that problems remain between the two governments and businessmen on both sides, involved in the Kalahari manganese mining project. This involves the Renova group of companies, owned by Victor Vekselberg, who has publicly promised to invest a billion dollars in the project. (more…)
Volatility in Uralkali share price is no sign of change in value.
A month ago, when Mineweb reported that the spot price of potash had cleared the $1,000-tonne threshold and was continuing to rise, the Russian stock market reacted by lifting the share price of lead potash producer, Uralkali (ticker URKA:RU), by 1% in the first hour of trading, then another 5% in the second hour. That represented $1.3 billion in extra market capitalization for the company — $11 million per trading minute.
The news was real, and that day, April 23, URKA’s share price hit its historic high of $12.40; this represented a market capitalization of $26.3 billion. Since then, with virtually no news to speak of, and negligible trading volumes, the charts show that Uralkali’s share price has been extremely volatile, seesawing down and upwards by up to 17% in value on the day.
Chief executive Vladislav Baumgertner explained the share price increase as the direct result of the commodity price growth, itself driven by the underlying global supply-demand balance, and the relative attractiveness of potash to commodity investment funds. “These price increases,” Baumgertner said on April 23, “are driven by the continuous growth of global demand, historically low inventory levels and unprecedented tightening of the supply for the remainder of 2008 after the agreements reached by the Company in China and India.”
Nothing has changed in the plant kingdom or in the global fertilizer market, so how to explain the instability of the share price in recent days? (more…)
A campaign of smears and innuendo linking Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to powerful Russian oil interests, launched last week by a newspaper in London, has drawn a withering counter-attack by Gennady Timchenko, controlling shareholder of Gunvor, and one of the leading oil traders in the world.
The Geneva-based trading firm is challenging Glencore and Vitol for control of the multi-billion dollar Russia oil export trade, the world’s largest.
In a letter to the Financial Times, published on May 22, Timchenko accused the newspaper of reporting “inaccuracies and false claims…misleading ambiguity…conspiracy theory [and] unwarranted suggestions.” In a hint that commercial rivalry from Glencore and Vitol, who have been losing their Russian positions to Gunvor, are behind the published attacks, Timchenko wrote: “Gunvor is what it seems…When it comes to price — ask our rivals and study our record in open tenders. The truth is there for all to see.”
The target of Timchenko’s reply was a report on May 15 by Moscow-based Financial Times reporter, Catherine Belton. She alleged that Timchenko and Putin have been friends since their service days in Soviet intelligence; and that Timchenko’s business success is due to shadowy political and personal favours, and discount pricing of oil, as it moved from wellhead and refinery to loading port and destination. (more…)
The fight between shareholders Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin over the future of Polyus Gold, Russia’s leading goldminer, escalated angrily at the board meeting on May 21, when chief executive Evgeny Ivanov called for a vote to eliminate independent director, Lord Patrick Gillford, from the slate to be submitted to the annual shareholders’ meeting next month.
Ivanov also rebuffed board consideration of a proposal to sell a 2.5% bloc of company-controlled shares to the Kazimir group in London.
Details of the board meeting were summarized in an official press statement by Polyus. This sidesteps the conflict, reporting only that Gillford, who has been an independent board member since 2006, was dropped “due to the ongoing investigation initiated by Lord Patrick James Gillford in relation to his status as an independent director.” The language suggests that it had been Gillford, who had initiated the move, not Prokhorov and Ivanov.
Gillford was not available to answer Mineweb questions on what has happened. However, his office in London issued a formal statement. This charges that Ivanov and the board statement had “cynically misinterpreted in a wholly unacceptable way” the independence issue, and Gillford’s earlier request to Ivanov to find out where a press leak, challenging his independence, had come from. (more…)
Market cuts $2 billion in capital value from Russian steelmaker as US acquisitions mount up.
In a market of booming coal, coke, iron-ore and scrap prices, and still insatiable Chinese and Indian demand for steel, it stands to reason that the great vertically integrated Russian steelmaking groups, largely self-sufficient in raw materials, should be booming, too.
How then to explain why Alexei Mordashov, owner of third-ranked Severstal steel and mining group, has seen almost $2 billion wiped off the market capitalization of his company in the past week? On May 16, the commodity boom logic lifted Severstal to its historic high — $28.50, ticker CHMF:RU. On May 21, it had fallen below $26, and it is currently at $26.85.
In the interval, Mordashov bought one failing US steelmaker on Friday for $370 million; and on Monday announced a $1.1 billion offer for another.
Sinking ships usually induce exits, but Mordashov has been steadily climbing aboard, while shareholders have taken the jump. If his Monday bid goes through, Mordashov will have almost as much steelmaking capacity in the US as he has in Russia; and he can lay claim to be the fourth largest steelmaker in the US. (more…)
Independent director Lord Gillford effectively warns Polyus Board against potential asset stripping plan while emphasising his independence of the warring factions.
Lord Patrick Gillford, the influential independent on the board of Polyus Gold, Russia’s leading goldminer, has warned the board that the company is in danger of an asset stripping scheme devised by chief executive Evgeny Ivanov, and his stakeholding ally, Mikhail Prokhorov.
Gillford issued a letter following a press leak to a Moscow business news service that suggested Gillford had a vested interest in the battle for Polyus Gold with Vladimir Potanin. At present, Potanin and his Interros holding control about 34% of Polyus Gold; Prokhorov and his Onexim holding control 30%. In practice, control of the board remains for the time being with Ivanov and Prokhorov.
Gillford is the sole international independent on the Polyus board, as the two other named independents, Russians, don’t qualify. An old Etonian, Tory advisor, and career PR agent, Gillford took his Polyus seat before the company’s London float in 2006. He runs Policy Partnership Ltd. at an address in southwest London. According to the firm’s website, “we provide expert advice and sound judgement to help our clients anticipate and respond to regulatory, policy and communication challenges, both domestically and internationally.” Gillford does not hold shares or share options in Polyus. The verbatim text of his letter is as follows: (more…)
The largest oil concession in the world is changing direction as Glencore may be losing out in Russia again.
Announcements last week from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin indicate that the movement of Russian oil for export is now to be supervised by Putin’s former chief Kremlin aide, Igor Sechin, who was named deputy prime minister in charge of Russian industry on May 12.
Sechin is also to take over the entire maritime policy concession from other officials, in an ambitious bid to concentrate oil trading in Russian hands; create new Russian oil ports on the Baltic; and build a new generation of oil and gas tankers in Russian yards, which have hitherto lacked the technical capacity.
The ambition has already attracted ferociously negative reporting from the international media, which accuse Sechin, as well as Putin, of being in league with Gunvor, the Geneva-based oil trader controlled by Gennady Timchenko, who has influential business, friendship, and family ties in the Russian maritime sector. (more…)
On Saturday May 17 this site was attacked by a Russian, who left behind a trail of technical identifiers, and whose identity is known. The feedback confirms the accuracy and value of the materials posted on the site during the past week. We appreciate the backhanded acknowledgement.
Announcement from ADC suggests there is more value in the Grib pipe than De Beers report calculates.
Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC), the Toronto-listed junior diamond miner, headed by De Beers lawyer Jonathan Dickman, has trapped itself in an awkward contradiction over the value of its Russian asset, the Grib pipe in Arkhangelsk region. The contradiction also appears to have been relevant to share trading in mid-May, when nearly a million ADC shares exchanged hands, causing a sharp drop in the price.
On April 29, the day after Toronto Stock Exchange trading in ADC shares recommenced after a six months suspension, ADC was reported as telling Street Wire “the company would begin technical work that would lead to what amounts to a feasibility study by 2010. A production decision would follow the expected favourable result, with engagement of contractors and the start of construction beginning early next decade” (emphasis added).
If ADC was expecting a favourable result on April 29, it did not appear to be thinking so on April 8, when the NI 43-101 Technical Report, prepared by De Beers analysts Johan Ferreira and WEolf Skublak, signed off on their Net Present Valuation of the project, along with estimates of the diamond value in the Grib pipe, if mined to the 1,000-metre level. (more…)
De Beers report heightens geotechnical and political challenges in Archangel diamond mining project.
To adapt the old saw, a great many fresh girls are going to be obliged to make diamonds their best friends before Grib, Russia’s newest, and possibly largest, diamond pipe, can make enough profit to justify digging.
Located in Arkhangelsk region, one thousand kilometres northwest of Moscow, Grib was discovered in 1996; it is the largest kimberlite pipe newly found in Russia. Developed initially by Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC), a De Beers-controlled company, it was the target of a 10-year hostile takeover by Vagit Alekperov and Alisher Usmanov, who between them control substantial Russian oil, iron-ore and steel assets. De Beers sued for recovery in Sweden and damages in the US.
With LUKoil, Alekperov’s oil company, which wholly owns the local licence-holder for Grib, Arkhagelskgeoldobycha (AGD), De Beers and ADC signed an out of court settlement a month ago. This provides for a staged development plan for the new mine, starting with a down-payment of $100 million from De Beers and ADC, once the new project framework has been approved. (more…)
Fate of Rusal shareholding hinges on evidence in UK, Swiss and Israeli courts
In what is shaping up as the most significant case against the Russian business oligarchy ever argued in an international court, Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s richest man, has told the UK High Court, in his defence, that he didn’t have a business partnership with Michael Cherney (Mikhail Chernoy), but he did sign an agreement with him in London, and he did pay him about $250 million.
Missed by newspapers and wire services, which failed to read the transcripts and several thousand pages of evidence presented in the High Court during two days of hearings on April 30 and May 1, Deripaska’s new defence strategy is the ancient one of the pot calling the kettle black.
Deripaska is claiming that Cherney extorted his signature, plus the payoff, in return for protection. No evidence was presented to substantiate this claim, except for references to a Russian gangster named Anton Malevsky. A parachute enthusiast, Malevsky was killed in a jumping accident in South Africa on November 6, 2001.
Mineweb has verified the cause of Malevsky’s death, according to SA Police Inspector H.J. van Wyk, and an Interpol telecopy from Pretoria: “on approaching the landing site, the wind whirled the parachute out of control and caused the landing to be fatal.” (more…)
Putin names his merry men, no change in the forest
The list of the new Russian government ministers, released by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this afternoon, preserves most senior officials in their place, and keeps the precarious balance of factions, which compete for and decide Russia’s major resource concessions, and the biggest of the money-spinners, energy exports.
The immediate and obvious practical effect is that none of the established oligarchs, nor rising commercial challengers, has been able to promote his own man into the cabinet. Oil and gas, pipelines, ports, and tanker fleets remain in much the same hands that have controlled these lines of business for the past four years.
For those who may have been looking to gauge who is likely to win the major new mining concessions to be awarded this year — the Udokan copper project in Chita region, and the Sukhoi Log gold licence in Irkutsk — the new cabinet appointments suggest the same answer as before: Putin and his closest associates will encourage competitive bidding, and then decide for themselves. (more…)
In the good old days, when intrepid Englishmen competed with Russians for commercial and military footholds in Central Asia, the object of their Great Game was to fill the local bazaars with English manufactured goods, and extract in exchange as much treasure as the locals could be gulled into giving up.
Never in two centuries, however, was there ever an Englishmen (or Russian), who played this game, a practising lawyer. So, who could have imagined that what moves today along the old Silk Road to Dushanbe are invoices for legal services, performed in the London courts; for the price of which the great despot of the Pamirs is prepared to let his country’s people freeze for lack of money to generate electricity and pay for heat.
Mineweb reported on April 28 that Herbert Smith, one of the largest billing of the UK law firms, has been setting an English, and probably a world record, for charging the Tajikistan government more than $100 million for a 3-year court claim ordered by the Tajik President, Imomali Rakhmonov (Rahmon): here (more…)
Acron reports big jump in complex fertilizer revenue, but Uralkali tanks on potash nerves.
Acron, Russia’s leading producer of complex fertilizers, has reported that in the first quarter to March 31, sales revenue reached $493 million; that is a jump of 72%, compared with the corresponding quarter of 2007. It is the largest quarterly growth rate yet recorded by the Moscow-based company, which consolidates three production subsidiaries – Acron plant, Dorogobuzh and Hongri-Acron (in China).
Net profit, calculated according to Russian Accounting Standards, more than quadrupled — from $116 mllion in 1Q07 to $558 million in 1Q08. Part of this profit reflects the jump in share value of stakes Acron holds in potash producer, Silivinit (8.1%); in phosphate producer Apatit (5.3%), and Sibneftegaz (21%). The growth rate for Acron’s profit figure, if this equity gain is removed from the calculation, is 343% — from $47 million to $161 million.
Ebitda surged 206% from $73.8 million in 1Q 2007 to $227.5 million in Q1 2008. (more…)
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 bilificationof society.
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.