Trojan horse in reverse — Vekselberg & Potanin attack Rusal
Laocoon the Trojan is on record as warning not to trust the famous wooden horse; nor the Greeks bearing gifts. But he, Homer and Virgil can’t help with the corporate raider’s version of the Trojan Horse ploy. This is –if you are planning to attack with the horse, make sure all your men inside are on your side.
Vladimir Potanin, co-owner of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s dominant mining company, may be going into the June 30 AGM, with one vote no-one had anticipated, least of all his adversary and attacker, Oleg Deripaska, the controlling shareholder of United Company Rusal. That vote is Victor Vekselberg’s, who (with partners) controls 18.9% of Rusal; and who, for the time being, is chairman of the Rusal board.
Potanin has begun negotiating with Vekselberg for a transaction that may exchange the latter’s unlisted, unpriced Rusal shares for the former’s much more valuable Norilsk Nickel stock. First word was leaked publicly last week by Alisher Usmanov, who has also thrown his 50% stake in Metalloinvest – an iron-ore mining and steelmaking group – on to Potanin’s side, and against Deripaska’s attempt to seize control of Norilsk Nickel. Sources at Interros, Potanin’s holding, have told Mineweb: “We don’t hide that there have been consultations with Vekselberg regarding the creation of the joint company.” (more…)
In the old days, before artillery fire could be directed with precision, the only way an attacking force could breach a fortified gate or wall was to manually deliver a large package of gunpowder; fix it to the target; light the fuze; and run away. Our word for the modern mortar, and the French word for this medieval device, are related. But the French has a double-meaning, because it also refers to the breaking of human wind.
It was Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who appreciated both, when he dispatches two men he knows to be plotting to kill him with altered letters that will seal their doom, instead of his. As Hamlet expresses the famous thought: “tis sport to have the engineer/Hoist with his own petar.”
In all the meanings Hamlet meant can be found the predicament in which British Petroleum (BP:PZ, LSE; BP:US, NYSE) ) is now hoist in Moscow. What chief executive Tony Hayward and TNK-BP CEO, Robert Dudley, thought was the brilliant stroke of making an alliance with Gazprom, and President Dmitry Medvedev, to rid themselves of three Russian oligarchs, has turned into an embarrassment for Gazprom and the new men in the Kremlin; a boon for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Rosneft; and the one thing BP dislikes most about Mikhail Fridman – a boost to his ability to shake a second fortune out of the pockets of a mark he’s already scored once. (more…)
The share price of Polyus Gold started tumbling on the Moscow exchange even before the votes were counted at today’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders in Moscow. At the Moscow bell, Polyus was down more than 3% on the day to $60 per share.
Since May 21, when the share price spiked on shenanigans already reported, the Polyus price has dropped 25%. There was still time for the London exchange to keep the price tumbling, which it did through the afternoon, dropping more than 6% as this was being written. Almost $4 billion in market capitalization has evaporated in a month; $106 million per day, and that includes weekends.
The results of voting on the new board of directors indicated that Mikhail Prokhorov has retained his own and four other seats. These are to be sat on by chief executive Evgeny Ivanov and Valery Rudakov, beneficiaries of a lucrative and lawful share options scheme reported in Mineweb early this month. In addition, two other sitting directors, Yekaterina Salnikova and Yevgeny Braiko, have been re-elected to positions backing Prokhorov. Prokhorov’s holding Onexim declined to characterize the outcome of the board vote, and spokesman, Igor Petrov, told Mineweb: “We don’t have a position. Please read the Polyus statement.” (more…)
The Russian government has postponed a decision on whether to impose export duties of up to 20% on steel products, despite a flurry of press and brokerage reports claiming the government’s senior industry minister has already promised not to levy new taxes.
A meeting between steelmakers and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on Saturday last, June 21, did not reach a policy conclusion, both government and industry sources report.
The duty scale proposed by the government may parallel the regime recently adopted by the Indian government — 5% for zinc-galvanized products; 10% for cold-rolled and hot-rolled products; and 15% for semi-fabricated slabs. (more…)
Russians out-play Saudis as Gazprom calls for OPEC replacement.
The view from British Petroleum’s front-window on to St. James Square in London is an irony BP Chairman Peter Sutherland and Chief Executive Tony Hayward have not noticed; at least not yet.
In the middle of the gated garden, there is a fine statue of William of Orange, the Dutch champion of Protestantism, who became King William III, and, by reputation, rescued the English from a Roman Catholic dynasty, and all manner of French and popish plots.
William is mounted on a fine horse. The plaque fails to mention that William met his death when he fell from the horse; broke his collar-bone; contracted pneumonia; and promptly expired. Because the horse tossed the king after stumbling in a mole’s burrow, William’s enemies used to toast “the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat”. (more…)
Reported Russian billions for Zambian copper are flash in the pan.
The prospect of several billion dollars in Russian mining investment in southern Africa cannot fail to be alluring.
But an announcement by a single newspaper in Moscow last week that three major Russian mining companies “hope to announce a major investment worth more than $2 billion in Zambia next month” triggered the reaction from miners and investment advisors alike that it’s a mirage. According to one well-known SA mining advisor, “it sounds like an unlikely story to me. Russians never actually invest their money into Africa, and especially not into Zambia.”
He claims that a major Euro-Russian ferrochrome acquisition from Samancor in SA was financed internally by SA banks and cashflow from the project itself. (more…)
Rusal seeks four seats on the Norilsk Nickel board.
Capt. W.E. Johns, the favourite novelist of English schoolboys, wrote 104 books about Biggles – Flight Captain James Bigglesworth, a World War I air ace. The boys’ demand for his adventures was so great, Johns had to press him back into service against the Luftwaffe in World War II.
Johns and his Biggles series are publicly celebrated for many things, but not the most important. Through hundreds of dogfights in the air, and adventures on the ground, Johns illustrated a maxim he didn’t coin – wickedness has character, cleverness none. The German Erich von Stalhein is vicious, since he’s always after Biggles’ blood. But since he also always manages to fail, his vices never materialize beyond the leer on his lips. He doesn’t even get worse when he becomes a Nazi.
Biggles, on the other hand, is clever to the point of genius, but internally blank, externally unlovable. Not even an affair with a beautiful French woman, whom Biggles meets after landing lost (a true story about Capt Johns, it turns out), generates a scintilla of sympathy for the mechanics of successful cause and effect. (more…)
MOSCOW – The spear points of the fence that guards the Royal Courts of Justice, off Fleet Street in London, haven’t been used to display the severed heads of criminals for half a millennium. They remain sharp, and deterring, nonetheless. Inside, and upstairs to the left, the swinging oak doors of Courtroom 4 are also deterring, if you are the Tajikistan Aluminum Plant, the biggest-spending plaintiff in recent English legal history.
It is in this courtroom that the fates of the smelter owners, the rulers of far-off Tajikistan, are being decided. On June 10, in a hearing before High Court Justice Tomlinson, English lawyers argued over whether Hassan Saduloev (also spelled Sadullaev in Russian, Asadullozoda in Tajik) the second man in Tajikistan, brother-in-law to President Emomali Rahmon, and a key witness in the London court case, is alive or dead. Reports that he had been shot were published last month.
Saduloev is required to testify in court, and if he is dead he cannot. If he is alive, he must. If he is in hiding, he may be cited for contempt of court, and the case may be dismissed by the judge. (more…)
Russian specialty steelmaker spins off coal-mining and ferroalloy units to add value, deter asset attack.
A series of new executive appointments, announced this week by Mechel, suggests that the group’s controlling shareholder, Igor Zyuzin, is preparing for the possible, much rumoured sale of the Mechel steel division to the state-owned RusSpetsStal (“Russian Special Steel”, RSS) group.
What isn’t clear yet is whether Zyuzin’s new structure is meant to repel, or absorb, an attack. This structure, comprising separate steel, mining, ferroalloy, and other divisions, is interpreted by some industry sources as a defense against a takeover. Others view it as making Mechel’s steel assets cheaper for a state steelmaking company to acquire, and easier for Zyuzin to let go.
There is no explanation from the company as to why the group’s coal and iron-ore mines are located in the mining spinoff, while chromium and nickel mines are in the ferroalloy unit; nor why transportation and electricity supply have been prized apart from steelmaking, the original function of Mechel, Russia’s fifth ranked steelmaker. (more…)
Russian largest silver and third largest gold miner, Polymetal, goes back to Nesis family.
Suleiman Kerimov finally did what he was always expected to do with Polymetal, Russia’s principal silver miner — he has sold out.
The move was confirmed in a Monday morning press release from one of the buyers, the ICT group belonging to former Polymetal owner Alexander Nesis. He has acquired a 24% shareholding. The sale to a consortium, which also includes Moscow investor Alexander Mamut (19%), and the PPF group of Prague (25%), also indicates that, in Kerimov’s judgement, Russian gold and silver miner valuations have reached their peak for the foreseeable future.
The ICT announcement says no price or valuation will be disclosed in their transaction. ICT says only that it is buying a 24% stake in Polymetal from Kerimov’s aggregate holding of 69%. The ICT press release also quotes Nikolai Dobrinov, a partner of Nesis, as hinting that Kerimov may have been obliged to accept less than he once thought his stake was worth. (more…)
China is a power behind global commodity flows as well as prices. But Beijing has been slow to understand that it is the horse that pulls the cart; the whip hand belongs to the coachman.
Chinese negotiators have already made one colossal mistake in pricing their supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG). They are making a second in trying to draw out of Russia a discount for natural gas. For China to insist on tying Gazprom down to the extraction cost of Siberian gas – at a fraction of the price Gazprom sells its gas to Western Europe – is producing an impasse in current negotiations and slowing down Russia’s readiness to invest in the pipeline systems, on which Chinese calculations depend.
President Dmitry Medvedev visited China last month. Ahead of the visit, he was reported as cautioning that Russian plans to export natural gas to China were under way, but that “technological details are still being discussed” and “negotiations were ongoing to finalize the price formula of Russian gas supplies to Chinese consumers”. (more…)
Co-owner of Polyus Gold Mikhail Prokhorov and chief executive Evgeny Ivanov are planning a roadshow this week to answer questions from minority shareholders. The presentations have been scheduled two weeks before the annual general shareholders meeting of the company, Russia’s largest and most valuable goldminer, due on June 26.
Prokhorov kicked off with a statement that flies in the face of everything that has emerged to date from his year-long conflict with co-controlling shareholder, Vladimir Potanin. Speaking on the sidelines of a St. Petersburg economic forum, Prokhorov said: “I didn’t break any agreements, the situation simply changed…And we are still friends.”
Continuing gyrations in the stock price of Polyus Gold, along with new evidence that a share option agreement of last July was designed to reward loyalists to Prokhorov, and disadvantage Potanin’s supporters, suggest that the negotiation between Prokhorov and Potanin is anything but friendly, while the appearance of their conflict continues to threaten the future of the company’s value, and add fuel for investigation by the London regulatory agency, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). (more…)
After rejecting a share-buy by a Potanin ally, Prokhorov makes a counter-bid to start new share price spiral.
The end of Sherlock Holmes came when he and his greatest adversary, Professor Moriarty, wrestle at the cliff’s edge above the Reichenbach Falls, in the Swiss Alps. Locked in combat, they take each other to their deaths down the 250-metre drop – although Holmes was subsequently resurrected. The Alps, on the French side, have also been bad luck for Mikhail Prokhorov.
In his latest move, he has taken his fight over Polyus Gold, the leading Russian gold miner, with ex-partner, Vladimir Potanin, to the precipice. There, with one more stumble, each risks having acquired more than 30% of the shares of the company; and with that, the costly obligation to buy out the minority shareholders.
After share trading last Friday evening, Polyus Gold confirmed that it had received an offer from Prokhorov’s holding company, Onexim, to “acquire the 12,476,401 ordinary shares in Company held by the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Jenington International Inc. (representing approximately 6.54% of the total issued and outstanding ordinary shares of the Company) and confirms receipt of such offer. The offer is stated to expire at 6 p.m. (Moscow time) on 6 June 2008. There can be no assurance as to whether the offer will be accepted, or on what terms.” (more…)
Profit defeats politics in Ukraine’s bid to make crude oil run uphill.
In the annals of topographic desperation, it is unclear which foolish Duke of York did this to his army, but not even the nursery rhyme leaves any doubt about what he did:
Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half way up,
They were neither up nor down.
Last week, in an unjoking effort at emulating the Duke’s performance, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko announced in Kiev that Azerbaijan has agreed with the Ukraine to supply 5 million tonnes of crude (about 98,000 barrels per day) for refining at two western Ukrainian refineries. This crude is to be piped by Azerbaijan to Poti or Batumi, Georgian ports on the Black Sea; tankered across the Black Sea to Odessa; and from a terminal at Odessa port pumped by pipeline towards Brody, in western Ukraine, near the Polish border. (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.