MOSCOW – After years of on-off negotiations and recriminations between Beijing, Moscow and Tokyo, Russia’s state pipeline company Transneft agreed this week to complete construction of a pipeline to deliver crude oil between Skovorodino, in southeastern Siberia, and Daqing, the oilfield and refinery hub in northeast Heilongjiang, in China.
The agreement, signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Moscow to meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will be sweetened by up to US$15 billion in long-term Chinese credits for Russian state oil producer Rosneft, and up to $12 billion to Transneft. In return, the Russians will commit to delivering not less than 300,000, and up to 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Daqing, including pipeline and rail deliveries.
Just 60 kilometers separate Skovorodino from the Chinese border, but getting the Russians and Chinese to agree to pump oil over that distance and join a Chinese-built pipeline on the other side of the border has been a protracted affair lasting for more than four years. There’s just one catch to the new agreement – it has been agreed more than once before. (more…)
Now you see Murli Deora, now you don’t — what game are the Indians playing with Russian oil?
By John Helmer in Moscow
India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Murli Deora, was to have been in Moscow last week to urge approval of a controversial plan to put ₤1.4 billion into a London-listed company called Imperial Energy Corporation, whose oil deposits in the Tomsk region of Siberia are years from full production; whose current operations are loss-making; and whose oil, when it finally is lifted, will either be refined in Russia, or be exported by pipeline to China.
Satbir Singh, acting ambassador at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, was flummoxed when asked to explain whether or not Deora had been expected on October 23, the minister’s announced date of arrival. “We have no concrete information”, Satbir said through a spokesman, while the official spokesman of the Embassy, A.V.S. Rameshchandra, made himself incommunicado for the day. He left a message on his desk, advising callers that if they had a question about Deora, they should call Delhi.
There, it turned out, Deora’s subordinates were announcing that Deora would be in Moscow on November 4. They added that he isn’t making the trip to promote the Imperial Energy takeover by the state-owned offshore oil holding, ONGC Videsh. According to S. Sundareshan, a ministry official, Deora’s two-day trip next month will aim at securing the Russian government’s support for ONGC to buy stakes in other Russian oilfields and gas fields, though which ones Sundareshan didn’t say. R.S. Sharma, chairman of the Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC), the parent of ONGC Videsh, announced that “the Imperial transaction may not be on the agenda.” (more…)
An attempt by lenders to Alrosa to increase charges for a $350 million one-year syndicated loan has triggered recriminations between the banks in the syndicate, and a categorical denial by Alrosa that it has agreed to pay more.
Morgan Stanley heads the syndicate, which also includes Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB) and WestLB. BayernLB has recently reported heavy writedowns from exposure to high-risk derivatives in the US market. WestLB says it has been less directly affected, in part because it sold its risky securities portfolios to a special purpose vehicle, thereby ring-fencing the profit of the main bank.
BayernLB is one of the weakest of the German banks exposed to the current financial crisis; it reported this week that it will have “negative earnings before taxes of around EUR 1 billion for the third quarter”. The losses will grow in the fourth quarter, the bank has admitted. (more…)
The share price of Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC) collapsed yesterday as a company statement acknowledged that its fund-raising of $174.4 million to restart the Grib pipe mining project, in northwest Russia, will be returned to shareholders.
ADC issued its statement after PolishedPrices.com had reported that delays in issuing project approvals by the Russian government had violated last Friday’s October 17 deadline for implementation of the funding commitment.
The text, issued from ADC’s Toronto office, said: “With respect to the US$172.4 million private placement of Subscription Receipts described in the Corporation’s news release dated June 24, 2008, Archangel announces that the Escrow Release Conditions as defined in the Subscription Receipt Agreement dated June 24, 2008 between the Corporation and Computershare Trust Company of Canada (“Computershare”) were not satisfied by 4.00 pm Toronto time on October 17, 2008. The Corporation was unsuccessful in obtaining an extension, consequently each Subscription Receiptholder’s escrowed funds, plus any accrued interest earned thereon, will be repaid pro rata to each such holder by Computershare in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Subscription Receipt Agreement.” (more…)
Novlipetsk Metallurgical Company (NLMK), the third ranked Russian steelmaker owned by Vladimir Lisin, is considering whether to cancel two recently announced US acquisitions — John Macneely Corporation (JMC) and Beta Steel. JMC was purchased for $3.54 billion in August; Beta Steel for $400 million in September. The deals are not complete, but closure had been expected before the year’s end.
NLMK spokesman Evgeniy Lukashevich claimed Friday that nothing was happening, telling CRU Steel News: “I have no update to our previous statement, when we announced that we expect to close the deal in 4Q2008.”
Two days earlier, on October 15, in a filing with the US federal district court in New York, the Carlyle group, seller of JMC, revealed that there was a disagreement over revising the price for the JMC transaction. Carlyle and its subsidiary, DBO Holdings, which owns JMC, asked the court to enforce completion of the transaction, or require NLMK to pay costs and damages. According to Moscow reports, which NLMK sources no longer deny, NLMK has asked Carlyle to lower the sale price to take account of the changed circumstances in the global steel market, the fall of steel prices, and a sharp rise in borrowing costs for the deal. NLMK’s bankers — Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale, and Deutsche Bank — have reportedly lifted the interest rate from an initially agreed LIBOR plus 45 points to LIBOR plus 145-320 points. (more…)
Delay and new cost conditions may persuade De Beers to abandon the Grib pipe
By John Helmer in Moscow
Unclear conditions set for De Beers’ s new Archangelsk region diamond project, and unexplained delays by the Russian government in communicating them, are likely to trigger the cancellation of the $172 million fund-raising, held last June by Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC). The money to finance the restart of the big diamond mining project has been held in escrow since the placement was closed on June 24. It is now likely to be returned to its contributors, who have seen the value of their shareholding in ADC fall by 60% since June.
On October 10, Russia’s Control Commission for Foreign Investment, a cabinet-level body chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, reviewed the application by De Beers and LUKoil for state approval of its joint venture to mine the Grib diamond pipe, with an estimated $7 billion in mineable diamonds. A public announcement of the approval was issued to the press by a member of the commission, Igor Artemyev; he heads the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), which is the staffing agency for the commission.
The commission should have produced a signed protocol of its ruling, and sent it to De Beers and LUKoil within three days of signing. But ADC has not announced this receipt yet. FAS sources were unable to say on October 20 whether the protocol has been signed. According to the commission regulations, once the signed notice of decision has been sent to the applicants, they have 20 days to confirm their acceptance. (more…)
The first sign of a Russian economic crisis is a line of desperate people, pushing and shoving outside a locked door, on which a scribbled sign has been posted indicating that the cash those outside thought they owned would be unavailable until further notice.
In the classic Soviet tradition, a handful of enterprising individuals would go to the back door to see what could be arranged out of the glare of publicity and with a little bribery for those inside. There they were told the truth – their money had gone.
So far, as the financial crisis continues to engulf the world, only four or five Russian banks have gone to the wall, visibly – KIT Finance, a small St Petersburg investment institution connected to cabinet ministers; Bank Soyuz, the cash box of Oleg Deripaska’s aluminum-based holding; EvrasiaTsentr (“Eurasia Center”), a tiny Moscow lender; and Globex, a slightly bigger retail deposit bank, also in Moscow.
All have been swiftly secured, without the distress becoming too public or a line of angry depositors forming outside. The sale of Renaissance Capital, a fifth investment house, for a fraction of its pre-crisis value, was another distress sign, but not in the mass market. (more…)
Russia’s vice premier for energy and resources, Igor Sechin — who is also chairman of Rosneft, the state owner oil producer and lead exporter — met behind closed doors on the weekend with the heads of Russia’s oil and gas majors to discuss their refinancing problems.
State intervention to support the oilers’ debt rollover is likely to be followed by further support measures for the state-controlled tanker companies, which faces rising foreign debt bills for their tanker newbuilds. Sechin, who also supervises shipbuilding and ports, and is closed aligned with Gunvor owner, Gennady Timchenko, has recommended giving the oil companies a total of $9 billion via the state development institution, Vnesheconombank (VEB), so that they can refinance foreign loans over the next nine months. Analysts believe this will be divided into $1 billion for Gazprom, $1.8 bilion for TNK-BP, $2 billion for LUKOIL, and $4.2 billion for Rosneft. The final distribution of the funds will be decided at the VEB board, which is chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Russian oilers are believed to owe about $80 billion in foreign-sourced loans.
Gunvor has told Fairplay it is actively seeking finance to expand Timchenko’s stakes in the Baltic oil trades, including the new Ust-Luga terminal, rail transportation of oil, fleet operations, and independent gas exports. (more…)
When United Company Rusal, the international aluminium producer controlled by Oleg Deripaska, invited a 37-man delegation of Chinese reporters and cameramen to Russia last month, the aim was to get across the message that China is the central kingdom in the Deripaska empire; that as much or more investment is promised for China than Rusal has so far committed to Russia itself for the next few years.
Deripaska’s future, wrote a reporter for the Hong Kong Standard, “may depend on China. It is the mainland’s voracious appetite for raw materials that has fueled a boom in aluminum prices that is expected to continue unabated.”
Another Chinese reporter in the delegation reported Rusal chief executive, Alexander Bulygin, as describing a roadshow in Hong Kong, which Rusal ran in parallel to the media tour of Russia: “How can I not like Hong Kong. I have been there twice in the past six weeks.” That roadshow, Bulygin confided, was aimed at finding a handful of Chinese investors to buy into Rusal, ahead of a public share listing. “We plan to find a whole spectrum of strategic investors – not one, but five to seven different investors representing different sectors,” he said. The private Chinese placement was intended to sell a 2% shareholding stake in Rusal; a later IPO at selling between 10% and 20%. (more…)
Deep cuts in steel output at Russian mills have been exaggerated by some steelmakers and the press and reflect attempts by some Russian proprietors, like Alexei Mordashov, owner of Severstal, to sustain profit margins, according to industry sources.
“Although the market is not in the best mood right now, and there are real problems, I think the cutback announcements are part of a PR campaign as well,” said Lev Chesalov, an analyst at the Russian steel market monitor, Rusmet.
“The proprietors may regard the push-down on the falling share price as an opportunity to buy back their own shares. I don’t believe MMK will oust 3,000 people as has appeared in the press, or that Severstal may cut 30% of its production.”
Mordashov has ordered a 25% cut in crude steel at Severstal’s Cherepovets mill in Russia, and a 30% cut in output for October at the group’s US and Italian mills. (more…)
Russia’s aluminium and nickel oligarchs go to the mat for state bank funding.
A fierce battle has begun for access to state bank cash to determine who ends up in control of Russia’s largest metal and mining companies, Norilsk Nickel and United Company Rusal.
Rusal spokesman Vera Kurochkina disclosed officially in Moscow on Wednesday that Rusal has applied for a large loan from Vnesheconombank (VEB), a wholly state owned institution, which has been ordered by the Kremlin to provide stand-by financing to domestic banks in current difficulty.
In addition to banks, several Russian oil majors, plus Gazprom, have told the government they need emergency financing to enable them to refinance their external debt in the global financial crisis. LUKoil says it wants to borrow between $2 billion and $5 billion. Rosneft, which is state owned, must pay $750 million by year’s end, and a further $2.4 billion in the first half of 2009.
Trading in Russian stocks has been halted more than once this week, but based on latest figures, Gazprom is 67% off its high price, with a current market value of $117 billion; LUKoil is 62% down with a current market value of $37 billion; the respective numbers for Rosneft are 68% down and $41 billion, and for Norlisk, 83% down and $11 billion. (more…)
Norilsk Nickel investigation of asset spinoff leads to questioning of shareholder intention
Mikhail Prokhorov’s holding company, Onexim, has officially confirmed that Mikhail Prokhorov will not proceed with the asset division agreement he signed on September 14 with former partner, Vladimir Potanin.
A statement issued to Mineweb by the holding’s chief executive, Dmitry Razumov, claims: “We made a proposal to Interros [Potanin’s holding company], but have not yet received an answer. The ball is in Interros’s court.” Referring to Russian press agency reports that Prokhorov had called off the deal after declaring force majeure is not explained by Razumov. Instead, his statement claims: “information on any force majeure on our side, preventing us from reaching an agreement with Interros, has nothing to do with reality.”
Mineweb reported a week ago that the deal had collapsed. A source close to the negotiations told Mineweb: “This was not a formal agreement. It was a protocol, in simple written form, not an agreement according to Russian legislation, though it may be so according to other countries.” Interros has told Mineweb it is not commenting on the terms that were and agreed and signed. (more…)
Russia’s biggest iron-ore miner defers public share sale due to global cash crisis
Metalloinvest, the Russian steel and iron-ore holding controlled by Alisher Usmanov, has failed to fix an international market value for listing and sale of its shares. This is the market interpretation after an announcement on Thursday by chief executive, Maxim Basov, that the group (also referred to as Gazmetall) will not proceed with a planned Initial Placement Offering (IPO) this year.
Basov was quoted in a Russian press agency bulletin as saying “our shareholders and management examined the possibility of conducting an IPO this autumn as an option for growth. But we decided against this. There’s a serious crisis in the world and an IPO simply doesn’t make sense.”
Usmanov holds 50% of the private shareholding; Andrei Skoch, 30%; and Vasily Anisimov, 20%. The main assets in the holding are the Ural Steel (Nosta) and Oskol steelmills, and the two iron-ore mines, Lebedeinsky and Mikhailovsky.
In February, negotiations for a merger between Usmanov and the Ukrainian Industrial Union of Donbass (IUD) foundered over valuation and control issues. At the time, Usmanov had valued his assets at $20 billion, while he insisted that a swap of shares should leave IUD with less than a 50% stake in the new, merged company. (more…)
Polyus Gold waits for the green light – or is it red?
Glenn Gould, the world’s greatest pianist, and a notorious automobile driver, once admitted: “It’s true that I’ve driven through a number of red lights on occasion. But on the other hand, I’ve stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten the credit for it.”
Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian oligarch who controls Polyus Gold, Russia’s most valuable gold miner (ticker PLZL:RU), may not be getting all the credit he deserves. It is understandable, therefore, that through spokesmen at his Moscow holding, Onexim, and indirectly through the media, he has been publicising a number of cash demonstrations in a marketplace stripped of most of its liquidity.
There is, for example, the $500 million he paid in September, plus another $500 million or so in pledged capital, for Renaissance Capital, a Moscow investment house that strenuously denies it holds toxic obligations, or operating losses it cannot cover.
There is also €496 million for the most expensive house ever sold in France. According to sources in the Nice area and Onexim, as well as French press reports, during the summer Prokhorov sent his representatives to inspect the villa at Villefranche-sur-Mer; negotiated the price; and paid a non-refundable €50 million deposit. No trace of such a payment has been reported in France, nor notarial evidence of the deal. Onexim said Prokhorov had not bought the house in France – as of mid-August. (more…)
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.
By Margarita Menshikova, translated by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with
On the day before Good Friday (Orthodox), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported at the Kremlin to President Vladimir Putin that at Mariupol, inside the Azovstal steel works, about two thousand troops remain underground, including foreigners. Putin issued the following order: “There is no need to penetrate these catacombs and crawl under these industrial facilities. Seal off the industrial zone completely.”
Four days earlier on April 17, the Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov told the press that “up to four hundred foreign mercenaries were trapped [at Azovstal]… Most of them are citizens of European countries, as well as Canada. We have already reported earlier that radio conversations between militants in Mariupol are conducted in six foreign languages”
Today, an unusually detailed report by the Moscow internet broadcaster Tsargrad was published to signal the strategic significance and political value of the NATO officers in their command bunker under Azovstal.