SWISS AVALANCHE BEARS DOWN ON VEKSELBERG

By John Helmer in Moscow

Victor Chernomyrdin, one of the creators of Gazprom and Boris Yeltsin’s prime minister from 1992 to 1998, once famously said :“we wanted to do the best, but it came out as always”.

What the sly duffer meant was: “we tried to serve a better interest than our own, but only fools believe it.” That was what made Chernomyrdin famous, and also rich, in that benighted time.
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METHANE TOLERANCE IN RUSSIAN COALMINES — COURT AND MINE SAFETY AGENCY ORDER HALT AT EVRAZ COAL MINE

By John Helmer in Moscow

Evraz, Russia’s largest vertically integrated steel group, has been ordered by the federal mine safety agency Rostekhnadzor (RTN) and a Kemerovo court to stop production at the Esaulskaya mine, in the Kemerovo region, until inspectors have resolved reported methane problems. Esaulskaya is one of several mines in the wholly owned Evraz subsidiary, Yuzhkuzbassugol (YKU — “South Kuzbass Coal”).
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GENERALOV’S BACK TO THE WALL – FESCO SAYS IT ISN’T GOING TO BE PRESSED INTO SELLING OUT OF THE CONTAINER TERMINAL BUSINESS

By John Helmer in Moscow

A deteriorating personal relationship between chief shareholders, and growing financial pressures on loss-making Far Eastern Shipping Company (Fesco), the Russian multimodal transportation leader, have led to a buyout offer for Fesco’s 50% stake in the National Container Company (NCC), which operates the First Container Terminal of St. Petersburg, the biggest box facility in Russia.

First Quantum, the controlling shareholder of NCC, has offered to pay Fesco $440 million for its stake. Industry sources have told Fairplay that Fesco paid $100 million less when it bought into NCC in 2007. In addition to the St. Petersburg terminal, NCC also owns and operates the NUTEP terminal in Novorossiysk; Ukrtranscontainer in Ilyichevsk, Ukraine; and Baltic Container Terminal, which is still in construction at Ust-Luga, on the Gulf of Finland.
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PUTTING A CORK IN IT — THE RUSSIAN WINE RIPOFF , OR WHAT A KREMLIN SOBRIETY POLICY WILL REALLY COST

By John Helmer in Moscow

Russia’s anti-trust buster, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), has established a record of making much ado about little; and of regulating only those corners of the Russian market where no oligarch-sized interest is threatened – unless the threat is pre-authorized by the Kremlin’s running orders. But this week the agency announced there is one Russian trust it feels on safe ground challenging — Russia’s wine importers.
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SHOWDOWN – CAN KUDRIN TAKE BACK THE EAST SIBERIAN TAX BREAK FROM SECHIN AND TIMCHENKO?

By John Helmer in Moscow

Tax-free exports of crude oil from Kozmino, on the Sea of Japan — Russia’s newest oil tanker loading terminal — may be eliminated by April, after a showdown last Friday between the oil industry tsar, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, and the budget tsar, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. For the moment, Kudrin’s pocket derringer is given no chance of prevailing against Sechin’s six-shooter.
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THE BIG TEASE — MORDASHOV TRIES TO SELL A SENSITIVE PIECE OF HIMSELF BACK TO THE ITALIANS

By John Helmer in Moscow

Alexei Mordashov (left figure) has a special thing for the Italians. He’s been rewarded for it in a number of ways.

Last July, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the Italian Ambasador to Russia. The order, according to a Severstal release, is the highest award in Italy. It had been presented to the chief executive and controlling shareholder of Severstal, “for considerable services to the [Italian] nation in the fields of literature, arts, and economics, as well as for social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities.” Owning steelmills in Italy can require the philanthropic and humanitarian impulse, not to mention literary and artistic panache.

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TOLL NOTICE

Cutting-edge recognition machines – supplied by the Russian state corporation, Nanotechnologies, courtesy of chief executive Anatoly Chubais – report that one of the largest groups of readers of this site uses the Rusal company server to gain access and read the reports. If to these are counted Rusal’s civil litigation lawyer Bryan Cave and Rusal’s London libel lawfirm Schillings – the number of people charging Oleg Deripaska and his corporation for reading the materials is currently running into several hundreds each week, and costing many thousands of dollars and pounds per chargeable hour. The Dancing Bear welcomes this display of interest, and congratulates Rusal on its newfound capacity to pay its bills. Evasion of the toll is no laughing matter. Please note that an actor has been employed in this surveillance clip, and the number-plate has been masked, to protect the real driver and car-owner. The real number is y115AM (190).
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NOTICE OF INFORMATION ATTACK


 

If you have been having trouble loading this site, that’s because an attack was launched against the server on Thursday afternoon. After the repair, the site statistics show readers more than doubled. Also, a fake disinformation bio has been loaded on Wikipedia placed by three men with pseudonyms almost as transparent as the fake security credentials carried by the Alfa-Inform gang. The article — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Helmer_(journalist) – is full of errors revealing the work was created by someone without native command of the English language, without a clue on Russian affairs, and without familiarity with this website’s despatches. Readers are invited to guess who would spend so much money to make such a display of incontinence.

MADAME TUSSAUDS OPENS IN MOSCOW – 102 EXHIBITS NEVER SEEN BEFORE – BELIEVE IT OR NOT! YELTSIN BACK FROM THE DEAD



Tatiana Borisovna Yumasheva (aka Dyachenko) has been the politically active of the late President Boris Yeltsin’s two daughters. After shunning publication for years, preserving her privacy, her residence abroad, and her domestic political interests, Yumasheva began publishing a blog on December 3. New essays or comments appear every one or two days – altogether, 38 to date. Over the course of these despatches, Yumasheva explains her publishing intentions at length, but without precision. This has led to speculation that she is launching a public political career for herself. Since she talks about whether Russia is ready to vote for a woman as president, her target may be her father’s old post. For the time being, though, Yumasheva’s basic theme is to present herself as the political heir to Yeltsin’s reputation and votes. Critics of the two of them claim they are electoral liabilities now. But the Levada polling organization says it has never measured public opinion towards Yumasheva; the blog may be the first step towards building a poll rating. If not that, there is the possibility that Yumasheva is bringing Yeltsin back from the dead as the stalking-horse for someone very much alive. Who that might be isn’t clear, yet. But it isn’t likely to be President Dmitry Medvedev, and it is certainly not Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. For they are not only alive; they are making their pact with the Russian electorate without needing Yeltsin at all. Here are some excerpts from Yumasheva.

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ALROSA SENDS UP A TRIAL BALLOON TO BRING DOWN DEBT

By John Helmer in Moscow

The spokesman for Alrosa, the state-owned Russian diamond miner, Andrei Polyakov, has made a statement this week to reporters that Alrosa is considering spinning off three of its diamond mining units, and selling a minority shareholding in each at an initial public offering (IPO). According to a news agency, Polyakov said: “It’s easier to sell shares of separate mining units as ZAO Alrosa itself has some legal constraints. It currently has a legal form of closed joint stock company, which is not suitable for share sale.” The Moscow business daily Vedomosti has reported Polyakov as saying Alrosa “can place at stock exchanges the shares of the subsidiaries Alrosa-Nyurba, Alrosa- Africa, and Severalmaz.” No choice of stock exchange or volume of shares to be sold has been made, the newspaper reported.
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THE LONG AND SHORT HISTORY OF BRITISH BALLS

Two thousand years ago, in the northern reaches of what is today called Scotland, the Picts frightened the Romans by a combination of superior fighting tactics, lurid body painting, and the size of their genitals. Defeat the Romans they did, as this medieval illustration shows. They also forced the Emperor Hadrian into building, further south, his famously expensive Wall to keep the Picts from getting in, and taking Roman cattle out.
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MORE SNOW GAMES – WHO’S THAT ON THE SLOPES AT COURCHEVEL, AND WHAT’S IN THAT FRENCH LETTER?

By John Helmer in Moscow

Mikhail Prokhorov has been honoured, he has announced, by the apology of the French government.

The Sunday Times of London reported this month that “three years after his arrest in the ski resort of Courchevel on charges of pimping [January 9, 2007], Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s richest man, has received an apology from the French authorities for embroiling him in one of the most ill-judged sex scandals of recent times….He was held in a Lyons jail for four days on charges of soliciting for prostitution. Furious at the ‘ludicrous accusations which damaged my reputation’ he launched a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against the French state and demanded an apology. It finally came last month during a meeting between French and Russian officials, presided over by prime ministers Vladimir Putin and Francois Fillon. Prokhorov said: ‘That puts an end to this affair. I said from day one that this case was groundless and am now satisfied with the explanations given to me’.”
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YELLOW PIRATE ALERT!

If you have received a recent communication from an English law firm or public relations enterprise, which you believe casts aspersions on John Helmer’s record, good name or professional reputation, you may have received a publication that is defamatory under the laws of England and actionable in the UK High Court for damages. Your letter, email, fax, tape, or digital record of a telephone conversation may be evidence of libel or slander. Send a copy to johnhelmer@johnhelmer.online, indicating whether you wish to remain anonymous, or a party to a claim against the sender and publisher. Unlock value! Truth is worth more than Shillings!
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ROLL OUT THE BARREL, AT A 50-CENT PREMIUM – GENNADY TIMCHENKO’S NEW EASTERN OIL TRADE STRATEGY

By John Helmer in Moscow

Gennady Timchenko, a powerful Russian businessman, was identified this week in Helsinki as behind International Petroleum Products (IPP), a small trader which won the first 100,000-tonne crude oil loading assignment at Kozmino, Russia’s new oil port on the Sea of Japan.

The news, which a Timchenko spokesman in London is at pains not to deny, reveals a shift in Timchenko’s oil trading geography from the western trades of recent years, into the Fareast and the Asian markets, possibly for the first time. Why Timchenko is trying to reduce Gunvor’s visibility in the oil flows out of Kozmino, and substitute the little known IPP instead, is not known. However, this is not the first of Timchenko’s many lawful and successful businesses which he has sought to keep from public view, even though publicly accessible records confirm the identities and the beneficial links.
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ANOTHER AMERICAN BIRD FOR THE RUSSIAN CHOPPER

By John Helmer in Moscow

The Russian Trade and Inspection Agency (Rospotrebnadzor) has initiated new chlorine limits for poultry processing, commencing this month. The effect will be to cut imports well below the quota levels announced last month, especially of US-produced chicken.

The new Russian chlorine limit is 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams per litre, which is also the potable water standard. The same regulation exists for the European Union (EU) produced poultry, so imports from the EU will not be damaged, an RPN source told Fairplay.
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SNOW GAMES FOR HIGH RIVER GOLD, BUT WHOSE HAND IS SNEGOUROCHKA HOLDING?

By John Helmer in Moscow

The share price of Canadian-listed, Russian-owned goldminer High River Gold (HRG:CN) has shot up by 65% since December 4, and last week hit 89 Canadian cents – its highest level since August of 2008. There has been no news to speak of, but there was a meeting, a month ago, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Does he have the Midas touch?

The Prime Ministry isn’t saying how much time metals and mining oligarch Alexei Mordashov, who controls HRG, spent with Putin when they met in the latter’s office on December 4. But Mordashov has made so many mistakes, incurred such debts, and lost so much money, since the two of them last met intimately in May of 2006, there was plenty to talk about. “Good. Let’s talk in more detail”, said Putin, the instant before the public transcript was cut off.
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RED HAS TURNED YELLOW – THE GREEK AND CYPRIOT COMMUNISTS ARE FLYING A DIFFERENT FLAG IN THE UKRAINE WAR



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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THE WAR AGAINST FOOD – WHO IS TO BLAME



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

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

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

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

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EXILE



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



By Lucy Komisar,  New York*
  @bears_with

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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



By John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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