URALCHEM IPO FAILS ON IMPACT OF LONDON MARKET REGULATOR — NEW PRECEDENT FOR RUSSIAN CORPORATE DISCLOSURE – IS THAT MORGAN STANLEY AND UBS GETTING NAILED?

By John Helmer in Moscow

The first major Russian corporation to attempt to issue shares on the London Stock Exchange since the 2008 crisis has now failed, after the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) opened an investigation into Dmitry Mazepin’s fertilizer holding Uralchem.

Undisclosed shareholders; a mysterious $200 million share transaction involving insiders; and inadequate financial disclosure by the company and its auditor, are among the problems newly revealed to the FSA in a 59-page complaint lodged by the Brown Rudnick law firm on April 26.
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PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT – WHAT IS BEHIND ANOTHER PUTIN FAVOUR FOR UKRAINE

By John Helmer in Moscow

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced through the Interfax wire service that as part of the improving relationship between his government and that of the newly elected Ukrainian President, Victor Yanukovich, the Russian government is prepared to accept a current import quota for Ukrainian large diameter pipes (LDP) of up to 260,000 tonnes. LDP is required for Russia’s major oil and gas pipeline projects being built by Transneft, Stroitransgas, and the oil companies.
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THE MAZEPIN CHOICE – IS THIS A ONE-MAN BAND PLAYING OUT OF TUNE, OR A PRETTY GIRL REVEALING ALL (ALMOST)?

By John Helmer in Moscow

If you can peer through the volcanic dust, you can tell it’s spring again for the world’s farmers and global feed and food grain production. So naturally the Russian fertilizer companies, which have been one-man bands until now, are thinking of coming back to the stock markets. The first to try out is Uralchem, owned by Dmitry Mazepin, which issued its prospectus for a London Stock Exchange share sale on April 19.

A 40% bloc of shares is for sale to raise between $496 million and $642 million, according to Uralchem’s target. But as one-man bands go, mark analysts who have read the offer document, it’s out of tune with the market realities.
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EVRAZ IMITATES JOHN HENRY, DOES THE OBVIOUS – BUILDS NEW RAIL LINE TO BYPASS KRIVOY ROG BLOCKADE

By John Helmer in Moscow

The Evraz Group, Russia’s biggest steelmaker, has announced that it has started construction of a new railroad to serve the group’s iron-ore mine and combine, Sukha Balka at Dniepropetrovsk in the Ukraine.

An official statement by Evraz spokesman Alexei Agureyev in Moscow explains that the new line may take six months to complete, and that the effort and expense have been forced on Evraz, owned by Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, by the refusal of the competing iron-ore mine, Krivoy Rog Iron-Ore Combine (KZhRK), owned by Igor Kolomoisky, to allow Sukha Balka to use the same track. Agureyev had also announced earlier that the rail blockade was forcing Sukha Balka to suspend production. Last year, according to the published data, Sukha Balka produced 1.7 million tonnes of iron-ore, down 38% on the 2008 production level, and contributing to a loss of 55.6 million hryvnia ($6.2 million). Sukha Balka and KZhRK produce iron-ore concentrate of similar quality, and sell into the same markets.
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URALCHEM TRIES GOOSEY-GANDERING THE LONDON STOCK MARKET

By John Helmer in Moscow

Uralchem is the latest of Russia’s fertilizer producers and exporters to ask the London stock market to subscribe funds on trust. Between $496 million and $642 million worth of trust, according to the document entitled “Preliminary Prospectus” issued for Uralchem on April 19. The offerors are Renaissance Capital, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Unicredit, with a hand in broking from Russia’s state savings institution, Sberbank.
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THE FESCO CHORUS LINE — GENERALOV HIGH-STEPS THE GOOD NEWS, BUT THE MARKET MUST WAIT FOR THE AUDITED END OF THE SHOW

By John Helmer in Moscow

Sergei Generalov, controlling shareholder and chief executive of Far Eastern Shipping Company (Fesco), has issued an investor presentation on last year’s results without audited financial details. The leak appears to be a repeat of last week’s financial advertorial in London by Russian tanker fleet company, Sovcomflot, except that Fesco denies being responsible for the disclosure.
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HERCULE GOES TO THE CAUCASUS – THE MYSTERY OF THE HOT RUSSIAN DIAMOND SWITCH

By John Helmer in Moscow

Alrosa has referred to the criminal prosecutors and the Russian courts the investigation of a case of substitution of low-value synthetic stones in a batch of Alrosa rough that was sold to a foreign client. Andrei Polyakov, the company spokesman, told PolishedPrices.com that a case of substitution had been discovered “recently”. He declined to say who is suspected, and how exactly the substitution was pulled off. The evidence will appear in court, Polyakov added, and “it’s up to the law enforcement services to find who is guilty”.
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SERGEI FRANK TRIES PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT, PROLONGS TIME FOR SOVCOMFLOT EMISSION

By John Helmer in Moscow

According to the clinical experts, premature ejaculation is a common phenomenon that is most often caused by anxiety and overstimulation. One of the expert manuals suggests that psychological factors, such as guilt, may also be relevant. With time, the condition usually improves without formal treatment.
 

Pharmaceutical stimulants are known to remedy the physiological symptoms, speed up the cure, and protract effective performance. When it comes to the financial organs, though, on display in open share markets, there is no comparable treatment for repetitive promises of listings that are not consummated.

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HOW CAN NODDY AFFORD THE NOD? MORDASHOV PREPARES BILLION-DOLLAR BID FOR UKRAINIAN STEEL COMPANY, BUT CAN’T GET FINANCIAL REPORTS OUT ON TIME

By John Helmer in Moscow

In a move that has drawn immediate skepticism in the Russian steel industry, Alexei Mordashov’s Severstal group has entered the bidding for the Ukraine’s fourth steel maker, Zaporizhstal, which is currently owned by four shareholders — Eduard Shifrin and Alex Schnaider of the Midland group; Igor Butler and Vitaly Satsky.
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TO BE A BREAD BASKET, OR NOT TO BE — RUSSIAN STATE GRAIN COMPANY PREPARES $3.4 BILLION IN NEW GRAIN TERMINALS FOR A FLOOD OF RUSSIAN GRAIN TO THE WORLD

By John Helmer in Moscow

In case you haven’t realized, Russia is now running third in the league of world grain exporters, trailing the US and Canada, but ahead of Australia. (China remains the world’s largest producer of wheat, but eats it all up.)

With the aim of competing against government wheat marketing companies like the Canada Wheat Board and the now privatized Australian Wheat Board, and hoping to take 9% of the global grain trade for itself, Russia’s state-owned United Grain Company (OZK) has signed memoranda of intention for new grain loading terminals at seven ports, including two in Estonia. Established just over a year ago in Moscow by consolidating the state stakes in 31 domestic grain companies, OZK is also aiming to become the dominant Russian grain exporter, beating out the commercial traders with a target 40% of export volumes within five years.
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NOT SO AMAZING SPIDERMAN, CAUGHT IN OLIGARCHS’ WEB — CHALLENGE TO PUTIN ISSUED BY DEPUTY INDUSTRY MINISTER

By John Helmer in Moscow

A senior Russian industry ministry official has come to the defence of domestic steelmakers, warning that an attempt to roll back or penalize their recent price increases could lead to the ultimate bogeyman — a flood of cheap Chinese-made steel into the Russian market. Andrey Dementiev, a Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, made a public statement, reported Thursday by Reuters, that if a price-rigging investigation now under way by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) leads to sanctions against the steelmakers for lifting their prices, “it is possible that we would choke the metallurgists to death, but in such a case, we will have to use Chinese steel. Today, internal prices are in any case lower, but it is not possible to support them artificially.”
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CAN SPIDERMAN TAKE THE STING OUT OF SCORPION’S PROFITS? PUTIN ORDERS PRICE-RIGGING INVESTIGATION OF RUSSIA’S LEADING STEELMAKERS

By John Helmer in Moscow

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has requested that the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) open an investigation of price rigging in the domestic sale of steel products. It is the first direct intervention by the prime minister against the profit-taking by oligarch-owned companies since August of 2008, when his last, if temporary victim was Igor Zyuzin, owner of the Mechel steel and mining group.
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NOW YOU SEE THE SHIPS, NOW YOU DON’T – TRANSPORT MINISTER LEVITIN TRIES AN OLD PLOY

In 1855, the English photographer Roger Fenton took these photographs of what the invading British Army called Cossack Bay, at Balaclava, during the Crimean War (in Russian, the Oriental War).

By John Helmer in Moscow

Russia’s Transport Minister Igor Levitin reported a huge number last month, which, if true, would mean that Russian shipbuilding is booming, and the yards will be full to overflowing for the decade to come.
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HOW HIGH TO FLY — SEVERSTAL PREPARES HIGH RIVER GOLD FOR VALUE TAKEOFF, BUT WHAT IS THE TWEETY BIRD DOING TO FRUSTRATE OUR BOY?

By John Helmer in Moscow

If Alexei Mordashov (right figure), owner of the Severstal steelmaking and mining group, has genuinely decided to let the stock markets lift the share value of High River Gold (ticker HRG:CN), then delaying the public release of the company’s financials and blaming the auditor are a funny way of going about it.

But then according to insiders at Severstal Resources – the mining division which owns the majority stake in HRG – Mordashov is preoccupied at the moment with another problem. That is the resistance he and his men are facing, but failed to anticipate, for their attempt at taking over another goldmining property, Crew Gold, owned until recently by Jens Ulltveit-Moe (Tweety, left figure). With Crew, Mordashov is at risk of getting stuck up the high river without his paddle.
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GET THERE FAST, BUT DON’T DRINK THE WATER – EVRAZ TO BUILD TRACKS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINES AT NOVOKUZNETSK, BUT SKIP WASTE-WATER TREATMENT

By John Helmer in Moscow

The Evraz Group, Russia largest steelmaker, has started a $440 million project to reconstruct the Novokuznetsk Metallurgical Combine (NKMK) mill to produce 25-metre and 100-metre rails for high-speed railway lines being built in Russia.

A company announcement says the new mill at Novokuznetsk city, in the Kemerovo region, will be commissioned in 2012, and will have production capacity for about one million tonnes of high-speed rails, including 450,000 tonnes of the 100-m type. At present, this type is not produced in Russia. According to Evraz, reconstruction of NKMK will involve a new automatic rail-rolling line, as well as rail hardening and straightening equipment to bring the product up to the quality standard of imports.
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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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