PUMPING IRON, PUMPING AIR — WHAT THE TRANSCONTAINER IPO REVEALS ABOUT THE VALUE OF THE RUSSIAN STATE GUARANTEE

By John Helmer, Moscow

When Transcontainer, the state rail company, started selling its shares in the form of global depositary receipts (GDR) on the London Stock Exchange on November 11, the price fixing was $80 per share, $8 per GDR.

“We are very pleased that the first IPO of a subsidiary of Russian Railways has been positively received by international investors’, said RZhD President Vladimir Yakunin (see image). ‘We view this as a strong gesture of their support for the ongoing reform of the Russian railway transportation sector. RZhD warmly welcomes new shareholders of Trans-Container and will continue to support Trans-Container’s business in Russia and abroad.”

But this isn’t what happened at all – and Yakunin, along with everyone else in the international market, knows it.
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THE NEW RUSSIAN ROULETTE — WHO WILL BE NAMED IN THE US GOVERNMENT CABLES ON RUSSIAN CORRUPTION? GENTS, PLACE YOUR BETS

By John Helmer, Moscow

According to the announcement from Wikileaks, and confirmed by the US State Department, next week there will be the public disclosure of approximately 2.8 million classified US cables and internal government reports identifying foreign government corruption and other criminality; and also what US-allied governments, such as the UK, Canada, Norway, and Australia, are doing to conceal it. The New York Times and the Guardian of London are preparing the materials for publication.
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THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS – HARRY POTTER IS THE ONLY FOREIGNER ALLOWED TO LOOK INSIDE (BUT THAT’S KIDSTUFF)

By John Helmer, Moscow

Deep inside the Russian government there is a chamber of secrets where officials have gathered just eight times since April 29, 2008, the day when then-President Vladimir Putin signed the law that created the chamber. The law was entitled “On Procedures for Foreign Investments in Business Entities of Strategic Importance for National Defence and State Security”; for short, Law № 57-FZ. The chamber is called the Government Commission for Control of Foreign Investment in the Russian Federation, the Control Commission for short (aka the Government Commission).
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GAZPROM REVEALS NIGERIAN NERVES, AS PIRATES STRIKE OFF LAGOS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Gazprom, Russia’s largest company and the world’s leading exporter of natural gas, says it will delay all investment spending in Nigeria at least until next year’s Nigerian presidential election result is decided, and new legislation enacted to secure foreign investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. The statement of Gazprom’s nervousness came just before Nigerian pirates attacked a Russian oil tanker off Lagos, injuring four seamen.
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VALLAR PICKS INDONESIAN OLIGARCH OVER RUSSIANS

By John Helmer, Moscow

After months of speculation that the recent Rothschild family flotation Vallar Plc would buy a Russian iron-ore or coalminer, Vallar has announced in London that instead it is buying an Indonesian steam coal group owned by Aburizal Bakrie (right image). Bakrie is described in the Financial Times as “arguably Indonesia’s most powerful businessman”.
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CHINESE GIVE DERIPASKA ANOTHER HAIRCUT

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska’s electricity company, Eurosibenergo, is facing the loss of between 7% and 33% of its potential value in the Hong Kong market, as the banks running the attempt at a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange can find few sharebuyers who value the company above the range of $4 billion to $5.6 billion. The banks are Bank of China International, Russia’s state-controlled VTB, and Deutsche Bank.
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TOO MUCH LIQUID, TOO MUCH AIR – RUSSIA’S SANITARY CHIEF DEFLATED

By John Helmer, Moscow

The threat of a total ban on the multi-billion dollar frozen chicken trade to Russia, commencing January 1, has been dropped by the head of Russia’s Trade and Inspection Agency (Rospotrebnadzor, RPN), Gennady Onishchenko. Just as he gave no reason for threatening the ban a few days ago, Onishchenko has given no reason for changing his mind, when he announced it through the state news agency, RIA-Novosti, on Saturday.
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NODDY IN BIG TROUBLE IN GUINEA – MORDASHOV FACES GOLDMINE LICENCE REVOCATION

By John Helmer, Moscow

Nord Gold, the Russian mining company owned by Alexei Mordashov, has run into a grave new legal challenge to one of its most valuable gold-mining operations in the West African Republic of Guinea. The bad news comes after the unexplained failure of Mordashov’s company to confirm that it has been approved by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) to sell its shares on the London Stock Exchange.
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THE INDIANS ARE COMING! RUSSIAN DIAMOND CUTTERS TRY HALTING THE CHARGE (AND THE DISCOUNT)

By John Helmer, Moscow

Negotiations between Surat Rough Diamond Sourcing Ltd (SRDSIL), one of the largest cutters and polishers of diamonds in the world, are under way with Alrosa and the Russian state stockpile agency Gokhran. And just a few days after they began in Moscow, the Indian move has triggered an unusual domestic protest. In a statement issued publicly, the Russian diamond manufacturers have announced their concern that SRDSIL may cut into the domestic supplies which the Russians are counting on from the state stockpile.
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NUTTY-2 – HOW FAT, HOW THIN? USMANOV ISSUES METALLOINVEST CLAIMS WITHOUT AUDITED REPORTS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Metalloinvest, the steel and iron-ore holding controlled by Alisher Usmanov, has issued a press release summarizing what it claims are audited financial results for the six months to June 30. The good news has been timed, and also trimmed, to boost Usmanov’s attempt to find market demand and regulatory approval for an initial public offering; or for a takeover and reverse listing transaction with London-listed Vallar.
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GENERALOV RESCUES STATE RAIL COMPANY PRIVATIZATION

By John Helmer, Moscow

Sergei Generalov has once again proved to be the federal Transport Ministry’s Ninja, leaping out of his staid business-suit and spectacle disguise to toss his grappling-hook, and rescue the privatization of state-owned rail transport company, Transcontainer.
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RUSSIANS ENTER THE BIDDING FOR POTASH CORPORATION – TARGET IS THE BIG AUSTRALIAN, BUT CAN THE BEAR’S TUNE BE SWEETER TO CANADIAN EARS?

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Kremlin is thinking of bidding against Australia’s BHP Billiton (BHP) for control of Canada’s leading potash producer, Potash Corporation. But those promoting the bid in Moscow won’t say why they believe the Canadian government should agree to a takeover which the Russians admit they would ask Russia’s Control Commission for Foreign Investment to refuse, if the positions were reversed.
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THE MOHEL* COMES FOR OLEG DERIPASKA – EN+ AND STRIKEFORCE CAN’T BE SOLD IN HONG KONG – ATTEMPT TO LIST UTILITY EUROSIBENERGO INSTEAD

By John Helmer, Moscow

If you’re wandering in the desert, and there isn’t enough water to go around, you need to be able to tell your friends at the well from your foes. The ancient Hebrew tribes found that circumcising their members was a particularly reliable device. They didn’t have to punch the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) toggle used in modern aircraft cockpits – they just pulled down their pants.
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FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV ASKS LOBBYIST TO PURSUE US VISA FOR OLEG DERIPASKA – CONTRADICTS RUSAL PROSPECTUS CLAIMS REGARDING DERIPASKA’S FREEDOM TO TRAVEL

By John Helmer, Moscow

US statutes require the registration of American agents who are acting for foreign companies or foreign individuals in an attempt to influence US legislation, political debate, or government decision-making in favour of their clients’ interests. Camouflage and concealment are unlawful, and can verge on espionage in the minds of some US prosecutors.

Lobbying is generally legal, so long as the lobbying activities themselves – letter-writing, meeting officials, donations to political campaigns, etc. — are registered and regularly reported to the Foreign Agents Registration unit (FARA) at the US Department of Justice in Washington.
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PROKHOROV PROPOSES NEW WORK REGIME FOR RUSSIANS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Does he or doesn’t he? Is S&M best practice in his management thinking — cutting-edge in the literal sense?

Mikhail Prokhorov has a funny way of answering questions about his tastes, and ingratiating himself with reporters at the same time. When interviewed recently by a special reporter for the New York Times – the Times editors were reluctant to commit one of their regular byliners to the job – Prokhorov showed how he is able to break a man’s leg in just three furtive moves.
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MRS CROESUS EXPLAINS THE REBARBATIVE QUALITIES OF POTASH – DMITRY RYBOLOVLEV LEARNS THE LESSON THAT SWITZERLAND IS RISKIER THAN RUSSIA FOR HIDING WEALTH FROM WOMEN

“One oligarch, One divorce, Two abysses”, Pierre-Alexandre Sallier, Le Temps, Geneva,
October 30, 2010 — translated from the French

In Geneva, the wife of Dmitri Rybolovlev demands half of his wealth of 12 thousand million Swiss francs ($12.1 billion)

Their separation plunges Swiss justice into the heart of the battle between the Kremlin and the king of the potash

This affair leaves two big holes, one in Cologny, the most upper-crust hill of Geneva, the other one in the Urals
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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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