ON YOUR TOES, HANG ON TO YOUR HAT – HAPPY NEW YEAR

The greeting card looks happily auspicious. But as many Russians know, or should remember, the month of January 1937 saw the second of Stalin’s show trials against alleged Trotskyists, the epitome of evil in Russia in those days. That was followed in June of 1937 by the trumped-up trial and execution of Marshal Tukhachevsky and seven other Red Army commanders. Stalin had gulled Hitler and his men into forging evidence against Tukhachevsky and the others in case torture didn’t produce their self-incrimination. It did.
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CABBAGES AND ROTHSCHILDS – THE SPECIAL HORTICULTURE OF SPREADING MANURE, GRAFTING, AND FORCING FOR THE ENRICHMENT OF EVERYBODY – WELL, ALMOST EVERYBODY – WELL, SOMEBODY WITH TASTE

By John Helmer, Moscow

When a man of quality like Robin Lane Fox finds beauty in a row of cabbages, it’s churlish to do anything but admire his acuity and taste. And if the cabbages are in the kitchen garden of Jacob Rothschild, the 4th Baron Rothschild (left) and father of Nathaniel Rothschild (right), let the vegetables not be blamed for the manure which enriches them.
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DERIPASKA FACES $5 BILLION IN TAX EVASION CLAIMS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska is running out of friends who stick up for him, especially at the Finance Ministry in Moscow and the Federal Tax Service.

Deripaska doesn’t deny that the practice of tolling, through which his United Company Rusal has saved at least $5 billion in tax payments to the Russian treasury over the past decade, is a boon. But he claims this is lawful. More, he claims it is approved by the Russian government. On the other hand, for the first time this month, the alignment of domestic political forces in Moscow has approached the point where officials dare to say aloud that Rusal’s tolling is a form of stealing.
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FREAKS — POLYUS GOLD TRIES TELLING THE TRUTH THROUGH NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE MIKHAIL PROKHOROV

By John Helmer, Moscow

Tod Browning was an American filmmaker of the early 20th century who suffered from circus obsessions, alcohol, wife and career troubles, which distracted him from showing an interest in the Russian revolution. While the Bolsheviks were planning their takeover of the Kerensky government, Browning made his first feature film. Called Jim Bludso, the story line was about a riverboat captain who sacrificed himself to save the lives of the boat passengers during a fire. It was a hit of sorts.
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SOLLY GARKOV PLAYS PIN THE TALE TO THE DONKEY — THE DONKEY, THAT’S US

By John Helmer, Moscow

Suleiman Kerimov is a businessman of note. He is also a member of the Federation Council, as the upper chamber of the Russian parliament is called. His long parliamentary career began in 1999, when he was elected to the State Duma, as the lower chamber is known. Unlike any elected deputy or senator you can think of the world over, Kerimov doesn’t make speeches in public or in the chamber; and he doesn’t answer questions from the press
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DOG OF A DEAL FINDS MASTER – LEAK OF PROPOSED ALROSA SALE OF RUSSIAN DIAMOND MINE STAKE TO RIO TINTO

By John Helmer, Moscow

A Moscow newspaper claims today to have seen a document confirming that Russia’s diamond-mining monopoly Alrosa is trying to sell a 50% stake in the Lomonosov diamond field to Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining company based in London. Alrosa is the largest producer of diamonds in the world at present; Rio tinto ranks third, following De Beers. Rio Tinto currently produces from mines in Australia, Canada, and Zimbabwe, with a mine in planning in India.
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POTASH CHAMPION IN THE SKY – WHO ARE THE WISEGUYS KIDDING?

By John Helmer, Moscow

This is the season for believing.

But less than a fortnight ago, one of the three wise men in the picture – left to right, Filaret Galchev, Alexander Nesis, Suleiman Kerimov – was saying aloud (privately) that the problems of satisfying stakeholders in the proposed Russian potash consolidation were so complicated, he couldn’t hazard a guess on how they would be resolved, except slowly – very slowly. This evening, even with his feet up and noone else listening in, he says he still doesn’t know how the announcement of the merger between Uralkali and Silvinit was finalized yesterday, or even whether it has been finalized.
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ALROSA DELAYS SHARE CONVERSION, SLOW TO FLEX MUSCLES

By John Helmer, Moscow

No major shareholder obstacles now stand in the way of the reorganization of Alrosa’s corporate structure, but conversion to the open shareholding company format will take another six months, company spokesman Andrei Polyakov told Polishedprices.com today.
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PROKHOROV IS AFTER DERIPASKA’S SHARES IN RUSAL, MAYBE MORE

By John Helmer, Moscow

In Oleg Deripaska’s short career history, his Russian partners don’t last for long.

The record for sufferance is held by Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney), whose agreement to lend Deripaska money and grant him trustee rights over Chernoy’s 13% shareholding in United Company Rusal lasted for more than five years – between 2001 and 2006 – before Chernoy concluded that Deripaska was cheating him, and opened contract enforcement and recovery proceedings in the UK High Court.
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A FEAST FOR THE TSARINA

By John Helmer, Moscow

Not since Raisa Gorbacheva revealed that she knew how to use a credit card for shopping and displayed the PhD she had bought, I mean earned, has the wife of a Russian head of state attracted such a display of petit bourgeois chagrin.
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WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS – SOVCOMFLOT IPO HALTED BY UK COURT RULING ON SERGEI FRANK, IGOR SHUVALOV CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT JUSTICE

By John Helmer, Moscow

The 421-page ruling of UK High Court Justice Andrew Smith, issued on Friday in London, dismisses all charges and claims pursued for the past five years against Dmitry Skarga, former chief executive of Sovcomflot, and Tagir Izmaylov, his counterpart at Novorossiysk Shipping Company (Novoship). The consequences are dramatic for the Russian government. The judgement makes impossible the public listing of Sovcomflot shares in any international market because of the evidence disclosed that the company lies to its auditors, falsifies financial records, encourages perjury, and knowingly engages corrupt officials for the purpose of fabricating schemes of personal vengeance and wrongful enrichment.
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FLASH! SERGEI FRANK DEFEATED IN THE UK HIGH COURT – SOVCOMFLOT FOUND TO HAVE FABRICATED CASE AGAINST FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CHARTERING PARTNER

By John Helmer, Moscow

The UK High Court ruled this morning in London that the half-billion dollar fraud claim pursued by state shipping company Sovcomflot and its chief executive Sergei Frank was based on fabrications and lies. Frank was condemned in the ruling, and his witnesses dismissed as dishonest. Former Sovcomflot chief executive Dmitry Skarga and former chartering partner Yury Nikitin, have been vindicated in the ruling by Justice Sir Andrew Smith, which was handed down at 10 o’clock London time.
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JP MORGAN PLAYS SAMSON AND DALILA – BANK GIANT DEMANDS SYDNEY APPEALS COURT ALLOW DOUBLING AND TRIPLING OF FEES FOR MINE TAKEOVER

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Bible isn’t nice to giants. Goliath goes down to a single stone from a slingshot-tossing boy. And Samson, whom the ancient Hebrews thought was so strong he could lift two mountains and rub them together like lumps of earth, fell for the temptress Delilah; she got him to go to sleep, then sapped his strength by cutting off his hair.
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SPILT MILK IN THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS – PEPSICO TAKEOVER OF WIMM BILL DANN FAST-TRACKED TO THE CONTROL COMMISSION, BUT INFECTIOUS BUGS LEAVE THEIR TRAIL

By John Helmer, Moscow

Until today, milk, fruit pulp, and flavoured water (aka juice) have not been known to be strategic resources in the Russian Federation. But clever lobbying, or incredible stupidity, has arranged to make them seem so, and thereby create the appearance of compliance with Russia’s competition and anti-monopoly laws – without the reality.
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AFRICAN WATERS LURE RUSSIAN BIG-SPENDERS

From John Helmer, Moscow

LUKoil, the second largest of Russia’s oil producers and exporters, may spend $900 million over the next two years drilling up to 11 offshore probes for oil in the west Atlantic off Ghana and Ivory Coast, a LUKoil source told Business Day yesterday. The number of wells has diminished since LUKoil officials announced their West Africa targets in September, but the proposed investment looks larger.
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WHO IS ON THE HOOK, WHO IS OFF — HOW RUSSIAN MODERNIZATION REALLY WORKS: INPROM TO BE TAKEN BY EVRAZ

By John Helmer, Moscow

When there was a Russian steel consumption boom three years ago, the domestic steel business wasn’t open to foreign steelmakers, even if they were prepared to pay premium prices to buy into Russian steel assets. And the Russian steel sector remained just as closed when the crash came, driving most of the mills to the verge of bankruptcy — that’s because discount asset values are reserved for Russian buyers. If money doesn’t talk in the Russian marketplace, who or what does?
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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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