THE IRON CURTAIN DROPS ON FLINDERS MINES

By John Helmer, Moscow

Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK) announced Thursday it will not agree to extend the time for its agreement to buy Flinders Mines, an Australian iron-ore miner, after the deal deadline or quit date expires tomorrow, June 30. “Magnitogorsk’s decision on its future actions regarding the agreement will be taken only when the results of the court hearings are known,” Kirill Golubkov, a spokesman for MMK, said.
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RUSSIAN READING AWARD GOES TO DANCES WITH BEARS

The inaugural award of the Russian Register for the Revival of all Reading (RRROAR) has been announced today. According to the citation, Dances with Bears is “attracting unprecedented resources to the written word. This deserves the recognition that it is doing more than any other published source in print or on the internet to revive reading in Russia this year.”

The award competition was initiated following reports from Russian book publishers that their business is collapsing. According to Oleg Novikov, chief executive and co-owner of Eksmo, the dominant book-publishing company in Russia today, the market of book readers is contracting by 5% to 7% per year, compared to less than 3% in other countries of comparable literacy. Every year, says Novikov, 2% fewer Russians tell pollsters that they regularly read books. Over the past decade, the proportion of the Russian population reading books has dropped from 55% to 35%. Compared to watching television, playing computer games, and tweeting, Novikov says, “reading books is a more complicated intellectual activity.”
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RUSSIAN WINE FOR INVESTORS – BOTTLE HALF-FULL, OR HALF-EMPTY?

By John Helmer, Moscow

If wine were an investment, like company shares, gold, or real estate, then you would expect the Russian oligarchs to put their hands into this particular till. But hobby vineyards and French chateaux aside, there haven’t been many. Still, Vadim Varshavsky’s Croizet cognac (Charente) has not proved to be as ill-fated as his steel business. Eugene Shvidler’s Chateau Thenac (Bergerac) is doing better than that with a range of wines selling for as little as £7.95, but as a business among Shvidler’s holdings it’s still small beer.

Thinking less of price than rate of return, the value of wine over the past decade has generated 15% per annum growth, according to the Liv-Ex Fine Wine Index. That’s equal to gold, but much, much better than stocks. Of course, most of the contents of wine caves is drunk, not traded. So the rate of return is a nominal one. That may be why wine doesn’t meet the swift payback standard of the Russian oligarchs, and why they haven’t taken positions in the Russian wine business as they have in pigs, fish, grain, farm land and fertilizers.
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RUSSIAN PLATINUM PLATING — BAZHAEV GROUP PROMOTES SHARE SALE OF ARCTIC RESOURCES AS FAREASTERN ONES DISAPPEAR

By John Helmer, Moscow

Like the metal itself, Russian Platinum is shy, but ambitious in turn to be recognized as expensive. This isn’t as persuasive as a junior miner of precious metals needs to be if it wants to raise money and find share buyers in the market, as Russian Platinum’s owners, the Bazhaev family, are now proposing.

But their first attempt at a private offering to Russian private equity funds in Moscow last December failed, and they are hiding the presentation document that was distributed. Whether a second attempt will be made at an initial public offering (IPO) on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange depends on whether the company can overcome its coyness and disclose the normal amount of information to be truth tested by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
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NODDY AND THE GIANT JELLY – ALEXEI MORDASHOV SWEARS OFF GETTING BIGGER, BUT LOOK AT HOW MUCH BIGGER HIS SHAREHOLDING HAS GROWN!

By John Helmer, Moscow

At the conclusion of a share buyback offer, Severstal has announced that 170 million of the 1.01 billion shares outstanding will be purchased. Alexei Mordashov, the control shareholder with 66% of the shares before the buyback, tendered his shares to the offer in full, as did the associated control company, Lybica Holding, with 19%. There was relatively low participation on the part of investors and shareholding institutions which comprise the current 15% free float.
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LIES TO COURT, LEAKS TO PRESS – OLEG DERIPASKA USES OLD METHODS TO ATTACK OLD FRIEND, ANDREI RAIKOV

By John Helmer, Moscow

When Oleg Deripaska and the Rusal group of companies attack one of their most senior executives for a nine-year old crime that wasn’t, the question that arises is: what does the target know about Deripaska and his methods that may be so dangerous, his credibility and his livelihood should be destroyed? Why resort to lying in the courts of New York and Cyprus, despatch false claims to international banks, and leak fabricated allegations to the Russian press, unless Deripaska is personally threatened by the possibility that old friends are ready to spill the beans on him?

Why is Deripaska so afraid of Andrei Raikov that Rusal is claiming he is on an international wanted list, when Interpol says he isn’t?
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HOW TO POKE A PIG IN A POKE — ALROSA PLANS 18% INCREASE IN DIAMOND OUTPUT, 61% INCREASE IN RESERVES – OFFERS VAGIT ALEKPEROV A TAKEOVER OF HIS DIAMOND ASSET AT NO MONEY

By John Helmer, Moscow

Alrosa has announced new strategic targets until the end of 2021, following this week’s meeting of the Supervisory Board, as Alrosa’s board of directors is known. How much of the projected growth will depend on Alrosa getting the Kremlin to persuade Vagit Alekperov of LUKoil to do what he doesn’t want to do is the big question for them all — especially for Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who has been demonstrating sharp interest recently in the price he can arrange for an Alrosa asset sale.

An Alrosa statement says its current diamond production level of about 34 million carats per annum will be lifted to between 38 and 40 million carats, a cumulative growth rate of 6%, by increasing production at the new underground mines in Yakutia, and expanding open-pit production at mines in the Arkhangelsk region of northwest Russia. At the same time, the company’s diamond reserves are to be lifted to 1.19 billion carats, a 61% increase over their present level.
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NEW BID FOR KREMLIN TO ACT AGAINST OLEG DERIPASKA — SERGEI STEPASHIN ANNOUNCES JULY START TO INVESTIGATION OF RUSAL TRADING SCHEMES, TAX EVASION, TOLLING

By John Helmer, Moscow

The personal rapport between Oleg Deripaska (left) and Sergei Stepashin (right), chairman of the Accounting Chamber, has been famously uncordial. Some say Stepashin believes Deripaska plotted to cut his term as prime minister to just three months – May 12 to August 9, 1999 – and was one of those persuading the late President Boris Yeltsin to promote Vladimir Putin as prime minister instead. A lot of murky business has transpired since then. But when it comes to discharging his mandate as the state auditor, noone accuses Stepashin of letting his feelings get in the way of his duty. The converse isn’t believed of Deripaska.
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BLACK HOLE FOR EVRAZ, BLACK EYE FOR ROMAN ABRAMOVICH — $35.8 MILLION LAWSUIT LAUNCHED IN UK HIGH COURT OVER IRON-ORE AND COAL TERMINAL ON BLACK SEA

By John Helmer, Moscow

Evraz, the Russian steelmaker listed on the London Stock Exchange main board, is being sued in the UK High Court for $35.8 million by a group of Swiss investors over a failed project to build a terminal for iron-ore and coking coal at Yuzhny port, on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast near Odessa. The dispute is over an asset on which Evraz has put a substantially higher value on its own balance-sheets than the Swiss investors are claiming in valuation and compensation in court.

The High Court claim papers were filed on April 26. At the same time, a court in Cyprus agreed to impose a freeze over money in the accounts of an Evraz subsidiary operating in Cyprus called Watney Ltd.
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THE MONEY SHOT IN MOSCOW


 

READER CAUTION: in tough times collection methods get tougher. The following translation from the Russian, originally published on June 14, is presented without editing. A slightly different version appeared in Izvestia on June 13. One of Russia’s leading investigative journalists comments: “the hired criminals did exactly what they were instructed. They did not kill, but intimidated. Completed the task and disappeared. Judging by the state of the law enforcement agencies, they will not be found soon, if ever. Criminals of this kind do not carry the requisition order with them. There are different versions of who could be the customer. The question is whether there is evidence.” Basic Element, the holding owned by Oleg Deripaska, and now directed again by his longtime collaborator Gulzhan Moldazhanova, issued a release on September 6, 2010, charging that shareholder funds had been misappropriated through false invoicing. At the time the holding said it had filed charges with the police, and that it “will try to get back the funds, if possible” As for last week’s acts, nothing should be read into this report to suggest there is any public evidence whatsoever about the identity of the perpetrators, their employers, or the motives. The reader is cautioned against the suspicion that the shooting has had precedents involving any of those identified. For more information about the history of Sochi port’s construction problems, see here.

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O UNLUCKY MAN! ROMAN TROTSENKO HAS HAD ENOUGH OF RUSSIAN SHIPBUILDING, AND VICE VERSA

By John Helmer, Moscow

Roman Trotsenko (centre), chief executive of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), has resigned suddenly. No reason has been announced by USC, which has confirmed that Trotsenko is leaving by July 1.

First appointed by the Kremlin in 2009 to oversee the consolidation of state stakes in shipyards around the country, and inspire the shipyard managers to boost domestic new vessel orders, Trotsenko had been a millionaire developer of commercial real estate and airports, and owner of the Moscow River Shipping Company.
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HONG KONG FOOTNOTE – ANATOLY TIKHONOV GETS THE BOOT, BARRY CHEUNG IN LIMBO, AS OLEG DERIPASKA DITHERS OVER KREMLIN ORDERS

By John Helmer, Moscow

The annual general meeting (AGM) of Rusal shareholders in Hong Kong on Friday removed Anatoly Tikhonov (image centre) from the board of directors, and replaced him with Matthias Warnig. But meeting in virtual secrecy afterwards, the new Rusal board omitted a decision on the chairmanship from its agenda. Despite a press opportunity after the shareholder meeting, the company has issued no announcement of the board change, and has yet to post the new membership of the board or other results of the shareholder votes.

According to sources in Hong Kong, the appointment of the Rusal chairmanship has been postponed. This leaves in place Barry Cheung (right), the interim chairman who was voted into the position on March 16, after Victor Vekselberg had resigned charging chief executive Oleg Deripaska (left) with mismanagement. According to a source from the Rusal meeting yesterday, “probably Cheung will resign himself during the next two or three months in order to give his place [as chairman] to Warnig.”
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SOUTH AFRICAN OLIGARCH BEATS OLEG DERIPASKA TO THE POT IN GUINEA

By John Helmer, Moscow

A group of South Africans, led by Tokyo Sexwale (image left), has devised a scheme to take over mineral assets and mining concessions in the west African republic of Guinea, which the government plans to renationalize after revoking deals struck by previous Guinean governments. The Sexwale scheme is a growing threat to Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal in Guinea, as the offers Deripaska (image right) has proposed to Guinean President Alpha Conde and his family miss their mark.

On the eve of Rusal’s annual general meeting of shareholders in Hong Kong, due on June 15, there has been no fresh warning to Rusal shareholders that their Guinean bauxite mines and alumina refinery are facing confiscation, and transfer to a state mining company controlled, indirectly, by the South Africans. These Guinean assets account for more than half of Rusal’s global bauxite reserves. On last year’s production results, the Guinea assets represent 36% of Rusal’s annual bauxite production of 13.5 million tonnes; 7% of Rusal’s alumina output of 8.2 million tonnes. Both totals were down below past-year volumes.
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SURGUTNEFTGAS AND BP’S BOB DUDLEY – WATCH THE DOUGHNUT, NOT THE HOLE

By John Helmer, Moscow

In the short run, possibly for three quarters of this year, BP, run by chief executive Bob Dudley, will be short of its half-billion dollar quarterly cash dividend from TNK-BP. In the long run, whether Mikhail Fridman and his partners sell their 50% stake in TNK-BP to BP or to another Russian oil company, BP is on the skids, either out of Russia entirely, or remaining on terms that will give a Russian stakeholder new power over BP’s main shareholding – potentially the single largest stake in BP.

This is definitely not the understanding you would form if you read the Anglo-American press. The spoon-fed correspondent at the Financial Times quoted “one person close to the company” (BP) as claiming that the Russians had been “wrongfooted by BP’s decision to pursue a sale.” The Telegraph reports Dudley’s tactic is to “smoke out the troublesome oligarchs who are proving impossible to work with – to make them cooperate or sell their stake to a more compliant bedfellow.” The Wall Street Journal thinks Dudley is playing the card game of Mississippi Stud, in which “players have three opportunities to raise the stakes, or fold and walk away… Upping the ante a third time might be a winning strategy in poker. But in Russia they favor a different, and much more dangerous game of chance.”
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WHO’S FOR COMPETITION IN THIS STEEL TRADE CONTEST? SEVERSTAL GOES AGAINST NUCOR

By John Helmer, Moscow

The first international trade dispute involving Russian exports to be tabled since Russia was accepted in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a claim by a US steelmaker that Alexei Mordashov’s Severstal is dumping hot-rolled steel products in the US market at a price below the domestic American price. That at least is the allegation of Nucor and its Washington lawyer, Alan Price, who has sharp words for what he calls Severstal propaganda.

Price is publicly forecasting penalty import duties against several categories of hot-rolled steel from Russia of between 78% and 180%. Enough to kill the trade, which last year generated 5.7 million tonnes of Russian exports to the US, worth $3.8 billion, according to Russian customs figures.
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FOOTNOTE — SHUVALOV STUBS TOE ON ALROSA SCHEME, POSTPONES KICKOFF

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Kremlin has not decided yet how it should privatize Alrosa, according to official disclosures at yesterday’s cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The kickback, I mean kickoff of the diamond privatization worth at least $14 billion remains out of reach for the time being.
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TALE OF TWO CANADIAN CHAIRS – PROKHOROV FALLS OFF HIS

By John Helmer, Moscow

The greatest Canadian whom the Russians have ever known was Glenn Gould, the pianist. But when he played in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1957 – over the strenuous objections, even threats from the Canadian and US governments – he didn’t take his chair with him. That special chair, on which Gould played until his retirement from the concert hall, was this week presented to Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, together with Gould’s Steinway CD 318. The piano will be played in a first new recital on June 20. The chair will not be sat on for performance except for even more special occasions.
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PENULTIMATE MESSAGE FROM VICTOR RASHNIKOV — WHEN WILL FLINDERS MINES UNDERSTAND?

By John Helmer, Moscow

A three-judge appeals court panel in Chelyabinsk this morning preserved the injunction against Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK) completing its takeover of Australian iron-ore miner, Flinders Mines.

Today’s proceedings were a continuation of the May 30 hearing in Appeal Court no. 18 of the Chelyabinsk Arbitrazh Court, when Judge Galina Fedina, accompanied by judges Irina Sokolova and Svetlana Ershova, postponed consideration of parallel appeals submitted by MMK and Flinders Mines. Lawyers for the Australian company submitted additional materials on June 1, according to a notice on the court website.
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ABRAMOVICH DOES IT AGAIN: TAKES $69 MILLION IN PUBLIC SHAREHOLDER MONEY FOR ONE OF HIS POCKET ASSETS — NUMIS SECURITIES LEADS THE CHEERS

By John Helmer, Moscow

What an enterprising lad! While Highland Gold, a London-listed public stockholding company, was looking in a forward direction, last Friday Roman Abramovich sold it a gold and silver prospect called Klen for the greater part of which he had paid $103,774 eighteen months earlier. Abramovich has now relieved Highland Gold of $69 million of its hard-earned money for this exchange. In the interval, since Abramovich spent peanuts on prospecting , his rate of return was 34% per month, 610% overall.

This, at least, is one arithmetic of what has happened. Abramovich’s spokesman, John Mann, says there is another truer one, although one of the crucial numbers in that calculation is missing. Highland Gold’s spokesman, Dmitry Yakushkin, isn’t providing that number. Nor is he explaining how Highland Gold counts the reserves and resources which Abramovich has just sold it.
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KERIMOV AND SHUVALOV COOK UP NEW SCHEME FOR ALROSA AS RUSSIAN AS APPLE PIE – MAKE THAT ЧЕРНИКА

By John Helmer, Moscow

If President Vladimir Putin is intending to demonstrate he has already lost control of the newly appointed government and their oligarch business partners, then in the proposal of Suleiman Kerimov to expand Alrosa’s asset base by buying BHP’s diamond mines in Canada, and privatize 51% of the company in a public share offering, he has his chance. And who better to address this problem (opportunity) than the First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov?

Kerimov made his proposal on May 14 in Vedomosti, and followed with an unprecedented acknowledgement by his spokesman in Bloomberg. In the Vedomosti report, Alrosa sources were reported to have said that last year Kerimov had asked Alexei Kudrin, then finance minister and chairman of Alrosa’s supervisory board, to endorse a deal in which a 51% state shareholding in Alrosa would be put up for sale. Kerimov reportedly told Kudrin also that the international marketability and value of the Alrosa shares should be supplemented by adding diamond mines in Canada which BHP is offering for sale at an initially reported price of about $750 million. Naturally, Kerimov added, his friends at VTB, one of Russia’s state banks, would be happy to lend whatever BHP wanted for the deal.
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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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RUSSIAN REPORTING ON THE SECRETS OF THE COMMAND BUNKER UNDERNEATH AZOVSTAL



By Margarita Menshikova, translated by John Helmer, Moscow
  @bears_with

On the day before Good Friday (Orthodox), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported at the Kremlin to President Vladimir Putin that at Mariupol,  inside the Azovstal steel works, about two thousand troops remain underground, including foreigners. Putin issued the following order: “There is no need to penetrate these catacombs and crawl under these industrial facilities. Seal off the industrial zone completely.”  

Four days earlier on April 17, the Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov told the press that “up to four hundred foreign mercenaries were trapped [at Azovstal]… Most of them are citizens of European countries, as well as Canada. We have already reported earlier that radio conversations between militants in Mariupol are conducted in six foreign languages”  

Today, an unusually detailed report by the Moscow internet broadcaster Tsargrad was published to signal the strategic significance and political value of the NATO officers in their command bunker under Azovstal.

(more…)
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