THE PICTURE IS A FAKE — VICTOR VEKSELBERG WINS UK HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT TO GET HIS MONEY BACK

By John Helmer, Moscow

Victor Vekselberg won a major UK High Court action on Friday, and the presiding judge, Justice Guy Newey, has ordered that he should get his money’s worth returned. No ruling of fraud was allowed. The amount may turn out to be less than Vekselberg has spent on lawyers and experts over the 25 months the case has been pending.

This isn’t the case currently under way in the London Court of International Arbitration where Vekselberg is suing Oleg Deripaska for violation of the shareholder agreements on the basis of which the two of them have been directing United Company Rusal since its formation in 2006 and merger with Vekselberg’s Siberian Ural Aluminium (SUAL) in 2007. That case was first reported here. The proceedings are being conducted behind closed doors.
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THE CANADIAN RESISTANCE AT HIGH RIVER GOLD PUSHES BACK AT ALEXEI MORDASHOV

By John Helmer, Moscow

There is a unique protection in the Ontario Business Corporations Act which may have Alexei Mordashov’s name written all over it. It’s called the oppression remedy.

What this does is to allow minority shareholders to go to court to challenge the votes and decisions of majority or control shareholders in a Canadian company, when the latter act in a way that is prejudicial, disadvantageous, or unfair to the former. The evidence and standard of unfairness can be decided by a court-ordered investigation of the company’s affairs and of the “reasonable expectations” of the shareholders. Such an investigation is the first thing a Canadian judge can do, before ruling on unfairness. What’s more, an applicant shareholder needs to convince the investigators, not of evidence of fraud or dishonesty, but of the “appearance” that the board of directors, control shareholders, or company management “unfairly disregard” the interests of the minority.
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HOLIDAY POSTCARD – WHAT IS SULEIMAN KERIMOV GOING TO DO WITHOUT HIS YACHT AND BEACH HOUSE?

By John Helmer, Moscow

It seems that this August Suleiman Kerimov will be holidaying with his Mother, as in Motherland.

A recent yachting news bulletin from the port of Bergen, Norway, reports that Kerimov’s motor yacht is “docked next to Bryggen, in walking distance to most of the attractions in the center of Bergen. The yacht ICE is registered in the Cayman Islands and was previously owned by Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov.” Kerimov had put the boat up for sale last year, when his New York lawyer, Eliot Lauer, claimed it wasn’t really his. Here’s the yacht-for-sale story, and here’s Kerimov’s response through his lawyer. But that was last autumn, when the going price for M/Y was €200 million.
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FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM, WHEN MICHAEL CHERNEY AND OLEG DERIPASKA WERE PARTNERS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Once upon a time, Oleg Deripaska was the protégé of Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney). In that relationship, Cherney, the older, taller one, called Deripaska, the younger, shorter one, Zaichik (“hare”). When he grew up, Cherney made him his business partner.

In the year 2000, the man who is today Deripaska’s principal Russian lawyer, strategist of all his litigation, advisor to the initial public offering of Rusal in 2010, and current member of the Rusal board, knew that Deripaska and Cherney were business partners. That is because he said so in filings to the federal US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The man’s name is Dmitry Afanasiev. In December 2000, he was one of the lawyers who filed this case:
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WARMAKING AGAINST SYRIA, RUSSIA — CHARLES CLOVER WINS CAT’S PAW AWARD FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES

By John Helmer, Moscow

Tall stories told by newspapers and their reporters generally don’t start wars. But they do justify them in advance. Afterwards they protect the officials who start them from being prosecuted for war crimes.

On August 5, 1964, there was no truth in President Lyndon Johnson’s claim – reported by every major US newspaper – that there had been “open aggression on the high seas against the United States of America” by North Vietnamese gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin. That’s because the US Navy destroyer Maddux had been inside North Vietnam’s territorial waters to pinpoint shore targets, after US and South Vietnamese naval vessels had opened fire on North Vietnamese islands in the area several days earlier. The August 4 reports of a gunboat attack on the Maddux “appear very doubtful”, according to a secret cable sent by the Maddux commander to his headquarters at the time. In retrospect, all the available evidence indicates that no attack took place. What is certain, however, is that the fiction was good enough for Johnson to get the US Congress to enact the August 7, 1964, resolution giving the US administration the warrant to start a full-scale invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces. The outcome is well-known. The US was defeated in that war. About 50,000 US soldiers returned in body bags, and about 3.8 million Vietnamese (10% of the population) went prematurely into the ground.
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LOCK-UP OR STICK-UP – ALEXEI MORDASHOV TRIES TO FINISH OFF THE CANADIAN RESISTANCE

By John Helmer, Moscow

You don’t have to be Mr Plod to suspect that Noddy isn’t playing fair.

More than half the Canadians who hold shares in High River Gold (HRG:CN), and who have resisted Alexei Mordashov’s buyout offers in the past, think he’s low-balling them again. Having driven up the share price to C$1.43, three cents over Mordashov’s latest offer price for his takeover of HRG, the sentiment in the share market is against Mordashov. Or is it?

On July 18 Nordgold (NORD:LI), which already owns about 75% of HRG, announced that it wants to buy the rest. Nordgold is listed on the London Stock Exchange; HRG on the Toronto Exchange. The former has a market capitalization of US$1.71 billion after listing in Moscow and London between December 2011 and January 2012. Since then it has lost more than 60% of its value.
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ISKANDER MAKHMUDOV – ELEPHANT IN OLEG DERIPASKA’S (HIGH COURT) ROOM

By John Helmer, Moscow

Iskander Makhmudov (right image) is cultured, charming, gracious, hospitable, polite, discreet – he has more of these qualities than his oligarch peers.

But for Oleg Deripaska, his junior in the division of the Russian metals businesses that took place between 1995 and 2000, before the formation of Russian Aluminium (Rusal), here’s what Mark Howard said in the UK High Court last week: “[Makhmudov’s] role in these proceedings we suggest raises serious difficulties for Mr Deripaska’s case on a fundamental level. Indeed, we suggest he is very much the elephant in the room.”
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MMK LOYALTY CARD – VLADIMIR PUTIN GIVES VICTOR RASHNIKOV WHAT HE DESERVES

By John Helmer, Moscow

A year is a long time in Russian politics, and Vladimir Putin isn’t the same man he was a year ago.

Then — on July 15, 2011 — he visited Magnitogorsk, presided at the official commissioning of the new automotive steel production line known as Mill-2000, and spent three hours answering questions from the workers of Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK). This Monday, July 16, Putin was back at MMK, pressing the button alongside MMK owner Victor Rashnikov to inaugurate two sub-sections of a sub-production line. The Kremlin has (so far) released no record of what was discussed with the steelworkers.

Rashnikov is also a changed man. In between the two Putin visits, Rashnikov attempted to invest half a billion dollars of MMK’s cash, and $1.5 billion in borrowed money, some of it from a state-controlled Russian bank, in an Australian iron-ore mining project known as Flinders Mines twelve thousand kilometres away. Then in late March Rashnikov suffered an abrupt loss of will and change of mind. Twelve weeks later, at the start of July, he formally withdrew from the entire scheme. Not once did Rashnikov explain what he was doing.
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THE MYSTERY OF RUSAL’S SHAREHOLDERS — OLEG DERIPASKA’S KRYSHA REVEALED, AND THE DOLYA, $1 BILLION

By John Helmer, Moscow

Look carefully at who is in the driving seat.

The records of RTI Limited (formerly Rusal International Trading), the next to highest control entity in the corporate organization of United Company Rusal, show that it was registered on October 27, 2006, one day after the parent company was registered. At the time, the parent’s capital consisted of 10,000 nominal shares, and according to Point 6 of its memorandum of association, each Rusal share was worth one US dollar. A few weeks later, the parent’s annual return declared its shares were now worth one English pound, and that just two of them had been paid up. The owner of these two was EN+, not identified then as a personal holding company of Oleg Deripaska’s. By February 28, 2008, in Rusal’s next annual return, the shares were again denominated in US dollars, and all 10,000 were paid up. We’ll come shortly to who owned them.

According to the printed notes of the Jersey companies form, “the Annual Returns cannot be accepted until they meet the requirements of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991, as ammended [sic].” There’s a lot the Jersey authorities don’t do in conformity with accepted practice – spelling is just one of them.
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NORILSK NICKEL LAUNCHES COUNTER-ATTACK AGAINST RUSSIAN PLATINUM, AGAINST IGOR SECHIN TOO

By John Helmer, Moscow

Norilsk Nickel has declared war on Alexander Popov (image centre), a 57-year old veteran of the oil industry and the new head of the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use, Rosnedra. In the circumstances this can mean only one thing — Vladimir Potanin (right), the dominant shareholder of Norilsk Nickel, has decided on a duel with Igor Sechin (left), former deputy prime minister and now chief executive of Rosneft. This is because Popov’s job for the past eighteen months has been as an assistant to Sechin; when Sechin left his government office in May, he put Popov in charge of Rosnedra’s key function – awarding licences for oil, gas and hard-rock mining. Sechin is also believed to have been behind Popov’s predecessor, Anatoly Ledovskikh, who decided last October not to allow Norilsk Nickel to extend its mining rights in the Norilsk-1 area on the ground that, though it is already mining in the area, it was the sole bidder for the adjacent mining rights.
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OLEG DERIPASKA’S SECRET ACCOUNT BOOKS REVEALED

By John Helmer, Moscow

Fifteen years ago, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported research that not all obsessive-compulsive disorders are alike. Two individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the scientific evidence showed, may have totally different and non-overlapping symptom patterns. For example, the obsession with counting, hoarding, arranging and collecting doesn’t usually accompany the compulsion for hand-washing, religious ritualism, sexual aggression, or vice versa.

At yesterday’s opening presentations in the UK High Court in the case of Michael Cherney v Oleg Deripaska, the evidence of Deripaska’s meticulously recorded and coded account books was revealed for the first time. No major Russian business figure has ever been obliged to reveal such intimate financial data in a public forum. “The balance sheets,” according to Cherney’s advocate Mark Howard QC, “are documents of the utmost importance in the case.”
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DEAD MEN TELL TALES – OLEG DERIPASKA TAKES BORIS YELTSIN TO THE HIGH COURT AGAINST MICHAEL CHERNEY

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska’s sole defence against having to pay Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney) the dividends, assets, interest, and the corpus of his patron’s stake in United Company Rusal is that Cherney extorted the money by presenting him with a trust agreement and contract, and threatening to break his bones if he didn’t sign it. This is the gangster defence. It has already been curtailed by several preliminary UK High Court rulings; Justice Christopher Clarke, who presided in the trial of the jurisdiction issues in the case, ruled that he didn’t believe it.

But there is one respect in which it is almost certainly true that someone tough has been forcing Deripaska to run Rusal the way he has. That man, the control shareholder of Deripaska’s nominal 47.41% shareholding, is Boris Yeltsin.
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DERIPASKA LOSES SHIRT — COURT STRIPS RUSAL OF ALUMINIUM SMELTER ASSETS

By John Helmer, Moscow

An 8-year long case charging Oleg Deripaska and his Russian Aluminium (Rusal) group with fraud and corruption in acquiring aluminium assets, gas and electricity supply and port outlet in a rigged privatization scheme has ended in Deripaska’s defeat and the loss of his assets. The court ruling was issued on Friday, July 6. In Nigeria.

On the eve of the start of Mikhail Chernoy’s (Michael Cherney) trial for recovery of his 13% shareholding in Rusal, to commence in the UK High Court today, the Nigerian Supreme Court judgement by a unanimous 5-judge panel is automatically endorsed by the US federal court, which had ceded jurisdiction over Rusal for the claim, on condition Deripaska submitted to the Nigerian courts. The ruling cannot be appealed; and for an asset which cost $3.8 billion to build, it is the most costly defeat Deripaska has suffered in the international courts to date.
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RUSSIA TO SHOOT DOWN TURKEY’S BILLION-DOLLAR FRUIT AND VEGETABLE TRADE IN RETALIATION FOR INTERFERENCE WITH RUSSIAN SHIPPING BOUND FOR SYRIA

By John Helmer, Moscow

A century ago and longer, the Ottomans understood not to press the Russians in close encounters; the Turks are slow learners. After several recent episodes in which the Turkish armed forces have attempted to interfere with Russian vessels delivering cargo to Syria, the Russians have now delivered the message that Turkish cargoes headed for Russia may be stopped altogether.

The subtlety of this message has yet to be detected by the Anglo-American war media. They are still blustering over the message the Syrians delivered when they used Russian-made cannons to shoot down an American-made Turkish spy plane over Syrian territory on June 22.
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FIRST SWISS INVESTIGATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND BRIBERY TO INVOLVE GUNVOR

By John Helmer, Moscow

Money laundering is one of those things that is usually accompanied by a lot more gossip than conviction. Exactly what gets washed and for whose benefit are difficult to pin down, usually because those who do it are smarter than your average washerwoman. Still, if the Swiss money police are on the case, that’s so unusual, there’s bound to be more than the customary ladies’ chatter. For Gunvor, the Geneva-based oil trader which has been the foundation of Gennady Timchenko’s (image right) fortune, the police make a novel experience. And one such experience might become a precedent for others – or at least that’s what the washerwomen on the bank of Lake Geneva were surmising before their picture was taken.

What is being reported authoritatively this week is that there was a Swiss police search of the Gunvor offices overlooking Lake Geneva in January. Either before, or not long after, the Swiss federal prosecutor opened a formal investigation of suspected money laundering by person or persons unknown. At least one Swiss bank account is reported to have been frozen as part of the ongoing investigation. This has happened at Bank Clariden Leu, a Zurich-based private institution which was part of the Credit Suisse holding until April of this year, when it merged and ceded its name to the Credit Suisse brand.
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THE SILENCER — WITNESSES THREATENED BEFORE MICHAEL CHERNEY CASE OPENS IN HIGH COURT

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of United Company Rusal, is prosecuting his old friend and Rusal veteran, Andrei Raikov, on charges already dismissed by the Moscow police and the Moscow courts, because Raikov, according to his representatives, has refused to testify for Deripaska against another old friend, Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney).

Cherney’s 6-year lawsuit in the UK High Court to recover his 13% shareholding in Rusal, and enforce the shareholding contract and trust agreement he and Deripaska signed in March 2001, goes to trial next week. Lawyers for Cherney and Deripaska will present summaries of their positions, before the court adjourns for the summer recess. Witness testimony and cross-examination will start when the court resumes on October 1.
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SURPRISE TOY! – CHELYABINSK COURT DELAYS FLINDERS MINES CASE UNTIL AUGUST 1

By John Helmer, Moscow

At a closed-door hearing today at the Chelyabinsk Arbitrazh Court, Judge Natalia Bulavintseva again refused to hear argument for and against the proposed half-billion dollar acquisition of an Australian iron-ore miner, Flinders Mines, by Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK). The court secretary Sergei Povalyaev said the judge ordered the hearing postponed for another month, until August 1. The reason, the source said, was to allow a “request for financial and economic expertise, which was filed by one of the parties.” Because of the closed door, he claimed he could not say whether MMK filed the delay-making request, or Flinders Mines, or the purported plaintiff in the action, MMK minority shareholder Elena Egorova.
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THE BRITISH MINISTRY OF TRUTH DECIDES THAT ANOTHER THREE WELL-KNOWN RUSSIANS ARE LIARS – LEV LEVIEV, ARKADY GAYDAMAK, AND CHIEF RABBI BERL LAZAR

By John Helmer, Moscow

When a powerful Kremlin official recently confided that he values the usefulness of UK High Court proceedings involving some of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen, he probably wasn’t thinking of the case which concluded on Friday with a judgement issued by Justice Sir Geoffrey Vos. The Russian official was intimating that the British court is providing an internationally credible platform for forensic analysis of crimes which have been the foundations of many recent Russian fortunes. He probably wasn’t thinking of the diamond and real estate fortune of Lev Leviev (image left); the Soviet debt, gun and diamond fortune of Arkady Gaydamak (centre); or the celestial credits of Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar (right). All three were condemned by this ruling.
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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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