NIGERIAN LETTER — MILITARY STONEWALLS ON RUSSIAN CREW INDICTMENT

By John Helmer, Moscow

New records of the Myre Seadiver’s ill-fated stay at Lagos, Nigeria, have been made available, showing the Lagos port authorities and the Nigerian Navy gave permission for the Russian security vessel to enter the port with a stock of small arms, and that these remained on board at an anchorage in the Lagos roadstead for four weeks, before the 15-man crew and the vessel were arrested by the Nigerian Navy.

The documents also reveal that the Lagos shipping agent for the vessel had applied for and received the required authorizations. “There’ll be no issues”, he wrote to the vessel owner, Moran Security Group in Moscow on September 19.
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FRANCOIS HOLLANDE IN MOSCOW – TRIPLE ENTENTE FOR DEMOCRACY, TAX, OIL

By John Helmer, Moscow

The relatively new President of France is visiting Russia today for the first time since Francois Hollande’s election nine months ago. At the personal and policy levels relations between Hollande and President Vladimir Putin couldn’t be much worse. They disagree over which regimes they should support, and which they should topple. Hollande, his apparat announced through a Sunday newspaper, will be meeting Russians aiming to topple Putin.

The last time the two met – in Paris in June – they disagreed vocally over Hollande’s intervention in Syria on the side of the rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Hollande said of Putin at the time: “We have disagreements over who is responsible for the violence and over the need for Assad to leave. The actions of the Syrian regime are intolerable. Any solution to the crisis requires the departure of Assad.” Putin said Russia is opposed to foreign armed intervention for regime change. “We are not for Assad, neither for his opponents. We want to achieve the situation where the violence ends and there won’t be large-scale civil war. What is happening in Libya, in Iraq? Did they become safer? Where are they heading? Nobody has an answer.”
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THE BOWMAN RACKET — RUSSIAN RELATIONS WITH NIGERIA COLLAPSE OVER DETENTION OF MYRE SEADIVER CREW, EXTORTION ALLEGED AGAINST NIGERIAN NAVY

By John Helmer, Moscow

Russian government relations with Nigeria have collapsed after negotiations have failed to free from five months of detention the Russian fleet tender vessel, Myre Seadiver, and its 15-man Russian crew. They have been charged with arms smuggling. The case is now viewed in Moscow as a repeat of the African Pride case, when the Russian crew of a small Greek-owned oil tanker were jailed in Nigeria between 2003 and 2005 over charges of oil smuggling. In both cases, according to Moscow sources, corrupt officers of the Nigerian Navy manipulated local court-ordered arrests of Russian crewmen to extract bribes and other concessions from the Kremlin.

In the Myre Seadiver case, sources close to the affair claim Nigerian Navy officers operate a lucrative protection scheme for oil tankers and other vessels loading at Nigerian ports or transiting through Nigerian coastal waters. Myre Seadiver, owned and operated by the Moscow-based ship security group called Moran Security, has been targeted, the sources say, because Nigerian Navy officers view it as an interloper in their sideline business. Apparently more powerful than Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministries, with which the Russian Ambassador and Foreign Ministry have been negotiating, the Navy officers are said to want maximum publicity for the case, and thus protracted detention of the crew, as a way of warning other security companies out of the area. Plus compensation for the law violations, port and prison services rendered.
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КТО ЗДЕСЬ КОЗЁЛ? RUSAL LOSES AGAIN IN NEW YORK COURT – OLEG DERIPASKA FIRING SCAPEGOATS AND WITNESSES

By John Helmer, Moscow

Rusal has lost another round in its international litigation against Andrei Raikov, the former head of bauxite and alumina supplies for Rusal’s smelters, as a New York judge ordered last week more disclosures of secret Rusal bank payments by the Bank of New York.

Raikov, a 20-year friend of Oleg Deripaska, Rusal’s chief executive, has been accused by Rusal lawyers in Moscow and Cyprus of having arranged over-market freight charges and kickbacks on shipping contracts fixed by several shipping companies – Natica Shipping, Aldi Marine, Mercury Shipping and Trading — and their owner, Dmitry Osipov. The shipments took place between 2003 and 2006. In November of 2007 Rusal signed an agreement in London releasing Osipov and the shipping companies “in respect of all claims including fraud”. In 2008 in Moscow a Russian police investigation of the Rusal allegations was terminated with a formal rejection of the allegations for lack of proof.
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GASPING FOR GAS – THE GOOD NEWS FOR GAZPROM, NOVATEK, ROSNEFT, AND IGOR SECHIN, FROM STOCKHOLM

By John Helmer, Moscow

If you believe what the Washington and London think-tanks want you to believe, Russia’s days as the world’s dominant oil and gas exporter, blackmailer of Ukrainian independence, extortionist of the hypothermic Germans are numbered. Gazprom is on the rocks! Igor Sechin will shortly be yesterday’s man!! For those who believe, the saviour of the free gas-consuming world and the deus ex machina in this particular line of business is SGR — the shale gas revolution.

“The relative fortunes of the United States, Russia, and China — and their ability to exert influence in the world — are tied in no small measure to global gas developments,” a report from Harvard University’s Belfer Center and Rice University’s Baker Institute claimed last July.
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SOVCOMFLOT PROPOSES MONOPOLY FLEET FOR NEW ARCTIC LNG REFINERY

By John Helmer, Moscow

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander — the English proverb is not about birds or cooking, but about equal treatment. When it comes to operating tanker fleets in and out of Russia’s ports, foreign-owned vessels have been enjoying equality of access for some time. That may be about to change, at least in Arctic waters.

Russia’s Sovcomflot, the state-owned oil and gas fleet operator, has proposed to form a consortium with gas producer Novatek to build and operate a fleet of new gas carriers for the Northern Sea Route. Details were disclosed last week by Dmitry Rusanov, an executive in Sovcomflot’s gas fleet division. In interviews with reporters in Moscow, Rusanov said that competing fleet operators would be ineffective and should not be selected by Novatek. “If everyone would keep their own technical management, the effectiveness of the project as a whole will decline. Shipowners will fight among themselves for trained crews, race each other for salaries. In the end it will not benefit anyone, especially Novatek. and therefore a single operator is needed.”
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THE NOVOROSSIYSK CIRCUS – ZIYAVUDIN MAGOMEDOV CALLS IN THE CLOWNS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Ziyavudin Magomedov’s hold on the ports of Novorossiysk and Primorsk, and the oil which flows into and out of them, deteriorated suddenly and publicly this week. This has triggered new concern in The Netherlands that Magomedov’s Summa Group will be unable to find the money to break ground, as scheduled next month, at their new oil terminal project at Rotterdam. There is also concern among Rotterdam traders that if Magomedov cannot get the Russian crude oil he needs to fill his new tanks, he may substitute it with a flood of ship (bunker) fuel that will push down on the price of Rotterdam bunkers. Magomedov’s troubles in Moscow are thus causing a negative domino impact on his Dutch business allies.

The story of how Magomedov won a Rotterdam competition in 2010 for Tank Terminal Europort West (TEW), with a promise to deliver 600,000 barrels a day of Russian crude, can be read here. Last week, the state crude oil pipeline company Transneft went public in a direct attack on Magomedov and his Summa group, hinting that there will no Russian crude oil for the Rotterdam project, at least not from Primorsk port, whose pipelines Transneft controls, but whose management Magomedov runs through the Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport Company (NCSP). Recent disclosures from oil companies working with Magomedov’s oil trading subsidiaries, such as Souz Petrolium (not a spelling mistake), suggest that Magomedov is switching to trade of large volumes of Bunker C, the ship fuel with the highest sulphur content.
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YURY BORISOVICH ROGOV — OLEG DERIPASKA’S SCHOOL FRIEND, DEAD IN SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES

By John Helmer, Moscow

Yury Borisovich Rogov was such a long, close and faithful friend of Oleg Deripaska’s that he was invited to stand on Deripaska’s right at his wedding in 2001. To the left of Deripaska’s wife, Polina Yumasheva, are her parents, Valentin Yumashev and Tatiana Dyachenko — the former aide to ex-President Boris Yeltsin and Yeltsin’s second daughter. Rogov was also identified last year as a documentary witness with crucial evidence about Deripaska’s business dealings, assets, borrowings, and partnership with Michael Cherney (Chernoy). According to a UK High Court submission by Cherney’s lawyers, presented on July 9, 2012, “these documents will repay careful study, and will undoubtedly be the subject of significant focus at trial. Taken together, they constitute a substantial body of evidence in support of Mr Cherney‘s case, confirming that Radom held a number of entities which owned aluminium assets, including Sibal when that was incorporated in July 1999, and that Mr Cherney was in partnership with Mr Deripaska.” Rogov’s involvement is identified in footnote 386.
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MOTHER NATURE DELIVERS RUSSIAN BOUNTY THE NATURAL WAY, BY SURPRISE, BUT THE GESSEN CLAQUE IS ENVIOUS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Last week Mother Nature delivered a once-in-a-billion-geological-year event — one of the largest natural diamonds ever found in Russia, at Alrosa’s Yubileynaya (Jubilee) mine in fareastern Sakha (Yakutia) (image right). The American diamonds found to date have been peanuts by comparison.

Then ПРИРОДА МАТЬ despatched a meteorite at 54,000 kilometres per hour to burn, bang, break up, and drop over Chelyabinsk city in the central Urals (image left). Not since the Tunguska event of 1908 has such a thing happened in Russia. The US reports three times more meteorite falls than Russia; but at an estimated 10 tonnes by the time it was over Chelyabinsk, the latest meteorite was bigger than most of its American counterparts. It killed noone, but flying glass and blast effects injured about 1,100. Early the same week, a combination of Mother Nature’s blizzards and tornadoes in the US killed at least 9, and inflicted far more valuable damage.
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OLEG’S POODLE – SERGEI LAVROV GOES TO GUINEA, OUTCOME OF LAPDOG DIPLOMACY IS A DOG

By John Helmer, Moscow

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week took a tour of Africa – Algeria, Mozambique, South Africa, and Guinea — in part because President Vladimir Putin told him to, ahead of Putin’s own visit to Africa in March. In part, Lavrov went to the Republic of Guinea at the bidding of Oleg Deripaska to settle a billion-dollar dispute Deripaska failed to fix when he and the Guinean President, Alpha Conde, were to meet in Davos, Switzerland, early this month. Lavrov does Deripaska’s bidding in Washington, too. He is generally more successful executing Putin’s requirements than Deripaska’s.

The stop in Algeria was strategic since the Libyan war began spilling American and British-armed Islamic guerrillas in every direction, threatening in particular gas and oil exporters like Algeria, Niger, Congo-Brazzaville, and Nigeria. Lavrov was discrete in saying ‘We told you so’. He said instead: “If we wish to avoid double standards, we need to stop guiding ourselves by them. I think that the recent events related to the development of the consequences of the so called Arab spring, will serve as a lesson to those who recently guided themselves by double standards.”
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MIKHAIL MARGELOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICYMAKER; AFRICAN TROUBLESHOOTER; AMERICAN HOMEMAKER

By John Helmer, Moscow

It is now clear, let’s say clearer, what business has been keeping the elected Russian official in charge of foreign affairs in the upper house of parliament, and in representing Russia in the affairs of Africa so active that he has been unable to respond to questions. According to his spokesman, Senator Mikhail Margelov has been just too busy. What this means, the spokesman adds, is “the very intensive agenda of his visits.”

Since December 2008 Mikhail Margelov, a senator of the Federation Council representing Pskov oblast, has been designated as a special representative of the President for different aspects of African affairs. At the start, he was troubleshooter for the Sudan. His mandate was then expanded geographically to cover pirates onshore and off the coast of Somalia. But when then-President Dmitry Medvedev made his first official visit to Egypt, Nigeria, and Namibia in June 2010, Margelov wasn’t in the delegation. Someone else, not Margelov, was then officially titled Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Relations with African Leaders, popping up to negotiate for Oleg Deripaska and United Company Rusal in the west African republic of Guinea. He was ineffective, and in March 2011, a Kremlin decree reassigned the Special Representative title to Margelov, relieving Alexei Vasiliev, an academic, of his duties.
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RUSAL CHALLENGED IN LOS ANGELES COURT, TRIES NEW PRESSURE TACTIC IN NIGERIA, RISKS MORE SECRETS IN US COURT

By John Helmer, Moscow

In a hearing in federal US District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly, was challenged by Judge Carla Woehrle to substantiate its court claims in London and elsewhere against the Nigerian government and a Nigerian-American company, BFI Group (BFIG). Through its US attorney, Jamie Bartlett, Rusal claimed it did not know what, if anything, is happening in the claim it has lodged in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Bartlett also told the judge that Rusal has launched no other court claims in Nigeria or the US.

At stake is the future of Nigeria’s only aluminium plant, the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), which Rusal took from BFIG amid charges of favouritism and corruption. Click here for the full story. Rusal’s court moves are intended to discredit BFIG, which won Nigerian court approval last July for restoration of its acquisition of the plant by privatization tender in 2004.
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PUTTING THE SQUEEZE ON RUSSIA’S MISS PIGGY – A PORK OLIGARCHY IN THE MAKING

By John Helmer, Moscow

Russian pork farmers and producers told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week that government action is stripping them of profitability, as the squeeze between the rising price of feed grain and the falling price of pork is killing the industry’s plan to expand domestic production and replace imports. In anticipation of worsening profit reports, the London stock market has sliced the share prices of the only two listed pork producers in the top-5, RusAgro and Cherkizovo, by 56% and 46% respectively, trimming their market capitalization to the $800 million level.

A hearing on February 6 at the State Duma’s Agriculture Committee heard testimony that the pork sector was hit with the biggest concessions of any of the farm and foodstuff markets when Russian trade negotiators finalized the accession agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year.
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THE KATYUSHA EFFECT – TRANSNEFT DECLARES WAR ON SUMMA FOR CONTROL OF NOVOROSSIYSK PORT COMPANY — CAN ZIYAVUDIN MAGOMEDOV SURVIVE?

By John Helmer, Moscow

Long after the great siege generals – Alexander, Napoleon – enunciated the principle of concentrating fire against the weakest points of an enemy’s walls – the Red Army devised the application combining the most explosives for the cheapest outlay in a saturation pattern which didn’t need to be accurate. It was the BM-13 until the secret was out. Then it was called the Katyusha. Nikolai Tokarev (upper right), chief executive of Transneft, launched an unprecedented fusillade of that this morning against Ziyavudin Magomedov (lower right). Transneft against Summa Group. President Putin’s man against Prime Minister Medvedev’s.

Transneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil pipeline company, has disclosed it wants to replace the current board chairman and chief executive of Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport Company (NCSP; other acronyms in use are NCSC and NMTP), the largest of Russia’s publicly listed port companies. In an announcement this morning, Tokarev accused Magomedov’s Summa Group of working against Transneft’s interests at the port, even though the two groups share a 50% shareholding on parity basis since they made a combined takeover of the former shareholders of the port company in 2010.
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THE BOOTMAKER’S PRICK – JAPAN IS SUFFERING FROM A CASE OF ШИЛО В ЖОПЕ

By John Helmer, Moscow

In Russian, it’s called шило в жопе; literally, a bootmaker’s awl in the arse. In New York Yiddish, it’s shpilkes in tukhas, which is a bit gentler because the sharp instrument in the posterior is a needle. The meaning, in general and in the Japanese case, is a case of self-induced agitation from which acts of aggressive and misguided frustration are likely to follow.

Yesterday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry issued this announcement to the BBC: “Today, around 03:00 (06:00 GMT), military fighters belonging to Russian Federation breached our nation’s airspace above territorial waters off Rishiri island in Hokkaido.” There has been no comparable public announcement of an alleged Russian airspace penetration since 2008. This one comes a few days in advance of the visit to Washington of the new Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. Forty-eight hours earlier, Japan’s Defence Minister, Itsunori Onodera, announced that on January 30 “something like fire-control radar was directed at a Japan Self-Defence Maritime escort ship in the East China Sea.” He claimed the reason for the delay between the radar signal and the public disclosure was the time required to determine that a Chinese fire-control radar had indeed locked on the Japanese vessel, and that Japanese officials, US advisors and others judged that publicity would be a good thing.
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DANCES WITH WOLVES — YAKUTIA GETS TOUGH, BUT WWF URGES LESS RIGHTEOUSNESS, FEWER JOURNALISTS

By John Helmer, Moscow

If you are a dog, then you know that 99.96% of your genes are shared with the wild grey wolf; and that both of you evolved from Papa Canid. This doesn’t mean that if you meet each other in the wilds, you’ll not turn on your fire-control mechanism, like our Chinese friends are doing to the Japanese, much to the disapproval of sentimentalists in the Anglo-American press. These also share much of their genetic material with Papa Canid, though their evolution has been retarded.

Fire-control mechanisms behave er, mechanically – click, press, scan, fire. Last month Yegor Borisov, prime minister of the Sakha republic, in Russia’s fareast, issued an order permitting the killing of up to 3,000 wolves, and paying a bounty of Rb35,000 for each kill. Rb10,000 will come from the budgets of the five uluses (municipal districts) most populated at the moment with wolves. Another Rb25,000 will be paid by the Sakha Ministry of Agriculture. They will recoup some of the outlays when the wolf skins are turned by Yakutian manufactories into wolf hats, wolf coats, and souvenirs for sale. Advance orders can be telephoned this month to Sakhabult, the store for the National Consortium for Support of Professional Hunters, 25 Lenin Avenue, Yakutsk, telephone +7(4112) 45 32 27.
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NEW CONNEXION FOR RUSSIA’S TRUNK LINE TO TASHKENT — THE CASE OF BEKHZOD AKHMEDOV

By John Helmer, Moscow

Interpol publishes the names of less than a third of the people identified by Red Notices as wanted for arrest. That’s so fugitives can’t know the risks of apprehension they run when they try crossing international borders. The Red Notice for Bekhzod Akhmedov has been published because the authorities in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, want it to appear that Akhmedov is still on the run – that is to say, alive and well, and not in Uzbekistan. If after arguing with Gulnara Karimova last May or June he never made it out of the country, if he has been dead since then, Interpol is helping to cover up the crime of how he died, and who killed him.

Karimova is the senior daughter of Islam Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan since the end of the Soviet Union in 1990. Karimova is the dominant business figure in the country. Her father, just turned 75, is serving out the last of the terms allowed by the Uzbek constitution. The next presidential election, due in December 2014, has been postponed to March 2015. That allows just two years to fix the succession on terms that will suit the Karimov family, but powerful enough to keep a lid on every variety of dissent which has been repressed in the country to date. That’s a tall order – expensive too.
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GULNARA KARIMOVA, ALISHER USMANOV, MIKHAIL FRIDMAN AND TELIA SONERA MAKE MONEY ON THE OUSTER OF VLADIMIR YEVTUSHENKOV FROM UZBEKISTAN – THE SWEDES TRY HOLIER THAN THOU

By John Helmer, Moscow

Lars Nyberg (right), chief executive until Friday afternoon of TeliaSonera, the Swedish and Finnish telecommunications group, is something of an expert on the blowback effect. Firearms and forensics experts understand that blowback is what happens after a gunshot, when the vacuum inside the gun barrel draws in blood and tissue from the person who’s just been shot. Even if the corpse cannot be found, the blowback evidence can convict the shooter whose prints are on the gun, of murder. The typical defence in situations like that is no corpus delicti, no evidence of crime.

In the case of TeliaSonera’s payment of more (much more) than $320 million to a one-person company registered in Gibraltar allegedly having nothing to do with Gulnara Karimova (centre), Nyberg claims he is innocent of intending corruptly to advance TeliaSonera’s profits in its Uzbek mobile telephone concession. Karimova is the senior daughter of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, and the dominant business figure in the country.
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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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