RUSAL DEAL WITH GUINEA GOVERNMENT REVEALED – OLEG DERIPASKA TRIES ALCOA SUBTERFUGE

By John Helmer, Moscow

The text of the Guinean Government’s agreement with United Company Rusal for the prolongation of its Dian-Dian concession – one of the largest unmined bauxite deposits in the world – reveals an escape clause to enable Rusal to avoid the obligations the Guineans have been trying to enforce since the concession was first signed twelve years ago.

The new document, titled Annex No. 11 to the original July 21, 2001, Dian-Dian convention was signed on December 28, 2012. Signing for the government was the Guinean Minister of Mines and Geology, Mohammed Lamine Fofana; for Rusal, Vladislav Soloviev, first deputy chief executive. Three days later Rusal issued its summary of what had been agreed, revealing that it has extended the time required to meet its original obligations until 2019, and longer. The terms of the deal apparently ended threats by the government of President Alpha Conde, and predecessor governments over several years, to cancel the Dian-Dian concession because of Rusal’s failure to honour the original terms, invest and build a new bauxite mine, along with a refinery to convert the bauxite ore into alumina for smelting into aluminium.
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SERGEI KIRIENKO DEFEATED BEFORE HE COULD INFLICT MORE DAMAGE ON RUSSIA BY SERGEI SHOIGU – KAMCHATKA REFUSES FLOATING ATOMIC POWER STATION

By John Helmer, Moscow

Sergei Kirienko has a reputation which survives no matter how selfish his aims, destructive his methods, ruinous his results. He was small enough to be looked down upon by President Boris Yeltsin; he hasn’t grown under President Vladimir Putin. As prime minister in 1998 – the smallest, shortest PM in Russian history — he presided over the government’s bond default and collapse of domestic savings, only to disappear abroad, some allege (falsely) with a fortune. Since Kirienko doesn’t answer unscripted questions from the press, he never admits making mistakes. Not even the most costly one in Russia’s recent history.

Russia managed to survive that one. It is less certain that Kamchatka would survive the one Kirienko as head of the State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) has been planning. That is the installation of the floating nuclear reactor vessel, Academician Lomonosov (right image), a 21,500-tonne barge being completed in St. Petersburg, and scheduled to be swtiched on at the Vilyuchinsk Naval Base in Avacha Bay, less than 20 kilometers from the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
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IT’S EARLY EASTER HOLS FOR CAPTAIN OLLY AND COLONEL VIC (THIS ISN’T CYPRUS)

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska, the chief executive of the state aluminium monopoly Rusal, believes in an ethical code in which there’s little room for recreation, let alone holidays. He says: “I simply enjoy working. Work just happens to be something I have always enjoyed doing ever since I was a child. With the sort of opportunities I now have I can influence the work of a lot of companies. That is a lot of responsibility. As long as I can do what I am good at, managing businesses, I am going to continue doing it.”

His work ethic goes back a long way. “I was eleven when I received my first pay check working at a reduction plant. I was an electrician’s apprentice, in other words, I was a real worker and even had my own locker.”
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WHITE TIGER GOLD – MINIMUM FOR MAXIM, FIN DE FINSKY

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oligarch ownership hasn’t given Russian goldmines a good name, or at least not a stable one. So if you take the 5-year view and judge that the gold price has peaked, while the cost of developing new mines is going up, the grades going down, you don’t need to be an oligarch with a short attention span like Mikhail Prokhorov, to figure out that the prudent investment direction is the exit.

When Prokhorov sold his 37.78% stake in Polyus Gold last month for $3.6 billion, his Onexim holding announced: “in light of …our view of the balance between the company’s achievements and its potential, we made the decision that the time had come for Onexim Group to sell and realize its profit.” On the 5-year view there have value peaks on paper, but ultimately no profit. Prokhorov has also failed to find an international goldminer willing to buy the assets. As Russian dealmaking goes, selling to Suleiman Kerimov, or to his stand-ins, as Prokhorov has announced, is a nothing more than a state bank bailout.
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KREMLIN SEEKS LONDON SANCTIONS FOR NIGERIAN NAVY IN MYRE SEADIVER CASE

By John Helmer, Moscow

President Vladimir Putin will raise with African leaders this week the case of the Myre Seadiver and its 15-man Russian crew, who were arrested and imprisoned in Nigeria last October. The story so far. Putin will be in Durban, South Africa, on March 26 and 27.

The Myre Seadiver crew have been accused by the Nigerian Navy of arms smuggling, charges the Russians say were fabricated by the Navy after a month of authorized portcall anchored in the harbour of Port Lagos. The Navy has de facto control of Nigerian coastal and maritime border enforcement, after blocking the establishment of an organizationally separate coast guard. A government attempt announced earlier this month to give the Nigerian police superior authority through a new maritime command covering ports, territorial waters and inland waterways, is expected to suffer the same fate.
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NET PRESENT VALUE OF THE BOTTOM HALF — BETWEEN THE BALLERINA’S LEGS WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TSAR, THE OLIGARCH, AND THE NEW YORKER?

By John Helmer, Moscow

If seated in the dark at the Bolshoi Theatre, even a man of consuming narcissism as Boris Yeltsin was could tell the tights from the tutus. But Yeltsin saw himself as the prima donna, battementing and glissading into the old tsar’s box, Dress Circle centre front. At the Bolshoi, Stalin preferred the stage-side box, screened from the audience by drapery, with the secret door set into the wall of the buffet; that way he got a close-up of the good bits, and could come and go as he chose. Stalin’s taste in music was also superior to Yeltsin’s: he could tell the difference between harmony and noise, and – drunk or sober – Stalin could dance.

There is nothing particularly Russian about the habit tsars, dukes, and their hangers-on had of patronising companies of nubile young men and women; trying them out in skimpy or bulgy costumes on stage; and then trying them on in bed. The imperial ballet theatres of Russia – the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg – were sex farms, harems without the cost of squabbles over inheritance. To the Russian court then they were what seminaries and convents are to the Catholic priesthood today, or Her Britannic Majesty’s stables to her Guardsmen. The imperial Japanese had special terms for it, acknowledging the use-by period for bedmates, er artists, lasted for no more than ten years before replacements were auditioned; if homosexuality and paedophilia aren’t likely to offend, look up 男色 (nanshoku) and 若衆 (wakashu).
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NATHANIEL ROTHSCHILD TAKES HIMSELF, PETER MANDELSON AND OLEG DERIPASKA TO THE UK COURT OF APPEAL, AND IS DISMISSED WITH £50,000 TO PAY — “NO MORE REPUTATION TO LOSE”

By John Helmer, Moscow

When Nathaniel Rothschild sued for libel in the UK High Court in 2011, he was claiming that a report in the Daily Mail, published by Associated Newspapers on May 22, 2010, had libelled him for reporting that he had taken Peter Mandelson on a private jet-plane trip to Moscow to eat with Oleg Deripaska, then a banya with same, plus more eating, talking, and sight-seeing in the Siberian smelter town of Abakan. The reported events had occurred in January of 2005. The circumstances suggested a conflict of interest on Mandelson’s part, the newspaper angled. Rothschild went to court to prove that he would never do such a thing to a friend (Mandelson), and that it was defamation of his character to suggest he might. That was the first sting.
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Ορλωφικά — WITHIN GRASP, AND WITHOUT A SHOT FIRED, PUTIN CAN REVERSE 300 YEARS OF RUSSIAN MISTAKES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

By John Helmer, Moscow

The US, Germany, Turkey and the NATO allies think they have almost all the ordnance required to produce regime change in Syria, as they had in Libya. But they don’t appear to have the €5 billion required to do the trick in Cyprus, after the regime change the Cypriots themselves had voted into power a month ago. Saturday’s gambit, to seize this money from Russian and other depositors in Cyprus banks, appeared a safe bet in Brussels because apparently influential Russians – First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov – had signalled their willingness to go along.

But Shuvalov and Siluanov are clerks, no-counts politically. The one Russian who counts has now been presented by the western alliance with an opportunity to effect a strategic power shift in the Mediterranean at minimal cost upfront and little forward risk. It’s an object lesson in the greater value of money over arms in grand strategy.
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THE FACE THAT LAUNCHED A THOUSAND SLIPS – OLEG DERIPASKA DEFENDS AGAINST A THREE-DOLLAR SHARE PRICE

By John Helmer, Moscow

The share price of United Company Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly, has dropped into the three Hong Kong-dollar range for the first time. In three years of its stock market history, the company’s chief executive, Oleg Deripaska, has let slip about $13 billion in value, two-thirds of Rusal’s original worth. At a current market capitalization of $7.9 billion, Rusal’s equity is now a fraction of its $10.8 billion net debt. Its debt to equity ratio is almost 10x; that is the worst ratio of any Russian oligarch, far ahead of second-placed Igor Zyuzin of Mechel at 7.6x.

How can such a record be made to appear other than it is?

You don’t have to know much about dynastic history – the process by which one greedy thug kills another, and then orders his public relations agents to depict the outcome as God’s will, and his lawyers to sue anyone who says otherwise. Look at the top two faces – it’s obvious, isn’t it, which of them won the English kingship in battle in 1485, killing the other, and sticking a dagger in his buttocks on the corpse’s way to an unmarked grave?
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VLADIMIR PUTIN DEFIES THE HUNS – THE GREAT LIBERATOR TO THE RESCUE OF EUROPEAN CAPITAL, GROWTH, FAIRNESS, SECURITY OF SAVINGS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Starting sometime this morning and ending by lunch hour, President Vladimir Putin called an urgent meeting of government ministers and advisors responsible for the economy. Reporters were not allowed at the scene; no list of those attending has been released by the Kremlin; no official photographs have been published. The Kremlin website discloses no other meetings on the President’s morning agenda. The announcement of what happened at the meeting is tagged 12:30. “Vladimir Putin,” the official announcement says, “met with the officials of the Presidential Executive Office and the presidential aides and advisers responsible for economic matters to discuss the economic situation in the Eurozone, in particular in Cyprus. The President said that the decision to impose an additional tax on bank deposits in Cyprus, if it goes ahead, would be an unfair, unprofessional and dangerous step.”
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THE KREMLIN IMPOSES A 10% TAX ON RUSSIANS, AND GETS CYPRUS TO TAKE THE BLAME — DID OLEG DERIPASKA AND ALEXANDER ABRAMOV ESCAPE THE CUT?

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska’s airplane touched down in Cyprus on February 28. He wasn’t on holiday; that came a fortnight later, when he, his plane and his boat had a reunion at Male, in the Maldives. Deripaska left Cyprus on March 2. It isn’t known what was in the luggage offloaded on arrival, or taken on board when the plane departed. Maybe cash, if during the time in Cyprus an informant warned that the newly elected government of Nicos Anastasiades was about to accept a European Union bailout requirement hitting all Cyprus bank accounts with a 9.9% tax on amounts above €100,000; 6.79% on accounts below that amount.

Timing is everything. Eighteen months ago, in September 2010, Alexander Abramov became a citizen of Cyprus. Abramov, who is the second shareholder of the Evraz steel and mining group after Roman Abramovich and his Millhouse holding, was granted naturalization after then-Cyprus Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced to the Cyprus cabinet that Abramov was being rewarded because he had “offered [note carefully that word] the highest level of service to the Republic of Cyprus, and considering his business activities, naturalisation is in the public interest.”
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HOW TO INVEST IN RUSSIA’S BABY BOOM – BUY SHARES IN BABY FACTORIES

By John Helmer, Moscow

Who is Mark Kurtser, and what does he do for an honest living?

According to the Kremlin, when he was introduced to President Vladimir Putin last August, Kurtser was Chief Physician of the Centre for Family Planning and Reproduction. Two months later, on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Kurtser sold a bloc of his shares in a company he established called MD Medical Group (LSE ticker MDMG:LI). This is the first medical services company from Russia to be listed on the LSE. Kurtser, who started with 100% of the shares, sold 35% to the market; took about $100 million in cash for himself; and kept 65% of the shareholding. The umbilical cord for that flotation was the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a state funded cash-box which refuses to disclose details of its portfolio or operations. It paid about $50 million, and bought roughly one share of the six on offer.

In the five months since listing, MDMG’s share price has jumped 40%, easily beating most listed Russian stocks — with the possible exception of Abrau-Durso, the champagne maker. Kurtser’s company now has a market capitalization of $1.3 billion, so he is worth, on paper, $830 million. In point of fact, Kurtser is Russia’s leading manufacturer of… babies.
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GULNARA KARIMOVA IN TALK-BACK – ACCUSES VLADIMIR YEVTUSHENKOV OF “COMMERCIAL WAR”, ATTACKS RUSSIA FOR SHIELDING BEKHZOD AKHMETOV, ANNOUNCES HER RUN FOR PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN

By John Helmer, Moscow

From small seeds, big truths can be cultivated, pressed, packaged, and retailed profitably. Lies, too.

The elder daughter of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, Gulnara Karimova, was so named because in the Uzbek language Gulnara signifies the flower of the pomegranate. The Persians say the same thing.

Last week, after months of negotiation with newspapers worldwide, Karimova issued two press interviews in Switzerland, where she is Uzbekistan’s representative to the Geneva branch of the United Nations. Her effort has been arranged before prosecutors in Switzerland and Sweden file public indictments against Uzbek, Swiss and Swedish company officials for corruption offences, including bribery and money-laundering. They acknowledge they are cooperating with each other; they may be cooperating secretly with the Prosecutor-General of Russia. The deadline for the opening of the Swedish criminal dossier in the Stockholm District Court is July 25.
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SERGEI FRANK SETS THE PYRRHIC RECORD – ANOTHER COURT APPEAL TO TURN DEFEAT INTO VICTORY

By John Helmer, Moscow

The UK High Court and the Court of Appeal have now ruled three times to dismiss almost eight years of legal claims by state shipping company Sovcomflot, adding up (with interest and costs) to about one billion dollars. On top, Sovcomflot’s chief executive Sergei Frank (image left, left, tree) has been judged by the British justices to have been personally dishonest; to have procured dishonest or perjured testimony; and last week in the Court of Appeal, to have pursued vindictive claims.

There are two ways for Sovcomflot to avoid the ignominy. The first is to keep appealing, and yesterday (March 11), the Sovcomflot subsidiary Novorossiysk Shipping Company (Novoship) did just that. The second is to persuade the maritime media internationally, and the Russian business media in Moscow, that nothing has happened. For the time being, the media being more susceptible than the judges, the news blackout is proving to be more successful.
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CYPRUS COURT JUDGEMENT RULES RUSAL ACTED ILLEGALLY IN INFORMATION RAID – WHAT PRICE TO COVER THESE TRACKS?

By John Helmer, Moscow

For the second time in its short history, United Company Rusal, the loss-making aluminium monopoly run by Oleg Deripaska, has been ordered out of an international court with the ruling that it has acted unlawfully to seize confidential data of its critics. On March 1, by order of the District Court of Nicosia, Cyprus, Rusal has been ordered to destroy all of the information it had illegally taken. By a second order, Rusal has been required to pay all of the costs of the proceeding to date.

The award of costs against Rusal this time is especially significant. Those who have been the targets of Rusal litigation in the past — they include Russian and Tajik smelter operators, international aluminium traders, and Deripaska’s patron, Michael Cherney (Chernoy) — charge that Deripaska pursues personal feuds employing the company’s lawyers and shareholder resources. By multiplying cases in several international jurisdictions simultaneously, former Rusal lawyers say, he is attempting to crush his targets with legal fees, while exposing the company, not himself, to the costs, losses, and damages.
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SOVCOMFLOT DEFEATED IN UK COURT OF APPEAL – JUDGEMENT EXONERATING SKARGA, NIKITIN STANDS

By John Helmer, Moscow

The UK Court of Appeal yesterday cut short Russian tanker company Sovcomflot’s 7-year lawsuit, ruling that two earlier High Court judgements exonerating the conduct of former chief executive of Sovcomflot, Dmitry Skarga, must stand. The dismissal by the High Court of most of Sovcomflot’s claims against former chartering partner, Yury Nikitin, has also been endorsed in the judgement issued by a 3-judge panel on March 6. At least $8 million in an award to Skarga by the High Court must now be paid by Sovcomflot. In addition, Skarga will seek further compensation from Sovcomflot of at least $1 million for the costs of the failed appeal.

Sovcomflot has yet to issue a statement on the outcome of one of the bitterest cases of maritime litigation ever waged by a Russian state company in an international court, directed by the current chief executive Sergei Frank (title image) against his predecessor. According to Sovcomflot’s last financial report, “On 2 November 2011 the London’s Court of Appeal (Civil Division) granted the Group leave to appeal against certain important elements of the previous Judgement handed down on 10 December 2010. The Claimants’ appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal in London starting on 4 March 2013.” Sovcomflot is reporting that from its pending appeal litigation in the UK, it stands to gain “in the region of $172.0 million plus interest.”
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SEVERSTAL CRASHES TO 4TH QUARTER LOSS – ALEXEI MORDASHOV CONGRATULATES HIS BUSINESS MODEL AND VOTES FOR A BONUS, BLAMING THE WINTER FOR FAILURE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Severstal, the Russian steelmaker owned by Alexei Mordashov (image, far left, far right) reported today that in the final quarter of 2012 the company suffered a loss of $150 million after revenues fell to $3.12 billion, down 13.2% from the third quarter; earnings (Ebitda) contracted 36.4% to $347 million; and operating profit plunged 63.1% to $136 million. These results were significantly worse than Moscow steel industry analysts had been forecasting.

This is not the biggest quarterly loss at Severstal which Mordashov has run up in recent years. In 2009, for example, the first-quarter loss came to $303.3 million; that was topped in the second quarter by a loss of $685.5 million. The third-quarter bottom-line was barely above break-even, but in the fourth quarter of that year, the loss came to $97.3 million. Then Mordashov achieved his worst-ever quarterly loss — $777.9 million in the first quarter of 2010.
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THE CASE OF ANDREI BORODIN – ASYLUM FROM WHAT?

By John Helmer, Moscow

Andrei Borodin claims that the case against him for fraud and grand larceny from the Bank of Moscow is politically motivated, and that he is the target of persecution by the Russian law enforcement authorities, acting on the orders of senior officials. He alleges that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is the official giving the orders.

The British Government has considered Borodin’s claims in secret proceedings in which Borodin’s lawyers appeared; the Russian Prosecutor-General and the Bank of Moscow did not. There is no public record of the evidence which was presented; no public record of the judge; no public record of the judgement. Borodin was represented by a law firm which includes the former chief counsel of GCHQ, the espionage agency. He isn’t saying what he did for his client. The Home Office, the cabinet-level ministry in London equivalent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow, refuses to say if Borodin has been authorized to remain in the country. It refuses to say if its minister, the Home Secretary, issued Borodin with a residency permit on the basis of a court order, or on the basis of the regulation allowing the minister to grant “discretionary leave”. If Theresa May, the Home Secretary, took such a decision, the one certainty is that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, authorized it.
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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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