The Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court of appeal, has dismissed an application from Sovcomflot, the state-owned Russian shipping group, to appeal against earlier judgements in favour of former chief executive, Dmitry Skarga (right). A three-judge panel issued its ruling on October 29, saying Sovcomflot’s application “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance…bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal.” (more…)
The Greenland government is about to open court proceedings against Greenpeace for attempts to occupy an offshore oil rig two years ago, the chief police prosecutor in Nuuk, Morten Nielsen, has disclosed. Russian sources say that Gazpromneft or parent Gazprom may be considering a similar move. These legal actions are targeted at Greenpeace as an organization. Until now, only individual members of Greenpeace have been prosecuted – in 2010 and 2011 cases in Greenland, when altogether 24 individuals were arrested, jailed, convicted and fined; and in proceedings now under way in Murmansk for 30 Greenpeace members; they are currently in prison awaiting trial on Russian charges for an attempt to board the Gazpromneft oil platform Prirazlomnaya, in the Pechora Sea, on September 18.
Their vessel, the 38-year old motor yacht Arctic Sunrise, registered in The Netherlands, is under arrest in Murmansk port. For details of its position, see here. (more…)
Private letters from foreign governments to President Vladimir Putin usually go into the Secret box. Applications by foreign governments for large-value arms deals from the Russian state exporter, Rosoboronexport, usually go to the Security Council of the Russian Federation for review, and there they are kept in the Top Secret box. The Council, chaired by Putin, includes his chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov; the heads of the intelligence and security agencies; the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and others. Nikolai Patrushev has been the secretary of the Council since 2008; before that he headed the Federal Security Service. The Council has a website and office address, but no press spokesman, no email address, and no telephone number.
Exactly why such a silent, professionally cautious group should be so careless as to advertise publicly that they are negotiating a large arms sale to Libya to help the government in Tripoli put down the local opposition is inexplicable – unless they were testing the Libyans to prove they can deliver what the Kremlin wants from that benighted place. Did they fail to anticipate the outcome might be an armed attack on the Russian Embassy in Tripoli, and the forced evacuation of the embassy staff? Read on. (more…)
“Greenpeace has broken the safety zone. Greenpeace activists have forced their entry into the drilling rig. This constitutes an obvious illegal act that disregards the democratic rules. It furthermore constitutes a severe violation of the safety regulations put in place to protect human lives and the environment. The Greenpeace action [is] a very grave and illegal attack on constitutional rights. It is highly disturbing that Greenpeace in its chase for media attention with all measures breaks the safety regulations put in place to protect people and the environment.”
If that sounds like a statement issued by the Murmansk prosecutor, the Investigative Committee of the General Prosecutor, Gazpromneft, or the Kremlin, you’d be mistaken. In fact it’s a statement by Kuupik Kleist, premier of Greenland, after his police had arrested a Greenpeace group which had attempted to occupy an oil drilling rig off the coast of Greenland. The date was more than three years ago, on August 31, 2010. The Greenland prosecutor also arrested a helicopter Greenpeace had hired to drop its members on to the rig, which was operated by Cairn Energy. (more…)
Once in a blue moon it is crystal clear – McChrystal clear, for reason shortly to be explained — why Anglo-American warmaking is bound to fail, and why Russian resistance to it – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Chechnya, Georgia, Libya, Syria – is the model the rest of the world should be following. As if dropped from the sky, spilled from the satchel of the Supreme Allied Commander, or hacked from the computers of the NSA and GCHQ, a book of warmaking advice has appeared, saluted by allied commanders as a work of genius in the Clausewitz mould. (That’s as if Germans, living or dead, have the right to teach the methods of aggressive war without earning another round of defeats on the battlefield and in the war crimes tribunal.)
Emile Simpson was in the British Army’s Royal Gurka Rifles from 2006 to 2012 where he was a platoon commander, spoke Nepalese, and served three combat tours in Afghanistan. Over the past two years he was paid to swap his sword for pen, writing a book called War from the Ground Up; this is sponsored by an outfit at Cambridge University called the Centre for Rising Powers, and published by Hurst & Company, a small London publisher which has turned out four books on Russia over 45 years, none too bad. (more…)
A mystery company in London, doing millions of dollars’ worth of mystery business for United Company Rusal, has reappeared after being struck off the UK Companies Register in June for failure to report its annual accounts. Except that now the company auditor says he can’t explain the revenue and cost claims, debts, loans, investment outlay and losses, and administrative expenses of $2.4 million for a company with zero employees and two empty shell companies as “members”. The auditor, a one-man, three-year old business with no telephone number, has also pulled a fast one, telling UK Companies House he has lodged accounts for the years to October 31, 2011, and the following year 2012; in fact there is just one set of accounts for 2012, filed twice, while the file for 2011 is missing. (more…)
Oligarchy versus democracy is a very old game, and so are the seven deadly sins. Why exactly men like Vladimir Potanin, Mikhail Prokhorov, Alisher Usmanov, Andrei Melnichenko et al. should calculate that advertising their standard of living should help them keep it is difficult to say. Maybe their pockets are under better control than their appetites. Maybe they believe that advertising profligacy will boost the accounting of their net worth and stave off margin calls.
That’s the point the ancient Athenians grasped with conviction. It’s the point of many of Plato’s and Socrates’s dialogues; of the comedies of Aristophanes; and of the records of the Athens law courts which have come down to us. To those Greeks, if a man displayed an excess of money, or what he did with it – by eating, drinking, betting, having sex, bejewelling his body, house, slaves, children, wives — he was by that very fact to be suspected of a crime against the democracy. The Athenian judgement was both retrospective and prospective: spending money intemperately was evidence that it had been too easily (dishonestly) earned. It was also evidence that state policy (investment, tax, war) would be corruptly influenced to serve such oligarchs’ material and personal interests, to the loss of everyone else. (more…)
The conflict between state pipeline company Transneft and Summa Capital over which of them will control the Novorossiysk Seaport Company is almost over, and the winner is — the Russian state. But wait – who is at the sharp end of the state, and who has got hold of the handle?
Transneft now owns the 10% shareholding which had been bought from the free-floating pool of shares in the market during September by Moscow-based Uralsib Bank, Transneft sources have revealed in Moscow this week. Transneft chief executive Nikolai Tokarev had said on October 1 that the size of the shareholding bought by Uralsib Bank had been 9%, not 5%, as had been reported publicly in September. But Tokarev didn’t say at the time whom Uralsib had been acting for. (more…)
Struggling with a rising debt burden of more than $8.2 billion, the Evraz group, owned by Roman Abramovich (left), Alexander Abramov (centre) and Alexander Frolov (right), has suspended production at its Claymont steelmill in Delaware. The production halt is indefinite. A company announcement from Moscow on Monday says that “due to subdued market demand and the high volume of imports, it will suspend operations at its steel mill in Claymont, Delaware. Over the next two months, about 375 employees will complete processing and shipping of existing products and prepare the mill for idling. EVRAZ will consider restarting the operations as soon as the market conditions improve. Evraz doesn’t expect any adverse financial effect on its operations in North America as a result of this action, and customers of the Claymont mill will be served by other EVRAZ facilities in Portland, Oregon, and Regina, Saskatchewan.”
Dated October 14, this was a big surprise. If what Evraz says now is believable, why did the company say publicly on August 29 that it was planning to increase production at Claymont Steel? Less than seven weeks ago, in the Evraz half-yearly financial report this is what the company claimed: “The key focus of the flat product group, in the period, was enhancing capacity utilisation. To this end, EVRAZ North America is currently finalising works to increase the rolling speed at EVRAZ Claymont which should improve productivity and provide capacity for higher output levels when the order book is strong.” (page 17). (more…)
Last week, on October 7, United Company Rusal – the state aluminium monoply managed by Oleg Deripaska (right) — was due in the Nigerian High Court at Abuja to start trial on the claim by a Nigerian-American group, BFIG, for the handover of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (Alscon). BFIG has been in the Nigerian courts since a ruling by a US federal judge eight years ago that the jurisdiction for its claims is in Nigeria, not in the US. In July of last year Nigeria’s highest court ruled that the government’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had unlawfully privatized the smelter in Rusal’s favour, rigging the share sale and the price corruptly for Rusal’s benefit.
The American government had already agreed. A US Embassy cable from Abuja, dated August 2004 and published by Wikileaks in 2011, told the State Department the Nigerian government’s action towards Rusal had reflected “a lack of transparency in the bidding process, and perhaps some corruption as well.” BFIG’s lawsuit claims $2.8 billion from Rusal in lost or unrealized profits, damages, and costs. (more…)
Fibber McGee was one of the first situation comedy serials on American radio; from 1935 to 1959, it was also one of the longest running. The situation joke was that Fibber would tell tall tales which his wife Molly would expose. Fibber (left image-1) stood (and fell) for hare-brained schemes; Molly, his wife on stage and off (left image-2), stood for commonsense.
Evraz is one of Russia’s largest steel and mining companies employing about 110,000 people worldwide. In Russia the group operates three steelmills in two regions; ten coalmines in two other regions, five iron-ore mines, and two vanadium refineries near Moscow. It is controlled by Roman Abramovich (right image-1), whose way of telling tales managed to persuade the UK High Court judge Dame Elizabeth Gloster, in the well-known case brought by the late Boris Berezovsky. But no Molly, Gloster. She decided that to protect her judgement from the Court of Appeal, she believed one of the two claimants rather than dismissing both of them for lying their heads off. A good part of Russia was wise to what was true, what was false. Gloster did something else. “I bethcha!”, one of Molly’s famous lines, turned out to be Gloster’s in the end. Or, as the Greek character used to refer to their names in the radio show, it was a case of “Fizzer and Kewpie”. (more…)
As a presidential assistant and a first deputy prime minister for many years, Igor Sechin grew accustomed to the illusion to which high officials in all states are prone – that the fault in efficient administration lies in the weakness of command-and-control systems, sociologically speaking. Or to speak psychologically of humankind, the reluctance of subordinates to do what they are told. As a government official Sechin tried to compensate for these sociological and psychological faults with the Russian combination of force and fear known as “administrative measures”. He’s also tried the old standby, money.
Now that he’s in charge of Rosneft, the publicly listed oil and gas company, Sechin is simultaneously accountable to the market and in the number-2 spot in Russian administration where only one accountability counts. Between the two, between the differently coloured telephones the chief executive can pick up on his desk, the rules aren’t quite the same. Indeed, paradoxical as this may seem to him, Sechin’s rules can be against the law. For a candidate to become the prime minister or more in Russia one day, such little paradoxes can have large and instructive consequences. Take, for example, the Rosneft business of putting fuel into ships’ tanks to drive their engines. (more…)
A court in Lagos, Nigeria, today dismissed all charges of arms smuggling and illegal entry for the crew of the Russian security tender, Myre Seadiver. Seven crewmen, who have remained on bail at the Russian Embassy in Lagos since the last hearing in July, will be free to leave Nigeria and return home, after the court order is issued tomorrow. The Myre Seadiver and its original 15-man crew were arrested almost a year ago, on October 20, in the Lagos port roads, as the vessel prepared to leave after a month’s refuelling and repairs, and a change of crew. That story can be read here. (more…)
General Vo Nguyen Giap has died in Hanoi, aged 102.
There has been no general of his quality and achievement in modern times. He defeated the French and the Americans, and in two separate wars drove them as decisively out of Vietnam as Kutuzov drove Napoleon out of Russia. Giap, his army and people withstood more conventional bomb weight than was dropped on Germany, Italy and Japan, combined, during World War II. They survived the most massive chemical warfare campaign ever inflicted on earth – that’s the American one. They emerged victors from explosive force “100 times the combined impact of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.” (more…)
Victor Pinchuk (right top) is the Ukrainian oligarch who last month hosted Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and other political wannabes or has-beens, to promote himself as the champion of Ukrainian independence. This week he stands in the UK High Court charged by two other Ukrainian oligarchs with bribery, corruption, theft of state assets, election-rigging, racketeering, extortion, embezzlement, fraud, conspiracy, and perjury, compounded by nepotism and sex with the only child of ex-President Leonid Kuchma (left). Holy Moly!
Russia is the frying pan from which the Ukraine is now trying to escape, Pinchuk and his celebrity guests agreed last month. But the fire into which Pinchuk is now committing his country is so flaming hot, it’s a wonder men with impulse-control problems like Clinton and Strauss-Kahn would wish publicly to endorse it, let alone a presidential candidate like Hillary Clinton trying to raise money for her race to succeed Barack Obama. For campaign reasons the two Clintons have been dissociating themselves from Kuchma’s record for years. But they have been taking Pinchuk’s money, and he is insisting it’s payback time. (more…)
All the punditry since September 8, when Alexei Navalny won 27% of the Moscow mayoral vote, with a 32% turnout, has missed three unusual poll indicators measured by the Levada Centre. The first is that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s approval rating has been in steady decline for a year, but it is now at an all-time low — far lower than Medvedev suffered as president during the economic downturn of 2008-2009. The downward trend line may be accelerating for Medvedev. By contrast, the second indicator shows that President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating for the past two years is stable despite the economic downturn, and may now be rising.
The third indicator is the remarkable one. This shows that the correlation between the President’s and Prime Minister’s ratings is evaporating, and the gap between them is now growing. Public approval gains for Putin but dwindles for Medvedev. (more…)
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 bilificationof society.
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.