Investigators searching for $3 billion in funds missing from Trust Bank of Moscow, the biggest Russian bank fraud in history, have found Benedict Worsley, the Cyprus-based manager of the bank’s offshore operations, at a heavily fortified house in the south of France, where he is guarded by British gunmen formerly employed by the British secret services.
The High Court in London has revealed that in return for cash and a promise of immunity from prosecution, Worsley has agreed to cooperate in the search for the missing money. He is now reported to be employed by Otkritie Bank, which is being financed by the Central Bank of Russia, to operate the old Trust Bank. However, sources close to the Central Bank say that officials at the bank are anxious to see Otkritie start repaying the bailout loans, and reluctant to soften the terms or extend the repayment dates as Otkritie is reported to be requesting. Suspicion is also rife in Moscow banking circles, according to one source, that “well-known names in high places were beneficiaries of the Trust Bank loans. They don’t want to be identified or obliged to repay.” They, according to a Cyprus source and another in London, who knows Worsley, are “threats to Worsley, and he knows it.” (more…)
It’s the job of the Dorchester doorman to know his hotel guests’ sins; cater to them discreetly; but keep them under his top-hat, forever secret.
During more than a decade of Sergei Frank’s trips to London to direct High Court litigations against the men he succeeded at Sovcomflot, the Russian state shipping company, he could count on the discretion of the hotel doorman. After the final ruling came down on Thursday, Frank, chief executive of Sovcomflot (lead image, right), can’t be sure that his humiliation by more than a dozen British judges will not now make him a laughingstock.
In a new 4-page judgement , Frank’s appeal against $72 million in compensation and costs to be paid to Sovcomflot’s ex-shipping partner, Yury Nikitin, has been dismissed, and he has been ordered to start paying immediately, with a down-payment of £1 million.
“There is no doubt,” ruled Sir Stephen Males, the presiding judge, “that, overall, the defendants [Nikitin’s companies] were the successful party. They obtained a judgment for US $59.8 million on the inquiry.” More than that, according to Males, the award of the costs of litigating should be paid to Nikitin, plus interest on further delays the shipping company takes. Not to do so, according to the judgement, “would fail to recognise the overall success which the defendants achieved.” (more…)
In the first tale of the thieves’ picnic, published by Leslie Charteris in 1937,a gang of robbers, kidnappers, and smugglers starts to fall apart over a $2 million lottery ticket one of the thieves stole from the gang’s pot. The detective who recovers the ticket, and rescues a diamond-cutter who’d been abducted for the gang’s diamond-smuggling operation, rolls up the crimes by pretending to be a gangster himself, and encouraging the others to betray each other.
By the standards of Ilya Yurov and Benedict Worsley, the original thieves’ picnic was a fight over peanuts. Yurov, the control shareholder of Trust Bank, managed the disappearance of $3.3 billion in Trust Bank funds until December 2014, when the Central Bank stopped his operations, and financed Otkritie Bank to take over in his place. Within weeks, Russian government investigators found the gap between Trust’s assets and liabilities had jumped from Rb67.8 billion to Rb114 billion; in pre-devaluation terms, that’s from $2 billion to $3.3 billion — bigger larcenies than the previous records set by Sergei Pugachev at Mezhprombank and Andrei Borodin at Bank of Moscow.
Worsley had helped Yurov by operating hundreds of offshore companies and bank accounts through which the money was moved, mostly as sham loans. Yurov is now living in Kent as a guest of the British government. Worsley, who divides his time between Cyprus and Dubai, is now employed by Otkritie Bank, Trust’s new owner. Worsley is being paid $32,500 per month as an informer, with a promise of a bounty of up to 4% of the recovery value of the assets Yurov and he allegedly stole and laundered, plus an indemnity from prosecution. The Worsley arrangement was kept secret by Otkritie Bank until revealed recently in the High Court in London.
The informer reward deal is unprecedented in the history of Russian bank fraud, according to London bankers and lawyers. “In a multi-billion fraud of this size,” said one international bank source, “a deal like this can be justified if the recovery is large enough – that is, if Otkritie Bank and the Russian Deposit Insurance Agency couldn’t follow the money trail without the informer, and if they manage to recover significantly more than they pay out to the informer. But why has Otkritie tried to keep the deal secret? The court papers show that $3.3 billion is missing from Trust Bank; Yurov’s bank accounts and assets add up to $830 million. How much is Worsley holding back? Does he stand to get richer with the Otkritie deal than he got with Yurov?” (more…)
In the war against Russia, the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan is a sideshow, although the Swedish Academy is doing what it can to elevate his monosyllabic rhyming to a moral high ground whose only precedent is the Norwegian award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Barack Obama in 2009. Obama’s congratulations to Dylan for “a well-deserved Nobel” was issued before Dylan acknowledged receiving it.
Dylan’s lyrics have been in steady decline among US and NATO audiences for the past 40 years. They had dwindled to invisibility until last week’s Nobel prize announcement. Billboard, the US measure of plays and pays in the pop music market, has failed to record Dylan in its Top-100 artists for decades; Billboard’s 200 “Greatest of All Time” albums doesn’t count Dylan at all. The Nobel publicity for Dylan failed to revive the listening audience or move any of his songs into the Billboard Hot 100. That is currently led by a song by The Chainsmokers of New York City. Their lyrics open with: “Hey, I was doing just fine before I met you”; and close with “no we ain’t ever getting older.”
Russian war songs are more popular than ever, according to Russian audience measurements. But the best of the Russian bards at this genre, Vladimir Vysotsky and Victor Tsoi, can’t qualify for next year’s Nobel prize. That’s not because their verse isn’t superior to Dylan’s, but because they are dead. So next year’s Russian nominee will be Melnitsa. (more…)
Canadian governments are often portrayed as Dudley Do-Right, a caricature member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the 1960s television cartoon series, who was always trying to do good; never caught the villain, never got satisfaction from the girl. That was because Dudley had less brains than his horse, who did better with the girl. Since Dudley, er Justin Trudeau became prime minister of Canada a year ago, the PR gap between the caricature and the prime minister has widened; the IQ gap has contracted; the distance to the villain and the girl has stayed the same.
The villain in the new Dudley Do-Right cartoon on Canadian policy is Russia. Canadian special forces are fighting Russia on both the Ukraine and Syria war fronts. Canada has given Kiev C$400 million (US$305 million) to pay the Ukrainian army, backed by most Canadian non-government organizations (NGOs) insisting they are on Do-Right’s side. One in particular, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, leads the charge against diamonds, gold and other mineral developers, many of them Russian, who compete or threaten Canadian mining interests. PAC, it turns out, is a weapon of commercial and economic warfare. Financially, it belongs to the US State Department and US investors, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. (more…)
The Kremlin has dropped a fish and meat bomb on New Zealand. The casualties are reported to be women, children and the elderly forced to eat food formerly sold to Russia; together with fishermen and farmers whose annual income of US$100 million from exports to Russia has been lost since the start of the Ukraine war.
After the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, attacked Russian policy in Syria and on September 26 issued a public insult to President Vladimir Putin, Moscow reacted with the announcement, nine days later, that New Zealand (NZ) exports of meat and fish may be banned from the Russian market. The NZ media have broadcast the prime minister’s attack on Putin; they are not revealing the Russian reaction. NZ government organs, including the NZ Ambassador to Moscow, Ian Hill, refuse to acknowledge the threatened food ban, or to discuss what is happening. (more…)
In war it’s a commonplace to say it’s the winner who tells the story. It’s less well understood that the story doesn’t win the war. In other words, war is won on the field by force. Info-war decides what people, who don’t fight, don’t vote, and don’t count, think afterwards. Afterwards is always a long time.
What happened at the Battle of Aleppo (lead image, 1) is that Russian and Syrian forces, fighting for the Syrian government in Damascus, defeated the forces of the US and the NATO alliance, fighting with mercenaries they hired to overthrow the government in Damascus. This is the most decisive defeat of US strategy and arms since 1975, when Vietnamese forces won the second Battle of Saigon.
US Government propaganda – whether published in the US or through English, Canadian, Turkish or Dutch paid proxies – is attempting to explain their defeat on the field of battle in Syria by alleging war crimes on the part of the winning forces against women and children. The propaganda ignores the war crimes of those who started the war in Syria and occupation of Aleppo in the first place. Like the rewriting of the history of the US wars which have destroyed, and continue destroying, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Georgia, Ukraine, etc., defeat is one thing on the ground; another thing on the page where it doesn’t count.
In counting like this, the slaughter of innocents isn’t new. By the way, fomenting and broadcasting hatred of Russians as child-murderers, like hatred of Jews as child-sacrificers, or of Afro-Americans as child rapists, is a crime too. (more…)
The State Department has switched off the lights for Victoria Nuland’s (lead image, right) planned meeting in Cyprus this week with President Nicos Anastasiades (left).
Cyprus sources confirm that Nuland is expected to arrive in Nicosia on Wednesday. The Greek press was told last Friday the visit is scheduled for this week, and that the State Department is giving “assurances that the American official is not going to make any suggestions or to lobby.”
State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said Monday “As of today, I have no travel to announce.” After official confirmation from Cyprus was relayed to her, Trudeau said: “as of today, we have no travel to announce. If that changes, we’ll certainly let you know.” Asked to explain the blackout, and to clarify if Nuland is currently in Washington, Trudeau refused to say.
The semi-secret Nuland trip comes after a weekend of hints from senior Cyprus officials that the US has been pressuring Anastasiades to accept Turkish military occupation of northern Cyprus under a NATO flag, and that Anastasiades’s past involvement with a fugitive Russian businessman, Leonid Lebedev, is one of the pressure-points in the meetings Nuland has held with the Cyprus president in April and July (more…)
Sovcomflot, Russia’s state-owned shipping company and one of the largest oil and gas tanker operators in the world, has today been ordered by a London court to pay compensation of $70 million, plus legal costs, to Russian shipowner and Sovcomflot’s former charter partner, Yury Nikitin.
The penalty, imposed by Justice Sir Stephen Males of the High Court, has been imposed after the judge ruled that Sovcomflot’s chief executive, Sergei Frank (lead image) and his company, had fabricated evidence in the case, given dishonest testimony in court, and improperly frozen hundreds of millions of dollars of Nikitin’s funds for years. Frank and Sovcomflot were judged to have been more culpable than the court’s findings that Nikitin had been dishonest to win new vessel and tanker charter business.
In a judgement released on October 7, Males put an end to a sequence of court actions and appeals which commenced in 2005, and have subsequently gone through the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, and been reviewed by almost a dozen of the most senior judges on the British bench. The penalty puts a stop to eleven years of what one judge called Frank’s “vindictive claim”. (more…)
Gorilla Radio is broadcast weekly by Chris Cook on CFUV 101.9 FM from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. The radio station can be heard here. The Gorilla Radio transcripts are also published by the Pacific Free Press. For Chris Cook’s broadcast archive, click to open.
For a fresh review of the technical evidence of radar, shrapnel, and the surviving fragments of the MH18 aircraft, read this.
As empires go into terminal decline, their generals go, too. Enroute, they become egomaniacs.
The pensions for retired military madmen are modest, so the generals run short of cash. The source of money which financed General Sir Richard Shirreff (lead image, left) to produce a book claiming Russia is about to launch a war against Europe, sink a British aircraft carrier, shoot down several US Air Force F-16s and kill 300 American troops at a Latvian airbase, is not disclosed by him, nor by his publisher and publicity agent, Hodder & Stoughton.
They confirm that Shirreff’s book was issued in a single hardcover edition and a single paperback five months ago, on May 19. They won’t say what market sales the book has had since then except to claim “it has sold extremely well”. They deny that a large consignment of books was purchased in advance by a NATO-allied entity. “This was an absolutely standard publishing agreement with the author . We never divulge our arrangements with our authors which I am sure you will understand are confidential business arrangements. In this case, I can confirm that there was no sponsorship arrangement and no arrangement with any third party to guarantee or purchase any number of books or indeed to cover any of the costs associated with writing or publishing the book.”
In Shirreff’s 436-page war, the US, UK and NATO defeat Russia by an Anglo-American commando and missile attack on a battery of Iskander nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad. That in turn triggers a Kremlin putsch that ends with the death of President Vladimir Putin in a helicopter crash. His successor, “even more of a hardline nationalist”, according to Shirreff, is forced “to return the Baltics to get Kaliningrad and their missiles back”.
There is also another ending. The British boy commando falls for the Latvian girl commando – “a couple of inches short of six foot, long ash-blonde hair, high cheekbones and radiating fitness”, with “a degree in English Literature at Durham” and a two-year stint at Goldman Sachs. Lovable as she is, she prefers Latvia, so the commando returns home to a British girl from GCHQ, the intelligence centre. Her legs, hair and cheekbones aren’t reported, though they must have been alluring because in the book’s penultimate paragraph, the soldier “realised how much he had been looking forward to seeing [her] again. And how much he was enjoying being with her now.”
“I know he has got a book to sell, and I’ve no doubt that he has got a large mortgage to pay,” said Philip Hammond, the British Defence Secretary who saw Shirreff into early retirement. “He was a senior Nato commander and this is quite irresponsible language…I don’t think there’s anybody serious around who thinks the kind of scenario he is postulating is remotely likely.”
Since the disclosure last week that the Pentagon paid $540 million to the London public relations firm Bell Pottinger to produce fake press materials and propaganda to justify the US military occupation of Iraq, the involvement of the firm controlled by Lord Timothy Bell in propaganda operations against Russian targets is suspected as much in London as in Moscow. Karen Geary, Shirreff’s publicist in London, said that reports suggesting Shirreff was paid to compose propaganda “are completely wrong”. (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.