THE WAGES OF SIN, ER WAGES FOR SIN – PATRIARCH KIRILL PRESENTS STATE DUMA WITH INITIAL PRAYER OFFERING (IPO)

By John Helmer, Moscow

When His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (lead image, left) made a speech to the State Duma last week, it was both more, and less,  than a case of preaching to the converted.

This is because investigations by the Central Bank, the Deposit Insurance Agency of Russia, a handful of Russian reporters and whistleblower churchmen have revealed evidence that the Church has been operating elaborate schemes for converting state funds into private profits, causing a string of Church-controlled banks to go into bankruptcy,  and then into state-funded bailouts.  Taxpayer and state budget funds, and cash belonging to state corporations, have been moved through deposits in these banks, supervised by the patriarch himself, into political donations to United Russia and other groups of parliamentary deputies; into construction contracting at church properties; and into related-party loans and investments which have disappeared offshore, never to be recovered or repaid. 

Of six Russian banks in which the Church has large shareholdings and control stakes since 1995, five have gone bust; been delicensed by the Central Bank; or been charged with criminal fraud, embezzlement and money-laundering offences. In three of the most recent Church bank insolvencies, Vneshprombank (VPB) in October 2016, Peresvet in December 2016, and Ergobank two weeks ago, the gap between assets and liabilities is already believed to be at least Rb 300 billion ($5.1 billion).  State auditors are expecting to count more money lost in the black hole. That is more money than Kirill is asking the State Duma to refinance for the Church from the 2016 budget, Central Bank reserves, and capital of the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA).

The deputies of United Russia, the majority party in parliament, aren’t saying no; they aren’t inquiring either.  (more…)

PSYCHOLOGY BECOMES LAW — OR IS IT BIBLE BASHING? OR ANOTHER CASE OF THE RUSSIAN BEAST?

By John Helmer, Moscow

A new campaign against the Russian devil has started in the US and UK media where the Hillary Clinton-for-President forces are strongest. The problem for them this time is that President Vladimir Putin is on the side of the angels. But he is unwilling to stop a power play by the Russian Orthodox Church.  Four out of five Russians, and an even higher number of Russian women, would back Putin if he did. (more…)

CYPRUS PRESIDENT NICOS ANASTASIADES UNDER PRESSURE, GOES UNDER COVER WITH A DEAL FOR HIMSELF AND ALMOST EVERYONE

By John Helmer, Moscow

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (lead images, left) has come under intense political and personal pressure to agree to terms of settlement for the future of Cyprus, swapping Turkish military occupation for European Union rights for all Turkish immigrants to the island — the former to be implemented over years; the latter to become effective immediately.  

The sensitivity of that deal, Cypriot, Greek and US sources said this week, is such a political bombshell  for Anastasiades seeking re-election in a year’s time that he wouldn’t be risking detonation, if not for a personal vulnerability he is facing at the same time.

Two New York Supreme Court releases this month reveal that  emails between Nicos Anastasiades’s family law firm and a wealthy Russian client, Leonid Lebedev (left lead, right side), were withheld when Anastasiades’s partner, Theofanis (Theophanis) Philippou, testified in a Cyprus court recently. Philippou has been one of Lebedev’s personal lawyers in Cyprus, and he has made official records of this. Anastasiades was also Lebedev’s adviser at the law firm and at the Imperium group of companies, which Philippou and Anastasiades operated to  manage their clients’ corporate business, personal trusts, and cashflow. Their relationships with Lebedev predate Anastasiades becoming president of Cyprus in February 2013.

It is that record which Philippou was ordered by the New York and Cyprus courts to produce. It is their sensitivity for the president now that has led to a cover-up.

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MIKHAIL FRIDMAN AND GREGORY SHENKMAN – THE ODD COUPLE AT WORK, AGAIN

By John Helmer, Moscow

Mikhail Fridman (lead image, left) has enough problems not to want to make his position worse in the US, Europe and Russia – all at the same time.

There have been recent protests outside Fridman’s Alfa Bank branches in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod, as well as inside the State Duma in Moscow, accusing Fridman of helping to finance the troops of the Kiev regime in combat on the Novorussian front.

Fridman’s Russian telecommunications company Vimpelcom – headquartered in Amsterdam, listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York – has been under close supervision by US Government inspectors as part of an anti-corruption settlement of its activities in Uzbekistan a year ago. Then last week in Madrid, Fridman and Vimpelcom were reported to be under joint US-Spanish investigation for a fraudulent takeover attempt at the Spanish telecommunications and games provider, ZED+; and allegedly for paying bribes through ZED+ companies in Russia to associates of the current Russian Interior Minister, Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

The former chief executive of Vimpelcom Russia, Mikhail Slobodin, is in hiding, on the run from a  corruption indictment filed in the Russian courts last September. 

Fridman’s LetterOne holding has announced from London it will not be investing in Russia in future, and prefers the US instead. “It’s too risky,” Fridman told Bloomberg  last year. 

So why have the risk-averse Fridman and the fugitive Slobodin engaged the San Francisco-based, Russian-speaking Ukrainian Gregory Shenkman (lead image, right) when Shenkman is currently facing multiple court claims in Pennsylvania,  Delaware,  and California for millions of dollars in unpaid debts, alleged embezzlement, and sexual harassment?  Sources in California and also in Italy,  where Shenkman has been seen in recent days, claim Fridman needs the American “to hustle for the next generation of data applications technology — apps — to install on telephone devices and revive growth of revenues and profits. Shenkman is part of Fridman’s business shift out of Russia. But like ZED+, Shenkman is a big risk in the US.” (more…)

VICTIM OR AGGRESSOR – CHRYSTIA FREELAND’S FAMILY RECORD FOR NAZI WAR PROFITEERING, AND MURDER OF THE CRACOW JEWS

By John Helmer, Moscow

Chrystia Freeland (lead image), appointed last week to be the new Canadian Foreign Minister, claims that her maternal family were the Ukrainian victims of Russian persecution, who fled their home in 1939, after Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin agreed on a non-aggression pact and the division of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. She claims her mother was born in a camp for refugees  before finding safe haven in Alberta, Canada. Freeland is lying.     

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland’s maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo)  Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp.  During the German Army’s winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht’s “success” at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Just before Vienna fell to the Soviet forces in March 1945, Chomiak evacuated with the German Army into Germany, ending up near Munich at Bad Worishofen.  On September 2, 1946, when Freeland says her mother was born in a refugee camp, she was actually in a well-known spa resort for wealthy Bavarians.  The US Army then controlled that part of Germany; they operated an Army hospital at Bad Worishofen and accommodated Chomiak at a spa hotel.  US Army records have yet to reveal what the Americans learned about Chomiak’s war record, and how he was employed by US Army Intelligence, after he had switched from the Wehrmacht.  It took Chomiak another two years before the government in Ottawa allowed the family to enter Canada.

The reason the Polish Government is now investigating Freeland is that Chomiak’s wartime record not only victimized Galician Jews, but also the Polish citizens of Cracow.  In a salute to Freeland as a “great friend of Poland” by the Polish Embassy in Ottawa last week, Warsaw officials now believe a  mistake was made.   (more…)

WHEN GOING TO BED WITH DOGS IS NEWS, GETTING UP WITH FLEAS IS A SCOOP – HERE’S THE ONE ABOUT TRUMP’S BED, PUTIN’S BED

By John Helmer, Moscow

Almost everyone goes to bed at night. Some get up to urinate.  The older, less continent ones can’t get up easily, so they urinate on themselves. If properly cared for, they do so in what is known in the geriatric product market as roll-ups.

A small minority arrange to be urinated upon by others, though not usually on the bed they aim to sleep in.  This may be an erotic pleasure for you, a perversion to the next man. The name for it is Golden Showers.  If conducted between consenting adults, it’s not a crime.  Paying for it may be a crime, depending on the local law on procuring. In the Russian criminal code it’s not a felony but a misdemeanour with a fine so small it usually isn’t enforced by the police; certainly not in expensive big-city hotels.

A claim is being widely reported in the US media which supported Hillary Clinton for president that President-elect Donald Trump paid for at least two ladies to urinate on the bed in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel of Moscow. A former British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) agent named  Christopher Steele  has reported the episode in a memorandum dated June 20, 2016, because  he was paid by a US client to do it;  and also because he was paid to speculate that the Russian Security Service (FSB) filmed it, and has been blackmailing Trump ever since.

Trump has responded that Steele is a “failed spy”. That is not an impetuous tweet. It’s the assessment of both US and British intelligence agencies, including MI6, for which Steele worked undercover in Moscow between 1994 and 1996. His cover was blown; he was evacuated; and as British intelligence sources  report this week, Steele has been unable to enter Russia for a decade. “No Russian with official links and knowledge would risk communicating with Steele for fear of being detected by Russian counter-intelligence,” said an intelligence source in London, Said another: “I met [Steele] a couple of times and thought that for a relatively undistinguished man who never made very senior rank he was a smug, arrogant s.o.b.  So I don’t work with him. The description of his being the top expert on Russia in MI6 is bollocks. ”

The story of the Obama-Trump bed, according to Steele, comes from 2013. Another story, the one of the Putin bed on which Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had sex with a prostitute in Rome, dates from 2009.  The true part has been verified with a tape the lady made of Berlusconi boasting about the source of the bed as he exercised himself on it. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Putin then and now, says the Trump-Obama bed story is “a complete fake. It’s total nonsense.” But about the Putin-Berlusconi bed, he said at the time: “We reject this information. I am not in a position to explain.” In short, that bedtime story may be true. (more…)

CHRYSTIA FREELAND IS THE BODY DOUBLE – CANADA PLAYS HILLARY CLINTON CARD AT RUSSIA; KREMLIN SUSPECTS FREELAND PUTSCH AGAINST JUSTIN TRUDEAU

By John Helmer, Moscow

Chrystia Freeland, a leading figure in the Ukrainian and Canadian campaigns against Russia, was promoted last week in Ottawa to become Canada’s foreign minister. She is now one step away in her plan to replace Justin Trudeau as prime minister, sources in Ottawa, Washington, and Moscow report.

There was a hitch in the plan, though. Freeland had been hoping for a senior ministry when Trudeau took power in November 2015. Instead, he gave her the low-ranked international trade portfolio to keep her out of Canada as often as possible.  Freeland then counted on Hillary Clinton to win the US presidential election last November, in order to persuade Trudeau she had better relationships in the coming Washington administration than the incumbent foreign minister, Stéphane Dion.  The election of Donald Trump, with whom Freeland has no relationship and no agreement either, disappointed but didn’t deter her.

Trudeau has also accepted the Freeland scheme, and also for a Clinton reason. Trudeau will be safer in the prime ministry, Ottawa sources believe, if Freeland follows the Clinton role model into public acrimony, private hysteria, then defeat. (more…)

WE ARE BACK, AGAIN – ONLY THREE YEARS TO GO BEFORE THE PROFESSION OF JOURNALISM DISAPPEARS ENTIRELY

By John Helmer, Moscow

Three years ago precisely, on January 12, 2014 – just before the Anglo-American war against Russia began in earnest — we reported that the Moscow School of Management at Skolkovo was publishing  what it called  a market atlas of the jobs and professions which will be newly needed by the year 2020, and those to be needed no longer. One of the new ones was what the Skolkovo atlas called  a cyber-cleaner (кибердворник). This is a specialist in removing from the internet and all digital data archives whatever information someone pays to have cleaned or deleted entirely, and its substitution with what the specialist is paid to put there – fake news, kompromat, disinformation, PR, advertising, fraud.  One of the professions the cyber-cleaners will replace, according to the atlas, is journalism(more…)

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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