ONE MILLION SHOES, AND SILENCE

It was in February 1989, thirty years ago, that the first independent press bureau in Russia began to work. The bureau was mine. Death and revolution were my preoccupations.

At the time, the foreign press corps in Moscow was dominated by the well-known American and British media. The Americans were as much the favourites of the Russian political opposition as they were of Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of  the faction of officials supporting him. Both Russian sides wanted to be loved by Americans; some still do. A handful of foreign correspondents worked for Communist Party media in their homelands; the senior ones were from India and Italy. They were trying to cope with the domestic Russian debate over how far and how fast to dismantle one-party rule by the Communist Party, and what means to employ  short of force. In time,  the old Communist reporters retired or died of natural causes; a Canadian communist party reporter turned into an American journalist – death by a natural cause Canadians are familiar with.

During that first year my despatches went to Ta Nea (“The News”), the leading newspaper of Athens, Greece. Published in Greek, the archive is inaccessible.

On March 25, the Congress of People’s Deputies was elected by a partial free vote, following vigorous electioneering inside and outside the Communist Party. On April 9, the Army intervened to halt public demonstrations in Tbilisi, Georgia; about 20 people were killed; hundreds hurt. On May 25, the Congress opened, its daily proceedings televised live across the country. On September 9,  Boris Yeltsin began his first official trip  to the US – a visit which proved to everyone capable of seeing what Yeltsin was made of, and more importantly, who was making him. On November 9, the Berlin Wall opened. On December 12, the second session of the Congress began, and Andrei Sakharov rose to introduce the new constitution’s articles on the private ownership of property and the end of the Communist Party’s monopoly of power. Two days later, on December 14, Sakharov died. That left Yeltsin to lead the opposition to Gorbachev. Gorbachev trusted the US Government to support him in power; the US Government had another plan.  To the first independent foreign correspondent, the quisling and the fool were obvious every day.

Death and revolution, I said. They were personal. My wife and writing partner, Claudia Wright, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and could no longer compose. We did not disclose this until the year was out.

“A great highway with broad horizons before it”, Gorbachev was promising  the  Congress at the time. Following the mass demonstration in Moscow of February 4, 1990, the direction of that highway was diverted fatefully. So was my road. This was the last piece published under Claudia’s byline; the first in English from the Moscow Bureau. (more…)

US WAR, AMERICAN ENEMY – PRESIDENT PUTIN’S FEDERAL ASSEMBLY SPEECH INTRODUCES THE 12-MINUTE RED LINE

By John Helmer, Moscow

For the first time President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly has abandoned the distinction between  American partners and American enemies. In this week’s speech, Putin said that in response to the threats of missile attack the US is introducing against Russia, Americans in their command centres, all of them, are now targeted directly.  That’s US command-and-control centres in Europe, including Romania, Poland, Germany, Belgium, and the UK; and US command centres in the continental US. (more…)

PATRIARCH KIRILL LOSES HIS SEAT — REMOVED FROM RUSSIAN STATE LINE-UP AT THE FEDERAL ASSEMBLY

By John Helmer, Moscow

In this week’s address to the Federal Assembly – Russia’s equivalent of the State of the Union speech to the US Congress, and the Queens’s Speech to the House of Lords  – President Vladimir Putin has removed the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (Vladimir Gundyayev), from the seat and rank he has occupied for the past decade next to the Prime Minister.   

The political downgrading of the Church is unprecedented. In its compilation of the official photographs of the Assembly on February 20, the Kremlin website displays no picture of Kirill at all, nor of any other representative of a religious organization. (more…)

EXIT KARL LAGERFELD, RUSSIAN MAN-HATER – SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE DILIGINTER*

By John Helmer, Moscow

When Karl Lagerfeld (lead image, centre)  died this week, the Financial Times epitaph was that he “helped build up the French fashion house [Chanel] into a business that generated revenues of $9.6bn in 2017. Lagerfeld was unmatched in his output and at one point during the 1990s was designing collections for four brands — Chanel, Fendi, Chloe and his signature brand — simultaneously.”

The Chanel sales figure speaks for itself.  But now that Lagerfeld and Chanel can’t threaten to ruin the critics by pulling advertising from their media,  Lagerfeld’s real contribution to Chanel’s profit line, and his cost, can be tested by investment analysts. They report that Lagerfeld was profitable as a brand salesman but lossmaking as a designer.  As the Latin in the title says: if you seek his monument, look very carefully*. (more…)

VLADISLAV SURKOV ROLLS OUT THE RUSSIAN ANSWER TO THE AMERICAN STATE OF PERMANENT WAR

By John Helmer, Moscow

In the programme for the special form of Russian governance which Vladislav Surkov (lead image, right*) calls Putinism for the next hundred years, there is no power-sharing with businessmen (oligarchs or merchants), social classes, intelligentsia, the Russian Orthodox Church, political parties, parliaments,  the Constitution or  the civil and criminal courts. Rule will be by the military, the security services, and the state corporations advising the supreme leader. He in turn will be trusted by Russian people to convey their wishes, settle disputes, balance rights from wrongs, and check the state from corruption. Mostly, he will be trusted to listen.

To those whom Surkov, a Kremlin adviser since 1999, removes from power,  in order to make Russia combat-ready against the US and the NATO alliance,  this is a revolutionary manifesto.  (more…)

RUSSIA’S STAKE IN VENEZUELA

By John Helmer, Moscow

No ambition in Russia runs wider and higher than that of Igor Sechin, 58, chief executive of Rosneft.

To help fill the Venezuelan treasury, deter attacks on President Nicolas Maduro, reinforce his army,  and show the world he’s the Russian who can defeat both types of war the US is waging against the world – sanctions war and regime-change war – no bill would be too expensive for Sechin to pay. And if he can do that, he will show that he’s the natural successor of President Vladimir Putin. In point of cost for Rosneft, the Venezuelan strategy is relatively cheap.   

For the Russian military, who have created the most powerful army in South America (also a match for Canada ),  with a decade of deliveries of air and ground weapons,  the Venezuelan front is a fresh tester of American warmaking at low money cost and little risk of Russian casualties.  The combination of Sechin and the Russian General Staff  to defend Venezuela is a potent weapon to demonstrate to the world that US threats are bluff.  

So, win or lose on the battleground of Venezuela,  at home Sechin is showing his Russian allies that he’s their winner in the presidential power contest ahead.

Not everyone agrees. “Yes, the presidency is a matter of Sechin’s ambition; it’s also a condition for his survival,” comments a source who has known Sechin well. “As to who his allies are, I am not able to tell because he has managed to come into conflict with everyone around Putin. But if Sechin becomes the Kremlin’s lead on Venezuela, then Sechin will lose his battle for the Kremlin.” (more…)

GORILLA THROWS THE BOOK AND THE BEAR BARES ALL — RADIO DISCUSSION OF THE MAN WHO KNOWS TOO MUCH ABOUT RUSSIA

By John Helmer, Moscow

In February 1989 I started the Moscow Bureau with a first despatch to Ta Nea, then Greece’s leading daily newspaper. That was thirty years ago, a generation in time and several generations in Russian politics.

A generation is the time it takes for individuals to grow into adulthood acquiring the shared understandings which come as their life cycles run together. Knowing more than the generation around you understands can make you into a celebrity or a pariah; reward you with power, medals and money or turn you into a pauper. Knowing too much about Russia has been a life-or-death story for me. How to survive to tell the story, so that you can anticipate the future we hope to share – this is what Chris Cook, host of Gorilla Radio in Vancouver, asks in today’s broadcast. (more…)

LEONID LEBEDEV, FAVOURITE OF THE US STATE DEPARTMENT AND OF CYPRUS PRESIDENT ANASTASIADES, SET TO LOSE NEW YORK COURT CLAIM TO VICTOR VEKSELBERG

By John Helmer, Moscow

Leonid Lebedev (lead image, centre), a Russian oil and electricity trader and patron of  Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades (right),  is set to lose his multi-billion-dollar claim for a stake in the sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft, according to papers  released by the New York State Supreme Court. The Rosneft deal, priced in March 2013 at $55 billion,  created Russia’s dominant oil producer, and one of the world’s most valuable petroleum companies by revenue and market capitalization.  Its current market value is Rb4.4 trillion ($66 billion).

Lebedev has been claiming in the New York court since 2014 that he is owed $2 billion for a 15% share he once held in the Russian oil company, Tyumenneftegas (Tyumen Oil Company); TNK was the Russian acronym until British Petroleum bought into the company and it became TNK-BP between 2003 and 2013.

Lebedev has sued Victor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, alleging that their agreement for the sale of his shareholding for $600 million between 2001 and 2003 had not been completed or paid up.  Vekselberg, who is Russian,  and Blavatnik, Anglo-American,  say they paid Lebedev his money, and that he has been lying and fabricating evidence ever since.

In a hearing held by Judge Salliann Scarpulla on November 14, but kept sealed until a month ago, the judge strongly hinted that she will not allow the case go to trial. She has already dismissed  Lebedev’s claims of fraud and deceit by Vekselberg and Blavatnik. That left Lebedev’s claim for breach of the sale contract.

Scarpulla told lawyers arguing Lebedev’s case that she didn’t believe he had not agreed to the $600 million sale through the Cyprus-based company he had created to act his agent, Coral Petroleum.  After concealing Coral Petroleum’s bank transaction records and accounting records for years, they were discovered last year at BNP-Paribas.

The discovery was “explosive”, the lawyers declared in court. “We literally have hundreds, a box full of directions signed by Mr. Lebedev to spend money on Coral’s behalf. This was all before the defendant’s [$600 million] money even came into Coral.”

“You can imagine how this sounds,” the judge declared in court. “I have an agent, I tell my agent to sign the Agreement, the Agreement contains very broad language, and because later on I find out that the Agreement is not helpful or useful to me, all of a sudden, one, my agent didn’t have authority, which I don’t know how you [Lebedev’s lawyers] can really argue that because if the agent [Coral Petroleum] signs the Agreement, the law in New York is you’re bound. You haven’t shown me anything that would let the defendants [Vekselberg and Blavatnik] know that the agent [Coral Petroleum] didn’t have apparent authority to sign the Agreement. Two, the Agreement [between Lebedev’s Coral Petroleum and agents for Vekselberg and Blavatnik] says what it says and you admit that either your client [Lebedev] or your client’s representatives negotiated it. It was everything in that Agreement then. Your client had the ability to change or at least to discuss or do whatever. So, again, I’m at the position where you’re asking me to sort of find an ambiguity in something that seems not that ambiguous.” (more…)

HIGH COURT IN FIRST-EVER RULING ON THE PANTS OF OLEG DERIPASKA

By John Helmer, Moscow

For the first time in Oleg Deripaska’s 95-lawsuit history in the British High Court, the aluminium oligarch has been judged by the court to be a liar, a thief, and a thug.

“By force or threat of force,” Justice Sir Nigel Teare declared in a judgement published last week, Deripaska had seized a valuable site in central Moscow, evicting its lawful owner, Vladimir Chernukhin,  in 2010. About his business dealings over the property Deripaska “gave false evidence” himself in court as well as inducing his employees and business associates to do the same in their testimony. “Mr. Deripaska has given dishonest evidence to the court as he did to the arbitrators,” the judge ruled. “What his motive was for doing so is known only to himself.” “I formed the view that it would be wholly unsafe to rely upon his evidence.”

The result of the judgement is that Deripaska must pay about $100 million to Chernukhin, a former deputy finance minister and runaway state banker, who has lived in London since 2004. 

In a statement issued in Moscow last week by one of Deripaska’s companies, Russian Aluminium (Rusal), he called the judgement “biased and unfair”.   (more…)

PUTIN PROMOTES PATRIARCH’S PUTSCH

By John Helmer, Moscow

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (lead image, 2nd from left) , has proclaimed his church the sovereign  equal of the Russian state, and himself the political equal of the Russian president. The power transfer took place at a Kremlin ceremony last week in front of President Vladimir Putin (left).

“For the first time in Russia’s history,” Kirill’s declaration was reported by the state news agency Tass, “such a relationship has established itself between the Church and the state. Because even in the times of the Russian Empire, the church did not have an equal partner in the face of the government. It had always been subordinate to certain government institutions.”  

Russian politicians and constitutional lawyers are slow, and also fearful, to publicly challenge the combination of Kirill and Putin. From a survey of these sources in Moscow, one responded: “Does  the Pope claim to be the equal of the Italian President or Prime Minister? The Archbishop of Canterbury the equal of the British Queen? The Saudi King in a power-sharing deal with the Grand Mufti? Or Netanyahu the equal in Israel of the Chief Rabbi? The answer is obvious. Only in Russia would a churchman dare to make this claim, and violate the rights of all Russian citizens in the Constitution.”

“Nobody may usurp power in the Russian Federation”, proclaims Article 4 of the Russian Constitution. The Church may regard the patriarch as divinely appointed, but Vladimir Gundyayev, the civil name of Patriarch Kirill, qualifies constitutionally to be that nobody. So too are his senior associates on the Church’s ruling body, the Holy Synod  – Metropolitans Varsonofy (Anatoly Sudakov,  2nd left), Chancellor of the Synod and Finance Minister; Tikhon (Georgiy Shevkunov, 3rd left) , National Security Advisor; and Hilarion (Grigoriy Alfeyev, right), Foreign Minister. According to the Constitution, “the seizure of power or usurpation of State authority shall be prosecuted under federal law.”

Constitutional experts also believe Kirill’s declaration violates the Russian Constitution’s Article 14:  “The Russian Federation shall be a secular state. No religion may be established as the State religion or as obligatory.” (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.”

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.  

(more…)

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.”

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)
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