Nothing like this has been said before by a leader of the Hellenes, Greek or Cypriot.
“If we consider a solution through militarisation,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, right) announced last week. “This will be the end of Cypriot Hellenism, which I do not want.” What Anastasiades meant was that he does not want Cyprus to defend itself, its land, airspace, territorial waters, and sea lanes, by military means.
A Cypriot president who swears off military defence “of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus” is violating his oath of office; he is betraying the Cyprus Constitution. A veteran of Cypriot presidential politics comments that Anastasiades is making the calculation that his best chance for winning a third term of office is submission to Turkey first, and submission to the US, the European Union, and Israel to limit Turkish military expansion in and around the island.
This is a strategy of buying time for himself, the source said, and riches for his associates. “He will be very happy to see Cyprus as a satrapy of Turkey provided he and his associates become the sultan’s satraps.”
by John Helmer with translation of report by Gevorg Mirzayan, Moscow @bears_with
If the war in Libya continues the way Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thinks it has gone in recent days, the Eastern Mediterranean will be a Turkish sea for the first time since Napoleon defeated the Ottomans and took Egypt and Syria between 1798 and 1801. But with Russia engaged against the Turks on the ground, in the air and at sea, not yet.
In escalation of the civil war in Libya in April and this month, Turkey has added ground forces from Syria, as well as Navy frigates, Air Force F-16s, and the capture of the Al-Watiya air base west of Tripoli. The Turkish side has now created a reinforced corridor for ship and airborne supplies of men and arms into Libya in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
The Greek Air Force has watched the Turks go by with aerial antics and diplomatic protests amounting to a white flag. No Greek or Cypriot military source has issued an appreciation, let alone criticism of this historic rout of the Hellenes in their own territorial waters.
Russia has reinforced the capability of the Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar to deter the Turks and in an operation with MiG-29s early this week attacked a Turkish frigate off the Libyan coast and a Turkish freighter in Tripoli port.
The US has taken the Turkish side, announcing through Army General Stephen Townsend, commander of the US Africa Command in Frankfurt: “Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya. Just like I saw them doing in Syria.”
Detailed Russian situation briefs from the General Staff’s military intelligence agency (GRU) have been appearing in Vzglyad, the internet analytical publication in Moscow. In the translation to follow, a strategic assessment by Gevorg Mirzayan indicates what is now at stake in Libya.
It is now a fortnight since President Vladimir Putin (lead image, left) announced a tax on Russians exporting their cash and capital to tax avoidance havens abroad; and since Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin followed to explain that Cyprus is the target. “We have started implementing the instructions on taxing dividends from foreign accounts with Cyprus”, Mishustin said at a Kremlin meeting with Putin on April 1. “The Cypriot government has been notified of the changes in the agreement on avoiding dual taxation.”
“For Putin to make his remark in a national
address,” comments a Moscow finance source, “and then for Mishustin to confirm that
Cyprus was intended in the President’s speech shows this is now a high priority
move. It reveals how upset the Kremlin –
especially Andrei Belousov [first deputy prime minister] — has been with the role
Cyprus plays in the outflow of Russian capital. I do not see any government
allowing capital flight now during a deep and lasting recession.”
“This sounds a death
knell for Cyprus accountants and law firms,” says a Limassol investor. “This is
their biggest business. From now on only the most hardened criminals or escapees
from Russia will be here.”
There has been a flurry of press leaks from Cyprus Government officials claiming that the Russian move is not targeting Cyprus. But no official at the Foreign and Finance Ministries in Moscow, nor at the Russian Embassy in Nicosia, has said this on the record. According to Mishustin and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, the new rules are still being decided, and will be announced on April 24.
By the way, the kibosh was an iron bar used two hundred years ago by cobblers in the north of England to flatten leather as they were making clogs. When the word reached the streets of London, it meant flatten in more ways than that one. The government of President Nicos Anastasiades (lead image, right) and Nicos Christodoulides, his foreign minister and aspiring successor, having chosen last year to cut their ties to Russia in exchange for American promises to protect the island from the Turks, is the clog in this story.
including artillery fire, infantry movements, launch of drones, rockets and
refugees, even losses of territory and
men, is planned by three Turks – President Tayyip Recep Erdogan (lead images); Defence Minister and former head of the
Turkish General Staff, Hulusi Akar; and Hakan Fidan, head of the National
Intelligence Organization (in Turkish, MIT). Call them the Sultan and the Ugly
An SUV is never
as serious as it would like to appear. This Turkish SUV also planned the July 2016
coup in Istanbul and Ankara. Nothing they do, including the sacrifice of large
numbers of their own people, will result in a military coup to remove them, no
matter how costly their mistakes. Those Turks who can calculate their mistakes
are in jail or dead.
The SUV has
decided to fight for Syria outside the lines of the Sochi agreement. With
artillery firing from the Turkish side of the Syrian border, they decided to
fight a new battle for Saraqib, east of Idlib, and succeeded. In the battle
they lost up to 60 regulars; the Syrian Army lost more than a thousand. The
Syrians have gained in the south of Idlib; they have lost Saraqib. They must retake it and hold it; they will;
they have done so.
have now established a cordon around the city. They have restored air cover for
the Syrian Army, and just as importantly, extended their electronic counter
measure (ECM) defences to the frontier and further. The drones on which the SUV
depended for targeting their long-range guns and for attacking Syrian Army units
have been neutralized. The Russian resupplies now arriving by sea and air are
more than a match for the small force the SUV has committed so far.
Defeat makes the SUV keener than ever to hide their weakness. Akar has retreated from his field headquarters in the south to Ankara, as the SUV prepares to meet Putin and the Stavka on Thursday in Moscow. A Russian military analyst reports the General Staff assessment awaiting him: “General Akar should keep himself in check, because it is one thing to inflate the enemy’s losses somewhat and pass off old videos as fresh ones. It’s quite another to write fiction novels in the context of information war.”
The SUV responds to force of arms more than to the force of money. They calculate President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisors are the opposite. The SUV will continue to operate NATO AWACS aircraft for attempting the same ambush tactics they used against the Russian Air Force in November 2015. The SUV will try to threaten with US weapons the Pentagon will not hazard in a losing fight. The Turks will push against the cowardice they have come to expect from the Greek Government in Athens and President Nikos Anastasiades in Nicosia. This has been a winning strategy for the SUV until they overreached with force instead of bluff. When the SUV goes through the Spassky Gate on Thursday, for the first time in the four hundred years since the Ottoman siege of Vienna, a single army, Russia’s, is defending all of Europe.
Among Russian oligarchs, Alexei Mordashov (lead image, centre) holds two records. One is for empty promises: he has never told the whole truth in public or when he has visited President Vladimir Putin (right) for private conversations about his business plans and the Russian state interest. Mordashov’s other record is for losing more money invested in the US than any other Russian; that was at least $3 billion in steelmills which Mordashov bought to turn himself into a global steelmaker in case his Severstal steel group was taken over at home.
It is therefore almost certain that when Mordashov flew to Cyprus last week to tell the Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades (lead image, left) he intends to double the number of Russian tourists to Cyprus, it’s another empty promise. This is also the assessment of Russian and Cypriot tourism analysts.
Russia has been warning Cyprus (lead image, left) for months to beware the risks and consequences of offering its offshore oil and gas to US companies in exchange for promises of a US military protectorate against Turkish invasion. So far the American response (lead image, centre – Secretary of State Michael Pompeo) has been to require Cyprus to block Russian Navy access to its ports; expel Russian capital from its banks; and put a stop to what Washington calls pro-Russian journalism in the Greek-language press. For details of this scheme, read this.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced the Washington plan as an “artificial choice” and also a “gross violation” of Cyprus’s internal affairs. But so far the Russians have joined the Americans in accepting that what the Turks believe to be theirs is theirs, and that what the Cypriots (and Greeks) regard as theirs is negotiable.
For the first time, however, Cypriot and Greek military officers and experts have joined to plan Cypriot military tactics against Turkey’s attempt at taking over the Cyprus offshore seabed and at fresh Turkish troop landings on the island. Not since the Cypriots fought a successful guerrilla war against the British for independence in the 1950s, and then in 1974 fought the Turkish invasion of the northern part of the island has a Cypriot military approach appeared. Self-defence by the Cypriots – without alignment with Americans or Russians, and without backing from Athens — is unprecedented. (more…)
Cover yourself. When it’s raining, you can’t borrow somebody else’s umbrella for shelter.
In September 1938, the umbrella of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain became the symbol of his foolishness in accepting Adolph Hitler’s terms for the takeover of the Sudetenland, then Czechoslovakia, as “peace for our time” (lead image, left), then telling the British to “go home and get a nice quiet sleep”.
The US umbrella which Nikos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, and Kyriacos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, have applied to borrow, to protect themselves from the terms dictated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan(lead image, right) isn’t yet as infamous. It’s already just as futile. For Cypriot and Greek officials to pretend to such folly is a treason before their own people. (more…)
Under cover of its Russian S-400 air defence batteries, and ignoring US and European sanctions, Turkey is going on the offensive at sea, surrounding Cyprus, and by land, launching a weapon against the European Union against which there is no defence: a Turkish cannon firing 150,000 people at Europe’s borders each month. They are the refugees from the wars the US and NATO launched in Iraq, Syria and Libya. (more…)
This week a group of US senators has proposed to leave Turkey in control of the northern part of Cyprus, and force the Greek Cypriots to choose between the US and Russia for the economic and political future of the south of the island.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed by a large bipartisan majority on June 25 to put into law a new Eastern Mediterranean strategy. If the bill is enacted, Cyprus will be required to decide that in exchange for American protection from Turkish military threats, including Russian-made S-400 missiles to be based in southwestern Turkey, the Cyprus Government must not allow Russian naval vessels to dock at Cypriot ports, and should block all Russian money and investments on the island. At the same time, Greece has been told the US military intends to expand its occupation of Crete around the Souda Bay base; at Larissa Air Force Base, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki; and at other Greek locations.
The proposed new law is the most comprehensive plan for American military occupation of Cyprus and Greece since the Greek civil war of the 1950s. The US plan also establishes State Department censorship of the Greek-language media in Cyprus and Greece, and threatens US sanctions against the Orthodox Church bishops of the two countries. (more…)
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 declaredin 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…)
Please recognize, if not in yourselves then in others, that there is pleasure in hating.
“The pleasure of hating”, William Hazlitt, an English writer of two hundred years ago*, compared this to what the British Prime Minister of today calls a novichok – “a poisonous mineral, [which] eats into the heart of religion, and turns it to rankling spleen and bigotry; it makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands: it leaves to virtue nothing but the spirit of censoriousness, and a narrow, jealous, inquisitorial watchfulness over the actions and motives of others.”
If not stopped in politics, this pleasure of hating leads with certainty to violence and war. The pleasure of hating Russia and Russians is what today is driving the United States to putting all of Europe in war. (more…)
“In war”, Thucydides lectured the Hellenes 2,400 years ago, “opportunity waits for no man.”
Last Thursday evening, when President Donald Trump was prepping for negotiations with President Vladimir Putin, the Hellenes gave the two of them an object lesson in how the weak may defeat an attack of apparently overwhelming force. Their opportunity was to say Οχι – that’s Greek for no.
That took Recep Tayyip Erdogan (lead image, right), the omnipotent ruler of Turkey, the US and British governments, and Espen Barth Eide (left), the United Nations (UN) negotiator representing their alliance, by surprise. The deceit of his schemes exposed, Eide’s name is dishonoured, his career is kaput. (more…)
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.
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…)
A multi-million dollar case of corruption and money-laundering, involving the fugitive Russian businessman Leonid Lebedev and his lawyer, now the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades (lead image), moved to New York this week, as Anastasiades landed for a week of meetings at United Nations headquarters; followed by Lebedev’s jet a few hours later.
Disclosures in a Manhattan court last week confirmed for the first time Lebedev’s emails to and from Anastasiades and his law partner, Theofanis Philippou. Over Lebedev’s opposition to revealing what these records say, the New York court is now set to request the Attorney-General of Cyprus, Judge Costas Clerides, and the Justice Minister, Ionas Nicolaou, to subpoena documents, bank accounts, and other records, plus communications to and from the businesses Anastasiades and Philippou have been supervising in Cyprus on Lebedev’s behalf since 2012; possibly earlier when Lebedev became a Cyprus citizen secretly, with help from Anastasiades and Philippou. That was in March 2011; they then began moving large amounts of cash from Russia through Cyprus companies and trusts into three New York banks.
Attorney-General Clerides has been investigating Lebedev’s business in Cyprus for months. He had Philippou under investigation earlier for allegedly corrupt involvement in the sale of the state airline, Cyprus Airways. Anastasiades was a defence witness in a criminal court prosecution by Clerides of a former deputy attorney-general on corruption charges. The trial will conclude in Nicosia next week. “I have done my duty towards the justice system in my country,” Anastasiades said when he appeared to testify in June. Philippou has been charged with no wrongdoing. he refuses to answer press questions about the Lebedev case.
Russian prosecutors are also pursuing investigations of Lebedev’s electricity company business in two regional courts, Tver and Yaroslavl. Lebedev was granted protection from Russian prosecution by the US Government in 2014, after he resigned his Russian senate seat and left the country. He now lives in Los Angeles.
What Lebedev is offering to reveal to US Government officials he is refusing to disclose in the New York Supreme Court. There he has been suing for $2 billion in compensation for shares in the Russian oil company TNK which he claims he sold to Victor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, but was never paid for. Last December Judge Saliann Scarpulla dismissed Lebedev’s fraud allegations, leaving a single contract claim hanging on a single piece of evidence – did Lebedev control Coral Petroleum, the company which received Vekselbereg’s and Blavatnik’s payment for the oil company shares?
The President of Cyprus knows the answer. He must now try to keep Lebedev’s secret from the Cyprus Attorney-General. (more…)
At the end of this month the Irish High Court in Dublin will consider an application for the arrest of Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades’s (lead image, left) law partner, Theofanis Philippou, and for an order to disclose company documents produced by them both on behalf of their client, the fugitive Russian businessman and former senator, Leonid Lebedev. An order for attachment and committal, as it is called in Ireland, directed against powerful figures in a neighbouring European Union (EU) country, is almost unprecedented, Dublin court sources say.
If the Dublin court agrees, Cyprus officials say they expect an Irish arrest order will be passed to the Irish police, and from them to the Cyprus Ministry of Justice. From there it will go to Cyprus Attorney-General Costas Clerides (2nd image, right). “We are interested to see,” officials say. “We will be waiting for this request.” (more…)
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is holding secret negotiations this week with Victoria Nuland (lead image, right), the US State Department official in charge of Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, on a plan to maintain Turkish military forces in Cyprus under the flag of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Anastasiades has sent his aide, Nicos Christodoulides (lead image, left), to negotiate in Washington; he met with Nuland on Monday.
After losing control of the Cyprus Parliament to an increasingly nationalist vote in an election on May 22, Anastasiades has remained behind at the presidential palace in Nicosia, where he met on Tuesday with the NATO official now conducting Cyprus negotiations for the United Nations, Espen Barth Eide. The Cyprus Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, is due to met US Secretary of State John Kerry, on June 13.
So sensitive is the US-Turkish plan for Cyprus that American reporters for Associated Press and Reuters at the State Department have refused to ask Nuland about the talks. Gayane Chichakyan, a Washington-based reporter for the Russian government television company Russia Today (RT), has also refused to lift the news blackout. (more…)
The US is intensifying the pressure on Cyprus to accept a secret NATO plan to keep Turkish forces on the island.
Victoria Nuland, the State Department official in charge of regime change in Russia and Ukraine, met for talks last week with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and with Turkish Cypriot figures. The State Department and US Embassy in Nicosia have kept silent on what was said. A well-informed Cypriot source reports Nuland “was in Cyprus to pre-empt any likelihood of future deepening in relations with Russia. Anastasiades may not want to, but he may have no other option.” A second Cypriot political source said: “[Nuland] will try to blackmail him. I’m not sure how he will react.” (more…)
A US Government effort to advance Turkish interests on Cyprus, and block Russia’s relationship with the government in Nicosia, has become the newest campaign of Victoria Nuland (lead image, left), the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Ukraine and the campaign for regime change in Moscow. The target of the fresh campaign, according to media reporting in Cyprus, is President Nicos Anastasiades. After warning Anastasiades to stay away from Moscow a year ago, Nuland has been back to Nicosia twice – in September, and then again in December – with a combination of threats and rewards to get Anastasiades to submit.
The rewards include new US arms and financing for the Cypriot security forces, ending the 24-year American military embargo on the island. The threats are aimed at terms which Anastasiades and his foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, have been negotiating with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for an expansion of Russian military supplies, port and airforce facilities in Cyprus; and for increased trade and investment to overcome European Union (EU) sanctions.
According to the Cyprus Mail, a long-time promoter of Anglo-American interests on the island, Anastasiades is being pressured, not by the US, but by the Kremlin. Russia “does not want him to sign a settlement of the Cyprus problem,” the newspaper reported last week. The Cyprus Mail was reacting to growing concern among high-ranking Cyprus officials and members of parliament at evidence of Cyprus corruption spilling out of a New York court case.
This is the case pursued by Leonid Lebedev, a Russian politician and businessman on the run from Russian fraud charges. Lebedev, a Cyprus citizen since 2011, now lives in homes in Limassol and Los Angeles. According to the reported speculation in Cyprus, the evidence in the Lebedev case is “a warning to Nik[os Anastasiades] that more revelations would follow, if he did not hold back on the Cyprus talks.” Whether Lebedev’s “revelations” are a Russian threat, or one of Nuland’s, Cyprus sources say they aren’t sure. (more…)
The law partner of the President of Cyprus is under investigation in Cyprus and in New York for allegedly concealing assets, cashflows, and money-laundering, and for lying to a Cyprus court and to the Cyprus Ministry of Interior, for the benefit of a former Russian politician now on the run. (more…)
Cyprus Government investigators have opened an inquiry into ex-Senator Leonid Lebedev (lead image) for transfers into a hidden Cyprus trust of $150 million in cash allegedly stolen from the regional Russian electricity company TGK-2 and a related company, TKS. Investigations by Russian prosecutors and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), reported to court hearings in Yaroslavl, have counted almost $240 million Lebedev has been accused of stealing through a chain of companies associated with his Sintez group, ending up in Cyprus. A Russian Government request for the Cypriot authorities to open Lebedev company registers and tax filings has been confirmed as triggering criminal checks on the island.
The Cyprus authorities are also checking how Lebedev managed to obtain a Cyprus passport in 2011; and the source of the funds he pledged to place in Cyprus to meet the €5 million requirement for buying citizenship. That was a year before Lebedev swore in the Limassol District Court that he was a Russian citizen, without assets in Cyprus, and “impossibil[ity] to travel to Cyprus”. His testimony was in response to a lawsuit by Commerzbank of Germany charging Lebedev with $240 million in loan fraud. At the time, Lebedev was a Politically Exposed Person (PEP), according to Cyprus and European Union regulations, and subject therefore to much tougher official checks.
Lebedev also hid his Cyprus nationality from the Federation Council, where he was the senator for the Chuvash Republic between 2002 and April of this year. For more on his dismissal, read this. (more…)
What to do if you are a Russian mining company with a billion dollars’ worth of asset exposure securing large debts, and your chain of production is struck at start and finish by corruption scandals, international litigation, popular protest, collapse of government authority, and homicidal violence? The solution is to pretend to your bankers you aren’t Russian — and privately beg the Kremlin for help.
That is what the Solway Group of companies has been doing at its nickel mine in central Guatemala, and at its ferronickel refinery in southeast Ukraine. Asked about Solway’s Russian roots by a Ukrainian reporter last month, Solway’s chief executive Daniel Bronstein replied that “Solway Investment Group is a Cyprus-based international industrial group with a 100% EU capital and operational offices in Luxemburg, Switzerland and Estonia.”
At almost the same time, a Russian source in Guatemala City said the Russian Ambassador, Nikolai Babich, had been to see the President of Guatemala, Otto Molina, to ask for his intervention on behalf of the mine’s Russian management and the Solway owners. (more…)
The Cyprus Government’s unit for combating money-laundering will consider an investigation of Igor Kolomoisky if it is requested by the Ukrainian or US Governments, Eva Papakyriacou revealed on Tuesday. Papakyriacou is the head of the unit, whose acronym, following the Greek, is MOKAS.
She declined to say if there has been a request for investigation, either by a foreign government, or by the Cyprus government agencies responsible for Kolomoisky’s Cyprus passport, or the source of funds of his Privatbank group in Cyprus. “All the information possessed by MOKAS is confidential,” Papakyriakou said. “However, it is noted that the source of funds is checked by the Banks and the Supervisory Authority for Banks is the Central Bank.” (more…)
The President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades agreed last week with President Vladimir Putin on what is reported in London and Washington to be a military basing agreement with Russia for Russia’s naval and air forces in the Mediterranean. In the aftermath, Putin did all the talking to the press, making it clear, if not explicit, that in current Russian strategy, Cyprus is far more important than Greece.
Returning home to Cyprus on the weekend, Anastasiades has disclosed no papers with his signature, assuring his party supporters – among them, the anti-Russian voter bloc on the island – that so far as military terms are concerned, he has signed nothing new. The Cyprus Mail, an anti-Russian newspaper, called Anastasiades’s trip to the Kremlin a “fizzle”. A source close to the Cyprus presidency comments that the idea of a Russian base agreement in Cyprus “is agitprop. It’s all a lot of bull.” (more…)
In the wake of the lethal Odessa fire on May 2, President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed by telephone on Sunday afternoon “to take effective measures, including through the OSCE in the first place, aimed at easing tensions in Ukraine. In this connection, Swiss Federal President and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter will arrive in Moscow on May 7.”
This amounts to an invitation for the Swiss to exercise their longstanding neutrality in European conflicts to keep the warring sides apart in eastern and southern Ukraine; prevent the violence; and create the conditions in which a durable settlement between the Ukrainian regions may be negotiated on a new constitutional basis. In short, an international police force. (more…)
Oleg Deripaska’s airplane touched down in Cyprus on February 28. He wasn’t on holiday; that came a fortnight later, when he, his plane and his boat had a reunion at Male, in the Maldives. Deripaska left Cyprus on March 2. It isn’t known what was in the luggage offloaded on arrival, or taken on board when the plane departed. Maybe cash, if during the time in Cyprus an informant warned that the newly elected government of Nicos Anastasiades was about to accept a European Union bailout requirement hitting all Cyprus bank accounts with a 9.9% tax on amounts above €100,000; 6.79% on accounts below that amount.
Timing is everything. Eighteen months ago, in September 2010, Alexander Abramov became a citizen of Cyprus. Abramov, who is the second shareholder of the Evraz steel and mining group after Roman Abramovich and his Millhouse holding, was granted naturalization after then-Cyprus Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced to the Cyprus cabinet that Abramov was being rewarded because he had “offered [note carefully that word] the highest level of service to the Republic of Cyprus, and considering his business activities, naturalisation is in the public interest.” (more…)
For the second time in its short history, United Company Rusal, the loss-making aluminium monopoly run by Oleg Deripaska, has been ordered out of an international court with the ruling that it has acted unlawfully to seize confidential data of its critics. On March 1, by order of the District Court of Nicosia, Cyprus, Rusal has been ordered to destroy all of the information it had illegally taken. By a second order, Rusal has been required to pay all of the costs of the proceeding to date.
The award of costs against Rusal this time is especially significant. Those who have been the targets of Rusal litigation in the past — they include Russian and Tajik smelter operators, international aluminium traders, and Deripaska’s patron, Michael Cherney (Chernoy) — charge that Deripaska pursues personal feuds employing the company’s lawyers and shareholder resources. By multiplying cases in several international jurisdictions simultaneously, former Rusal lawyers say, he is attempting to crush his targets with legal fees, while exposing the company, not himself, to the costs, losses, and damages. (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.