John Helmer (journalist)

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John Helmer (born 1946) is an Australian-born journalist and foreign correspondent , based in Moscow, Russia since 1989. He has served as an adviser to government heads in Greece (Andreas Papandreou), the United States (Jimmy Carter), and Asia, and has also worked as professor of political science, sociology, and journalism.[1]


Born and raised in Australia, Helmer graduated in political science from Harvard University in the United States, and worked in the White House as an aide of President Jimmy Carter.[1] He published several books on military and political topics, including essays on the American presidency and on urban policy in the US and essays on Greek, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern politics and foreign policy. Since 1989 he has published almost exclusively on Russian topics.[1] He was married to Australian journalist and foreign correspondent Claudia Wright.[2]

He was allegedly recruited by the KGB in the 1980s (according to the claims of Yuri Shvets) and left to live in Russia permanently.[3] However, Victor Cherkashin claims that Helmer was unaware that Shvets was a KGB officer, and that Cherkashin himself called Shvets off. Later, after Shvets' concerns attracted controversy, Cherkashin confirmed that Helmer was not an agent.[4]

Helmer has been based in Moscow since 1989 and, from there, has worked for The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, and other newspapers.[5]

Writing in the New Jersey Star Ledger, journalist Dave D'Alessandro described Helmer as, "the journalist residing in Moscow who has been a pebble in Mikhail Prokhorov’s shoe since oligarchs have been collecting their billions under the protection of a corrupt, Fascist state.... the kind of journalist who turns up dead once a month or so inside Putin’s Russia." And also as, "a fascinating and talented fellow, if not a fair bit over the top in his pursuit of truths."[5]

On 16 November 2001 John Helmer delivered the lecture 'Stealing The Truth - How To Read, And Not To Read, The Press In Russia' at the ELE public forum in Moscow.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "John Helmer's bio". Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ J. Michael Waller, Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda, and Political Warfare, page 167
  3. ^ "Another Ex-KGB Spy Spills the Beans / Yuri B. Shvets claims he recruited a former Carter adviser". SFGate. 12 March 1995. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ Victor Cherkashin and Gregory Feifer: Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer: the true story of the man who recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, Basic Books: 2005, page 272-73.
  5. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Dave (10 January 2010). "A Russian Tale". New Jersey Star Ledger. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "ELE Speakers List". 

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