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Trump fans, that endangered and vanishing species, are going through hard times. Even a devoted admirer of the Orange Man couldn’t swallow his strange battle of words with Kim, his threats to Iran, his UNESCO farce – and keep a straight face. The only comfort is that Hillary would have been even worse. Is he... Read More
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Donald Trump has chosen the wrong career. His flamboyant style would make him a popular and much loved Kabuki actor. The Japanese call it aragoto, literally a “rough business” style of heroic drama, featuring a big bold warrior with red and black makeup and a huge sword. The warrior trumps up to the scene with... Read More
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Can the Putin Fans League win municipal elections in New York City? Not bloody likely, you’ll murmur, and probably justifiably so. However, in the municipal elections last week, pro-American forces captured one third of the seats in Moscow. A great shock, slightly mitigated by the media silence that accompanied both the election and its results.... Read More
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-Will he sign, or won't he? – Moscow's John Bull pub customers tried to second-guess the US President. The pub on the Nikitsky Boulevard in the centre of Moscow is a good watering hole that is frequented by the Foreign Office minor officials and sundry intelligentsia. – He won't sign his own surrender, fervently said... Read More
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The highly anticipated encounter of the two presidents went better, much better than anybody predicted. There was a lot of anxiety, and expectations were low as heavy rain clouds, especially after Trump’s visit to Warsaw where he obediently repeated the Cold War platitudes dictated by his minders. Trump had been sent off to Hamburg by... Read More
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The first date is a decisive one, as we learned in college, while courting Nancy or Alice. The coming first date of two Presidents, the two superheroes of our generation is likely to set the trend for coming years. How will it go? What will they say? The consequences can be joyous – or fatal.... Read More
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The Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is the friendly calf of the Russian proverb who sucks two cows. After his rather successful meeting with President Trump, he went to the enemy No.1 of the United States, and to his good friend, President Putin, in chilly Moscow, where he always gets a warm reception. This time... Read More
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Full disclosure: I’ve met with Russians. I met with a Russian this morning. She brought me coffee. Such crazy and dangerous things can occur in Moscow. I am afraid the CIA and NSA could take notice of this meeting, and then it can be used – even against you. “You have perused an article by... Read More
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It is so dark now in the North. The Sun rises at 10 am to go down at 3 pm. White and plentiful snow and glorious stars outside and Christmas trees indoors make this darkness bearable – just. Here one understands why the people of the North had viewed Yuletide with great anxiety: they never... Read More
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Turkey is restless. President Erdogan is consolidating his power, trying to get rid of Parliament's bothersome interference. He intends to reformat Turkey into a presidential republic, assuming the powers of an American president. He wants to be a Caliph, the people in Istanbul jest, and call him “Sultan Erdogan”. And the failed July coup has... Read More
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If the greatest poker game of all times will end by nuclear grand slam, and the survivors will review the causes of WWIII, they will die laughing. The Third World War had been fought to save al Qaeda. Yes, my dear readers! Uncle Sam invaded Afghanistan in order to punish al Qaeda, and now he... Read More
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The Russian parliamentary elections went smooth as a silk dress under the hand. The ruling party, United Russia, has got a big majority of the seats in the Parliament, while the other three parties, the Communists (CPRF), the Nationalists and the Socialists shared the rest. Pro-Western parties did not cross the threshold and remained outside,... Read More
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The recent Syria agreement signed in Geneva by Kerry and Lavrov (probably it will be remembered as “Pizza and Vodka deal”, as the journalists have been served these delicacies by the negotiating teams during the time they had to wait for the results) beside the points disclosed by the foreign ministers included five documents. The... Read More
Putin as Caesar
He's getting blamed for all of Hillary's problems
A lousy dancer blames the uneven floor, and Mme Clinton had proven to be an unexpectedly lousy dancer in the competition for the presidency against the blundering New York tycoon. We would expect her to win or lose graciously, as befits a former First Lady, but gosh, she is clumsy – and blames her lack... Read More
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The DNC 2016 reminded me The Triumph of the Will, the paradigmatic film of Leni Riefenstahl. The fiery oration of “four-star general of the Marine Corps” General (retired) Allen, ready to kick ass of the Russkies, flag-waving, hysterical rhythmical shouts Uoo-eS-Ay, runaway aggressiveness, military pomp and above all exceptionalism of “America is great because America... Read More
William F. Browder, Chief Executive Officer Hermitage Capital Management. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Michael Wuertenberg. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The Browder affair is a heady upper-class Jewish cocktail of money, spies, politicians and international crime.
Chapeau, Mr Browder! Hats off for this incredible man. Last month, he succeeded in stopping a film screening in the European parliament and took off a few articles from American web sites. This week, he turned the only US screening of a film critical to his version of events into a ruckus. No freedom of... Read More
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The massive terrorist attack in Brussels came as a Not So Fast answer to Vladimir Putin’s Mission Accomplished. It appears the world needs more of Russian intervention in the Middle East if the black killers from the desert are to be stopped. Luckily, Russia is not in a rush to leave completely. From what I... Read More
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The area around the Central Moscow tube stations looks like Aleppo after an air raid. Ruins, destroyed buildings, bulldozers gathering the shambles. No, Moscow was not hit by terrorists: this is a planned demolition of hundreds of small and not-too-small shacks erected (in defiance of planning law) in the vicinity of tube stations in the... Read More
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The Russians and their Syrian allies have cut the main supply line of the rebels to the north of Aleppo, the Azaz corridor. In our last report, we wrote about the Azaz corridor, “a narrow strip of land connecting Turkey to the rebel forces in Aleppo. Though it has been narrowed down to four miles... Read More
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TOP NEWS: Feeling Pinch of Oil Collapse, Some Russians Take to Streets, reported The New York Times. Indeed, at that time thousands of Russians were queuing in Central Moscow. The enormous line snaked around in the park, despite frost and snow. People stood three and four hours, braving winter weather: old ladies in furs and... Read More
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Heavy darkness befalls the North; the sun rarely emerges from between the clouds. This year, Russia has noticeably less street illumination, and the spirits are anything but festive. Only the whiteness of the snow and Christmas trees break the gloom and remind us of the forthcoming low point of the cosmic wheel, Yuletide, when days... Read More
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Three important events influenced the course of the Syrian war in the course of last month: the Metrojet flight 9268 crash in Sinai October 31, the Paris attacks on Friday November 13 and the downing of a Sukhoi 24 on November 24, 2015. The Metrojet The Metrojet crash was not deemed an act of terror... Read More
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Russians are enjoying their Syrian adventure. Twenty days after its start, their entry into the Syrian war has paid off and brought some dividends. They displayed their military toys and duly impressed other boys in the sandbox. After a long period of despondency the Russians have now been cheered up, thank you, they feel much... Read More
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President Putin is a pirate, no less. In his declaration at the UN, he stole President Bush Jr’s copyrighted 2001 call to fight Terror. That’s why the Americans were taken aback: the Russian President played back at them the best tropes of their own presidents. This was a clever subterfuge: instead of pointing out the... Read More
These autumn days are the most important in the Middle East calendar. The Muslims celebrate Eid al Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice; the Jews fast at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; and the Eastern Orthodox Christians rejoice at Nativity of Our Lady Mary. It appears, surprisingly, the best place to be at this... Read More
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Despite doubts and denials, Russia is about to embark on an ambitious expansion of its Syrian presence, likely to change the game in the war-torn country. Russia’s small and dated naval repair facility in Tartous will be enlarged, while Jableh near Latakia (Laodicea of old) will become the Russian Air Force base and a full-blown... Read More
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People are not equal in death, either. Some deaths are more newsworthy than others. The media and politicians love spectacular acts of terror, fires, disaster, the death of the wealthy and privileged, a death conducive to a cause. Such is the death of 300 passengers and crew of the Malaysian airliner flight 17 in the... Read More
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These days, Sweden is all agog. In the midst of the coldest summer in living history that deprived the Swedes of their normal sun-accumulating July routine, the country plunged into an exciting search for a Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago, and (as opposed to the previous rounds of this venerable Swedish maritime saga) this... Read More
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I love Russia’s vetoes. Sparse, strong, hard hits, they mark the limits of the Empire’s power. They said “No”, and Zimbabwe remained at peace, its old maverick Robert Mugabe still alive and kicking and proposing Obama his hand in marriage. They said “No”, and Burma could grow at its own pace. They said “No”, and... Read More
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Greece is the pearl of Mediterranean, the place generations of foreigners from Lord Byron to Graves to Fowles have fallen in love with. From philosophy to feta, from history to yoghurt, from poetry to honey they provided the example to follow. Their priests preserve the pristine faith; their fighters defeated Mussolini; their Helen is the... Read More
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Hail, fire and brimstone, new sanctions or the US tanks on its borders, Russia takes things in stride. President Putin could adopt the motto of William of Orange: saevis tranquillus in undis, calm amidst the tempest. The tempest is all around. American tanks moved into the Baltic states. American warships sail up the Black sea.... Read More
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I had to whip up my courage to go to the Ukraine. There was a recent spate of political killings in the unhappy and lovely land, and the perpetrators never apprehended; among those killed was Oles Buzina, a renowned writer and a dear friend. Two years ago, well before the troubles, we had a drink... Read More
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The alleged killers of Boris Nemtsov have been apprehended, and they are (a dramatic pause) some Muslims from Chechnya who allegedly desired to punish the politician for his Je suis Charlie position. There is no official report available yet, but this implausible version is being promoted in Moscow. What’s that, a poor man’s 9/11? Indeed,... Read More
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In February, it is a long way to the spring, lamented Joseph Brodsky. Indeed, snow still falls heavily in Moscow and Kiev as well as in the steppes that form Russian-Ukrainian borderlands, but there it is tinted with red. Soldiers are loth to fight in the winter, when life is difficult anyway in these latitudes,... Read More
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The edifice of the post-1991 world order is collapsing right before our eyes. President Putin’s decision to give a miss to the Auschwitz pilgrimage, right after his absence in Paris at Charlie festival, gave it the last shove. It was good clean fun to troll Russia, as long as she stayed the course. Not anymore.... Read More
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The Reasons Behind the Cease-Fire
The piping-hot stage of the Ukraine crisis was over with signing of Minsk cease-fire agreement. It is far from clear how long the cease-fire will last, and whether it will morph into stable peace; still this pause provides a chance to review policies and strategies of the sides. The first part of this essay dealt... Read More
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On the Pushkin square in central Moscow, McDonald’s, this symbol of Pax Americana, has been shut down this week. It was opened 23 years ago, as the USSR collapsed, and the unipolar world of One Superpower came into being. Soviet people queued for hours to get in and try this divine foreign food. They were... Read More
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The erotic reliefs of Hindu temples with their gravity-defying and anatomy-challenging positions have found a new modern competitor in the Ukrainian crisis. Each party wants to get the Jews on their side, while claiming that the other side is anti-Jewish and a Jewish puppet at once. This impossible, Kama-Sutraesque position is the result of extremely... Read More
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It is not much fun to be in Kiev these days. The revolutionary excitement is over, and hopes for new faces, the end of corruption and economic improvement have withered. The Maidan street revolt and the subsequent coup just reshuffled the same marked deck of cards, forever rotating in power. The new acting President has... Read More
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The Crimean Gambit
Nobody expected events to move on with such a breath-taking speed. The Russians took their time; they sat on the fence and watched while the Brown storm-troopers conquered Kiev, and they watched while Mrs Victoria Nuland of the State Department and her pal Yatsenyuk (“Yats”) slapped each other’s backs and congratulated themselves on their quick... Read More
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Two Invasions
The stakes are high in the Ukraine: after the coup, as Crimea and Donbas asserted their right to self determination, American and Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory, both under cover. The American soldiers are “military advisors”, ostensibly members of Blackwater private army (renamed Academi); a few hundred of them patrol Kiev while others try to... Read More
Russian president Vladimir Putin behaves like a groom at his wedding feast in the midst of gang warfare: he tries to attend to his bride and disregard the gunshots, with less and less success. His wedding party is the Olympic games, a sports event that occupies him immensely; meanwhile his house is under attack from... Read More
What really happened in the Ukrainian crisis
It is freezing cold in Kiev, legendary city of golden domes on the banks of Dnieper River – cradle of ancient Russian civilisation and the most charming of East European capitals. It is a comfortable and rather prosperous place, with hundreds of small and cosy restaurants, neat streets, sundry parks and that magnificent river. The... Read More
A talk at Rhodes Forum
First, the good news. American hegemony is over. The bully has been subdued. We cleared the Cape of Good Hope, symbolically speaking, in September 2013. With the Syrian crisis, the world has passed a key forking of modern history. It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The... Read More
In the midst of its short summer, Moscow is balmy and relaxed. Sidewalks brim with tables and merry customers, even traffic jams are less severe due to holiday season. The only danger for men is the girls’ dresses, they are precariously short. In a few days, perhaps even tomorrow, the charms and dangers of the... Read More
The earth shook as the mighty salvo signalled the start. Gracefully, heavy armour proceeded along Red Square, passing by the stepped pyramid of Lenin’s Tomb, by the multi-coloured domes of St Basil, and descending to the embankment of the Moscow River; huge green trucks pulled the most obvious phallic symbols of all -- the intercontinental... Read More
(an update to the Oligarch Smackdown: Live!)
(Sihanoukville, Cambodia) The protagonist of this story, a prominent Russian developer and billionaire, “a Russian Donald Trump”, Sergey Polonsky, is now in a Cambodian jail, in the small seaside resort of Sihanoukville, where I visited him. On December 30, 2012, just before the New Year celebrations, his speedboat was detained after hot pursuit and a... Read More
To the many crimes of President Vladimir Putin, a new one was added last month: kicking babies, sweet, innocent, plump babies -- out of sheer wickedness. This crime was discussed ad nauseam, until it became a meme which was summed up by the NY Times’ own Thomas Friedman: “When recently confronted with his regime’s bad... Read More
An Entertainment
Who said the filthy rich are good for nothing? Their antics are very entertaining! The Nouveau Richehave always been notorious headline-providers, and the newest crop of Russian oligarchs make the robber barons of previous generations look timid and colorless. As money ages, it becomes anaemic; divided and subdivided by careful lawyers into a maze of... Read More
I love this country in the off-season. The tiresome tourists are all gone. The North is already covered in snow, but here in Crimea, autumn still lingers in all its late beauty. The forests are full of colour; not just green, but all hues from mellow yellow to a violent violet. Vineyards display more shades... Read More
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Israel Shamir
About Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir has written extensively on public affairs, primarily relating to the Israel/Palestine conflict and Russia, including three books, Galilee Flowers, Cabbala of Power and Masters of Discourse available in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, and Hungarian.

He describes himself as a native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, who he moved to Israel in 1969, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war, afterwards turning to journalism and writing. During the late 1970s, he joined the BBC in London later living in Japan. After returning to Israel in 1980, Shamir wrote for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, and was the Knesset spokesman for the Israel Socialist Party (Mapam), also translating and annotating the cryptic works of S.Y. Agnon, the only Hebrew Nobel Prize winning writer, from the original Hebrew into Russian.

His perspective on the Israel/Palestine conflict was summed up in The Pine and the Olive, published in 1988 and republished in 2004. That same year, he was received in the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and Holy Land, being baptised Adam by Archbishop Theodosius Attalla Hanna. He now lives in Jaffa and spends much time in Moscow and Stockholm; he is father of three sons.