The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Denis Kornilov / Shutterstock.com
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
Eugene Sergeev / Shutterstock.com
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
IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock.com
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
ID1974 / Shutterstock.com
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
I received a letter from the Arts Editor of the Morning Star asking for my permission to re-publish my popular essay on the Pussy Riot: I gave my permission immediately, and they published it – and took it down in a few hours under pressure of the Jewish Lobby. The Lobby had a good reason... Read More
Universally admired, Pussy Riot (or PR for short) have been promoted as superstars. But what are they? A rock or punk group they are not. A British journalist marvelled: they produce no music, no song, no painting, nada, rien, nothing. How can they be described as “artists”? This was a severe test for their supporters,... Read More
Secret Protocols of Putin’s Talks in Israel
Israel retains its ability to control the Syrian 'Islamist' rebels. Netanyahu is not worried about Syria's possible disintegration. Despite the received wisdom claiming that Israelis prefer a stable and familiar Assad to the great unknown of Islamic guerrillas, the new and sensational information we received points out to the opposite, namely: Israelis prefer the Somalisation... Read More
Review of Revolution from above, Manufacturing Dissent in the New World Order, by Kerry Bolton, 250 pages. Arktos 2011, UK
The Left – including Communist Left – is manipulated by the super-rich in their own interests. These super-rich conspire to destroy tradition and create a collectivist world order of despotism under their own guidance, and the Left are “useful idiots” of these greedy for power and money people. This is main thesis of a new... Read More
After the Russian Elections
Moscow The anticipated apocalypse did not come to pass. The presidential election in Russia ran its course, Putin was duly elected, and to the great astonishment of the opposition, multimillion crowds demanding the blood of the tyrant did not materialize. Only some 15,000 protesters gathered in central Moscow and dispersed peacefully within two hours. Only... Read More
Liberals Prepare to Cry “We was robbed”
Moscow Moscow is shining in the bright spring sun; the golden domes of its churches are a-glitter, surrounded by pure white snow; endless boutiques display the latest Paris fashions; restaurants are plentiful and expensive; numerous theaters are full, at a hundred dollars a seat for a Chekhov play. High oil prices have brought prosperity and... Read More
Moscow For a month, Moscow was bracing itself for the February 4 Rally. It was pre-planned and prepared by the anti-Putin pro-Western liberal opposition, donning white colours. Despite sub-zero Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Centigrade) arctic frost, the organisers hoped to break their pre-Christmas record and gather a huge crowd and a procession to shatter the... Read More
Moscow Midwinter recess stopped everything in Russia. It was like August in France some years ago, mutatis mutandis, with snow instead of sand, fir trees instead of palms, and vodka instead of pastis. For two weeks, the whole country laid off work and relaxed. Moscow was blissfully empty of its crowds, though Red Square was... Read More
After interminably long delay, the grey Moscow heavens were at long last generous with snow, dispensing heaps and heaps of the white stuff, turning cars into snow mountains and making sidewalks impassable. This is a nice time of year: bare trees are covered with white foliage, skating rinks flash with skaters, girls sport their favorite... Read More
(Russian elections follow-up)
1. The Likes Parade Moscow saw its biggest demo in a decade last Saturday. It was a feel-good peaceful manifestation of youthful Facebook users, and it was already nicknamed the Likes Parade, as the prospective participants had clicked on “like” in response to the call to demonstrate. The predictions were dire: some expected clashes and... Read More
Moscow is unusually warm: the temperature refuses to dip below zero degrees Centigrade, the freezing point. Instead, it is wet and dark. The sun gets up late and goes to sleep early. To make matters worse, President Medvedev decided to keep Russia on daylight savings time throughout winter. To offset this stupid decision, Christmas illumination... Read More
The crisis peaking in Britain is of a Caribbean-sea-pirate type: long time no trophies, while lifestyle has to be maintained. Neoliberal policies have undermined the toughest folk on earth, hard-working, prudent, obedient, stiff-upper-lipped red-faced Brits, the people who managed India, burned down the White House and withstood Hitler. Their backbone – Yorkshire miners and Sheffield... Read More
Medvedev vs. Putin
The Arab Rebellion has polarized Russia: some dream that the Spirit of Tahrir will visit Moscow, even as others hope for a NATO crusade to spread Western values all the way to the Volga; yet a third lot prays fervently that nothing will change, now or ever. The recent Russian abstention in the UN Security... Read More
Russia is different. The Americans, the Brits and the French by and large approve of their forces’ Libya bombing spree (yes, some doubt that it’s a good bang for the buck). The Russians are flatly against it, with no ifs, ands or buts. The Russian Ambassador in Tripoli, Vladimir Chamov, came back to a hero's... Read More
I am now in Moscow, which once again became a holy city, with hundreds of churches and monasteries that were resurrected from ashes for last twenty years. The churches are all different, some gold and baroque paintings in 19th century style, some harking back to Ivan the Grim days, decorated with murals floor to ceiling,... Read More
Russia's vote to endorse the Goldstone Gaza report in the United Nations Human Rights Council last Friday was an important, milestone event both for Palestine and for Russia. For Palestine, this vote opened a way to try and sentence Israeli mass-murderers, and thus ushered Israel into a new era of responsibility after a long period... Read More
A fast guy had thought that a wallet was unattended, and tried to snatch it. But to his distress, he was stopped in his tracks by a burly wallet owner. This might be a fair description of Saddam Hussein’s effort to snatch Kuwait. It also fits the war over South Ossetia. Georgian President Saakashvili thought... Read More
Since the recent Russian presidential election of Medvedev (which shifted Vladimir Putin to the less prominent post of Prime Minister) and even for a while before that, Russian foreign policy was a matter of guesswork. There was a widely-held view that Mr Medvedev would take a more submissive line towards the US and the West,... Read More
The decision by the Estonian nationalist Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip, to uproot the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Tallinn brought this small Baltic state to the verge of civil war and severely disturbed peace in the region. The usually tranquil and delightful, Hansa-built Old Tallinn, surrounded by its long city wall with “Long Hermann”... Read More
Spring has come to our Northern retreat: The snow has melted and uncovered meadows that somehow managed to stay pale-green; thick ice on the lake has broken up and crawled up on the shore like so many white crocodiles; now a warm wind blows and the sun shines as if it means business. The Spring... Read More
(follow-up of Russia Hesitates with readers’ responses) Unwillingly, the world rolls down to a next bout of war, as Israel and the US are pushing for sanctions on Iran. Of the great powers, the UK seems to follow orders of Washington, Germany is unable to say “no” to Jews, while France is about to elect... Read More
Israel and the US, the terrible Siamese twins conjoined by their Jewish communities, are on the warpath. The usually knowledgeable Uzi Mahanaimi wrote in the Sunday Times that the plans have beenlaid out, and preparations are being completed for the resumption of the war on Syria and Iran temporarily stopped by the Hezbullah fighters in... Read More
This May was a time of great disillusionment for Russians. Years have passed since they parted with Communism, broke up the Soviet Union, granted independence to (or gave away to the US) every land they ever controlled, allowed Western companies to buy and sell their heirlooms and livelihood, closed down their military bases, let their... Read More
Easter has no fixed abode; this most important movable feast of the Orthodox Christian year flies like a shuttle between March and May and weaves the diverse important dates into a single metaphysical narrative. In the memorable year 2000, it coincided with the Western Easter proclaiming Christendom’s underlying bedrock unity. Last year, Good Friday fell... Read More
“We lived in a communist paradise and weren’t aware of it.” I have heard this sentence from many ex-citizens of the ex-USSR, from Russians and Tajiks, Ukrainians and Balts, and I agreed with them wholeheartedly: Soviet Russia was a land of spiritual and educated men who loved their work, were proud of their country, despised... Read More
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.