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 Russian Reaction BlogTeasers

* Reports just coming in that there has been a terrorist attack in Manchester.

Manchester a pretty well-off city, by the standards of the English North-West, though the city’s penchant for hedonism has given the city the lowest female life expectancy in England.

16% of the population are Muslims. Not as vibrant as Luton or Birmingham yet, but it’s getting there.

* New podcast with Robert Stark about automation and basic income.

Also, if you understand Russian, a reminder that I participate in a weekly Russian language podcast ROGPR. We are on our 14th episode as of this week.

* Vincent Law: Who Are Russia’s Black Hundreds?

This is a good article.

* Neo-Nazi converts to Islam, murders Neo-Nazi roommates for disrespecting Islam. TFW you take the WHITE SHARIA meme a bit too seriously.

Of course it happened in Florida. And of course the perpetrator is a ginger. The perfect memetic trifecta.

orb-of-power* #RiyadhSummit: “Three values to embrace to propel ourselves forward. They are tolerance, diversity and hope, and that’s what makes us human.”

They’ve learned the Davosi dialect well, I’ll give them that.

Anyhow, about Saudi Arabia: On the grand list of things to fault in Trump, continuing the bipartisan American tradition of cosying up to the House of Saud is one of the smallest and most irrelevant ones.

They basically subsidize the American military-industrial complex to the tune of several billions of dollars a year (I am pretty convinced the massive price gouging they tolerate is done on purpose and is a sort of bribe).

Frankly for that sort of money I think just about everyone would agree to say some bad things about Iran, turn a blind eye to Yemen, and worship a glowing orb for a day.

zuckerberg-new-vision

* I am not usually one for conspiracy theories, but the Seth Rich affair is very suspicious.

* Zuckerberg’s (new) vision via P.T. Carlo (also discovered this other article of his about the most loathsome neocon bugmen).

* Daniel Chieh’s comment on servitude in traditional China.

* About Ukraine’s banning of VK.com, Yandex, and basically half its Internet – will have separate post on that.

* Sinotriumph #1: China’s hyper-competitive schools are forcing parents to take IQ tests before accepting pupils (h/t whyvert)

Meanwhile, the US is still rehashing the same old Bell Curve debates, each one more farcical than the last.

Even as society lags, science continues to move forwards: James Thompson – IQ Brain Map. In the long run, Gnon always wins.

* Sinotriumph #2: The evolution of metros in China 1990-2020 (Peter Dovak).

china-metros

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: China, Open Thread, Terrorism 

ccfair-shoahs-spencer

Buzzfeed: White Nationalist Richard Spencer’s Gym Terminated His Membership After A Woman Called Him A Neo Nazi

The entity in question, C. Christine Fair, is a Georgetown University associate professor of Peace and Conflict Studies.

From its Tumblr (where else?):

First, I want to note that this man is a supreme coward. When I approached this flaccid, sorry excuse of a man and asked ‘Are you Richard Spencer,“ this pendulous poltroon said “No. I am not.” But of course he was. (Recall that when he booked a restaurant reservation at Maggiano’s Little Italy Chevy Chase under a false name (http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/alt-right-donald-trump-conference-restaurant)?
Second, I exploited the full range of my first amendment entitlements by telling him that this country does not belong to white men. As a white woman, I find his membership at this gym to be unacceptable. I found his membership at this gym to be an unfair burden upon the women and people of color–and white male allies of the same. I also loudly identified him as a neo-Nazi who has said, inter alia, the below detailed things. …

I will be writing a piece in the HuffPo. I will be writing to corporate and demanding the firing of this GM and the ousting of this Nazi.
And the General Manger of Old Town Sport&Health is ultimately responsible for ensuring a safe, nonthreatening work environment for his employees. By allowing this savage into our gym, he has undermined his own position. He even asked one of the African American trainers to meet with him! Un-fucking-believable.
Best part of this event this evening: the General Manger accused me of creating the “hostile environment” for hollering in a non-threatening way at this Nazi asshole. He has no idea what hornets nest he has kicked over.
I won’t rest until the GM is out and my friends at this gym are relieved of this hostile environment.

One irony is that the attached photos indicate it could probably use its time in the gym to better ends than harassing people for exercising their First Amendment rights.

A second, bigger irony is that when it is not harassing people exercising their First Amendment rights, it is actively exercising her white privilege to advocate for the bombing of brown people. This makes it objectively far more dangerous to marginalized people of color than Richard Spencer.

Fair has published several articles defending the use of drone strikes in Pakistan and has been critical of analyses by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other humanitarian organizations.[4]

Fair’s work and viewpoints have been the subject of prominent criticism.[5] Her pro-drone stance has been denounced, and called “surprisingly weak” by Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid.[5] Journalist Glenn Greenwald dismissed Fair’s arguments as “rank propaganda”, arguing there is “mountains of evidence” showing drones are counterproductive, pointing to mass civilian casualties and independent studies.[6] In 2010, Fair denied the notion that drones caused any civilian deaths, alleging Pakistani media reports were responsible for creating this perception.[7] Jeremy Scahill wrote that Fair’s statement was “simply false” and contradicted by New America’s detailed study on drone casualties.[7] Fair later said that casualties are caused by the UAVs, but maintains they are the most effective tool for fighting terrorism.[8]

Writing for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf challenged Fair’s co-authored narrative that the U.S. could legitimize support in Pakistan for its drone program using ‘education’ and ‘public diplomacy’; he called it an “example of interventionist hubris and naivete” built upon flawed interpretation of public opinion data.[9] An article in the Middle East Research and Information Project called the work “some of the most propagandistic writing in support of President Barack Obama’s targeted kill lists to date.”[10] It censured the view that Pakistanis needed to be informed by the U.S. what is “good for them” as fraught with imperialist condescension; or the assumption that the Urdu press was less informed than the English press – because the latter was sometimes less critical of the U.S.[10]

Fair’s journalistic sources have been questioned for their credibility[11] and she has been accused of having a conflict of interest due to her past work with U.S. government think tanks, as well the CIA.[5] In 2011 and 2012, she received funding from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to conduct a survey on public opinion concerning militancy. However, Fair states most of the grants went to a survey firm and that it had no influence on her research.[5] Pakistani media analysts have dismissed Fair’s views as hawkish rhetoric, riddled with factual inaccuracies, lack of objectivity, and being selectively biased.[11][12][13][14]

It is also likely that it has spent more time harassing Muslims for their political beliefs than almost anyone else in the Alt Right.

Fair has been accused of harassment of former colleague Asra Nomani, after Nomani wrote a column in The Washington Post[15] explaining why she voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 United States Presidential Election. The harassment came in the form of Tweets taking aim at Nomani with a series of emotionally charged profanity and insults that lasted 31 consecutive days.

So many microaggressions, I can’t even. Maybe some sensitivity training sessions are warranted?

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Hate Speech, SJWs 

I don’t really have much to add beyond what I said on RT Crosstalk, and what Alexander Mercouris wrote here and here.

The month long reprieve Trump had gained with his Syrian human sacrifice is over, and the Swamp creatures are back, baying for his blood with renewed zeal.

expanding-brain-of-louise-menschWhat is most remarkable, and cannot be stressed enough, is that there is still no evidence of Trump having colluded with Russia.

But no matter. So far as the MSM is concerned the Russian Occupation Government already rules the White House through its intermediates, Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and TASS photojournalists. Trump spilled all of “our greatest ally’s” secrets to them personally and now that means America’s European allies are no longer going to share intelligence with them (according to one anonymous “European official,” anyway). Because the details of Islamic State plans for laptops on international flights is the sort of arcane knowledge that can overturn the global geopolitical chessboard. /s

The firing of Comey was obviously an act of petty revenge against him for taking down Flynn and getting too deep into the secrets of ROG. No matter that Flynn’s connections with Russian state structures remain entirely speculative, while it is openly known that he acted a paid up lobbyist for Turkey. And it obviously can’t have a more mundane explanation, such as Comey’s lack of interest in shoring up the incessant leaking that is incapicitating the Trump administration.

This is all so transparently obvious. But we are living in an era when a woman who by her own admission has her mind destroyed by hard drugs and believes Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart and funds BlackLivesMatter gets op-eds in The New York Times.

This is the fake reality that fake news has created, but with enough time and “manufactured consent,” fake reality has a way of becoming “actual existing” reality.

predictit-impeach-trump-odds-2017Here are a few facets of this reality. As of this week, for the first time, a near majority of Americans – 48% to 41% – want to see Trump impeached according to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling.

PredictIt is now giving 25% odds that Trump will be impeached in 2017. This is highest than at any other time this year, even thoug there is now just a bit more than six months to go.

As of the time of writing, it is giving implied odds of about 30% for Trump not being President by the end of the year, and 45% odds of not being President by the end of 2018.

I suspect these figures are plausible. While removing Trump from office via impeachment is probably unrealistic – for that, 2/3 of the Senate will also have to vote to convict him (for what?) – Trump Derangement Syndrome has become so endemic that it theatenss to make the country essentially ungovernable. This could give establishment Republicans the excuse to pressure Trump to resign (perhaps with the threat of a 25th Amendment coup, as Ross Douthat has recently suggested).

Obviously I wish Trump the best of luck against the Swamp golems but things really aren’t looking good for him.

 

ulf-karlsson The Swedish Institute has acknowledged me as a far right extremist “dedicated to hate against migrants, women, LGBTQ people, and human rights organizations.”

I am in the company of 14,392 other Swedish and “international” accounts that have a “high extremism and/or Neo-Nazi orientation” and threaten violence.

The Swedish Institute is most famous for running the @sweden Twitter account. Every week, a random Swede is selected to take over the account and offer their profound thoughts to the world.

Now to be sure, this is pretty insignificant; only when I acquire a RationalWiki hagiography ala JayMan and get on Ukraine’s Peacekeeper list of Russian terrorists will I consider myself to have actualized my potential. Still, the gesture is appreciated – your next cuckshed upgrade is on me, Ulfie.

You can access the text of the full list here and search for individual handles here. It is current as of May 10, 2017.

captain-swedens-hitlist

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Hate Speech, Sweden, Twitter 

In my coverage of the French elections, I’ve been vaccilating between optimism and pessimism. Obviously, Le Pen’s result – 34% of the vote – was unprecedentedly good, and her popularity seemed to be especially strong amongst French youth. On the other hand, it was perhaps not as good a result as could have been expected, considering she was facing off against the embodiment of an empty suit politician and representative of a political system that has worked hard to delegitimize itself in the past decade. In particular, her failures to make any inroads amongst the French intellectual and professional class, who control 90%+ of the media and universities, is particularly concerning.

Since then, I’ve taken the time to look through French post-elections opinion polls, and I am now leaning much more towards the pessimist side of things. I will mostly refrain from editorializing and just lay out the data, and maybe some of you could come up with a more positive interpretation.

1. IFOP: Comprehensive profile of French voters in the second tour.

france-elections-abstention-historical(a) The commenter AP has suggested that the reason MLP performed reasonably well amongst younger French is because more of them stayed home. Indeed, at 25% of the electorate, the rate of abstention in this election has been the highest since 1969.

Moreover, just as AP posited, abstentionism was concentrated Melenchon supporters (36%) and 18-24 year olds (33%) and 25-34 year olds (34%).

According to this poll, 81% of Melenchon voters in the first round ended up voting for Macron anyway (of those who voted at all, obviously). Any talk of “Red-Brown” alliances remains as chimeric as always.

(b) In the OpinionWay poll released soon after the French elections, it appeared that French women – unusually for nationalist parties – were relatively more supportive of MLP than the men (37% to 33%). This would have been pretty encouraging, since women tend to be more conformist, and a better result for MLP amongst them would imply nationalist ideas are infiltrating the mainstream and becoming less tabboo.

ipros-poll-le-pen-womenTwo consequent polls put paid to that, though. In this poll, men were more supportive of MLP than women (36% to 33%), and another IPSOS poll confirmed that picture (38% to 32%).

Still nowhere close to the 10% point or more gap in male/female voting in the recent US elections, but not a curious exception either.

(c) The biggest #blackpill, though, is the indication that support for MLP ebbs amongst the youngest age group, despite their high abstentionism.

Opinion polls in France have been conflicted on this question:

In particular, a voter poll released just now by OpinionWay is extremely encouraging – an amazing 44% of 18-24 year olds said they had voted for Marine Le Pen, compared to just 20% of over 65 year olds… This standards in positive contrast to a poll from the first round, which suggested that Le Pen’s support peaked at 29% in the 35-49 year old bracket, before declining to 21% amongst the youngest voters. It would also be a confirmation of polls from 2015 which indicated that support for the Front National increased monotonically as voters became younger.

OpinionWay, which has a sample of almost 8,000, shouldn’t be dismissed. On the other hand, though, the IFOP survey supports the interpretation that support for MLP peaks amongst the middle-aged, then begins to fall again amongst the youngest voters.

ifop-poll-france-elections-2017-age-groups

2. Some more observations:

(a) The majority of Macron voters in the second round (57%) were not voting for Macron per se, but against Le Pen.

(b) There were… debates, about who had won the debates. This poll suggests it was Macron – more voters thought more favorably of him afterwards (10%) than of MLP (6%).

financial-times-france-elections-2017-education(c) The Coming Apart thesis: Of Macron’s voters, 80% said they had benefited from globalization, or at least not lost from it; in constrast, of Le Pen’s voters, some 74% said they were losers from globalization.

Also, a striking graphic from (see right) from The Financial Times in support: Macron won 84% of the vote in the 10th decile of France’s most educated communes, versus 53% in the least educated decile.

(d) As per usual, MLP remains the candidate of the French siloviks:

…In Versailles, it is shown by the two voting stations in the Satory plateau (No. 10 and No. 11). Marine Le Pen got 64.61% and 53.34% there respectively, against 35.39% and 46.66% for Emmanuel Macron. These are the only voting stations in Versailles that don’t put Macron far ahead. In the town, Macron got 76.15% and Le Pen 23.85%. Abstention was slightly higher on the Satory plateau than in the rest of Versailles. The only people living on the Satory plateau are gendarmes, military personnel and civilians working in the defence industry who benefit from social housing.
The same observation in Nanterre, with voting station 14 which corresponds to the Republic Guard barracks. Marine Le Pen was in front with 54.04% against 45.96% for Macron. The contrast with the rest of the city is also striking here: Macron 83.15% and Le Pen 16.85%.

3. IFOP: Confessional voting:

(i) Abstentionism at about 25% for all religious denominations, except Muslims, of whom 38% abstained.

(ii) Macron actually got a higher result (71%) amongst practicing Catholics than irregular (54%) and non-practising ones(61%). I assume on account of the age difference. The irreligious voted 70% for Macron. Muslims – a near monolithic 92%.

ifop-poll-france-2017-by-religion

They also asked whom they had voted for in the first round. Fillon is the President of the Catholics. And Muslims vote highly Leftist: 37% for Melenchon, almost twice the national average, and 17% for the Socialist candidate Hamon, almost three times as high as the national average.

ifop-poll-france-2017-by-religion-first-round

4. The only foreign country where Le Pen won? Syria, LOL. (h/t Mohsen)

france-elections-2016-le-pen-macron-abroad

5. But speaking of Syria, even in the event of an MLP win, their celebration might be premature. While browsing through IFOP’s database of polls, I discovered one more #blackpill for your delectation.

The Front National portrays itself as an anti-immigration, non-interventionist party, and the former at least is definitely true – only 4% of MLP voters support immigration, versus 30% of conservative (Sarkozy) and 60% of leftist (Melenchon/Hollande) voters.

Unfortunately, it seems to be much weaker on the anti-intervention side of the equation.

In the wake of Trump’s strike on Syria, IFOP polled the French on whether they agreed with it or not, and the results are as astounding as they are depressing.

ifop-poll-2017-support-for-syria-strikes

62% of Front National voters and MLP supporters supported the strikes – that is virtually the same as those evil “globalist” En Marche!/Macron supporters.

Ergo for Fillon/conservative voters. Hamon supporters were 50/50, while Melenchon voters were actually opposed, at 45% to 55%.

This raises a disquieting scenario. Assume Marine Le Pen was to get into power by some miracle, and were to find herself hobbled by the universal hostility towards her populist-nationalist program from within and without.

What could she then do to break the deadlock?

Well, if the Trump experience is anything to go by, why not bomb some brown people in the Third World in the wake of the next round of dubious atrocity propaganda, with the quiet approval of her own electorate and the jingoistic cheers of the “moderate” centrists, who will go on to reward her “Presidential” actions with a few weeks of support before digging in their talons again.

 

* Russian nuclear weapons expert Pavel Podvig is giving an AMA at /r/Russia right now.

christianity-middle-east* Christians, in an Epochal Shift, Are Leaving the Middle East

Eurabia is demographically implausible during this century. Greater Lebanon, however, is.

* The curious rise of the ‘white left’ as a Chinese internet insult

Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.

Critical context from bloody shovel. Dynamics in Russia are remarkable analogous, though unlike the Chinese, I don’t think we’ve even progressed to the point of having our own term for SJWs.

* Opinion poll on radical life extension.

About 27% of Americans might be considered transhumanists in the sense that they want radically increased healthy lifespans of 200+ years.

Curiously, there is a huge gender split: 36% of men want that, but only 18% of women.

* His Kampf. Not a bad profile of Richard Spencer, though the journalist’s evident disdain for him does seep through somewhat.

One thing that goes unmentioned: Despite the repeat Nazi comparisons, Spencer himself doesn’t subscribe to one of their core beliefs, that of the hierarchy of races: “… There is no universal, cosmic criterion for determining when one individual is better than another.”

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

The USSR played the leading role in the defeat of Nazi Germany, which the majority of Europeans recognized in 1945 even if half a century of Hollywood propaganda successfully displaced it in the public imagination in favor of the USA. But what about within the USSR itself?

Back in January 2015, during his brief nationalist phase after the return of Crimea, Putin declared that Russians played the leading role in the defeat of Nazism and paid the highest sacrifices. That seems like a dream today. Official rhetoric proclaims that “we achieved victory together” played over footage of Ramzan Kadyrov and Tajik workers wearing St. George’s ribbons (in the meantime, Tajikistan has banned the Immortal Regiments march on the grounds that it is un-Islamic).

So who’s right: Putin 2015, or Putin 2017?

I compiled the following two graphs based on the results of the Soviet Census of 1939 and Grigory Krivosheev’s statistics on military deaths by ethnicity in WW2 (table 122).

soviet-military-deaths-ww2-by-ethnicity

Predictably, Russians bore the highest number of absolute losses – some two thirds of the 8.7 million total.

Together with the Ukrainians and Belorussians that figure rises to 85%.

soviet-military-deaths-ww2-by-percentage-of-ethnicity

Moreover, Russians also bore the highest relative military losses as a percentage of their population, together with the Buryats.

The Ukrainians and Belorussians were somewhat lower, though this is explainable on account of them being occupied for part of the war, and incurring a greater share of civilian deaths as a result. There would have been be a similar dynamic with respect to the Jews, a large percentage of whom unfortunately fell within the Nazi zone of occupation.

I recall reading a history paper (can’t find it at the moment) where it was claimed that the USSR would create ethnic minority units from the Finno-Ugric peoples and intentionally send them to the hottest fronts so as to make them incur heavier casualties and shift the demographic balance in favor of Russins. That is obviously nonsense based on these figures, though that said, they did almost do their fair share.

The Central Asians, especially the Uzbeks and Tajiks, are underrepresented – the latter by a factor of almost three. This is perhaps not that bad a thing, since they had a reputation for technical incompetence; even in the late USSR, conscripts from those regions tended to go into “Class C” rear divisions with simple, obsolete equipment.

Of the major ethnicities, the worst group in terms of its lack of contribution were the restive Muslim provinces of the North Caucasus. Dagestan underdid its fair share by a factor of four, while the Chechens and Ingush as is known pretty much defected to the Germans en masse (hence the deportations).

I didn’t include any figures for the Balts and Moldovans. They were annexed by the USSR after the 1939 Census, so their percentages would be meaningless.

For comparison, the Germans lost approximately 6.1% of their population as military losses in WW2, including: Germany proper: 6.4%; Austria: 3.9%; The German diaspora in Eastern Europe: 7.2%, according to Rüdiger Overmans’s calculations.

***

Nationality Population (1939) WW2 Mil. Deaths % All Mil. Deaths % Deaths Population
Russians 99,591,520 5,756,000 66.40% 5.78%
Ukrainians 28,111,007 1,377,400 15.89% 4.90%
Belorussians 5,275,393 252,900 2.92% 4.79%
Georgians 2,249,636 79,500 0.92% 3.53%
Azeris 2,275,678 58,400 0.67% 2.57%
Armenians 2,152,860 83,700 0.97% 3.89%
Uzbeks 4,845,140 117,900 1.36% 2.43%
Turkmen 812,404 21,300 0.25% 2.62%
Tajiks 1,229,170 22,900 0.26% 1.86%
Kazakhs 3,100,949 125,500 1.45% 4.05%
Kyrgyz 884,615 26,600 0.31% 3.01%
Karelians 252,716 9,500 0.11% 3.76%
Komi 422,317 11,600 0.13% 2.75%
Bashkirs 843,648 31,700 0.37% 3.76%
Udmurts 606,326 23,200 0.27% 3.83%
Tatars 4,313,488 187,700 2.17% 4.35%
Mari 481,587 20,900 0.24% 4.34%
Mordovians 1,456,330 63,300 0.73% 4.35%
Chuvash 1,369,574 63,300 0.73% 4.62%
Kalmyks 134,402 4,000 0.05% 2.98%
Buryats 224,719 13,000 0.15% 5.79%
Jews 3,028,538 142,500 1.64% 4.71%
Kabardians & Balkars 206,870 3,400 0.04% 1.64%
Chechens & Ingush 500,088 2,300 0.03% 0.46%
Ossetians 354,818 10,700 0.12% 3.02%
Dagestanis 857,499 11,100 0.13% 1.29%
Bulgars 113,494 1,100 0.01% 0.97%
Greeks 286,444 2,400 0.03% 0.84%
Chinese 32,023 400 0.00% 1.25%
Poles 630,097 10,100 0.12% 1.60%
Finns 143,437 1,600 0.02% 1.12%
Others 3,770,306 132,500 1.53% 3.51%
TOTAL 170,557,093 8,668,400 100.00% 5.08%
 

About two thirds of the USSR’s 27 million casualties were civilians – that is, almost 10% of its prewar population. Had those percentages been applied to Nazi Germany, it would lost 8 million people – an order of magnitude than the 400,000 civilians it lost due to Allied strategic bombing, and the 600,000 who died during the expulsions of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe (the vast majority of which were carried out by local authorities, not the Red Army or the NKVD).

About 3.3 million out of 5.7 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody (compared to 15% of German POWs in the half-starved USSR, and low single digit figures for Allied POWs in Nazi Germany). Had the Soviets treated its 4.2 million German POWs as harshly, with a death rate of 60%, the German number of military dead would have risen from 5.3 million to around 7.3 million. That’s not far off the figure of 8.7 million Soviet military deaths (9.2 million taking into account unregistered militia in 1941).

It’s now well known that Nazi long-term plans called for the eventual genocide of about 75% of the Soviet population, and the helotization/expulsion of the rest. If we count probabilities, assuming there was a 50% chance of Nazi victory over the USSR in 1941-42, and a 50% chance of Generalplan Ost being implemented in its full scale, that translates to around 200 million times 25% equals 50 million additional deaths. This means that in the average of all possible timelines, about 75 million Soviet citizens died, or 37.5% of its prewar population. That translates to around 30 million if these percentages are applied to Germany and its East European diaspora.

And yet for some people – for the most part, the most Rusophobic neocons and Cold Warriors, the more Nazi elements of the Alt Right, and deranged Poles and Balts who don’t quite realize what Hitler had in store for them – the Soviet rape of about 2 million women in Eastern Germany at the end of the war is supposed to be a really huge, defining war crime, even something that delegitimizes the overall Soviet victory.*

How many rapes is one death/murder “worth”? My intuition is that murder is quite a lot worse, perhaps by an order of magnitude if I had to quantify it, and I suspect that most people will agree. It just so happens that so do sentencing guidelines. The typical term for murder in the US is 30 years to life (which might functionally translate to an average of 50 years). The average term for rape is 10 years, of which about 5 are served. This is a differential of five. It also happens to be almost exactly the differential between the murder rate in the US (~5 cases / 100,000 anually) and the rate of rape and sexual assault (~30 / 100,000 annually, as per police records and self-victimization surveys). Let us then provisionally estimate that rape is on average 20% as “bad” as murder. (Note: I actually think it’s considerably less, because sentencing for murder is range constricted by biological ageing. And the homicide problem is usually considered to be worse than the sexual violence one, even though there are usually far fewer of them than there are rapes).

Therefore, let’s say 2 million rapes translates to 400,000 deaths. Compare this to 27 million Soviet civilian deaths (of which two thirds were civilians) in a war started by Nazi Germany, or the 75 million or so Soviet deaths across all timelines. Even assuming that the worst estimates of the Red Army rapes are accurate – they were still, at most, equivalent to far less than 1% of the Nazi crimes against Russia.

Now to be sure you can argue that not all “murders” are equal, especially in war. Direct genocide, like the gassings of Jews or the massacres of Belorussian villagers, seems to be worse than deaths incurred by incidental effects of war, such as bombings of industrial facilities or famine incurred due to the stresses of the war effort, which in turn are worse than military deaths, since society tends to consider soldiers as pretty much “fair game” (though it is questionable to what extent this can be applied to conscripts on the Eastern Front, who did not even get the theoretical possibility of opting out by applying for a “conscientious objector” status at the cost of their social reputation, as in the less “total” conflict of World War I). But there are many different types of rapes as well. There were traumatic gang rapes, to military brothels relying on considerable degrees of coercion, to women semi-voluntarily hooking up with one particular soldier in return for security, or just trading their bodies for food.

dyukov-what-soviets-fought-for Furthermore, contrary to the myth of the “clean Wehrmacht” spread by retired Nazi generals and their wehraboo admirers after the war, there was plenty of rape amongst German soldiers in the USSR. For instance, here is a quote from historian Alexander Dyukov’s 2007 book “What the Soviet People Fought For”:

Rape continued, and acquired an organized character. From time to time “hunting groups” ventured out of Wehrmacht positions. “We ventured out to the village near Rozhdestvenno near Gatchina,” said Peter Schuber, a private who was at the Seversky airport, “We had orders to bring girls to the officers. We did the operation successfully, surrounding all the houses. We grabbed a truckload of girls. The officers held the girls all night, and gave them to us soldiers in the morning.”

In the large cities, permanent brothels were organized. This was standard Wehrmacht practice. “There were military brothels, called Puff,” recalls SS officer Avenir Benningsen, “They were present on almost all fronts. Girls from all Europe, all nationalities, gathered up from all camps. By the way, the two condoms regularly handed out to men and officers were indispensable posessions.” But whereas in the European countries the Wehrmacht brothels were staffed more or less voluntarily, in the USSR there were no such considerations. Girls and women were forcibly rounded up, in scenes seared into the memories of people undergoing the occupation. In Smolensk, for instance, women were dragged off by the arms, by the hair, dragged along the pavement, into the officers’ brothel in one of the hotels. Those who refused to remain there were shot.

After Red Army soldiers drove the Germans out of Kerch, they encoutered a terrible sight: “In the courtyard of the prison there was a shapeless heap of naked female bodies, horrifically mutilated by the fascists.”

So even if we are to tally sexual crimes completely separately, the rapes of the Wehrmacht carried an organized, long-term character – similar to the Japanese Army’s abuse of Chinese and Korean comfort women – whereas Red Army rapes happened in a concentrated orgy of violence in the last few months of the war. That fury in turn was fueled by a regrettable but very understandable hatred for the death and devastation the Germans had wreaked in the USSR, made all the more inexplicable by the overwhelming prosperity of the Germans relative to the ramshackle poverty of Soviet life.

Incidentally, soon after the war, as the follow-up to his “toast to the Russian people,” Stalin presided over another famine that took 500,000 Russian lives (more than fifty years after the worst famine of late Imperial Russia, in which a similar number died). Why? Because the USSR was exporting grain to support its new Communist client states, including East Germany. (Functionally, Stalin agreed with the Nazis that German lives were worth more than Russian lives). This one event alone is by utilitarian metrics considerably more horrific than all the Red Army rapes in Germany.

The real “Soviet Story“: Stalin mutilates Russia. Hitler mutilates Russia. Stalin mutilates Hitler, then mutilates Russia some more. Russophobe ideologues conclude that Russia is as bad as Hitler (if not worse).

Just people who insist on questioning the lethality of Zyklon B or how many people the shower rooms in Auschwitz could accomodate tend to have motives that are suspect, to put it mildly, so it is a pretty good bet that anyone who consistently gives primacy to the Red Army rapes and looting in Germany when discussing the moral weightings of the USSR vs. Nazi Germany might sooner be looking to replay Hitler’s/Stalin’s joint genocide against Russia.

* I would note that there are questions about whether there actually were that many Red Army rapes in Germany; for instance, there are arguments that they are based on unrealistic extrapolations from a small sample of abortion statistics. I haven’t studied this issue in any depth myself and will assume that the conventional mass rape narrative is broadly correct. If this is not the case and there actually were much fewer rapes, that makes the main argument even stronger.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Rape, Soviet Union, World War II 

france-elections-2017-macron-wins

So the new President of the Fifth Republic is a cocaine-snorting, Bilderberg-attending, Rothschild bank-employed “outsider” and bisexual gigolo with offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands who believes there is no such as French culture (but let’s import infinity Moslems just to make sure).

We are reaching levels of globalism that shouldn’t even be possible!

***

Okay, first things first.

It is encouraging that Marine Le Pen increased the nationalist share of the vote up to ~35-36%.

If we are to interpret French electoral realities as a race between native French “uncuckening” and Afro-Islamic demographic growth, then Marine Le Pen’s doubling of the vote relative to her father’s 18% in 2002 represents a positive and encouraging trend.

In particular, a voter poll released just now by OpinionWay is extremely encouraging – an amazing 44% of 18-24 year olds said they had voted for Marine Le Pen, compared to just 20% of over 65 year olds.

france-election-2017-final-age-group-le-pen-macron

This standards in positive contrast to a poll from the first round, which suggested that Le Pen’s support peaked at 29% in the 35-49 year old bracket, before declining to 21% amongst the youngest voters. It would also be a confirmation of polls from 2015 which indicated that support for the Front National increased monotonically as voters became younger.

This likely means that a majority of young native French voters are now nationalists – or at least open to it.

And amongst young French siloviks (policemen, soldiers, etc), of whom fully one half supported the FN even in 2015, nationalists must now be a dominant majority.

That said, there are several aspects in which this is a disappointing performance. Maybe they do not quite qualify as a #blackpill, but certainly there is good reason to break open the champagne. Unless you really like champagne just for its taste, I suppose.

(1) The FN has undergone great pains over the past decade to soften its image. This was a good step, and probably a necessary one, but what it also means that its approval should have increased anyway, all else equal.

(2) It comes against the background of the legitimacy crisis of the outgoing Hollande administration – the Socialist President took the unprecedented step of not even bothering to run for re-election – and of mounting crises with immigration and terrorism.

(3) She was running against a candidate whom one might view as the very embodiment of pozzed neoliberal globalism, whereas Chirac for all his faults was the last French President to retain some vestige of Gaullist sovereignism.

It’s also worth noting that despite his status as the consummate insider, Macron is as much of an “extremist” as Le Pen on some vectors of the political spectrum. For instance, while her economic program is remarkably statist by Economist-reading standards, it is actually pretty centrist in the context of a country where only about 30% of voters like the free market, while Macron is well to the right of most Frenchmen. Even on the question of immigration, while Le Pen might be at the “nationalist” end of the spectrum, Macron occupies its open borders opposite; in other words, he is every bit as much an extremist as Le Pen.

(4) Most critically, Le Pen has made no inroads whatsoever amongst the French elites – as I pointed out earlier, she got 4% of the vote in the first round in the 11th arrondissement of Paris that contains the Bataclan Theater, scene of the worst terrorist attack in Western Europe in the past decade. This was 1% point worse than her result there in 2012!

In the second round, the arrondissement of Bataclan gave Macron 92.7%. It would appear that the fine citizens of arrondissement 11 have accepted Macron’s matter-of-fact observation that terrorism will be part of their daily lives for the years to come – and have asked for moar.

Overall, as per the OpinionWay poll above, Macron had his highest result amongst the “intellectual professions,” amongst whom he got 83%, whereas Le Pen did best, at 63%, with workers. Of those French who voted from abroad, a stunning 89% supported Macron – they are, of course, some of the wealthiest and most educated French citizens.

As Christopher Caldwell points out in his article The French, Coming Apart, the native French have divided into their own versions of upper middle-class Belmont and lumpenprole Fishtown – the old money rentiers and “bourgeois bohemians” occupying the prestigious real estate in central Paris, while their immigrant allies of convenience drive French proles from the banlieues into “La France périphérique.”

And here we come to three big problems.

First, it is the first group – the “beneficiaries of globalization” – that have “100 percent” control of French culture – “from its universities to its television studios to its comedy clubs to (this being France) its government.” (Well, maybe not 100% – there are dissidents like Houellebecq and Zemmour and so forth, after all – but they pay the price of becoming unhandshakeworthy, and for the most uppity champions of La France périphérique, there are the hate speech laws).

Second problem: “Never have conditions been more favorable for deluding a class of fortunate people into thinking that they owe their privilege to being nicer, or smarter, or more honest, than everyone else.”

Third, and biggest, problem – which the article itself demonstrates in a splendidly meta way by omission (presumably, Caldwell wants to remain handshakeworthy) – is that said elites are correct to think themselves smarter than everyone else. They have, indeed, “come apart.” This can be confirmed by what we know about the tendency of high IQ people to form “cognitive clusters,” by what we can deduce from commonsense observation, and for that matter what we can extend from Charles Murray’s eponymous book.

Despite the massive structural violence that globalism inflicts upon La France périphérique, it is at the same time underpinned by cognitive meritocracy, the ultimate and logical endpoint of the Enlightenment.

Too bad that that the terminal stage of this march of progress is… Greater Lebanon.

 

france-elections-2017-whos-who-update

I don’t have much to add to my previous posts on this matter:

ipsos-poll-france-elections-2017

An n=8,200 Ipsos poll from May 5 gave Emmanual Macron 63% to Le Pen’s 37%. She needs a miracle.

The betting markets are likewise gloomy. Macron is 87% favorites on PredictIt, which is bad but not hopeless for Le Pen.

However, the picture becomes much worse for the French nationalists when you look at betting markets with a wider breakdown of options. For instance, the probability distribution for the question asking what percentage of the popular vote MLP will get displays a bell curve with a peak around 37%-38%, declining to 1% for the segment 45-46%, and staying at 1% for each consecutive one percentage point segment until we get to 11% predicting 50%+, i.e. a Le Pen victory.

These Le Pen optimists are clearly banking on some kind of miracle – systemic polling problems that massively understate MLP’s support (seemingly disproved in the first round); the spirit of kek; perhaps a few timely leaks.

And it just so happens that kek has delivered through the hacker 4chan.

On May 3, a /pol/ack posted two PDFs with evidence of an offshore bank account owned by Macron in the Cayman Islands.

The first doc is the incorporation of a shell company in Nevis, a country that doesn’t keep ownership records of corporations. The second is proof of a banking relationship with a bank involved in tax evasion in the Cayman Islands.

People have known for a while that Macron underreported his income and assets to the government, but nobody knew where it was stored. Here’s where his money is stored. See what you can do with this, anon. Let’s get grinding. If we can get #MacronCacheCash trending in France for the debates tonight, it might discourage French voters from voting Macron.

Document 1: https://my.mixtape.moe/onviuq.pdf

Document 2: https://my.mixtape.moe/bspenp.pdf

palmer-banking-spy Curiously, in the final debate, Le Pen had implied Macron might be in possession of an offshore account in the Bahamas, in response to which Macron had threatened a defamation lawsuit.

The lawyer who the documents indicate set up Macron’s Cayman LLC appears to have had a career as a top CIA banking spy.

One day later, about 9GB of email, photos, and attachments up to April 24, 2017 were posted on the /pol/ boards.

Are you ready /pol/?

https://pastebin.com/bUJKFpH1

http://archive.is/eQtrm

In this pastebin are links to torrents of emails between Macron, his team and other officials, politicians as well as original documents and photos

The emails were quickly established as credible, though the Macron campaign has taken a cue from the HRC campaign and hinted that there are fakes interspersed amongst the real emails.

Though nobody has comprehensively looked through the entire thing, and of course doing so before the actual elections is unrealistic, some interesting tidbits are cropping up that may involve insider trading, unauthorized access to classified state information, and the purchase of recreational drugs and perhaps harder stuff.

Needless to say, this has created quite the stir on cyberspace. Wikileaks and Jack Posobiec spread the message on Twitter; as I write this, #MacronLeaks is the number one trending hashtag on French Twitter. The French police have taken a formal interest in ascertaining the identity of the leaker.

Problem: The French media has entered its election silence period, so there will be no substantive discussions of the MacronLeaks in the MSM. (I checked the front pages of the major French newspapers and Le Monde is the only one to have prominent coverage of MacronLeaks).

Which begs the question of whodunnit.

The MSM has, of course, rushed to blame the Russian hacker Ivan. However, as more level-headed people have pointed out, what would be the point of doing this at the last moment? Macron is the least Russia friendly of the four major candidates – his campaign has scandalously barred the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik from his events – and, the logic goes, would now be even less well disposed towards Putin.

On the other hand, a more cynical view might be that the Kremlin views the prospects for cooperation with a Macron-led France as being so dismal anyway that it might as well begin destabilizing him straight away.

Two other possibilities:

(1) Bryan MacDonald: “My bet is other state actors trying to ruin any chance of a future Macron-Putin arrangement or freelance Russians acting the maggot.”

(2) Technically competent, disgruntled Leftist/Communist supporter who wants to undermine Macron, but who doesn’t want Le Pen to benefit from it.

 

I haven’t been able to locate any international surveys on Macron vs. Le pen like there were for Trump, unsurprisingly so, since France is after all less important than the US.

Still, I have been able to find polls from Germany, Russia, and the UK.

***

zdf-poll-germany-le-pen

According to a ZDF poll of who would be better for Germany (April 28), some 90% of Germans supported Macron (adjusting for “don’t knows”).

Even AfD voters only favor Le Pen by the thinnest of margins.

***

. Total Moscow & SPB cities with ~1M people cities with 500k-1000k cities with 100k-500k cities with <100k Rural
Macron 8 9 8 11 5 11 6
Le Pen 61 69 61 63 63 57 58
Neither/don’t care 26 18 27 24 24 30 28
No answer 5 4 4 2 8 2 8

According to a VCIOM poll of whom Russians sympathize with (May 2), Marine Le Pen would beat Macron 86%-14%.

That is almost the exact inverse of her results in Germany.

***

yougov-poll-uk-le-pen

Curiously, even though they disliked Trump almost as much as the average German, the Brits have a much more positive outlook on Le Pen according to a YouGov poll (April 24).

Only 53% of Brits thought Macron would be better for Britain.

The results, predictably, followed party lines. Labour, the LibDems, and the SNP were strongly for Macron; the Conservatives leaned towards Le Pen; and UKIP was overwhelmingly for Le Pen.

This is basically an extension of attitudes towards Brexit.

yougov-poll-uk-le-pen-brexit

This makes sense. At a minimum, a Le Pen in power in France would make the UK’s own process of exiting the EU much easier.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Brexit, Elections, France, Opinion Poll 

The other day a Levada poll was released showing an apparently lackluster performance by Navalny in a hypothetical Presidential race against Putin and the other candidates.

If there were elections on the coming Sunday, who would you vote for? (The figures below exclude those said they don’t know, or don’t intend to vote).

Apr13 Apr14 Apr15 Jan16 Apr17
Putin 64 81 82 83 83
Zhirinovsky 7 6 5 4 5
Zyuganov 13 7 9 6 4
Shoigu 3 2 <1 3 2
Navalny <1 <1 1 1 2
Medvedev 3 <1 <1 <1 1
Mironov 1 1 1 1 1
Prokhorov 4 1 1 1 <1
Other 4 2 1 2 2

This seems very bad for “Alexey 2 Percent,” as he was just styled by the great Paul Robinson.

On the one hand, he is certainly correct in his main point that one shouldn’t be rushing to buy the hype around Navalny generated by the Western media.

OTOH, I don’t think it’s quite as catastrophic for Navalny as the professor makes it out to be. For instance, in February 2012, (adjusted for non-voter’s/don’t knows) about 6% of Russians intended to vote for Prokhorov. In the event, he got 8%, which would have been closer to 9% without electoral fraud.

Of perhaps greater relevance, Levada and VCIOM opinion polls were giving the Kremlin-backed candidate Sobyanin about 70% versus 9-13% for Navalny in the Moscow mayoral election of 2013. In the event, Sobyanin only narrowly avoided a second round with 51% to Navalny’s 27%.

navalny-voting-intentions Even more worrying for the Kremlin though is that the percentage of Russians saying they were “probably” or “definitely” going to vote for Navalny increased from the 5% level he enjoyed from March 2012 to February 2017 (i.e. encompassing the period of the Moscow elections) to 10% in March 2017 following the release of the Medvedev corruption video.

Now just to make it clear I am not implying that Navalny is any sort of serious electoral threat to Putin – at least for now. In particular, the President’s ratings are at a consistent ~80% since Crimea, whereas during the 2012-13 period they were hovering at a nadir of ~60%.

Putin’s relatively greater popularily will, presumably, mostly or even wholly cancel out Navalny’s momentum.

And, of course, the question of whether Navalny will even be allowed to run is still an open one. Just a few hours ago a Russian court upheld the five year suspended sentence given to Navalny for the Kirovles Affair, which might be grounds for formally barring him from the Presidential race – though as in 2013, it is possible that it will not be enforced. Still, I’m not going to bet on that. Navalny is far more charismatic than Prokhorov, he is the only liberal candidate with a reasonable chance of making inroads into the (considerably bigger) nationalist electorate, and the recent attack on him by kremlin-affiliated thugs – which threatens to make him blind in one eye, if his own assertions are true – might create a martyr effect for him (as the murky dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko in 2004, which helped drive Ukrainians to stage the Orange Revolution). It would not be wise for the kremlins to risk a Navalny run.

One other very interesting, and even more interesting development, is the complete collapse of Zyuganov’s (Communist) support – he has gone from 13% in April 2013, to just 5% today; practically level pegging with the nationalist Zhirinovsky, who has also declined, but by a far more modest degree, despite losing part of his nationalist base to Putin after Crimea.

russia-elections-2016-party-support-age-group As I have long pointed out, the Red base of pensioners is dying out – there are three times fewer Communist voters in the youngest age group versus the oldest, whereas the LDPR’s share, conversely, doubles – and the demographics are now fast translating into electoral politics.

What this means in practice is that in the unlikely scenario that Navalny does run, I strongly suspect that he and Putin will between them compress the two fossils of Russian politics – that is, Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky – into the single digits, and will manage to come a distant second, perhaps 15% to Putin’s 70%.

 

Harvard University maintains an online database of “implicit association tests” that purport to show your subconscious outlook on things. In the race test, you are presented with a series of pictures of Whites and Blacks, which you have to racially identify; these are interspersed with adjectives (joyous, anger, cherish, horror), which you simultaneously have to identify as “good” or “bad.”

Bias in favor of whites is taken to occur when test takers categorize positive words paired with white faces, and negative words with black faces, faster than they categorize positive words with black faces or negative words with white faces.

Here is a map of the US from the Washington Post. As you can guess, red implies more implicit racism. (RCAFDM made some more comprehensive analyses in 2014).

iat-usa

Now Tom Stafford has created a similar map for Europe.

(Although Russia is not included, it does appear on a supplementary graph – no figure given, but its practically next to Belarus, so I added it as a circle in its color).

iat-europe-edited

Common observation that Europe’s rednecks are in the east is confirmed again. Might explain why they’re the biggest proponents of border fences, even though no Syrian is going to be settling in Hungary longterm anytime soon.

Also chalk one up for the Hajnal Line – even though that streak of Balkan tolerance is pretty strange (sure, your average Serb doesn’t have any substantive experiences with Blacks, but same goes for your average Czech or Lithuanian).

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Eastern Europe, Racism 

vapor-macron-le-pen My latest podcast with Robert Stark, co-host and proponent of Asian-Aryanism pilleater, and Alt Right legend Guillaume Durocher, who has written for Counter-Currents, Radix, and Occidental Observer.

We mostly talked about the French elections and French demographics. Here’s a link: http://www.starktruthradio.com/?p=4467

Topics

The final election round between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron
The French Elections 2017 (Round One)
The original candidates; Left Wing Populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Globalist Centrist Emmanuel Macron, Mainstream Conservative François Fillon, and Nationalist Populist Marine Le Pen
The demographic and regional support for the candidates
Whether Le Pen will appeal to the Conservative Fillon and Socialist Mélenchon supporters
How Macron epitomizes the worst of the establishment while Fillon and Mélenchon hold some anti-establishment positions
Macron’s work for a Rothschild Bank, Bilderberg attendance, and Neoliberal agenda
Mélenchon, his refusal to back Macron, how he is better on immigration then Macron, and his support for a basic income
Fillon, his endorsement of Macron while adopting some of Le Pen’s immigration stances
In contrast with Macron, Mélenchon and Fillon like Le Pen were more pro-Russia and non-interventionist
The ideology and agenda of Le Pen’s Front National
Comparisons to Donald Trump and how unlike Trump Le Pen has a consistent ideology
The misnomer that Le Pen is far right and her adoption of left leaning stances on issues such economics, gay rights, and the environment
Mainstream conservative Nicolas Dupont-Aignan backing Le Pen
Alain Soral and his advocacy of a left-right alliance
Éric Zemmour
The French Blackpill, Quantified
Michel Houellebecq’s Submission
Demographic Trends and future scenarios for France and Europe

 

hi-reddit-russia A couple of weeks back I had an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with /r/Russia.

Direct link: Hi /r/Russia! Anatoly Karlin, writer for The Unz Review / Анатолий Карлин, “пейсатель” о России, геополитике. AMA!

Thought I would reprint some of the questions and answers there so that they don’t vanish into the digital ether.

***

Politics

You were at the March 26 protests

Can we confidently say that the Kremlin lost young voters forever.

Does Russia have a new protest generation?

For example in the west, there was the contrast between the WWII conservative generation and the young generation of the 60s( this so-called counterculture )

Yes, here’s my account of the March 26 protests.

I don’t think the Kremlin has lost young voters, though some kremlins are definitely trying to. Ultimately, Putin after Crimea still has the steady support of about 80% of Russians, so that precludes any great dip in support amongst young people.

My impression is that paradoxically, both liberal and pro-Putin sentiments might be somewhat higher amongst the younger generations, alongside a melange of other, more idiosyncratic ideologies like monarchism and whatnot. Why? Because Communist sympathies collapse amongst younger Russians. That is, relative to the older generations, there are still plenty of “vatniks,” but many fewer “sovoks.”

If there is going to be a strong youth-based protest movement in the future – which isn’t the case now, 8,000 protesters in a city of 12 million is nothing – I suspect nationalists will play a big role in it.

***

Two questions

  1. In your opinion, what are the most important politcal challenges facing our country and how can those challenges can be adress?
  2. What should the federal government’s top three priorities be in setting a sound foreign policy vital to our interest?

(1) The lack of a clearcut succession mechanism is a serious problem. Putin after Crimea has become sort of what the poli-sci types call a “charismatic leader,” so his own power is quite secure, but you can’t say the same for the beigeocratic bugmen who make up his entourage from Medvedev on down. Hopefully he can groom an adequate replacement in his remaining years as President.

(2) It all boils down to this: Be smarter.

pushkov-need-to-be-smarter

Alexey Pushkov: “Russia invested $200bn in Ukraine’s economy in the past 20 years, the US – $5bn in the “development of democracy.” Looks like we didn’t invest correctly. Important lesson.”

The lack of a clearcut succession mechanism is a serious problem. Putin after Crimea has become sort of what the poli-sci types call a “charismatic leader,” so his own power is quite secure, but you can’t say the same for the beigeocratic bugmen who make up his entourage from Medvedev on down. Hopefully he can groom an adequate replacement in his remaining years as President.

What do you think might happen if Putin fails to produce a successor in time (for one reason or another)? Are there any political elites or oligarchs who might be plotting an aggressive move to be executed against Putin (if his support wanes over time) or shortly after him suddenly stepping down (ill health, death, or something else)? Maybe someone in the military or siloviki? Indeed, the lack of any clear mechanisms will cause chaos, which will be an opportunity for some.

I am just as skeptical about the prospects of an internal coup against Putin as about the prospects of a color revolution (detailed article about this).

Putin’s approval rating hasn’t consistently dipped below 60% since late 1999. Any event or development that brings it down into dangerous territory is likely to be so unexpected and traumatic that little could be meaningfully predicted about it. If Putin steps down due to “life” reasons (e.g. ill health), Medvedev would be the immediate logical successor. He will get by in the short to medium term, I suppose, though being much less popular and charismatic than Putin his position will be shakier.

***

How much of a role did the US have in the Russian troubles in the 90s? Mostly talking about the domestic problems. Aside from their monetary support of Yelstin in the 1996 election, can’t think of any nefarious actions, while some claim that the CIA conspired with the oligarchs to destroy the country, and then with the Chechens to destroy it again, and so on. From what I’ve read, the US (as a whole, with the exception of some officials including presidents) was mostly disinterested in Russian domestic problems, leaving it to its own problems.

Do you think that if the US managed to execute a Marshall plan-style aid for Russia back then, it would have been a better place now?

I think US role in that is overdone in “patriotic” Russian propaganda. Most of the damage was either self-inflicted (the kleptocratic nature of the privatizations), or inevitable (reintroducing markets after 60 years of central planning – you can turn a fish into a fish stew, but turning a fish stew into a fish is harder, as the economists joked).

To be sure, the oligarchs pretty much were Western agents of influence, but I agree with you that the dominant US policy towards Russia was disinterest.

Russian opinion towards the US was extremely positive in the early 1990s, through to the war against Serbia. There were even serious considerations of pursuing NATO membership through to the early 2000s. If there ever was an opportunity to draw Russia within the Euro-Atlantic orbit and preempt a Sino-Russian alliance, it was then. Instead, Washington D.C. considered itself the victory in the Cold War and chose to expand NATO (a policy opposed by both George Kennan and Henry Kissinger).

***

Do you think Lenin will be buried? How do you expect the 100th anniversary of his revolution will be “commemorated” in Russia?

Lenin was a traitor, so if his body has to be disposed of in some way, it should be cremated and scattered to the four winds.

That said, it does have some historical value as the oldest well preserved body in the world, so perhaps it could be moved to an outskirt of Moscow. Maybe the commies could crowdfund a “shrine” of some sort there.

***

If Vladimir Zhirinovsky had a daughter named Martine could she lead the LDPR to power?

Martine Lebedeva would be a good name for a video game anti-heroine.

***

Political Theory

Any favorites among right-wing thinkers from nineteenth century? Do you think that, say, Pobedonostev still holds water today as an actual political philosopher, or he should be read from purely historical POV? Name your three favorite russian philosophers, right-wing or not.

I haven’t studied Pobedonostev in any great depth, but I’m not enarmored with him; too often he seems to adopt egregiously reactionary positions just for, well, the heck of it.

I do recall him having some good thoughts on how the mass media operates, rushing to print anything without fact-checking (#fakenews?). But his proposed solutions tended to be antagonistically authoritarian, and some were outright crazy, like his arguments against mass schooling.

Favorite 3 Russian philosophers:

  1. Ivan Ilyin
  2. Vladimir Vernadsky
  3. Nikolay Berdyaev

***

What’s your take on classic Moldbug writings from 2008-2013, and separately, on current state of neoreactosphere?

I am not a big fan of Moldbug.

For instance, he not only denies AGW, but also seems to be under the impression that this makes him some sort of dissident against the “weaponized memeplex of Hypercalvinist Atheo-Oecumenic conspiracy,” as opposed to just subscribing to one of the tenets of Conservatism Inc. (USA).

As for his big idea, neocameralism – dividing up sovereignty into shares to be bought up by Silicon Valley oligarchs? Congratulations, neoreactionaries – you’ve just handed the SJWs absolute political power on a platter.

My view on NRx (in its original formulation) is that it was just libertarians trying to deal with the fact that the average person has an IQ of 100. Since I was never a libertarian, it never appealed to me all that strongly, despite certain sympathies for it. To be sure, there was also an “ethnonationalist” strain in NRx, but my impression is that it has since pretty much merged into the Alt Right (as Michael Anissimov predicted a couple of years back).

***

Let me just say that I greatly value your blogging over the years. It’s a breath of fresh air. Western coverage of Russia is 100% propaganda but the simpletons over at RT are not much better. I realise your biases – you’re open about them – but I much prefer that over feigned ‘neutrality’ which always end up in a monotone demonisation.

Now to my question. Putin strikes me as less of a nationalist than an imperialist . An imperialist believes in a larger, over-arching idea. Rome went from being a nation-state to an Empire, and being “roman” moved from an ethnic concept to a universal concept. Same is true with America.

In my view, if you’re a Russian nationalist, then you should be against imperialism. This isn’t to say that you don’t want Russia to be strong(which is often confused with being an imperialist by naïve people). Because only nationalism will preserve the Russian nation(see the Central Asian immigration problem).

So, with such a large preamble, do you A) agree with my characterisation of Putin and B) what do you think are the chances of purely ethnic Russian(with some allowances for other ethnicities, as long as they meld into the larger Russian core) nationalism? I’m thinking post-Putin mostly given that he is in his mid-60s and is unlikely to change.

I am a Russian nationalist, but I subscribe to the concept of the triune Russian nation – i.e., of Great Russians, Little Russians, and White Russians – as the nation-building core of a prospective “Big Russia.”

This implicitly demands the eventual reunification of the Russian lands – not as an imperial project, but a nation-(re)building one.

The most “imperial” aspects of Russia are (1) Chechnya/Ingushetia/Dagestan and (2) Central Asia, both of which were only brought within the Russian Empire in the middle of the 19th century. And I am indeed lukewarm about whether or not the former should remain within Russia, and am certainly opposed to any significant degree of integration with the latter (not least for demographic reasons: There are about now as many young Central Asians as there are ethnic Russians).

With that out of the way, to answer your specific questions:

(A) Putin is an imperialist, a nationalist, as well as a conservative, a liberal, a liberal-conservative, a patriot, a sovok, an opportunist, and so forth. His modus operandi has always been to balance between different political and ideological factions.

(B) Support for this strain of nationalism is certainly growing – as of the latest polls, “Russia for [ethnic] Russians” enjoys about 50% support, and that viewpoint is relatively far more prevalent amongst the younger generations.

***

Geopolitics

Who will take power next in Ukraine? Do you think the Kremlin’s decision to take a passive approach will be vindicated? My impression is that Ukraine is a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment, which will make anyone who steps inside regret it. But then, vigorous action might have and might yet restore the status quo ante of a reasonably large and friendly buffer state (minus west Ukraine).

I speculated about developments in Ukraine here. There’s a possibility that Tymoshenko is mounting a slow-motion coup against Poroshenko with the help of Turchinov, Kolomoysky, and his pet far right batallions.

I unenthusiastically supported Minsk II at the time, however I think since then its detractors have been proven right – as of Q4 2016, the Ukrainian economy was growing by close to 5% (after all, even Ukraine has to hit bottom at some point). That said, Trump’s election victory is an unexpected wild card that may yet rescue the day, and Ukrainian nationalists have proved to be reliably helpful.

restore the status quo ante
friendly buffer state

Pick one. Pre-Maidan Ukraine was not friendly.

Yes, this is true. Yanukovych only turned to EEU at the last moment, right after running an extensive pro-EU campaign. Genius!

The demographics in Ukraine are also very unfavorable in terms of attitudes towards Russia. The Far West is growing vigorously – it has some of the highest fertility rates in Europe – whereas the Donbass was in a true death spiral even before the war.

Moreover, even I can sympathize with Ukrainians who don’t want their country to be a buffer state. While both the EU and Russia can sell tantalizing (if unrealistic) visions of what is possible – TyschaVDen’ to the west, space race victory to the east – literally like, nobody, wants to be a “buffer” between a bunch of gayropean degenerates and sovok cretins. :)

***

What is your opinion on the syrian intervention and how much longer in your opinion will we stay in the country?

I initially supported it on the theory that its goals were to provide cheap real life training for the Russian Air Force; secure itself a couple of useful bases in the MENA region; use it as a bargaining chip with the US in future discussions about spheres of influence in Eurasia.

I have since become more skeptical about it. There is now a much larger degree of involvement, including ground involvement, and it seems like Russia is taking its own rhetoric about fighting the terrorists in Syria so as not to have to fight them in Russia itself seriously. That said, I still support it, though I now have major reservations about the dangers of overextension.

If there is no further substantial US intervention, I expect Syria to be eventually divided between the Syrian government west of the Euphrates, and Kurdistan east of it, maybe by 2019-20. They will come to some kind of confederal arrangement. If however the neocons win out and move forwards with HRC’s no fly zone ideas, who knows what will happen. Nothing good, that’s for certain.

***

What’s the general sentiment towards Germany? What do Russians think about Germany today and how much did the feelings towards Germany change after our relations took a change for the worse recently? Also, what do you think would need to happen to better the German-Russian relations?

(1) Were generally good until 2014. I can’t find polls on Levada, but I would imagine Russian opinion of Germany tracks that of the EU, which was consistently higher than opinion of the US, but converged after 2014.

(2) AfD comes to power in Germany. Khodorkovsky comes to power in Russia.

More realistically, if the US goes full neocon and goes gallivanting on Middle East adventures again. There are committed Atlanticists in Germany like Julian Roepcke, but they are still a minority. German assessments of US trustworthiness have already plummeted from ~60% under Obama to close to 20% after Trump (similar to the current figures for Russia), and especially if the SPD takes back power and anyone other than Macron or Hamon win in France, I could just about see the reformation of the Paris/Berlin/Moscow bloc that opposed the Iraq War. Still, it’s a huge longshot.

Thank you! Military misadventures of the US are the most realistic possibility for an improvement in my eyes, too. But such an outside influence wouldn’t be a very substantial one and also may only be short lived.

Still, it’s a bit paradox that while the “West” seems to be united in its condemnation of and mistrust towards Russia, Germany is building NordstreamII and some german lower rank politicians like Seehofer keep traveling to Moscow, seemingly to keep relations from dropping too low. I think Germany is caught in the middle, having to appease its main and most influential ally, the US, while trying to maintain some contact with Russia and access to the Russian market on which can be build upon in the future, if the situation improves and allows for it.

A last note on why I asked my question… I was very moved by Putin’s speech at the German Bundestag in 2001 and felt like the vision of a shared EU/Russian market, common security policy and general cooperation between the EU and what is now the EEU would have been a true path to stability and prosperity for our region and most of the world and it saddens me very much that this vision is more or less dead now.

***

What do you think of use of military force to achieve Russian goals? Syria seems to me to be a success, regardless of many possible concerns, however instances like Georgia and Ukraine seem to be very much a mixed bag. In short – was it worth it, and was there a viable alternative?

Georgia – Russian peacekeepers were directly attacked, no choice but to respond forcefully.

Ukraine – Crimea was an undisputed success that saved it from Donbass’ sad fate. If anything, a timely Russian large-scale intervention in early 2014 would have resulted in far fewer overall deaths and suffering.

Syria – See here.

***

Technology

Will Russia return to the cutting edge of space exploration (and/or exploitation, colonization, etc.) technology in the near future?

How does the Russian military stack up against the US and China when it comes to the space domain?

No. In fact, I expect Russia to continue slipping behind.

Ultimately, there is only so much $3.5tn economy and $3bn Roskosmos budget can sustain versus a $20tn economy (USA, China) and a $35bn NASA budget/$6bn and rapidly growing Chinese space budget.

That said, I don’t expect space colonization to occur on any substantial scale in this century, Musk’s rhetoric regardless.

***

As a transhumanist myself I don’t really understand how transhumanism and nationalism mixed together in you. The idea of transhumanism transcends the ideas of nations, races and even the human nature. Technological evolution should unite the humanity and as long people become more and more connected today with each other – the ideas of national goverments and nations will be rendered oblosete with time.

Good question.

Very legitimate one, of course. I am sure that once we get to computer superintelligence or CRISPR ourselves up to 175 average IQs, the world will become thoroughly cosmopolitan (support for tolerance, open borders, free trade, etc. tends to increase with IQ).

Problem #1 – developing those technologies takes brains. Elite brains. “Smart fractions,” as they’re known in the psychometric literature. As well as the appropriate technological growth-friendly institutions, which again need a certain level of average national IQ to maintain.

Problem #2 – the evidence suggests that mass immigration from the Third World has negative effects on average national IQ. There is also good recent economic research that suggests that immigrants tend to carry over their home country cultural attitudes, with negative impacts on the quality of institutions in the host countries. See Garett Jones.

Can you envision the US or Japan (average IQ ~100) launching a singularity? It doesn’t seem entirely implausible.

Can you envision Brazil or Indonesia (average IQ ~85) launching a singularity? Sub-Saharan Africa (average IQ ~70)? Seems rather less likely.

As the neoreactionaries say, you can’t cultivate gardens without walls. We don’t know what kind of smart fraction ingenuity would be necessary for the biosphere to complete its transition into a disembodied noosphere. As such, it makes sense to play it safe.

Thank you for broad answer! Technological singularity is my dream. I wish would live long enough only to see the start of it. I have limited knowledge about general AI and even less about gene alteration technology, but guts of the computer engineer say that achieving artificial or virtual intelligence is faster way to help humanity to solve difficult problems. Only after development of such system humanity would reach the level when they will “gene-engineer” the humanity itself. Putting it simply – be smart enough to become smarter first and use this knowledge later.

Sometimes I think that sometimes society and technology develops way ahead of human basic behavior – eat, dominate and multiply – and that creates problems we have worldwide.

***

Economics

Russia’s economic growth 2000-2008: how much is luck and how much is sound fiscal management/ macroeconomic policy? I find this to be a fundamental question when it comes to assessing Putin’s legacy.

Russia’s future economic growth: will Putin be able to deliver solid numbers or do you agree with me that the preferable route for Russia going forward would be to be led by liberal reformists such as Medvedev/Kudrin?

EEU: Does it make sense for Russia economically? Should it continue to be pursued for geopolitical purposes? Bonus: should Russia seek closer ties with Europe or do it’s own Eurasian thing?

Also, do you share my assessment that Putin’s domestic policy since 2008 of increased authoritarianism etc has been a bad thing and that there is a need for a change in direction?

(1) Russia did about average for the ex-Soviet region – much better than Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, most of the Central Asian states; about the same as two of the “Baltic tigers,” Latvia and Lithuania; and worse than Estonia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Oil production in the latter two greatly increased relative to the peak Soviet period, whereas Russia’s only recovered to where they were. It might have done better without hasty corruption-wracked privatizations; even star reformer Poland didn’t rush with them, and they did very well. Even just doing what Belarus did would have probably been better. Their GDP stopped falling around 1995. OTOH, it wasn’t a total disaster like Ukraine. I don’t know if the Estonian example is extendable to Russia given its status as a tiny entrepot.

(2) What does “reform” even mean? Russia is now 40th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ratings. I call that successful reform.

Then there is the “cult of reform” which involves installing pro-Western yesmen into power for a temporary bump to the stockmarket in return for selling state assets for pennies on the dollar, unilateral geopolitical concessions, etc.

Kudrin once went on record calling on Russians to drink more vodka for the good of the budget. Vodka bingeing is the leading cause of premature mortality in Russia. I don’t think Russia needs “economic geniuses” like that, regardless of the opinions of Davos bugmen.

(3) I supported the EEU when it appeared to be something around which Russia could return to its older borders through peaceful economic integration. Since then it has started to look more like a mechanism to send cheap labor to Russia, styming automation, suppressing wages, helping Central Asian sovok dictators stay in power, and perhaps eventually turning Russia into Greater Turkestan. I support a wall with Central Asia and the regathering of the Russian lands.

(4) “Bonus: should Russia seek closer ties with Europe or do it’s own Eurasian thing?”
Meaningless question. Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong. Europe is a geographical expression. – Bismarck. For instance, even today there are huge differences in attitudes towards Russia, from Russophobic Swedes to Russophilic Italians.

(5) I don’t have any cardinal disagreements with the setup of the Russian political system, though there are certainly many specific points of disagreement (e.g. the lack of a clear succession mechanism; the undeniably high levels of corruption within the elites; etc).

Thank you for the reply.

1) This does not really answer my question. Basically, how much credit can Putin take for Russia’s fast economic growth? His critics would say he simply “got lucky” as he was able to export expensive oil and gas.

2) I have noted the progress in the “doing business” ranking. However, how significant is this in practice? By “reform”, I mean modernisation and diversification away from energy dependence. The govt seems to have largely failed in this regard – would you agree?

4) Andrei Tsygankov divides Russia’s political class into three ‘schools’: Westernisers, statists and civilisationists. Westernisers (Medvedev, Kudrin etc) perceive Russia as a “European” country and argue that Russia should join the ranks of Western countries and seek closer ties with the EU and disregard Eurasian integration initiatives – essentially, become as “normal” a European state as it can.

5) What about heavy state ownership of the media? On corruption – is it fair to say that Putin does not appear to have done enough? Are you familiar with any of the intricacies of it – ie how difficult would it be to actually “clean up” Russia and get it to Northern European levels of corruption? Saakashvili appears to have managed to do something like this in Georgia, for all his flaws.

(1) The point that I tried to make, perhaps unsuccessfully, is that this is a very hard question that might be impossible to answer without rewinding history. Perhaps Russia could have done a bit better – though not necessarily through “Western approved” methods, as Belarus showed – but it’s also easy how it could have gone considerably worse (see Ukraine).

(2) The ease of business rankings seem to be pretty important in that (a) they are objective, unlike many other indices, such as the CPI; (b) businesspeople pay a lot attention to it; (c) n=1, but it syncs with my own impressions that the Russian bureaucracy has improved, if from a very low base.

Consider diversification practically, instead of as a slogan. Since Russia produces as much oil as Saudi Arabia, diversification away from it is not easy, just as it is not for, say, Norway, or Australia (both fully developed countries with large natural resource sectors). Unlike, say, Saudi Arabia, Russia does have a substantial manufacturing base – comparable in scope to that of France, Italy, India, and Brazil. In my opinion, the problem with the Russian economy isn’t so much that there’s no diversification beyond oil and gas – there is – but that it tends to be technologically underdeveloped.

(4) There is a difference in becoming a “normal European country” (which is good, and something that Russia has been doing anyway, not unsuccessfully as was pointed out by Treisman & Schleifer as early as 2003) and pursuing European integration, which right now is akin to boarding a sinking ship, and was never a realistic option for Russia anyway.
(5) “What about heavy state ownership of the media?”

The (realistic) alternative is ownership by oligarchs who wish their own and pro-Western agendas. Here’s the famous quote on this from Pelevin (only in Russian, unfortunately):

“On corruption – is it fair to say that Putin does not appear to have done enough? Are you familiar with any of the intricacies of it – ie how difficult would it be to actually “clean up” Russia and get it to Northern European levels of corruption?”

Yes, that’s fair. He is far too easy on corrupt members of his entourage. Which, frankly, is most or all of them.

That said, I am very skeptical that Russia can “solve” corruption for a variety of historical (both Tsarist Russia and USSR failed to), comparative (Italy, Greece, etc. haven’t come anywhere near Northern European standards, despite decades of institutional convergence by dint of EU membership), and cultural/biocultural (see hbdchick’s theories on the Hajnal Line) reasons.

Obviously we should aim to become better, but expectations should be kept realistic. I am pretty sure that liberal appetites for corruption are constrained only by their own lack of access to power, not ethics, and besides, Ukraine next door has now – twice! – demonstrated that color revolutions do nothing for improving corruption.

“Saakashvili appears to have managed to do something like this in Georgia, for all his flaws.”
Commented on this here:

“6% of Georgians reported paying a bribe in the past year in 2004, the first year of Saakashvili’s Presidency, and before his reforms could reasonably be expected to have taken effect; in 2013, the last year of his President, it was 4%. An improvement, sure, but not a particularly radical one. Actual opinion polls by Transparency International suggest that lowlevel corruption was not a big problem in Georgia pre-Saakashvili, and its reduction under him could just as easily have been a simple matter of the general withering away of the state’s regulatory agencies under his libertarian reforms. For instance, the near wholesale removal of university tuition subsidies – essential for democratic access to higher education in a country as poor as Georgia – led to a plunge in tertiary enrollment by almost a third relative to the early-to-mid-2000s. Fewer students automatically translates to fewer bribes for grades. These examples can be extended indefinitely: Less contact with the state automatically leads to “lower” corruption. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “good” in all cases.”

Share of exports does not equal level of dependency. Natural resources may make out a large part of Norwegian exports, but they siphon only a very small percentage​ of this income into the state budget (<4% per annum). Russia has clearly taken a bigger hit from the recent crisis than many other energy exporters.

It seems I may have fallen prey to the myth of Saakashvili’s ingenuity on this front. How come Georgia’s level of corruption was already so low? Did they not go through the same decade of looting during the 90′s? In any case, does Georgia’s relative similarly to Russia (in terms of history and culture) not suggest that Russia should be able to reach a similar level?

The revelations by Navalny suggest something bordering on complete apathy towards corruption on the part of the Russian elites, wouldn’t you agree? You don’t really see the same level of – let’s face it – looting among the leaders of less corrupt countries. This leads me to suspect they are ultimately responsible for the high levels of corruption.

On the topic of inequality – I assume you agree it is a significant problem in Russia. Do you see any remedies for it? Would you favour additional Khodorkovsky-style, let’s call it, “acquisitions” by the state? Russia appears to be in quite a unique position in that it could massively improve its level of inequality by dealing only with a few select individuals. Again, my suspicion is that the political elite much prefers the current situation, wherein it enjoys free access to these looted assets.

I wasn’t aware there was any unified consensus on what exactly constitutes oil & gas dependency (i.e. share of the budget, share of exports, share of GDP, or some combination of the three).

But speaking of the budget… The share of oil & gas in the consolidated budget is now 21%, so I don’t think the situation is exactly catastrophic. Ultimately, despite the recent collapse in oil prices, the Russian budget has avoided slipping deep into the red.

I don’t think Georgia is similar to Russia at all. It is Orthodox Christian, but otherwise they speak a totally different language, belong to another (older) civilization, are genetically distinct, etc. It is also much more rural. Don’t think its very extendable to Russia at all.

Re-corruption. Mostly agreed. I would also note that there are different kinds of corruption, e.g.:

  • Everyday corruption – high by European standards though not an outlier (not only Ukraine but Romania, Hungary, Lithuania are similar); seems to be constant under Putin.
  • Business corruption (e.g. pay to get construction permit) – high by European standards though not outlier; massively improved according to World Bank Enterprise Surveys under Putin.
  • Elite corruption – very hard to measure – not exactly like you can poll them on this, like you can random individuals and businesses – but seems to be very high; trends hard to ascertain, though my guess would be that the situation is modestly better than in the 1990s, but hasn’t seen any major improvement under Putin.

Re-inequality. The political elite as such, though wealthy, doesn’t enjoy access to most of those “looted assets.” They mostly belong to the oligarchs who became rich off the 1990s privatizations, and who were explicitly told to stay out of politics (Khodorkovsky disobeyed).

Should those oligarchs be expropriated? I don’t know. On the other hand, it might frighten businesspeople and discourage longterm investment (the standard economists’ argument). On the other hand, it’s not as if they don’t deserve it, and so long as this issue remains unresolved, the consequences of privatization will remain a potential source of political illegitimacy.

I wasn’t aware there was any unified consensus on what exactly constitutes oil & gas dependency (i.e. share of the budget, share of exports, share of GDP, or some combination of the three).

I don’t think one exists, hence my objection to going simply by “share of GDP”.

But speaking of the budget… The share of oil & gas in the consolidated budget is now 21%, so I don’t think the situation is exactly catastrophic.

That doesn’t seem too bad. However, I wonder what the number would be if you included indirect income from the oil and gas sector – ie payroll taxes on employees and even the economic activity generated by their spending (this isn’t measurable, but I’m sure some estimates could be generated). This could be quite significant simply given how much more profitable this sector is than other sectors of the Russian economy.

I don’t think Georgia is similar to Russia at all. It is Orthodox Christian, but otherwise they speak a totally different language, belong to another (older) civilization, are genetically distinct, etc. It is also much more rural. Don’t think its very extendable to Russia at all.

I can see how there are certain differences, but I don’t see why they should result in such a disparity re corruption levels. You also have to factor in the 70 years spent as part of the same union. IQ levels and GDP per capita also point in Russia’s favour in this sphere (though the latter point may be negated by the “resource curse” argument).

I find your distinction between different types of corruption useful. This leads me to believe that “elite corruption” (what I guess you could also term “inequality”) is the real problem here. This, coincidentally, appears to be the domain over which Putin should be able to exert the most influence.

I’m not sure if this is so much about the political elite, in general, as about the small clique surrounding Putin. As Navalny’s most recent work revealed, the oligarchs’ assets appear to be largely at the disposal of this inner circle. For example, Usmanov gifted Medvedev his personal homes and allowed him to stay in his residence​ in Italy. Why give that up?

Even if Putin did want to break the piggy bank this would be an extremely risky (even potentially lethal) project, as the remaining guys would do anything they can to protect their assets. However, desperate times call for desperate measures and Putin will need to maintain his “performance legitimacy” somehow.

It will be interesting to see how Putin’s popularity develops going forward. Any ideas? I assume it can only go so low post-Crimea, but the lacklustre economic predictions are not very reassuring. Absent regular foreign policy victories (which is hardly a reliable political strategy despite recent successes), I suspect there may be clouds lining up in Putin’s horizon. If there’s one thing Navalny’s documentary showed, it’s that people are eyeing the oligarchic piggy bank and they may grow increasingly unhappy with Putin if he does not let more of its contents flow into their pockets.

I kind of do and kind of don’t buy the economic argument against re-acquisition of assets. On the one hand, I believe it could be done in a way that would clearly single out the top 6-7 cats. These would be distinct from foreign investors in that they will be natives and their assets will have formerly belonged to the state and often be related to natural resources. On the other hand, I guess you can always trust clueless foreign investors with zero local knowledge to completely fail to understand what’s going on and proceed to get their panties in a twist.

Sure, the indirect effects of the oil & gas sector certainly has positive downstream effects – certainly inflates consumption to some extent – though of course similar considerations would apply to all large per capita oil & gas exporters.

Pretty much agreed with everything you say about corruption here. that seems to describe reality.

I am actually quite optimistic about economic growth in the next 5 years, barring any major political or geopolitical shocks. We’ve had a two year period of gloom, but this period also saw a tight monetary and fiscal policy, the taming of inflation, and a demographic shock as the numbers of workers entering the labor force plummeted (minimum fertility in Russia was in 1999). But the negative aspects above should attenuate soon, while the positive ones stand the Russia economy in good stead for a strong recovery in the near future.

I’m not categorically against re-appropriation. As you say, it’s not entirely obvious that the reaction will be all that bad, and certainly few people would feel sorry about the likes of Usmanov or Abramovich getting their (belated) just desserts.

I did not think of the demographic factor. I wonder if it will be sufficient to bring about decent growth figures. I wish I shared your optimism, but I feel like significant structural changes are needed to see anything above 2% growth.

***

Which sectors you believe are likely to become future drivers of Russian economy?

Probably the current mainstays: Oil & gas, steel, the military-industrial complex.

I am actually pretty pessimistic on the long-term prospects of the Russian economy, though not for the usual reasons such as demographics and corruption. Automation in manufacturing is extremely low, scientific output is minimal however you try to measure it, on virtually any hi-tech metric from numbers of supercomputers to numbers of high-thoroughput sequencers, Russia is on the level of small European countries like Sweden and Switzerland.

Despite a few areas of excellence such as nuclear power, Putin’s preference for football stadiums (and the Rotenbergs’ wallets) over R&D funding is increasing Russia’s technological lag, and I’m concerned even the MIC will simply be unable to compete with the likes of the US or China past c.2025.

Considering Putin’s past job of “acquiring” foreign technology in the DDR, he must be aware of Russia’s technological weakness.

What are the prospects of reindustrialisation and foreign investment in Russia considering the collapse in oil prices, Western sanctions as well as more positive economics aspects such as a cheaper Ruble and turning to non-Western sources of investment.

Edit: How well will raising trade barriers work for encouraging domestic manufacturing like how agriculture is benefitting now.

He’s no doubt aware of it, and has even said as much (recall the nanotech initiative back around 2008? Or his promise of 20mn (?) hi-tech jobs in 2012? There was also, of course, Skolkovo. But none of these seem to have been particularly successful to my knowledge. Rosnano was handed over to Anatoly Chubais (LOL), who I think preceeded to invest most of it in Western startups, perhaps after skimming some off for himself.

I don’t know what Russia can do to change to radically improve the situation. Even the East-Central European states that have integrated with the EU haven’t developed strong hi-tech sectors; neither has Mediterranean Europe. It’s something that remains largely confined to the US, North-West Europe, Japan, and increasingly, China. Maybe its just a combination of superior human capital and/or institutions.

However, less money on show-off sporting events and more money for R&D would surely be a good start. There’s also a huge amount of bloat and corruption in Russia higher education, from university rectors to paid-for dissertations (they constitute approximately 10% of the total according to the Dissernet plagiarism detection organization). This must be tackled, but with Putin himself being the recipient of a fictive PhD, not to mention a good percentage of the Russian elites, that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

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• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Nationalism, Neoreaction, Politics, Russia, Ukraine 

In recent weeks I’ve had cause to look at Moscow property prices.

moscow-property-prices-2013

There are basically three major socio-economic regions in Moscow:

  • The center – Upper middle class, very high property prices (300-400,000R/sq m), cosmopolitan, tilted against Putin and towards liberal parties like Yabloko, full of cafes with Macbook toting hipsters, do not discriminate against immigrants when renting out their properties (presumably because its not like Central Asian Gastarbeiters can afford the prices there anyway).
  • The south-west and west – Middle class, moderately high property prices (200,000R/sq m), tilted against Putin and towards liberals and Communists. This region traditionally hosted a large percentage of Moscow’s academic/R&D institutions and hi-tech factories, so the locals tend to be engineers and technicians and their well-educated children.
  • The east, south and north – Lower class, low property prices (150,000R/sq m), tilted towards Putin and especially the nationalist LDPR, majority proles – though very few work in factories, with a significant contingent of lumpenproles (one woman in my flat died from a drug overdose a few weeks ago) with a growing immigrant presence.

Whereas you see many Central Asians in the center of Moscow, there they are almost inevitably doing street sweeping or construction work, whereas in the outskirts there many of them start appearing out of work uniform. Most of them actually live in the cheaper outskirts, and are increasingly buying up property there. This is accompanied by ethnic tensions. One such region, Biryulyovo – which has Moscow’s second lowest property prices – was the site of a small race war back in 2013 provoked by the murder of a Russian by an immigrant. That said, it’s (still) a long way from the yearly “fireworks” you have in Paris.

In the meantime, I also suspect that many of the more successful locals from the prole areas are making their way to more prestigious regions. In the USSR, you tended to live where you worked (your apartment was assigned to you). With a free market in real estate, the way is clear for the sort of “cognitive clustering” that you see throughout the US and Europe, where the brightest, richest, most successful (all inter-correlated) converge onto good neighborhoods close to the center, while the duller and less successful elements are left behind in the Biryulyovo banlieues.

(Incidentally, this cognitive stratification is a microcosm of Russia as a whole – the average IQ in Moscow is ~106, versus ~96 in the rest of the country).

Here is a graph that I think supports this interpretation (left: Rubles / sq m, right: USD / sq m).

moscow-property-prices-2000-2017

Vykhino and Zhulebino (blue, orange) are classic prole regions – at 120,000R per sq m, they are marginally more upscale than Biryulyovo, but only just. Sokol (red) is a solidly middle-class region, and contains two universities and an industrial museum within its boundaries. Its average property price is 200,000R per sq m. Tverskaya (green) is a super-elite central region that hosts many of Moscow’s tourist landmarks, including the Bolshoi Theater; property prices there are a cool 400,000R per sq m.

But the trend is even more interesting – note the steady stratification of property values of Sokol and Tverskaya relative to prolecore Vykhino-Zhulebino. Even as early as 2013, Sokol was only about 40% as expensive, whereas today it is more than 60% as expensive. The differential between Vykhino-Zhulebino and Tverskaya has increased from being twice as expensive a decade ago, to almost four times as expensive today.

(This isn’t due to any particularities of the chosen regions – the trend for the prole South-East as a whole relative to the middle-class South-West and the elite Center matches the specific example above).

london-house-price-map Nor do I think this is likely to change anytime soon. This differential in real estate prices is now approaching what you see in both Paris and London (see right), both of which are far more advanced on the diversity (and financialization/cognitive clustering) front than Moscow.

This isn’t great for me personally. For instance, while it was still possible to leverage my apartment, which is in one of the crappier regions, to jump into the center a decade ago and maybe 5 years ago, it’s no longer so realistic today. I suppose I should hurry up while regions like Sokol are still within reach.

I suspect these differentials will continue widening in the years ahead. Immigration will continue, and might intensify as the Russian economy emerges out of recession. Cognitive clustering has a momentum of its own and isn’t going to run out of steam anytime soon.

Finally, I suspect that the advent of driverless cars in one or two decades will produce another major uptick in housing prices in the central regions of the world’s metropolises. One of the few major downsides of life in big cities is that traffic congestion costs go up 34% with every doubling of the urban population. The much greater efficiency of driverless cars should largely nullify those costs, turbocharging property prices in big cities and especially the central, already very expensive cores of the big cities even further.

I am obviously not in the business of giving financial advice. That said, even all else equal, I suspect that in Russia as in most of the Western world, people who move to the big cities – especially the expensive, prestigious regions where high property prices form an effective wall against vibrant diversity – will do financially better than those who stay in the outskirts.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Moscow, Real Estate, Urbanization 

PAPER REVIEW

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partridge-artificial-wombs

Abstract:

Here we report the development of a system that incorporates a pumpless oxygenator circuit connected to the fetus of a lamb via an umbilical cord interface that is maintained within a closed ‘amniotic fluid’ circuit that closely reproduces the environment of the womb. We show that fetal lambs that are developmentally equivalent to the extreme premature human infant can be physiologically supported in this extra-uterine device for up to 4 weeks. Lambs on support maintain stable haemodynamics, have normal blood gas and oxygenation parameters and maintain patency of the fetal circulation. With appropriate nutritional support, lambs on the system demonstrate normal somatic growth, lung maturation and brain growth and myelination.

This is really cool.

twitter-artificial-wombs I have been advocating this technology since I started blogging in 2008.

The immediate benefits, which the authors cite, are a reduction in infant mortality caused by extreme prematurity. This is good, though not that big of a deal, since it is very low in First World countries anyway, while poorer countries will probably not be able to afford the technology anyway.

The real promise is in its eugenic potential.

It is common knowledge that the well-educated reproduce less than the poorly educated, and that has resulted in decades of dysgenic decline throughout the developed world. This dysgenic effect has overtaken the Flynn effect. One of the reasons the well-educated, and especially well-educated women, have few or zero children is because it is bad for their career prospects. There are also some women who are just uncomfortable with the idea of pregnancy and childbirth.

There are essentially just a few solutions to this problem:

(1) Do nothing, deny heritability of IQ. Import Afro-Muslims to breed the next generation of doctors and engineers.

(2) Do nothing, hope for a literal deus ex machina solution, such as Musk’s neural lace or superintelligence.

(3) The Alt Right solution: Send the women back to the kitchen.

Ethical considerations aside, there’s also the matter of practicality – you’d have to be really hardcore at enforcing your “White Sharia” to make any substantive difference. Even most conservative Muslim societies, where female labor participation is very low, have seen plummeting fertility rates. And, needless to say, it does nothing about the dysgenic aspect of modern fertility patterns, which are a significantly bigger problem than falling fertility rates anyway.

(4) Develop artificial wombs.

This is a good idea from all sorts of ideological perspectives.

Everyone: Immediate higher fertility rates in the countries that develop them, especially amongst well-educated women. This might cancel out dysgenic decline at a single stroke.

Liberals: Alternate option for women who don’t want to undergo pregnancy/childbirth for whatever reason. No more market for surrogate mothers – an end to a particularly icky form of Third World exploitation.

Libertarians: People with the means to pay – that is, millionaires and especially billionaires – will no longer be bounded in their reproductive capacity by the biology of their female partner or by the culture of their society (generally, no polygamy). Since wealth is moderately correlated with IQ, this will be eugenic. That said, this might strike some as dystopian. Maybe one could start taxing additional artificial womb-grown offspring past the first five or ten? Then you’d get “offshore hatcheries.” Okay, I suppose that’s even more dystopian.

Zensunnis: I suppose cultures that really dislike women can just gradually start making do without them by replacing them with the equivalent of Axlotl tanks. Conversely, (almost) all female “Amazonian” societies will also become possible. Let’s make sci-fi tropes real.

Futurists: Combining artificial wombs with CRISPR gene-editing for IQ on a mass scale pretty much directly leads to a biosingularity.

As I pointed out, a biosingularity may be preferable to one born of machine superintelligence because it bypasses the AI alignment problem and doesn’t risk the end of conscious experience.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Fertility, Paper Review, Transhumanism 

Should the government try to limit the inflow of immigrants, or should it not place any administrative barriers and try to use it for the benefit of Russia?

levada-russia-opinion-about-immigrations

 

Red = Restrict immigration; Blue = Don’t place barriers; Green = N/A.

russian-emigration-immigration-1997-2015

This makes sense. The early 2000s saw an all time low in immigration to Russia – the influx of ethnic Russians from the Near Abroad had abated by that period, while the economy was not yet strong enough to attract masses of Central Asian labor.

From the mid-2000s, large numbers of Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz have been rotating in and out, with the occassional dip during recessions.

If there is one thing that Navalny can capitalize on, it is this graph. Still, there’s no need to overstress its significance. After all, discotent with immigration was similarly high by 2011-12, and Navalny’s nativist credentials then were far stronger, but he was unable to turn it into any significant political success.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Immigration, Opinion Poll, Russia 

Here is a graph of monthly births in Russia since 2006 through to March 2017:

russia-births-2006-2017

It is pointless to make sweeping conclusions based on demographic data from the past one or two months.

That said, the three month moving average has been down relative to the same period in the previous year since the middle of 2016, and as of this year, has widened to 10%, an unprecedented figure in the past decade.

russia-births-change-2006-2017

Now to be sure, birth rates should – all else equal – be falling, because the diminished generation of the 1990s is now moving into its peak childbearing years. It shouldn’t be falling by 10% in any one year, however. If this new trend continues, Russia’s TFR for 2017 should fall to about 1.65 children per woman from the 1.76 in 2016.

OTOH mortality continued improving, falling by 1% in the first three months of 2017 relative to same period last year, which translates into a correspondingly greater improvement in life expectancy because of Russia’s ageing population (i.e. for the same reason that Russia’s fertility rate would increase if the number of births was to stay the same).

So I don’t want to imply all is doom and gloom after having covered Russia’s demographic turnaround for almost a decade.

However, it does perhaps warrant a reassessment of the weight we attach to different demographic projections.

For instance, the “Medium” scenario in my Russian demographic model – also the one which I long thought likeliest – involves the assumption that the TFR would converge to about 1.75 (where it has generally been since 2012), with steady convergence in life expectancy to developed world levels, and annual (official) immigrant inflows of 300,000. In this scenario, Russia’s population would actually increase to about 150 million in 2025 and 158 million by 2050 (that’s including Crimea, aka +2 million).

However, if the recent fertility decline is not a one-year blip, and were to instead to continue falling to about 1.50, then Russia’s population would stagnate (this is from before Crimea):

Low (TFR=1.5 from 2010)Population growth starts from 2011, going from 142mn to 143mn by 2023. Then it falls slowly to 138mn by 2050. The birth rate peaks at 12.5 in 2013, falls sharply to 7.8 by 2032, and then remains in the 8-9 range. The death rate troughs at 11.4 in 2032, then rises to 12.9 by 2050. Positive natural increase is never attained.

Not really the demographic apocalypse long promised by the Western media either, but a disappointing outcome nonetheless.

It’s also possible that this will further encourage the kremlins to intensify immigration from Central Asia.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Demographics, Russia 

About time to update my sidebar (current one dates from November 2015).

Blogroll: Added a few sites, removed a few. Version with slightly more links here: http://akarlin.com/links/

My linking policy is that if your blog is at least somewhat active and interesting, and if you link to me, or if you make a… contribution (just make sure to let me know), then I will reciprocate with a link under the Friends/Allies section.

Removed the Quotes section at the bottom, since it was taking up too much space. I now have a dedicated quotes page at my website: http://akarlin.com/quotes/

Thank to everyone who responded to my first donations drive! (esp. Bruno and Ben via Paypal, my seven patrons on Patreon, and whoever sent the 4.31979mBTC). As I said, while I’m under no imminent danger of immiseration, if you think that what I do is positive value added, well – money is always good for greasing the wheels of productivity.

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ANATOLY KARLIN joined the Unz Review in January 2015 to blog about Russia, geopolitics, HBD/IQ, and futurism.

Here is a guide to my various websites and projects.

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Panhandling

karlin-cliodynamicsThe more help I get from my readers, especially of the pecuaniary kind, the more time I can devote to my blogging and original research.

You can donate to me via one of the following methods:

(1) Sponsor me on Patreon
(2) Payment to my email address with Google Wallet
(3) Paypal donation
(4) If you bank with Wells Fargo, you can use Surepay (go to “Transfer and Pay,” “Send Money”) to send money to my email address
(5) Bitcoin: 17tDufZUEK3DvQh3rY75F3xtVgxj4TzdtB

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Blogroll

This is not so much meant to be comprehensive as to illustrate the themes and individual thinkers whom I follow and am inspired by.

I do not bother including any MSM outlets, since I’m sure they can do just fine without my publicity.

Blogs which I consider to be particularly good and/or prominent are highlighted in bold, and blogs that appear to have gone dormant appear at the end in italics. While I try to keep these things objective, if you include me in your blogroll that does vastly increase the chances that I’ll reciprocate.

/pol/, HBD, H+

Journals/Websites

Politics & Geopolitics

HBD & Psychometrics

History, Economics, Futurism

Russosphere

Alt Media (Russia)

Russosphere

Friends & Allies

Friends/Allies (Politics)

Friends & Allies (HBD, Futurism)

Friends/Allies (Russia)

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• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Administration, Blogging, Open Thread 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.