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 Russian Reaction BlogTeasers

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As one of the world’s leading activists against the Putin regime, I had no choice but to show up on Tverskaya Street today, to fight for your freedom and mine.

As expected, turnout wasn’t particularly high. Although the area around the Pushkin Monument was crowded, it only extended to half a block in every direction. The regime loyalist I was with estimated there were about 5,000 protesters. A guy with a Ukrainian flag lapel badge whom I asked for his opinion said 10,000. Taking the average estimate from supporters and detractors was a good strategy for estimating crowd size in 2011-12, and coincidentally enough, the resulting figure of 7,500 coincided exactly with the police estimate of 7,000-8,000 protesters. This is not altogether bad, thought quite insubstantial in a city of 12 million.

To be sure, this was an unsanctioned protest, and as I pointed out earlier, a lot of the risk-averse office plankton who form the bulk of Navalny’s support don’t turn up to such protests. They don’t want to run the risk of getting arrested, not when it could impact on their employment. Still, this is about 3x fewer participants than in the last big protest of the 2012 wave, which was also unsanctioned, the farcical “March of the Millions” of May 6 to which about 25,000 turned up.

With the lack of office workers in the crowd, the demographics were heavily tilted towards young people and university students, though there were quite a few older people with that Soviet intelligentsia look.

Definitely lots of Euromaidan supporters – apart from Ukrainian flag lapel badge guy, there was another man, who had the look of a protest veteran about him, who regaled a small crowd with tales of his adventures fighting the police in Khabarovsk, in Kiev in 2014, and afterwards, in Kharkov (the local police there was hostile, and they had to wait it out long enough for them to get reinforcements from Poltava and further west; putting things together, he was one of the people who helped preempt the formation of a Kharkov People’s Republic). However, the Ukrainophilia wasn’t quite as noticeable as in Ekaterinburg, where the crowd chanted, “He who doesn’t jump is Dimon” (a riff on “he who doesn’t jump is a Moskal,” a rallying cry for the “Glory to Ukraine” crowd).

(Incidentally, this is one reason of many as to why the protests in Russia are unlikely to amount to much – the Ukrainians, at least, advanced into bullets for their own nationalism during Euromaidan; in contrast, the pro-Ukrainian Russians at these protests are “cucking” for someone else’s nationalism. Come to think of it, trolling the protesters by shouting “Glory to Russia” at the next protest might be a good idea).

There were also, as expected, plenty of journalists. Most of them were local media; I observed a couple from the opposition TV channel Dozhd, as well as a group from some state TV company. Incidentally, contrary to some reports, the protest was covered in the Russian state media, both in Russian and English. There did not seem to be many foreign journalists (perhaps its too early in the political season for that). However, one of them, The Guardian’s Alec Luhn, did manage to get himself arrested and charged with an administration violation, which he understandably complained about. On the other hand, such “heavy-handedness is hardly exclusive to Russia (e.g. six RT journalists were charged for covering violence at Trump’s inauguration).

About 30 minutes after the announced start of the march, the police and the OMON started arresting people, darting into the crowds and hauling people off into the waiting police buses. Navalny was also arrested, not having even made it as far as the Pushkin Momument, let alone the Kremlin that was his destination.

The arrests were for the most part non-violent, though there were several hundreds of them, and one policemen was hospitalized for a traumatic head injury following a kick to the head from a protester.

While I’m myself rather indifferent to arrest – as a committed NEET, I have no need to worry about any repercussions on my employment or education prospects, and if anything it would provide me with nice new content – I certainly don’t want my first arrest in Russia to happen at a fucking Navalny demo of all places, so I began skulking away as soon as the arrests started. I spent the next couple of hours drinking at a bar with my regime loyalist friend.

Towards the evening, I returned to Pushkin Square. It was much less crowded now, though there were still throngs of people discussing the days’ events, with the police swooping down on them every so often to enquire as to whether they were protesting, and ensuing philosophical debates between them and the police about the semantics of group discussion versus group protest, and the precise point at which the former transitioned into the latter.

I descended into the Metro.

***

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• Category: Ideology • Tags: Color Revolution, Moscow, Russia, The AK 

With a bit less than a year left to Russia’s Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle’s protest movement against Putin are already coalescing.

Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny in turn refused its offer of alternative venues, so the march is going to be unsanctioned. These events tend to come with a high journalist to protester ratio, because Navalny’s office plankton constituency doesn’t like events where there is a non-negligible chance they’ll be roughed up by the police. So I don’t expect much to come out of it. But we’ll see. I’ll probably go myself to observe it first hand.

As in 2011-2012, when he coined the term “The Party of Thieves and Scoundrels” to describe United Russia, the brunt of Navalny’s attacks are going to be on corruption in the Kremlin. It appears that the centerpiece this time around is going to be a massive investigation carried out by Anti-Corruption Fund on Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev, and released early this March:

In Russia, even amongst liberals, Medvedev has a reputation as a cuddly, affable, and absent-minded sort of fellow, often nodding off at meetings, but endowed with a hip, modernist outlook that will take “Russia forwards” into the clean, prosperous, sponsored content clicking future. This expresses itself in things such as appreciation for Deep Purple, support for the Skolkovo technology hub, and an obsession with hip electronic gadgets – the latter of which earned him his nickname, iPhonchik. Another of his nicknames is his diminutive, “Dimon,” which became very popular after his press secretary told Russia’s bloggers, commenters, and online trolls not to use that name: “He is not Dimon to you.” That worked on the Internet! (Not).

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But according to Navalny’s investigation, which builds on earlier work by Russian journalists, the nice, professorial teddy bear is a mere mask for a deeply corrupt swindler; not so much a fan of hi-tech Apple gadgets as of big money and elite properties. Piecing together documents, his team constructed a convoluted web of charitable funds directed by Medvedev’s friends, classmates, and even relatives that don’t seem to do much in the way of genuine charity work, but do maintain a sprawling network of elite real estate for make benefit of the Prime Minister.

This includes an elite estate in Moscow’s Rublevka district and a luxury ski resort in Krasnodar, each of which is valued at about $100 million; a big estate and agro holding compnay in his ancestral homeland of Kursk oblast; two yachts, both named after the Orthodox version of his wife’s name; an elite apartment in Saint-Petersburg; and even a wineyard and villa in Tuscany, Italy, bought in 2012-13 for $120 million. There is strong evidence, including from Medvedev’s Instagram account, that he has stayed at many of these properties, and partaken of his yachts.

These “charitable funds” are sponsored by a bevy of Kremlin-friendly oligarchs and state banks. For instance, one of them was funded by Novatek’s Simanovsky and Mikhelson, who contributed $500 million. The Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who spent six years in a Soviet prison in the 1980s for financial fraud, appears to have funded the acquisition of the Rublevka property. Gazprombank is on record giving a loan of $200 million in 2007. Its Deputy Chairman at the time? Ilya Eliseev, a classmate of Medvedev’s from his time at Saint-Petersburg State University, who also happens to be listed as the current chairman of most of these charitable funds. In total, documented “contributions” run to about 70 billion rubles, or more than $1 billion.

Even a small fraction of this would sound the death knell for any politician in a country within the Hajnal Line.

In Russia, however, this is not atypical for the elites. Everybody knows that they are stealing, and if Russians didn’t move to overthrow them in 2011-12, in the aftermath of massively fraudulent elections in Moscow and at a time when Putin was at a trough in his popularity, they are certainly not going to do so now; not when Putin’s approval rating remains north of 80% in the long afterglow of the Crimea euphoria. Moreover, Navalny’s own reputation has since become tarnished, due to his own corruption scandal (which might disqualify from running for the Presidency entirely), and due to his ardent pro-Ukrainian rhetoric, which has driven off most of his former nationalist supporters.

This, at least, is my impression.

Anyhow, March 26 will be an opportunity to more directly gauge his support at the level of the streets.

 

The basics on Denis Voronenkov: Communist MP. Bombastically patriotic. He led the way on highly needed and necessary legislation, such as a ban on Pokemon Go, and often waxed lyrical about the “patriotic” and “non-materialistic” values instilled on him by his Komsomol education.

This patriotism and lack of materialism expressed itself in the form of a $5 million apartment in the center of Moscow, a small fleet of luxury cars, a celebrity opera singer wife, and the respect of his fellow Kremlin elites. Current head of the SVR Sergey Naryshkin sang at his wedding to Untied Russia deputy Maksakova, which the Duma hailed as its “first interfactional wedding.”

He acquired his riches by selling favors to businessmen in return for promises of official access, and there’s not entirely incredible allegations that he ordered a contract killing (on a businessman who claimed that he had reneged on one of those promises).

However, at some point he crossed the wrong people, and there were rumors that an investigation would be started up when his parliamentary immunity was to run out in December 2016.

What’s a Russian communist patriot who finds himself the subject of criminal proceedings to do?

To flee to the UkSSR, of course, where he is warmly welcomed into the Maidan elites, including accelerated citizenship (in contrast, the Russian useful idiots who went to fight for the Revolution of Dignity and a future for white children have long since been thrown to the winds; many have struggled to even get a residency permit).

There, he goes from fighting Pokemon Go in Russia to calling Russia a latter-day Nazi Germany.

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In December 2016, soon after settling down in Kiev, he gloated: “First the downed fighter pilot. Now the Russian ambassador. Who’s next?”

Why, you:

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Who did it?

To be sure, Russian special forces are one; it’s not exactly a secret that intelligence services have a special hatred for traitors. Voronenkov was not only a politician, but had once worked in the Federal Drug Control Service, which was once a full-fledged “silovik” institution until it was dissolved and merged into the Interior Ministry in 2016. Not only was he a traitor, but he was also an outspoken one – in his last interview, published just today, he claimed that someone who understood the FSB, like himself, could simply “walk away” from them. That was essentially taunting them to get him.

That said, this was a very sloppy hit by Russian intelligence service standards.

I don’t think Poroshenko & Co. had anything to do with it. He was pretty useless – in the end, he was a lowly Duma deputy, and as such not privy to any of the real decision-making processes – but his chequered history hardly makes a great face as a democratic martyr done in by ROG.

It could also have been a banal falling out with his new “business partners” in Ukraine. Crime has risen since 2014, and the likelihood of such disputes being resolved through guns, not paperwork, is now higher.

That said, there is a good chance he was killed by genuine Ukrainian nationalists. They hate Poroshenko, and they cannot be very happy about the red carpet treatment rolled out for someone who not only supported but helped enable Crimea’s incorporation into Russia.

According to the latest reports, his killer – who has just died in hospital – was an ATO veteran and a member of the National Guard. Now yes, its possible that Russian intelligence services outsourced the assassination. But Occam’s Razor suggests that it was just a case of excessive svidomism.

In which case, just today: Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the hero.

PS. Since this story is such a succinct metaphor for everything wrong with everything – with the Russian elites, the Ukrainian elites, the Western media, and the Ukrainian nationalist yahoos who so conveniently insist on shooting their own country in the foot so regularly – that there will definitely soon be a longer post on this. First, though, a couple of minor technical issues with the blog software need to be fixed.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Assassinations, Elites, Russia, Svidomy, Ukraine 

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Anyhow.

The K/D ratio was pretty lame. Four dead, including the attacker, who was put down by one of the three armed policemen in all London. He could have at least used a heavy truck like his brother in arms in Nice.

Success in terrorism, as in all other walks of life, is g loaded.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the cognitive profile of the Muslim immigrants to Europe is so… unprepossessing.

More competent terrorists could do more damage. See the Far Left terrorists of the 1970s-80s, or more recently, Breivik.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Terrorism, United Kingdom 

Immigration statistics from the Ministry of Interior Affairs, 2016.

Total new citizenships: 265,319. (USA: 653,416 people in 2014, so about equal in per capita terms).

Ukraine: 100,696, up 49% from 2015. (Russians becoming Ukrainian citizens: About 2,000 per year).

It is utterly absurd that in per capita terms, there are as many Tajiks (0.27% of their population) getting RF citizenship as Ukrainians (0.24%), and three times as many Armenians (0.74% of their population). There is no humanitarian crisis in Tajikistan or in Armenia, whereas the population of just the LDNR – at war, under Ukrainian blockade – is greater than Armenia’s.

If Putin was truly the Putler of the Western imagination, Russia would be giving away RF passports like confetti in the LDNR. In reality, he is more of a Putlet.

***

TOTAL by country 265,319
Ukraine 100,696
Kazakhstan 37,837
Uzbekistan 23,216
Tajikistan 23,012
Armenia 22,264
Moldova, Republic of 17,397
PERSONS WITHOUT CITIZENSHIP 11,042
Azerbaijan 9,885
Kyrgyzstan 9,316
Belarus 3,582
Georgia 2,623
Turkmenistan 774
Turkey 500
Syrian Arab Republic 334
Afghanistan 300
Vietnam 287
Israel 170
Abkhazia 168
Lithuania 168
Germany 148
Egypt 142
Latvia 139
United States 92
Serbia 89
Bulgaria 84
Italy 71
China 66
South Ossetia 57
Bangladesh 53
Estonia 50
France 49
Greece 44
India 35
Iran, Islamic Republic of 33
Lebanon 33
Poland 31
Tunisia 31
Palestine, The State 30
Nigeria 28
Cuba 26
Morocco 24
Bosnia and Herzegovina 22
Iraq 22
Pakistan 22
Jordan 20
Algeria 17
United Kingdom (United Kingdom) 15
Cameroon 13
Montenegro 11
Australia 10
Yemen 10
Sudan 10
Belgium 9
Canada 9
Austria 8
Hungary 8
Spain 8
Colombia 8
Bolivia, a multinational state 7
Thailand 7
Brazil 6
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 6
Congo 6
Mongolia 6
Romania 6
Sri Lanka 6
South Africa 6
Nepal 5
Netherlands 5
Peru 5
Finland 5
Switzerland 5
Ecuador 5
The Republic of Macedonia 4
Mexico 4
Norway 4
Czech Republic 4
Sweden 4
Benin 3
Ghana 3
Guinea-Bissau 3
Denmark 3
Korea, Republic of 3
Somalia 3
Albania 2
Gambia 2
Zimbabwe 2
Indonesia 2
Cyprus 2
Libya 2
Niger 2
Slovenia 2
Croatia 2
Ethiopia 2
Japan 2
Angola 1
Argentina 1
Bermuda 1
Burundi 1
Dominican Republic 1
Zambia 1
Ireland 1
Comoros 1
North Korea (North Korea) 1
Costa Rica 1
Malawi 1
Mali 1
Myanmar 1
Nicaragua 1
New Zealand 1
United Arab Emirates 1
Portugal 1
Slovakia 1
Sierra Leone 1
Tanzania, United Republic of 1
Togo 1
Uruguay 1
Philippines 1
Chad 1
Chile 1

 

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Immigration, Russia, Ukraine 

Why is corruption so bad in Eastern Europe? And what can be done about it?

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First off, I don’t know to what extent it can be reduced. According to the hbdchick’s theories on the Hajnal Line, ceteris paribus, Southern and Eastern Europe will always be more corrupt than the countries of “core Europe” because they did not undergo its centuries of selection for beyond-kin altruism.

Despite decades of institutional convergence under the aegis of European integration, Italy and Greece remain considerably more corrupt than Germany, Britainn, and Sweden. Poland has improved greatly since the 1990s, but reached an asymptote at around Italy’s level; Romania, at Greece’s. From the outset, this implies that Eastern European countries should keep their ambitions realistic, regardless of the policies that they choose to pursue.

Still, political economic factors do play a large role.

The main concept that I would draw upon is Mancur Olson’s distinction between “roving bandits” and “stationary bandits.”

In unstable polities, the elites can be replaced at any time, often through unpredictable and lawless methods such as coups, or “people power” driven “color revolutions” if the new gang are more pro-Western. The elites know this. As such, they have an interest in maximizing their thievery in the here and now, with corresponding disincentives to large, capital-heavy investments that will only pay in the long-term. Most likely, they will not be around to enjoy the fruits of their labor a decade or two down the line. But a Mayfair apartment and British Virgin Islands cash stash won’t go anywhere.

This describes Ukraine, and Russia in the 1990s.

In polities where the system is more stable, “roving bandits” start to settle down – they become “stationary bandits.” There are relatively greater incentives for long-term investments – if you steal less today, your pie will be greater tomorrow. Although corruption still exists, and may even remain systemic, the more predictable nature of the tariffs levied by “stationary bandits” enables corporations to account for them in their business plans. It’s not even so much the degree of corruption that’s important as its predictability. Furthermore, the bandits at the very top have greater incentives to clamp down on their underlings, since if they get start getting too greedy it will bite into their own profit margins. This in turn can pave the way for the emergence of institutions that can upgrade the war on corruption from manual to semi-autonomous mode.

This describes countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. (China would also fall into this category).

industrialized-transition These ex-Soviet countries, ruled by “stationary bandits,” have been far more successful at economic recovery (and growth) than Ukraine. For all the “Gabon with snow” jokes, Ukraine is still an industrialized country with a well educated population and a respectable average IQ of perhaps 95, with considerable natural resources, access to the sea, and Russian gas subsidies that have totalled approximately $200 billion since independence.

So the Ukrainian economy should be doing MUCH BETTER, given the huge gap between potential and reality (perhaps the biggest gap of any country in the world). But as of 2015, its inflated-adjusted GDP was a mere 60% of the UkSSR’s in 1990 (Russia: 110%; Belarus: 180%), and is now in a neck-and-neck race with Nigeria in terms of Internet penetration.

Telling example: One of the few genuinely bright spots in the Ukrainian economy has been the IT sector. In particular its presence on the video game scene is rather impressive in relative terms – Cossacks, Stalker, Metro 2033.

Why? Because that is what you get when you combine roving bandits with a high IQ population. Few people are willing to build anything substantial like a multi-billion dollar factory. Hence, so far as heavy industry goes, it just continues to coast on the ever depreciating Soviet legacy.

How much capital do you need to launch a middle-sized video game studio? Can’t imagine it’s much more than $100,000. Most of the value is in the brains, and you get some of the best cognitive bang per dollar in the Ukraine. You can sell your game on Steam, and should instability strike, you can just bugger off to someplace warmer and more civilized, like Cyprus or Malta (like 4A games, the creators of Metro 2033, did in 2014).

Incidentally one can see the same thing (if to a significantly smaller extent) in both Russia and Belarus.

How to solve – or at least mitigate – corruption follows naturally from the above observations.

(1) The roving bandits need to be settled down. (Replacing one gang with another under the cover of a color revolution doesn’t do anything – as Ukraine has already proven, TWICE).

In Ukraine’s case, that means it needs to put an end to its never-ending internecine struggles. Broadly speaking, both Novossiya supporters and Ukrainian nationalists have the right idea, even if they are otherwise diametrically opposed. (Nadia Sevchenko represents a curious convergence of these two streams: A Ukrainian nationalist to the core, she has negotiated with LDNR authorities in contravention of official Kiev policy while suggesting that Ukraine needs a period of dictatorship to get itself sorted out).

(2) East Asia furnishes many several examples of non-Hajnal societies that have successfully solved the corruption problem. One approach is greater criminal penalties for corruption (“kill the chicken to scare the monkey,” as the Chinese proverb goes); another is to richly compensate civil servants, so as to reduce the relatice incentive for additional thievery (Singapore government ministers are paid like the CEOs of big corporations, and in tandem with harsh punishments and wealth, this has helped Singapore become one of the world’s least corrupt societies, despite traditional China’s penchant for corruption).

In practice, neither of these is practical for Eastern Europe. European human rights regulations preclude the killing of chickens; and East Europeans themselves are far too populist and demotic to tolerate elitist-technocratic policies like CEO-scale salaries for bureaucrats (with the result that said bureaucrats will unofficially continue to compensate themselves at CEO levels anyway, but with huge markups).

(3) The removal of roving bandits will enable faster economic growth, and greater tax receipts allow you to pay more to develop institutions, while greater per capita wealth leads to money floating about for the development of an indigenous civil society. It also makes e-government, which makes far less demands on face-to-face interactions between citizens and bureaucrats, with all their associated potential for corruption, far more realizable.

(4) To be sure, it can be very frustrating to live in a country that is visibly and strikingly more corrupt than the fairylands of core Europe. It is understandable that people, especially young people without much life experience, want change, and they want it quick. More often than not, the result is a cargo cult approach to combatting corruption, which results in spectacles such as Anti-Corruption Forums to which the participants show up in Mercedes and Lexuses (a most apt metaphor for Euromaidan).

From this perspective, an understanding of the deep gene-cultural underpinnings of corruption might not lead you to forgive everything, but it will at least imbue you with a sense of realism as to what is and what is not possible. A slow, steady convergence over two or three decades to Italy’s or even France’s level of corruption – entirely possible, even likely. A new Sweden overnight through the power of mass lustrations and Lenin statue topplings? Nope.

Going ahead will only set you up for eventual disappointment, but in the meanwhile, you’d have wrecked your own country.

Finally, don’t worry. In the end, corruption just isn’t that important to economic growth! Just compare Chile and China: One by far the cleanest country in South Americat; the other one is far more corrupt, but a standard deviation higher in average IQ. Which of those two is the economic steamroller, and which one has nothing to write home about? Exactly. And corruption tends to diminish with increasing wealth, as the power of institutions and civil society increases. Just don’t smother your economy with regulations and central planning, don’t allow roving bandits to pick the place clean and stymie all long-term development, and the problems should ultimately resolve by itself without any particular further effort on your part.

PS. Daniel Chieh comments: “These days, modern China has moved significantly from executions to pressuring corrupt officials to commit suicide: possibly a return to honor suicides that was the norm in Asia and perhaps part of the entire initiative for Xi’s “return of traditional Chinese virtues.” Honor suicides just doesn’t seem to be a thing in East Europe, that I know of, anyway. Human rights law in Europe in theory wouldn’t stop all methods of “killing the chicken” as there are a number of other “greater criminal punishments” that don’t include capital punishment – which is rarely used these days, to be honest. Mass social shaming, prohibitions on future job-seeking, reduced status opportunities and unfavorable associations that spread even to the family all work just as well.The life of a pariah can be worse than death, imo.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Corruption, Russia, Ukraine 

ukronationalists

On March 16, the three main political forces of Ukrainian nationalism – the political party Svoboda, Right Sector, and the National Corpus (i.e. the Azov batallion’s political wing) – signed a National Manifesto that declared the ideological unity of the three structures, and conveniently summarized the 20 key theses of Ukrainian nationalism.

Given the increasingly evident political bankruptcy of the Poroshenko government, its increasing readiness to capitulate before nationalist demands, and the even greater influence Ukrainian nationalism looks set to wield over the regime that comes next, it would be germane to give a brief translation and analysis of the main points of this National Manifesto.

***

We, Ukrainian nationalists, understanding the catastrophic state of our country and with the goal of acquiring and developing a great national state, capable of securing the prosperous existence of Ukrainians and a future for Ukrainian children, are uniting our efforts on the basis of fundamental, unambiguous, and unchanging principles and goals, and thereby offer a concrete plan of action that we can embark upon straight away for the achievement of these goals.

Not bad, though the pilfering from David Lane is a bit too obvious.

1. Define as a priority of state policy the realization of Ukraine’s national interests.

As the Russian nationalist website Sputnik i Pogrom notes, there is no division between Ukraine the state and Ukrainians the people.

This is typical for semi-fictional national projects, in which there is no people without a state.

2. New vector of Ukrainian geopolitics – orientation not to the West or the East, but the creation of a new European unity – that of the Balto-Black Sea Union.

So basically a resurrection of the Intermarium, a geopolitical vision promoted by interwar Polish leader Józef Piłsudski to unite the countries from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.

Today, it has mainly become a Ukrainian nationalist obsession.

It also happens to be even more demented and schizophrenic than Eurasianism (which is at least theoretically realizable, even if its end result will be to turn Russia into Greater Turkestan due to demographic factors).

Ukraine, with a nominal GDP per capita below that of Nigeria, will be economically dominated by Poland in any such arrangement. Furthermore, the Poles have no love for Ukrainian nationalists; there are numerous human interest stories of Ukrainian Gastarbeiters in Poland getting beaten up by Polish skinheads for expressing their love for Bandera. Speaking of Polish nationalists, they outright want Lwow back.

As such, it is unclear how such a neo-Rzeczpospolita union would even be set up in the first place, unless the Ukrainians decide to keep it real authentic and also return to their old socio-economic status under the old union, i.e. as serfs under the Polish szlachta.

3. Recognize the Russian Federation as an aggressor state… break diplomatic relations, blockade the occupied territories, end Russian business activities in Ukraine, sanction Russian capital, goods, and services.

This is an excellent idea (to sideline the Western politicians and Kremlin “geniuses” who threw Ukraine a lifeline in the form of Minsk II, and allowed Russian businesses to continue investing in Ukraine to the tune of billions of dollars since 2014).

Some of these actions – namely, the blockade of the Donbass, and the shuttering down of Russian banks – have already been embarked on and post-facto legitimized by the state in recent weeks, which has resulted in the Kremlin’s apparent loss of interest in shoving Donbass back into Ukraine.

May they continue wracking up more and more peremogas along these lines!

4. Recognize [the LDNR] as occupied territories and develop a real plan to liberate Crimea and Donbass. Immediately embark upon economic, informational, and reconaissance-sabotage actions in furtherance of these goals.

Even better idea.

Though they should beware that the frontline can move backwards as well as forwards.

5. Return the right to recreate a nuclear weapons capability as a foundation of national security in light of the violation of the Budapest Memorandum.

Ukraine does have the technical capacity and human capital to do this.

Of course, the types of people who rule the West, such as Merkel or Juncker, will absolutely love the idea of nuclearization in a state full of groups of armed extremists roving around. By “absolutely love” I mean so shell-shocked they’d be begging Putin to put that rabid animal down.

6. Create a high-tech professional contract army, and a reserve army, based on the territorial principle.

This is very doable on a $90 billion GDP, by which I mean it’s completely bonkers (even if Ukraine does now spend 6% of that measly figure on its military).

7. Legalize the right to armed defense and gun ownership.

Good idea.

Incidentally, this right has existed in the “sovok” DNR since 2015, which has caused no end of butthurt amongst Right Sector.

8. Eliminate hostile propaganda from the Ukrainian information space. Cultivate traditional values, strengthen national consciousness. The Ukrainian language should be the only state language.

Russian culture is already aggressively marginalized – the list of banned Russian TV shows, films, and books is so long it’s hard to keep track. There are hundreds of political prisoners, almost none of them, of course, recognized by Western human rights organizations.

But if Ukrainian culture is indeed so powerful, attractive, and natural to the denizens of the western Pontic steppes, why does it need to be imposed through such repressive and illiberal methods?

9. Carry out a real lustration… strengthen criminal punishments for corruption.

So they do at least recognize that the Euromaidan has done nothing to improve corruption in the past three years, regardless of all the (invariably inconsequential) public workers that its activists shoved into rubbish bins.

Solution: Something along the lines of “Only mass shootings with save Ukraine!,” aka the convergence of UkSSR patriots with retrograde Russian Stalinists (as is oddly appropriate).

10. Introduce a workable procedure for impeaching the President and make a law about the recall of deputies of all levels and judges.

Presumably to be forgotten about as soon as Poroshenko gets removed and their own people are in power.

Because the alternative in Ukraine would be anarchy.

11. Introduce elections for judges and certain categories of local bureaucrats.

Not a bad idea, since along with (17), it will result in the effective breakup of the Ukrainian project.

12. Liquidate the oligarchic system: Return subsoil ownership to the state, as well as strategic objects and enterprises, illegally privatized after 1991; liquidate private monopolities, end capital flight to offshore havens.

This is not bad.

As in Russia, privatization in the 1990s was code word for mass looting, and the oligarchs borne of that period have since proven to be exceptionally bad stewards of their ill-gotten gains.

However, liberal economists will not approve (neither will the countries in thrall to them, i.e. the West).

So goodbye IMF funds. Enjoy the default.

13. Guarantee the labor rights of Ukrainians and create conditions for an effective labor union movement.

As is much of the rest of this program, it boils down to two options:

Either they will institute what it says on the tin, allowing real labor unions that stymie productivity and cancel out even the competitive advantages of Ukraine’s absurdly low wages; or the labor unions they have in mind would be utterly subservient to the state, as in Nazi Germany.

14. Create a new socially just tax code, which will encourage the development of small and medium businesses.

Nice sentiment – no details.

15. Encourage the development of national atomic and alternative energy as a foundation of energy independence.

Many alternative energy schemes are bondoogles even in developed Western countries.

In Poroshenko’s Ukraine, front companies were paid to import coal from South Africa as part of widely propagandized schemes to achieve energy independence from Russia, while in reality those funds were used to buy cheaper coal from Donbass. The difference went to predictable places.

This is a country which can’t even build a proper wall on the border with Russia. Nobody knows where the funds went.

Now try to imagine how Ukraine’s experiments with alternative energy will go.

16. Ban the trade of Ukrainian strategic resources, such as agricultural lands.

Okay.

17. Introduce real self-government by creating self-sufficient territorial units with a large degree of authority.

Agreed – federalization has been consistently touted even as a solid solution to Ukraine’s many… existential problems.

18. Rationalize immigration law, including effective provisions against illegal immigration and the creation of conditions for the return of Ukrainians to the motherland.

Ukraine isn’t facing an immigration problem; it is facing an emigration and brain drain problem, which will become even more catastrophic should it ever achieve the Maidan’s holy grail of bezviz (visa free travel with Europe).

Moreover, in light of the fact that migrants to the EU don’t even bother stopping over in Romania on their way to Germany and Sweden, this has a decidedly comical ring to it.

19. Restore positive dynamics in the national demographics; strengthen the traditional family, strengthen national-patriotic education, and place our bets on the young generation.

Births in all regions of Ukraine were lower in 2016 than in 2014.

Only in Crimea did they improve. What did they do right?

In conjunction with the rest of these proposals, the demographic situation will only plummet further as Ukraine falls into a new depression and perhaps finally falls apart.

20. Encourage the creation of a single local church based in Kiev.

This implies the final removal of the Russian Orthodox Church from Ukraine, including the confiscation of its remaining properties.

Considering ROC’s neutral, at best, and sometimes hostile, attitude to the Russian Spring -it has gone so far as to excommunicate priests who blessed warriors setting off for Donbass – this will perhaps be no more than what it deserves.

In the process, though, it will play a martyr’s role that will be far more useful than its groveling before Our Ukrainian Partners these past three years.

***

slava-ukraine Overall, solid program, I agree with almost all of it.

Consequently this blog will also be a leading torch-bearer of Ukrainian nationalism on the Internet, just as it is already Erdogan’s No.1 on the Internet.

Slava Ukraine!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Nationalism, Ukraine 

Audacious Epigone has a blog post on the percentage of GSS respondents by religion who would have an abortion if it emerged their child has a genetic defect.

The term is used accurately in this context. The question reads “Suppose a test shows the baby has a serious genetic defect. Would you (yourself want to/want your partner to) have an abortion if a test shows the baby has a serious genetic defect?”

anepigone-abortion-if-genetic-defect

Let’s see what the results would be by race.

gss-eugenics-by-race

Very true to stereotype.

Here are the results by country of family origin:

gss-eugenics-by-national-origin

The Chinese are going to go for it (non-Chinese/Japanese Asian-Americans are more ambivalent, split 50/50).

The Hispanics won’t.

“Russia” respondents here are predominantly Jewish (55% say they were outright raised in a Jewish household). Ethnic Russian-Americans will likely be somewhere transitional between average whites and the Jews/Chinese.

It’s reasonable to posit that openness to genetic tinkering is described by a bell curve. Since genetically augmenting your offspring to be more intelligent is far more controversial than merely sparing him from a life of suffering by having an abortion, this would imply that only the tails would be interested in it. And not only are the Jews and American Asians more intelligent in the first place, but their openess to genetic augmentation tails are far, far fatter than those of whites, Latinos, or Blacks.

menaquinone4′s autistic Jewasian elite ruling over mulatto gamer underclass clicking sponsored content all day – here we come!

PS. That said, Timofey Pnin notes that Down abortion rate in the US is around 67% (article), so revealed preferences might not match stated ones.

PPS. Audacious Epigone comments: “It looks like higher fertility = less likely to say they’d abort a defective fetus.” That seems right.

gss-eugenics-by-ideal-fertility

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Eugenics, Genetic Engineering 

Or so the fake news industry wants you to think.

Latest exhibit in a vast museum: This Reuters “investigation” of the share of Russian ownership in Trump properties in southern Florida.

A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records…

The tally of investors from Russia may be conservative. The analysis found that at least 703 – or about one-third – of the owners of the 2044 units in the seven Trump buildings are limited liability companies, or LLCs, which have the ability to hide the identity of a property’s true owner. …

In an interview, Gil Dezer said the project generated $2 billion in initial sales, from which Trump took a commission.

Assuming the average Russian bought between one and two Trump properties, that means they 63*2/2044 = 3.1%-6.2% of them.

$98.4 million / $2 billion = 4.9% of Trump properties by value.

Note that Miami is by far the most favored destination in the US for Russian offshore kleptocrats, which is presumably why Reuters chose to focus on it for its investigation.

Russia’s share of world billionaires = 77/1,826 = 4.2%.

There are two possible explanations for this:

  • All these dozens of people answer to ROG (Russian Occupation Government) and have been tasked to finance Trump by… buying his towers instead of having some Arab sheikh do it for them.
  • The Russian share in Trump property ownership is in fact commensurate with the number of Russians financially capable of this as a percentage of the global total.

The media, of course, would very much rather you take away the impression that it’s the former, but like all good propaganda, it doesn’t quite spell it outright.

Especially since Occam’s Razor and basic sanity would indicate the latter.

Otherwise, if property ownership determined political allegiance, London would basically be a Saudi fiefdom. (Okay, come to think of it, perhaps that’s not the best example).

 

sputnikipogrom-crimea-banner

We all know what the US State Department and its PR lackeys (the Western media) thought about it.

How about everyone else?

What Crimeans thought about it:

crimea-polls

What the Crimean Tatars thought about it:

vciom-poll-crimean-tatars-referendum-2014

poll-crimean-tatars-support-joining-russia

What the Euromaidanists thought about it:

crimea-recognition-ternopil-prosecutor

What normal people thought about it:

crimea-poll-poklonskaya-tsundere

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Crimea, Ukrainian Crisis 

erdogan-have-5-kids

far better than we ever could.

Anyhow, how fast is the Muslim population growing? It’s long been clear that official statistics aren’t quite hacking it, and the situation is likely considerably worse.

Recent observation from Emil Kirkegaard gleaned from his meanderings through demographic statistics:

So, what’s next? There’s a lot to do, but one thing I’ve been thinking of is showing that Muslim populations are actually growing a lot faster than many claim. The reason they claim these low levels of growth is because they rely on official statistics and these data tend to convert 2nd and later generation people into the ‘native’ categories, thus effectively hiding them. However, Muslims are nice enough to use distinctive names, so one can count the number of persons with such names over time and this will show a more realistic growth rate. Preliminary results for Denmark indicate an official stats-based growth rate of 2.5%, whereas first names indicate 5.1%. That’s not a small difference. The growth rate of Danish natives is something like -16% per generation which comes out at about -0.5% per year. You don’t have to be a genius to see how 5.1% vs. -0.5% work out in a few decades.

 
• Tags: Demographics, Eurabia, Turkey 

The final figures for life expectancy and TFR in total and for the regions have been released today.

The Rosstat computations give an estimate of TFR = 1.76 children per woman and LE = 71.9 years for 2016, which are pretty close to my rough estimates a month ago.

The total population is estimated to be 146,804,372 at the end of the year.

Not really much extra to comment on than what I already have in February.

One thing of note is that Crimea has by now been fully integrated into the statistics so we can begin to analyze how its doing after liberation from the yoke of Ukrainian backwardness.

For instance, in terms of disposable income, Crimea remains well behind almost all majority ethnic Russian regions, including neighboring Krasnodar Krai (which became post-Soviet Russia’s main breachfront location). However, it is also converging quickly. Although Russia was in a recession during 2016, with only 0.7% growth in disposable incomes (-5.4% inflation), Crimea and Sevastopol both grew by more than 15% – the fastest rate of increase in Russia.

Ukraine was, of course, also in recession during this period.

The fertility rate in Crimea and Sevastopol has also increased since 2014, which you presumably wouldn’t expect of regions under brutal occupation.

TFR

TFR 2013 2014 2015 2016
Russian Federation 1.707 1.750 1.777 1.762
Central Federal District 1.478 1.514 1.575 1.595
Belgorod Oblast 1.526 1.544 1.561 1.547
Bryansk Oblast 1.534 1.557 1.650 1.612
Vladimir Oblast 1.591 1.643 1.730 1.712
Voronezh Oblast 1.437 1.471 1.517 1.484
Ivanovo Oblast 1.554 1.572 1.629 1.595
Kaluga Oblast 1.644 1.689 1.836 1.785
Kostroma Oblast 1.852 1.866 1.890 1.880
Kursk Oblast 1.674 1.699 1.716 1.643
Lipetsk Oblast 1.601 1.657 1.700 1.687
Moscow Oblast 1.522 1.600 1.675 1.727
Orel Oblast 1.530 1.552 1.603 1.590
Ryazan Oblast 1.552 1.595 1.640 1.703
Smolensk Oblast 1.480 1.528 1.522 1.509
Tambov Oblast 1.423 1.493 1.512 1.503
Tver Oblast 1.639 1.663 1.696 1.709
Tula Oblast 1.424 1.466 1.568 1.547
Yaroslavl Oblast 1.635 1.640 1.695 1.710
Moscow 1.328 1.341 1.406 1.460
North-West Federal District 1.574 1.613 1.657 1.670
Republic of Karelia 1.648 1.744 1.766 1.763
Komi Republic 1.961 2.013 2.002 1.972
Arkhangelsk Oblast 1.803 1.835 1.847 1.833
of which:
_Nenets Autonomous Okrug 2.312 2.423 2.584 2.774
_Arkhangelsk Oblast 1.784 1.812 1.818 1.795
Vologda Oblast 1.852 1.856 1.922 1.897
Kaliningrad Oblast 1.644 1.699 1.745 1.728
Leningrad Oblast 1.227 1.282 1.286 1.318
Murmansk Oblast 1.623 1.649 1.714 1.653
Novgorod Oblast 1.700 1.749 1.776 1.776
Pskov Oblast 1.675 1.695 1.741 1.796
St. Petersburg 1.482 1.522 1.591 1.634
Southern Federal District 1.642 1,711 1 1,735 1 1.719
Republic of Adygea 1.684 1.730 1.724 1.681
Republic of Kalmykia 1.882 1.853 1.831 1.708
Krasnodar Krai 1.825 1.818 1.763
Republic of Crimea 1.724 1.805 1.840 1.829
Astrakhan Oblast 1.911 1.968 1.970 1.938
Volgograd Oblast 1.529 1.571 1.589 1.574
Rostov Oblast 1.522 1.605 1.627 1.596
Sevastopol 1.649 1.821 1.726
North Caucasus Federal District 1.987 2.034 1.979 1.936
Dagestan Republic 2.015 2.077 2.022 1.978
Republic of Ingushetia 2.231 2.278 1.971 1.752
Kabardino-Balkar Republic 1.803 1.831 1.753 1.724
Karachay–Cherkessia 1.673 1.650 1.541 1.518
Republic of North Ossetia – Alania 1.977 2.009 1.930 1.891
Chechen Republic 2.925 2.912 2.799 2.622
Stavropol Krai 1.548 1.617 1.644 1.678
Volga Federal District 1.750 1.789 1.818 1.788
Republic of Bashkortostan 1.887 1.948 1.939 1.860
Republic of Mari El 1.926 1.981 1.993 1.980
Republic of Mordovia 1.366 1.374 1.360 1.403
Republic of Tatarstan 1.832 1.844 1.863 1.855
Udmurt Republic 1.922 1.959 2.006 1.956
Chuvash Republic 1.851 1.878 1.909 1.869
Perm Krai 1.932 1.977 2.018 1.979
Kirov Oblast 1.868 1.885 1.913 1.943
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast 1.561 1.593 1.669 1.649
Orenburg Oblast 2.001 2.027 2.013 1.946
Penza Oblast 1.486 1.529 1.550 1.503
Samara Oblast 1.589 1.647 1.708 1.714
Saratov Oblast 1.536 1.574 1.601 1.550
Ulyanovsk Oblast 1.611 1.673 1.712 1.705
Ural Federal District 1.907 1.960 1.965 1.919
Kurgan Oblast 2.115 2.101 2.123 2.030
Sverdlovsk Oblast 1.871 1.921 1.945 1.911
Tyumen Oblast 2.004 2.073 2.072 2.009
of which:
_Khanty-Mansiysk Ugra-Autonomous Okrug 2.050 2.090 2.073 2.020
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug 2.090 2.189 2.188 2.084
Tyumen Oblast 1.959 2.054 2.064 2.002
Chelyabinsk Oblast 1.802 1.855 1.843 1.809
Siberian Federal District 1.880 1.902 1.902 1.870
Altai Republic 2.815 2.883 2.677 2.634
Republic of Buryatia 2.205 2.260 2.280 2.237
Republic of Tuva 3.424 3.485 3.386 3.345
Republic of Khakassia 2.013 2.007 1.986 1.967
Altai Krai 1.830 1.841 1.811 1.777
Zabaykalsky Krai 2.014 2.078 2.057 1.979
Krasnoyarsk Krai 1.775 1.807 1.837 1.815
Irkutsk Oblast 1.978 1.966 2.012 1.989
Kemerovo Oblast 1.787 1.778 1.726 1.713
Novosibirsk Oblast 1.749 1.765 1.817 1.805
Omsk Oblast 1.867 1.951 1.911 1.808
Tomsk Oblast 1.591 1.593 1.600 1.581
Far Eastern Federal District 1.814 1.869 1.893 1.858
Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) 2.168 2.247 2.191 2.090
Kamchatka Krai 1.773 1.850 1.887 1.890
Primorsky Krai 1.685 1.732 1.761 1.736
Khabarovsk Krai 1.744 1.787 1.854 1.779
Amur Oblast 1.844 1.849 1.838 1.817
Magadan Oblast 1.693 1.659 1.664 1.596
Sakhalin Oblast 1.808 1.962 2.019 2.156
Jewish Autonomous Oblast 1.857 1.948 2.022 1.987
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug 1.906 2.041 2.097 2.112

Life Expectancy

Russian Federation 70.76 70.93 71.39 71.87
Central Federal District 71.93 72.10 72.72 73.07
Belgorod Oblast 72.16 72.25 72.61 72.87
Bryansk Oblast 69.75 69.42 70.36 70.92
Vladimir Oblast 69.13 69.25 69.82 70.28
Voronezh Oblast 70.89 70.82 71.67 72.08
Ivanovo Oblast 69.84 69.88 70.62 70.77
Kaluga Oblast 70.02 69.93 70.73 71.18
Kostroma Oblast 69.86 70.05 70.38 70.87
Kursk Oblast 70.14 70.11 70.80 70.94
Lipetsk Oblast 70.66 70.60 71.07 71.62
Moscow Oblast 70.78 70.94 72.26 72.50
Orel Oblast 70.22 69.88 70.38 70.73
Ryazan Oblast 70.74 70.80 71.46 71.87
Smolensk Oblast 68.90 69.44 69.74 69.98
Tambov Oblast 70.93 71.11 71.67 72.11
Tver Oblast 68.13 68.43 69.10 69.24
Tula Oblast 69.41 69.63 70.06 70.56
Yaroslavl Oblast 70.45 70.64 70.98 71.21
Moscow 76.37 76.70 76.77 77.09
North-West Federal District 71.25 71.42 71.70 72.16
Republic of Karelia 69.19 69.36 69.16 69.78
Komi Republic 69.27 69.05 69.40 69.45
Arkhangelsk Oblast 70.16 70.23 70.71 70.82
of which:
_Nenets Autonomous Okrug 65.76 70.65 71.00 71.08
_Arkhangelsk Oblast 70.27 70.20 70.70 70.80
Vologda Oblast 69.35 69.74 70.40 70.24
Kaliningrad Oblast 70.51 70.28 70.58 71.92
Leningrad Oblast 70.36 70.28 71.23 71.70
Murmansk Oblast 70.46 69.97 70.24 70.94
Novgorod Oblast 67.67 68.41 68.70 69.15
Pskov Oblast 67.82 68.07 68.48 69.25
St. Petersburg 74.22 74.57 74.42 74.90
Southern Federal District 71.76 71,74 1 72,13 1 72.29
Republic of Adygea 71.80 72.01 72.22 72.59
Republic of Kalmykia 71.35 72.03 72.15 73.35
Krasnodar Krai 70.74 70.52 70.74
Republic of Crimea 72.29 72.28 72.53 72.83
Astrakhan Oblast 71.34 70.76 71.36 72.20
Volgograd Oblast 71.42 71.62 71.98 72.49
Rostov Oblast 71.39 71.30 71.90 72.20
Sevastopol 72.28 70.67 71.64
North Caucasus Federal District 73.95 74.11 74.63 75.13
Dagestan Republic 75.63 75.83 76.39 77.23
Republic of Ingushetia 78.84 79.42 80.05 80.82
Kabardino-Balkar Republic 73.71 74.16 74.61 75.12
Karachay–Cherkessia 73.94 73.91 74.44 74.72
Republic of North Ossetia – Alania 73.94 73.82 74.20 75.05
Chechen Republic 73.20 73.06 73.45 74.20
Stavropol Krai 72.75 72.75 73.36 73.40
Volga Federal District 70.06 70.20 70.71 71.39
Republic of Bashkortostan 69.63 69.76 70.08 71.00
Republic of Mari El 69.30 69.42 69.80 70.75
Republic of Mordovia 70.56 71.38 72.06 72.25
Republic of Tatarstan 72.12 72.17 72.81 73.64
Udmurt Republic 69.92 70.03 70.46 70.86
Chuvash Republic 70.79 70.62 71.35 71.52
Perm Krai 68.75 69.04 69.09 69.74
Kirov Oblast 70.26 70.59 71.11 71.71
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast 69.42 69.53 70.17 70.75
Orenburg Oblast 68.90 68.73 69.63 70.57
Penza Oblast 71.54 71.63 72.12 72.53
Samara Oblast 69.40 69.63 70.35 71.08
Saratov Oblast 70.67 70.95 71.40 72.07
Ulyanovsk Oblast 70.50 70.37 70.46 70.97
Ural Federal District 70.06 70.20 70.38 70.82
Kurgan Oblast 68.27 68.75 69.03 69.43
Sverdlovsk Oblast 69.81 69.76 69.83 70.02
Tyumen Oblast 71.35 71.50 71.76 72.33
of which:
_Khanty-Mansiysk Ugra-Autonomous Okrug 72.23 72.27 72.58 73.50
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug 71.23 71.92 71.70 72.13
Tyumen Oblast 70.14 70.32 70.58 71.03
Chelyabinsk Oblast 69.52 69.71 69.90 70.50
Siberian Federal District 68.63 68.85 69.31 69.81
Altai Republic 67.34 67.76 68.44 70.13
Republic of Buryatia 67.67 68.54 69.15 69.61
Republic of Tuva 61.79 61.79 63.13 64.21
Republic of Khakassia 68.57 68.83 68.68 69.33
Altai Krai 69.77 70.01 70.44 70.74
Zabaykalsky Krai 67.11 67.38 67.34 68.33
Krasnoyarsk Krai 69.06 69.23 69.69 70.01
Irkutsk Oblast 66.72 66.87 67.37 68.20
Kemerovo Oblast 67.72 67.80 68.31 68.72
Novosibirsk Oblast 70.19 70.28 70.86 71.20
Omsk Oblast 69.74 70.13 70.41 70.78
Tomsk Oblast 70.33 70.67 71.25 71.66
Far Eastern Federal District 67.81 68.21 68.68 69.22
Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) 69.13 69.81 70.29 70.84
Kamchatka Krai 67.98 68.06 68.56 68.66
Primorsky Krai 68.19 68.74 69.21 69.66
Khabarovsk Krai 67.92 68.01 68.72 69.13
Amur Oblast 66.38 67.00 67.27 68.28
Magadan Oblast 67.12 67.19 68.11 69.00
Sakhalin Oblast 67.70 67.89 67.99 68.66
Jewish Autonomous Oblast 64.94 65.20 65.04 65.88
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug 62.11 62.32 64.16 64.42
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Demographics, Russia 

On March 15, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, headed by Alexander Turchinov, a hardliner who launched the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” as the interim President after Euromaidan, signed off on the legalization of the Donbass blockade, and transmitted a request to Ukraine’s Central Bank to finalize a plan to put sanctions on Russian banks operating in the country.

In what has long been typical of Ukraine, both actions were preempted by Ukrainian nationalist radicals, and both hurt Ukraine itself far more than anyone else.

Formally, the legalization of the Donbass blockade is a response to the LDNR’s nationalization of Ukrainian (aka Akhmetov’s) enterprises on its territories. In practice, this was a forced response to the blockade itself, which was being carried out by far right militant groups – probably financed by Kolomoysky, Akhmetov’s oligarchic rival – in contravention of official Kiev’s wishes.

We know that this is the case because Kiev did half-heartedly send armed policemen to do… something, to get the blockade lifted. But the “activists” proved a tougher bunch, spraying pepper spray into the cops’ faces and forcing them to retreat with their tails between their legs. It is also worth noting that Ukraine’s European backers are shocked and distraught by the legalization of the blockade, which effectively puts an end to Minsk II. Finally, Poroshenko himself described a law currently being touted in the Rada to formally cut off the LDNR economically as something that would “cut away these territories, build a wall, and gift them to Putin.”

But whereas the resulting “Transnistriazation” of the LDNR is not in Kiev’s interests – LNR head Igor Plotnitsky has already announced the possibility of a new referendum on joining Russia – being seen as weak and not in control of its own armed batallions is even more potentially fatal, so this is probably best seen as a face-saving measure more than anything else; a facade of vindictive incompetence meant to hide the even more damning fact that it is the armed militants, not Kiev, who wield the real power in the country.

We should look at Turchinov’s second edict, the request to put sanctions on Russian banks operating in the Ukraine, in the same vein.

Remarkably for a supposed “aggressor” country – the long-suffering denizens of Donbass can only wish! – Russia has been by far the biggest investor in the Ukraine. Since 2014, its banks and corporations have invested an astounding 175 billion rubles, including $1.7 billion in 2016 alone – that’s 38% of total investment. This has happened even as many of the Euromaidan’s most ardent fans, such as Thomas C. Theiner, have long since given up on the new Ukraine as a corrupt sinkhole).

According to Central Bank vice head Jacob Smoly, the sanctions will illegalize “all operations that benefit the mother banks – such as the allocation of interbank credits, the purchase of securities, and the payment of dividends and other operations” (incidentally, why isn’t CB head Valeria Gontareva making this statement? Is she packing her bags already?).

This came on the heels of “activist” attacks on Russian state bank Sberbank buildings in Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk.

For its part, Sberbank has instituted limits on withdrawals from its Ukraine branches. Should the government take over the banks, it will still have to guarantee Ukrainians’ deposits in those banks. In the worst case, this might usher in a more general bank run. Even though that is unlikely, it still can’t be any good from the perspective of Ukraine’s creaking banking system, which has yet to fully cope with the nationalization of Kolomoyksy’s PrivatBank three months ago.

In any case, Russian pro-Donbass and nationalist websites are cheering this news, since they view it as a well-deserved strike against a “financial fifth-column” that has, in effect, subsidized Ukraine’s ATO while being too cowardly to provide services to Donbass or even Crimea.

Alexander Mercouris connects this to a power play by Yulia Tymoshenko against Poroshenko. As he noticed, these recent events come in the context of her secret visit to Washington D.C. in early February, where she allegedly had a short meeting with Trump; her longstanding alliance with Turchinov; and, more speculatively, a more recent alliance of convenience with Kolomoysky and his mercenary batallions.

ukraine-elections-2019-polling As Mercouris argues, this is but the next step in the factional struggle between Poroshenko-Groysman and Tymoshenko-Kolomoysky, with the latter becoming increasingly ascendant.

As of the past year, opinion polls have shown Tymoshenko consistently ahead of Poroshenko in a direct runoff. Since Poroshenko has presided over a depression, failed to achieve any of the Maidan’s promises, and now has an approval rating lower than Yanukovych’s lowest, this can hardly be surprising.

Outright rebellions by restive oligarchs in 2016 were checked by US intermediation, when in the course of a ten hour conversation Obama’s VP Joe Biden made it clear to Kolomoysky and Poroshenko’s reticent PM Yatsenyuk that mutiny would not be tolerated.

This time, however, the US is less likely to intervene to save Poroshenko’s bacon. Trump is a man known to bear grudges, so in all likelihood he has it out for Poroshenko and his allies, who (unsuccessfully) tried to sabotage his own election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

If this interpretation of events is more or less accurate – that Poroshenko has lost substative control of the functions of state to allies of Tymoshenko, and that Tymoshenko herself has acquired Washington D.C.’s “jarlig” authorizing her to rule the Ukraine – then the Chocolate King’s days in power are surely numbered.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Politics, Ukraine, War in Donbass 

dutch-elections-2017-results

So this was pretty bad.

poroshenko-good-monkeyWilders’ PVV did increase its share of the vote by 3% points relative to the last elections, but considering the hopes and fears getting pum pumped up, this was certainly a defeat for populism – as Hollande, Merkel, Juncker, Macron, and all the other Respectable Politicians recognized as they rushed to congratulate Mark Rutte.

Poroshenko hailed his victory as a peremoga against the forces of populism in Europe.

But ultimately, the idea of the Netherlands (or Germany) playing any significant role in reversing the rising tide of population replacement in Europe has never been realistic.

Consider this. By the standards of European far right parties, the PVV is an unusually socially liberal, economically neoliberal, and philo-Semitic party. They support drug legalization, they support gay marriage, they not only completely disavow anti-Semitism but avidly support Israel (Wilders’ own opposition to Islam, which is much more hardline than even Le Pen’s, grew out of his travels across Israel’s kibbutzes during the his youth). All these things generally appeal to the higher IQ part of the electorate.

dutch-elections-2017-by-educationEven so, however, it was still the dumbest who voted for Wilders.

Only 14% of PVV voters have a higher education, versus 57% for the trendy left-liberal pro-European D66. This is completely in line with the demographic profile of the post-Trump Republican Party, with the Front National, even with the LDPR in Russia, and explicitly nationalist parties pretty much everywhere else in Europe.

This is a crazy theory that will anger pretty much everyone, but I think there’s something to it, so here goes.

With some of the highest (native) IQs in Europe, the Dutch are too intelligent and too smack dab in the center of Hajnal Europe, with its associated modern-day psychological complexes (e.g. pathological altruism), for their own good. They have been a country of literate merchants since even before Great Britain. They are the Eternal Merchants of Europe.

Since cuckoldry is an intellectual fetish, perhaps there is simply no hope for the Netherlands, or for that matter, for similarly native high-IQ Germany.

There might yet be hope for France, though, since they’re a bit dumber on average, and as such, haven’t had the self-preservation instinct so completely brainwashed out of them by liberal academia and the globalist elites.

Though he was made fun of it, Trump was not incorrect to state, “We love the poorly educated.” It is, of course, a rather inconvenient reality that the people most committed to European demographic continuity tend to the unlettered. But it is a reality that has to be recognized and catered to.

High IQ is the mindkiller. The working class will save the white race!

Practical implications: Wilders should have dropped all the neoliberal austery rhetoric and gone hard hard on protectionism, like Le Pen and even Trump. Tone back criticisms of Islam that are rooted in its opposition to free speech, which is not something that lower IQ people very much care about. One suspects most Dutch nationalists don’t care overmuch for Israel either. Do that, maybe get your share of the vote up to a not entirely embarassing 25%, or something.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Elections, Nationalism, Netherlands 

I was under the impression this particular meme was played out, and replaced by the “Russian Hackers” one, but it appears not.

By request of the Latvian Ministry of Defense, courtesy of NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre for Excellence, and in all likelihood paid for by your tax dollars, we have the following report: Stratcom Laughs: In Search of a Strategic Framework.

Paul Robinson explains:

The report states its purpose as being to study humour as a ‘strategic communication tool’. The first part of the report undertakes a long academic analysis of what humour is and what purposes it serves. In later parts it then looks at how the Russian state allegedly uses humour as a propaganda tool and how Ukrainians have countered it with humour of their own.

The basic conclusion of the report is that in Russia, ‘the entire “official humour industry” … is directly Kremlin-controlled’. Working for the Kremlin, Russian comedians use humour to reduce their compatriots’ stress and make them feel more comfortable and thus more accepting of the political system. They provide audiences with a positive sense of social identity, which is contrasted with a negative view of others. The ‘in-group’ – Russia – is portrayed as victimized by the ‘out-group’ – the West. And in the context of Ukraine, through comedy, ‘Russian propaganda has been trying to use and exacerbate a number of differences between social groups so as to create an atmosphere of total distrust and panic.’

Here are a few especially striking examples of Russia’s propaganda war from the report:

The way Western leaders, especially those the United States, are portrayed in the comedy content of the entertainment broadcasts points to a disinformation campaign.

putin-dobby Putin has been at the center of jokes in Western entertainment broadcasts since, like, when Harry Potter was still cool.

Another factor influencing the intensity of joking about a particular state and its leaders, as well as the content of the jokes, is the position of the country in the hierarchical frame of international relations created by the shows’ discourse. Russia and the US are portrayed as the leading actors. Germany, France, and Italy are recognized as less influential, but still important actors, while the images of other Western countries and their political leaders are not featured as regularly as those mentioned. Being ignored here works as another, no less important instrument for underlining the hierarchy built by the discourse.

Butthurt Belt detekted.

Why won’t Putler pay attention to me?

Donald Trump’s image has been portrayed through his bizarre behaviour. Interestingly, an integral part of the visual presentations of Donald Trump has been his strange hairstyle (as been pointed out several times in Urgant shows). For example, in the 10 December 2015 episode of Vecherniy Urgant, Ivan Urgant described Trump’s hairstyle as the best place for birds to nest.

trump-hairWho hasn’t made fun of Trump’s hair outside the Breitbart ecosystem?

So pretty much the entirety of the Western MSM serve ROG (Russian Occupation Government). Glad to see that set straight.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: NATO, Putin Derangement Syndrome 

goodbye-cuckryan This is one beautiful defenestration:

In the Oct. 10, 2016 call, from right after the Access Hollywood tape of Trump was leaked in the weeks leading up to the election, Ryan does not specify that he will never defend Trump on just the Access Hollywood tape—he says clearly he is done with Trump altogether.

“I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” Ryan says in the audio, obtained by Breitbart News and published here for the first time ever.

Now, Ryan—still the Speaker—has pushed now President Donald Trump to believe his healthcare legislation the American Health Care Act would repeal and replace Obamacare when it does not repeal Obamacare. Ryan has also, according to Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), misled President Trump into believing that Ryan’s bill can pass Congress. Paul and others believe the bill is dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate since a number of GOP senators have come out against it, and there are serious questions about whether it can pass the House. This is the first major initiative that Trump has worked on with Ryan—and the fact it is going so poorly calls into question whether Speaker Ryan, the GOP’s failed 2012 vice presidential nominee who barely supported Trump at all in 2016, really understands how Trump won and how to win in general. …

“The President gave Ryan a chance,” one source close to the President said. “If he doesn’t get his act together soon, the President will have no choice but to step in and fix this on his own. He’s the best negotiator on the planet, and if this were his bill not Ryan’s it would not be this much of a mess.”

It’s not exactly a conspiracy theory that the main dividing line in the White House is between the MAGA revolutionaries Trump and Bannon, and the representatives of the GOP’s old neocon orthodoxies, Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, and Mike Pence.

But they are not united. For instance, Mike Pence has long been a political opportunist, and can be expected gravitate towards the stronger force.

Paul Ryan, however, will always be a wrecker, riding The Donald to impose the GOP’s anti-working class agenda and ditching him soon afterwards.

Wouldn’t it be great if Bannon could twist in the shiv just as Ryancare faces its inevitable collapse?

Let the old GOP choke on its own retarded ideological obsessions. Replace Obamacare with a single-payer system once the dust settles. Move on to more important things, such as immigration, protectionism, and dismantling the neocon infrastructure.

Now, on top of all of this, this new audio file raises questions as to how loyal Ryan is to Trump politically—and is asking the new president to use precious political capital to push through legislation that seems arithmetically destined for congressional failure. That could doom or at least dampen other key elements of the Trump agenda, like tax reform, immigration reform, national security efforts, budgetary reforms, building up of the U.S. military, trade renegotiation and more.

As such, as Breitbart News has previously reported, there are now rumblings among House Republicans that they may want a replacement not just of Obamacare but a replacement of Paul Ryan as Speaker. A new Speaker, some argue, would make life much easier for President Trump as he moves forward with his agenda. So the argument goes, as some House GOP members have told Breitbart News, is that if healthcare is this rocky then tax reform, immigration, trade policy and other key Trump agenda items will be worse.

david-frum-trump-is-stupid This is 7D chess – and most convenient, the bad guys are convinced Trump is playing checkers.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Politics, United States 

libya-2017-03

In the past 24 hours, scattered reports have come in that Russia has deployed a small group of special forces backed by drones to an airbase in Egypt near the Libyan border.

If so, this has been a long time in the brewing.

Since the end of the Libyan Civil War, a series of constitutional crises has seen the country splinter anew. They are too long and complex to recount here, but essentially, there is are now three main factions vying for control:

  • The UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by PM Mustafa al-Serraj, who governs Tripoli from a naval base, and includes a medley of liberals, Islamists, and ethnic militias who alternate between cooperation and hostily to each other. It is supported by the Libyan navy and the honestly named Petroleum Facilities Guard, which controls many of the oil transit ports around Ras Lanuf. It is the UN-recognized government, and enjoys US, EU, Turkish, and Qatari support.
  • The Council of Deputies (CoD), or House of Representatives, government based in Tobruk, which is dominated by General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, and enjoys support from Egypt, Algeria, Russia, and the US.
  • The Islamic State, which used to control Sirte, but has since been defeated and gone underground.

Since 2014, the GNA has been in a state of war with the CoD, despite recurrent attempts at intermediation. Islamic State, of course, hates everyone.

Due to Libya’s status as a funnel for African immigrants into Europe, as a significant oil producer, and as a hotbed for international jihadi terrorists, there are incentives on all sides to get it sorted out.

While the US joins the EU in officially backing the GNA, Haftar is a longtime CIA asset since he parted ways with Qaddafi in 1986, so it is warm towards him as well; especially now that the White House is occupied by Trump, who has long been skeptical of Obama/HRC’s misadventures in Libya. Russia also supports Haftar; he visited Moscow in November 2016, and video conferenced with Defense Minister Shoigu on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov this January.

Haftar also enjoys the support of neighboring Egypt and Algeria.

In line with this, there have been rumors that Russia has already started supplying Haftar with huge quantities of arms via Algeria to circumvent the UN arms embargo on non-GNA factions in Libya.

Back in early February, the Russian-Israeli nationalist journalist Avigdor Eskin, writing for Russian news agency RIA, speculated that under Trump, the US could come to an agreement with Russia and cooperate on the rebuilding of Libya. Interesting enough, the groundwork for this was laid under Michael Flynn under the auspices of the group of experts known as Jellyfish Inc., many of whom were promoted to positions of influence in the Trump administration and, despite Flynn’s quick defenestration, presumably still remain there.

The proposed plan allegedly calls for the creation of settlements of 20,000-50,000 on the Libyan coast centered on the creation of oil refineries and accompanying infrastructure. The idea is that the immigrants would remain bottled up there, working in the oil refineries for decent wages and provisioned with nice, “European-style” amenities, instead of moving onto Europe. Some of Europe’s surplus refugees could even be dumped back there. Jellyfish Inc. would attract investors. Left unsaid, General Haftar would, presumably, be the guy who “enforces” this arrangement.

This is, for now, just rumor, it is highly suspect that the idea would even work – oil refineries are not exactly labor intensive, and as observers of Europe’s immigrant experiment, we know that the sorts of migrants coming up there will be all but useless in a modern factory environment.

That said, there are less fanciful ways the involved parties can benefit. In exchange for its support in restoring central authority under Hafat in Libya, Russia may reacquire the weapons supply deals it enjoyed under Qaddafi; once the new regime is secure and flush with oil cash, perhaps even the $3 billion contract from 2008 for Russian Railways to build a railroad along Libya’s Mediterranean coast could be revived.

The ruling regimes in both Egypt and Algeria would appreciate the squashing of Islamist elements in their neighboring country. The US could benefit by putting the whole Libya imbroglio behind it, and continue to exert whatever influence it may still possess accruing from Haftar’s long vacation near Langley.

qaddafi-millions-of-blacks The EU, meanwhile – assuming it is not yet too consumed by internal crises – will have to negotiate its own deal on immigration. Ironically, most likely it will be very similar to the understanding Italy had with Qaddafi: Cash for keeping out the Africans.

In other words, the same old, same old – after almost a decade of pointless wars and pilfering. If not for the neocons, Qaddafi would have crushed the rebellion within a year.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Libya 

us-campus-disinvitations-by-ideology-2000-2016Data Source: FIRE.

Before 2008, campus disinvitations were slightly tilted towards the Right. But after I came to the US, it became overwhelmingly dominated by the Left.

Campus disinvitations also became much more frequent in absolute terms.

SJWism only really got going around 2012-2013, so the rise of the campus Pink Guards seems to have predated it by 2-3 years.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, SJWs, United States 

based-erdogan

I might just turn my blog into the Internet’s number 1 Erdogan fansite.

Seriously, I don’t got what all the fuss is about.

Western politicians love pushing their snouts where they don’t belong – observe the flurry of European and American dignitaries sulking the streets in the runup to Euromaidan (immortalized in the Nuland Cookies meme), or during the 2012 protests against Putin in Moscow.

On those occasions when Russia bars their entry, they go and complain to the media about it.

So the Turks didn’t do nothing wrong.

Good on high energy Erdogan for making a stand. And good on his local fans for chimping out… I mean, campaigning so energetically for Geert Wilders on the streets of Rotterdam. This is so considerate and patriotic of them. /ourguys/!

Obviously I don’t actually care about the Netherlands banning Turkish politicians. If I had to insert a reaction.gif here, it would be the one of Michael Jackson eating popcorn.

Besides, its the sovereign right of the Dutch to decide who come in to politick in their country, and besides, this serves to accelerate the fissure between Turkey and the EU.

Turkey itself has been most cooperative. They have suspended high-level diplomatic relations with the EU. They have called half of North Europe “Nazis” (in the bad sense of the word: Erdogan does like the Nazi political system). They have also said they are reneging on the migrants deal with Europe. The Wall, when?

All of this helps objectively helps Eurosceptic forces, both in the Netherlands itself (which is having a most propitiously timed general election tomorrow) and in Europe generally. Anything bad for the EU is good for Europeans, their cultural and demographic prospects, and frankly for most everyone else on this planet.

It also helps Erdogan paint himself as a victim and increases support for the upcoming Turkish referendum on massively expanding his powers as President. If it passes, Turkey will essentially become a soft dictatorship (as Erdogan himself once said, democracy is like a train; you get off at your destination).

This will further accentuate the rift between the EU, at least so long as its functionaries continue to pay at least lip service to democracy. And eventually, it cannot help but reverberate to some extent on NATO, with which Turkey also has mounting problems in the form of tensions with the US in Syria, and with Greece.

So, my advice to Erdogan: Carry on, my dude! ЖГИ ИСЧО! Russia has your back!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: European Union, Turkey 

This blog post by Sarah Constantin has an impressively comprehensive tally of performance trends in AI across multiple domains.

chess-elo-humans-vs-computers Three main things to do take away:

  • In games performance, e.g. chess (see right, based on Swedish Chess Computer Association data) “exponential growth in data and computation power yields exponential improvements in raw performance.” So the relation between them is linear.
  • This relationship may be sublinear in non-game domains, such as natural language processing (NLP).
  • “Deep learning” only created discontinuous (but one time) improvements in image and speech recognition, but not in strategy games or NLP. Its record on machine translation and arcade games (see below right) is ambiguous.

arcade-games-human-vs-computer So “deep learning” might not have been as transformational as the tech press would have had you believe, and as Miles Brundage observed, has largely been about “general approaches for building narrow systems rather than general approaches for building general systems.”

And we also know that Moore’s Law has been slowing down of late.

If this is basically accurate, then the spate of highly visible AI successes we have been seeing in quick succession of late – peak human performance in go in 2016; in No Limit poker with multiple players a couple of months ago – could end up being a one-off coincidence that will be followed by another AI winter.

And we will have to do something cleverer than naively projecting Kurzweil’s graphs forwards to get to the singularity.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Futurism 
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.