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Putin Pepe. Once rare, now the market’s flooded with them.

I suppose this post can also double up as the Russian Elections 2018 thread. See archive:

My final prediction:

  • Turnout: 68.0%
  • Baburin: 0.8%
  • Grudinin: 9.7%
  • Zhirinovsky: 7.8%
  • Putin: 76.2%
  • Sobchak: 2.0%
  • Suraykin: 0.5%
  • Titov: 0.5%
  • Yavlinsky: 1.3%
  • Spoiled ballots: 1.2%


Putin needs to get his dues for arresting the centrifugal tendencies tearing apart the Russian state in the late 1990s, taming the oligarchs, and reversing federalization.

Also his post-Crimea 80% approval rating speaks for itself; he has become a “charismatic” leader on the level of Charles de Gaulle or Park Chung-hee. Will Russians Come Out to Defend Putin?

But he has become increasingly senile in recent years, and allowed himself to be surrounded by venal rent-seekers.

In these latest elections, couldn’t even be bothered compiling a program, or campaigning; his “Putin Team” was instead reusing old videos of his speeches.

Importance: 10
Rating: 4/5

Nation Building

Recovery of pride and self-confidence is a good thing, along with suppressing Western poz.

Downside: The dour Great Patriotic War cult on which the Russian state bases its legitimacy is just not that cool, interesting, or attractive.

Importance: 20
Rating: 3/5


Russian GDP per capita recovered and exceeded peak Soviet levels, and living standards improved greatly; although some improvement, due to the post-Soviet output gap and high oil prices, was inevitable under almost any kind of regime.

Restored domestic manufacturing – Russia now produces 70% of its own cars, and is the world’s largest grain exporter.

Defended economic liberals, balanced the budget, and prevented the likes of Glazyev from turning Russia into a second Venezuela. He seriously needs to be credited for this.

Improved the business climate, from ~120th in the early 2010s to 35th today according to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. Business raiding is no longer endemic like it once was. Bureaucracy has improved greatly, even if it still leaves much to be desired.

Inflation has come down to developed country levels, macroeconomic indicators are strong, and growth likely to be strong during the early 2020s.

Negative point: Russia has been more or less stagnant in terms of output since 2008. Then again, so has most of East-Central Europe.

Importance: 25
Rating: 4/5

Corruption & Institutions

I used to be a lot more positive about this, but it’s increasingly hard to keep up the pretense. I really do think the Russian high elite has gotten much more rapacious in the 2010s relative to the previous decade.

In fairness, this is a really hard problem.

Importance: 10
Rating: 3/5


See Russia’s Technological Backwardness. Started improving from 2013. But it’s too little, too late.

Importance: 20
Rating: 1/5


See Russian Demographics in 2018.

One of the undoubted bright spots – Russia has recovered from “lowest low” fertility, life expectancy is at record highs, etc., even if Putin did wait a bit too long to start on it, until the mid-2000s.

Importance: 25
Rating: 5/5


Kirill Nesterov, main editor of our ROGPR podcast, once noted to me that in half a century’s time Putin, for all his anti-globalist credentials (adored by the Alt Right, hated by neoliberalism.txt) might be regarded in a similar light to Merkel – as someone who pushed their country into the Third World through open borders.

In fairness, Russia’s “open borders”-in-all-but-name policy wrt Central Asia means that Gastarbeiters rotate there and back, as opposed to settling and having children in Russia. Then again, as I understand it, this was similar to Germany in the 1960s.

Importance: 15
Rating: 2/5


Reforms have been successful. The Russian military is now a well-oiled, intelligent, largely professional force, as opposed to the conscript rabble of the 1990s.

Russia has difficulties mastering post-Soviet latest generation technologies, but at least for now, it is more formidable than it has ever been.

Importance: 20
Rating: 5/5

High Geopolitics

Russia is close to a real New Cold War with the West, but at least Putin has been successful at striking up a strong strategic partnership with China. I doubt Russian nationalists could have pulled that off.

OTOH, Russia has failed almost completely at soft power, the Kremlin’s best efforts regardless. Millions of dollars to Ketchum – down the drain. Soft power orgs run by cronies and beneficiaries of nepotism.

Importance: 10
Rating: 4/5

The Ukraine

See The Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished (And Won’t Anytime Soon).

Even Crimea was… ambiguous [неоднозначная].

Importance: 25
Rating: 1/5

Near Abroad

The lack of Russian soft power or an interesting culture means that Russia has been able to keep those post-sovok regimes friendly at the price of Russian treasure and a steady dissolution of Russophile sentiment. In particular, Belorussia is basically Ukraine t – 20 years.

Importance: 10
Rating: 1/5

Chechnya, Georgia, Syria

Syria to date has been successful enough, I suppose – free training, weapons sales pitches, etc. – but irrelevant in the big picture.

The Kremlin drones didn’t know a thing about Deir ez-Zor before 2015; nor did they need to – as Putin himself noted, Bashar Al-Assad visited Paris more frequently than Moscow. But since then we are supposed to view it as the defining struggle against Globalist Zionism or whatever.

Kicked Saakashvili’s face in, and in the end even helped effect regime change, though Georgia has nonetheless drifted out of Russia’s orbit.

Brought Chechnya back within the RF and largely curtailed terrorism, but at the cost of sprouting a mini-Islamic state within its own borders. Russians may pay for this dearly after Putin.

Importance: 5
Rating: 4/5


• Category: Ideology • Tags: Russia, Russian Elections 2018, Vladimir Putin 
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Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked; maybe they have dual citizenship or a green card; maybe the US paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know, either.

Western MSM:


Of course, Julia Ioffe is a Jewish ultranationalist who believes that simply talking about Russians’ contributions to victory in WW2 is anti-Semitic:

Putin came to the Jewish Museum on the day of the liberation of Auschwitz and said: “Of course, the Russian people carried the main burden of the fight against Nazism, 70% of the Red Army were Russians. And the biggest sacrifices were made by the Russian people.

And then they say that Putin isn’t an anti-Semite.

But pointing out context like this is why I, too, am an anti-Semite.

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BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) — The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms” from the country’s Constitution.

I don’t normally devote individual posts to China news, since I don’t follow it closely and certainly don’t consider myself any kind of China expert, so I rarely have much in the way of original analysis to contribute.

However, this is pretty important news, so I am making an exception.

One of the achievement of the Communist Party of China is that it has settled on a system of limited terms for its paramount leaders since the death of Deng Xiaoping, which has enabled two peaceful transfers of power: From Jiang Zemin, to Hu Jintao, to Xi Jinping.

Paramount leadership is defined by control of the three key political positions in China: The Presidency, the General Secretaryship of the CPC, and the Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission. Though out of these only the Presidency has a formal two term limit, my understanding is that it helped underpin the informal understandings about the necessity of periodic cadre rotations in the other two. This, along with his failure to introduce a young successor-in-waiting to the Politburo Standing Committee in October 2017, the enshrinement of Xi Jinping Thought in the Constitution, the evident admiration for Putin, and what can in general be described as a general reorientation towards traditionalist, imperial forms, all hint that Xi Jinping is in this for the long haul, to oversee China’s emergence as a world-leading power.

The main problem problem with autocratic systems is their tendency to stagnation. Indeed, one of the very reasons the Chinese introduced term limits and mandatory political retirements in the first place was on account of observing the decrepitude of the late Soviet gerontocracy. Rotation of cadres would seem to be especially important in a policy with no democratic mechanism to give the boot to leaders who have overstayed their welcome.

Nonetheless, if China is to have an Emperor, Xi Jinping is hardly the worst person for it. He is intelligent, well-read, and by all accounts an effective and conscientious technocrat. Since the degree of CPC control over all aspects of Chinese life are far greater than in Russia – for instance, “red telephones” connect Zhongnanhai to the top 50 or so companies, and the Chinese military is suborned to the CPC to a far greater extent than even in the Soviet Union – someone like Xi Jinping can get many great things done.

Even so, we are all subject to age-related cognitive decline, and absolute power wielded to manage the passage across precarious geopolitical straits can just as easily be abused to enrich a circle of cronies. And since we don’t yet have radical life extension, the question of the successor will come up sooner or later. Even the Chinese hurrah-patriots at /r/Sino are discussing these questions, so hand-wringing over this is hardly just a Western conceit about China.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: China, Communism 
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How is the Russian media covering the elections?

I don’t watch TV, so I can’t give any personal impressions, but fortunately there are other people to do that in succinct graphical format.

Color scheme is constant: Grudinin, Putin, Zhirinovsky, Yavlinsky, Titov, Baburin, Sobchak.


Total number of media mentions in segments about the elections.


Average number of seconds of TV time per elections segments.


Positive/negative coverage of election candidates.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Media, Politics, Russia, Russian Elections 2018 
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There’s nothing particularly new or interesting per se in the 37 page indictment of 13 Russian nationals, including its head Evgeny Prigozhin, for “meddling” in the US elections through online trolling.

The existence of the Internet Research Agency – or “Olgino”, as it is known in Russia, after the location of the first “troll factory” (since moved to Savushkina Street, Saint-Petersburg) – has been widely known in Russia for half a decade, thanks entirely to Russian journalists. Novaya Gazeta published a report on them in 2013. It is headed by Evgeny Prigozhin, a shady figure who did 12 years in a Soviet prison for robbery and fraud, but rose rapidly in the lawless 1990s in the restaurant business, and in more recent years has been entrusted with “black work” for the Kremlin. The most serious investigation about its involvement in the US elections was conducted by the Russian RBC media group, which came up with a figure of $2.3 million (that’s almost three orders of magnitude less than the combined $1.6 billion that the Clinton and Trump campaigns spent).

Moreover, as with the sanctions list – and despite the high-profile, seven figure lawyers recruited by Mueller for his investigation – there is a distinct tinge of incompetence to this indictment, suggesting a lack of conscientiousness and/or Russia expertise at the Department of Justice.

Here is what Andrey Zakharov, one of the co-authors of the original Russian RBC report, had to say about this in an interview with WaPo:

The other staff mentioned are very incidental. I mean, it seems like they put down all the names they could get. Some were people who worked there in 2014 — but most of these guys didn’t work for the troll factory for a long time. They didn’t even work there during the elections. Like Krylova, she didn’t work there then. [Aleksandra Krylova is one of the two named Internet Research Agency employees the indictment said traveled to the United States in 2014.]

It looks like they just took some employees from the that American department whose names they could get. But the American department was like 90 people. So my reaction was that, for me, it was like that curious list of oligarchs and Kremlin authorities where they put the whole Forbes list and the whole Kremlin administration on it. It’s very strange.

So it’s easy to make fun of this and slot it down as just another episode in the slapstick sitcom that is American domestic politics. As Alexander Mercouris optimistically points out, the indictment is “entirely declamatory,” since (1) there is zero chance that any Russian named in the indictment will be extradited, and (2) there are no claims that any member of the Trump campaign colluded with any of the people in the indictment.

I am considerably more pessimistic.

First, at the end of the day, free speech is free speech – what difference does it make even if it is done on the Kremlin’s payroll, or with the help of botnets? (Neither of which, incidentally, has been rigorously proven). This represents a radical retreat from the principles of the First Amendment, and one of that isn’t just going to impact Russians in the US and foreigners. With this new normal, mocking and trolling politicians remains all well and good – but only so long as the Russians (Chinese, etc.) aren’t behind it. And to ascertain whether or not that is indeed the case, you need investigations – investigations that will be overwhelmingly targeted against enemies of the centrist establishment from both Left and the Right. There is already a lot of squealing from Blue Checkmark Twitter and /r/politics on how the Russians aided Jill Stein and even Bernie Sanders.

Second, it expands the claimed sphere of American global jurisdiction beyond just espionage (Wikileaks/Julian Assange) to include – for all intents and purposes – the criminalization of foreign commentary on American politics during election years.

This is not an exaggeration.

While the Kremlin is obviously supportive of the Internet Research Agency, it has taken care to keep itself at arms’ length from it, and as with Wagner, no formal ties have ever been demonstrated; consequently, the indictment itself stops short of naming Putin or any Russian official figures. The flip side is that since so many Russians apparently work for or coordinate with the Kremlin in an official capacity, there is a new norm getting established that all Russians are suspect, the burden of proof is on them to demonstrate otherwise. As Leonid Bershidsky points out, this may result in Russians in the US facing “increasing scrutiny when applying for jobs, bank accounts and other attributes of a normal life in the US – and the burden of proof that they are not Kremlin agents will be on them.”

However, one might argue that Russians in the US at least generally made their own decision to live in the US, which implies acceptance of All-American norms (and if that comes to include entrenched Russophobia, that’s too bad; they are free to leave if they don’t like it). The same cannot be said about Russians living in Russia, who never even plan to set foot in the US. But while Russia will not extradite anybody in the indictment, the same cannot be said of American satellite countries, which include most of Europe. The people working at the troll factory are young, Anglophone, and not poor; it is almost inevitable than sooner or later one of them will set foot in such a country, and presumably more likely than not that they will be arrested and extradited. In this scenario, Russia can be expected to do as little (that is to say, nothing) for them as it did for the Wagner mercenaries – coincidentally, another outfit “curated” by Prigozhin – murdered by Americans in Deir ez-Zor a couple of weeks ago.

And apart from monetary compensation, there’s ultimately not that much separating a Savushkina troll from any regular shitposter in Russia or anywhere else in the world outside the US.

PS. NBC News recently released a database of more than 200,000 tweets [.csv] that Twitter claimed constuted “malicious activity” from subsequently suspended Russia linked accounts during the 2016 US elections.

I notice that the “stars” of the Russia watching and Alt Right world get nary a mention. Noted Kremlin troll and bête noire of Western neoliberals Mark Sleboda gets 2 mentions. Mercouris – zero. Peter Lavelle – one. The journalist Bryan MacDonald – zero. Richard B. Spencer – twice (quite sad from Putler, “godfather of extreme nationalism” ala Hillary Clinton). His wife Nina Byzantina (Kouprianova) – twice. Valentina Lisitsa, the musician no platformed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for her support of Russian on the Crimea – a barely more respectable five times. Yours truly – zero times. In the meantime, affirmative action Kremlinologist and Russia truther Joy Reid was “boosted” by “the Kremlin” 267 times.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Russiagate, Trolling, United States 
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First polls are in with all eight of the official candidates. There are no surprises.

Results of VCIOM and FOM polls, both from Feb 11 (adjusting for don’t knows, won’t votes, etc.):

Putin 82.3% 84.2%
Zhirinovsky 6.3% 6.8%
Grudinin 8.4% 6.8%
Sobchak 1.2% 1.1%
Yavlinsky 0.9% 0.6%
Titov 0.2% 0.1%
Suraykin 0.1% 0.1%
Baburin 0.6% 0.3%

Only marginal change from what I was expected is that it seems Baburin might take sixth place instead of Titov, but the numbers are so small it doesn’t really matter anyway.

What evidently is a problem, as I have been pointing out, is projected turnout. There’s a chance it might be even lower than 60%, lower even than in the anodyne 2004 election, when nobody of even marginal significance bothered running against Putin.

So they’re evidently getting to work on this.




I have asked a few people about this who have been here longer than I have, and there is a general consensus that there are greater efforts to get people out to vote than in any previous election under Putin.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Politics, Russia, Russian Elections 2018 
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russia-elections-2018-official-bulletin So the final official bulletin was confirmed a few days ago. Here are the candidates:

Sergey Baburin (Russian All-People’s Union)

Has an interesting history: Was elected a people’s deputy in the Supreme Soviet of Russia in 1990, and by early 1991 had become the leading contender to become its Chairman, beating out Ruslan Khasbulatov in the first round; then came the abortive August Coup, and he was sidelined as a hardliner (he was later one of only seven deputies to vote against the ratification of the Belavezha Accords in December 1991, and played a critical role in getting the Russian parliament to recognize the transfer of Crimea to the Ukraine as having been unconstitutional in 1992). But if things had gone differently in 1991, he might have played a central role in 1990s Russian politics. As it is, he faded away and is now merely “widely known in narrow circles.”

Constituency*: National-patriots, nationalists, White Guardists

Predicted share of the vote: Would do well to get 1% and beat Titov and Suraykin.

Pavel Grudinin (Communist Party)

Wrote about him here, here.

Latest development is him calling Stalin the “greatest leader in the past 100 years” in an interview with Russian YouTube star Yury Dud.

Constituency: Old Communists, Red bourgeoisie, national-patriots

Predicted share of the vote: As I expected, he seems to have capped out at around 7% in VCIOM and FOM polls (would be higher after adjusting for undecideds). Remains slightly but consistently ahead of Zhirinovsky, so will probably come second. Would do well to get 10%.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democratic Party)

His platform.

Constituency: Nationalists, trolls

Predicted share of the vote: Probably around 6-7%. Would do well to beat Grudinin to second place, and is obviously trying to do so (e.g. lavishing praise on Suraykin, since he is an obvious spoiler to Grudinin).

Vladimir Putin (Independent)

No idea who this guy is, or what he’s doing here.

zog-necklace Ksenia Sobchak (Civil Initiative)

Safe stand-in for Navalny, because she has an even higher anti-rating. She has said some things that are very unpopular with ordinary people (Crimea is Ukrainian under international law; Russia is a nation of genetic refuse). But this is par for the course for Russian liberals, who do constitute a distinct voting bloc – after all, around 10% of Russians genuinely didn’t support the Crimean takeover – so this is hardly going to dent her numbers. Supports gay marriage, weed legalization. Has spent the past week doing a literal apology tour in the US.

Constituency: Young SWPL liberals, SJWs

Predicted share of the vote: Would do very well to get 4%. Still, virtually guaranteed to be fourth.

Maxim Suraykin (Communists of Russia)

Boring Komsomol activist. Not clear what his views actually are – his main shtick seems to be that Grudinin only pretends to be a Communist but is actually a capitalist fat cat who is not even a KPRF member.

Constituency: Young Communists, Euroleftists

Predicted share of the vote: He might have had a chance to eke out 1-2% if he was above Grudinin in the list, since babushkas would see the “Communist” next to his name and vote for him out of reflex. As it is, he’ll do great not to be dead last.

Boris Titov (Party of Growth)

Business rights activist, friendly with Putin. Supports Crimea, but against incorporating the LDNR into Russia.

Constituency: Too patriotic to appeal to liberals, too liberal to appeal to patriots.

Predicted share of the vote: Would do extremely well to get 1%. Will probably come sixth, but it’s ultimately a toss-up between him, Baburin, and Suraykin.

Grigory Yavlinsky (Yabloko)

A Jew from Lvov, Ukraine, he emerged from the Soviet dissident movement to become lifelong Fuhrer of Russia’s leading liberal party Yabloko, which he has headed since 1993 (no term limits for him). Expelled Navalny from the party in 2007 for being too nationalist (!). Advocates the unconditional return of Crimea to the Ukraine, decries Russia’s “imperialist” pursuit of Great Power ambitions, and came out against Putin’s recent directive to stop the mandatory teaching of the Tatar language to Russian schoolchildren in Tatarstan.

Constituency: Old liberals, dissidents

Predicted share of the vote: Will probably come fifth – would do extremely well to beat Sobchak.


Political Compass

My ballpark estimates:

Social Liberalism vs. Conservatism: Sobchak, Yavlinsky < (Navalny) << Grudinin < Putin, Zhirinovsky (curiously, Zhirinovsky has criticized the gay propaganda law, so he’s somewhat of a mixed quantity)

Economic Left vs. Right: Grudinin < Yavlinsky < Putin, Sobchak, Titov < Navalny. (Zhirinovsky has an eclectic mix of socialist, market, and even libertarian ideas and can’t really be classified)

Internationalism vs. Nationalism: Yavlinsky, Sobchak < Grudinin (has criticized “Russian World” concept as akin to fascism) < Putin, Navalny, Titov < Zhirinovsky, Baburin

Ukrainophilia vs. Revanchism: Yavlinsky (half-Ukrainian; wants to give Crimea back unconditionally) < (Navalny) (half-Ukrainian; insists on a second referendum in Crimea) < Sobchak (has merely said that Crimea was illegal) << Titov < Grudinin < Putin < Zhirinovsky, Baburin

Opinion Polls: Suraykin, Baburin, Titov < Yavlinsky, Sobchak < Zhirinovsky, Grudinin < Putin

* “Constituency” is considerably influenced by Natalia Kholmogorova’s schema.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Politics, Russia, Russian Elections 2018 
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Western media: Opposition leader Navalny is “tapping into the anger of a younger generation yearning for change”, and devotes frontline coverage to his “elections boycott” protest.

Reality: Putin is polling 62% amongst young people, versus 76% amongst the elderly (FOM poll, including people who don’t know/don’t intend to vote), and the event was itself boycotted by all but 2,000 of Moscow’s 15 million people.

The people who did come… did not make for an impressive sight:

Graham Phillips had some good time trolling the protesters, though eventually one of them assaulted him and smashed his camera.

In general, things went pretty much as I expected:

In other Russian elections news, Navalny is planning to lead his flock to a new series of protest meetings tomorrow (Jan 28) in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. I don’t expect anything interesting to happen either now or before the elections in general. Navalny will be arrested, probably before he shows up, and will spend a fortnight in jail. 200 people will get arrested. Turnout will not exceed 10,000, the maximum (realistic) estimate for turnout at the last protests on Tverskaya in March 2017. I probably won’t bother showing up to cover the event.

Navalny was eventually arrested, though at the protest, but was soon released and doesn’t even appear to have been charged yet. There were around 250 people arrested throughout the entire country. Turnout in Moscow was 2,000. And I evidently made the right choice not to bother with going there.

Incidentally, while we’re on this topic, I’d like to address another point. When I cover Russian politics, I do so from what I like to think is a pretty sophisticated angle (e.g. age structure dynamics, Russian elections as referendums, etc.). But the narrative put forwards by the Western media – a Dark Lord of the Kremlin vs. plucky young resistance fighters – is a very primitive one, although one with incredible staying power (the basic schema dates to the early 2000s). Now commenter Mr. Hack believes that I am wasting my time on this “chimera” of an election and he might just have a point, if for rather different reasons than what he posits. Basically the Western media is so completely and consistently wrong on this that it would be much easier – and more popular in terms of pageviews – to just relentlessly demolish them and make fun of them, instead of trying to do in-depth original analysis about what’s really going on. But fortunately, I don’t run this blog for the pageviews.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alexei Navalny, Color Revolution, Russia 
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Stalin’s granddaughter, Chrese Evans, is a tatted up freak girl living in Portlandia, as “American as apple pie” in the words of her mother.


Trotsky’s great-grandson, David Axelrod, is a Jewish ultranationalist who emigrated to Israel and has served three jail terms for terrorizing Palestinians.


Khrushchev’s granddaughter, Nina L. Khrushcheva, lives in the US and churns out anti-Russian propaganda for a bunch of Atlanticist institutions, including Soros’ mag.

Noticing a pattern here?

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Communism, Soviet Union 
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I am not aware of any active Russian political predictions markets, apart from “Will Vladimir Putin be president of Russia at the end of 2018?” at PredictIt (currently at 93% FWIW).

I suppose there are three main reasons for this:

1. Interesting American fads only reach Russia with a lag time of several times, if they ever do.

2. Russian politics is predictable. Sure, Putin will win. OTOH, predicting things such as the turnout rate, or Zhirinovsky’s share of the vote, or whether or not Navalny spends more than 80 days in jail in 2018, could still be pretty fun.

3. Legal obstructions. Online betting is highly restricted in Russia (e.g. I can’t even access Oddschecker without a VPN).

Furthermore, political predictions market would seem to be outright banned by Article 56, part 3 of the Russian elections law of 2003, which forbids “lotteries and other risk based games” where the winning of prizes depends on the results of the elections.

Even so, VCIOM has opened a predictions market, apparently skirting the law because they don’t take money from any of the participants and thus fail to qualify as a lottery or risk-based game.


Here are the current predictions: Putin – 72%, Grudinin – 11%, Zhirinovsky – 10%, Sobchak – 2%, with turnout pegged at 65%.

Activity seems to be very low, so I don’t think this market is informationally worth much.

On the same website subsection as the predictions market, VCIOM has also released more detailed polls in terms of electoral socio-demographics, which confirm many of the observations I have long made on Russian politics.

(In the following charts: Blue = Putin; Yellow = Zhirinovsky; Pink = Grudinin; Gray = Sobchak; Green = Yavlinsky; Blue = Titov).


Just for orientation: If the elections were to be held on the next Sunday, around 73% would vote for Putin.


Female political conformism: As in the FOM poll, Putin scores much better with women (~78%) than with men (~68%), whereas both the Communist and nationalist candidate score twice better amongst the men, if from a low base.


Old communists, young nationalists: Also as in the FOM poll, the 18-24 year olds are giving Zhirinovsky around 10% to Grudinin’s 5%, while the 60+ year olds are giving 10% to Grudinin and almost nothing to Zhirinovsky.

Some other observations:

Employment: As is an old-established pattern, state workers (~75%) support Putin more than workers in the private sector (~70%).

Location: As usual, residents of Moscow and Saint-Petersburg are the least pro-Putin (~68%), relative to residents of large cities (~70%), small cities (~75), and rural areas (close to 80%).

Income: People with the lowest incomes are significantly more likely to vote for Zhirinovsky, presumably because they tend to the young (more nationalist) and the unemployed.

Anti-rating: Sobchak has by far the highest.

In other Russian elections news, Navalny is planning to lead his flock to a new series of protest meetings tomorrow (Jan 28) in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. I don’t expect anything interesting to happen either now or before the elections in general. Navalny will be arrested, probably before he shows up, and will spend a fortnight in jail. 200 people will get arrested. Turnout will not exceed 10,000, the maximum (realistic) estimate for turnout at the last protests on Tverskaya in March 2017. I probably won’t bother showing up to cover the event.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Politics, Prediction, Russia, Russian Elections 2018 
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It’s 51.4% Zeman vs. 48.6% Drahos.

Things seemed dire for Zeman ten days ago, but he scraped by thanks to Drahos having the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk (to steal a phrase from Farage).


Map. Drahos got 68.8% in Prague, and 90.3% amongst Czechs voting abroad (including close to 70% even amongst the 197 Czech voters in Russia).

This continues the general lower IQ/populist nationalist vs. higher IQ/liberal globalist pattern that is well established in both Czechia and most other European countries.

A very worrying trend. Still, in the moment, we can bask in Zeman’s victory and the despair of the Blue Checkmarks.


• Category: Ideology • Tags: Czech Republic, Elections 
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Remember the November 2016 Washington Post story on the secretive outfit that furnished a list of purportedly Russian-backed “fake news” websites?

Well, thanks to some online sleuthing from a couple of bloggers/journalists, there’s good reason to believe that PropOrNot was the brainchild of Michael D. Weiss and the Interpreter staff.

If this is true, it would mean that the “fake news” meme – which Trump turned against its original MSM promoters to the extent that the Washington Post was calling to retire that “tainter term” by January 2017 – was essentially kick-started by a neocon activist masquerading as a journalist who has pushed to have pro-Russian views equated with radical Islam.


• Category: Ideology • Tags: Fake News, Neocons 
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We are reaching levels of neoliberalism that shouldn’t even be possible.

But the economic think tank has decided to introduce a very different kind of test, addressing the type of skills young people need to navigate a world of “post-truth” and social media “echo chambers”. …

The test will measure tolerance, cultural awareness and how well teenagers can distinguish between reliable sources of information and fake news.

It will consider issues such as racism, cultural identity and prejudice. …

In the USSR, getting a “red diploma” in university – the rough equivalent of a American summa cum laude – was contingent on acing the courses on scientific communism and similar crap.

Interesting to see neoliberalism.txt developing in a similar direction.

Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s education director, said the success of education systems had to be measured on more than exam results.

Speaking in London at the Education World Forum, he said there had to be a greater awareness of “values”. …

But Mr Schleicher said the “crunch” point was that some countries were reluctant to be compared on these measures.

And there had been a “hesitation” about moving from discussing students’ beliefs to “hard data” from testing them.

“I take a different view. The only way to get serious, the only way to get started with this issue is to look at the truth,” said the OECD’s education chief.

Mr Schleicher said that the test would reveal the countries that paid only “lip service” to the ideas of tolerance and inclusion.

“What do students actually think? What do students actually know?

“That’s the aim of Pisa, to confront us with the real world, not the world of words and beautiful theory,” he said.

The most successful education systems were often the most open and diverse, Mr Schleicher said, giving Canada as an example.

Countries that are not really tolerant and inclusive yet:

But some Western countries including England, the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Ireland have decided not to take the global competence test, although they will take the other core academic subject tests.

Schools in Scotland, Australia and Canada are among those that will take the global competence test, which is being launched this year.

Here are some of the questions that Scots, Australians, and Canadians will be asked in this test:

  • I respect the values of people from different cultures.
  • I value the opinions of people from different cultures.
  • Immigrants should have the opportunity to continue their own customs and lifestyle.

Since possible answers are all variations on Agree/Disagree, wouldn’t it be easier to just ask “How much do you agree with SJWs out of 100″?

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Education, PISA, SJWs 
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Navalny claimed that the state-owned pollsters VCIOM were artificially inflating Putin’s figures, so his Anti-Corruption Fund will start releasing their own weekly polls, the first of which has just been released in Navalny’s latest video address.

Reminder that Putin got 66% in the last FOM poll, and 73% in the last VCIOM poll.

FBK poll:


Oops, what a fail: Putin still gets 62%.


And this is their prediction, which accounts for undecideds, in which Putin gets 78% – which is, incidentally, perfectly in line with my own old-standing prediction.

Meanwhile, as per my last post, this confirms that Grudinin seems to have stopped making gains relative to Zhirinovsky in the past week, having instead merely converged with him.

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Turnout might be much lower than even the record low (60%) than I posited.

Leonid Bershidsky in a recent article:

There are indications that turnout could be lower than ever. Levada Center predicted 52 to 54 percent in December, and the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation, a respected independent think tank, came out with a 52 percent forecast earlier this month, putting expected turnout in Moscow and St. Petersburg well below 40 percent. That would be a disaster for the Kremlin: Even the 2004 election, the most boring in history since not a single political heavyweight dared run against Putin, drew 64.3 percent of registered voters.

Campaigning from Putin has been lackluster to say the least.

Main development is that the campaign website has finally been launched ( ). At the time Bershidsky wrote his post, it didn’t even have a program.

That has since been remedied, though the “program” as such consists of a dozen random sound bites (fully open the Crimea bridge at the end of the year; regulate cryptocurrencies; create a network of educational centers for gifted children).

A couple of new polls since my last update.


1. First FOM poll to include Pavel Grudinin (KPRF) gives him 6.2%, translating to around 7.6% adjusting for undecideds, spoiled ballots, etc.

Other candidates: Putin – 65.9%, Zhirinovsky – 6.0%, Sobchak – 1.5%. (The others probably won’t be registered).


FOM is also great in that it usually gives considerably demographic detail [xls].

Some takeaways:

a) Reinforces a point I have often made that Communists are dying out, while nationalists are gaining, as is the pattern in much of the rest of the world. Zhirinovsky gets 2% amongst boomers, but 9% amongst the 18-45 year olds; Grudinin gets 7% amongst the boomers, but only 2% amongst the 18-30 year olds.

b) Women are 73% for Putin, vs. 57% of men, while Grudinin and Zhirinovsky are both about twice as popular amongst men as women. As I said: Female political conformism.

c) US-based pro-Western elections analyst Alexander Kireev notes that Grudinin is performing really well relative to the elections in 2004, the only other election in the age of Putin when the KPRF fielded someone who was not Zyuganov. In the first FOM poll in 2004, Kharitonov got a mere 1.5%, but went on to get 13.7% of the vote (15% adjusting for fraud).

Considering that 69% of Russians still haven’t heard of Grudinin – a pretty lame affair, considering he is now the second place candidate in the polling for an election that is a mere two months away – there is room of him to grow further.

However, I would caution against projecting some sort of exponential trendline:

i) The Communist electorate has been inexorably reduced by the demographic grindstone – it is smaller today than in 2004.

ii) Whereas 69% of Russians were hearing about Grudinin for the first time in this poll, it was only 36% amongst Communist voters.

It was LDPR (72%) and United Russia (78%) voters who were most ignorant about him.

According to this poll, some 53% of Communist voters and 38% of Fair Russia voters say they will consider voting for Grudinin, versus only 15% of LDPR voters and 9% of United Russia voters.

Consequently, it is likely that the majority of his core electorate already knows about him.


2. That this is so is suggested by a new VCIOM poll.

According to them, Grudinin actually peaked on Jan 10, when 7.2% of Russians said they’d vote for Grudinin if elections were held on the nearest Sunday (or 7.6% amongst the firmly decided) versus 4.7% for Zhirinovsky (or 4.2% amongst the firmly decided).

However, as of this poll Jan 15, Grudinin and Zhirinovsky had both converged to 6.1%.

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On the eve of the 2016 US elections, I got to talking with a Jew at one of the futurist meetups who was hyperventilating about the prospect of Trump winning. He unironically thought there was a risk of actual deportations of immigrants to concentration camps and pogroms against Jews. Typical Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer, who cares, they were and remain a dime a dozen. Curious thing is, though, he was also looking to pursue Polish citizenship, from where his family had originally emigrated, and which he now considered a safe harbor against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in America promoted by the Putlerreich.

Well, did I have news for him, even if he did insist it was “fake.”

In 2014-15, the ADL carried out a large survey of “anti-Semitic attitudes” around the world, in which 26% of the global population were found to be anti-Semites (translation: Believed in 6+/11 of popular stereotypes about Jews).


This figure was 30% in Russia, falling to 23% in the follow-up survey in 2015 – which was slightly higher than the 24% average for Western Europe, but lower than the 34% for Eastern Europe (45% in Poland) and far lower than the 74% average for the Middle East.


This gap between Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe is even more marked with respect to 18-34 year olds.


Moreover, even if Russians are slightly more likely than Western Europeans to think statements such as “Jews have too much power in the business world” are true – all things considered, it is amazing the figure is not much higher, given the ethnic composition of the oligarchs – they are certainly not the sort to engage in sanctimonious lectures. Heck, possibly the biggest Russia-based critic of Israel on account of them being mean to Palestinians is a guy called… Israel.

Approval of Israel in Russia and most of Eastern Europe is substantially higher than in Western Europe, especially its more “progressive” countries.

Of course these sentiments are very much a one-way street. One could view it as an admittedly much less extreme version of American evangelicals’ unreciprocated love for Jews and especially Israel.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Anti-Semitism, Israel, Russia 
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The next Czech President will probably be the guy who signed a “scientists against fear and hatred” in response to Zeman’s “Islamophobia” and expressed concern about Russian elections hacking.

Not only did the tipsy, politically incorrect Zeman underperform his poll numbers by around 4% points in the first round of the elections, but current polls are giving Drahoš a 5%-10% lead over Zeman.

However, I have heard that he is a good debater when he is sober, so he still has chances if he makes a good showing (he refused to participate in debates during the first round).

In the first round, Zeman got 38.6% to Drahoš’ 26.6%. Drahoš will get virtually all of Fischer’s and Hilšer’s electorate, which should bring him to 45%, and a substantial share of Horáček’s will probably eke him out a win, assuming there are no further major underlying shifts in support levels.

All the main candidates (except Hannig, who only got 0.6%) have expressed their support for Drahoš’.

Zeman has a 39% chance according to


Currently 26% on PredictIt. (Might be worth buying a few shares if you are fluent in Czech politics and consider this discrepancy real).

Its fascinating how politics literally everywhere in Europe and the US breaks down along the same basic basic schema.

  • Zeman is Trump, Le Pen, Putin: Populist, pro-Russian, anti-Islamist, fluent in blue-collar slang but not all that intellectual. Wins the regions and the countryside in the first round.
  • Drahoš is Merkel, Macron, Tony Blair: Big Brain academic, pro-European, Atlanticist, centrist. Wins Prague, overwhelmingly wins the foreign vote. For instance, in the UK, Drahoš got twice as many votes as he did in Czechia, while Zeman only got 3.2% (!).

The President is relatively more important in Czechia than in the other V4 countries, but he is still superseded by the Prime Minister, so this likely won’t translate into immediate major changes in policy, including on refugees.

But it might be a bellwether of future trends.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Czech Republic, Elections 
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Charles Bausman (Russia Insider): It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo

The most vitriolic and obsessive Russia-bashing journalists in the media are mostly Jewish. The publications which push these writers most energetically are ALL Jewish-owned, and as a publisher, I know very well, that is where the buck stops.

On the policy side, the neo-conservative movement, Russia’s harshest foe, was conceived of, is led by, and consists mostly of, Jews. And their trouble-making extends far beyond Russia – they are responsible for America’s disastrous debacle in the Middle East over the last 20 years – where their crimes have been stymied by precisely one country – Russia. The psychotically anti-Russian recent UN ambassadors, Nikki Haley and Samantha Power, were put there by the Israel lobby, and given an independent brief, in other words, they answer not to their presidents, rather to their Jewish sponsors.

In Congress the biggest Russia-Gate tub-thumpers are noticeably Jewish – Schiff, Schumer, Blumenthal, Franken (although not as overwhelmingly as in the media). The Israel lobby routinely enforces legislation hostile to Russia. Bill Browder with his Magnitsky Sanctions – is Jewish.

This is objectively true. Heck, don’t ask me, someone who writes for a site famous for its “mix of far-right and far-left anti-Semitic crackpottery” (as per the Jew Cathy Young). Ask J-Pod.


Rachel Maddow, the nation’s most popular and influential liberal political show host is Jewish. She has gone so overboard demonizing Russia and pushing Russiagate that she has become a figure of fun. On the print side, the list is the same – the ones shrieking the loudest are mostly Jews, and disproportionately female – and there is an important lesson there too – Masha Gessen, Anne Applebaum, and Julia loffe, to name a few.

Also true.

I speculated about the deep causes of this in my classic article on The 5 Types of Russian-American back in 2012:

A controversial assertion, perhaps… But one need only drop a few names: Anne Applebaum (Putin stole my wallet), Miriam Elder (Putin stole my drycleaning ticket), Julia Ioffe (I hate objectivity), Masha Gessen (Putin has no face), Anna Nemtsova (Russian dudes suck).

One thing that really stands out is that it is female Jews who dislike Russia more than anything, at least among Western journalists. As this post has already pushed well beyond all respectable limits of political correctness, I might as well go the full nine yards and outline my theory of why that is the case. In my view, the reasons are ultimately psycho-sexual. Male Jews nowadays have it good in Russia, with many Slavic girls attracted to their wealth, intelligence and impeccable charm (if not their looks). But the position of Jewesses is the inverse. They find it hard to compete with those same Slavic chicks who tend to be both hotter and much more feminine than them; nor, like Jewish guys, can they compensate with intelligence, since it is considered far less important for women. This state of affairs leads to sexual frustration and permanent singledom (pump and dump affairs don’t count of course), which in turn gives rise to the angry radical feminism and lesbianism that oozes out of this piece by Anna Nemtsova bemoaning Russia’s “useless bachelors”.

Steve Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism rears its head again.

Charles Bausman’s thesis is of course a controversial one, and I don’t agree with some things at both the macro level – high Jewish verbal IQ partially, though not fully, explains the overrepresentation of Jews amongst elite Russophobes – as well as some of the historical details at the micro level.

However, he is correct at a broad level.

Again, don’t ask me. As the Twitter mentions for this article make clear, the people he is talking about make the case far more succinctly than I could.


• Category: Ideology • Tags: Anti-Semitism, Jews, Russia, Russophobes, Western Media 
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In my previous post, I posted this map of how comfortable Europeans are regarding love relationships of their children in regards to race, and AP provided the original stats.


I am always a bit saddened that Russia doesn’t participate in the Eurobarometer polls, but fortunately, I found that VCIOM asked rather similar questions in polls from 2002 and 2010.

The methodology is a bit different. Eurobarometer defined “being comfortable” if one of your children was in a love relationship with [member of ethnic group] and you rated your level of Comfort with that in the region of 7-10 (out of 10), or indifference. The Russian poll asks if you would approve, disapprove, or be indifferent towards one of your close relatives (son, daughter, grandkid) marrying [member of ethnic group].

I think the questions are close enough for direct comparisons to be meaningful by summing the percentage of Russians who either approve or are indifferent.

% Russians ok with kids marrying: 2002 2010
Russians 96% 96%
Ukrainians, Belorussians 83% 82%
Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians 61% 57%
Georgians, Armenians, Azeris 38% 37%
Central Asians 38% 33%
Jews 49% 47%
Chechens 28% 28%
Germans, Frenchs, English 66% 61%
Americans . 55%
Arabs . 29%

In terms of marriage preferences, Russians seem to be less philo-Semitic than Poles, about the same as Czechs, Lithuanians, and Romanians, and more philo-Semitic than Slovaks.

They are also fully within the bands of normality for Eastern Europe so far as marriages with Muslims go.

If Chechens could be considered proxies for Africans, Russians would be as “based” on that question as any in Eastern Europe (though far less so than 1950s Americans).

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Conservatism, Eastern Europe, Opinion Poll, Russia 
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Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Sometime in the 1990s, a critical mass of the American cognitive elite – that part of it which controls the bullhorns, anyway – must have decided that gay marriage was great. Now those people are usually well-spoken and articulate, with very high verbal IQs, while their opponents… tend to leave much to be desired in that department. So by the early 2010s, they had also convinced conservative intellectuals (Charles Murray was expressing support by 2012), and in the process once again demonstrating the neoreactionary dictum that conservatism is merely liberalism with a lag time of ten years. They had also convinced a symbolically important 50% of the population – no mean achievement, that, since male homosexuality is naturally repellent to the average person. The State Department formally adopted the Homintern agenda: “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” as Hillary Clinton explained in 2011. Gay marriage became legal across the US soon afterwards in 2015.

If you’re in the Western media-intellectual sphere, there doesn’t seem to be anything you could do to arrest these trends, regardless of how conservative or religious you are at the outset. Take Poles and Utahns. When polling on the topic began, they were only marginally less “homophobic” than Russians. Even so, a majority of Utahns now support gay marriage, as do 38% of Poles. While Warsaw wages a conservative culture war against Brussels Values, it appears that actual Poles are going in the other direction.

Russia was of course implicitly hostile towards LGBT during the 1990s-2000s, but without any particular zeal. It was just another anodyne conservative place like Utah or Poland, where the idea of LGBT marriage proked more in the way of befuddlement and bemusement than angry opposition. However, it’s already low figures collapsed even further at around the time of Putin’s conservative pivot at the turn of the decade. It is worth mentioning that this collapse seems to have been pretty universal across social strata – while a poll registered 34% (!) support for gay marriage in Saint-Petersburg in 2008, as of a 2011 poll, it was at 21% along with Moscow, versus 11% for the country as a whole.

That said, it’s worth pointing out that in both policy and practice, Russia remains considerably less conservative than Poland in most aspects. Russians are much less religious, at least in terms of active practice, and the ROC is less influential than the Catholic Church. Abortion is legal, while it is not in Poland – and the conservatives there want now want to make these restrictions all the more total by even banning “eugenic” abortion. I suspect such cack-handed policies and the general unlikability of Polish conservatives, with their constant idiotic statements and conspiracy theorizing, are actually fostering the spread of liberalism in Polish society.


As I have pointed out, despite its cool nationalist marches, Poland is now actually one of the least “based” societies in Eastern Europe, less so than even Czechia with its top of the charts atheism and per capita porn star production rates. They are the only country in the region where a majority are comfortable with their children being in a relationship with Blacks (see map right). They also have the most people who think it is “time for a gay leader.” At the rate things are going, I would not be surprised to see gay marriage legalized in Poland by 2028.

Recipes to keeping the Poz at bay: 1. Kick out Western NGOs, Western media, promote cultural anti-Americanism; 2. But don’t be an insufferable lout and get in people’s faces.

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.