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New Year: Predictions for 2018
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Previous predictions/calibrations:

Please note that my “Blackpill Timeline” is a what-if scenario, not a prediction.

While percentages for existing predictions will remain fixed, I reserve the right to add more predictions during the next couple of days.

World

Economics

  • Oil prices (WTI Crude) are higher than $70: 50%
  • BTC prices are higher than $4,000: 50%
  • Russia’s GDP grows by 2.5%+: 50%
  • USA’s GDP grows by 2.5%+: 50%
  • Ukraine’s GDP grows by 3.5%+: 50%
  • China’s GDP grows by 6.5%+: 50%

Science & Tech

  • No new global temperature record: 60%.
  • China will have more top 500 supercomputers than the US at the end of 2018: 90%
  • Robust mouse rejuvenation does not happen: 95%
  • Radical life extension does not happen: 99%
  • Artificial General Intelligence or superintelligence do not happen: 99%
  • There is no significant (>10 nukes) nuclear warfare: 99%
  • Human civilization does not run into an existential risk (if it does, I will try my best to confirm it here before the Internet winks out): 99%

World Conflicts

  • US will not get involved in any new major war with a death toll of >50 US soldiers: 80%
  • US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
  • No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%
  • No Korean War II with US/ROK ground invasion: 95%
  • No major conflict between China and the US (>50 deaths) in East Asia/SE Asia: 95%
  • No major conflict between China, and Vietnam or India (>50 deaths): 95%
  • No major conflict (>50 deaths), except Donbass, in the former Soviet space: 90%
  • There will not be a US strike on Iran: 90%
  • No major (direct) conflict between Iran and the US (>50 deaths) in the Middle East: 95%
  • No major conflict/US military intervention in Venezuela: 99%

syrian-civil-war-jan-2018Syrian Civil War (map right for reference purposes)

  • The Syrian Civil War is still ongoing: 80%
  • The city of Idlib is still under rebel control: 60%.
  • Islamic State no longer controls any territory in Iraq and/or Syria: 90%
  • US and its allies will not impose a no fly zone over Syria: 90%
  • There will not be a major clash between the US and Russia over Syria (>3 fighters lost by either side): 90%
  • Turkey will not “backstab” Russia and the Syrian government: 90%
  • The cold war between Syria and the SDF does not turn hot: 80%
  • Syria controls more territory at the end of 2018 than it does today today: 70%
  • Syria still controls Aleppo: 90%
  • Bashar Assad will remain President of Syria: 90%

War in Donbass

  • War in Donbass doesn’t reignite: 70%
  • CONDITIONAL: If it reignites, it will happen during or within a month of the FIFA World Cup: 70%
  • Mariupol still under Ukraine control: 80%
  • Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, and Kharkov all still under central Ukrainian control: 95%
  • Russia does not recognize the DNR, LNR, or some other de facto state formation within the Ukraine: 80%
  • No “Putinsliv”/abandonment of Russian support for DNR/LNR, with the Ukraine recapturing Donetsk and Lugansk: 95%
  • The Crimea remains Russian: 99%

World Politics

  • No further large scale civil wars/revolts/revolutions (>100 deaths) in Middle East/North African countries, apart from Iran and those already so afflicted: 70%
  • No large scale civil wars/revolts/revolutions (>100 deaths) in China: 95%
  • No large scale civil wars/revolts/revolutions (>100 deaths) in Iran: 50%
  • The Iranian “regime” (defined as one based on wilayat-e faqih) will remain in place: 80%.
  • Venezuela undergoes sovereign default: 70%.
  • Nicolas Maduro remains leader of Venezuela: 60%.
  • Kim Jong Un remains leader of North Korea: 90%
  • Julian Assange still cooped up at the Ecuadorian Embassy: 80%
  • US further expands Russia sanctions: 80%
  • US does not relax or remove Russia sanctions: 90%
  • EU further expands Russia sanctions: 50%
  • EU does not relax or remove Russia sanctions: 80%
  • Russia is not cut off from SWIFT: 90%

Russian Politics

  • No large scale civil wars/revolts/revolutions (>100 deaths) in Russia: 95%
  • Putin wins the 2018 Russian Presidential elections: 99%
  • Putin gets more than 80% in the Russian Presidential elections: 50%.
  • Pavel Grudinin (KPRF) gets more than 7% in the Russian elections: 50%.
  • Zhirinovsky (LDPR) gets more than 8% in the Russian elections: 50%.
  • Zhirinovsky gets more votes than Pavel Grudinin: 60%
  • Navalny is not allowed to run: 90%
  • CONDITIONAL: If Sobchak is allowed to run, she gets more than 3% in the Russian elections: 50%.
  • CONDITIONAL: If Navalny is allowed to run, he gets more than 8% in the Russian elections: 50%.
  • Russian elections see record low turnout: 80%
  • The Russian elections see more than 60% turnout: 50%
  • Alexey Dyumin upgraded from governnorship of Tula oblast and given a significant position in the federal government: 60%
  • Dmitry Medvedev continues as Prime Minister: 70%
  • Alexey Ulyukaev gets a suspended sentence on appeal: 60%
  • There will be at least 100 arrests in post-elections protests: 80%
  • Putin remains Russian President at the end of the year: 90%
  • Putin’s approval rating (Levada) is higher than 60% at year end: 50%
  • There will be substantial (>10,000 in Moscow) anti-government protests in Russia: 80%
  • There will be no be massive (>100,000 in Moscow) anti-government protests in Russia: 60%
  • Even fewer Russians approve (Levada) of the United States at year end than they did this December (24%): 50%.

Ukrainian Politics

  • Poroshenko remains in power: 90%
  • The Ukraine does not undergo sovereign default: 95%
  • Saakashvili extradited to Georgia: 70%

US Politics

  • No large scale civil wars/revolts/revolutions (>100 deaths) in USA: 95%
  • Trump remains US President: 80%
  • Trump’s approval rating (538) is higher than 32%: 50%
  • Democrats will control the Senate: 50%
  • Democrats will control the House: 60%
  • Rex Tillerson no longer Secretary of State: 60%
  • Jared Kushner no longer in the White House: 80%
  • Hillary Clinton does not get prosecuted: 95%
  • Freedom House lowers United States Freedom Rating [no longer think this will happen. But as promised, carried over as-is from last set of predictions; will know in early February]: 50%

European Politics

  • No large scale civil wars/revolts/revolutions in any EU country (>100 deaths): 95%
  • No EU country schedules a referendum for EU exit in 2017: 90%
  • No country leaves the Eurozone: 95%
  • 5 Star Movement will win the Italian general elections: 60%.
  • Fidesz wins a majority of seats in the 2018 Hungarian parliamentary elections: 95%
  • Angela Merkel will no longer be German Chancellor: 60%.
  • New Labour wins more than it loses in UK local elections: 70%.
  • Catalonia will not be an independent state de facto or de jure: 95%
  • No Islamic terrorist attack in Europe causing more than 100 deaths: 70%.

Culture & Human Interest

  • Germany will not win the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 80%
  • Russia will fail to advance past the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 60%.
  • Russia will not win the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 99%
  • GRRM publishes Winds of Winter: 70%.
  • UNQUANTIFIED: Daenerys dies, Theon lives (in the show):
  • UNQUANTIFIED: Influence of the Alt Right declines.
  • Mount & Blade: Bannerlord released: 80%
  • Cyberpunk 2077 not released: 90%
  • Sputnik and Pogrom above 1 million monthly visitors again as of November 2018 (SimilarWeb), despite it being blocked in Russia: 80%
  • The Unz Review has more pageviews than in 2017: 80%.

The AK

Life

  • I will still be in Russia: 95%
  • I will not be banned from Twitter or Facebook: 80%
  • CONDITIONAL: Will have more than 5,000 followers on Twitter: 50%
  • I will start work on a PhD: 60%
  • Some significant health problems I have will not be resolved: 80%
  • I will be in a long-term relationship: 60%
  • I will not be engaged/married: 90%
  • I will be living in another apartment in Moscow: 90%
  • I will meet my savings target for 2018 (remont done; enough money to immediately pay off debts if I need to): 70%
  • I will weigh 75kg at year end 2018: 50%
  • I will not cardinally change my political positions (disavow Russian nationalism, support Navalny, etc.): 90%
  • I will not get seriously drunk (throwing up) this year: 70%
  • I will not take hard drugs this year: 90%
  • I will not go skiing/snowboarding this year: 90%

Travel

  • I will visit Romania: 80%
  • I will visit Austria: 70%
  • I will visit Czechia and/or Hungary: 50%
  • I will visit the LDNR: 50%
  • I will not visit the United Kingdom: 70%
  • I will visit at least three Golden Ring cities in Russia: 50%
  • I will visit Saint-Petersburg (Russia): 50%
  • I will not visit Crimea (Russia): 80%
  • I will not visit Portugal: 80%
  • I will not visit non-European Russia: 90%
  • I will not visit the United States: 95%
  • I will not visit any other countries not mentioned here: 70%

Blogging

  • I will continue blogging: 95%
  • I will continue blogging at The Unz Review: 90%
  • I will not write a record amount of blog posts at The Unz Review (262+): 70%
  • There will be more visits than in 2016: 70%
  • There will be more pageviews than in 2016: 70%
  • There will be more comments than in 2016: 60%
  • I will write more than 30 posts for my akarlin.ru Russian blog: 50%
  • I will write 20+ book reviews: 50%
  • I will write 5+ film reviews: 50%
  • I will write 5+ video game reviews: 50%
  • I will have more than 3 new articles published at Sputnik and Pogrom: 50%

Projects

  • ROGPR podcast will still be active and I will still be involved in it: 80%
  • ROGPR podcast will have more than 20,000 subscribers on YouTube: 50%
  • I will author or coauthor an academic paper: 95%
  • I will author or coauthor two or more academic papers: 70%
  • I will have published a book by Dec 31, 2017: 80%
  • CONDITIONAL: If so, this will be my long planned book on Russia (Dark Lord of the Kremlin): 95%
  • I will not have published two or more books by Dec 31, 2016: 60%
  • CONDITIONAL: If so, this will be a development of my ideas in A Short History of the Third Millennium: 70%
  • I will not get a RationalWiki “hagiography”: 60%
  • I will not appear on Ukraine’s Peacekeeper list: 80%

PS. Note for future self: Tally correct/incorrect world and personal predictions separately; also combine and analyze them for the past several years.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Prediction, Rationality 
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  1. neutral says:

    Russia will fail to advance past the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 60%.

    That is way too pessimistic, Russia has arguably gotten one of the weakest groups, in not just this world cup, but in all the world cups in history. I was surprised the conspiracy theorists did not make this into another Russian hacking conspiracy where Putin fixed the results to get the easiest group possible. I say Russia advances past the group stage: 80%.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Actually: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/russias-group-is-the-easiest-in-modern-world-cup-history/

    Even so, they always disappoint, especially when people aren't expecting it, so...
    , @DNC
    Uruguay has Luis Suarez, whilst Egypt has Mohamed Salah. The former is regarded as one of the best players in the world since 2012, the latter is arguably the best striker playing in England today. Both can easily get a result for their teams when playing Russia. The only 'easy' game in that group is Saudi Arabia.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
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  2. China’s GDP grows by 6.5%+

    ?

    AK: Thanks, fixed.

    Read More
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  3. Mitleser says:

    US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
    No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%
    No Korean War II with US/ROK ground invasion: 95%

    Kim Jong Un remains leader of North Korea: 90%

    Convinced that even a strike against the DPRK is neither going to lead to a serious escalation nor to a removal of KJU by someone?

    Alexey Dyumin upgraded from governnorship of Tula oblast and given a significant position in the federal government: 60%

    He was already deputy defense minister and Putin is likely going to remain president till the 2020s.

    Dmitry Medvedev continues as Prime Minister: 70%

    Who could replace him?

    Jared Kushner no longer in the White House: 80%

    Agreed.

    I will visit Romania: 80%
    I will visit Austria: 70%

    Do you plan to migrate to Europe in 2019?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Convinced that even a strike against the DPRK is neither going to lead to a serious escalation nor to a removal of KJU by someone?
     
    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.

    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn't stupid.

    He was already deputy defense minister and Putin is likely going to remain president till the 2020s.
     
    If Putin is looking at him as a potential successor, I am assuming that the window to get him out into the limelight is closing.

    Do you plan to migrate to Europe in 2019?
     
    No.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. Jon0815 says:

    China’s GDP grows by 6.5%+

    You are missing a % here, which I assume is supposed to be 50%.

    The IMF predicts 6.4% growth for China in 2018, down from 6.9% in 2017.

    Idlib is still under rebel control: 60%.

    Need more specificity here. Do you mean a majority of the province is still under rebel control?

    Syria controls more territory at the end of 2018 than it does today today: 70%

    I’d put this at 95%.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Good point. Clarified that we'll be considering the city.
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  5. Kudzu Bob says:

    GRRM might publish a book in 2018, but it will be ghostwritten.

    Read More
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  6. @neutral

    Russia will fail to advance past the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 60%.
     
    That is way too pessimistic, Russia has arguably gotten one of the weakest groups, in not just this world cup, but in all the world cups in history. I was surprised the conspiracy theorists did not make this into another Russian hacking conspiracy where Putin fixed the results to get the easiest group possible. I say Russia advances past the group stage: 80%.

    Actually: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/russias-group-is-the-easiest-in-modern-world-cup-history/

    Even so, they always disappoint, especially when people aren’t expecting it, so…

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    These draws aren't as random as they claim to be, I've observed it in the CL for a while.
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  7. @Mitleser

    US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
    No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%
    No Korean War II with US/ROK ground invasion: 95%
     
    Kim Jong Un remains leader of North Korea: 90%
     Convinced that even a strike against the DPRK is neither going to lead to a serious escalation nor to a removal of KJU by someone?

    Alexey Dyumin upgraded from governnorship of Tula oblast and given a significant position in the federal government: 60%
     
    He was already deputy defense minister and Putin is likely going to remain president till the 2020s.

    Dmitry Medvedev continues as Prime Minister: 70%
     
    Who could replace him?

    Jared Kushner no longer in the White House: 80%
     
    Agreed.

    https://twitter.com/JacobAWohl/status/947625006007074817

    I will visit Romania: 80%
    I will visit Austria: 70%
     
    Do you plan to migrate to Europe in 2019?

    Convinced that even a strike against the DPRK is neither going to lead to a serious escalation nor to a removal of KJU by someone?

    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.

    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn’t stupid.

    He was already deputy defense minister and Putin is likely going to remain president till the 2020s.

    If Putin is looking at him as a potential successor, I am assuming that the window to get him out into the limelight is closing.

    Do you plan to migrate to Europe in 2019?

    No.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    If Putin is looking at him as a potential successor, I am assuming that the window to get him out into the limelight is closing.
     
    IIRC they needed less than two years to get Putin into the limelight and ready for presidency.
    They have time.
    , @reiner Tor

    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.
     
    Survivorship bias. If there had been, there’d be no Kim Dynasty. Also there was that claimed coup attempt or whatever it was, leading to the execution of Kim’s uncle and the murder of his half-brother.

    On the other hand, this is the first time the Kim in question is very young and so probably resented by a number of his associates. A serious military setback is not something he can easily afford. Or it is not something he wants to risk affording, since he is just as insecure internally as he is externally. There is significant room for a miscalculation here.


    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn’t stupid.
     
    What is a “significant” escalation here? Quite recently it was claimed that he sunk a South Korean vessel, with 46 South Koreans dead. If they did it to build up street cred among their own generals, maybe they’d do something way larger to retaliate. (His father was still alive, but it was claimed that he was personally in charge of the operation, ostensibly to build up his credentials among the hardliners. It must be noted that even whether it really was the North Koreans who did it is disputed by some. But there’s a near consensus that it was them. I think there is the possibility of some kind of sea mine being responsible. Maybe some navy experts could weigh in here.)

    According to Twinkie, the South Koreans don’t want a reunification (not even if there was a bloodless solution for it), and since they would have to do the heavy lifting in a ground campaign, Kim might assume he could get away with a lot. This further increases the chances of a miscalculation.

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  8. @Jon0815

    China’s GDP grows by 6.5%+
     
    You are missing a % here, which I assume is supposed to be 50%.

    The IMF predicts 6.4% growth for China in 2018, down from 6.9% in 2017.

    Idlib is still under rebel control: 60%.
     
    Need more specificity here. Do you mean a majority of the province is still under rebel control?

    Syria controls more territory at the end of 2018 than it does today today: 70%
     
    I'd put this at 95%.

    Good point. Clarified that we’ll be considering the city.

    Read More
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  9. Mitleser says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Convinced that even a strike against the DPRK is neither going to lead to a serious escalation nor to a removal of KJU by someone?
     
    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.

    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn't stupid.

    He was already deputy defense minister and Putin is likely going to remain president till the 2020s.
     
    If Putin is looking at him as a potential successor, I am assuming that the window to get him out into the limelight is closing.

    Do you plan to migrate to Europe in 2019?
     
    No.

    If Putin is looking at him as a potential successor, I am assuming that the window to get him out into the limelight is closing.

    IIRC they needed less than two years to get Putin into the limelight and ready for presidency.
    They have time.

    Read More
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  10. What are you planning to do in Romania? Is there actually much of a tourism business there?
    I still think your view that North Korea would just take a US missile strike and not escalate in response is too optimistic.
    Regarding Merkel’s prospects, I agree, it’s quite possible she’ll leave office. But it’s totally unclear to me who could replace her. Probably not much reason for optimism.
    And hopefully the German team will do badly in the world cup. I’ve never liked those football cretins, and nowadays they’re doing all sorts of “antiracist” propaganda. Would be good if they were really humiliated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    What are you planning to do in Romania?
     
    Friend's wedding.

    Austria too is an invitation from good friends; throwing in Czechia seems easy, just to tick off my favorite European country.

    Agreed on football.
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  11. Beckow says:

    You are being very careful, I would predict that some unexpected larger events will happen this year. The World Cup might not happen in a usual way – too many parties need to either use it as an ‘opportunity’ or to make sure it is not a routine success. Germany will most likely win, and Merkel is staying as a chancellor: Germany is literally in a paralysed state, they will crumble into a baby position and look for the candy. Nothing is changing there.

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region. It it the default center of what remains of the white, European world. And yet it feels unsteady, very unsure of itself.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.
     
    Not really. With the calibration method, which I discovered via Slate Star Codex, you tally up all the predictions at the end; perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Not the best method, but the most rigorous one, short of me starting my own predictions market on this blog. :)

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region.
     
    Sure. Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.
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  12. @German_reader
    What are you planning to do in Romania? Is there actually much of a tourism business there?
    I still think your view that North Korea would just take a US missile strike and not escalate in response is too optimistic.
    Regarding Merkel's prospects, I agree, it's quite possible she'll leave office. But it's totally unclear to me who could replace her. Probably not much reason for optimism.
    And hopefully the German team will do badly in the world cup. I've never liked those football cretins, and nowadays they're doing all sorts of "antiracist" propaganda. Would be good if they were really humiliated.

    What are you planning to do in Romania?

    Friend’s wedding.

    Austria too is an invitation from good friends; throwing in Czechia seems easy, just to tick off my favorite European country.

    Agreed on football.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Is the friend an IT expert?

    https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/947926685223092224
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  13. @Beckow
    You are being very careful, I would predict that some unexpected larger events will happen this year. The World Cup might not happen in a usual way - too many parties need to either use it as an 'opportunity' or to make sure it is not a routine success. Germany will most likely win, and Merkel is staying as a chancellor: Germany is literally in a paralysed state, they will crumble into a baby position and look for the candy. Nothing is changing there.

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say 'I don't know'. The 60-70% ranges are also 'don't knows' but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don't know.

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region. It it the default center of what remains of the white, European world. And yet it feels unsteady, very unsure of itself.

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.

    Not really. With the calibration method, which I discovered via Slate Star Codex, you tally up all the predictions at the end; perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Not the best method, but the most rigorous one, short of me starting my own predictions market on this blog. :)

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region.

    Sure. Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Wien is basically a big German city.
    , @reiner Tor

    perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.
     
    Further, with numerical predictions, when talking about something being higher or lower than a certain number, the number itself could be taken as the prediction itself, with a 50% chance of deviation in either direction. For example oil price was predicted to be over $60 with a 50% chance, and since it ended the year at $60.42, it could be assumed a perfect prediction. (I would actually take it out of the 50% statistics, since it was a neither above, nor not above, situation.)
    , @Erik Sieven
    "Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities."
    In my opinion it wasn't the last time i was there, which was in 2013. Maybe things have changed since then. Back then they have had as many non-middle Europeans as German cities, but much less Africans and more people from the Balkan region, who do not bother me personally at all.
    , @Beckow
    Vienna is quite diverse, but still pleasant. It feels like the largest German city in the world (more so than the absurdly decentralised Berlin). But it is undergoing a 'transition' and I am skeptical about its long term liveability. Today it is still a great place.

    I don't buy the meta-prediction theory with confidence intervals and calibration. A prediction is simply a guess with a certain probability. A prediction of something happening with 50% probability is equivalent to saying that there is an equal 50% probability that it will not happen. That is exactly the same as saying that 'we don't know'. Nudging numbers a bit up, or down (60%, 40%) tries to avoid this trap, but is mostly cosmetic. But I enjoy the process. My only 'prediction' - or more like a gut feeling - is that 2018 will have a lot of unpredicted events. Our world has slowly destabilised, the contradictions have accumulated, that's when you get things changing.

    Obama-Merkel-Hollande-Cameron were hot-plate sitters, an equivalent of old ladies trying to prolong the day by a combination of inactivity, comfort and statis. Then the clowns started to show up. The old ladies tried to shut the door, but in order to do that they had to let go of the hot plate. Very hard to do, discomfort everywhere. And behind the clowns are angry peasants (of all kinds). This is not going to be pretty or predictable. Sometime the no longer supervised hot plate burns down the house, sometime the clowns break in. And there are always the lurking peasants.
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  14. Mitleser says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.
     
    Not really. With the calibration method, which I discovered via Slate Star Codex, you tally up all the predictions at the end; perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Not the best method, but the most rigorous one, short of me starting my own predictions market on this blog. :)

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region.
     
    Sure. Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.

    Wien is basically a big German city.

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  15. Aly says:

    Maybe some predictions about demography?
    If 2017 fall was result of less marriages in 2016 maybe situation for births will improve in 2018.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, I hope that 2017 was a blimp rather than a new fertility collapse trend, and I do think the situation will stabilize.

    However, the fact that births were still down 11% y/y this November, even though the current fertility collapse began around mid-2016, is rather worrying.
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  16. @Anatoly Karlin

    Convinced that even a strike against the DPRK is neither going to lead to a serious escalation nor to a removal of KJU by someone?
     
    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.

    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn't stupid.

    He was already deputy defense minister and Putin is likely going to remain president till the 2020s.
     
    If Putin is looking at him as a potential successor, I am assuming that the window to get him out into the limelight is closing.

    Do you plan to migrate to Europe in 2019?
     
    No.

    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.

    Survivorship bias. If there had been, there’d be no Kim Dynasty. Also there was that claimed coup attempt or whatever it was, leading to the execution of Kim’s uncle and the murder of his half-brother.

    On the other hand, this is the first time the Kim in question is very young and so probably resented by a number of his associates. A serious military setback is not something he can easily afford. Or it is not something he wants to risk affording, since he is just as insecure internally as he is externally. There is significant room for a miscalculation here.

    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn’t stupid.

    What is a “significant” escalation here? Quite recently it was claimed that he sunk a South Korean vessel, with 46 South Koreans dead. If they did it to build up street cred among their own generals, maybe they’d do something way larger to retaliate. (His father was still alive, but it was claimed that he was personally in charge of the operation, ostensibly to build up his credentials among the hardliners. It must be noted that even whether it really was the North Koreans who did it is disputed by some. But there’s a near consensus that it was them. I think there is the possibility of some kind of sea mine being responsible. Maybe some navy experts could weigh in here.)

    According to Twinkie, the South Koreans don’t want a reunification (not even if there was a bloodless solution for it), and since they would have to do the heavy lifting in a ground campaign, Kim might assume he could get away with a lot. This further increases the chances of a miscalculation.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Also there was that claimed coup attempt or whatever it was...
     
    Yes, that was the most visible exception, but obviously North Korean propaganda can't be taken at face value. He could have just represented a faction that KJU saw as a potential problem in the future.

    But who knows.

    A serious military setback is not something he can easily afford.
     
    I suspect this is the sort of thing that is dangerous for countries with relative freedom of access to information, and/or traditions of an "activist" military. But North Korea doesn't have the former, and its military is totally suborned to the Party through the Central Military Commission; nor can there be any any meaningful popular pressure for retaliation, since there is no public debate to speak of.

    Quite recently it was claimed that he sunk a South Korean vessel, with 46 South Koreans dead.
     
    Okay, good point. I can certainly see something like that happening again, though worth noting that South Koreans didn't escalate back then (and presumably won't do so now).

    I’m not sure about 99%, but the chances are very high, especially if “major conflict” is defined as anything over fifty deaths.
     
    Great point. Didn't think that through, did I. Should have thought more about how to define "major conflict." (E.g., excluding those killed in the initial strike, only counting consequent deaths in retaliatory clashes). Still, as I promised, not changing the predictions after making them.
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  17. Brabantian says: • Website

    Anatoly Karlin writes:

    Julian Assange still cooped up at the Ecuadorian Embassy

    Very funny that AK believes this absurd story … Assange ‘living in an embassy’ for most of a decade … Ha!

    [MORE]

    - Israel’s Netanyahu and the late Zbig Brzezinski both having admitted Assange is an intel agency asset working for the CIA and well-serving Israel
    - Assange who was promoted by the CIA’s own most beloved ‘fake news’ media, New York Times & MI5-MI6 UK Guardian
    - Assange with his Rothschild family lawyers
    - the ‘Wikileaks’ clearly edited and selected, quite shielding Assange’s Israeli friends of whom Assange is explicitly a great fan
    - People who trusted Assange and Wikileaks dead or in prison (Known dead: Seth Rich, Peter W Smith; jailed: Reality Leigh Winner, Lauri Love) … perhaps many more identified, silenced, dead leakers – whistleblowers we will never know about
    - Assange refusing to discuss or publicise legal corruption files on US national federal judges in Virginia, despite how those files would make Assange’s ‘extradition’ impossible, those being the judges ‘who would put Assange & Snowden on trial’
    - Special UK police watching the Ecuador Embassy for when coast is clear to move Assange in & out for his photos & meetings
    - Ecuador embassy staff apparently getting dosh to play along, Assange said to be living in comfort in a UK country house with a Rothschild family friend, that is why he looks so dapper

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  18. 5371 says:

    [US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
    No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%]

    If there is a US strike on a DPRK missile base, there will be an over 99% chance of a major conflict in Korea.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’m not sure about 99%, but the chances are very high, especially if “major conflict” is defined as anything over fifty deaths. The strike on the missile facilities could easily kill that number, and in 2010 the sinking of a South Korean vessel alone came very close to reaching it, so if there is any retaliation, we’re likely to see over fifty deaths.
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  19. @5371
    [US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
    No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%]

    If there is a US strike on a DPRK missile base, there will be an over 99% chance of a major conflict in Korea.

    I’m not sure about 99%, but the chances are very high, especially if “major conflict” is defined as anything over fifty deaths. The strike on the missile facilities could easily kill that number, and in 2010 the sinking of a South Korean vessel alone came very close to reaching it, so if there is any retaliation, we’re likely to see over fifty deaths.

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  20. @Anatoly Karlin

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.
     
    Not really. With the calibration method, which I discovered via Slate Star Codex, you tally up all the predictions at the end; perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Not the best method, but the most rigorous one, short of me starting my own predictions market on this blog. :)

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region.
     
    Sure. Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.

    perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Further, with numerical predictions, when talking about something being higher or lower than a certain number, the number itself could be taken as the prediction itself, with a 50% chance of deviation in either direction. For example oil price was predicted to be over $60 with a 50% chance, and since it ended the year at $60.42, it could be assumed a perfect prediction. (I would actually take it out of the 50% statistics, since it was a neither above, nor not above, situation.)

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  21. Mitleser says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    What are you planning to do in Romania?
     
    Friend's wedding.

    Austria too is an invitation from good friends; throwing in Czechia seems easy, just to tick off my favorite European country.

    Agreed on football.

    Is the friend an IT expert?

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  22. 5371 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Actually: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/russias-group-is-the-easiest-in-modern-world-cup-history/

    Even so, they always disappoint, especially when people aren't expecting it, so...

    These draws aren’t as random as they claim to be, I’ve observed it in the CL for a while.

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  23. @Anatoly Karlin

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.
     
    Not really. With the calibration method, which I discovered via Slate Star Codex, you tally up all the predictions at the end; perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Not the best method, but the most rigorous one, short of me starting my own predictions market on this blog. :)

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region.
     
    Sure. Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.

    “Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.”
    In my opinion it wasn’t the last time i was there, which was in 2013. Maybe things have changed since then. Back then they have had as many non-middle Europeans as German cities, but much less Africans and more people from the Balkan region, who do not bother me personally at all.

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  24. Aedib says:

    Russia’s GDP grows by 2.5%+: 50%
    USA’s GDP grows by 2.5%+: 50%
    Ukraine’s GDP grows by 3.5%+: 50%
    China’s GDP grows by 6.5%+: 50%

    Agreed, except for Ukraine. Over-optimistic number.

    Ukraine is already in a stagnation process and with oil and gas prices going up, the is no way to reach that number. Dead cat bouncing procees seems near end. An indefinite time-length stagnation process is more likely .

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.

    3.5% prediction in 2018 is not out of the ordinary:

    https://en.lb.ua/news/2017/12/12/5140_moodys_improves_ukraines_forecast.html

    International rating agency Moody's has improved the forecast for the growth of Ukraine's gross domestic product next year to 3.5%, an improvement over the August forecast of 2.5%.

    "GDP growth will accelerate to 3.5% next year from 2.0% in 2017," the agency said in a 12 December release.
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  25. Hank says:

    I hope you’re right. No world wars or even major conflicts and the US Democrats retake the Senate.

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  26. DNC says:
    @neutral

    Russia will fail to advance past the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 60%.
     
    That is way too pessimistic, Russia has arguably gotten one of the weakest groups, in not just this world cup, but in all the world cups in history. I was surprised the conspiracy theorists did not make this into another Russian hacking conspiracy where Putin fixed the results to get the easiest group possible. I say Russia advances past the group stage: 80%.

    Uruguay has Luis Suarez, whilst Egypt has Mohamed Salah. The former is regarded as one of the best players in the world since 2012, the latter is arguably the best striker playing in England today. Both can easily get a result for their teams when playing Russia. The only ‘easy’ game in that group is Saudi Arabia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Predictions: Russia loses humiliatingly to the Saudis, Suarez bites off someone's ear and Uruguay gets disqualified, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia go through.
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  27. @reiner Tor

    I am assuming his power is pretty secure what with there being zero successful coups (and no serious coup attempts that I know of) against the Kims.
     
    Survivorship bias. If there had been, there’d be no Kim Dynasty. Also there was that claimed coup attempt or whatever it was, leading to the execution of Kim’s uncle and the murder of his half-brother.

    On the other hand, this is the first time the Kim in question is very young and so probably resented by a number of his associates. A serious military setback is not something he can easily afford. Or it is not something he wants to risk affording, since he is just as insecure internally as he is externally. There is significant room for a miscalculation here.


    Also assuming there will be no significant escalation since KJU isn’t stupid.
     
    What is a “significant” escalation here? Quite recently it was claimed that he sunk a South Korean vessel, with 46 South Koreans dead. If they did it to build up street cred among their own generals, maybe they’d do something way larger to retaliate. (His father was still alive, but it was claimed that he was personally in charge of the operation, ostensibly to build up his credentials among the hardliners. It must be noted that even whether it really was the North Koreans who did it is disputed by some. But there’s a near consensus that it was them. I think there is the possibility of some kind of sea mine being responsible. Maybe some navy experts could weigh in here.)

    According to Twinkie, the South Koreans don’t want a reunification (not even if there was a bloodless solution for it), and since they would have to do the heavy lifting in a ground campaign, Kim might assume he could get away with a lot. This further increases the chances of a miscalculation.

    Also there was that claimed coup attempt or whatever it was…

    Yes, that was the most visible exception, but obviously North Korean propaganda can’t be taken at face value. He could have just represented a faction that KJU saw as a potential problem in the future.

    But who knows.

    A serious military setback is not something he can easily afford.

    I suspect this is the sort of thing that is dangerous for countries with relative freedom of access to information, and/or traditions of an “activist” military. But North Korea doesn’t have the former, and its military is totally suborned to the Party through the Central Military Commission; nor can there be any any meaningful popular pressure for retaliation, since there is no public debate to speak of.

    Quite recently it was claimed that he sunk a South Korean vessel, with 46 South Koreans dead.

    Okay, good point. I can certainly see something like that happening again, though worth noting that South Koreans didn’t escalate back then (and presumably won’t do so now).

    I’m not sure about 99%, but the chances are very high, especially if “major conflict” is defined as anything over fifty deaths.

    Great point. Didn’t think that through, did I. Should have thought more about how to define “major conflict.” (E.g., excluding those killed in the initial strike, only counting consequent deaths in retaliatory clashes). Still, as I promised, not changing the predictions after making them.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I suspect this is the sort of thing that is dangerous for countries with relative freedom of access to information, and/or traditions of an “activist” military. But North Korea doesn’t have the former, and its military is totally suborned to the Party through the Central Military Commission; nor can there be any any meaningful popular pressure for retaliation, since there is no public debate to speak of.
     
    Let’s get back for a moment to the South Korean vessel sunk by Kim, supposedly in order to build “street cred” among the “hardliners”. Another example is his getting fat. From what I heard, his father advised him that he could get more respect if he was fat, because he is young, and being fat makes him look older and more respectable.

    Who are those people whose respect he had to earn in such ways? I guess, basically the top level leadership. Why did he have to earn their respect? Well, have you ever worked with older guys who knew that, despite you being much younger, either you made more money than them, or had a way higher chance of being promoted, or both? They resented you for that, didn’t they? I guess the same dynamic holds here: most of North Korea’s top leadership started their careers decades ago. They have been around the top of their careers for years or longer before young Kim appeared on the scene. He had very little experience, and his only credential was being the son of the then dictator.

    There’s no way to tell how much the top leaders can talk to each other without Kim being informed. But I don’t think too many people would be needed to remove Kim. It’s democratic centralism, the top ten (or maybe five) leaders could probably remove him and write a new constitution, unless Kim got wind of this and suppressed the attempt in time.

    Now given his godlike status, Kim might be more difficult to remove than, say, Khrushchev was. Some in the leadership might swallow their pride and support him out of loyalty to his late father anyway. But it’s difficult to predict what could happen after a serious setback, which will be perceived as being caused by the supreme leader’s missteps and erroneous judgment. I guess it’s not only difficult to predict for us, but also for Kim. He might fear more being removed by his Politburo than a total war...

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  28. @DNC
    Uruguay has Luis Suarez, whilst Egypt has Mohamed Salah. The former is regarded as one of the best players in the world since 2012, the latter is arguably the best striker playing in England today. Both can easily get a result for their teams when playing Russia. The only 'easy' game in that group is Saudi Arabia.

    Predictions: Russia loses humiliatingly to the Saudis, Suarez bites off someone’s ear and Uruguay gets disqualified, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia go through.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral
    Uruguay wins group, Russia second. I also predict that some colour revolution will be started during the world cup, happened in two Olympics already, so a good chance again especially since the world cup is in Russia.
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  29. @Aly
    Maybe some predictions about demography?
    If 2017 fall was result of less marriages in 2016 maybe situation for births will improve in 2018.

    Yes, I hope that 2017 was a blimp rather than a new fertility collapse trend, and I do think the situation will stabilize.

    However, the fact that births were still down 11% y/y this November, even though the current fertility collapse began around mid-2016, is rather worrying.

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  30. AP says:
    @Aedib

    Russia’s GDP grows by 2.5%+: 50%
    USA’s GDP grows by 2.5%+: 50%
    Ukraine’s GDP grows by 3.5%+: 50%
    China’s GDP grows by 6.5%+: 50%
     
    Agreed, except for Ukraine. Over-optimistic number.

    https://image.ibb.co/dMogx6/ugdpgrowth.png

    Ukraine is already in a stagnation process and with oil and gas prices going up, the is no way to reach that number. Dead cat bouncing procees seems near end. An indefinite time-length stagnation process is more likely .

    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.

    3.5% prediction in 2018 is not out of the ordinary:

    https://en.lb.ua/news/2017/12/12/5140_moodys_improves_ukraines_forecast.html

    International rating agency Moody’s has improved the forecast for the growth of Ukraine’s gross domestic product next year to 3.5%, an improvement over the August forecast of 2.5%.

    “GDP growth will accelerate to 3.5% next year from 2.0% in 2017,” the agency said in a 12 December release.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib
    These agencies and multilateral financial institutions usually made forecasting according the ideological affinity to the governments rather than according to fundamentals. Their “calibration curves” are rather poor because such a reason.
    With respect to the specific Ukrainian issue, I see a very marginal drop from 2.3% (2016) to 2.0% (2017).

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ukraine/publication/economic-update-spring-2017

    but according to my above figure, the trend is still slowly downwards. I can’t see a reversion without major investments on the real economy and on an environment of (slowly) growing oil and gas prices.
    I would bet on a growth in the 1%-2% range
    , @Gerard2

    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.
     
    hahahahah! Growth rate ( a far more relevant and important indicator) for the last quarter was a lamentable 0.2% you dumb fuckwit spamtroll....but even a serial fantasist dipshit like you probably already knew this. If you go on the pointless annual growth rate, then this is particularly retarded because Ukraine has barely made any inroads into it's 60% GDP LOSS after the coup. A severely flawed and failing economy, even with an average performance should be averaging a 4-5%+ GDP increase each quarter, which it isn't. This level of "growth" will actually take Ukraine near 30 years to get to Yanukovich -era level you disinfo-spreading sack of faeces.

    0.2%!!!!!!! From a country that has already gone through a 15+% GDP loss that will take near 20 years to recover from you idiot. A farce and a tragic shambles.

    This added with the fact that Ukraine has done nothing but fail as a state since it's creation more than 25 years ago, being one of the only countries in the world to have a lower GDP per capita now , than then
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  31. neutral says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Predictions: Russia loses humiliatingly to the Saudis, Suarez bites off someone's ear and Uruguay gets disqualified, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia go through.

    Uruguay wins group, Russia second. I also predict that some colour revolution will be started during the world cup, happened in two Olympics already, so a good chance again especially since the world cup is in Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib
    Given the availability of Javelins for the Ukrainian government, a “Russian aggression” on Donbas is likely during the World Cup. Previous provocations were tuned to coincide with worldwide sports events (E.g. 08/08/08 “Russian aggression” to Ossetia during Olympics in China and Maidan during Winter Games in Russia)
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  32. Beckow says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Based on logic, 50-50% predictions only say ‘I don’t know’. The 60-70% ranges are also ‘don’t knows’ but with a bit of an attitude. It is because we really don’t know.
     
    Not really. With the calibration method, which I discovered via Slate Star Codex, you tally up all the predictions at the end; perfect calibration would imply getting 50% of 50% confidence predictions right, 60% of 60% confidence ones, etc.

    Not the best method, but the most rigorous one, short of me starting my own predictions market on this blog. :)

    If you visit Austria-Czech-Hungary, tell us what you think about the region.
     
    Sure. Though my acquaintances say that Vienna is now no less diverse than many of the big German cities.

    Vienna is quite diverse, but still pleasant. It feels like the largest German city in the world (more so than the absurdly decentralised Berlin). But it is undergoing a ‘transition’ and I am skeptical about its long term liveability. Today it is still a great place.

    I don’t buy the meta-prediction theory with confidence intervals and calibration. A prediction is simply a guess with a certain probability. A prediction of something happening with 50% probability is equivalent to saying that there is an equal 50% probability that it will not happen. That is exactly the same as saying that ‘we don’t know’. Nudging numbers a bit up, or down (60%, 40%) tries to avoid this trap, but is mostly cosmetic. But I enjoy the process. My only ‘prediction’ – or more like a gut feeling – is that 2018 will have a lot of unpredicted events. Our world has slowly destabilised, the contradictions have accumulated, that’s when you get things changing.

    Obama-Merkel-Hollande-Cameron were hot-plate sitters, an equivalent of old ladies trying to prolong the day by a combination of inactivity, comfort and statis. Then the clowns started to show up. The old ladies tried to shut the door, but in order to do that they had to let go of the hot plate. Very hard to do, discomfort everywhere. And behind the clowns are angry peasants (of all kinds). This is not going to be pretty or predictable. Sometime the no longer supervised hot plate burns down the house, sometime the clowns break in. And there are always the lurking peasants.

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  33. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The EU will force black/browns on Poland and Hungary – 100%

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  34. Aedib says:
    @AP
    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.

    3.5% prediction in 2018 is not out of the ordinary:

    https://en.lb.ua/news/2017/12/12/5140_moodys_improves_ukraines_forecast.html

    International rating agency Moody's has improved the forecast for the growth of Ukraine's gross domestic product next year to 3.5%, an improvement over the August forecast of 2.5%.

    "GDP growth will accelerate to 3.5% next year from 2.0% in 2017," the agency said in a 12 December release.

    These agencies and multilateral financial institutions usually made forecasting according the ideological affinity to the governments rather than according to fundamentals. Their “calibration curves” are rather poor because such a reason.
    With respect to the specific Ukrainian issue, I see a very marginal drop from 2.3% (2016) to 2.0% (2017).

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ukraine/publication/economic-update-spring-2017

    but according to my above figure, the trend is still slowly downwards. I can’t see a reversion without major investments on the real economy and on an environment of (slowly) growing oil and gas prices.
    I would bet on a growth in the 1%-2% range

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    There is some truth to that, but the track record for overestimates of Ukrainian economic growth is about .5%. Going by past overestimates, growth should be 2.5% to 3% given that predictions are 3% to 3.5%.
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  35. Aedib says:
    @neutral
    Uruguay wins group, Russia second. I also predict that some colour revolution will be started during the world cup, happened in two Olympics already, so a good chance again especially since the world cup is in Russia.

    Given the availability of Javelins for the Ukrainian government, a “Russian aggression” on Donbas is likely during the World Cup. Previous provocations were tuned to coincide with worldwide sports events (E.g. 08/08/08 “Russian aggression” to Ossetia during Olympics in China and Maidan during Winter Games in Russia)

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Javelins are an important sign of support but change little on the ground. More substantial is the Ukrainian reorganization and weapons development, such as this thing:

    http://defence-blog.com/news/ukraine-successfully-tests-new-300mm-correctable-rockets.html

    Factory tests are complete, military will be testing them in 2018, production in 2019. "Grom" is starting its testing in 2018. This on top of various refurbishments, trainings, etc (Ukraine seemingly has gone from sub-Yeltsin level to early 2000s Putin-era level). Ukraine now has lots of tanks but still lacks adequate transport, this needs to be addressed before any major offensive and can't be in 2018.

    For economic/election reasons with the coming election, plus military reasons expect no major provocations from the Ukrainian side until 2019, just the usual artillery duels and sniper action.

    New Grom just revealed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6yFilFGHCc&feature=youtu.be

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  36. AP says:
    @Aedib
    Given the availability of Javelins for the Ukrainian government, a “Russian aggression” on Donbas is likely during the World Cup. Previous provocations were tuned to coincide with worldwide sports events (E.g. 08/08/08 “Russian aggression” to Ossetia during Olympics in China and Maidan during Winter Games in Russia)

    Javelins are an important sign of support but change little on the ground. More substantial is the Ukrainian reorganization and weapons development, such as this thing:

    http://defence-blog.com/news/ukraine-successfully-tests-new-300mm-correctable-rockets.html

    Factory tests are complete, military will be testing them in 2018, production in 2019. “Grom” is starting its testing in 2018. This on top of various refurbishments, trainings, etc (Ukraine seemingly has gone from sub-Yeltsin level to early 2000s Putin-era level). Ukraine now has lots of tanks but still lacks adequate transport, this needs to be addressed before any major offensive and can’t be in 2018.

    For economic/election reasons with the coming election, plus military reasons expect no major provocations from the Ukrainian side until 2019, just the usual artillery duels and sniper action.

    New Grom just revealed:

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib
    So, you also provide more data agreeing that a Ukrainian push toward Donbass is likely. I would bet a 50+ % likelihood during World Cup. May be not a ground offensive but MLRSing Donetsk with these new weapons.
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  37. Aedib says:
    @AP
    Javelins are an important sign of support but change little on the ground. More substantial is the Ukrainian reorganization and weapons development, such as this thing:

    http://defence-blog.com/news/ukraine-successfully-tests-new-300mm-correctable-rockets.html

    Factory tests are complete, military will be testing them in 2018, production in 2019. "Grom" is starting its testing in 2018. This on top of various refurbishments, trainings, etc (Ukraine seemingly has gone from sub-Yeltsin level to early 2000s Putin-era level). Ukraine now has lots of tanks but still lacks adequate transport, this needs to be addressed before any major offensive and can't be in 2018.

    For economic/election reasons with the coming election, plus military reasons expect no major provocations from the Ukrainian side until 2019, just the usual artillery duels and sniper action.

    New Grom just revealed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6yFilFGHCc&feature=youtu.be

    So, you also provide more data agreeing that a Ukrainian push toward Donbass is likely. I would bet a 50+ % likelihood during World Cup. May be not a ground offensive but MLRSing Donetsk with these new weapons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I think a Ukrainian attack on the Donbass during either the Winter Olympics or the Russian Presidential elections is unlikely.

    * Winter Olympics - Russia has been humiliated as much as it was feasibly possible to anyway, it has no incentives to care about image and refrain from giving the UAF a good drubbing.

    * Presidential elections - Will be preceded and followed by Navalny-organized protests drawing thousands to tens of thousands of people. A Ukrainian attack might even be convenient to draw attention away from them and allow the Kremlin to portray them as Ukrainophile traitors.

    OTOH, a Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia too, hence this prediction (note that last year I gave an 80% chance that War in Donbass wouldn't reignite):

    War in Donbass doesn’t reignite: 70%
    CONDITIONAL: If it reignites, it will happen during or within a month of the FIFA World Cup: 70%
     
    As in the Sochi Winter Olympics, the aim will be to show off Russia in a good light to Western cameras, which will hardly be possible if the Donbass flares up again. Either Russia will have to intervene directly for a third time, drawing howls of protest from the West, possibly up to and including last minute boycotts, or face the ignominy of having its festival interrupted by Ukraine's Operation Storm.

    Incidentally, this might be yet another good reason to hope the Russian team gets knocked out quickly by the Saudis (though I hope that happens anyway, to humiliate the kremlins for investing tens of billions Russia can't afford into elite sport).
    , @AP
    New weapons won't be online and deployed until 2019. In 2018 Ukraine would be attacking with an army vastly improved from 2014, but still in the middle of renovation. Very unlikely.
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  38. @Aedib
    So, you also provide more data agreeing that a Ukrainian push toward Donbass is likely. I would bet a 50+ % likelihood during World Cup. May be not a ground offensive but MLRSing Donetsk with these new weapons.

    I think a Ukrainian attack on the Donbass during either the Winter Olympics or the Russian Presidential elections is unlikely.

    * Winter Olympics – Russia has been humiliated as much as it was feasibly possible to anyway, it has no incentives to care about image and refrain from giving the UAF a good drubbing.

    * Presidential elections – Will be preceded and followed by Navalny-organized protests drawing thousands to tens of thousands of people. A Ukrainian attack might even be convenient to draw attention away from them and allow the Kremlin to portray them as Ukrainophile traitors.

    OTOH, a Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia too, hence this prediction (note that last year I gave an 80% chance that War in Donbass wouldn’t reignite):

    War in Donbass doesn’t reignite: 70%
    CONDITIONAL: If it reignites, it will happen during or within a month of the FIFA World Cup: 70%

    As in the Sochi Winter Olympics, the aim will be to show off Russia in a good light to Western cameras, which will hardly be possible if the Donbass flares up again. Either Russia will have to intervene directly for a third time, drawing howls of protest from the West, possibly up to and including last minute boycotts, or face the ignominy of having its festival interrupted by Ukraine’s Operation Storm.

    Incidentally, this might be yet another good reason to hope the Russian team gets knocked out quickly by the Saudis (though I hope that happens anyway, to humiliate the kremlins for investing tens of billions Russia can’t afford into elite sport).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia
     
    It would piss off the fans. There are 2 billion people around the word who take the World Cup seriously, in countries like Germany, Spain, Brazil, Korea,... General inclination by these low information fans would be that somebody else (other than Russia) is messing with their fun. It would take a huge effort and a concerted effort in all Western controlled media to create an impression blaming Russia. So they will probably try it.

    Post-World Cup there will be almost no constraints left on Russia. Overnight, as we go into 2019-20, the strategic situation will change for the worse for Ukraine. The pipelines to Asia (mostly China) will go online, the long-term contracts with Ukraine expiring, the usual 3-year passion period will come to an end and fatigue will set in (it always happens, check out the zeitgeist 3-year cycles, people just get tired of fights after about 3 years). Most important the massive debts that Washington gave to Kiev in 2014-17 will start coming due - either a write-off, stretching them out, or a repo crew will show up in Kiev (that great Ukrainian arable land is very tempting.)

    What we are already seeing is that West is trying to change the subject, start new areas to fight (N Korea, Iran,...), and are preparing Kiev for a soft landing. Something similar to what happened to Saakasvilli after few years. The fire-eaters will try to prevent that - and that is what makes 2018 potentially so interesting. It is now or never for the 'conquer the Russia' crowd in Western institutions, media, academia. They might go for it.

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  39. AP says:
    @Aedib
    So, you also provide more data agreeing that a Ukrainian push toward Donbass is likely. I would bet a 50+ % likelihood during World Cup. May be not a ground offensive but MLRSing Donetsk with these new weapons.

    New weapons won’t be online and deployed until 2019. In 2018 Ukraine would be attacking with an army vastly improved from 2014, but still in the middle of renovation. Very unlikely.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    New weapons won’t be online and deployed until 2019. In 2018 Ukraine would be attacking with an army vastly improved from 2014, but still in the middle of renovation. Very unlikely.
     
    Ghosts of Georgia. Almost the same actually.
    Unlikely could mean "surprise".
    As it was in Georgia. And, of course, Georgians got surprised by Russian reaction.

    In this case almost identical.
    Objective could be simply to take a small part of Donbass. Quite feasible. I don't think that without VISIBLE Russian help Donbass could retake that part.
    So, win if that part is kept taken. Also, win if Russia gets involved in "open".

    On operational level, simply be ready for fast retreat (which Georgians weren't).
    Don't get suprised by Russian intervention, calculate that well into the operation.
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  40. AP says:
    @Aedib
    These agencies and multilateral financial institutions usually made forecasting according the ideological affinity to the governments rather than according to fundamentals. Their “calibration curves” are rather poor because such a reason.
    With respect to the specific Ukrainian issue, I see a very marginal drop from 2.3% (2016) to 2.0% (2017).

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ukraine/publication/economic-update-spring-2017

    but according to my above figure, the trend is still slowly downwards. I can’t see a reversion without major investments on the real economy and on an environment of (slowly) growing oil and gas prices.
    I would bet on a growth in the 1%-2% range

    There is some truth to that, but the track record for overestimates of Ukrainian economic growth is about .5%. Going by past overestimates, growth should be 2.5% to 3% given that predictions are 3% to 3.5%.

    Read More
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  41. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Robust mouse rejuvenation does not happen: 95%

    IMO, if one plays the current year 20 times, there is almost no way that it will happen once. The true rate is probably below 0.5% and thus the “correct” prediction is 100%.

    Russia will fail to advance past the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 60%.
    The Unz Review has more pageviews than in 2017: 80%.

    Russia will almost definitely advance: 95%. Home turf + “easy” group.
    UR will have more page views: 99%. Unless Ron goes mad and closes it, nothing suggests the sudden downward trend that would go against the well-documented growth trend. It would be quite freaky event.

    I feel that you are more cautious now than in the previous years. Probably too cautious. In any case, you still don’t have large enough number of questions to make a reliable calibration. It really takes a few hundreds before meaningful picture emerges.

    I will visit the LDNR: 50%
    I will visit Saint-Petersburg (Russia): 50%

    You know better but to me the two don’t seem very concordant. With some neutral party that knows as much as I do, I’d be willing to bet heavily that at least one of the two numbers is way off.

    US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
    No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%

    Just about the only way the North can respond to a major event like the US attack is killing a bunch of South Koreans. Given your chances of US attack (too high IMO), the 10% chance of 50 killed seems way too low.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    The true rate is probably below 0.5% and thus the “correct” prediction is 100%.
     
    Okay, sure, it's definitely not happening in 2018. But 2020 is possible, and 2025 is *very* possible IMO.

    I am leery of assigning 100% confidence, even with rounding up, since any wrong predictions there will completely and irrevocably shatter my record in that range.

    UR will have more page views: 99%.
     
    I'll stand by this. In my experience, life expectancy of many sites/blogs is around 10 years - and sharp up/downs are entirely routine.

    All sorts of negative things can potentially happen with UR, though I don't think it would be well advised of me to speculate in too much detail.

    I remain cautiously optimistic.

    You know better but to me the two don’t seem very concordant. With some neutral party that knows as much as I do, I’d be willing to bet heavily that at least one of the two numbers is way off.
     
    Understandable reaction, but no.

    I was *very* close to going to the DNR a couple of weeks ago - but the project got canceled due to circumstances beyond my control.

    If said project gets resurrected in 2018, I will very likely go.

    In contrast, I have no particular business in SPB, though as Russia's 2nd city, there is always a substantial background chance I will get called there.

    Given your chances of US attack (too high IMO), the 10% chance of 50 killed seems way too low.
     
    Good point.
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  42. Gerard2 says:
    @AP
    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.

    3.5% prediction in 2018 is not out of the ordinary:

    https://en.lb.ua/news/2017/12/12/5140_moodys_improves_ukraines_forecast.html

    International rating agency Moody's has improved the forecast for the growth of Ukraine's gross domestic product next year to 3.5%, an improvement over the August forecast of 2.5%.

    "GDP growth will accelerate to 3.5% next year from 2.0% in 2017," the agency said in a 12 December release.

    [MORE]

    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.

    hahahahah! Growth rate ( a far more relevant and important indicator) for the last quarter was a lamentable 0.2% you dumb fuckwit spamtroll….but even a serial fantasist dipshit like you probably already knew this. If you go on the pointless annual growth rate, then this is particularly retarded because Ukraine has barely made any inroads into it’s 60% GDP LOSS after the coup. A severely flawed and failing economy, even with an average performance should be averaging a 4-5%+ GDP increase each quarter, which it isn’t. This level of “growth” will actually take Ukraine near 30 years to get to Yanukovich -era level you disinfo-spreading sack of faeces.

    0.2%!!!!!!! From a country that has already gone through a 15+% GDP loss that will take near 20 years to recover from you idiot. A farce and a tragic shambles.

    This added with the fact that Ukraine has done nothing but fail as a state since it’s creation more than 25 years ago, being one of the only countries in the world to have a lower GDP per capita now , than then

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Hey, "Gerard2", please keep it civil. You post is absolutely terrible. Inexcusably rude. "AP" has been around for much longer than you, and even if he is wrong (I don't care if he is), your reply is an absolute affront to basic civility.
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  43. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Gerard2

    Year to year growth was still 2.1% in the third quarter.
     
    hahahahah! Growth rate ( a far more relevant and important indicator) for the last quarter was a lamentable 0.2% you dumb fuckwit spamtroll....but even a serial fantasist dipshit like you probably already knew this. If you go on the pointless annual growth rate, then this is particularly retarded because Ukraine has barely made any inroads into it's 60% GDP LOSS after the coup. A severely flawed and failing economy, even with an average performance should be averaging a 4-5%+ GDP increase each quarter, which it isn't. This level of "growth" will actually take Ukraine near 30 years to get to Yanukovich -era level you disinfo-spreading sack of faeces.

    0.2%!!!!!!! From a country that has already gone through a 15+% GDP loss that will take near 20 years to recover from you idiot. A farce and a tragic shambles.

    This added with the fact that Ukraine has done nothing but fail as a state since it's creation more than 25 years ago, being one of the only countries in the world to have a lower GDP per capita now , than then

    Hey, “Gerard2″, please keep it civil. You post is absolutely terrible. Inexcusably rude. “AP” has been around for much longer than you, and even if he is wrong (I don’t care if he is), your reply is an absolute affront to basic civility.

    Read More
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  44. utu says:

    How do you play the game of prediction to get good calibration score? Or how to assign the likelihoods?

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    (2) To the bin called 50% place equal numbers of predictions from the list A and the list B. To the bin called 60% place predictions from lists A and B in proportion 6:4 and to bin 70% place in proportion 7:3 and so on.

    Then at the end of the year your calibration will look good as if you knew what you were doing, i.e., as if you had good idea about the assigned numerical values of likelihoods.

    The assigned likelihoods of 50%, 60%, 70% and so on are bogus as nobody has a sense whether something happens with, say, 70% or 80% likelihood. Nobody knows or have a priori sense of these numbers. The likelihoods are just a trick, a result of selective binning as the scheme explained in (1) and (2) shows.

    Two days ago I tried to elicit form Karlin, who wrote about his prediction game how he assigned the likelihood values but he ignored my question so I had to figure it out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Sure, one can game it but presumably no one is interested in meaningless forecasts, so there is little incentive to game.

    The assigned likelihoods of 50%, 60%, 70% and so on are bogus as nobody has a sense whether something happens with, say, 70% or 80% likelihood. Nobody knows or have a priori sense of these numbers.
     
    Not really. It's fundamentally no different from weather forecasting. Sure, no one knows "true" likelihood but if one forecasts enough and keeps records of events and forecasts, one can get a pretty good sense of what to expect and what forecasting approaches tend to work better in the long run. Here, perhaps the book will help: https://www.amazon.com/Superforecasting-Science-Prediction-Philip-Tetlock-ebook/dp/B00RKO6MS8
    , @reiner Tor

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.
     
    Karlin's predictions contain very few or none of either group. For example how do you know if there will be another Korean War next year? How do you know where oil prices will stand next year? Even the GDP growth forecasts (which are mostly just based on World Bank or IMF forecasts) are impossible to know with certainty.
    , @reiner Tor

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    (2) To the bin called 50% place equal numbers of predictions from the list A and the list B. To the bin called 60% place predictions from lists A and B in proportion 6:4 and to bin 70% place in proportion 7:3 and so on.

    Then at the end of the year your calibration will look good as if you knew what you were doing, i.e., as if you had good idea about the assigned numerical values of likelihoods.
     
    It just occurred to me that if all of Anatoly’s predictions belong to either list A or list B, then all of his predictions are things he’s either 100% sure will happen or 100% sure won’t happen. But then what is the utility of playing such a silly game? He could simply give us list A and the opposites of the things on list B as his predictions, and next year simply tally the 100% success.

    Also, if he is duping us idiots, then perhaps you could tell us from his list the obviously true (“Sun rises in the east”) and the obviously false (“I will win the lottery”) predictions. Which are those?
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  45. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @utu
    How do you play the game of prediction to get good calibration score? Or how to assign the likelihoods?

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    (2) To the bin called 50% place equal numbers of predictions from the list A and the list B. To the bin called 60% place predictions from lists A and B in proportion 6:4 and to bin 70% place in proportion 7:3 and so on.

    Then at the end of the year your calibration will look good as if you knew what you were doing, i.e., as if you had good idea about the assigned numerical values of likelihoods.

    The assigned likelihoods of 50%, 60%, 70% and so on are bogus as nobody has a sense whether something happens with, say, 70% or 80% likelihood. Nobody knows or have a priori sense of these numbers. The likelihoods are just a trick, a result of selective binning as the scheme explained in (1) and (2) shows.

    Two days ago I tried to elicit form Karlin, who wrote about his prediction game how he assigned the likelihood values but he ignored my question so I had to figure it out.

    Sure, one can game it but presumably no one is interested in meaningless forecasts, so there is little incentive to game.

    The assigned likelihoods of 50%, 60%, 70% and so on are bogus as nobody has a sense whether something happens with, say, 70% or 80% likelihood. Nobody knows or have a priori sense of these numbers.

    Not really. It’s fundamentally no different from weather forecasting. Sure, no one knows “true” likelihood but if one forecasts enough and keeps records of events and forecasts, one can get a pretty good sense of what to expect and what forecasting approaches tend to work better in the long run. Here, perhaps the book will help: https://www.amazon.com/Superforecasting-Science-Prediction-Philip-Tetlock-ebook/dp/B00RKO6MS8

    Read More
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  46. @utu
    How do you play the game of prediction to get good calibration score? Or how to assign the likelihoods?

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    (2) To the bin called 50% place equal numbers of predictions from the list A and the list B. To the bin called 60% place predictions from lists A and B in proportion 6:4 and to bin 70% place in proportion 7:3 and so on.

    Then at the end of the year your calibration will look good as if you knew what you were doing, i.e., as if you had good idea about the assigned numerical values of likelihoods.

    The assigned likelihoods of 50%, 60%, 70% and so on are bogus as nobody has a sense whether something happens with, say, 70% or 80% likelihood. Nobody knows or have a priori sense of these numbers. The likelihoods are just a trick, a result of selective binning as the scheme explained in (1) and (2) shows.

    Two days ago I tried to elicit form Karlin, who wrote about his prediction game how he assigned the likelihood values but he ignored my question so I had to figure it out.

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    Karlin’s predictions contain very few or none of either group. For example how do you know if there will be another Korean War next year? How do you know where oil prices will stand next year? Even the GDP growth forecasts (which are mostly just based on World Bank or IMF forecasts) are impossible to know with certainty.

    Read More
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  47. Beckow says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    I think a Ukrainian attack on the Donbass during either the Winter Olympics or the Russian Presidential elections is unlikely.

    * Winter Olympics - Russia has been humiliated as much as it was feasibly possible to anyway, it has no incentives to care about image and refrain from giving the UAF a good drubbing.

    * Presidential elections - Will be preceded and followed by Navalny-organized protests drawing thousands to tens of thousands of people. A Ukrainian attack might even be convenient to draw attention away from them and allow the Kremlin to portray them as Ukrainophile traitors.

    OTOH, a Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia too, hence this prediction (note that last year I gave an 80% chance that War in Donbass wouldn't reignite):

    War in Donbass doesn’t reignite: 70%
    CONDITIONAL: If it reignites, it will happen during or within a month of the FIFA World Cup: 70%
     
    As in the Sochi Winter Olympics, the aim will be to show off Russia in a good light to Western cameras, which will hardly be possible if the Donbass flares up again. Either Russia will have to intervene directly for a third time, drawing howls of protest from the West, possibly up to and including last minute boycotts, or face the ignominy of having its festival interrupted by Ukraine's Operation Storm.

    Incidentally, this might be yet another good reason to hope the Russian team gets knocked out quickly by the Saudis (though I hope that happens anyway, to humiliate the kremlins for investing tens of billions Russia can't afford into elite sport).

    Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia

    It would piss off the fans. There are 2 billion people around the word who take the World Cup seriously, in countries like Germany, Spain, Brazil, Korea,… General inclination by these low information fans would be that somebody else (other than Russia) is messing with their fun. It would take a huge effort and a concerted effort in all Western controlled media to create an impression blaming Russia. So they will probably try it.

    Post-World Cup there will be almost no constraints left on Russia. Overnight, as we go into 2019-20, the strategic situation will change for the worse for Ukraine. The pipelines to Asia (mostly China) will go online, the long-term contracts with Ukraine expiring, the usual 3-year passion period will come to an end and fatigue will set in (it always happens, check out the zeitgeist 3-year cycles, people just get tired of fights after about 3 years). Most important the massive debts that Washington gave to Kiev in 2014-17 will start coming due – either a write-off, stretching them out, or a repo crew will show up in Kiev (that great Ukrainian arable land is very tempting.)

    What we are already seeing is that West is trying to change the subject, start new areas to fight (N Korea, Iran,…), and are preparing Kiev for a soft landing. Something similar to what happened to Saakasvilli after few years. The fire-eaters will try to prevent that – and that is what makes 2018 potentially so interesting. It is now or never for the ‘conquer the Russia’ crowd in Western institutions, media, academia. They might go for it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree with

    I would predict that some unexpected larger events will happen this year. The World Cup might not happen in a usual way – too many parties need to either use it as an ‘opportunity’ or to make sure it is not a routine success.
     
    and

    My only ‘prediction’ – or more like a gut feeling – is that 2018 will have a lot of unpredicted events. Our world has slowly destabilised, the contradictions have accumulated, that’s when you get things changing.
     
    , @Aedib
    That’s would made an attack to Donbas more likely. The MRBM showed by @AP would allow striking from well behind the contact line. The missile is an undeniable achievement in current macroeconomic circumstances but, let’s be honest, it’s utility as deterrence vis-a-vis Russia is near zero. I tend to agree with @AP on Poroshhenko’s government rational behavior, but I have serious doubts about the behavior of ultras battalions. They will love to produce chaos. Anyway, I seem the Kremlin also inserting some “vacationers” on Donbas previously to world cup and let the info leak. In the end, we will see interesting months.
    On the other hand, a would bet on a Brazilian revenge over Germany in the Coup final; Russia out in the first phase (I bet on Uruguay and Egypt) and the end of Messi’s career on Argentina after just another mediocre performance on World Championships.
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  48. peterAUS says:
    @AP
    New weapons won't be online and deployed until 2019. In 2018 Ukraine would be attacking with an army vastly improved from 2014, but still in the middle of renovation. Very unlikely.

    New weapons won’t be online and deployed until 2019. In 2018 Ukraine would be attacking with an army vastly improved from 2014, but still in the middle of renovation. Very unlikely.

    Ghosts of Georgia. Almost the same actually.
    Unlikely could mean “surprise”.
    As it was in Georgia. And, of course, Georgians got surprised by Russian reaction.

    In this case almost identical.
    Objective could be simply to take a small part of Donbass. Quite feasible. I don’t think that without VISIBLE Russian help Donbass could retake that part.
    So, win if that part is kept taken. Also, win if Russia gets involved in “open”.

    On operational level, simply be ready for fast retreat (which Georgians weren’t).
    Don’t get suprised by Russian intervention, calculate that well into the operation.

    Read More
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  49. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia
     
    It would piss off the fans. There are 2 billion people around the word who take the World Cup seriously, in countries like Germany, Spain, Brazil, Korea,... General inclination by these low information fans would be that somebody else (other than Russia) is messing with their fun. It would take a huge effort and a concerted effort in all Western controlled media to create an impression blaming Russia. So they will probably try it.

    Post-World Cup there will be almost no constraints left on Russia. Overnight, as we go into 2019-20, the strategic situation will change for the worse for Ukraine. The pipelines to Asia (mostly China) will go online, the long-term contracts with Ukraine expiring, the usual 3-year passion period will come to an end and fatigue will set in (it always happens, check out the zeitgeist 3-year cycles, people just get tired of fights after about 3 years). Most important the massive debts that Washington gave to Kiev in 2014-17 will start coming due - either a write-off, stretching them out, or a repo crew will show up in Kiev (that great Ukrainian arable land is very tempting.)

    What we are already seeing is that West is trying to change the subject, start new areas to fight (N Korea, Iran,...), and are preparing Kiev for a soft landing. Something similar to what happened to Saakasvilli after few years. The fire-eaters will try to prevent that - and that is what makes 2018 potentially so interesting. It is now or never for the 'conquer the Russia' crowd in Western institutions, media, academia. They might go for it.

    Agree with

    I would predict that some unexpected larger events will happen this year. The World Cup might not happen in a usual way – too many parties need to either use it as an ‘opportunity’ or to make sure it is not a routine success.

    and

    My only ‘prediction’ – or more like a gut feeling – is that 2018 will have a lot of unpredicted events. Our world has slowly destabilised, the contradictions have accumulated, that’s when you get things changing.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
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  50. Aedib says:
    @Beckow

    Ukrainian attack during the FIFA World Cup might be good for Ukraine, or at least do appreciable damage to Russia
     
    It would piss off the fans. There are 2 billion people around the word who take the World Cup seriously, in countries like Germany, Spain, Brazil, Korea,... General inclination by these low information fans would be that somebody else (other than Russia) is messing with their fun. It would take a huge effort and a concerted effort in all Western controlled media to create an impression blaming Russia. So they will probably try it.

    Post-World Cup there will be almost no constraints left on Russia. Overnight, as we go into 2019-20, the strategic situation will change for the worse for Ukraine. The pipelines to Asia (mostly China) will go online, the long-term contracts with Ukraine expiring, the usual 3-year passion period will come to an end and fatigue will set in (it always happens, check out the zeitgeist 3-year cycles, people just get tired of fights after about 3 years). Most important the massive debts that Washington gave to Kiev in 2014-17 will start coming due - either a write-off, stretching them out, or a repo crew will show up in Kiev (that great Ukrainian arable land is very tempting.)

    What we are already seeing is that West is trying to change the subject, start new areas to fight (N Korea, Iran,...), and are preparing Kiev for a soft landing. Something similar to what happened to Saakasvilli after few years. The fire-eaters will try to prevent that - and that is what makes 2018 potentially so interesting. It is now or never for the 'conquer the Russia' crowd in Western institutions, media, academia. They might go for it.

    That’s would made an attack to Donbas more likely. The MRBM showed by would allow striking from well behind the contact line. The missile is an undeniable achievement in current macroeconomic circumstances but, let’s be honest, it’s utility as deterrence vis-a-vis Russia is near zero. I tend to agree with on Poroshhenko’s government rational behavior, but I have serious doubts about the behavior of ultras battalions. They will love to produce chaos. Anyway, I seem the Kremlin also inserting some “vacationers” on Donbas previously to world cup and let the info leak. In the end, we will see interesting months.
    On the other hand, a would bet on a Brazilian revenge over Germany in the Coup final; Russia out in the first phase (I bet on Uruguay and Egypt) and the end of Messi’s career on Argentina after just another mediocre performance on World Championships.

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    Brazil simply doesn't know how to play Germany. And the psychological baggage is too heavy. Their best bet is to avoid Germany. You are right about Messi, probably wrong about Russia, I see them making it to the round of 16 and then gone.

    Ukraine (=US) would have to start major hostilities and somehow manage to blame it on Russia. It is possible, but very risky, with all the media dominance it could still backfire. The reason I think they will try is that the alternatives - successful World Cup and Russia unconstrained post World Cup - are even worse for them. Both sides are so heavily penetrated in their own territories that an attack behind the separation lines is most likely. What matters at the end is that Russia has a complete local dominance and can only 'lose' if they want to lose.

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let's understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out - but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.
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  51. @Anatoly Karlin

    Also there was that claimed coup attempt or whatever it was...
     
    Yes, that was the most visible exception, but obviously North Korean propaganda can't be taken at face value. He could have just represented a faction that KJU saw as a potential problem in the future.

    But who knows.

    A serious military setback is not something he can easily afford.
     
    I suspect this is the sort of thing that is dangerous for countries with relative freedom of access to information, and/or traditions of an "activist" military. But North Korea doesn't have the former, and its military is totally suborned to the Party through the Central Military Commission; nor can there be any any meaningful popular pressure for retaliation, since there is no public debate to speak of.

    Quite recently it was claimed that he sunk a South Korean vessel, with 46 South Koreans dead.
     
    Okay, good point. I can certainly see something like that happening again, though worth noting that South Koreans didn't escalate back then (and presumably won't do so now).

    I’m not sure about 99%, but the chances are very high, especially if “major conflict” is defined as anything over fifty deaths.
     
    Great point. Didn't think that through, did I. Should have thought more about how to define "major conflict." (E.g., excluding those killed in the initial strike, only counting consequent deaths in retaliatory clashes). Still, as I promised, not changing the predictions after making them.

    I suspect this is the sort of thing that is dangerous for countries with relative freedom of access to information, and/or traditions of an “activist” military. But North Korea doesn’t have the former, and its military is totally suborned to the Party through the Central Military Commission; nor can there be any any meaningful popular pressure for retaliation, since there is no public debate to speak of.

    Let’s get back for a moment to the South Korean vessel sunk by Kim, supposedly in order to build “street cred” among the “hardliners”. Another example is his getting fat. From what I heard, his father advised him that he could get more respect if he was fat, because he is young, and being fat makes him look older and more respectable.

    Who are those people whose respect he had to earn in such ways? I guess, basically the top level leadership. Why did he have to earn their respect? Well, have you ever worked with older guys who knew that, despite you being much younger, either you made more money than them, or had a way higher chance of being promoted, or both? They resented you for that, didn’t they? I guess the same dynamic holds here: most of North Korea’s top leadership started their careers decades ago. They have been around the top of their careers for years or longer before young Kim appeared on the scene. He had very little experience, and his only credential was being the son of the then dictator.

    There’s no way to tell how much the top leaders can talk to each other without Kim being informed. But I don’t think too many people would be needed to remove Kim. It’s democratic centralism, the top ten (or maybe five) leaders could probably remove him and write a new constitution, unless Kim got wind of this and suppressed the attempt in time.

    Now given his godlike status, Kim might be more difficult to remove than, say, Khrushchev was. Some in the leadership might swallow their pride and support him out of loyalty to his late father anyway. But it’s difficult to predict what could happen after a serious setback, which will be perceived as being caused by the supreme leader’s missteps and erroneous judgment. I guess it’s not only difficult to predict for us, but also for Kim. He might fear more being removed by his Politburo than a total war…

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    You know...I really believe that the attack on North Korea will be around 80 % related with US internal politics and 20 % with the rest of the world.

    And not more than 5 % related what the regime/power structures in NK want or don't want, or whatever.

    Those 15 % will be related to China and/or Russia, and nobody else.

    The world we live in.
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  52. @Anonymous

    Robust mouse rejuvenation does not happen: 95%
     
    IMO, if one plays the current year 20 times, there is almost no way that it will happen once. The true rate is probably below 0.5% and thus the "correct" prediction is 100%.

    Russia will fail to advance past the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: 60%.
    The Unz Review has more pageviews than in 2017: 80%.

     

    Russia will almost definitely advance: 95%. Home turf + "easy" group.
    UR will have more page views: 99%. Unless Ron goes mad and closes it, nothing suggests the sudden downward trend that would go against the well-documented growth trend. It would be quite freaky event.

    I feel that you are more cautious now than in the previous years. Probably too cautious. In any case, you still don't have large enough number of questions to make a reliable calibration. It really takes a few hundreds before meaningful picture emerges.


    I will visit the LDNR: 50%
    I will visit Saint-Petersburg (Russia): 50%

     

    You know better but to me the two don't seem very concordant. With some neutral party that knows as much as I do, I'd be willing to bet heavily that at least one of the two numbers is way off.

    US strike on a North Korean missile base: 50%
    No major conflict on the Korean peninsula (>50 deaths): 90%

     

    Just about the only way the North can respond to a major event like the US attack is killing a bunch of South Koreans. Given your chances of US attack (too high IMO), the 10% chance of 50 killed seems way too low.

    The true rate is probably below 0.5% and thus the “correct” prediction is 100%.

    Okay, sure, it’s definitely not happening in 2018. But 2020 is possible, and 2025 is *very* possible IMO.

    I am leery of assigning 100% confidence, even with rounding up, since any wrong predictions there will completely and irrevocably shatter my record in that range.

    UR will have more page views: 99%.

    I’ll stand by this. In my experience, life expectancy of many sites/blogs is around 10 years – and sharp up/downs are entirely routine.

    All sorts of negative things can potentially happen with UR, though I don’t think it would be well advised of me to speculate in too much detail.

    I remain cautiously optimistic.

    You know better but to me the two don’t seem very concordant. With some neutral party that knows as much as I do, I’d be willing to bet heavily that at least one of the two numbers is way off.

    Understandable reaction, but no.

    I was *very* close to going to the DNR a couple of weeks ago – but the project got canceled due to circumstances beyond my control.

    If said project gets resurrected in 2018, I will very likely go.

    In contrast, I have no particular business in SPB, though as Russia’s 2nd city, there is always a substantial background chance I will get called there.

    Given your chances of US attack (too high IMO), the 10% chance of 50 killed seems way too low.

    Good point.

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  53. Beckow says:
    @Aedib
    That’s would made an attack to Donbas more likely. The MRBM showed by @AP would allow striking from well behind the contact line. The missile is an undeniable achievement in current macroeconomic circumstances but, let’s be honest, it’s utility as deterrence vis-a-vis Russia is near zero. I tend to agree with @AP on Poroshhenko’s government rational behavior, but I have serious doubts about the behavior of ultras battalions. They will love to produce chaos. Anyway, I seem the Kremlin also inserting some “vacationers” on Donbas previously to world cup and let the info leak. In the end, we will see interesting months.
    On the other hand, a would bet on a Brazilian revenge over Germany in the Coup final; Russia out in the first phase (I bet on Uruguay and Egypt) and the end of Messi’s career on Argentina after just another mediocre performance on World Championships.

    Brazil simply doesn’t know how to play Germany. And the psychological baggage is too heavy. Their best bet is to avoid Germany. You are right about Messi, probably wrong about Russia, I see them making it to the round of 16 and then gone.

    Ukraine (=US) would have to start major hostilities and somehow manage to blame it on Russia. It is possible, but very risky, with all the media dominance it could still backfire. The reason I think they will try is that the alternatives – successful World Cup and Russia unconstrained post World Cup – are even worse for them. Both sides are so heavily penetrated in their own territories that an attack behind the separation lines is most likely. What matters at the end is that Russia has a complete local dominance and can only ‘lose’ if they want to lose.

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let’s understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out – but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.

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    • Replies: @Aedib
    1) I see a much better Brazil than 4 years ago. On the other hand Germany will be "almost local" due to geography. Lots of Germans will “drang nach osten” :)
    2) The “psychological baggage” is on Messi’s head. Maradona’s phantom is too large for him. Messi seems unable to play in adverse environments. He is just the opposite to Maradona in these environments. I think Brazil would forget its epic defeat and there will not have the psychological baggage anymore.
    3) On Russia’s performance, may be you are right.
    4) On Ukraine and the Donbas, you are possibly right. Infiltrating groups to start a (preferably bloody) mess in Donbas is an attractive choice. Some ultras (Bandera fans and so on) would love to trash “the World Coup in Mongolia”.
    , @Aedib

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let’s understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out – but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.
     
    He wanted to teach Putin a lesson. A dumb hot-brain cold-heart decision by an eunuch Western “leader”. He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013. Obama is just the opposite to hot-heart cold-brain Vladimir Putin.
    Now, the West, Russia and Ukraine are facing all the law of unintended consequences.
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  54. Some more predictions added.

    UNQUANTIFIED: Influence of the Alt Right declines.
    Sputnik and Pogrom above 1 million monthly visitors again as of November 2018 (SimilarWeb), despite it being blocked in Russia: 80%

    I will not be banned from Twitter or Facebook: 80%
    CONDITIONAL: Will have more than 5,000 followers on Twitter: 50%
    I will start work on a PhD: 60%
    Some significant health problems I have will not be resolved: 80%
    I will be in a long-term relationship: 60%
    I will not be engaged/married: 90%
    I will be living in another apartment in Moscow: 90%
    I will meet my savings target for 2018 (remont done; enough money to immediately pay off debts if I need to): 70%
    I will weigh 75kg at year end 2018: 50%
    I will not cardinally change my political positions (disavow Russian nationalism, support Navalny, etc.): 90%
    I will not get seriously drunk (throwing up) this year: 70%
    I will not take hard drugs this year: 90%
    I will not go skiing/snowboarding this year: 90%

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    • Replies: @JL

    Some significant health problems I have will not be resolved: 80%
     
    Very sorry to hear this, you are too young to be having unresolved significant health problems.

    I will not go skiing/snowboarding this year: 90%
     
    Unless the above precludes it, considering that you live a ~$65 r/t, 2 hour flight away from some of the world's best skiing, this number is simply unacceptable. Some type of intervention may be in order.
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  55. Aedib says:
    @Beckow
    Brazil simply doesn't know how to play Germany. And the psychological baggage is too heavy. Their best bet is to avoid Germany. You are right about Messi, probably wrong about Russia, I see them making it to the round of 16 and then gone.

    Ukraine (=US) would have to start major hostilities and somehow manage to blame it on Russia. It is possible, but very risky, with all the media dominance it could still backfire. The reason I think they will try is that the alternatives - successful World Cup and Russia unconstrained post World Cup - are even worse for them. Both sides are so heavily penetrated in their own territories that an attack behind the separation lines is most likely. What matters at the end is that Russia has a complete local dominance and can only 'lose' if they want to lose.

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let's understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out - but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.

    1) I see a much better Brazil than 4 years ago. On the other hand Germany will be “almost local” due to geography. Lots of Germans will “drang nach osten” :)
    2) The “psychological baggage” is on Messi’s head. Maradona’s phantom is too large for him. Messi seems unable to play in adverse environments. He is just the opposite to Maradona in these environments. I think Brazil would forget its epic defeat and there will not have the psychological baggage anymore.
    3) On Russia’s performance, may be you are right.
    4) On Ukraine and the Donbas, you are possibly right. Infiltrating groups to start a (preferably bloody) mess in Donbas is an attractive choice. Some ultras (Bandera fans and so on) would love to trash “the World Coup in Mongolia”.

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  56. Aedib says:
    @Beckow
    Brazil simply doesn't know how to play Germany. And the psychological baggage is too heavy. Their best bet is to avoid Germany. You are right about Messi, probably wrong about Russia, I see them making it to the round of 16 and then gone.

    Ukraine (=US) would have to start major hostilities and somehow manage to blame it on Russia. It is possible, but very risky, with all the media dominance it could still backfire. The reason I think they will try is that the alternatives - successful World Cup and Russia unconstrained post World Cup - are even worse for them. Both sides are so heavily penetrated in their own territories that an attack behind the separation lines is most likely. What matters at the end is that Russia has a complete local dominance and can only 'lose' if they want to lose.

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let's understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out - but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let’s understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out – but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.

    He wanted to teach Putin a lesson. A dumb hot-brain cold-heart decision by an eunuch Western “leader”. He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013. Obama is just the opposite to hot-heart cold-brain Vladimir Putin.
    Now, the West, Russia and Ukraine are facing all the law of unintended consequences.

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    • Replies: @Beckow

    He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013
     
    I agree with your general point, but this detail doesn't fit the timing. Syria attack was scuttled in September 2013, by then the planning in Ukraine was very advanced. My guess would be that Washington neo-cons planned the 'Russian Navy out of Crimea' latest by 2010-11. Much more likely this goes back to the 90's and the general plan of 'shrinking' Russia and possibly sub-dividing it.

    Now for the consequences of that over-reach.
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  57. @utu
    How do you play the game of prediction to get good calibration score? Or how to assign the likelihoods?

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    (2) To the bin called 50% place equal numbers of predictions from the list A and the list B. To the bin called 60% place predictions from lists A and B in proportion 6:4 and to bin 70% place in proportion 7:3 and so on.

    Then at the end of the year your calibration will look good as if you knew what you were doing, i.e., as if you had good idea about the assigned numerical values of likelihoods.

    The assigned likelihoods of 50%, 60%, 70% and so on are bogus as nobody has a sense whether something happens with, say, 70% or 80% likelihood. Nobody knows or have a priori sense of these numbers. The likelihoods are just a trick, a result of selective binning as the scheme explained in (1) and (2) shows.

    Two days ago I tried to elicit form Karlin, who wrote about his prediction game how he assigned the likelihood values but he ignored my question so I had to figure it out.

    (1) Make a list A of N trivial predictions you are pretty confident of and a list B of M predictions you are pretty certain they will not come true.

    (2) To the bin called 50% place equal numbers of predictions from the list A and the list B. To the bin called 60% place predictions from lists A and B in proportion 6:4 and to bin 70% place in proportion 7:3 and so on.

    Then at the end of the year your calibration will look good as if you knew what you were doing, i.e., as if you had good idea about the assigned numerical values of likelihoods.

    It just occurred to me that if all of Anatoly’s predictions belong to either list A or list B, then all of his predictions are things he’s either 100% sure will happen or 100% sure won’t happen. But then what is the utility of playing such a silly game? He could simply give us list A and the opposites of the things on list B as his predictions, and next year simply tally the 100% success.

    Also, if he is duping us idiots, then perhaps you could tell us from his list the obviously true (“Sun rises in the east”) and the obviously false (“I will win the lottery”) predictions. Which are those?

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  58. peterAUS says:
    @reiner Tor

    I suspect this is the sort of thing that is dangerous for countries with relative freedom of access to information, and/or traditions of an “activist” military. But North Korea doesn’t have the former, and its military is totally suborned to the Party through the Central Military Commission; nor can there be any any meaningful popular pressure for retaliation, since there is no public debate to speak of.
     
    Let’s get back for a moment to the South Korean vessel sunk by Kim, supposedly in order to build “street cred” among the “hardliners”. Another example is his getting fat. From what I heard, his father advised him that he could get more respect if he was fat, because he is young, and being fat makes him look older and more respectable.

    Who are those people whose respect he had to earn in such ways? I guess, basically the top level leadership. Why did he have to earn their respect? Well, have you ever worked with older guys who knew that, despite you being much younger, either you made more money than them, or had a way higher chance of being promoted, or both? They resented you for that, didn’t they? I guess the same dynamic holds here: most of North Korea’s top leadership started their careers decades ago. They have been around the top of their careers for years or longer before young Kim appeared on the scene. He had very little experience, and his only credential was being the son of the then dictator.

    There’s no way to tell how much the top leaders can talk to each other without Kim being informed. But I don’t think too many people would be needed to remove Kim. It’s democratic centralism, the top ten (or maybe five) leaders could probably remove him and write a new constitution, unless Kim got wind of this and suppressed the attempt in time.

    Now given his godlike status, Kim might be more difficult to remove than, say, Khrushchev was. Some in the leadership might swallow their pride and support him out of loyalty to his late father anyway. But it’s difficult to predict what could happen after a serious setback, which will be perceived as being caused by the supreme leader’s missteps and erroneous judgment. I guess it’s not only difficult to predict for us, but also for Kim. He might fear more being removed by his Politburo than a total war...

    You know…I really believe that the attack on North Korea will be around 80 % related with US internal politics and 20 % with the rest of the world.

    And not more than 5 % related what the regime/power structures in NK want or don’t want, or whatever.

    Those 15 % will be related to China and/or Russia, and nobody else.

    The world we live in.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    What North Korea does will be very much related to the internal structure of North Korea and what and how North Koreans (especially the leadership, but also the officer corps and ordinary soldiers) perceive things.

    The question was, will North Korea retaliate, if the US takes out a missile site of theirs.

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  59. @peterAUS
    You know...I really believe that the attack on North Korea will be around 80 % related with US internal politics and 20 % with the rest of the world.

    And not more than 5 % related what the regime/power structures in NK want or don't want, or whatever.

    Those 15 % will be related to China and/or Russia, and nobody else.

    The world we live in.

    What North Korea does will be very much related to the internal structure of North Korea and what and how North Koreans (especially the leadership, but also the officer corps and ordinary soldiers) perceive things.

    The question was, will North Korea retaliate, if the US takes out a missile site of theirs.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    The question was, will North Korea retaliate, if the US takes out a missile site of theirs.
     
    The Question for sure.

    Boils down to "gut feeling" I believe.
    Easy with anyone not in US administration.

    What bothers me, of sort, is that the decision will be based on US President gut feeling/hunch/moment of clarity (or not).

    It's one of those things: how come we, so smart, have developed a system when such power (and consequences) is concentrated in one man's hands. Or mind.

    Where did we make that mistake?

    How come that billions of humans on this planet have no input whatsoever to that?
    "That" means limited nuclear war.
    Especially if it goes above limited.

    Probably because most are too busy with shopping, updating Facebook and similar pursuits.

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  60. peterAUS says:
    @reiner Tor
    What North Korea does will be very much related to the internal structure of North Korea and what and how North Koreans (especially the leadership, but also the officer corps and ordinary soldiers) perceive things.

    The question was, will North Korea retaliate, if the US takes out a missile site of theirs.

    The question was, will North Korea retaliate, if the US takes out a missile site of theirs.

    The Question for sure.

    Boils down to “gut feeling” I believe.
    Easy with anyone not in US administration.

    What bothers me, of sort, is that the decision will be based on US President gut feeling/hunch/moment of clarity (or not).

    It’s one of those things: how come we, so smart, have developed a system when such power (and consequences) is concentrated in one man’s hands. Or mind.

    Where did we make that mistake?

    How come that billions of humans on this planet have no input whatsoever to that?
    “That” means limited nuclear war.
    Especially if it goes above limited.

    Probably because most are too busy with shopping, updating Facebook and similar pursuits.

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  61. Beckow says:
    @Aedib

    I am still at awe that this gigantic crazy attack on Russia was approved by Obama and Co. Let’s understand what this was all about: removing Russian Navy from Crimea and replacing it over time with Nato Navy. And Obama signed off on that. One can call it gutsy, or crazy, or badly though out – but more than anything else the word hubris comes to mind.
     
    He wanted to teach Putin a lesson. A dumb hot-brain cold-heart decision by an eunuch Western “leader”. He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013. Obama is just the opposite to hot-heart cold-brain Vladimir Putin.
    Now, the West, Russia and Ukraine are facing all the law of unintended consequences.

    He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013

    I agree with your general point, but this detail doesn’t fit the timing. Syria attack was scuttled in September 2013, by then the planning in Ukraine was very advanced. My guess would be that Washington neo-cons planned the ‘Russian Navy out of Crimea’ latest by 2010-11. Much more likely this goes back to the 90′s and the general plan of ‘shrinking’ Russia and possibly sub-dividing it.

    Now for the consequences of that over-reach.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    My guess would be that Washington neo-cons planned the ‘Russian Navy out of Crimea’ latest by 2010-11.
     
    President Bush was pushing for Ukrainian NATO membership in 2008 I think.
    , @Aedib
    These ‘color revolutions’ are usually scripted for each specific scenario. They are just unleashed when some politic gives the green-light by takin a spontaneous event to unleash it. I.e. Maidan started to roll just after Janucovich signed the deal with Putin. Protest usually spontaneously start but are progressively infiltrated and coopted by professionally-trained “peaceful protesters”. In the same way the Crimean script was previously scripted (several years before). It was probably unleashed just after Vicky Nuland chooses “Yats, our man”. Spontaneous protests in Simferopol were followed by the “magic appearance of green men”.
    The ‘color revolution’ script is well known. E.g. it just fizzled yesterday in Iran.
    On the other hand I have my doubts about events in Donbas. They seem too chaotic to be previously planned and both sides ended reacting to evolving circumstances.
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  62. JL says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Some more predictions added.

    UNQUANTIFIED: Influence of the Alt Right declines.
    Sputnik and Pogrom above 1 million monthly visitors again as of November 2018 (SimilarWeb), despite it being blocked in Russia: 80%
     

    I will not be banned from Twitter or Facebook: 80%
    CONDITIONAL: Will have more than 5,000 followers on Twitter: 50%
    I will start work on a PhD: 60%
    Some significant health problems I have will not be resolved: 80%
    I will be in a long-term relationship: 60%
    I will not be engaged/married: 90%
    I will be living in another apartment in Moscow: 90%
    I will meet my savings target for 2018 (remont done; enough money to immediately pay off debts if I need to): 70%
    I will weigh 75kg at year end 2018: 50%
    I will not cardinally change my political positions (disavow Russian nationalism, support Navalny, etc.): 90%
    I will not get seriously drunk (throwing up) this year: 70%
    I will not take hard drugs this year: 90%
    I will not go skiing/snowboarding this year: 90%
     

    Some significant health problems I have will not be resolved: 80%

    Very sorry to hear this, you are too young to be having unresolved significant health problems.

    I will not go skiing/snowboarding this year: 90%

    Unless the above precludes it, considering that you live a ~$65 r/t, 2 hour flight away from some of the world’s best skiing, this number is simply unacceptable. Some type of intervention may be in order.

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  63. @Beckow

    He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013
     
    I agree with your general point, but this detail doesn't fit the timing. Syria attack was scuttled in September 2013, by then the planning in Ukraine was very advanced. My guess would be that Washington neo-cons planned the 'Russian Navy out of Crimea' latest by 2010-11. Much more likely this goes back to the 90's and the general plan of 'shrinking' Russia and possibly sub-dividing it.

    Now for the consequences of that over-reach.

    My guess would be that Washington neo-cons planned the ‘Russian Navy out of Crimea’ latest by 2010-11.

    President Bush was pushing for Ukrainian NATO membership in 2008 I think.

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  64. Aedib says:
    @Beckow

    He was offended when Putin averted the attack to Syria in 2013
     
    I agree with your general point, but this detail doesn't fit the timing. Syria attack was scuttled in September 2013, by then the planning in Ukraine was very advanced. My guess would be that Washington neo-cons planned the 'Russian Navy out of Crimea' latest by 2010-11. Much more likely this goes back to the 90's and the general plan of 'shrinking' Russia and possibly sub-dividing it.

    Now for the consequences of that over-reach.

    These ‘color revolutions’ are usually scripted for each specific scenario. They are just unleashed when some politic gives the green-light by takin a spontaneous event to unleash it. I.e. Maidan started to roll just after Janucovich signed the deal with Putin. Protest usually spontaneously start but are progressively infiltrated and coopted by professionally-trained “peaceful protesters”. In the same way the Crimean script was previously scripted (several years before). It was probably unleashed just after Vicky Nuland chooses “Yats, our man”. Spontaneous protests in Simferopol were followed by the “magic appearance of green men”.
    The ‘color revolution’ script is well known. E.g. it just fizzled yesterday in Iran.
    On the other hand I have my doubts about events in Donbas. They seem too chaotic to be previously planned and both sides ended reacting to evolving circumstances.

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  65. Anatoly, regarding the survivability of liquid-fuel Nork missiles, I know that there exist Chinese liquid-fuel missile systems which can be based in a cave, with roll out to launch capability. In other words, while it’s not as easy to move as a solid-fuel road mobile ICBM, it can still be moved (needing a considerably longer convoy with fuel trucks), spend most time in protected (concealed) positions in caves, and then after a first strike be filled with fuel inside the cave, quickly roll out of the cave, and launch. How can they tell if the Norks don’t have that simply capability? They already do have transporters for their ICBMs, it cannot be a difficult thing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I also thought about the reentry vehicles. Apparently they haven't tested one, which is why they say they don't have a reliable reentry vehicle. But I guess they have designs and have already started working on it. I guess they already have (or at least no one can know with any certainty if they had) something. Maybe that something doesn't work. Or maybe it's unreliable, but has a chance of working. But could President Trump risk that they don't have one, or rather that what they have won't work? Could President Xi risk that, given that most warheads which are not sitting atop ICBMs must be atop Scuds? I guess reentry vehicles might be simpler for Scuds than they are for ICBMs. I also guess Kim must have something up his sleeve against the Chinese, what with 20 warheads it'd be criminally negligent not to have at least one of them pointed at a Chinese city, maybe even Beijing. Though that might be too far away for the missiles they have, being something like 800 kilometers from Pyongyang. But they must have a few IRBMs.
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  66. peterAUS says:

    Skimmed through the comments but couldn’t find anything about

    UNQUANTIFIED: Influence of the Alt Right declines.

    Seems significant, though.

    Any reason as to why?

    Public recognized that more the things change more they stay the same?
    No real alternative provided?

    Because if alt-right influence declines “prog”/whatever influence can only increase.

    I mean, they already own the paradigm as we speak. What worse, then, we can expect? Witch hunts against the usual suspects (heterosexual white males in West)?

    We already live almost like spies in foreign territory, hard to imagine getting worse. One can master doublething/doublespeak only so much. Sooner or later there will be slip which will be used as a whip. Not even to put us back into line; simply for a pure fun of it.

    I mean, Che Guevara would be seen as a sexist misogynist and gay hater now. And more, especially after his African adventure.

    Or I am just reading too much into this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I also didn’t understand that. The influence of the alt-right currently stands at roughly zero. How can it decline further? Page views on alt-right sites will drop from the already small numbers we can see today?
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  67. @peterAUS
    Skimmed through the comments but couldn't find anything about

    UNQUANTIFIED: Influence of the Alt Right declines.
     
    Seems significant, though.

    Any reason as to why?

    Public recognized that more the things change more they stay the same?
    No real alternative provided?

    Because if alt-right influence declines "prog"/whatever influence can only increase.

    I mean, they already own the paradigm as we speak. What worse, then, we can expect? Witch hunts against the usual suspects (heterosexual white males in West)?

    We already live almost like spies in foreign territory, hard to imagine getting worse. One can master doublething/doublespeak only so much. Sooner or later there will be slip which will be used as a whip. Not even to put us back into line; simply for a pure fun of it.

    I mean, Che Guevara would be seen as a sexist misogynist and gay hater now. And more, especially after his African adventure.

    Or I am just reading too much into this?

    I also didn’t understand that. The influence of the alt-right currently stands at roughly zero. How can it decline further? Page views on alt-right sites will drop from the already small numbers we can see today?

    Read More
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  68. @reiner Tor
    Anatoly, regarding the survivability of liquid-fuel Nork missiles, I know that there exist Chinese liquid-fuel missile systems which can be based in a cave, with roll out to launch capability. In other words, while it's not as easy to move as a solid-fuel road mobile ICBM, it can still be moved (needing a considerably longer convoy with fuel trucks), spend most time in protected (concealed) positions in caves, and then after a first strike be filled with fuel inside the cave, quickly roll out of the cave, and launch. How can they tell if the Norks don't have that simply capability? They already do have transporters for their ICBMs, it cannot be a difficult thing.

    I also thought about the reentry vehicles. Apparently they haven’t tested one, which is why they say they don’t have a reliable reentry vehicle. But I guess they have designs and have already started working on it. I guess they already have (or at least no one can know with any certainty if they had) something. Maybe that something doesn’t work. Or maybe it’s unreliable, but has a chance of working. But could President Trump risk that they don’t have one, or rather that what they have won’t work? Could President Xi risk that, given that most warheads which are not sitting atop ICBMs must be atop Scuds? I guess reentry vehicles might be simpler for Scuds than they are for ICBMs. I also guess Kim must have something up his sleeve against the Chinese, what with 20 warheads it’d be criminally negligent not to have at least one of them pointed at a Chinese city, maybe even Beijing. Though that might be too far away for the missiles they have, being something like 800 kilometers from Pyongyang. But they must have a few IRBMs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Scuds I guess don't travel to outer space, so don't have reentry vehicles. So, should read warheads.
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  69. @reiner Tor
    I also thought about the reentry vehicles. Apparently they haven't tested one, which is why they say they don't have a reliable reentry vehicle. But I guess they have designs and have already started working on it. I guess they already have (or at least no one can know with any certainty if they had) something. Maybe that something doesn't work. Or maybe it's unreliable, but has a chance of working. But could President Trump risk that they don't have one, or rather that what they have won't work? Could President Xi risk that, given that most warheads which are not sitting atop ICBMs must be atop Scuds? I guess reentry vehicles might be simpler for Scuds than they are for ICBMs. I also guess Kim must have something up his sleeve against the Chinese, what with 20 warheads it'd be criminally negligent not to have at least one of them pointed at a Chinese city, maybe even Beijing. Though that might be too far away for the missiles they have, being something like 800 kilometers from Pyongyang. But they must have a few IRBMs.

    Scuds I guess don’t travel to outer space, so don’t have reentry vehicles. So, should read warheads.

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  70. Beckow says:

    I agree that Donbas is mostly (or entirely) chaotic. Moscow’s ideal scenario is Donbas in Ukraine as an insurance policy. There isn’t much benefit in absorbing it into Russia and quite a bit of downside. If Donbas becomes independent (or a part of Russia) it will be because all other options have been eliminated with a complete unwillingness to compromise by Kiev and their Western sponsors.

    I think Crimea has been strategically on both Russia’s and US’s radar since at least late 90′s. Nato’s attack on Kosovo in 1999 destroyed the post-WWII international order. And it also ended any residual pro-Western Russian liberalism. It is a might is right world and Russia was looking for an opportunity to take Crimea of the chess board for a long time. Maidan gave them a perfect opportunity, but I am sure they were ready.

    When Bush officially ‘invited’ Ukraine into Nato in 2008, the dice was thrown. What is unclear is how could Washington not see Russia’s counter-action in Crimea. They either thought that they had more time, or Kiev crowd totally failed in execution, or – this is the scariest possibility – they are actually that stupid that they think that they play a one-sided game of chess. They seemed to be shocked that Moscow didn’t just roll over and played dead. Not for the first time. That is outright scary, are they overgrown children playing at ‘geo-politics’?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib

    Moscow’s ideal scenario is Donbas in Ukraine as an insurance policy.
     
    Agreed. That's clear rigth now.

    If Donbas becomes independent (or a part of Russia) it will be because all other options have been eliminated with a complete unwillingness to compromise by Kiev and their Western sponsors.

     

    That's what is happening. Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far.

    It is a might is right world and Russia was looking for an opportunity to take Crimea of the chess board for a long time. Maidan gave them a perfect opportunity, but I am sure they were ready.

     

    Agreed. It was also Obama’s gift to Crimean people. The mess allowed them to realize their “go back home” dream. The economic side also counted. E.g. Ukrainian Crimeans also voted (60%) for the Russian option.

    They either thought that they had more time, or Kiev crowd totally failed in execution, or – this is the scariest possibility – they are actually that stupid that they think that they play a one-sided game of chess. They seemed to be shocked that Moscow didn’t just roll over and played dead. Not for the first time. That is outright scary, are they overgrown children playing at ‘geo-politics’?
     
    Kiev tried and failed. They sent a “friendship train” with Svoboda thugs and some Crimeans were beaten. In addition, the West gambled on the Russian passivity. May be they thought Putin would cry while doing just nothing. The opposite scenario happened and they started to fear the annexation of the whole “historic Novorossiya” just after Putin cited it. The whole scandal about the “historic Novorossiya” was based on just a maskirovka-speech by him. It is clear now that Putin is not interested in the project. The capability of Russia to digest such a large region is doubtful. AP's statistics seems to indicate also a strong resistance to the annexation.
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  71. Aedib says:
    @Beckow
    I agree that Donbas is mostly (or entirely) chaotic. Moscow's ideal scenario is Donbas in Ukraine as an insurance policy. There isn't much benefit in absorbing it into Russia and quite a bit of downside. If Donbas becomes independent (or a part of Russia) it will be because all other options have been eliminated with a complete unwillingness to compromise by Kiev and their Western sponsors.

    I think Crimea has been strategically on both Russia's and US's radar since at least late 90's. Nato's attack on Kosovo in 1999 destroyed the post-WWII international order. And it also ended any residual pro-Western Russian liberalism. It is a might is right world and Russia was looking for an opportunity to take Crimea of the chess board for a long time. Maidan gave them a perfect opportunity, but I am sure they were ready.

    When Bush officially 'invited' Ukraine into Nato in 2008, the dice was thrown. What is unclear is how could Washington not see Russia's counter-action in Crimea. They either thought that they had more time, or Kiev crowd totally failed in execution, or - this is the scariest possibility - they are actually that stupid that they think that they play a one-sided game of chess. They seemed to be shocked that Moscow didn't just roll over and played dead. Not for the first time. That is outright scary, are they overgrown children playing at 'geo-politics'?

    Moscow’s ideal scenario is Donbas in Ukraine as an insurance policy.

    Agreed. That’s clear rigth now.

    If Donbas becomes independent (or a part of Russia) it will be because all other options have been eliminated with a complete unwillingness to compromise by Kiev and their Western sponsors.

    That’s what is happening. Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far.

    It is a might is right world and Russia was looking for an opportunity to take Crimea of the chess board for a long time. Maidan gave them a perfect opportunity, but I am sure they were ready.

    Agreed. It was also Obama’s gift to Crimean people. The mess allowed them to realize their “go back home” dream. The economic side also counted. E.g. Ukrainian Crimeans also voted (60%) for the Russian option.

    They either thought that they had more time, or Kiev crowd totally failed in execution, or – this is the scariest possibility – they are actually that stupid that they think that they play a one-sided game of chess. They seemed to be shocked that Moscow didn’t just roll over and played dead. Not for the first time. That is outright scary, are they overgrown children playing at ‘geo-politics’?

    Kiev tried and failed. They sent a “friendship train” with Svoboda thugs and some Crimeans were beaten. In addition, the West gambled on the Russian passivity. May be they thought Putin would cry while doing just nothing. The opposite scenario happened and they started to fear the annexation of the whole “historic Novorossiya” just after Putin cited it. The whole scandal about the “historic Novorossiya” was based on just a maskirovka-speech by him. It is clear now that Putin is not interested in the project. The capability of Russia to digest such a large region is doubtful. AP’s statistics seems to indicate also a strong resistance to the annexation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far
     
    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev. All they have to do is give Donbas autonomy and let go of the revenge plans against Donbas residents. That would quiet down the Ukraine's crisis and that is clearly not what Washington wants. Not yet. But I don't see how they can win in the current stalemate, so they will have to escalate. By 2020 if the current situation is still about the same, Kiev will be a joke, and the government there will not be viable. They have to do something.

    West gambled on the Russian passivity
     
    Post-Maidan attempts to take control of Crimea were beyond pathetic. A complete amateur hour, the worst thing was to send a few thugs, and the insane 'no Russian as an official language'. If Putin was scripting it, it couldn't be more helpful with independence for Crimea. And Obama sending a lame, lonely ship to Black See, and then promptly backtracking...to me it looks like they were caught completely unprepared.

    When your success depends on your enemy doing nothing, you have already lost. Who are these morons? I suspect a large percentage of unstable women and a few POC who have no idea what is actually going on, with a bunch of 'career-centric' males, are all over Washington offices. They probably think it is a success if the next buffet in Warsaw Marriott has Norwegian quality salmon. You can't run an empire like that.
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  72. Beckow says:
    @Aedib

    Moscow’s ideal scenario is Donbas in Ukraine as an insurance policy.
     
    Agreed. That's clear rigth now.

    If Donbas becomes independent (or a part of Russia) it will be because all other options have been eliminated with a complete unwillingness to compromise by Kiev and their Western sponsors.

     

    That's what is happening. Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far.

    It is a might is right world and Russia was looking for an opportunity to take Crimea of the chess board for a long time. Maidan gave them a perfect opportunity, but I am sure they were ready.

     

    Agreed. It was also Obama’s gift to Crimean people. The mess allowed them to realize their “go back home” dream. The economic side also counted. E.g. Ukrainian Crimeans also voted (60%) for the Russian option.

    They either thought that they had more time, or Kiev crowd totally failed in execution, or – this is the scariest possibility – they are actually that stupid that they think that they play a one-sided game of chess. They seemed to be shocked that Moscow didn’t just roll over and played dead. Not for the first time. That is outright scary, are they overgrown children playing at ‘geo-politics’?
     
    Kiev tried and failed. They sent a “friendship train” with Svoboda thugs and some Crimeans were beaten. In addition, the West gambled on the Russian passivity. May be they thought Putin would cry while doing just nothing. The opposite scenario happened and they started to fear the annexation of the whole “historic Novorossiya” just after Putin cited it. The whole scandal about the “historic Novorossiya” was based on just a maskirovka-speech by him. It is clear now that Putin is not interested in the project. The capability of Russia to digest such a large region is doubtful. AP's statistics seems to indicate also a strong resistance to the annexation.

    Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev. All they have to do is give Donbas autonomy and let go of the revenge plans against Donbas residents. That would quiet down the Ukraine’s crisis and that is clearly not what Washington wants. Not yet. But I don’t see how they can win in the current stalemate, so they will have to escalate. By 2020 if the current situation is still about the same, Kiev will be a joke, and the government there will not be viable. They have to do something.

    West gambled on the Russian passivity

    Post-Maidan attempts to take control of Crimea were beyond pathetic. A complete amateur hour, the worst thing was to send a few thugs, and the insane ‘no Russian as an official language’. If Putin was scripting it, it couldn’t be more helpful with independence for Crimea. And Obama sending a lame, lonely ship to Black See, and then promptly backtracking…to me it looks like they were caught completely unprepared.

    When your success depends on your enemy doing nothing, you have already lost. Who are these morons? I suspect a large percentage of unstable women and a few POC who have no idea what is actually going on, with a bunch of ‘career-centric’ males, are all over Washington offices. They probably think it is a success if the next buffet in Warsaw Marriott has Norwegian quality salmon. You can’t run an empire like that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    The problem is that there is no particularly strong incentive for the Ukraine to "win" in the medium-term. Not even wrt to nationalist public pressure (something that Russian propaganda has been banking on) - opinion polls show show majority opposition to solving the Donbass issue by force.

    Meanwhile, it is the LDNR which is in crisis, not so much the Ukraine. Their fast demographic decline pre-war has now turned into a collapse, GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels, obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo. If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.
    , @Jon0815

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev.
     
    That's not a mystery. They are refusing because the Maidanist regime doesn't want to re-introduce 3 million very pro-Russia voters into the electorate, and they need a continued conflict against "the aggressor" to distract from Maidan's dismal failure to deliver on its economic promises. Also, the ultranationalist militias don't like Minsk, since it would end their dream of ethnically cleansing Donbass, and Poroshenko doesn't want to make them too angry, for fear they might spearhead another putsch.

    That' why not only has Ukraine failed to meet its Minsk obligations, but also continues to sabotage the deployment of UN peacekeepers to along the line of contact, with an irrational demand (peacekeepers along the DLNR/Russia border as well, where there is no conflict) they know Russia can't agree to (so long as Putin insists on maintaining his stupid, pointless pretense that Russia isn't supporting the rebels).
    , @AP

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev.
     
    No it isn't. Granting the pro-Russian region de facto veto powers over national policy and special status for its gangsters is a terrible deal for Kiev, made under duress when it was at its weakest.

    The fact that Russia wants Ukraine to take back Donbas under such terms makes obvious that this is a bad deal for Ukraine but good for Russia.

    Ideally there will be no bloodshed or fighting, Ukraine will not invade, and these regions will stay gone and Ukraine will continue its Westward course, desired by most non-Donbas Ukrainians, without the pro-Russian anchor. Let Russia support its brothers and pay for the consequences of its actions in a neighboring sovereign state..
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  73. @Beckow

    Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far
     
    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev. All they have to do is give Donbas autonomy and let go of the revenge plans against Donbas residents. That would quiet down the Ukraine's crisis and that is clearly not what Washington wants. Not yet. But I don't see how they can win in the current stalemate, so they will have to escalate. By 2020 if the current situation is still about the same, Kiev will be a joke, and the government there will not be viable. They have to do something.

    West gambled on the Russian passivity
     
    Post-Maidan attempts to take control of Crimea were beyond pathetic. A complete amateur hour, the worst thing was to send a few thugs, and the insane 'no Russian as an official language'. If Putin was scripting it, it couldn't be more helpful with independence for Crimea. And Obama sending a lame, lonely ship to Black See, and then promptly backtracking...to me it looks like they were caught completely unprepared.

    When your success depends on your enemy doing nothing, you have already lost. Who are these morons? I suspect a large percentage of unstable women and a few POC who have no idea what is actually going on, with a bunch of 'career-centric' males, are all over Washington offices. They probably think it is a success if the next buffet in Warsaw Marriott has Norwegian quality salmon. You can't run an empire like that.

    The problem is that there is no particularly strong incentive for the Ukraine to “win” in the medium-term. Not even wrt to nationalist public pressure (something that Russian propaganda has been banking on) – opinion polls show show majority opposition to solving the Donbass issue by force.

    Meanwhile, it is the LDNR which is in crisis, not so much the Ukraine. Their fast demographic decline pre-war has now turned into a collapse, GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels, obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo. If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels,

     

    No. Ukraine is ar from the Yanukovych-era levels. Some quick calculations taken from TheMess forum:

    For the sake of simplicity let's assume a baseline of the Ukraine having a $1000 GDP as of Q4 2013.
    Then, using the quarterly figures, we get:

    Q1 2014: 1000 - (1000 x 0.033) = 967
    Q2 2014: 967 - (967 x 0.042) = 926.4
    Q3 2014: 926.4 - (926.4 x 0.047) = 882.9
    Q4 2014: 882.9 - (882.9 x 0.041) = 846.7
    Q1 2015: 846.7 - (846.7 x 0.035) = 817.1
    Q2 2015: 817.1 - (817.1 x 0.014) = 805.7
    Q3 2015: 805.7 + (805.7 x 0.011) = 814.6
    Q4 2015: 814.6 + (814.6 x 0.014) = 826
    Q1 2016: 826 + (826 x 0.005) = 830.1
    Q2 2016: 830.1 + (830.1 x 0.009) = 837.6
    Q3 2016: 837.6 + (837.6 x 0.014) = 849.3
    Q4 2016: 849.3 + (849.3 x 0.019) = 865.4
    Q1 2017: 865.4 - (865.4 x 0.003) = 862.8
    Q2 2017: 862.8 + (862.8 x 0.006) = 868
    Q3 2017: 868 + (868 x 0.002) = 869.7

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 - 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.

    And so in order for the Ukrainian GDP per capita (I'm excluding population loss here though, as there are no reliable figures for this metric) to reach the Yanukovich-era one by the end of 2018; the Ukrainian GDP will have to culmulitively grow by some ((1000/869.7) - 1) = ~15% over the next 5 quarters.

    Unlikely.

     

    The Ukrainian economy is heading to stagnation. Even if Ukraine is growing as fast as China, it would still take it 2-3 years to reach theYanukovich-era level.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

     

    Agreed. That's the Ukrainian strategy.
    , @Jon0815

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then
     
    What are you basing that on? That might be true of the Kiev-controlled portions of Donbass, which saw a total GDP decline of around 60% in 2015-2015, and a per capita decline of something less than that (since part of the total decline was due to population displacement). But as far as I know no one has attempted to calculate the GDP of the DLNR. It seems likely though that the DLNR's per capita decline was less than that of Kiev-controlled Donbass, since the latter is where the heaviest fighting and physical damage took place.


    while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels
     

    Not in nominal terms. The DLNR use the ruble as their currency, and since 2016 the ruble has strengthened from 67 to 57 vs. the dollar, while the hryvnia has remained flat.

    obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo
     
    But the Russian government is subsidizing the DLNR at a rate of about $1 billion per year, which is probably equal to at least 15-20% of the DLNR's GDP. There is some private investment from Russia too.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely
     

    Rather than the DLNR "bleeding out", it's quite possible that the DLNR's GDP growth rate is significantly faster than Ukraine's. According to the DNR's Minster of Finance, in the past year the DNR's average m0nthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn't seem implausable to me given the size of the Russian subsidy.
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  74. Aedib says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    The problem is that there is no particularly strong incentive for the Ukraine to "win" in the medium-term. Not even wrt to nationalist public pressure (something that Russian propaganda has been banking on) - opinion polls show show majority opposition to solving the Donbass issue by force.

    Meanwhile, it is the LDNR which is in crisis, not so much the Ukraine. Their fast demographic decline pre-war has now turned into a collapse, GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels, obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo. If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels,

    No. Ukraine is ar from the Yanukovych-era levels. Some quick calculations taken from TheMess forum:

    For the sake of simplicity let’s assume a baseline of the Ukraine having a $1000 GDP as of Q4 2013.
    Then, using the quarterly figures, we get:

    Q1 2014: 1000 – (1000 x 0.033) = 967
    Q2 2014: 967 – (967 x 0.042) = 926.4
    Q3 2014: 926.4 – (926.4 x 0.047) = 882.9
    Q4 2014: 882.9 – (882.9 x 0.041) = 846.7
    Q1 2015: 846.7 – (846.7 x 0.035) = 817.1
    Q2 2015: 817.1 – (817.1 x 0.014) = 805.7
    Q3 2015: 805.7 + (805.7 x 0.011) = 814.6
    Q4 2015: 814.6 + (814.6 x 0.014) = 826
    Q1 2016: 826 + (826 x 0.005) = 830.1
    Q2 2016: 830.1 + (830.1 x 0.009) = 837.6
    Q3 2016: 837.6 + (837.6 x 0.014) = 849.3
    Q4 2016: 849.3 + (849.3 x 0.019) = 865.4
    Q1 2017: 865.4 – (865.4 x 0.003) = 862.8
    Q2 2017: 862.8 + (862.8 x 0.006) = 868
    Q3 2017: 868 + (868 x 0.002) = 869.7

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 – 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.

    And so in order for the Ukrainian GDP per capita (I’m excluding population loss here though, as there are no reliable figures for this metric) to reach the Yanukovich-era one by the end of 2018; the Ukrainian GDP will have to culmulitively grow by some ((1000/869.7) – 1) = ~15% over the next 5 quarters.

    Unlikely.

    The Ukrainian economy is heading to stagnation. Even if Ukraine is growing as fast as China, it would still take it 2-3 years to reach theYanukovich-era level.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

    Agreed. That’s the Ukrainian strategy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 – 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.
     
    I guess that's GDP per capita.

    But the Donbass was a relatively rich (less poor) part of Ukraine. So some of the drop is probably coming from that. AP's numbers seem to indicate that in the most nationalistic part of Ukraine GDP is already higher than it was under Yanukovich (so support for Maidan must be strong there), and the rest is recovering quickly. Is there any reason to doubt those numbers? Doesn anyone have better numbers than those?
    , @AP
    1. Ukraine lost at least 10% of its pre-Maidan population when Crimea and urban Donbas left, so a total loss of 13% means a small per capita loss.

    2. There is GDP nominal (in terms of dollar value) and GDP PPP (taking into account cost of living). In Ukraine ( as in Russia, whose currency value to the dollar also collapsed) the nominal decrease has been large and will not recover for a long time (Russia's nominal GDP per capita dipped below Romania's - its per capita GDP PPP is still a lot higher than Romania's). But the per capita GDP PPP decline has not been nearly as extreme.

    Googlechrome gives a per capita nominal GDP for Ukraine of $4,029 in 2013 and $2,185 in 2016 - nearly a 50% drop (in the same period Russia's declined from $15,543 to $8,748, about a 40% drop).

    But look at Ukraine's GDP PPP:

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/ukraine-gdp-per-capita-ppp.png?s=ukrnygdppcapppcd&v=201707122030v

    $8,339 in 2013, down to $7,465 in 2015, up to $7,668 in 2016. 8% lower.

    It will probably be around $7,860 in 2017 - less than 6% lower.

    Everyone is predicting higher growth in 2018 than 2017.

    This source has different, more optimistic numbers, and includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    $8,733 in 2014, $8,656 in 2017 - less than 1% difference. (second source seems too optimistic)

    Now keep in mind that Donbas was, outside Kiev, one of the wealthiest regions in Ukraine. This means that much of this drop can be explained by the fact that one no longer calculates GDP of the wealthiest region when tabulating per capita GDP, and not that the other regions have become a lot poorer. For example, all things being equal, if Moscow suddenly disappeared Russia's per capita GDP national would decline a lot - but this doesn't mean that suddenly St. Petersburg or Vladivostok have become poorer per capita than they were while Moscow was still part of Russia.

    I haven't seen figures for Ukraine minus Donbas in 2013 vs. Ukraine in 2017 in terms of GDP PPP per capita but I strongly suspect there is little difference.

    Obviously there are regional differences. Kharkiv has not recovered, while Lviv is probably doing better than it was doing in 2013.

    Here is a map showing Ukraine's GRP decline during the "collapse" of 2014-2015:

    https://i.imgur.com/XSMQWDW.png

    Given the growth in 2016 and 2017, all the areas where decline was 5% or less are probably doing as well as or better than in 2013. 2018 should see the regions with 8% decline getting back to the 2013 level.

    Anecdotally I visited central and western Ukraine in 2013 and in 2017 (have family in Lviv, Kiev, and villages and oblast centers in between). Prices dropped a lot everywhere - it's good to have dollars in Ukraine. AK has noticed this about Moscow, also. In terms of material appearance and lifestyle - Lviv is doing as well or better in 2017 than in 2013. City is full of restaurants and cafes, and they are packed. People make less than before in dollars, but prices have declined accordingly. Nevertheless, there are more Western stores downtown than in 2013. Lots of cars on the streets, mostly Western. People are working, and spending. Cars are probably cheaper and older than in, say, Krakow, but the city looks about as well developed as Krakow when I visited that city 10 years ago. There is a new large mall that opened in 2016. New suburban developments, and further from the city a lot of "mini resorts" with forest themes, like ones outside of Moscow where people have weddings. All those people working in IT with Western contracts in Western currencies are doing very well.

    Kiev - they are building some new residential high-rises near a middle class area where my cousin lives (blocking her view of a lake) but overall the feel of the city is that it is not better and probably a little worse than in 2013. Salaries are a lot lower in dollars, but everything is also cheaper though not as cheap as Lviv. There is a local uber-like taxi service - you get go anywhere in the city for about 2 dollars (I dodn't sue this in Lviv). Stores and restaurants aren't as busy as in Lviv but aren't empty either (I had some great Georgian and Crimean Tatar food). Still lots of traffic. At the mall, the store selling expensive Italian shoes was empty but the ones selling cheaper Ukrainian-made and Turkish ones were busy. Nice, Ukrainian-made clothes are cheap. Kiev was always the wealthiest place in Ukraine and still is.

    Zhytomir seems to be doing better than in 2013, but it was always a quiet and sleepy city. Germans just opened a large plant in the city. The highway from Kiev is very good and up to Western standards.

    Overall, for someone visiting, the idea that Ukraine has collapsed is laughable. It's almost as stupid as the idea that Russia has collapsed.
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  75. @Aedib

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels,

     

    No. Ukraine is ar from the Yanukovych-era levels. Some quick calculations taken from TheMess forum:

    For the sake of simplicity let's assume a baseline of the Ukraine having a $1000 GDP as of Q4 2013.
    Then, using the quarterly figures, we get:

    Q1 2014: 1000 - (1000 x 0.033) = 967
    Q2 2014: 967 - (967 x 0.042) = 926.4
    Q3 2014: 926.4 - (926.4 x 0.047) = 882.9
    Q4 2014: 882.9 - (882.9 x 0.041) = 846.7
    Q1 2015: 846.7 - (846.7 x 0.035) = 817.1
    Q2 2015: 817.1 - (817.1 x 0.014) = 805.7
    Q3 2015: 805.7 + (805.7 x 0.011) = 814.6
    Q4 2015: 814.6 + (814.6 x 0.014) = 826
    Q1 2016: 826 + (826 x 0.005) = 830.1
    Q2 2016: 830.1 + (830.1 x 0.009) = 837.6
    Q3 2016: 837.6 + (837.6 x 0.014) = 849.3
    Q4 2016: 849.3 + (849.3 x 0.019) = 865.4
    Q1 2017: 865.4 - (865.4 x 0.003) = 862.8
    Q2 2017: 862.8 + (862.8 x 0.006) = 868
    Q3 2017: 868 + (868 x 0.002) = 869.7

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 - 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.

    And so in order for the Ukrainian GDP per capita (I'm excluding population loss here though, as there are no reliable figures for this metric) to reach the Yanukovich-era one by the end of 2018; the Ukrainian GDP will have to culmulitively grow by some ((1000/869.7) - 1) = ~15% over the next 5 quarters.

    Unlikely.

     

    The Ukrainian economy is heading to stagnation. Even if Ukraine is growing as fast as China, it would still take it 2-3 years to reach theYanukovich-era level.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

     

    Agreed. That's the Ukrainian strategy.

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 – 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.

    I guess that’s GDP per capita.

    But the Donbass was a relatively rich (less poor) part of Ukraine. So some of the drop is probably coming from that. AP’s numbers seem to indicate that in the most nationalistic part of Ukraine GDP is already higher than it was under Yanukovich (so support for Maidan must be strong there), and the rest is recovering quickly. Is there any reason to doubt those numbers? Doesn anyone have better numbers than those?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib
    Mostly agreed. Let's wait for AP statistics. Anyway, I don't know if these numbers include the LDNR.
    My bet is that LDNR will be a South-Ossetia on steroids by decades. Neither Ukraine nor Russia are interested in integrating them. And the Russophile sentiment may bleed but LDNR will hardly be empty. More than 3 million people are still there.
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  76. Aedib says:
    @reiner Tor

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 – 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.
     
    I guess that's GDP per capita.

    But the Donbass was a relatively rich (less poor) part of Ukraine. So some of the drop is probably coming from that. AP's numbers seem to indicate that in the most nationalistic part of Ukraine GDP is already higher than it was under Yanukovich (so support for Maidan must be strong there), and the rest is recovering quickly. Is there any reason to doubt those numbers? Doesn anyone have better numbers than those?

    Mostly agreed. Let’s wait for AP statistics. Anyway, I don’t know if these numbers include the LDNR.
    My bet is that LDNR will be a South-Ossetia on steroids by decades. Neither Ukraine nor Russia are interested in integrating them. And the Russophile sentiment may bleed but LDNR will hardly be empty. More than 3 million people are still there.

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    • Agree: AP
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  77. AP says:
    @Aedib

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels,

     

    No. Ukraine is ar from the Yanukovych-era levels. Some quick calculations taken from TheMess forum:

    For the sake of simplicity let's assume a baseline of the Ukraine having a $1000 GDP as of Q4 2013.
    Then, using the quarterly figures, we get:

    Q1 2014: 1000 - (1000 x 0.033) = 967
    Q2 2014: 967 - (967 x 0.042) = 926.4
    Q3 2014: 926.4 - (926.4 x 0.047) = 882.9
    Q4 2014: 882.9 - (882.9 x 0.041) = 846.7
    Q1 2015: 846.7 - (846.7 x 0.035) = 817.1
    Q2 2015: 817.1 - (817.1 x 0.014) = 805.7
    Q3 2015: 805.7 + (805.7 x 0.011) = 814.6
    Q4 2015: 814.6 + (814.6 x 0.014) = 826
    Q1 2016: 826 + (826 x 0.005) = 830.1
    Q2 2016: 830.1 + (830.1 x 0.009) = 837.6
    Q3 2016: 837.6 + (837.6 x 0.014) = 849.3
    Q4 2016: 849.3 + (849.3 x 0.019) = 865.4
    Q1 2017: 865.4 - (865.4 x 0.003) = 862.8
    Q2 2017: 862.8 + (862.8 x 0.006) = 868
    Q3 2017: 868 + (868 x 0.002) = 869.7

    So as of Q3 2017, the Ukrainian GDP is approx. (1000 - 869.7) = just over 13% down from its original baseline.

    And so in order for the Ukrainian GDP per capita (I'm excluding population loss here though, as there are no reliable figures for this metric) to reach the Yanukovich-era one by the end of 2018; the Ukrainian GDP will have to culmulitively grow by some ((1000/869.7) - 1) = ~15% over the next 5 quarters.

    Unlikely.

     

    The Ukrainian economy is heading to stagnation. Even if Ukraine is growing as fast as China, it would still take it 2-3 years to reach theYanukovich-era level.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

     

    Agreed. That's the Ukrainian strategy.

    1. Ukraine lost at least 10% of its pre-Maidan population when Crimea and urban Donbas left, so a total loss of 13% means a small per capita loss.

    2. There is GDP nominal (in terms of dollar value) and GDP PPP (taking into account cost of living). In Ukraine ( as in Russia, whose currency value to the dollar also collapsed) the nominal decrease has been large and will not recover for a long time (Russia’s nominal GDP per capita dipped below Romania’s – its per capita GDP PPP is still a lot higher than Romania’s). But the per capita GDP PPP decline has not been nearly as extreme.

    Googlechrome gives a per capita nominal GDP for Ukraine of $4,029 in 2013 and $2,185 in 2016 – nearly a 50% drop (in the same period Russia’s declined from $15,543 to $8,748, about a 40% drop).

    But look at Ukraine’s GDP PPP:

    $8,339 in 2013, down to $7,465 in 2015, up to $7,668 in 2016. 8% lower.

    It will probably be around $7,860 in 2017 – less than 6% lower.

    Everyone is predicting higher growth in 2018 than 2017.

    This source has different, more optimistic numbers, and includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    $8,733 in 2014, $8,656 in 2017 – less than 1% difference. (second source seems too optimistic)

    Now keep in mind that Donbas was, outside Kiev, one of the wealthiest regions in Ukraine. This means that much of this drop can be explained by the fact that one no longer calculates GDP of the wealthiest region when tabulating per capita GDP, and not that the other regions have become a lot poorer. For example, all things being equal, if Moscow suddenly disappeared Russia’s per capita GDP national would decline a lot – but this doesn’t mean that suddenly St. Petersburg or Vladivostok have become poorer per capita than they were while Moscow was still part of Russia.

    I haven’t seen figures for Ukraine minus Donbas in 2013 vs. Ukraine in 2017 in terms of GDP PPP per capita but I strongly suspect there is little difference.

    Obviously there are regional differences. Kharkiv has not recovered, while Lviv is probably doing better than it was doing in 2013.

    Here is a map showing Ukraine’s GRP decline during the “collapse” of 2014-2015:

    Given the growth in 2016 and 2017, all the areas where decline was 5% or less are probably doing as well as or better than in 2013. 2018 should see the regions with 8% decline getting back to the 2013 level.

    Anecdotally I visited central and western Ukraine in 2013 and in 2017 (have family in Lviv, Kiev, and villages and oblast centers in between). Prices dropped a lot everywhere – it’s good to have dollars in Ukraine. AK has noticed this about Moscow, also. In terms of material appearance and lifestyle – Lviv is doing as well or better in 2017 than in 2013. City is full of restaurants and cafes, and they are packed. People make less than before in dollars, but prices have declined accordingly. Nevertheless, there are more Western stores downtown than in 2013. Lots of cars on the streets, mostly Western. People are working, and spending. Cars are probably cheaper and older than in, say, Krakow, but the city looks about as well developed as Krakow when I visited that city 10 years ago. There is a new large mall that opened in 2016. New suburban developments, and further from the city a lot of “mini resorts” with forest themes, like ones outside of Moscow where people have weddings. All those people working in IT with Western contracts in Western currencies are doing very well.

    Kiev – they are building some new residential high-rises near a middle class area where my cousin lives (blocking her view of a lake) but overall the feel of the city is that it is not better and probably a little worse than in 2013. Salaries are a lot lower in dollars, but everything is also cheaper though not as cheap as Lviv. There is a local uber-like taxi service – you get go anywhere in the city for about 2 dollars (I dodn’t sue this in Lviv). Stores and restaurants aren’t as busy as in Lviv but aren’t empty either (I had some great Georgian and Crimean Tatar food). Still lots of traffic. At the mall, the store selling expensive Italian shoes was empty but the ones selling cheaper Ukrainian-made and Turkish ones were busy. Nice, Ukrainian-made clothes are cheap. Kiev was always the wealthiest place in Ukraine and still is.

    Zhytomir seems to be doing better than in 2013, but it was always a quiet and sleepy city. Germans just opened a large plant in the city. The highway from Kiev is very good and up to Western standards.

    Overall, for someone visiting, the idea that Ukraine has collapsed is laughable. It’s almost as stupid as the idea that Russia has collapsed.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Aedib
    AP’s extremely accurate information, as usual :)
    , @Beckow
    Thank you for the numbers and the analysis. I won't nit-pick because there is a lot there and it correctly describes the complex situation. I would add exports: Ukraine in 2017 had exports 40% below 2013. The exports to Europe reached the same level as in 2013 (that with the golden 'Association' treaty that was supposed to open EU markets, it obviously didn't.) You can calculate by how much exports to Russia dropped - a catastrophe.

    People don't do 'revolutions' to live the same as before. Maidan was done with very high expectations: Europe (and they meant physically be allowed into Europe as migrants), 'European' living standards, European markets, everything 'Europe'.

    That has not happened. There has been some partial progress, e.g. visa-free travel, some IMF loans, etc...but most Ukrainians live the same - or worse - than pre-Maidan. Membership in EU has been specifically excluded for 25-5o years, more explicit rejection than pre-Maidan. The 'revolution' has not so far achieved its goals. And EU itself is starting to look less appealing. (Million Sub-Saharan migrants to Ukraine?)

    What happens next? If Maidan fizzles out the same way as the Orange revolution did in 2005-2010 what will be the consequences? My guess is that for at least a generation Kiev is going to have very tense, hostile relations with Russia. That means little trade. And by now it is obvious that nothing else - no Europe, no US - is going to replace the lost business with Russia. So we are looking at 40 million very frustrated people, living so-so day to day, corruption goes on, mass emigration goes on. How long can that last?

    The only way out s for Russia to somehow collapse first. But what if it doesn't?

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  78. Aedib says:
    @AP
    1. Ukraine lost at least 10% of its pre-Maidan population when Crimea and urban Donbas left, so a total loss of 13% means a small per capita loss.

    2. There is GDP nominal (in terms of dollar value) and GDP PPP (taking into account cost of living). In Ukraine ( as in Russia, whose currency value to the dollar also collapsed) the nominal decrease has been large and will not recover for a long time (Russia's nominal GDP per capita dipped below Romania's - its per capita GDP PPP is still a lot higher than Romania's). But the per capita GDP PPP decline has not been nearly as extreme.

    Googlechrome gives a per capita nominal GDP for Ukraine of $4,029 in 2013 and $2,185 in 2016 - nearly a 50% drop (in the same period Russia's declined from $15,543 to $8,748, about a 40% drop).

    But look at Ukraine's GDP PPP:

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/ukraine-gdp-per-capita-ppp.png?s=ukrnygdppcapppcd&v=201707122030v

    $8,339 in 2013, down to $7,465 in 2015, up to $7,668 in 2016. 8% lower.

    It will probably be around $7,860 in 2017 - less than 6% lower.

    Everyone is predicting higher growth in 2018 than 2017.

    This source has different, more optimistic numbers, and includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    $8,733 in 2014, $8,656 in 2017 - less than 1% difference. (second source seems too optimistic)

    Now keep in mind that Donbas was, outside Kiev, one of the wealthiest regions in Ukraine. This means that much of this drop can be explained by the fact that one no longer calculates GDP of the wealthiest region when tabulating per capita GDP, and not that the other regions have become a lot poorer. For example, all things being equal, if Moscow suddenly disappeared Russia's per capita GDP national would decline a lot - but this doesn't mean that suddenly St. Petersburg or Vladivostok have become poorer per capita than they were while Moscow was still part of Russia.

    I haven't seen figures for Ukraine minus Donbas in 2013 vs. Ukraine in 2017 in terms of GDP PPP per capita but I strongly suspect there is little difference.

    Obviously there are regional differences. Kharkiv has not recovered, while Lviv is probably doing better than it was doing in 2013.

    Here is a map showing Ukraine's GRP decline during the "collapse" of 2014-2015:

    https://i.imgur.com/XSMQWDW.png

    Given the growth in 2016 and 2017, all the areas where decline was 5% or less are probably doing as well as or better than in 2013. 2018 should see the regions with 8% decline getting back to the 2013 level.

    Anecdotally I visited central and western Ukraine in 2013 and in 2017 (have family in Lviv, Kiev, and villages and oblast centers in between). Prices dropped a lot everywhere - it's good to have dollars in Ukraine. AK has noticed this about Moscow, also. In terms of material appearance and lifestyle - Lviv is doing as well or better in 2017 than in 2013. City is full of restaurants and cafes, and they are packed. People make less than before in dollars, but prices have declined accordingly. Nevertheless, there are more Western stores downtown than in 2013. Lots of cars on the streets, mostly Western. People are working, and spending. Cars are probably cheaper and older than in, say, Krakow, but the city looks about as well developed as Krakow when I visited that city 10 years ago. There is a new large mall that opened in 2016. New suburban developments, and further from the city a lot of "mini resorts" with forest themes, like ones outside of Moscow where people have weddings. All those people working in IT with Western contracts in Western currencies are doing very well.

    Kiev - they are building some new residential high-rises near a middle class area where my cousin lives (blocking her view of a lake) but overall the feel of the city is that it is not better and probably a little worse than in 2013. Salaries are a lot lower in dollars, but everything is also cheaper though not as cheap as Lviv. There is a local uber-like taxi service - you get go anywhere in the city for about 2 dollars (I dodn't sue this in Lviv). Stores and restaurants aren't as busy as in Lviv but aren't empty either (I had some great Georgian and Crimean Tatar food). Still lots of traffic. At the mall, the store selling expensive Italian shoes was empty but the ones selling cheaper Ukrainian-made and Turkish ones were busy. Nice, Ukrainian-made clothes are cheap. Kiev was always the wealthiest place in Ukraine and still is.

    Zhytomir seems to be doing better than in 2013, but it was always a quiet and sleepy city. Germans just opened a large plant in the city. The highway from Kiev is very good and up to Western standards.

    Overall, for someone visiting, the idea that Ukraine has collapsed is laughable. It's almost as stupid as the idea that Russia has collapsed.

    AP’s extremely accurate information, as usual :)

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  79. Jon0815 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    The problem is that there is no particularly strong incentive for the Ukraine to "win" in the medium-term. Not even wrt to nationalist public pressure (something that Russian propaganda has been banking on) - opinion polls show show majority opposition to solving the Donbass issue by force.

    Meanwhile, it is the LDNR which is in crisis, not so much the Ukraine. Their fast demographic decline pre-war has now turned into a collapse, GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels, obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo. If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely.

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then

    What are you basing that on? That might be true of the Kiev-controlled portions of Donbass, which saw a total GDP decline of around 60% in 2015-2015, and a per capita decline of something less than that (since part of the total decline was due to population displacement). But as far as I know no one has attempted to calculate the GDP of the DLNR. It seems likely though that the DLNR’s per capita decline was less than that of Kiev-controlled Donbass, since the latter is where the heaviest fighting and physical damage took place.

    while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels

    Not in nominal terms. The DLNR use the ruble as their currency, and since 2016 the ruble has strengthened from 67 to 57 vs. the dollar, while the hryvnia has remained flat.

    obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo

    But the Russian government is subsidizing the DLNR at a rate of about $1 billion per year, which is probably equal to at least 15-20% of the DLNR’s GDP. There is some private investment from Russia too.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely

    Rather than the DLNR “bleeding out”, it’s quite possible that the DLNR’s GDP growth rate is significantly faster than Ukraine’s. According to the DNR’s Minster of Finance, in the past year the DNR’s average m0nthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn’t seem implausable to me given the size of the Russian subsidy.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    What are you basing that on?
     
    Guessing. However, I find it difficult to believe that a region in a state of legal limbo, under blockade from the Ukraine, and having its main urban agglomeration intermittently shelled can be doing any better.

    There are also demographic statistics, which the DNR (though not the LNR) now issues. I am going to have a post on that soon. Anyhow, the fertility collapse there has been far steeper than in any other part of the Ukraine, which again would suggest that the economic situation is far worse.

    The DLNR use the ruble as their currency, and since 2016 the ruble has strengthened from 67 to 57 vs. the dollar, while the hryvnia has remained flat.
     
    As AP points out (and I have always maintained the same position), PPP is inordinately better for cost of living comparisons. Nominal GDP is useful mainly as a proxy of financial strength, and for calculating things like foreign currency denominated debt burdens. That is admittedly a factor in the Ukraine's case, but not a critical one - CDS on Ukrainian sovereign debt actually fell below even Yanukovych era levels by 2017 (which, incidentally, goes to further underline the insanity of the Ukraine-will-collapse-any-day-now theory in The Current Year).

    There is some private investment from Russia too.
     
    Some of my friends and I have been speculating about buying a flat in Donetsk the past year. We might lose it all (if Ukraine recovers it under its own conditions), or we might make substantial gains (perhaps on the order of 10x, if legal normality returns).

    I suspect there's little more than this sort of entirely speculative investment going on there. Not when even tourism is subject to the immediate vagaries of wartime (had signed up to a week long tour over the New Year, was canceled at the last moment due to problems with the recent prisoner exchange).

    According to the DNR’s Minster of Finance, in the past year the DNR’s average m0nthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn’t seem implausable to me given the size of the Russian subsidy.
     
    However, this is a recovery from a very low base.

    I wasn't aware of these figures, thanks. But unfortunately it sort of makes my point. Current USD/RUB rate is 57, which translates into a monthly wage of $177.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage

    This is relative to (as of latest data in that Wiki article) $650 in Russia, and $276 in the Ukraine. The DNR is now considerably poorer than Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which are at around the Ukraine's level (Moldova is now a bit richer), though still richer than Tajikistan (~$140).

    Furthermore note that wages in the territories of the LDNR itself, which are more urban/industrial, would have been higher than in Donetsk/Lugansk oblasts as a whole, so note that this if anything understates the depth of the economic collapse there.

    Moreover, note that wages in Donetsk oblast were very high before the war - the second highest after Kiev itself (around 15% higher than the national average in 2013, and a third lower than in Kiev).

    https://index.minfin.com.ua/labour/salary/average/2013

    Current USD:grivna rate is 28, which translates to an average Ukrainian wage of $267 (50% higher), and $415 (2.3x) in Kiev.

    To further underline the point: Average wage in Donetsk oblast as of Nov 2017 was $293, or - amazingly - still 10% higher than in the Ukrainian average. That's despite a frontline dividing it, etc.

    10,130 rubles translates to around 5,000 grivna. The poorest Ukrainian provinces, such as Ternopil, have almost 6,000 grivna (or $210). The DNR went from being the second richest province (and by a considerable margin) to its poorest one,
    if it was still part of the Ukraine (again by a considerable margin).

    Since Lugansk used to be at the Ukrainian average instead of one of its top performers, and bearing in mind the overtly bandit-like rule of Plotnitsky, I would wager that wages in the LNR are fully Tajik.
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  80. peterAUS says:

    Through some contacts, over this festive season, got some insights into Donbass/Ukraine, say, conflict, especially how it is as we speak.

    My gist is, well……..if/when Ukraine decides to renew serious hostilities Donbass will need a serious Russian help/involvement.

    I did believe, before those “chats”, that the situation was better for Donbass than, apparently, it is.

    Interesting.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib
    Is safer for Ukraine not to gamble again. There would not be Minsk-III (70+% likelihood).
    , @Beckow
    This is a race to the bottom - all involved are suffering. That is what one would expect when there is no-holds fight.

    serious Russian help/involvement
     
    We have been told for 3 years that there is already 'serious Russian involvement'. Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in. But who will come to help Kiev? Is Trudeau going to send Canadian marines? Or Merkel her scary Wehrmacht? Oh, maybe Poles will try their luck. Why not, just because it hasn't worked for 300 years of trying, why not try one more time?
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  81. Aedib says:
    @peterAUS
    Through some contacts, over this festive season, got some insights into Donbass/Ukraine, say, conflict, especially how it is as we speak.

    My gist is, well........if/when Ukraine decides to renew serious hostilities Donbass will need a serious Russian help/involvement.

    I did believe, before those "chats", that the situation was better for Donbass than, apparently, it is.

    Interesting.

    Is safer for Ukraine not to gamble again. There would not be Minsk-III (70+% likelihood).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    There would not be Minsk-III (70+% likelihood).
     
    Nothing is beyond the Kremlin nanogeniuses (as Strelkov so correctly calls them).
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  82. Beckow says:
    @AP
    1. Ukraine lost at least 10% of its pre-Maidan population when Crimea and urban Donbas left, so a total loss of 13% means a small per capita loss.

    2. There is GDP nominal (in terms of dollar value) and GDP PPP (taking into account cost of living). In Ukraine ( as in Russia, whose currency value to the dollar also collapsed) the nominal decrease has been large and will not recover for a long time (Russia's nominal GDP per capita dipped below Romania's - its per capita GDP PPP is still a lot higher than Romania's). But the per capita GDP PPP decline has not been nearly as extreme.

    Googlechrome gives a per capita nominal GDP for Ukraine of $4,029 in 2013 and $2,185 in 2016 - nearly a 50% drop (in the same period Russia's declined from $15,543 to $8,748, about a 40% drop).

    But look at Ukraine's GDP PPP:

    https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/charts/ukraine-gdp-per-capita-ppp.png?s=ukrnygdppcapppcd&v=201707122030v

    $8,339 in 2013, down to $7,465 in 2015, up to $7,668 in 2016. 8% lower.

    It will probably be around $7,860 in 2017 - less than 6% lower.

    Everyone is predicting higher growth in 2018 than 2017.

    This source has different, more optimistic numbers, and includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    $8,733 in 2014, $8,656 in 2017 - less than 1% difference. (second source seems too optimistic)

    Now keep in mind that Donbas was, outside Kiev, one of the wealthiest regions in Ukraine. This means that much of this drop can be explained by the fact that one no longer calculates GDP of the wealthiest region when tabulating per capita GDP, and not that the other regions have become a lot poorer. For example, all things being equal, if Moscow suddenly disappeared Russia's per capita GDP national would decline a lot - but this doesn't mean that suddenly St. Petersburg or Vladivostok have become poorer per capita than they were while Moscow was still part of Russia.

    I haven't seen figures for Ukraine minus Donbas in 2013 vs. Ukraine in 2017 in terms of GDP PPP per capita but I strongly suspect there is little difference.

    Obviously there are regional differences. Kharkiv has not recovered, while Lviv is probably doing better than it was doing in 2013.

    Here is a map showing Ukraine's GRP decline during the "collapse" of 2014-2015:

    https://i.imgur.com/XSMQWDW.png

    Given the growth in 2016 and 2017, all the areas where decline was 5% or less are probably doing as well as or better than in 2013. 2018 should see the regions with 8% decline getting back to the 2013 level.

    Anecdotally I visited central and western Ukraine in 2013 and in 2017 (have family in Lviv, Kiev, and villages and oblast centers in between). Prices dropped a lot everywhere - it's good to have dollars in Ukraine. AK has noticed this about Moscow, also. In terms of material appearance and lifestyle - Lviv is doing as well or better in 2017 than in 2013. City is full of restaurants and cafes, and they are packed. People make less than before in dollars, but prices have declined accordingly. Nevertheless, there are more Western stores downtown than in 2013. Lots of cars on the streets, mostly Western. People are working, and spending. Cars are probably cheaper and older than in, say, Krakow, but the city looks about as well developed as Krakow when I visited that city 10 years ago. There is a new large mall that opened in 2016. New suburban developments, and further from the city a lot of "mini resorts" with forest themes, like ones outside of Moscow where people have weddings. All those people working in IT with Western contracts in Western currencies are doing very well.

    Kiev - they are building some new residential high-rises near a middle class area where my cousin lives (blocking her view of a lake) but overall the feel of the city is that it is not better and probably a little worse than in 2013. Salaries are a lot lower in dollars, but everything is also cheaper though not as cheap as Lviv. There is a local uber-like taxi service - you get go anywhere in the city for about 2 dollars (I dodn't sue this in Lviv). Stores and restaurants aren't as busy as in Lviv but aren't empty either (I had some great Georgian and Crimean Tatar food). Still lots of traffic. At the mall, the store selling expensive Italian shoes was empty but the ones selling cheaper Ukrainian-made and Turkish ones were busy. Nice, Ukrainian-made clothes are cheap. Kiev was always the wealthiest place in Ukraine and still is.

    Zhytomir seems to be doing better than in 2013, but it was always a quiet and sleepy city. Germans just opened a large plant in the city. The highway from Kiev is very good and up to Western standards.

    Overall, for someone visiting, the idea that Ukraine has collapsed is laughable. It's almost as stupid as the idea that Russia has collapsed.

    Thank you for the numbers and the analysis. I won’t nit-pick because there is a lot there and it correctly describes the complex situation. I would add exports: Ukraine in 2017 had exports 40% below 2013. The exports to Europe reached the same level as in 2013 (that with the golden ‘Association’ treaty that was supposed to open EU markets, it obviously didn’t.) You can calculate by how much exports to Russia dropped – a catastrophe.

    People don’t do ‘revolutions‘ to live the same as before. Maidan was done with very high expectations: Europe (and they meant physically be allowed into Europe as migrants), ‘European’ living standards, European markets, everything ‘Europe’.

    That has not happened. There has been some partial progress, e.g. visa-free travel, some IMF loans, etc…but most Ukrainians live the same – or worse – than pre-Maidan. Membership in EU has been specifically excluded for 25-5o years, more explicit rejection than pre-Maidan. The ‘revolution’ has not so far achieved its goals. And EU itself is starting to look less appealing. (Million Sub-Saharan migrants to Ukraine?)

    What happens next? If Maidan fizzles out the same way as the Orange revolution did in 2005-2010 what will be the consequences? My guess is that for at least a generation Kiev is going to have very tense, hostile relations with Russia. That means little trade. And by now it is obvious that nothing else – no Europe, no US – is going to replace the lost business with Russia. So we are looking at 40 million very frustrated people, living so-so day to day, corruption goes on, mass emigration goes on. How long can that last?

    The only way out s for Russia to somehow collapse first. But what if it doesn’t?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    I would add exports: Ukraine in 2017 had exports 40% below 2013.
     
    Correct (to be precise, exports are 37% lower).

    However, Donbas accounted for about 25% of Ukraine's export volume, so a huge chunk of that missing export volume simply reflects the fact that Donbas is no longer part of Ukraine. As with income drop, loss o exports from Donbas affects national stats but doesn't mean that, for example, Lviv is now exporting less. The regions of Ukraine that are still part of Ukraine are collectively exporting less, but the drop is not nearly so drastic or catastrophic.

    People don’t do ‘revolutions‘ to live the same as before. Maidan was done with very high expectations: Europe (and they meant physically be allowed into Europe as migrants), ‘European’ living standards, European markets, everything ‘Europe’.
     
    Most people at the time expected it would be a long-term thing. Nobody thought that Ukraine would achieve European living standards in 1 or 5 years. What they wanted was to start to follow in Poland's path rather than be stuck in the same old same old, under despot linked to Russia because nobody else could tolerate him.

    Maidan was a popular revolt of the western and central half of the country. Why did they do it? Here's a poll from February 2014:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=231&page=10&y=2014

    Data from western and central Ukrainians (the ones doing the uprising) are most relevant:

    By % respondents:

    1. Anger at Yanukovich's corrupt regime
    2. Desire to turn Ukraine into as civilized country, as in other parts of Europe
    3. Civic duty
    4. Anger at Berkut violence
    5. Desire to free Ukraine of Russia's economic and political dictates
    6. Nationalism

    (1) was achieved - Yanukovich is gone. New government isn't less corrupt, but is less despotic and not Yanukovich.
    (2) - mostly failed. Visa-free travel to Europe, some reforms but they have stalled.
    (3) it was expressed.
    (4) Berkut were defeated.
    (5) Achieved.
    (6) Succeeded.

    Overall, a big reason (achieving European standards of civilization) failed but in other areas it was a success.

    People in Ukraine grumble a lot about Poroshenko, about corruption still being present (often bitterly and understandably so - I've heard stuff like "people gave their lives on Maidan to end this crap, but still bribes are being demanded!") but nobody I've heard from regrets the overthrow or wishes Yanukovich was still around. And it's nothing like the complaints in 2013. There isn't visceral hatred towards Poroshenko, people aren't afraid that he's going to turn into a dictator or that he's going to bind Ukraine to Russia forever. They are simply disappointed and angry that he hasn't stopped corruption.

    And EU itself is starting to look less appealing. (Million Sub-Saharan migrants to Ukraine?)
     
    Most pro-EU Ukrainians see Poland, not Germany or France, as models. There is a subset of Western-style liberals but these are not dominant among the the pro-Westerners.
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  83. Beckow says:
    @peterAUS
    Through some contacts, over this festive season, got some insights into Donbass/Ukraine, say, conflict, especially how it is as we speak.

    My gist is, well........if/when Ukraine decides to renew serious hostilities Donbass will need a serious Russian help/involvement.

    I did believe, before those "chats", that the situation was better for Donbass than, apparently, it is.

    Interesting.

    This is a race to the bottom – all involved are suffering. That is what one would expect when there is no-holds fight.

    serious Russian help/involvement

    We have been told for 3 years that there is already ‘serious Russian involvement’. Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in. But who will come to help Kiev? Is Trudeau going to send Canadian marines? Or Merkel her scary Wehrmacht? Oh, maybe Poles will try their luck. Why not, just because it hasn’t worked for 300 years of trying, why not try one more time?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib

    serious Russian help/involvement
     

    Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in.
     
    If Russia is forced to openly enter, it will go full-steam and Javelins will not do some difference at all. I.e. the Syrian operation on hyper-steroids. But I think Putin will try to dodge the bullet via “vacationers and voentorg”. Hopefully the conflict would be avoided.
    I am slightly optimist about the next president. May be Ms. Yulia have ”the balls” Poroshenko lacks for neutralizing the ultras. She can behave as a rational nationalist and slowly move the country out of the swamp.
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  84. peterAUS says:

    We have been told for 3 years that there is already ‘serious Russian involvement’. Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in.

    Yup.

    But who will come to help Kiev?

    Good question.

    You know what I think will happen, most likely around the World Cup?

    Something along this line

    This is a race to the bottom – all involved are suffering.

    It will be a mass death and destruction in Donbass and among involved Kiev troops.

    I could even describe how all that would work but it wouldn’t be sensible re OPSEC and especially PERSEC.

    After that bloodbath the things will go back to “normal” with even more sanctions/whatever on Russia.
    “Normal” as now, save all those dead and crippled and I suspect it will be plenty of them.

    Hopefully I’ll be proven utterly wrong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    We all hope you are wrong. My only hope for World Cup truce is that Europeans might not want to spoil the fun. But nobody listens to them.

    Ukraine is a divided country and the race to the bottom will continue until all sides cease to dream about a total victory. People in Kiev need to realise how long memories of bloody, civil conflicts last - the Western Ukrainians are still obsessed with what happened 70-80 years ago.

    The conflict is good for some in Washington. And a few unhinged crazies in Poland, Baltic, Sweden, Germany. But it is extremely bad for everyone else, especially for Ukrainians of all kinds. Stirring up bloody conflicts among other people used to be seen as the ultimate evil. But somehow the ones doing it like to parade today as paragons of 'humanitarian' virtue. I can't figure that out.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Well it all ultimately boils down to whether Russia intervenes or not.

    If it does, then Ukraine gets kicked out; hopefully, the follow-up offensive recovers territories up to at least Slavyansk and preferably the old oblast borders (necessary to make the LDNR actually viable) and Russia recognizes them, but I am not holding my breath for it, since this would now (unlike in 2014-5) require serious and overt Russian intervention.

    Alternatively, the Ukraine retakes the LDNR - not even people in the NAF believe they can hold out without Russian support - and Russia gets both the defeat and the sanctions anyway.
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  85. Beckow says:
    @peterAUS

    We have been told for 3 years that there is already ‘serious Russian involvement’. Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in.
     
    Yup.

    But who will come to help Kiev?
     
    Good question.

    You know what I think will happen, most likely around the World Cup?

    Something along this line


    This is a race to the bottom – all involved are suffering.
     
    It will be a mass death and destruction in Donbass and among involved Kiev troops.

    I could even describe how all that would work but it wouldn't be sensible re OPSEC and especially PERSEC.

    After that bloodbath the things will go back to "normal" with even more sanctions/whatever on Russia.
    "Normal" as now, save all those dead and crippled and I suspect it will be plenty of them.

    Hopefully I'll be proven utterly wrong.

    We all hope you are wrong. My only hope for World Cup truce is that Europeans might not want to spoil the fun. But nobody listens to them.

    Ukraine is a divided country and the race to the bottom will continue until all sides cease to dream about a total victory. People in Kiev need to realise how long memories of bloody, civil conflicts last – the Western Ukrainians are still obsessed with what happened 70-80 years ago.

    The conflict is good for some in Washington. And a few unhinged crazies in Poland, Baltic, Sweden, Germany. But it is extremely bad for everyone else, especially for Ukrainians of all kinds. Stirring up bloody conflicts among other people used to be seen as the ultimate evil. But somehow the ones doing it like to parade today as paragons of ‘humanitarian’ virtue. I can’t figure that out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Pretty much agree with all that.

    What made me quite pessimistic about all that are a couple of elements I wasn't aware before this latest info.
    Can't talk about those elements for obvious reasons, but, they aren't good for peaceful resolution of the crisis.

    Almost feels as a perfect storm nobody wants...well....almost nobody.
    There is certain momentum which demands a lot of effort to divert, let alone slow down/stop in order to prevent re-ignition of full blown conventional war there.

    I don't even think that eruption of "hostilities" will actually change anything of substance on the ground there. But, it is likely to be a lot of destruction and death before a stalemate and, essentially, next period of peace.
    To be blunt, there will be no military solution to the problem, but it will be plenty of destruction and death.

    I guess that my point is to watch what's happening there and see, hopefully, some real efforts to resolve that crisis in the next couple of months.
    , @JL
    As far as I can tell, there was only one clear, undisputed winner from the Ukraine conflict, and it wasn't even, presumably, a party to it: China. As you state, it was extremely bad for everyone else, including the US and Europe.
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  86. Aedib says:
    @Beckow
    This is a race to the bottom - all involved are suffering. That is what one would expect when there is no-holds fight.

    serious Russian help/involvement
     
    We have been told for 3 years that there is already 'serious Russian involvement'. Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in. But who will come to help Kiev? Is Trudeau going to send Canadian marines? Or Merkel her scary Wehrmacht? Oh, maybe Poles will try their luck. Why not, just because it hasn't worked for 300 years of trying, why not try one more time?

    serious Russian help/involvement

    Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in.

    If Russia is forced to openly enter, it will go full-steam and Javelins will not do some difference at all. I.e. the Syrian operation on hyper-steroids. But I think Putin will try to dodge the bullet via “vacationers and voentorg”. Hopefully the conflict would be avoided.
    I am slightly optimist about the next president. May be Ms. Yulia have ”the balls” Poroshenko lacks for neutralizing the ultras. She can behave as a rational nationalist and slowly move the country out of the swamp.

    Read More
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  87. @Jon0815

    GDP per capita is perhaps (optimistically) at half the level it was back then
     
    What are you basing that on? That might be true of the Kiev-controlled portions of Donbass, which saw a total GDP decline of around 60% in 2015-2015, and a per capita decline of something less than that (since part of the total decline was due to population displacement). But as far as I know no one has attempted to calculate the GDP of the DLNR. It seems likely though that the DLNR's per capita decline was less than that of Kiev-controlled Donbass, since the latter is where the heaviest fighting and physical damage took place.


    while the Ukraine has almost recovered to Yanukovych-era levels
     

    Not in nominal terms. The DLNR use the ruble as their currency, and since 2016 the ruble has strengthened from 67 to 57 vs. the dollar, while the hryvnia has remained flat.

    obviously there can be no significant investment while the region is in such a state of legal limbo
     
    But the Russian government is subsidizing the DLNR at a rate of about $1 billion per year, which is probably equal to at least 15-20% of the DLNR's GDP. There is some private investment from Russia too.

    If anything, it is convenient for the Ukraine to wait to reintegrate the Donbass (forcibly or otherwise) to allow more time for what would remain a nest of (relative) Russophile sentiment to bleed out more completely
     

    Rather than the DLNR "bleeding out", it's quite possible that the DLNR's GDP growth rate is significantly faster than Ukraine's. According to the DNR's Minster of Finance, in the past year the DNR's average m0nthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn't seem implausable to me given the size of the Russian subsidy.

    What are you basing that on?

    Guessing. However, I find it difficult to believe that a region in a state of legal limbo, under blockade from the Ukraine, and having its main urban agglomeration intermittently shelled can be doing any better.

    There are also demographic statistics, which the DNR (though not the LNR) now issues. I am going to have a post on that soon. Anyhow, the fertility collapse there has been far steeper than in any other part of the Ukraine, which again would suggest that the economic situation is far worse.

    The DLNR use the ruble as their currency, and since 2016 the ruble has strengthened from 67 to 57 vs. the dollar, while the hryvnia has remained flat.

    As AP points out (and I have always maintained the same position), PPP is inordinately better for cost of living comparisons. Nominal GDP is useful mainly as a proxy of financial strength, and for calculating things like foreign currency denominated debt burdens. That is admittedly a factor in the Ukraine’s case, but not a critical one – CDS on Ukrainian sovereign debt actually fell below even Yanukovych era levels by 2017 (which, incidentally, goes to further underline the insanity of the Ukraine-will-collapse-any-day-now theory in The Current Year).

    There is some private investment from Russia too.

    Some of my friends and I have been speculating about buying a flat in Donetsk the past year. We might lose it all (if Ukraine recovers it under its own conditions), or we might make substantial gains (perhaps on the order of 10x, if legal normality returns).

    I suspect there’s little more than this sort of entirely speculative investment going on there. Not when even tourism is subject to the immediate vagaries of wartime (had signed up to a week long tour over the New Year, was canceled at the last moment due to problems with the recent prisoner exchange).

    According to the DNR’s Minster of Finance, in the past year the DNR’s average m0nthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn’t seem implausable to me given the size of the Russian subsidy.

    However, this is a recovery from a very low base.

    I wasn’t aware of these figures, thanks. But unfortunately it sort of makes my point. Current USD/RUB rate is 57, which translates into a monthly wage of $177.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage

    This is relative to (as of latest data in that Wiki article) $650 in Russia, and $276 in the Ukraine. The DNR is now considerably poorer than Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which are at around the Ukraine’s level (Moldova is now a bit richer), though still richer than Tajikistan (~$140).

    Furthermore note that wages in the territories of the LDNR itself, which are more urban/industrial, would have been higher than in Donetsk/Lugansk oblasts as a whole, so note that this if anything understates the depth of the economic collapse there.

    Moreover, note that wages in Donetsk oblast were very high before the war – the second highest after Kiev itself (around 15% higher than the national average in 2013, and a third lower than in Kiev).

    https://index.minfin.com.ua/labour/salary/average/2013

    Current USD:grivna rate is 28, which translates to an average Ukrainian wage of $267 (50% higher), and $415 (2.3x) in Kiev.

    To further underline the point: Average wage in Donetsk oblast as of Nov 2017 was $293, or – amazingly – still 10% higher than in the Ukrainian average. That’s despite a frontline dividing it, etc.

    10,130 rubles translates to around 5,000 grivna. The poorest Ukrainian provinces, such as Ternopil, have almost 6,000 grivna (or $210). The DNR went from being the second richest province (and by a considerable margin) to its poorest one,
    if it was still part of the Ukraine (again by a considerable margin).

    Since Lugansk used to be at the Ukrainian average instead of one of its top performers, and bearing in mind the overtly bandit-like rule of Plotnitsky, I would wager that wages in the LNR are fully Tajik.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815


    I wasn’t aware of these figures, thanks. But unfortunately it sort of makes my point.
     

    I understood you to be arguing that Ukraine had no need to attack because time is on its side: The DLNR are in a "crisis" and "bleeding out". That is, that the DLNR are not merely worse off than Ukraine (clearly true, at the moment), but also that their trendlines are dire. That doesn't seem to be true of the economic trendlines, and it's likely that fertility recovery will eventually follow economic recovery.

    Current USD/RUB rate is 57, which translates into a monthly wage of $177.

    This is relative to (as of latest data in that Wiki article) $650 in Russia, and $276 in the Ukraine. The DNR is now considerably poorer than Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which are at around the Ukraine’s level (Moldova is now a bit richer), though still richer than Tajikistan (~$140).
     

    But if the DNR can maintain double-digit annual wage growth (and as long as Russia continues to pump $1 billion a year into a roughly $5 billion economy, it seems plausible to me that it can) those rankings aren't going to remain true for very long.
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  88. @Aedib
    Is safer for Ukraine not to gamble again. There would not be Minsk-III (70+% likelihood).

    There would not be Minsk-III (70+% likelihood).

    Nothing is beyond the Kremlin nanogeniuses (as Strelkov so correctly calls them).

    Read More
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  89. @peterAUS

    We have been told for 3 years that there is already ‘serious Russian involvement’. Russians have made it clear that they will not allow Donbas to be over-run. Putin has been very specific and outspoken on that. If needed, they will come in.
     
    Yup.

    But who will come to help Kiev?
     
    Good question.

    You know what I think will happen, most likely around the World Cup?

    Something along this line


    This is a race to the bottom – all involved are suffering.
     
    It will be a mass death and destruction in Donbass and among involved Kiev troops.

    I could even describe how all that would work but it wouldn't be sensible re OPSEC and especially PERSEC.

    After that bloodbath the things will go back to "normal" with even more sanctions/whatever on Russia.
    "Normal" as now, save all those dead and crippled and I suspect it will be plenty of them.

    Hopefully I'll be proven utterly wrong.

    Well it all ultimately boils down to whether Russia intervenes or not.

    If it does, then Ukraine gets kicked out; hopefully, the follow-up offensive recovers territories up to at least Slavyansk and preferably the old oblast borders (necessary to make the LDNR actually viable) and Russia recognizes them, but I am not holding my breath for it, since this would now (unlike in 2014-5) require serious and overt Russian intervention.

    Alternatively, the Ukraine retakes the LDNR – not even people in the NAF believe they can hold out without Russian support – and Russia gets both the defeat and the sanctions anyway.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    Unless there is a larger event, something like a quasi-collapse in Russia, I cannot see any Russian government voluntarily losing in Donbas. They have local superiority, the population is Russian or pro-Russian, the symbolic value is enormous, and there is always the unpleasant possibility of a genocide or an expulsion of the Donbas population if Kiev takes over.

    It is costly, it is probably something Putin would prefer not to deal with, but he really has no choice. I think the idea of free choice is over-stated in power politics among states and groups. There is an internal dynamic to most conflicts that largely determines how each party acts. Only real outsiders have independent initiative (in Ukraine's case, US is the main outsider, thus the stupid initiative they have shown).

    Group dynamics in Ukraine, Donbas, between Ukraine and Russia, Crimea, etc... are in-mutable. Each side mostly plays its role. Russia's role is to protect the Russians in Donbas, so they will. Ukraine cannot geographically move away (to north-western Atlantic?), so they will eventually lose and go back to some accommodation with Russia. Outsiders eventually always leave, in 10-20 years nobody in Washington will want to talk about Ukraine. If we make it that far.
    , @peterAUS

    Well it all ultimately boils down to whether Russia intervenes or not.
     
    I can see two scenarios, with a big stretch three. Each one initiated by Ukraine and Russia reacting to it.

    In each one of them Russia will be forced to react. The only difference is how much; in each case, though, it will be significant enough to be shown on CNN.

    In the second, let alone third, scenario it is likely to see that follow up offensive.

    That third scenario, which is highly unlikely IMHO, Ukraine's objective would be retaking LNDR.

    The objectives in the first two scenarios I'd leave to the reader.

    Possibilities:
    First scenario: 60 %
    Second scenario:30 %
    Third scenario : 10 %
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  90. Beckow says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Well it all ultimately boils down to whether Russia intervenes or not.

    If it does, then Ukraine gets kicked out; hopefully, the follow-up offensive recovers territories up to at least Slavyansk and preferably the old oblast borders (necessary to make the LDNR actually viable) and Russia recognizes them, but I am not holding my breath for it, since this would now (unlike in 2014-5) require serious and overt Russian intervention.

    Alternatively, the Ukraine retakes the LDNR - not even people in the NAF believe they can hold out without Russian support - and Russia gets both the defeat and the sanctions anyway.

    Unless there is a larger event, something like a quasi-collapse in Russia, I cannot see any Russian government voluntarily losing in Donbas. They have local superiority, the population is Russian or pro-Russian, the symbolic value is enormous, and there is always the unpleasant possibility of a genocide or an expulsion of the Donbas population if Kiev takes over.

    It is costly, it is probably something Putin would prefer not to deal with, but he really has no choice. I think the idea of free choice is over-stated in power politics among states and groups. There is an internal dynamic to most conflicts that largely determines how each party acts. Only real outsiders have independent initiative (in Ukraine’s case, US is the main outsider, thus the stupid initiative they have shown).

    Group dynamics in Ukraine, Donbas, between Ukraine and Russia, Crimea, etc… are in-mutable. Each side mostly plays its role. Russia’s role is to protect the Russians in Donbas, so they will. Ukraine cannot geographically move away (to north-western Atlantic?), so they will eventually lose and go back to some accommodation with Russia. Outsiders eventually always leave, in 10-20 years nobody in Washington will want to talk about Ukraine. If we make it that far.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree, actually, up to

    they will eventually lose
     
    related to

    If we make it that far.
     
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  91. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow
    We all hope you are wrong. My only hope for World Cup truce is that Europeans might not want to spoil the fun. But nobody listens to them.

    Ukraine is a divided country and the race to the bottom will continue until all sides cease to dream about a total victory. People in Kiev need to realise how long memories of bloody, civil conflicts last - the Western Ukrainians are still obsessed with what happened 70-80 years ago.

    The conflict is good for some in Washington. And a few unhinged crazies in Poland, Baltic, Sweden, Germany. But it is extremely bad for everyone else, especially for Ukrainians of all kinds. Stirring up bloody conflicts among other people used to be seen as the ultimate evil. But somehow the ones doing it like to parade today as paragons of 'humanitarian' virtue. I can't figure that out.

    Pretty much agree with all that.

    What made me quite pessimistic about all that are a couple of elements I wasn’t aware before this latest info.
    Can’t talk about those elements for obvious reasons, but, they aren’t good for peaceful resolution of the crisis.

    Almost feels as a perfect storm nobody wants…well….almost nobody.
    There is certain momentum which demands a lot of effort to divert, let alone slow down/stop in order to prevent re-ignition of full blown conventional war there.

    I don’t even think that eruption of “hostilities” will actually change anything of substance on the ground there. But, it is likely to be a lot of destruction and death before a stalemate and, essentially, next period of peace.
    To be blunt, there will be no military solution to the problem, but it will be plenty of destruction and death.

    I guess that my point is to watch what’s happening there and see, hopefully, some real efforts to resolve that crisis in the next couple of months.

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  92. peterAUS says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Well it all ultimately boils down to whether Russia intervenes or not.

    If it does, then Ukraine gets kicked out; hopefully, the follow-up offensive recovers territories up to at least Slavyansk and preferably the old oblast borders (necessary to make the LDNR actually viable) and Russia recognizes them, but I am not holding my breath for it, since this would now (unlike in 2014-5) require serious and overt Russian intervention.

    Alternatively, the Ukraine retakes the LDNR - not even people in the NAF believe they can hold out without Russian support - and Russia gets both the defeat and the sanctions anyway.

    Well it all ultimately boils down to whether Russia intervenes or not.

    I can see two scenarios, with a big stretch three. Each one initiated by Ukraine and Russia reacting to it.

    In each one of them Russia will be forced to react. The only difference is how much; in each case, though, it will be significant enough to be shown on CNN.

    In the second, let alone third, scenario it is likely to see that follow up offensive.

    That third scenario, which is highly unlikely IMHO, Ukraine’s objective would be retaking LNDR.

    The objectives in the first two scenarios I’d leave to the reader.

    Possibilities:
    First scenario: 60 %
    Second scenario:30 %
    Third scenario : 10 %

    Read More
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  93. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow
    Unless there is a larger event, something like a quasi-collapse in Russia, I cannot see any Russian government voluntarily losing in Donbas. They have local superiority, the population is Russian or pro-Russian, the symbolic value is enormous, and there is always the unpleasant possibility of a genocide or an expulsion of the Donbas population if Kiev takes over.

    It is costly, it is probably something Putin would prefer not to deal with, but he really has no choice. I think the idea of free choice is over-stated in power politics among states and groups. There is an internal dynamic to most conflicts that largely determines how each party acts. Only real outsiders have independent initiative (in Ukraine's case, US is the main outsider, thus the stupid initiative they have shown).

    Group dynamics in Ukraine, Donbas, between Ukraine and Russia, Crimea, etc... are in-mutable. Each side mostly plays its role. Russia's role is to protect the Russians in Donbas, so they will. Ukraine cannot geographically move away (to north-western Atlantic?), so they will eventually lose and go back to some accommodation with Russia. Outsiders eventually always leave, in 10-20 years nobody in Washington will want to talk about Ukraine. If we make it that far.

    Agree, actually, up to

    they will eventually lose

    related to

    If we make it that far.

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  94. Jon0815 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    What are you basing that on?
     
    Guessing. However, I find it difficult to believe that a region in a state of legal limbo, under blockade from the Ukraine, and having its main urban agglomeration intermittently shelled can be doing any better.

    There are also demographic statistics, which the DNR (though not the LNR) now issues. I am going to have a post on that soon. Anyhow, the fertility collapse there has been far steeper than in any other part of the Ukraine, which again would suggest that the economic situation is far worse.

    The DLNR use the ruble as their currency, and since 2016 the ruble has strengthened from 67 to 57 vs. the dollar, while the hryvnia has remained flat.
     
    As AP points out (and I have always maintained the same position), PPP is inordinately better for cost of living comparisons. Nominal GDP is useful mainly as a proxy of financial strength, and for calculating things like foreign currency denominated debt burdens. That is admittedly a factor in the Ukraine's case, but not a critical one - CDS on Ukrainian sovereign debt actually fell below even Yanukovych era levels by 2017 (which, incidentally, goes to further underline the insanity of the Ukraine-will-collapse-any-day-now theory in The Current Year).

    There is some private investment from Russia too.
     
    Some of my friends and I have been speculating about buying a flat in Donetsk the past year. We might lose it all (if Ukraine recovers it under its own conditions), or we might make substantial gains (perhaps on the order of 10x, if legal normality returns).

    I suspect there's little more than this sort of entirely speculative investment going on there. Not when even tourism is subject to the immediate vagaries of wartime (had signed up to a week long tour over the New Year, was canceled at the last moment due to problems with the recent prisoner exchange).

    According to the DNR’s Minster of Finance, in the past year the DNR’s average m0nthly wage has increased by 22% (to 10,130 rubles), and this doesn’t seem implausable to me given the size of the Russian subsidy.
     
    However, this is a recovery from a very low base.

    I wasn't aware of these figures, thanks. But unfortunately it sort of makes my point. Current USD/RUB rate is 57, which translates into a monthly wage of $177.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage

    This is relative to (as of latest data in that Wiki article) $650 in Russia, and $276 in the Ukraine. The DNR is now considerably poorer than Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which are at around the Ukraine's level (Moldova is now a bit richer), though still richer than Tajikistan (~$140).

    Furthermore note that wages in the territories of the LDNR itself, which are more urban/industrial, would have been higher than in Donetsk/Lugansk oblasts as a whole, so note that this if anything understates the depth of the economic collapse there.

    Moreover, note that wages in Donetsk oblast were very high before the war - the second highest after Kiev itself (around 15% higher than the national average in 2013, and a third lower than in Kiev).

    https://index.minfin.com.ua/labour/salary/average/2013

    Current USD:grivna rate is 28, which translates to an average Ukrainian wage of $267 (50% higher), and $415 (2.3x) in Kiev.

    To further underline the point: Average wage in Donetsk oblast as of Nov 2017 was $293, or - amazingly - still 10% higher than in the Ukrainian average. That's despite a frontline dividing it, etc.

    10,130 rubles translates to around 5,000 grivna. The poorest Ukrainian provinces, such as Ternopil, have almost 6,000 grivna (or $210). The DNR went from being the second richest province (and by a considerable margin) to its poorest one,
    if it was still part of the Ukraine (again by a considerable margin).

    Since Lugansk used to be at the Ukrainian average instead of one of its top performers, and bearing in mind the overtly bandit-like rule of Plotnitsky, I would wager that wages in the LNR are fully Tajik.

    I wasn’t aware of these figures, thanks. But unfortunately it sort of makes my point.

    I understood you to be arguing that Ukraine had no need to attack because time is on its side: The DLNR are in a “crisis” and “bleeding out”. That is, that the DLNR are not merely worse off than Ukraine (clearly true, at the moment), but also that their trendlines are dire. That doesn’t seem to be true of the economic trendlines, and it’s likely that fertility recovery will eventually follow economic recovery.

    Current USD/RUB rate is 57, which translates into a monthly wage of $177.

    This is relative to (as of latest data in that Wiki article) $650 in Russia, and $276 in the Ukraine. The DNR is now considerably poorer than Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which are at around the Ukraine’s level (Moldova is now a bit richer), though still richer than Tajikistan (~$140).

    But if the DNR can maintain double-digit annual wage growth (and as long as Russia continues to pump $1 billion a year into a roughly $5 billion economy, it seems plausible to me that it can) those rankings aren’t going to remain true for very long.

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  95. AP says:
    @Beckow
    Thank you for the numbers and the analysis. I won't nit-pick because there is a lot there and it correctly describes the complex situation. I would add exports: Ukraine in 2017 had exports 40% below 2013. The exports to Europe reached the same level as in 2013 (that with the golden 'Association' treaty that was supposed to open EU markets, it obviously didn't.) You can calculate by how much exports to Russia dropped - a catastrophe.

    People don't do 'revolutions' to live the same as before. Maidan was done with very high expectations: Europe (and they meant physically be allowed into Europe as migrants), 'European' living standards, European markets, everything 'Europe'.

    That has not happened. There has been some partial progress, e.g. visa-free travel, some IMF loans, etc...but most Ukrainians live the same - or worse - than pre-Maidan. Membership in EU has been specifically excluded for 25-5o years, more explicit rejection than pre-Maidan. The 'revolution' has not so far achieved its goals. And EU itself is starting to look less appealing. (Million Sub-Saharan migrants to Ukraine?)

    What happens next? If Maidan fizzles out the same way as the Orange revolution did in 2005-2010 what will be the consequences? My guess is that for at least a generation Kiev is going to have very tense, hostile relations with Russia. That means little trade. And by now it is obvious that nothing else - no Europe, no US - is going to replace the lost business with Russia. So we are looking at 40 million very frustrated people, living so-so day to day, corruption goes on, mass emigration goes on. How long can that last?

    The only way out s for Russia to somehow collapse first. But what if it doesn't?

    I would add exports: Ukraine in 2017 had exports 40% below 2013.

    Correct (to be precise, exports are 37% lower).

    However, Donbas accounted for about 25% of Ukraine’s export volume, so a huge chunk of that missing export volume simply reflects the fact that Donbas is no longer part of Ukraine. As with income drop, loss o exports from Donbas affects national stats but doesn’t mean that, for example, Lviv is now exporting less. The regions of Ukraine that are still part of Ukraine are collectively exporting less, but the drop is not nearly so drastic or catastrophic.

    People don’t do ‘revolutions‘ to live the same as before. Maidan was done with very high expectations: Europe (and they meant physically be allowed into Europe as migrants), ‘European’ living standards, European markets, everything ‘Europe’.

    Most people at the time expected it would be a long-term thing. Nobody thought that Ukraine would achieve European living standards in 1 or 5 years. What they wanted was to start to follow in Poland’s path rather than be stuck in the same old same old, under despot linked to Russia because nobody else could tolerate him.

    Maidan was a popular revolt of the western and central half of the country. Why did they do it? Here’s a poll from February 2014:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=231&page=10&y=2014

    Data from western and central Ukrainians (the ones doing the uprising) are most relevant:

    By % respondents:

    1. Anger at Yanukovich’s corrupt regime
    2. Desire to turn Ukraine into as civilized country, as in other parts of Europe
    3. Civic duty
    4. Anger at Berkut violence
    5. Desire to free Ukraine of Russia’s economic and political dictates
    6. Nationalism

    (1) was achieved – Yanukovich is gone. New government isn’t less corrupt, but is less despotic and not Yanukovich.
    (2) – mostly failed. Visa-free travel to Europe, some reforms but they have stalled.
    (3) it was expressed.
    (4) Berkut were defeated.
    (5) Achieved.
    (6) Succeeded.

    Overall, a big reason (achieving European standards of civilization) failed but in other areas it was a success.

    People in Ukraine grumble a lot about Poroshenko, about corruption still being present (often bitterly and understandably so – I’ve heard stuff like “people gave their lives on Maidan to end this crap, but still bribes are being demanded!”) but nobody I’ve heard from regrets the overthrow or wishes Yanukovich was still around. And it’s nothing like the complaints in 2013. There isn’t visceral hatred towards Poroshenko, people aren’t afraid that he’s going to turn into a dictator or that he’s going to bind Ukraine to Russia forever. They are simply disappointed and angry that he hasn’t stopped corruption.

    And EU itself is starting to look less appealing. (Million Sub-Saharan migrants to Ukraine?)

    Most pro-EU Ukrainians see Poland, not Germany or France, as models. There is a subset of Western-style liberals but these are not dominant among the the pro-Westerners.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    Most people at the time expected it would be a long-term thing. Nobody thought that Ukraine would achieve European living standards in 1 or 5 years.
     
    They also didn't think that in 5 years they would have made no progress in catching up to European living standards at all. Or that in nominal wealth they'd be much further behind Europe than they were in 2013.

    Most Maidan supporters probably anticipated some significant economic improvement in the short term. If they had known the result would be a -10% collapse in per capita GDP growth, followed by years of weaker average growth than under Yanukovich, or that in 2018 the hryvnia would have only 1/3rd its 2013 value (not to mention civil war and the loss of Crimea and Donbass), Maidan would have had a lot less support.

    Data from western and central Ukrainians (the ones doing the uprising) are most relevant:
     
    This isn't very meaningful. Revolutionaries will naturally tend to ascribe the more high-minded motivation to themselves. But it's clear that Maidan was primarily about economic aspiration. After all, its triggering event was the failure to sign a trade agreement.
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  96. Jon0815 says:
    @Beckow

    Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far
     
    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev. All they have to do is give Donbas autonomy and let go of the revenge plans against Donbas residents. That would quiet down the Ukraine's crisis and that is clearly not what Washington wants. Not yet. But I don't see how they can win in the current stalemate, so they will have to escalate. By 2020 if the current situation is still about the same, Kiev will be a joke, and the government there will not be viable. They have to do something.

    West gambled on the Russian passivity
     
    Post-Maidan attempts to take control of Crimea were beyond pathetic. A complete amateur hour, the worst thing was to send a few thugs, and the insane 'no Russian as an official language'. If Putin was scripting it, it couldn't be more helpful with independence for Crimea. And Obama sending a lame, lonely ship to Black See, and then promptly backtracking...to me it looks like they were caught completely unprepared.

    When your success depends on your enemy doing nothing, you have already lost. Who are these morons? I suspect a large percentage of unstable women and a few POC who have no idea what is actually going on, with a bunch of 'career-centric' males, are all over Washington offices. They probably think it is a success if the next buffet in Warsaw Marriott has Norwegian quality salmon. You can't run an empire like that.

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev.

    That’s not a mystery. They are refusing because the Maidanist regime doesn’t want to re-introduce 3 million very pro-Russia voters into the electorate, and they need a continued conflict against “the aggressor” to distract from Maidan’s dismal failure to deliver on its economic promises. Also, the ultranationalist militias don’t like Minsk, since it would end their dream of ethnically cleansing Donbass, and Poroshenko doesn’t want to make them too angry, for fear they might spearhead another putsch.

    That’ why not only has Ukraine failed to meet its Minsk obligations, but also continues to sabotage the deployment of UN peacekeepers to along the line of contact, with an irrational demand (peacekeepers along the DLNR/Russia border as well, where there is no conflict) they know Russia can’t agree to (so long as Putin insists on maintaining his stupid, pointless pretense that Russia isn’t supporting the rebels).

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    they need a continued conflict against “the aggressor” to distract from Maidan’s dismal failure to deliver on its economic promises. Also, the ultranationalist militias don’t like Minsk, since it would end their dream of ethnically cleansing Donbass, and Poroshenko doesn’t want to make them too angry, for fear they might spearhead another putsch.
     
    Pretty much.
    A detail of some interest, perhaps:
    Ultra nationalist militias are the shock infantry. They have been used/would be used for spearheading any advance and for heaviest (read bloodiest) battles.
    Excellent way to get rid of them, if managed properly.
    That's for Kiev side.

    For LNDR side, the conflict so far created a layer of, say, people in position of power who don't operate well in peaceful environment. Just not the types. In well organized societies those, after a war, get pensions/quiet civilian jobs out of real power/spotlight.
    In not so well organized societies they get "cleaned up" just before the end of hostilities.
    A good dose of fighting does that. Especially if they can't actually do the job and external power comes in for rescue. That power tends to take over. Reorganize etc.

    I know all this sounds quite Machiavellian but, well, we'll see.
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  97. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    I would add exports: Ukraine in 2017 had exports 40% below 2013.
     
    Correct (to be precise, exports are 37% lower).

    However, Donbas accounted for about 25% of Ukraine's export volume, so a huge chunk of that missing export volume simply reflects the fact that Donbas is no longer part of Ukraine. As with income drop, loss o exports from Donbas affects national stats but doesn't mean that, for example, Lviv is now exporting less. The regions of Ukraine that are still part of Ukraine are collectively exporting less, but the drop is not nearly so drastic or catastrophic.

    People don’t do ‘revolutions‘ to live the same as before. Maidan was done with very high expectations: Europe (and they meant physically be allowed into Europe as migrants), ‘European’ living standards, European markets, everything ‘Europe’.
     
    Most people at the time expected it would be a long-term thing. Nobody thought that Ukraine would achieve European living standards in 1 or 5 years. What they wanted was to start to follow in Poland's path rather than be stuck in the same old same old, under despot linked to Russia because nobody else could tolerate him.

    Maidan was a popular revolt of the western and central half of the country. Why did they do it? Here's a poll from February 2014:

    http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=231&page=10&y=2014

    Data from western and central Ukrainians (the ones doing the uprising) are most relevant:

    By % respondents:

    1. Anger at Yanukovich's corrupt regime
    2. Desire to turn Ukraine into as civilized country, as in other parts of Europe
    3. Civic duty
    4. Anger at Berkut violence
    5. Desire to free Ukraine of Russia's economic and political dictates
    6. Nationalism

    (1) was achieved - Yanukovich is gone. New government isn't less corrupt, but is less despotic and not Yanukovich.
    (2) - mostly failed. Visa-free travel to Europe, some reforms but they have stalled.
    (3) it was expressed.
    (4) Berkut were defeated.
    (5) Achieved.
    (6) Succeeded.

    Overall, a big reason (achieving European standards of civilization) failed but in other areas it was a success.

    People in Ukraine grumble a lot about Poroshenko, about corruption still being present (often bitterly and understandably so - I've heard stuff like "people gave their lives on Maidan to end this crap, but still bribes are being demanded!") but nobody I've heard from regrets the overthrow or wishes Yanukovich was still around. And it's nothing like the complaints in 2013. There isn't visceral hatred towards Poroshenko, people aren't afraid that he's going to turn into a dictator or that he's going to bind Ukraine to Russia forever. They are simply disappointed and angry that he hasn't stopped corruption.

    And EU itself is starting to look less appealing. (Million Sub-Saharan migrants to Ukraine?)
     
    Most pro-EU Ukrainians see Poland, not Germany or France, as models. There is a subset of Western-style liberals but these are not dominant among the the pro-Westerners.

    Most people at the time expected it would be a long-term thing. Nobody thought that Ukraine would achieve European living standards in 1 or 5 years.

    They also didn’t think that in 5 years they would have made no progress in catching up to European living standards at all. Or that in nominal wealth they’d be much further behind Europe than they were in 2013.

    Most Maidan supporters probably anticipated some significant economic improvement in the short term. If they had known the result would be a -10% collapse in per capita GDP growth, followed by years of weaker average growth than under Yanukovich, or that in 2018 the hryvnia would have only 1/3rd its 2013 value (not to mention civil war and the loss of Crimea and Donbass), Maidan would have had a lot less support.

    Data from western and central Ukrainians (the ones doing the uprising) are most relevant:

    This isn’t very meaningful. Revolutionaries will naturally tend to ascribe the more high-minded motivation to themselves. But it’s clear that Maidan was primarily about economic aspiration. After all, its triggering event was the failure to sign a trade agreement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Most Maidan supporters probably anticipated some significant economic improvement in the short term.
     
    I only heard the opposite. Everyone expected 1 year (at least) of pain. True, they expected more growth afterward.

    not to mention civil war and the loss of Crimea and Donbass
     
    Russia's actions/reactions. Which confirms the wish to distance from this country that would do such things, in the eyes of most Ukrainians.

    In response to seeking a divorce, a man beats up the would-be divorcee. Would she regret choosing not to stay with such a man if she had self-respect?

    Ukrainians are aware of what their country is like - much more than you are. There is no sentiment to bring back Yanukovich and the popularity of PR's successor party is low. Most Ukrainians see Maidan as necessary.
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  98. JL says:
    @Beckow
    We all hope you are wrong. My only hope for World Cup truce is that Europeans might not want to spoil the fun. But nobody listens to them.

    Ukraine is a divided country and the race to the bottom will continue until all sides cease to dream about a total victory. People in Kiev need to realise how long memories of bloody, civil conflicts last - the Western Ukrainians are still obsessed with what happened 70-80 years ago.

    The conflict is good for some in Washington. And a few unhinged crazies in Poland, Baltic, Sweden, Germany. But it is extremely bad for everyone else, especially for Ukrainians of all kinds. Stirring up bloody conflicts among other people used to be seen as the ultimate evil. But somehow the ones doing it like to parade today as paragons of 'humanitarian' virtue. I can't figure that out.

    As far as I can tell, there was only one clear, undisputed winner from the Ukraine conflict, and it wasn’t even, presumably, a party to it: China. As you state, it was extremely bad for everyone else, including the US and Europe.

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  99. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    Most people at the time expected it would be a long-term thing. Nobody thought that Ukraine would achieve European living standards in 1 or 5 years.
     
    They also didn't think that in 5 years they would have made no progress in catching up to European living standards at all. Or that in nominal wealth they'd be much further behind Europe than they were in 2013.

    Most Maidan supporters probably anticipated some significant economic improvement in the short term. If they had known the result would be a -10% collapse in per capita GDP growth, followed by years of weaker average growth than under Yanukovich, or that in 2018 the hryvnia would have only 1/3rd its 2013 value (not to mention civil war and the loss of Crimea and Donbass), Maidan would have had a lot less support.

    Data from western and central Ukrainians (the ones doing the uprising) are most relevant:
     
    This isn't very meaningful. Revolutionaries will naturally tend to ascribe the more high-minded motivation to themselves. But it's clear that Maidan was primarily about economic aspiration. After all, its triggering event was the failure to sign a trade agreement.

    Most Maidan supporters probably anticipated some significant economic improvement in the short term.

    I only heard the opposite. Everyone expected 1 year (at least) of pain. True, they expected more growth afterward.

    not to mention civil war and the loss of Crimea and Donbass

    Russia’s actions/reactions. Which confirms the wish to distance from this country that would do such things, in the eyes of most Ukrainians.

    In response to seeking a divorce, a man beats up the would-be divorcee. Would she regret choosing not to stay with such a man if she had self-respect?

    Ukrainians are aware of what their country is like – much more than you are. There is no sentiment to bring back Yanukovich and the popularity of PR’s successor party is low. Most Ukrainians see Maidan as necessary.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    Russia’s actions/reactions. Which confirms the wish to distance from this country that would do such things, in the eyes of most Ukrainians.

    In response to seeking a divorce, a man beats up the would-be divorcee. Would she regret choosing not to stay with such a man if she had self-respect?
     
    Bad analogy. Russia's action in Crimea wasn't simply punitive (unlike Kiev's terror-shelling of Donetsk). It provided protection for the Crimean people, so they could exercise their own right to self-determination without Kiev launching an "ATO" against them and shelling Sevastopol. There isn't any real doubt that after the Maidan coup, most Crimeans no longer wanted to be part of Ukraine. Every poll has confirmed the results of the referendum, that Crimeans prefer reunification with Russia. But Kiev would never have willingly let them go.

    And the separatist revolt in Donbass was a civil war, also triggered by the Maidan coup.

    Ukrainians are aware of what their country is like – much more than you are. There is no sentiment to bring back Yanukovich and the popularity of PR’s successor party is low. Most Ukrainians see Maidan as necessary.
     
    People don't like to admit mistakes, even to themselves. But objectively, the only way Maidan can be considered a success, is if one considers maximizing Ukraine's separation from Russia, to be more important than economic prosperity (which I gather that you do, but I don't think most Maidan supporters did).
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  100. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Kiev and their Western sponsors refuse to compromise, so far
     
    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev. All they have to do is give Donbas autonomy and let go of the revenge plans against Donbas residents. That would quiet down the Ukraine's crisis and that is clearly not what Washington wants. Not yet. But I don't see how they can win in the current stalemate, so they will have to escalate. By 2020 if the current situation is still about the same, Kiev will be a joke, and the government there will not be viable. They have to do something.

    West gambled on the Russian passivity
     
    Post-Maidan attempts to take control of Crimea were beyond pathetic. A complete amateur hour, the worst thing was to send a few thugs, and the insane 'no Russian as an official language'. If Putin was scripting it, it couldn't be more helpful with independence for Crimea. And Obama sending a lame, lonely ship to Black See, and then promptly backtracking...to me it looks like they were caught completely unprepared.

    When your success depends on your enemy doing nothing, you have already lost. Who are these morons? I suspect a large percentage of unstable women and a few POC who have no idea what is actually going on, with a bunch of 'career-centric' males, are all over Washington offices. They probably think it is a success if the next buffet in Warsaw Marriott has Norwegian quality salmon. You can't run an empire like that.

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev.

    No it isn’t. Granting the pro-Russian region de facto veto powers over national policy and special status for its gangsters is a terrible deal for Kiev, made under duress when it was at its weakest.

    The fact that Russia wants Ukraine to take back Donbas under such terms makes obvious that this is a bad deal for Ukraine but good for Russia.

    Ideally there will be no bloodshed or fighting, Ukraine will not invade, and these regions will stay gone and Ukraine will continue its Westward course, desired by most non-Donbas Ukrainians, without the pro-Russian anchor. Let Russia support its brothers and pay for the consequences of its actions in a neighboring sovereign state..

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Yes, I don’t expect Ukrainians to want to go back to Russia anytime soon.

    I’m just wondering if sentiment in Donbass is similar (i.e. they are happy to have divorced the husband beating them as revenge), or if they will start blaming Russia for not taking them back and keeping them in limbo. The latter sentiment might help forget the former and lead to an eventual reintegration under Ukrainian terms.
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  101. @AP

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev.
     
    No it isn't. Granting the pro-Russian region de facto veto powers over national policy and special status for its gangsters is a terrible deal for Kiev, made under duress when it was at its weakest.

    The fact that Russia wants Ukraine to take back Donbas under such terms makes obvious that this is a bad deal for Ukraine but good for Russia.

    Ideally there will be no bloodshed or fighting, Ukraine will not invade, and these regions will stay gone and Ukraine will continue its Westward course, desired by most non-Donbas Ukrainians, without the pro-Russian anchor. Let Russia support its brothers and pay for the consequences of its actions in a neighboring sovereign state..

    Yes, I don’t expect Ukrainians to want to go back to Russia anytime soon.

    I’m just wondering if sentiment in Donbass is similar (i.e. they are happy to have divorced the husband beating them as revenge), or if they will start blaming Russia for not taking them back and keeping them in limbo. The latter sentiment might help forget the former and lead to an eventual reintegration under Ukrainian terms.

    Read More
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  102. peterAUS says:
    @Jon0815

    Another mystery is why they are refusing. Minsk II is actually a great agreement for Kiev.
     
    That's not a mystery. They are refusing because the Maidanist regime doesn't want to re-introduce 3 million very pro-Russia voters into the electorate, and they need a continued conflict against "the aggressor" to distract from Maidan's dismal failure to deliver on its economic promises. Also, the ultranationalist militias don't like Minsk, since it would end their dream of ethnically cleansing Donbass, and Poroshenko doesn't want to make them too angry, for fear they might spearhead another putsch.

    That' why not only has Ukraine failed to meet its Minsk obligations, but also continues to sabotage the deployment of UN peacekeepers to along the line of contact, with an irrational demand (peacekeepers along the DLNR/Russia border as well, where there is no conflict) they know Russia can't agree to (so long as Putin insists on maintaining his stupid, pointless pretense that Russia isn't supporting the rebels).

    they need a continued conflict against “the aggressor” to distract from Maidan’s dismal failure to deliver on its economic promises. Also, the ultranationalist militias don’t like Minsk, since it would end their dream of ethnically cleansing Donbass, and Poroshenko doesn’t want to make them too angry, for fear they might spearhead another putsch.

    Pretty much.
    A detail of some interest, perhaps:
    Ultra nationalist militias are the shock infantry. They have been used/would be used for spearheading any advance and for heaviest (read bloodiest) battles.
    Excellent way to get rid of them, if managed properly.
    That’s for Kiev side.

    For LNDR side, the conflict so far created a layer of, say, people in position of power who don’t operate well in peaceful environment. Just not the types. In well organized societies those, after a war, get pensions/quiet civilian jobs out of real power/spotlight.
    In not so well organized societies they get “cleaned up” just before the end of hostilities.
    A good dose of fighting does that. Especially if they can’t actually do the job and external power comes in for rescue. That power tends to take over. Reorganize etc.

    I know all this sounds quite Machiavellian but, well, we’ll see.

    Read More
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  103. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    Most Maidan supporters probably anticipated some significant economic improvement in the short term.
     
    I only heard the opposite. Everyone expected 1 year (at least) of pain. True, they expected more growth afterward.

    not to mention civil war and the loss of Crimea and Donbass
     
    Russia's actions/reactions. Which confirms the wish to distance from this country that would do such things, in the eyes of most Ukrainians.

    In response to seeking a divorce, a man beats up the would-be divorcee. Would she regret choosing not to stay with such a man if she had self-respect?

    Ukrainians are aware of what their country is like - much more than you are. There is no sentiment to bring back Yanukovich and the popularity of PR's successor party is low. Most Ukrainians see Maidan as necessary.

    Russia’s actions/reactions. Which confirms the wish to distance from this country that would do such things, in the eyes of most Ukrainians.

    In response to seeking a divorce, a man beats up the would-be divorcee. Would she regret choosing not to stay with such a man if she had self-respect?

    Bad analogy. Russia’s action in Crimea wasn’t simply punitive (unlike Kiev’s terror-shelling of Donetsk). It provided protection for the Crimean people, so they could exercise their own right to self-determination without Kiev launching an “ATO” against them and shelling Sevastopol. There isn’t any real doubt that after the Maidan coup, most Crimeans no longer wanted to be part of Ukraine. Every poll has confirmed the results of the referendum, that Crimeans prefer reunification with Russia. But Kiev would never have willingly let them go.

    And the separatist revolt in Donbass was a civil war, also triggered by the Maidan coup.

    Ukrainians are aware of what their country is like – much more than you are. There is no sentiment to bring back Yanukovich and the popularity of PR’s successor party is low. Most Ukrainians see Maidan as necessary.

    People don’t like to admit mistakes, even to themselves. But objectively, the only way Maidan can be considered a success, is if one considers maximizing Ukraine’s separation from Russia, to be more important than economic prosperity (which I gather that you do, but I don’t think most Maidan supporters did).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow

    People don’t like to admit mistakes, even to themselves. But objectively, the only way Maidan can be considered a success, is if one considers maximizing Ukraine’s separation from Russia, to be more important than economic prosperity
     
    And that is an emotional state, not a rational base for building Ukraine's future. AP, for all help with numbers has a blind spot. The 'divorce' analogy was silly, those are the kinds of arguments one makes when they lost.

    Emotionalism never lasts, it exhausts itself. Maidan as a 'civic duty' has no staying power. People want results, and the results of Maidan so far have been very meagre. More people are worse off, and there is no way out of today's predicament.

    Europe doesn't want Ukraine, or large numbers of Ukrainian migrants. That will not change, it is more likely that the resistance will actually increase. Too many people lose out with open borders, and with adding 40 million desperate and poor Ukrainians. So the 'European' solution will simply not happen. Poland was a different time, different circumstances.

    Washington neo-con dreamers want Ukraine in Nato and anti-Russian bases in Ukraine (they wanted Crimea above all, but that is gone). So far the deal for Ukrainians has been: some limited access to EU (visa-free) for turning their country into a forward military base for Nato against Russia. That is not a good deal for most Ukrainians, that is not why they came out on Maidan. They were tricked, and they know it - it is just they feel stupid admitting it so for a few years they will be in denial. Then it will suddenly collapse.
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  104. Beckow says:
    @Jon0815

    Russia’s actions/reactions. Which confirms the wish to distance from this country that would do such things, in the eyes of most Ukrainians.

    In response to seeking a divorce, a man beats up the would-be divorcee. Would she regret choosing not to stay with such a man if she had self-respect?
     
    Bad analogy. Russia's action in Crimea wasn't simply punitive (unlike Kiev's terror-shelling of Donetsk). It provided protection for the Crimean people, so they could exercise their own right to self-determination without Kiev launching an "ATO" against them and shelling Sevastopol. There isn't any real doubt that after the Maidan coup, most Crimeans no longer wanted to be part of Ukraine. Every poll has confirmed the results of the referendum, that Crimeans prefer reunification with Russia. But Kiev would never have willingly let them go.

    And the separatist revolt in Donbass was a civil war, also triggered by the Maidan coup.

    Ukrainians are aware of what their country is like – much more than you are. There is no sentiment to bring back Yanukovich and the popularity of PR’s successor party is low. Most Ukrainians see Maidan as necessary.
     
    People don't like to admit mistakes, even to themselves. But objectively, the only way Maidan can be considered a success, is if one considers maximizing Ukraine's separation from Russia, to be more important than economic prosperity (which I gather that you do, but I don't think most Maidan supporters did).

    People don’t like to admit mistakes, even to themselves. But objectively, the only way Maidan can be considered a success, is if one considers maximizing Ukraine’s separation from Russia, to be more important than economic prosperity

    And that is an emotional state, not a rational base for building Ukraine’s future. AP, for all help with numbers has a blind spot. The ‘divorce’ analogy was silly, those are the kinds of arguments one makes when they lost.

    Emotionalism never lasts, it exhausts itself. Maidan as a ‘civic duty’ has no staying power. People want results, and the results of Maidan so far have been very meagre. More people are worse off, and there is no way out of today’s predicament.

    Europe doesn’t want Ukraine, or large numbers of Ukrainian migrants. That will not change, it is more likely that the resistance will actually increase. Too many people lose out with open borders, and with adding 40 million desperate and poor Ukrainians. So the ‘European’ solution will simply not happen. Poland was a different time, different circumstances.

    Washington neo-con dreamers want Ukraine in Nato and anti-Russian bases in Ukraine (they wanted Crimea above all, but that is gone). So far the deal for Ukrainians has been: some limited access to EU (visa-free) for turning their country into a forward military base for Nato against Russia. That is not a good deal for most Ukrainians, that is not why they came out on Maidan. They were tricked, and they know it – it is just they feel stupid admitting it so for a few years they will be in denial. Then it will suddenly collapse.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    And that is an emotional state, not a rational base for building Ukraine’s future. AP, for all help with numbers has a blind spot. The ‘divorce’ analogy was silly, those are the kinds of arguments one makes when they lost.
     
    Well, maybe you have exactly the same blind spot.
    Maybe you do not get true nationalists.

    The best way to get that "world" is to spend several hours debating with true nationalist.
    Say, highly intelligent PhD in arts/humanities, middle aged preferably.
    In person, over drinks.

    See how it goes.
    Could be a good learning experience.
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  105. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    People don’t like to admit mistakes, even to themselves. But objectively, the only way Maidan can be considered a success, is if one considers maximizing Ukraine’s separation from Russia, to be more important than economic prosperity
     
    And that is an emotional state, not a rational base for building Ukraine's future. AP, for all help with numbers has a blind spot. The 'divorce' analogy was silly, those are the kinds of arguments one makes when they lost.

    Emotionalism never lasts, it exhausts itself. Maidan as a 'civic duty' has no staying power. People want results, and the results of Maidan so far have been very meagre. More people are worse off, and there is no way out of today's predicament.

    Europe doesn't want Ukraine, or large numbers of Ukrainian migrants. That will not change, it is more likely that the resistance will actually increase. Too many people lose out with open borders, and with adding 40 million desperate and poor Ukrainians. So the 'European' solution will simply not happen. Poland was a different time, different circumstances.

    Washington neo-con dreamers want Ukraine in Nato and anti-Russian bases in Ukraine (they wanted Crimea above all, but that is gone). So far the deal for Ukrainians has been: some limited access to EU (visa-free) for turning their country into a forward military base for Nato against Russia. That is not a good deal for most Ukrainians, that is not why they came out on Maidan. They were tricked, and they know it - it is just they feel stupid admitting it so for a few years they will be in denial. Then it will suddenly collapse.

    And that is an emotional state, not a rational base for building Ukraine’s future. AP, for all help with numbers has a blind spot. The ‘divorce’ analogy was silly, those are the kinds of arguments one makes when they lost.

    Well, maybe you have exactly the same blind spot.
    Maybe you do not get true nationalists.

    The best way to get that “world” is to spend several hours debating with true nationalist.
    Say, highly intelligent PhD in arts/humanities, middle aged preferably.
    In person, over drinks.

    See how it goes.
    Could be a good learning experience.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    If I have a blind spot, by definition I wouldn't be aware of it.

    I tend to stick with numbers, quantitative analysis and science. When I encounter true nationalists (especially 'humanities' types), I often feel like we are talking past each other. Numbers tell me everything. All else is stories people spin to avoid looking at numbers.

    Having said that, I am aware that I don't get the 'world'. I don't think that is ever possible. My outlook on life is basically 'nationalism' (I like who I am and my people). What I really cannot stand is double standards and hypocrisy of a lot of current discourse - by all means people can be 'nationalist' or globalist, love Sub-Saharan Africans and modern Asian labor-camp economy, but be truthful to reality. What frustrates me are nationalists who yell that others are 'populist nationalists', thieves who yell 'catch the thief'. It demeans the discussion. Education used to be about some thinking standards, about looking at all categories with some objectivity. That seems to be gone from public discourse in the West. It is a form of reversal to infantilism and it bodes badly for our future.
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  106. peterAUS says:

    Not to sound alarmist, but, perhaps, Anatoly could read this Michael Wolff’s book about Trump administration, and then re asses some of his predictions.

    Because, if only a half of things described there are correct, “Houston, we have a problem”.
    And a big one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I have:

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/949397820603281408

    However, Wolff's book is not out of sync with my picture of reality. No need to change any of the predictions.
    , @Beckow

    if only a half of things described there are correct
     
    Why half? Where do you come with this? If it is all nonsense, it is all just nonsense and subjective views and assessments. You cannot take nonsense and say 'well, what if ONLY half is true'. There is no logic to it.

    Trump is not demented, he is actually quite normal by any standards. Any more than Bush or Obama were 'demented'. Trump is caught up in a political dynamic that is simply stronger than him (for now). Who seems to be demented are masses of liberals waiting for salvation from Trump by any means. So far they have mostly made themselves look like complete morons who have no intellectual standards or honesty.
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  107. @peterAUS
    Not to sound alarmist, but, perhaps, Anatoly could read this Michael Wolff's book about Trump administration, and then re asses some of his predictions.

    Because, if only a half of things described there are correct, "Houston, we have a problem".
    And a big one.

    I have:

    However, Wolff’s book is not out of sync with my picture of reality. No need to change any of the predictions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    His dementia is also a good explanation for his betrayal on many issues, or why he surrounded himself with neocon snakes and tax cutters.
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  108. @Anatoly Karlin
    I have:

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/949397820603281408

    However, Wolff's book is not out of sync with my picture of reality. No need to change any of the predictions.

    His dementia is also a good explanation for his betrayal on many issues, or why he surrounded himself with neocon snakes and tax cutters.

    Read More
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  109. Beckow says:
    @peterAUS

    And that is an emotional state, not a rational base for building Ukraine’s future. AP, for all help with numbers has a blind spot. The ‘divorce’ analogy was silly, those are the kinds of arguments one makes when they lost.
     
    Well, maybe you have exactly the same blind spot.
    Maybe you do not get true nationalists.

    The best way to get that "world" is to spend several hours debating with true nationalist.
    Say, highly intelligent PhD in arts/humanities, middle aged preferably.
    In person, over drinks.

    See how it goes.
    Could be a good learning experience.

    If I have a blind spot, by definition I wouldn’t be aware of it.

    I tend to stick with numbers, quantitative analysis and science. When I encounter true nationalists (especially ‘humanities’ types), I often feel like we are talking past each other. Numbers tell me everything. All else is stories people spin to avoid looking at numbers.

    Having said that, I am aware that I don’t get the ‘world’. I don’t think that is ever possible. My outlook on life is basically ‘nationalism’ (I like who I am and my people). What I really cannot stand is double standards and hypocrisy of a lot of current discourse – by all means people can be ‘nationalist’ or globalist, love Sub-Saharan Africans and modern Asian labor-camp economy, but be truthful to reality. What frustrates me are nationalists who yell that others are ‘populist nationalists’, thieves who yell ‘catch the thief’. It demeans the discussion. Education used to be about some thinking standards, about looking at all categories with some objectivity. That seems to be gone from public discourse in the West. It is a form of reversal to infantilism and it bodes badly for our future.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    I often feel like we are talking past each other.
     
    Yup.
    Give him a position of power in a government.
    Put together plenty of his types but with zero intellectual capability. Give them access to heavy weaponry. Put them close to people they hate.
    BANG.

    Education used to be about some thinking standards, about looking at all categories with some objectivity. That seems to be gone from public discourse in the West. It is a form of reversal to infantilism and it bodes badly for our future.
     
    Agree.

    My point is that, in order to foresee something and hopefully do something about that, logic, science, common sense, being rational and such could, sometimes, be a detriment.

    "They can't do that because it would be IDIOTIC".
    Well...they can, actually. And probably will.
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  110. Beckow says:
    @peterAUS
    Not to sound alarmist, but, perhaps, Anatoly could read this Michael Wolff's book about Trump administration, and then re asses some of his predictions.

    Because, if only a half of things described there are correct, "Houston, we have a problem".
    And a big one.

    if only a half of things described there are correct

    Why half? Where do you come with this? If it is all nonsense, it is all just nonsense and subjective views and assessments. You cannot take nonsense and say ‘well, what if ONLY half is true‘. There is no logic to it.

    Trump is not demented, he is actually quite normal by any standards. Any more than Bush or Obama were ‘demented’. Trump is caught up in a political dynamic that is simply stronger than him (for now). Who seems to be demented are masses of liberals waiting for salvation from Trump by any means. So far they have mostly made themselves look like complete morons who have no intellectual standards or honesty.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    Trump is caught up in a political dynamic that is simply stronger than him (for now).

     

    No.

    Read the book. Easy to get it.

    Keywords:
    unexpected
    not-prepared
    disorganized
    no proper structure


    Then we'll talk if you want.

    AK: If anybody wants to read it and not pay for it: http://gen.lib.rus.ec/search.php?req=wolff+fire+and+fury&lg_topic=libgen&open=0&view=simple&res=25&phrase=0&column=def
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  111. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow
    If I have a blind spot, by definition I wouldn't be aware of it.

    I tend to stick with numbers, quantitative analysis and science. When I encounter true nationalists (especially 'humanities' types), I often feel like we are talking past each other. Numbers tell me everything. All else is stories people spin to avoid looking at numbers.

    Having said that, I am aware that I don't get the 'world'. I don't think that is ever possible. My outlook on life is basically 'nationalism' (I like who I am and my people). What I really cannot stand is double standards and hypocrisy of a lot of current discourse - by all means people can be 'nationalist' or globalist, love Sub-Saharan Africans and modern Asian labor-camp economy, but be truthful to reality. What frustrates me are nationalists who yell that others are 'populist nationalists', thieves who yell 'catch the thief'. It demeans the discussion. Education used to be about some thinking standards, about looking at all categories with some objectivity. That seems to be gone from public discourse in the West. It is a form of reversal to infantilism and it bodes badly for our future.

    I often feel like we are talking past each other.

    Yup.
    Give him a position of power in a government.
    Put together plenty of his types but with zero intellectual capability. Give them access to heavy weaponry. Put them close to people they hate.
    BANG.

    Education used to be about some thinking standards, about looking at all categories with some objectivity. That seems to be gone from public discourse in the West. It is a form of reversal to infantilism and it bodes badly for our future.

    Agree.

    My point is that, in order to foresee something and hopefully do something about that, logic, science, common sense, being rational and such could, sometimes, be a detriment.

    “They can’t do that because it would be IDIOTIC”.
    Well…they can, actually. And probably will.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  112. peterAUS says:
    @Beckow

    if only a half of things described there are correct
     
    Why half? Where do you come with this? If it is all nonsense, it is all just nonsense and subjective views and assessments. You cannot take nonsense and say 'well, what if ONLY half is true'. There is no logic to it.

    Trump is not demented, he is actually quite normal by any standards. Any more than Bush or Obama were 'demented'. Trump is caught up in a political dynamic that is simply stronger than him (for now). Who seems to be demented are masses of liberals waiting for salvation from Trump by any means. So far they have mostly made themselves look like complete morons who have no intellectual standards or honesty.

    Trump is caught up in a political dynamic that is simply stronger than him (for now).

    No.

    Read the book. Easy to get it.

    Keywords:
    unexpected
    not-prepared
    disorganized
    no proper structure

    Then we’ll talk if you want.

    AK: If anybody wants to read it and not pay for it: http://gen.lib.rus.ec/search.php?req=wolff+fire+and+fury&lg_topic=libgen&open=0&view=simple&res=25&phrase=0&column=def

    Read More
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