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Open Thread: Zvezda Chamber

zvezda-interview

Not even a week in Moscow, and I get contacted by a Zvezda TV journalist requesting an interview about life in America and why I returned to Russia. In a deserted billiards room, I began talking about my theory that there is a civility-friendliness spectrum, with Britain on one end of it, Russia on the other, and America in between. However, I rather embarassingly botched it. I kept saying that while Britons are more civil and polite, Russians tended to be more open and genial, at least once you broke the ice with them. The problem is that my brain hadn’t fully adjusted from English to Russian, and so one of the key words I kept using, “genial,” didn’t actually mean what I thought it meant in Russian – in effect, I have been arguing that Russians were more ingenious than the Anglo-Saxons (they are not). But it was only at the end of the interview that I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness. The quizzical looks my interviewer and the cameraman had given me at the start of the interview also suddenly made sense.

I explained what had happened to them, and suggested they cut that part since it made no sense. Relieved that I was in fact sane, they agreed. Unfortunately, my little joke about the only polite Russians being the Polite People would also have to go into the trashbin. But no matter – that episode only accounted for 10% of the entire interview, with almost everything else being about the burning political topic of the day in Moscow right now: Donald Trump. Is the Establishment trying to organize a Maidan against Trump? (Sort of. But in such a lame-assed way that more electors abandoned HRC than Trump himself). Would Trump be a friend to Russia? (Consult Palmerstone and Alexander III. So, most likely, not. But as a successful businessman and a non-ideological “America First” nationalist, it would be easier to make deals with him). What do you make of his apparent hostility towards China? (Let the Eagle and the Dragon claw at each other. Why we worry?).

***

My friend Artem Zagorodnov, whom I met in London, presented a talk in Juneau, Alaska deconstructing some of the major Western myths about Russia – that is, the sort of material I have written a lot about.

You can watch it here: Putin and Russia’s Evolving Image in the United States.

***

In more mundane news, I continue renovating my apartment, enjoying the cold dry climate, and making observations of potential interest.

In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light). You should still look round, but then the same applies to London, and New York might even be marginally worse. Even as civility in Russia has risen, it has been falling in both Britain and America, so that we are steadily seeing a sort of ironic convergence between the two.

Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it.

***

Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards. Low efficiency – took me three times longer to order a piece of furniture than it would have in the US or Britain. But I don’t suppose it matters that much right now – the shopping centers were surprisingly empty, especially for this time of year. Russia might be climbing out of the recession according to the latest indicators, but it’s clear that it is not yet being reflected in consumer confidence on the ground.

That said, the quality of service is now very good. At my local El Dorado, the staff were very helpful in explaining the different products on sale and speeding up access to out of stock items. Thanks to the devaluation, Russian made products in most categories of electronic goods are competitive. Online ordering also works smoothly, at least in Moscow. There is no central super-vendor like Amazon in the US, but shipping is fast and and you have the option of paying in cash on delivery.

Hauling large pieces of furnitures up the stairs can be relatiely expensive. But you can hire a couple of Tajiks to do it for much cheaper. No formal agreements, just pluck them off the streets, where the municipality pays them by the hour, and they are grateful for the couple hundred extra rubles while on the taxpayer’s dime. Still probably not a good reason to allow hundreds of thousands of them in, but since they’re here anyway, why not make mutually beneficial deals?

***

There are two sorts of item which were traditionally cheap in Russia, but are no longer so.

The first such items are books. The time when you could get high quality hardbacks for a few dollars appear to be long gone. This is especially surprising since Russian book publishing takes place in Russia, and as such should have benefited from the devaluation. But apparently not. For instance, I was planning on acquiring a hardback copy of “Twenty Years to the Great War,” a recent published magisterial 1,000 page study of late Tsarist industrialization by the historian Mikhail Davydov, but at $50 it will have to wait.

Incidentally, local bookshops are a favorite haunt of mine, since they – especially their politics and history sections – reflect the ideas of the intelligentsia, or at least the sorts of ideas the elites want their intelligentsia to have. For instance, in a Waterstones in London, Richard Shirreff’s “War with Russia” was very prominently featured. In this poorly written Red Storm Rising remake, the “self-obssessed nutter” and “ruthless predatory bastard” Putler launches a brutal war of aggression against the West. The undertone is crystal clear – Four legs good, two legs bad, and we must never falter in our faith (and funding for) NATO!

The history section of my local bookshop is a decidedly more lowkey affair. The books most prominently featured in that section were Ian Morris’ “Why the West Rules – For Now,” Niall Ferguson’s “Civilization”, and the first two volumes of Boris Akunin’s ongoing project “The History of the Russian State.” Respectively, these books represent: An ideologically neutral study of big history and social evolution from a quantitative perspective; populist dreck based on a lame catchphrase transparently designed to appeal to the Intellectual Yet Idiot crowd; ahistorical dreck from a popular detective fiction writer with a severe animus against the state he is chronicling.

So the next time you encounter a Western hack claiming that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts, recognize it for what it probably is: Projection.

***

The second item that was more expensive than you might expect in Russia was vodka. This was not surprising to me personally, since over the years I have written a lot about Russia’s mortality crisis, how it is primarily vodka bingeing that is to blame for it, and how Putin has been successfully tackling the problem by raising excise taxes on alcohol, amongst other measures. Still, it was good to see the effects of those policies in person – the cheapest 0.5 liter bottle was 219 rubles, while the average bottle cost 350 rubles. These prices are not far from American ones in absolute terms and far higher relative to Russian salaries.

The flip side is that this encourages “left” production – the fatal poisoning of 74 people in Irkutsk due to a bad batch of alcohol extracted from bath oil has been at the top of the news this past week. And everytime something like this happens, populists inevitably demand the government lower vodka prices, even though every ruble decrease in vodka prices would result in far more aggregate deaths than the odd Boyaryshnik poisoning now and then.

***

Thanks to g2k for the Amtsa recommendation – it is indeed the best adjika I have tried to date. Still can’t say I’m a fan, I would prefer any standard Mexican salsa, but I can imagine buying it again.

As I said previously, Russia isn’t the best country for spicy food. As far as I can gather the hottest pepper widely available here is something called “Ogonek,” which I think is similar to jalapeno on the Scoville scale. Most Russians regard it as excruciatingly hot.

I did manage to finally find a cheap, drinkable dry red wine – the Agora bastardo from Crimea. Very far from the best, rather too sour for my taste, but at least I won’t have to become a teetotaller in Russia for lack of options.

I am looking forwards to trying out the Lefkadia/Likuria wines recommended by JL.

That said, I don’t want to give off the impression that Russia, or at least Moscow, is a consumer hellscape. Far from it. While the wine and spice departments are subpar relative to what an American or Briton might be used to, the local teashop has about thirty sorts of Chinese teas on sale, some of them remarkably rare, but all of them at rather reasonable prices. In London, you’d probably have to go to something like the venerable Algerian Coffee Store to find a similar Chinese tea collection.

***

 
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  1. I found authors such as Nikolai Starikov and Alexander Dugin quite prominently featured in Moldova/Transnistria, though admittedly the climate is quite different.

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  2. “Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it.”

    I always thought people used those masks because they were afraid of catching germs themselves…but now that I think about it, your explanation obviously makes a lot more sense. Seems like I didn’t give Asians enough credit for caring about the common weal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    See my comment at 4. You were partly right. Different Asians do it for different reasons.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    Another good Asian contribution to comfort, health and civility is one I first came across in Tokyo on a rainy day in September. Umbrellas were available on street corners for anyone to use. My wife observed that they appeared to be all white in one district and pink in the next which might add some utility. It would be interesting to know which countries could suppirt such an arrangement and relate it to 1. wealth 2. (in)equality 3. religion 4. culture(s) 5. Ethnic diversity/homogeneity
    , @Che Guava

    I always thought people used those masks because they were afraid of catching germs themselves…
     
    Your original impression is correct.

    Don't modifying it, it is mainly the case.

    People behind counters, at convenience shops, sometimes wear surgical masks to avoid spreading their colds, more generally, it is to avoid catching them.

    I know, I ask.
  3. Books were still fairly cheap in 2013. The price increase must be a recent development. What bookstore did you explore?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    It was part of the Knizhny Labirint chain. I intended to visit a normal, standard bookstore.
  4. Deconstructing the East Asian face mask thing: Chinese wear face masks in public when they are suffering from influenza, to avoid infecting other people; or more likely, to avoid being called out publicly for not wearing one while obviously infectious. Whatever – the social pressure works. Japanese wear them to avoid catching influenza from other people.

    It’s not really what you might expect, given the respective stereotypes about ‘social responsibility’.

    Face mask wearing by the Chinese to prevent spreading infection was previously unknown, but really kicked in after the SARS epidemic in 2003, whereas the Japanese have been doing it as a defence against being infected for as long as I can remember.

    Of course, now many people in the Chinese Mainland wear them as an attempted defence against chronically bad air quality, but it’s futile – the damaging respirable particulates are so fine that they pass straight through, as do the gases like oxides of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide, obviously.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I am interested in your statement that the dangerous particulates in polluted air are so fine that the face masks are useless to protect against Chinese cities' pollution. Can you please substantiate that? Are the particulates smaller than bacteria? Smaller even than viruses like the SARS virus?
  5. @German_reader
    "Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it."

    I always thought people used those masks because they were afraid of catching germs themselves...but now that I think about it, your explanation obviously makes a lot more sense. Seems like I didn't give Asians enough credit for caring about the common weal.

    See my comment at 4. You were partly right. Different Asians do it for different reasons.

    Read More
  6. “there is a civility-friendliness spectrum”

    Americans are polite, except for blacks who can be very polite or very surly, seemingly at random.

    “I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness.”

    All bilinguals do that sometimes. I remember translating gumanitariy (a person interested in the humanities) as humanitarian in a comment on this very blog.

    “Would Trump be a friend to Russia?”

    I’m guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don’t think it won him any votes, so that wasn’t the reason.

    “In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light).”

    When I was 16 my mom and I spent a couple of weeks in Chernigov, where her parents were from. Once, as I was preparing to cross a street there I saw something that puzzled me greatly. A car stopped in front of me. I stopped too, thinking it temporarily broke down and might start again at any moment. Then I saw the driver waving for me to pass. Up until then I had never seen that in my life.

    I thought “well, this must be the small town/big city difference that I’ve heard so much about.” Until I got to America and saw drivers letting pedestrians pass in big cities here.

    Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards.

    There were no security guards in Soviet stores. Or in libraries, movie theaters or schools. Well, sometimes kids served as guards at a school’s front door, but we used 100% of that time to goof off.

    “but at $50 it will have to wait.”

    Here you can find lots of recently-published books in libraries. I don’t know if that works in modern Russia though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ogunsiron
    You could have made the same mistake in french. "Genial" in french mostly means "very smart".
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    I’m guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don’t think it won him any votes, so that wasn’t the reason.
     
    I agree, but I was speaking to a Russian audience, and had to sync it to Russian interests and experiences. Russian experiences with new American Presidents promising resets are very bad, though over time they have learned to be skeptical and stop making so many goodwill concessions.

    I told them they shouldn't drop that hard-won habit due to Trump euphoria, citing Palmerstone's comments on England's interests and Alexander III's comments on Russia's friends.

    Here you can find lots of recently-published books in libraries. I don’t know if that works in modern Russia though.
     
    It's easily available on the Internet anyway. Nowadays the only physical books I buy are the ones with no electronic format and which I absolutely need, and high quality or rare books that I really like and want to add to my collection.
  7. that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts

    Are there such books that can be found in bookshops though ? Would you find the Russian equivalent of Mein Kampf (or Mein Kampf itself), or are these banned ? What about others like Satanic Verses or Lolita ? Finally, are Japanese Mana comics popular there ?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Books are banned for advocating violent antisemitism.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    There's a list of banned literature here: http://minjust.ru/ru/extremist-materials

    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Yes, Mein Kampf is on it.

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a curious case - it is banned when in the form of a brochure, but technically legal if issued as part of a book (>48 pages).

    The only book of (historical) interest to me on that list is Rodzaevsky's "Last Will of a Russian Fascist." Though it can be found online anyway.

    No, Satanic Verses and Lolita aren't banned.
  8. @neutral

    that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts
     
    Are there such books that can be found in bookshops though ? Would you find the Russian equivalent of Mein Kampf (or Mein Kampf itself), or are these banned ? What about others like Satanic Verses or Lolita ? Finally, are Japanese Mana comics popular there ?

    Books are banned for advocating violent antisemitism.

    Read More
  9. I’ve noticed the gradual taming of traffic, at least in city centres, too. I’m still not too sure about overtaking habits on country roads. And some taxi drivers still feel obliged to demonstrate their virility by risk taking but not so many (I suppose it is a Darwinian process).

    You have your own flat. Presumably you will be making repairs. I have never found a DIY store with a balanced range of tools. Either nothing but expensive power tools or monkey metal hand tools from China. The best place to find decent quality hand tools is the bazaar. There are specialist ones.

    Read More
  10. Whooow back to Rodina ? :)

    Where do you stay ? I am in Taganskaya !

    We WILL finally drink this beer ?

    Read More
  11. @Glossy
    "there is a civility-friendliness spectrum"

    Americans are polite, except for blacks who can be very polite or very surly, seemingly at random.

    "I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness."

    All bilinguals do that sometimes. I remember translating gumanitariy (a person interested in the humanities) as humanitarian in a comment on this very blog.

    "Would Trump be a friend to Russia?"

    I'm guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don't think it won him any votes, so that wasn't the reason.

    "In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light)."

    When I was 16 my mom and I spent a couple of weeks in Chernigov, where her parents were from. Once, as I was preparing to cross a street there I saw something that puzzled me greatly. A car stopped in front of me. I stopped too, thinking it temporarily broke down and might start again at any moment. Then I saw the driver waving for me to pass. Up until then I had never seen that in my life.

    I thought "well, this must be the small town/big city difference that I've heard so much about." Until I got to America and saw drivers letting pedestrians pass in big cities here.

    Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards.

    There were no security guards in Soviet stores. Or in libraries, movie theaters or schools. Well, sometimes kids served as guards at a school's front door, but we used 100% of that time to goof off.

    "but at $50 it will have to wait."

    Here you can find lots of recently-published books in libraries. I don't know if that works in modern Russia though.

    You could have made the same mistake in french. “Genial” in french mostly means “very smart”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    It's the same in German...and "Genie" in German isn't some kind of Djinn, but = genius.
  12. @AP
    Books were still fairly cheap in 2013. The price increase must be a recent development. What bookstore did you explore?

    It was part of the Knizhny Labirint chain. I intended to visit a normal, standard bookstore.

    Read More
  13. @Glossy
    "there is a civility-friendliness spectrum"

    Americans are polite, except for blacks who can be very polite or very surly, seemingly at random.

    "I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness."

    All bilinguals do that sometimes. I remember translating gumanitariy (a person interested in the humanities) as humanitarian in a comment on this very blog.

    "Would Trump be a friend to Russia?"

    I'm guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don't think it won him any votes, so that wasn't the reason.

    "In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light)."

    When I was 16 my mom and I spent a couple of weeks in Chernigov, where her parents were from. Once, as I was preparing to cross a street there I saw something that puzzled me greatly. A car stopped in front of me. I stopped too, thinking it temporarily broke down and might start again at any moment. Then I saw the driver waving for me to pass. Up until then I had never seen that in my life.

    I thought "well, this must be the small town/big city difference that I've heard so much about." Until I got to America and saw drivers letting pedestrians pass in big cities here.

    Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards.

    There were no security guards in Soviet stores. Or in libraries, movie theaters or schools. Well, sometimes kids served as guards at a school's front door, but we used 100% of that time to goof off.

    "but at $50 it will have to wait."

    Here you can find lots of recently-published books in libraries. I don't know if that works in modern Russia though.

    I’m guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don’t think it won him any votes, so that wasn’t the reason.

    I agree, but I was speaking to a Russian audience, and had to sync it to Russian interests and experiences. Russian experiences with new American Presidents promising resets are very bad, though over time they have learned to be skeptical and stop making so many goodwill concessions.

    I told them they shouldn’t drop that hard-won habit due to Trump euphoria, citing Palmerstone’s comments on England’s interests and Alexander III’s comments on Russia’s friends.

    Here you can find lots of recently-published books in libraries. I don’t know if that works in modern Russia though.

    It’s easily available on the Internet anyway. Nowadays the only physical books I buy are the ones with no electronic format and which I absolutely need, and high quality or rare books that I really like and want to add to my collection.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sam J.
    "... I was speaking to a Russian audience, and had to sync it to Russian interests and experiences..."

    I'm wondering how Russian interest differ from the US. Assuming they don't want to invade Europe, I see Russian interest in no way hostile to American interest. It's my belief that the whole plan of attacking Russian was a huge mistake. We don't want Russia in China's arms which is where we drove them. We could be great allies.

    As an aside have you ever heard of the CoDominium Sci-Fi story universe?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CoDominium
  14. @neutral

    that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts
     
    Are there such books that can be found in bookshops though ? Would you find the Russian equivalent of Mein Kampf (or Mein Kampf itself), or are these banned ? What about others like Satanic Verses or Lolita ? Finally, are Japanese Mana comics popular there ?

    There’s a list of banned literature here: http://minjust.ru/ru/extremist-materials

    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Yes, Mein Kampf is on it.

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a curious case – it is banned when in the form of a brochure, but technically legal if issued as part of a book (>48 pages).

    The only book of (historical) interest to me on that list is Rodzaevsky’s “Last Will of a Russian Fascist.” Though it can be found online anyway.

    No, Satanic Verses and Lolita aren’t banned.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

  15. @ogunsiron
    You could have made the same mistake in french. "Genial" in french mostly means "very smart".

    It’s the same in German…and “Genie” in German isn’t some kind of Djinn, but = genius.

    Read More
  16. @Anatoly Karlin
    There's a list of banned literature here: http://minjust.ru/ru/extremist-materials

    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Yes, Mein Kampf is on it.

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a curious case - it is banned when in the form of a brochure, but technically legal if issued as part of a book (>48 pages).

    The only book of (historical) interest to me on that list is Rodzaevsky's "Last Will of a Russian Fascist." Though it can be found online anyway.

    No, Satanic Verses and Lolita aren't banned.

    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

     

    Clearly not, which makes it all the more perplexing why the jews in America hate Russia so much.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Your sincere concern for my legal wellbeing is appreciated, but considering Putin's own comments on the (((early Bolsheviks))), I think I'm quite safe. :)
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    On a more serious note, I don't know why iffen has this obsession with me and my supposed anti-Semitism.

    The fact is I don't obsess over or care much for Jews one way or another, apart from a certain degree of respect for both their cultural achievements and political acumen. I have no dog in the fight over Israel and Palestine. I don't go on about the "AngloZionists" as one columnist here does, and I have no quarrel with the more honest Jewish nationalists (aka open Zionists, not neocons). Lieberman is pro-Russian, so I am pro-Lieberman. While I'm open to Ethnic Genetic Interests theory, including its application to Jews, my most substantive comment on Kevin McDonald has actually been a critique of his numbers. I have also banned a couple of the more annoying and Jew-obsessed commenters from my blog.

    What I do dislike is the sheer chutzpah that many Jews display in smearing Russia, even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms. Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust, but the neocons and most American Jews sided with Ukrainian Banderists, who would have been quite happy to see it through to the end. Despite the vast majority of the 1990s robber oligarchs having been Jewish, many of whom turned sharply against Russia when something approximating a sovereign state was established under Putin, Russia remains a very philo-Semitic country by East European standards. In this respect, you could say we Russians are more cucked than American evangelicals!

    But the best part about it is that as a rule many of (((those))) people are also extremely supportive of Israel, a country which happens to be far more of a "national state" than either Russia or any other Western country. As soon as Article 282 was brought against the Russian liberal/Jewish nationalist Anton Nossik for calling for the extermination of Syrians, on the basis that it was good for Israel, the entire Echo of Moscow (((crowd))) suddenly became ardent proponents of free speech, even though they had previously been at the forefront of writing Russia's hate speech laws in the first place. "Nationalism for me, not for thee" has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

  17. @iffen
    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

    Clearly not, which makes it all the more perplexing why the jews in America hate Russia so much.

    Read More
  18. DECEMBER 29, 2016 Trump wants hacking claims laid to rest

    US President-elect Donald Trump says the United States and Russia should lay to rest the controversy over Moscow’s computer hacking of Democratic Party computers, saying “we ought to get on with our lives.”

    http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/russia-vows-retaliation-over-new-sanctions/news-story/4f8f58708af334634df2208db8d381d4

    Read More
  19. Dec 13, 2016 Rex Tillerson’s Relationship with Russia

    ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and political analyst Matthew Dowd weigh in on Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state and Tillerson’s qualifications and relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    Read More
  20. @German_reader
    "Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it."

    I always thought people used those masks because they were afraid of catching germs themselves...but now that I think about it, your explanation obviously makes a lot more sense. Seems like I didn't give Asians enough credit for caring about the common weal.

    Another good Asian contribution to comfort, health and civility is one I first came across in Tokyo on a rainy day in September. Umbrellas were available on street corners for anyone to use. My wife observed that they appeared to be all white in one district and pink in the next which might add some utility. It would be interesting to know which countries could suppirt such an arrangement and relate it to 1. wealth 2. (in)equality 3. religion 4. culture(s) 5. Ethnic diversity/homogeneity

    Read More
  21. @German_reader
    "Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it."

    I always thought people used those masks because they were afraid of catching germs themselves...but now that I think about it, your explanation obviously makes a lot more sense. Seems like I didn't give Asians enough credit for caring about the common weal.

    I always thought people used those masks because they were afraid of catching germs themselves…

    Your original impression is correct.

    Don’t modifying it, it is mainly the case.

    People behind counters, at convenience shops, sometimes wear surgical masks to avoid spreading their colds, more generally, it is to avoid catching them.

    I know, I ask.

    Read More
  22. The last time I had furniture delivered (in London) one of the guys was called Borat.

    Read More
  23. @iffen
    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

    Your sincere concern for my legal wellbeing is appreciated, but considering Putin’s own comments on the (((early Bolsheviks))), I think I’m quite safe. :)

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Your sincere concern

    I was really interested in learning more about current Russian censorship. Now that you have shamed me for my lack of concern, I will have to hope that you don't get yourself dispatched to Siberia.

  24. As for the East Asian habit of wearing surgical masks in public, three rationales are commonly given:

    (1) in order to avoid transmitting (and being blamed for transmitting) a communicable disease to others (People will often ask you whether you are all right when they see you wearing a surgical mask because they assume that you might have caught a cold or something like that.)
    (2) in order to avoid catching a communicable disease from others (I suppose it is probably less effective for this purpose than for the first.)
    (3) in order to avoid affronting others’ eyes when one has forgotten to put on makeup before leaving the house (I doubt it really suffices for this purpose. Shouldn’t anyone who happens to know you be able to recognize you even without your makeup and with a surgical mask covering the lower half of your face?)

    Read More
  25. @iffen
    It mostly focuses on Islamic extremism and Nazism and ethnonationalism.

    Will you be able to write about (((those))) people?

    On a more serious note, I don’t know why iffen has this obsession with me and my supposed anti-Semitism.

    The fact is I don’t obsess over or care much for Jews one way or another, apart from a certain degree of respect for both their cultural achievements and political acumen. I have no dog in the fight over Israel and Palestine. I don’t go on about the “AngloZionists” as one columnist here does, and I have no quarrel with the more honest Jewish nationalists (aka open Zionists, not neocons). Lieberman is pro-Russian, so I am pro-Lieberman. While I’m open to Ethnic Genetic Interests theory, including its application to Jews, my most substantive comment on Kevin McDonald has actually been a critique of his numbers. I have also banned a couple of the more annoying and Jew-obsessed commenters from my blog.

    What I do dislike is the sheer chutzpah that many Jews display in smearing Russia, even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms. Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust, but the neocons and most American Jews sided with Ukrainian Banderists, who would have been quite happy to see it through to the end. Despite the vast majority of the 1990s robber oligarchs having been Jewish, many of whom turned sharply against Russia when something approximating a sovereign state was established under Putin, Russia remains a very philo-Semitic country by East European standards. In this respect, you could say we Russians are more cucked than American evangelicals!

    But the best part about it is that as a rule many of (((those))) people are also extremely supportive of Israel, a country which happens to be far more of a “national state” than either Russia or any other Western country. As soon as Article 282 was brought against the Russian liberal/Jewish nationalist Anton Nossik for calling for the extermination of Syrians, on the basis that it was good for Israel, the entire Echo of Moscow (((crowd))) suddenly became ardent proponents of free speech, even though they had previously been at the forefront of writing Russia’s hate speech laws in the first place. “Nationalism for me, not for thee” has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Thanks for the response.

    If I have an obsession it is with trying to understand political questions. It was very unclear to me where you stood on anti-Semitism and White Nationalism.

    Does anyone claim to be an Anglo-Zionist? Is there a group of people that readily claims the neo-con label and defends it against imposters?

    You were well aware of the types that use ((())), and when you start using it you are taking a side.

    I don’t know the motivation for the neo-cons and others in the Ukraine. I have trouble seeing any benefit to the Jews, here, there, in Russia or in Israel. Evidently some people believe some Jews have it in for Russia, otherwise where did the idea that they hacked the US election and blamed it on Russia come from? I will watch your blog for good information.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.


    This is the way to go. Do all of the earnest criticism that you deem informative and necessary and when the Jew-haters show up to give you a helping hand, give them a back-hand.
    , @iffen
    even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms.

    I have never seen pogrom deaths proffered as a balance against the Soviet political murders. I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.

    Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust

    I have always thought of this as incidental, same as the American and British effort.

    “Nationalism for me, not for thee” has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    I see this as well. My reading in the area is somewhat deficient. Have you ever read a rational defense of this position by an American Jew?
    , @Jonathan Revusky

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.
     
    There it is! The obligatory genuflection!
    , @Boris N
    I do not by any means want to question your ethnic self-identity, that is your business, and I'm even somewhat glad that you consider yourself an ethnic Russian, but at the same time your surname is clearly Jewish (it is even very specific to one Hasidic dynasty) and coupled with your name which is widespread amongst Russian Jews (because of the Anatoly-Nathan allusion), you're obviously giving an impression of being a Jew or at least a person with Jewish ancestry. I have no doubts that in Russia, the UK and the USA many thought you are a Russian Jew, especially bearing in mind that a great deal of the Soviet/Russian diaspora are actually Russian Jews. So why do you deny your Jewish connections? I suppose you might have got Jewish connections only on your paternal side and thus you do not consider it in any way important being more Russian in all respects than Jewish, but what is wrong even with admitting that? Actually I know enough of ethnic Jews or part-Jews (as well as non-Russians like Armenians, etc.) being admittedly Russophile, and I have a great respect for them, especially knowing that their Russophilia might not save them from the well-known Russian xenophobia (I bitterly admit that exists), but still they do not hide their background, but I never understand that concealment about ancestors, especially if they are Jewish.
  26. A column about Russian health care would interest me as this is the main reason i am considering moving to Russia. I could buy russian health insurance, and live comfortable off the difference of what i pay now. Three years ago my wife had a scan done in Russia that costs $100. The same test here, well the copay was $750.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    That's not a very good main reason. There's nowhere in the world where seeing a doctor wastes as much money as in the US.
    , @Erik Sieven
    I read an article a few years ago which described a problem in the russian health care system: apparently it is very difficult of not impossible to get pain killers, especially morphine in Russia even when people are terminal ill. I do not know if this is still the case or actually ever has been, but this alone would be a big reason against immigration to Russia. For non-rich people countries like Germany or Austria have probably the best health care system.
  27. @Anatoly Karlin
    Your sincere concern for my legal wellbeing is appreciated, but considering Putin's own comments on the (((early Bolsheviks))), I think I'm quite safe. :)

    Your sincere concern

    I was really interested in learning more about current Russian censorship. Now that you have shamed me for my lack of concern, I will have to hope that you don’t get yourself dispatched to Siberia.

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  28. @Anatoly Karlin
    On a more serious note, I don't know why iffen has this obsession with me and my supposed anti-Semitism.

    The fact is I don't obsess over or care much for Jews one way or another, apart from a certain degree of respect for both their cultural achievements and political acumen. I have no dog in the fight over Israel and Palestine. I don't go on about the "AngloZionists" as one columnist here does, and I have no quarrel with the more honest Jewish nationalists (aka open Zionists, not neocons). Lieberman is pro-Russian, so I am pro-Lieberman. While I'm open to Ethnic Genetic Interests theory, including its application to Jews, my most substantive comment on Kevin McDonald has actually been a critique of his numbers. I have also banned a couple of the more annoying and Jew-obsessed commenters from my blog.

    What I do dislike is the sheer chutzpah that many Jews display in smearing Russia, even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms. Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust, but the neocons and most American Jews sided with Ukrainian Banderists, who would have been quite happy to see it through to the end. Despite the vast majority of the 1990s robber oligarchs having been Jewish, many of whom turned sharply against Russia when something approximating a sovereign state was established under Putin, Russia remains a very philo-Semitic country by East European standards. In this respect, you could say we Russians are more cucked than American evangelicals!

    But the best part about it is that as a rule many of (((those))) people are also extremely supportive of Israel, a country which happens to be far more of a "national state" than either Russia or any other Western country. As soon as Article 282 was brought against the Russian liberal/Jewish nationalist Anton Nossik for calling for the extermination of Syrians, on the basis that it was good for Israel, the entire Echo of Moscow (((crowd))) suddenly became ardent proponents of free speech, even though they had previously been at the forefront of writing Russia's hate speech laws in the first place. "Nationalism for me, not for thee" has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    Thanks for the response.

    If I have an obsession it is with trying to understand political questions. It was very unclear to me where you stood on anti-Semitism and White Nationalism.

    Does anyone claim to be an Anglo-Zionist? Is there a group of people that readily claims the neo-con label and defends it against imposters?

    You were well aware of the types that use ((())), and when you start using it you are taking a side.

    I don’t know the motivation for the neo-cons and others in the Ukraine. I have trouble seeing any benefit to the Jews, here, there, in Russia or in Israel. Evidently some people believe some Jews have it in for Russia, otherwise where did the idea that they hacked the US election and blamed it on Russia come from? I will watch your blog for good information.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    This is the way to go. Do all of the earnest criticism that you deem informative and necessary and when the Jew-haters show up to give you a helping hand, give them a back-hand.

    Read More
  29. @Positive Dennis
    A column about Russian health care would interest me as this is the main reason i am considering moving to Russia. I could buy russian health insurance, and live comfortable off the difference of what i pay now. Three years ago my wife had a scan done in Russia that costs $100. The same test here, well the copay was $750.

    That’s not a very good main reason. There’s nowhere in the world where seeing a doctor wastes as much money as in the US.

    Read More
  30. I watched the above-linked video presentation from Artem Zagorodnov. I appreciate the inside view, unfiltered by the mainstream fake news outlets.

    The video hit home. I live in the same region from where he gave his talk (the rain-soaked Alexander Archipilago of southeast Alaska), and had no idea such a thing as the Juneau World Affairs Council (JWAC) exhisted. Some other unfiltered presentations by JWAC popped up as well. So, as someone who just found out about the JWAC yesterday, I recommend it as a possible source for non-lame-stream media viewpoints of world affairs.

    Your article and video hit home in other ways, too. As someone who was stationed in Germany at the very end of the cold war, I am amazed (although nothing really shocks me anymore) at the sudden animosity of leftists in the US towards Russia. I viewed the opening of the iron curtain as the fall of a system, and had no ill will. I think most of us felt the same way. What happened? Why the sudden ill-will from the left?

    It truly seems that the left has been assimilated by the Borg. Now they are the aggressors and intolerant ones. Who do they think they will get to join their armies and do their dirty work? The chastised, demasculized, normal males? Sure, I’m way past military age now, but I would never volunteer to go overseas for the jokers in power now. Over my dead body. I’m sure a lot of young people out there feel the same way.

    Thanks for the BS-countering freedom of this site, Mr Unz.

    P.S. Like Artem, I also attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and even took a couple of Russian courses (largely forgotten, I hate to say) taught by a couple of very nice Russian women who came over soon after the thaw. Cheers to a fellow former student of UAF.

    Also, as someone who learned German, I relate to the false-friend word (in English-to-German as well) Genial.

    Peace, and Happy New Years All.

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  31. It truly seems that the left has been assimilated by the Borg. Now they are the aggressors and intolerant ones. Who do they think they will get to join their armies and do their dirty work?

    The American “right” (the generic neocon definition as media sees it) is more than happy to wage war to impose the leftist global ideology. Even the average conservative leaning white male, that would not typically be into things like LGBT activism, would still willingly fight for a regime that has made this one of their core ideologies.

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  32. @Sandgroper
    Deconstructing the East Asian face mask thing: Chinese wear face masks in public when they are suffering from influenza, to avoid infecting other people; or more likely, to avoid being called out publicly for not wearing one while obviously infectious. Whatever - the social pressure works. Japanese wear them to avoid catching influenza from other people.

    It's not really what you might expect, given the respective stereotypes about 'social responsibility'.

    Face mask wearing by the Chinese to prevent spreading infection was previously unknown, but really kicked in after the SARS epidemic in 2003, whereas the Japanese have been doing it as a defence against being infected for as long as I can remember.

    Of course, now many people in the Chinese Mainland wear them as an attempted defence against chronically bad air quality, but it's futile - the damaging respirable particulates are so fine that they pass straight through, as do the gases like oxides of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide, obviously.

    I am interested in your statement that the dangerous particulates in polluted air are so fine that the face masks are useless to protect against Chinese cities’ pollution. Can you please substantiate that? Are the particulates smaller than bacteria? Smaller even than viruses like the SARS virus?

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    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    Not offhand, and I don't feel like digging, but they're very small - like a few microns. The ordinary masks that most people buy in pharmacies won't filter them out. Slightly tangential, but if you are a quarry worker, for example, you don't wear a mask like that because it won't be good enough to filter out the fine silica particles that give people silicosis. You need a much more effective filter. HSE authorities don't accept such masks as adequate protection for people working in such dusty environments.

    Airborne viruses are transmitted person to person mostly by droplets, like the cloud of droplets that someone emits when sneezing. For a person suffering from such a virus, wearing a mask will intercept the droplets - which are obviously a lot bigger than a single virus molecule - so wearing such a mask will be effective in preventing an infected person from infecting other people. So it's not the size of a single virus molecule that is relevant in this case, but the size of the airborne droplets carrying the virus.

    Doctors have told me that wearing such a mask to prevent exposure are pretty much a waste of time, because the droplets only need to land on any mucous membrane, including around the eyes, which are not protected by the mask.

    The other consideration is fomites - viruses survive on such surfaces for surprisingly long periods of time, particularly at colder temperatures (which is why winter is normally peak 'flu season). People pick up viruses on their hands by touching such surfaces, and then rub their eyes, or touch their noses or mouths, and transmit virus to themselves that way.

    Again, I have been told by doctors (and again, this is just anecdotal) that the masks worn by surgeons are much more effective (and a lot harder to breathe through) than the masks commonly worn by people in the street. Even then, the surgeon is wearing the mask to avoid infecting the patient, not the other way round.

    Masks didn't save the doctors and nurses treating SARS patients in Hong Kong. Many of them contracted SARS and died. That was before they realised they needed to be wearing full containment suits to protect themselves.

    The health authorities in Hong Kong advise people suffering from virus infections to wear a mask when they go out, because they are effective in preventing or at least reducing transmission. They don't recommend that people wear masks to prevent themselves from being infected, because they know it's a waste of time.
    , @Delinquent Snail
    The particles are tiny. Like single digit micrometer small. You need a special kind of respirator to block out those nasty buggers.
  33. @Wizard of Oz
    I am interested in your statement that the dangerous particulates in polluted air are so fine that the face masks are useless to protect against Chinese cities' pollution. Can you please substantiate that? Are the particulates smaller than bacteria? Smaller even than viruses like the SARS virus?

    Not offhand, and I don’t feel like digging, but they’re very small – like a few microns. The ordinary masks that most people buy in pharmacies won’t filter them out. Slightly tangential, but if you are a quarry worker, for example, you don’t wear a mask like that because it won’t be good enough to filter out the fine silica particles that give people silicosis. You need a much more effective filter. HSE authorities don’t accept such masks as adequate protection for people working in such dusty environments.

    Airborne viruses are transmitted person to person mostly by droplets, like the cloud of droplets that someone emits when sneezing. For a person suffering from such a virus, wearing a mask will intercept the droplets – which are obviously a lot bigger than a single virus molecule – so wearing such a mask will be effective in preventing an infected person from infecting other people. So it’s not the size of a single virus molecule that is relevant in this case, but the size of the airborne droplets carrying the virus.

    Doctors have told me that wearing such a mask to prevent exposure are pretty much a waste of time, because the droplets only need to land on any mucous membrane, including around the eyes, which are not protected by the mask.

    The other consideration is fomites – viruses survive on such surfaces for surprisingly long periods of time, particularly at colder temperatures (which is why winter is normally peak ‘flu season). People pick up viruses on their hands by touching such surfaces, and then rub their eyes, or touch their noses or mouths, and transmit virus to themselves that way.

    Again, I have been told by doctors (and again, this is just anecdotal) that the masks worn by surgeons are much more effective (and a lot harder to breathe through) than the masks commonly worn by people in the street. Even then, the surgeon is wearing the mask to avoid infecting the patient, not the other way round.

    Masks didn’t save the doctors and nurses treating SARS patients in Hong Kong. Many of them contracted SARS and died. That was before they realised they needed to be wearing full containment suits to protect themselves.

    The health authorities in Hong Kong advise people suffering from virus infections to wear a mask when they go out, because they are effective in preventing or at least reducing transmission. They don’t recommend that people wear masks to prevent themselves from being infected, because they know it’s a waste of time.

    Read More
  34. @Wizard of Oz
    I am interested in your statement that the dangerous particulates in polluted air are so fine that the face masks are useless to protect against Chinese cities' pollution. Can you please substantiate that? Are the particulates smaller than bacteria? Smaller even than viruses like the SARS virus?

    The particles are tiny. Like single digit micrometer small. You need a special kind of respirator to block out those nasty buggers.

    Read More
  35. : Here you go – this gives it to you.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Airborne-particulate-size-chart.svg

    Note that the units are micrometres, and the scale is logarithmic. So some airborne particulates are smaller than single virus molecules, and a lot of them are smaller than bacteria molecules. And with airborne viruses, we’re talking about droplets, not single molecules.

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  36. Sorry, Wikipedia tells me I should be talking about viral particles called virions, not virus molecules. I always was lousy at Biology, mostly because I always found the genetics of plants too boring to get past.

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  37. Apology for serial posting and being a bit OT, and Anatoly can tell me to shut up any time he likes and I will, but I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination. If most people did it, the herd immunity would be enough to prevent seasonal influenza epidemics.

    I keep reading stuff about how the vaccinations don’t work, how they have harmful effects, how it’s better to develop immunity, etc., but based on my own experience, that is all wrong. OK, N=1, but I have been having an annual ‘flu shot every year for at least the past 15 years, and sometimes an extra shot when I go back to Australia (the prevalent ‘flu strains in the northern and southern hemispheres being somewhat out of step), and my clear recall is that in that 15+ years, I have caught the ‘flu precisely twice, both times only mildly. Before I started having an annual jab, I could be certain to come down with a bad dose of ‘flu at least twice every winter, sometimes more, and occasionally off-season as well, and each dose of ‘flu would mean at least two weeks of feeling awful, not being able to exercise, working ability compromised, etc. My wife and daughter (who is a Biologist – she majored in Biochemistry and Genetics) are now both so convinced of the benefit that they also now have ‘flu vaccinations.

    As for developing immunity, it’s just not true. The ‘flu viruses mutate all the time, so the immunity you acquire from getting a dose of the ‘flu lasts for about three weeks, after which you can be infected by the same virus all over again.

    And I have never had an adverse reaction to the vaccine; not once; not even feeling mildly off-colour.

    If anyone has different experience, I would be interested to read about it. My experience of ‘flu vaccinations is wholly positive, and yet I keep seeing all this stuff on the Internet discouraging people from having them. Yes, I know some small children have suffered bad effects and some have died, but I’m talking about adults.

    I never get common colds. Doesn’t happen. The ‘flu vaccine doesn’t protect against those, but I just never get them. No idea why. I know of people (admittedly living in northern Europe, not southern China) who seem to get them all the time.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    "I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination."

    I get them every year in autumn, and I'm only in my early 30s.
    Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to be widespread mostly among "progressives", Greens etc., i.e. people whose connection to reality might be tenuous anyway.
    , @Sam J.
    "...I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination..."

    I used to get these but I'm not convinced they are not more dangerous than the flu itself. I have no problem with vaccine theory or the belief that vaccines can be beneficial. I have a problem with companies putting out, what I believe to be, substandard, dirty, additive filled and possibly ineffective vaccines. I believe that Ronald Regan signing into law that they can't be sued is the reason this is so. Leading to quality control problems.
  38. Happy New Year 2017, Anatoly!

    Welcome back to Russia!

    How long are you going to be living here in Moscow?

    Have you tried out the new Moscow Central Circle railway yet that has been resurrected from the constructed at the turn of the 20th century “Little Ring” railway? I gave it a go when it opened last October and was well impressed.

    Do you use public transport here? I suppose you do, because from what you have written earlier, you are living way out of the city centre in a well known Russian Nationalist enclave that has a large population of people from the Caucasus / Central Asian “-stan” republics.

    Have you noticed how greatly the Moscow metro has expanded in recent years?

    How does public transport here compare with that in the USA pricewise and as regards amenability and efficiency?

    Have you been to Kolomenskoye yet and seen there reconstructed wooden palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks. A very Happy New year to you as well!

    How long are you going to be living here in Moscow?
     
    A long time.

    Have you tried out the new Moscow Central Circle railway yet...
     
    No, but it's high on my to-do list.

    Do you use public transport here?
     
    Not sure how you can do without.

    ... because from what you have written earlier, you are living way out of the city centre in a well known Russian Nationalist enclave that has a large population of people from the Caucasus / Central Asian “-stan” republics.
     
    This is no kind of enclave. It is a very typical southern/eastern Moscow prole district. The typical Moscow prole district does indeed have more C. Asian immigrants, and votes relatively more for both the LDPR and the KPRF compared to the richer central and western districts, which are tilted more towards the liberals.

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/russian-elections-2016-moscow-second-place.png

    Have you noticed how greatly the Moscow metro has expanded in recent years?
     
    How could I not? It is indeed expanding very fast - much faster than at the peak Soviet rates of metro expansion. Of course its easier now that there are no strict requirements for the stations to double as bomb shelters.

    How does public transport here compare with that in the USA pricewise and as regards amenability and efficiency?
     
    Well, you could certainly say more about that yourself, being a longtime resident.

    But for the readers the standard flat price of 32 rubles (=$0.5) for a Metro ride is to me reasonable but I can see it being an issue for poorer residents. Certainly it is far more expensive than it used to be.

    The Metro itself is superior to both London and all the US underground systems I have come across. There is free WiFi (which London doesn't have) and the cars are refreshingly wide, a function I suppose of the wider Russian railway gauge.

    However, there is huge strain at peak hours, and it is going to continue becoming worse rather than better - due to failures of city planning, Moscow still only has one central hub, so as its population continues to soar the pressure around that core is going to get worse (I have discussed this at length with a person who spent time as a professional in the city planning department).

    Have you been to Kolomenskoye yet and seen there reconstructed wooden palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich?
     
    No, I'll make a note of it, thanks.
  39. @Moscow Exile
    Happy New Year 2017, Anatoly!

    Welcome back to Russia!

    How long are you going to be living here in Moscow?

    Have you tried out the new Moscow Central Circle railway yet that has been resurrected from the constructed at the turn of the 20th century "Little Ring" railway? I gave it a go when it opened last October and was well impressed.

    Do you use public transport here? I suppose you do, because from what you have written earlier, you are living way out of the city centre in a well known Russian Nationalist enclave that has a large population of people from the Caucasus / Central Asian "-stan" republics.

    Have you noticed how greatly the Moscow metro has expanded in recent years?

    How does public transport here compare with that in the USA pricewise and as regards amenability and efficiency?

    Have you been to Kolomenskoye yet and seen there reconstructed wooden palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich?

    Thanks. A very Happy New year to you as well!

    How long are you going to be living here in Moscow?

    A long time.

    Have you tried out the new Moscow Central Circle railway yet…

    No, but it’s high on my to-do list.

    Do you use public transport here?

    Not sure how you can do without.

    … because from what you have written earlier, you are living way out of the city centre in a well known Russian Nationalist enclave that has a large population of people from the Caucasus / Central Asian “-stan” republics.

    This is no kind of enclave. It is a very typical southern/eastern Moscow prole district. The typical Moscow prole district does indeed have more C. Asian immigrants, and votes relatively more for both the LDPR and the KPRF compared to the richer central and western districts, which are tilted more towards the liberals.

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/russian-elections-2016-moscow-second-place.png

    Have you noticed how greatly the Moscow metro has expanded in recent years?

    How could I not? It is indeed expanding very fast – much faster than at the peak Soviet rates of metro expansion. Of course its easier now that there are no strict requirements for the stations to double as bomb shelters.

    How does public transport here compare with that in the USA pricewise and as regards amenability and efficiency?

    Well, you could certainly say more about that yourself, being a longtime resident.

    But for the readers the standard flat price of 32 rubles (=$0.5) for a Metro ride is to me reasonable but I can see it being an issue for poorer residents. Certainly it is far more expensive than it used to be.

    The Metro itself is superior to both London and all the US underground systems I have come across. There is free WiFi (which London doesn’t have) and the cars are refreshingly wide, a function I suppose of the wider Russian railway gauge.

    However, there is huge strain at peak hours, and it is going to continue becoming worse rather than better – due to failures of city planning, Moscow still only has one central hub, so as its population continues to soar the pressure around that core is going to get worse (I have discussed this at length with a person who spent time as a professional in the city planning department).

    Have you been to Kolomenskoye yet and seen there reconstructed wooden palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich?

    No, I’ll make a note of it, thanks.

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    • Replies: @Moscow Exile
    re. public transport in Moscow:

    "Not sure how you can do without."

    Quite! But I have met very many "New Russians" who proudly state that it is years since they have used the metro. They seem to like sitting in traffic jams. And of course, to use trolleybuses, buses or trams would be absolutely unthinkable for them.

    I travel to our dacha, situated about 50 miles south west of Moscow, by suburban electric train, and a return ticket there costs 265 rubles. I was on one of my very rare visits to the UK last June (on average I go back there about once every 5 years to see my sister) and my family and I stopped for 4 days in London before heading off north for Manchester, and the cost of transport in the UK shocked me. I have never been out of Europe, so I do not know how US transportation costs compare with those of Russia.

  40. @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks. A very Happy New year to you as well!

    How long are you going to be living here in Moscow?
     
    A long time.

    Have you tried out the new Moscow Central Circle railway yet...
     
    No, but it's high on my to-do list.

    Do you use public transport here?
     
    Not sure how you can do without.

    ... because from what you have written earlier, you are living way out of the city centre in a well known Russian Nationalist enclave that has a large population of people from the Caucasus / Central Asian “-stan” republics.
     
    This is no kind of enclave. It is a very typical southern/eastern Moscow prole district. The typical Moscow prole district does indeed have more C. Asian immigrants, and votes relatively more for both the LDPR and the KPRF compared to the richer central and western districts, which are tilted more towards the liberals.

    http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/russian-elections-2016-moscow-second-place.png

    Have you noticed how greatly the Moscow metro has expanded in recent years?
     
    How could I not? It is indeed expanding very fast - much faster than at the peak Soviet rates of metro expansion. Of course its easier now that there are no strict requirements for the stations to double as bomb shelters.

    How does public transport here compare with that in the USA pricewise and as regards amenability and efficiency?
     
    Well, you could certainly say more about that yourself, being a longtime resident.

    But for the readers the standard flat price of 32 rubles (=$0.5) for a Metro ride is to me reasonable but I can see it being an issue for poorer residents. Certainly it is far more expensive than it used to be.

    The Metro itself is superior to both London and all the US underground systems I have come across. There is free WiFi (which London doesn't have) and the cars are refreshingly wide, a function I suppose of the wider Russian railway gauge.

    However, there is huge strain at peak hours, and it is going to continue becoming worse rather than better - due to failures of city planning, Moscow still only has one central hub, so as its population continues to soar the pressure around that core is going to get worse (I have discussed this at length with a person who spent time as a professional in the city planning department).

    Have you been to Kolomenskoye yet and seen there reconstructed wooden palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich?
     
    No, I'll make a note of it, thanks.

    re. public transport in Moscow:

    “Not sure how you can do without.”

    Quite! But I have met very many “New Russians” who proudly state that it is years since they have used the metro. They seem to like sitting in traffic jams. And of course, to use trolleybuses, buses or trams would be absolutely unthinkable for them.

    I travel to our dacha, situated about 50 miles south west of Moscow, by suburban electric train, and a return ticket there costs 265 rubles. I was on one of my very rare visits to the UK last June (on average I go back there about once every 5 years to see my sister) and my family and I stopped for 4 days in London before heading off north for Manchester, and the cost of transport in the UK shocked me. I have never been out of Europe, so I do not know how US transportation costs compare with those of Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Quite! But I have met very many “New Russians” who proudly state that it is years since they have used the metro.
     
    Although Lyttenburgh's fan fiction about me is amusing enough, I don't recommend taking it at face value.

    ... and the cost of transport in the UK shocked me.
     
    That is correct - railway transport is still vastly cheaper in Russia.

    In the early 2000s, as I recall the second class cabin I took from Moscow to SPB cost somewhere in the region of $10-20.

    I just checked my records and the Amtrak plan I bought to make a round trip across the US in 2013 (no personal bed or cabin because I am hardcore, and cheap) cost exactly $669.
    , @Philip Owen
    I really get annoyed with Russians who try to drive to meetings in Central Moscow. They know there is a window of error at least equal to the journey times. And they have to find a place to park! It's a big waste of everyone's time.

    The new railway ring opened the day I arrived in Moscow on my last trip. I kicked myself as I had abandoned my usual hotel (near Sportivnaya) due to long journey times to Delovy Tsentr. But, hey presto, the new ring made it very well connected.

    Platzkart prices on long distance trains haven't risen in line with inflation. Airfares can be enormous as most 2nd city routes are monopolies.
  41. @Anatoly Karlin
    On a more serious note, I don't know why iffen has this obsession with me and my supposed anti-Semitism.

    The fact is I don't obsess over or care much for Jews one way or another, apart from a certain degree of respect for both their cultural achievements and political acumen. I have no dog in the fight over Israel and Palestine. I don't go on about the "AngloZionists" as one columnist here does, and I have no quarrel with the more honest Jewish nationalists (aka open Zionists, not neocons). Lieberman is pro-Russian, so I am pro-Lieberman. While I'm open to Ethnic Genetic Interests theory, including its application to Jews, my most substantive comment on Kevin McDonald has actually been a critique of his numbers. I have also banned a couple of the more annoying and Jew-obsessed commenters from my blog.

    What I do dislike is the sheer chutzpah that many Jews display in smearing Russia, even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms. Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust, but the neocons and most American Jews sided with Ukrainian Banderists, who would have been quite happy to see it through to the end. Despite the vast majority of the 1990s robber oligarchs having been Jewish, many of whom turned sharply against Russia when something approximating a sovereign state was established under Putin, Russia remains a very philo-Semitic country by East European standards. In this respect, you could say we Russians are more cucked than American evangelicals!

    But the best part about it is that as a rule many of (((those))) people are also extremely supportive of Israel, a country which happens to be far more of a "national state" than either Russia or any other Western country. As soon as Article 282 was brought against the Russian liberal/Jewish nationalist Anton Nossik for calling for the extermination of Syrians, on the basis that it was good for Israel, the entire Echo of Moscow (((crowd))) suddenly became ardent proponents of free speech, even though they had previously been at the forefront of writing Russia's hate speech laws in the first place. "Nationalism for me, not for thee" has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms.

    I have never seen pogrom deaths proffered as a balance against the Soviet political murders. I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.

    Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust

    I have always thought of this as incidental, same as the American and British effort.

    “Nationalism for me, not for thee” has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    I see this as well. My reading in the area is somewhat deficient. Have you ever read a rational defense of this position by an American Jew?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    I see this as well. My reading in the area is somewhat deficient. Have you ever read a rational defense of this position by an American Jew?

    I think most ignore this contradiction, pretend that it doesn't exist. I've seen some try to justify it by saying that there's only one Israel, but many Muslim, Christian, European, Arab, etc. countries. That's a lie. There's only one France, England, Russia, America, etc.

    Some Jews take the nationalism-for-no-one position, which is at least internally consistent. I think Glenn Greenwald is like that, Max Blumenthal.

    To me the ideal situation is many sovereign, mostly or wholly ethnically homogenous countries run by local nationalists, countries that get along with each other. But that's a utopian vision, something that people can strive for but never achieve. Anti-nationalists have their own unachievable utopias.

    Nationalism sometimes leads to war, but so does self-described anti-nationalism. I don't know which one of those two killed more people over the last 100 years.

    Nationalism is far more likely to lead to good government than internationalism. Nationalists, by definition, care about their own people, which is far more important for the standard of living than the presence or absence of elections, of freedom of the press, more important than the role of the state or of private enterprise in the economy.

    Only nationalists care about the preservation of human cultural and genetic diversity, and I wouldn't want to see a homogenized grey world.
    , @Boris N

    I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.
     
    The majority of capitalists in the Russian Empire were either ethnic old Russian merchant families like the Morozovs, Demidovs, etc., or emerged post-emancipation entrepreneurs from the Russian nobility, or German, French, Belgian, Italian, even American industrialists and bankers, while the Russian Jews were mostly a very impoverished underprivileged class living in ghettos, known as shtetls or mestechki. So even if the Revolution brought down some recently emerged Jewish capitalists, for the most of the Russian Jewry it brought a lot of opportunities, most of all it opened the social ladder for Jews. Jews had become very representative in the Soviet party and administrative apparatus, the thing unimaginable for them in Tsarist Russia. And their ethnic solidarity did not spread over the most important thing for the Jewry, i.e. Judaism. Jewish Bolsheviks, being highly progressive and atheist, despised equally Judaism and all Abrahamic religions. As well as they had been trying to eradicate the Jewish ghetto mentality, for example, they tried to make Jews to be farmers and created some Jewish farming settlements; though without much success, Jews, like Gypsies and unlike Slavs or Germans, are not accustomed to agriculture. So instead, when the Great Purge brought down many Jews from the government, they still secured their dominance in the Soviet intellectual class. The Soviet intelligentsia has always been at least half Jewish in its numbers and Jewish in its mentality. Jews dominated Soviets universities and research institutes as well as humanities. Probably that was the real reason why the Communists banned Jewish emigration, because they might have lost half of the Soviet engineers with that. Actually exactly that has happened during and after the Perestroika. The post-Soviet brain drain for the most part consists of the Soviet Jewish scientists and engineers.
  42. @Moscow Exile
    re. public transport in Moscow:

    "Not sure how you can do without."

    Quite! But I have met very many "New Russians" who proudly state that it is years since they have used the metro. They seem to like sitting in traffic jams. And of course, to use trolleybuses, buses or trams would be absolutely unthinkable for them.

    I travel to our dacha, situated about 50 miles south west of Moscow, by suburban electric train, and a return ticket there costs 265 rubles. I was on one of my very rare visits to the UK last June (on average I go back there about once every 5 years to see my sister) and my family and I stopped for 4 days in London before heading off north for Manchester, and the cost of transport in the UK shocked me. I have never been out of Europe, so I do not know how US transportation costs compare with those of Russia.

    Quite! But I have met very many “New Russians” who proudly state that it is years since they have used the metro.

    Although Lyttenburgh’s fan fiction about me is amusing enough, I don’t recommend taking it at face value.

    … and the cost of transport in the UK shocked me.

    That is correct – railway transport is still vastly cheaper in Russia.

    In the early 2000s, as I recall the second class cabin I took from Moscow to SPB cost somewhere in the region of $10-20.

    I just checked my records and the Amtrak plan I bought to make a round trip across the US in 2013 (no personal bed or cabin because I am hardcore, and cheap) cost exactly $669.

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  43. @Positive Dennis
    A column about Russian health care would interest me as this is the main reason i am considering moving to Russia. I could buy russian health insurance, and live comfortable off the difference of what i pay now. Three years ago my wife had a scan done in Russia that costs $100. The same test here, well the copay was $750.

    I read an article a few years ago which described a problem in the russian health care system: apparently it is very difficult of not impossible to get pain killers, especially morphine in Russia even when people are terminal ill. I do not know if this is still the case or actually ever has been, but this alone would be a big reason against immigration to Russia. For non-rich people countries like Germany or Austria have probably the best health care system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    "For non-rich people countries like Germany or Austria have probably the best health care system."

    Maybe, but it's going to be ruined because of all the free riders Merkel has invited.
  44. @Sandgroper
    Apology for serial posting and being a bit OT, and Anatoly can tell me to shut up any time he likes and I will, but I don't understand why people don't just get an annual influenza vaccination. If most people did it, the herd immunity would be enough to prevent seasonal influenza epidemics.

    I keep reading stuff about how the vaccinations don't work, how they have harmful effects, how it's better to develop immunity, etc., but based on my own experience, that is all wrong. OK, N=1, but I have been having an annual 'flu shot every year for at least the past 15 years, and sometimes an extra shot when I go back to Australia (the prevalent 'flu strains in the northern and southern hemispheres being somewhat out of step), and my clear recall is that in that 15+ years, I have caught the 'flu precisely twice, both times only mildly. Before I started having an annual jab, I could be certain to come down with a bad dose of 'flu at least twice every winter, sometimes more, and occasionally off-season as well, and each dose of 'flu would mean at least two weeks of feeling awful, not being able to exercise, working ability compromised, etc. My wife and daughter (who is a Biologist - she majored in Biochemistry and Genetics) are now both so convinced of the benefit that they also now have 'flu vaccinations.

    As for developing immunity, it's just not true. The 'flu viruses mutate all the time, so the immunity you acquire from getting a dose of the 'flu lasts for about three weeks, after which you can be infected by the same virus all over again.

    And I have never had an adverse reaction to the vaccine; not once; not even feeling mildly off-colour.

    If anyone has different experience, I would be interested to read about it. My experience of 'flu vaccinations is wholly positive, and yet I keep seeing all this stuff on the Internet discouraging people from having them. Yes, I know some small children have suffered bad effects and some have died, but I'm talking about adults.

    I never get common colds. Doesn't happen. The 'flu vaccine doesn't protect against those, but I just never get them. No idea why. I know of people (admittedly living in northern Europe, not southern China) who seem to get them all the time.

    “I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination.”

    I get them every year in autumn, and I’m only in my early 30s.
    Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to be widespread mostly among “progressives”, Greens etc., i.e. people whose connection to reality might be tenuous anyway.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to be widespread mostly among “progressives”,

    Razib touched on this in a post. These ideas can migrate from left to right or right to left. When I was a teenager, the extreme right John Birchers handed out anti-fluoride pamphlets with their other material.
  45. @Erik Sieven
    I read an article a few years ago which described a problem in the russian health care system: apparently it is very difficult of not impossible to get pain killers, especially morphine in Russia even when people are terminal ill. I do not know if this is still the case or actually ever has been, but this alone would be a big reason against immigration to Russia. For non-rich people countries like Germany or Austria have probably the best health care system.

    “For non-rich people countries like Germany or Austria have probably the best health care system.”

    Maybe, but it’s going to be ruined because of all the free riders Merkel has invited.

    Read More
  46. @German_reader
    "I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination."

    I get them every year in autumn, and I'm only in my early 30s.
    Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to be widespread mostly among "progressives", Greens etc., i.e. people whose connection to reality might be tenuous anyway.

    Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to be widespread mostly among “progressives”,

    Razib touched on this in a post. These ideas can migrate from left to right or right to left. When I was a teenager, the extreme right John Birchers handed out anti-fluoride pamphlets with their other material.

    Read More
  47. @iffen
    even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms.

    I have never seen pogrom deaths proffered as a balance against the Soviet political murders. I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.

    Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust

    I have always thought of this as incidental, same as the American and British effort.

    “Nationalism for me, not for thee” has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    I see this as well. My reading in the area is somewhat deficient. Have you ever read a rational defense of this position by an American Jew?

    I see this as well. My reading in the area is somewhat deficient. Have you ever read a rational defense of this position by an American Jew?

    I think most ignore this contradiction, pretend that it doesn’t exist. I’ve seen some try to justify it by saying that there’s only one Israel, but many Muslim, Christian, European, Arab, etc. countries. That’s a lie. There’s only one France, England, Russia, America, etc.

    Some Jews take the nationalism-for-no-one position, which is at least internally consistent. I think Glenn Greenwald is like that, Max Blumenthal.

    To me the ideal situation is many sovereign, mostly or wholly ethnically homogenous countries run by local nationalists, countries that get along with each other. But that’s a utopian vision, something that people can strive for but never achieve. Anti-nationalists have their own unachievable utopias.

    Nationalism sometimes leads to war, but so does self-described anti-nationalism. I don’t know which one of those two killed more people over the last 100 years.

    Nationalism is far more likely to lead to good government than internationalism. Nationalists, by definition, care about their own people, which is far more important for the standard of living than the presence or absence of elections, of freedom of the press, more important than the role of the state or of private enterprise in the economy.

    Only nationalists care about the preservation of human cultural and genetic diversity, and I wouldn’t want to see a homogenized grey world.

    Read More
  48. @Moscow Exile
    re. public transport in Moscow:

    "Not sure how you can do without."

    Quite! But I have met very many "New Russians" who proudly state that it is years since they have used the metro. They seem to like sitting in traffic jams. And of course, to use trolleybuses, buses or trams would be absolutely unthinkable for them.

    I travel to our dacha, situated about 50 miles south west of Moscow, by suburban electric train, and a return ticket there costs 265 rubles. I was on one of my very rare visits to the UK last June (on average I go back there about once every 5 years to see my sister) and my family and I stopped for 4 days in London before heading off north for Manchester, and the cost of transport in the UK shocked me. I have never been out of Europe, so I do not know how US transportation costs compare with those of Russia.

    I really get annoyed with Russians who try to drive to meetings in Central Moscow. They know there is a window of error at least equal to the journey times. And they have to find a place to park! It’s a big waste of everyone’s time.

    The new railway ring opened the day I arrived in Moscow on my last trip. I kicked myself as I had abandoned my usual hotel (near Sportivnaya) due to long journey times to Delovy Tsentr. But, hey presto, the new ring made it very well connected.

    Platzkart prices on long distance trains haven’t risen in line with inflation. Airfares can be enormous as most 2nd city routes are monopolies.

    Read More
  49. @Anatoly Karlin
    On a more serious note, I don't know why iffen has this obsession with me and my supposed anti-Semitism.

    The fact is I don't obsess over or care much for Jews one way or another, apart from a certain degree of respect for both their cultural achievements and political acumen. I have no dog in the fight over Israel and Palestine. I don't go on about the "AngloZionists" as one columnist here does, and I have no quarrel with the more honest Jewish nationalists (aka open Zionists, not neocons). Lieberman is pro-Russian, so I am pro-Lieberman. While I'm open to Ethnic Genetic Interests theory, including its application to Jews, my most substantive comment on Kevin McDonald has actually been a critique of his numbers. I have also banned a couple of the more annoying and Jew-obsessed commenters from my blog.

    What I do dislike is the sheer chutzpah that many Jews display in smearing Russia, even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms. Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust, but the neocons and most American Jews sided with Ukrainian Banderists, who would have been quite happy to see it through to the end. Despite the vast majority of the 1990s robber oligarchs having been Jewish, many of whom turned sharply against Russia when something approximating a sovereign state was established under Putin, Russia remains a very philo-Semitic country by East European standards. In this respect, you could say we Russians are more cucked than American evangelicals!

    But the best part about it is that as a rule many of (((those))) people are also extremely supportive of Israel, a country which happens to be far more of a "national state" than either Russia or any other Western country. As soon as Article 282 was brought against the Russian liberal/Jewish nationalist Anton Nossik for calling for the extermination of Syrians, on the basis that it was good for Israel, the entire Echo of Moscow (((crowd))) suddenly became ardent proponents of free speech, even though they had previously been at the forefront of writing Russia's hate speech laws in the first place. "Nationalism for me, not for thee" has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    There it is! The obligatory genuflection!

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    • Replies: @Darin
    There it is! The obligatory genuflection!
    More like common sense, I am sure AK bans moon landing deniers too without genuflection to NASA.
  50. @Jonathan Revusky

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.
     
    There it is! The obligatory genuflection!

    There it is! The obligatory genuflection!
    More like common sense, I am sure AK bans moon landing deniers too without genuflection to NASA.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Could be the same people. Deniers run in small circles.
  51. @Darin
    There it is! The obligatory genuflection!
    More like common sense, I am sure AK bans moon landing deniers too without genuflection to NASA.

    Could be the same people. Deniers run in small circles.

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  52. I think Adjika should be thought of more as a cooking ingredient than a condiment or sauce. You can buy it dry in Georgia from the spice sellers (lots of salt) or even just the spice mix on its own (no slat or chili). The spices that go into it are totally unobtainable in the uk, so it’s quite exotic to us, more so than curry. Green Tkmali is also interesting.

    You’re certainly right about the availability of decent tea, though in the uk it has become a bit more readily available than in the past.

    Georgian wine is very good, or at least has the potential to be, as there’s grape varieties not found anywhere else in the world. In the UK it’s exhorbitantly priced for what it is though, not sure about Russia. Marani Saperavi, a decent entry level red, is about €4 there, €15 in the UK; not worth that. Armenia produces a few good wines. Areni ( the grape, village and brand) seems to be cheap and is just about drinkable. Karas is expensive, but pretty good. Their cognac becomes good after 10 years: €20 per bottle.

    Ossetian pies are worth trying, but are a calorific nuke.

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  53. @Anatoly Karlin

    I’m guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don’t think it won him any votes, so that wasn’t the reason.
     
    I agree, but I was speaking to a Russian audience, and had to sync it to Russian interests and experiences. Russian experiences with new American Presidents promising resets are very bad, though over time they have learned to be skeptical and stop making so many goodwill concessions.

    I told them they shouldn't drop that hard-won habit due to Trump euphoria, citing Palmerstone's comments on England's interests and Alexander III's comments on Russia's friends.

    Here you can find lots of recently-published books in libraries. I don’t know if that works in modern Russia though.
     
    It's easily available on the Internet anyway. Nowadays the only physical books I buy are the ones with no electronic format and which I absolutely need, and high quality or rare books that I really like and want to add to my collection.

    “… I was speaking to a Russian audience, and had to sync it to Russian interests and experiences…”

    I’m wondering how Russian interest differ from the US. Assuming they don’t want to invade Europe, I see Russian interest in no way hostile to American interest. It’s my belief that the whole plan of attacking Russian was a huge mistake. We don’t want Russia in China’s arms which is where we drove them. We could be great allies.

    As an aside have you ever heard of the CoDominium Sci-Fi story universe?

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

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  54. @Sandgroper
    Apology for serial posting and being a bit OT, and Anatoly can tell me to shut up any time he likes and I will, but I don't understand why people don't just get an annual influenza vaccination. If most people did it, the herd immunity would be enough to prevent seasonal influenza epidemics.

    I keep reading stuff about how the vaccinations don't work, how they have harmful effects, how it's better to develop immunity, etc., but based on my own experience, that is all wrong. OK, N=1, but I have been having an annual 'flu shot every year for at least the past 15 years, and sometimes an extra shot when I go back to Australia (the prevalent 'flu strains in the northern and southern hemispheres being somewhat out of step), and my clear recall is that in that 15+ years, I have caught the 'flu precisely twice, both times only mildly. Before I started having an annual jab, I could be certain to come down with a bad dose of 'flu at least twice every winter, sometimes more, and occasionally off-season as well, and each dose of 'flu would mean at least two weeks of feeling awful, not being able to exercise, working ability compromised, etc. My wife and daughter (who is a Biologist - she majored in Biochemistry and Genetics) are now both so convinced of the benefit that they also now have 'flu vaccinations.

    As for developing immunity, it's just not true. The 'flu viruses mutate all the time, so the immunity you acquire from getting a dose of the 'flu lasts for about three weeks, after which you can be infected by the same virus all over again.

    And I have never had an adverse reaction to the vaccine; not once; not even feeling mildly off-colour.

    If anyone has different experience, I would be interested to read about it. My experience of 'flu vaccinations is wholly positive, and yet I keep seeing all this stuff on the Internet discouraging people from having them. Yes, I know some small children have suffered bad effects and some have died, but I'm talking about adults.

    I never get common colds. Doesn't happen. The 'flu vaccine doesn't protect against those, but I just never get them. No idea why. I know of people (admittedly living in northern Europe, not southern China) who seem to get them all the time.

    “…I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination…”

    I used to get these but I’m not convinced they are not more dangerous than the flu itself. I have no problem with vaccine theory or the belief that vaccines can be beneficial. I have a problem with companies putting out, what I believe to be, substandard, dirty, additive filled and possibly ineffective vaccines. I believe that Ronald Regan signing into law that they can’t be sued is the reason this is so. Leading to quality control problems.

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    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    I can't say anything about them being substandard, dirty or additive filled, because I know of absolutely no evidence either for or against. But I have a very substantial body of evidence in my own case that the annual influenza vaccination has been highly effective in almost all years, and in a couple of years when it did not provide complete protection, I suffered only a very mild dose of 'flu, indicating that it was still providing partial protection. During periods when a large % of the people working in the densely populated office that I work in were coming into work while obviously suffering heavily from the symptoms of influenza, I have remained free of infection. During periods when both my wife and daughter, sharing a small apartment with me, have been suffering heavily from influenza, I have remained free of infection; this despite the fact that my wife was preparing my meals, and that we were obviously in close contact. My wife and daughter are now both so convinced of the effectiveness of the vaccinations that they now both get them, despite the fact that previously my wife was very resistant to the idea.

    Contrast my experience since being regularly vaccinated to the whole of my life prior to that time - I could guarantee that I would come down with a heavy dose of influenza at last twice every winter, and sometimes more than twice.

    Further, I have never felt any kind of adverse effect from having an annual vaccination at least once every year for over 15 years, and sometimes two vaccinations in a single year, if I happen to be travelling between northern and southern hemispheres. Last year, I also had the latest once in a lifetime pneumonia vaccination, again with no detectable adverse effects.

    I am now heading into the age bracket when influenza can easily be fatal. The vaccines would need to be really 'dangerous' to be worse than dying from influenza. The Government health authorities where I live recommend that susceptible people should be vaccinated, and they have no axe to grind (I don't live in America or any particularly America-friendly place). I guess it depends on what you define as 'dangerous'.

    Not wishing to be offensive, but in the absence of any evidence to support your statements, I currently have you pencilled in as a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Sorry. Come up with some hard, rigorous scientific evidence and I will reevaluate. Until then, my own long personal experience, and now the experience of my wife and daughter as well, not to mention that of several of my work colleagues, some of whom are of advanced age, is going to continue to override a few vague comments from some anonymous person on the Internet.
  55. this was a very relaxing read. this was almost linh dinh quality when it comes to russian day to day live from an expat point of view.

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  56. @Sam J.
    "...I don’t understand why people don’t just get an annual influenza vaccination..."

    I used to get these but I'm not convinced they are not more dangerous than the flu itself. I have no problem with vaccine theory or the belief that vaccines can be beneficial. I have a problem with companies putting out, what I believe to be, substandard, dirty, additive filled and possibly ineffective vaccines. I believe that Ronald Regan signing into law that they can't be sued is the reason this is so. Leading to quality control problems.

    I can’t say anything about them being substandard, dirty or additive filled, because I know of absolutely no evidence either for or against. But I have a very substantial body of evidence in my own case that the annual influenza vaccination has been highly effective in almost all years, and in a couple of years when it did not provide complete protection, I suffered only a very mild dose of ‘flu, indicating that it was still providing partial protection. During periods when a large % of the people working in the densely populated office that I work in were coming into work while obviously suffering heavily from the symptoms of influenza, I have remained free of infection. During periods when both my wife and daughter, sharing a small apartment with me, have been suffering heavily from influenza, I have remained free of infection; this despite the fact that my wife was preparing my meals, and that we were obviously in close contact. My wife and daughter are now both so convinced of the effectiveness of the vaccinations that they now both get them, despite the fact that previously my wife was very resistant to the idea.

    Contrast my experience since being regularly vaccinated to the whole of my life prior to that time – I could guarantee that I would come down with a heavy dose of influenza at last twice every winter, and sometimes more than twice.

    Further, I have never felt any kind of adverse effect from having an annual vaccination at least once every year for over 15 years, and sometimes two vaccinations in a single year, if I happen to be travelling between northern and southern hemispheres. Last year, I also had the latest once in a lifetime pneumonia vaccination, again with no detectable adverse effects.

    I am now heading into the age bracket when influenza can easily be fatal. The vaccines would need to be really ‘dangerous’ to be worse than dying from influenza. The Government health authorities where I live recommend that susceptible people should be vaccinated, and they have no axe to grind (I don’t live in America or any particularly America-friendly place). I guess it depends on what you define as ‘dangerous’.

    Not wishing to be offensive, but in the absence of any evidence to support your statements, I currently have you pencilled in as a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Sorry. Come up with some hard, rigorous scientific evidence and I will reevaluate. Until then, my own long personal experience, and now the experience of my wife and daughter as well, not to mention that of several of my work colleagues, some of whom are of advanced age, is going to continue to override a few vague comments from some anonymous person on the Internet.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    "Last year, I also had the latest once in a lifetime pneumonia vaccination, again with no detectable adverse effects."

    Haven't heard about those, is this now becoming standard or recommended? My father will be 70 this year, might be relevant for him.
  57. This is the way to go. Do all of the earnest criticism that you deem informative and necessary and when the Jew-haters show up to give you a helping hand, give them a back-hand.

    I don’t pay much attention to iffen; does he pretend to not be a leftist? Because safe spaces, censorship, the general attitude; they’re all very leftist.

    Funny how that happens.

    “The JOO-HATERS!!! They’re EVERYWHERE!!!”

    When YT gives you an inch (ban the unorthodox side of a historical question), take a mile (tell him to ban all the JOO-HATERS).

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  58. I’m guessing yes. Why did he say all of those nice things about Russia during the campaign? I don’t think it won him any votes, so that wasn’t the reason.

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that. There are a lot of people in America who are increasingly fed up with the foreign adventurism. They look at Russia and don’t see the Soviet Union.

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  59. Thanks for the insights on life in Russia and how things are changing over there Karlin. I come to Unz review less and less because I don’t read very much factual reporting about the rest of the world, it is almost all idiotic ideological ranting.

    It’s a shame. But I can edit the crap out myself. Sandgroper is always worth reading, so are other commentators. I guess the internet will always be Unz review like in it’s content. 99% bullshit. 1% insight.

    Keep us posted Anatoly.

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  60. @Sandgroper
    I can't say anything about them being substandard, dirty or additive filled, because I know of absolutely no evidence either for or against. But I have a very substantial body of evidence in my own case that the annual influenza vaccination has been highly effective in almost all years, and in a couple of years when it did not provide complete protection, I suffered only a very mild dose of 'flu, indicating that it was still providing partial protection. During periods when a large % of the people working in the densely populated office that I work in were coming into work while obviously suffering heavily from the symptoms of influenza, I have remained free of infection. During periods when both my wife and daughter, sharing a small apartment with me, have been suffering heavily from influenza, I have remained free of infection; this despite the fact that my wife was preparing my meals, and that we were obviously in close contact. My wife and daughter are now both so convinced of the effectiveness of the vaccinations that they now both get them, despite the fact that previously my wife was very resistant to the idea.

    Contrast my experience since being regularly vaccinated to the whole of my life prior to that time - I could guarantee that I would come down with a heavy dose of influenza at last twice every winter, and sometimes more than twice.

    Further, I have never felt any kind of adverse effect from having an annual vaccination at least once every year for over 15 years, and sometimes two vaccinations in a single year, if I happen to be travelling between northern and southern hemispheres. Last year, I also had the latest once in a lifetime pneumonia vaccination, again with no detectable adverse effects.

    I am now heading into the age bracket when influenza can easily be fatal. The vaccines would need to be really 'dangerous' to be worse than dying from influenza. The Government health authorities where I live recommend that susceptible people should be vaccinated, and they have no axe to grind (I don't live in America or any particularly America-friendly place). I guess it depends on what you define as 'dangerous'.

    Not wishing to be offensive, but in the absence of any evidence to support your statements, I currently have you pencilled in as a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Sorry. Come up with some hard, rigorous scientific evidence and I will reevaluate. Until then, my own long personal experience, and now the experience of my wife and daughter as well, not to mention that of several of my work colleagues, some of whom are of advanced age, is going to continue to override a few vague comments from some anonymous person on the Internet.

    “Last year, I also had the latest once in a lifetime pneumonia vaccination, again with no detectable adverse effects.”

    Haven’t heard about those, is this now becoming standard or recommended? My father will be 70 this year, might be relevant for him.

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    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    Yes, it is the new standard, and my general practitioner (what Americans call primary care doctor) recommended to me that I have it. There was a previous version, also a once in a lifetime shot, but this is claimed to be more effective. It needs to be understood that there are many possible causative agents for pneumonia, but the majority of cases (in which the causative agent can be identified) are caused by a few viruses, and this inoculates against those.

    Definitely recommended for your Dad. He should ask his doctor about it.

    The weird thing about pneumonia is that in about half of all cases, the causative agent cannot be identified - by the time the blood tests/cultures are done, the causative agent has done its work and has disappeared.
  61. There’s a clip on youtube that RT posted in which Snowden asks Putin (via a pre-recorded clip) a question. The journalist who is supposed to translate says something to the effect he doesn’t understand “American English.” As an emigrant kid who speaks 3 languages I wanted to write an angry comment but held myself back.

    My point is, perfidious as the West is, the best advertisement for a country is when it has its sh** together. There’s too much tolerance for half-assery. This is the message repatriates must bring home, literally. I’m confident Russia is on a good path.

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  62. @German_reader
    "Last year, I also had the latest once in a lifetime pneumonia vaccination, again with no detectable adverse effects."

    Haven't heard about those, is this now becoming standard or recommended? My father will be 70 this year, might be relevant for him.

    Yes, it is the new standard, and my general practitioner (what Americans call primary care doctor) recommended to me that I have it. There was a previous version, also a once in a lifetime shot, but this is claimed to be more effective. It needs to be understood that there are many possible causative agents for pneumonia, but the majority of cases (in which the causative agent can be identified) are caused by a few viruses, and this inoculates against those.

    Definitely recommended for your Dad. He should ask his doctor about it.

    The weird thing about pneumonia is that in about half of all cases, the causative agent cannot be identified – by the time the blood tests/cultures are done, the causative agent has done its work and has disappeared.

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  63. And the new vaccine also protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae (the most common cause of ‘community acquired pneumonia’ – that is, in the 50% of cases where they can actually identify a causative agent). Sorry, I keep forgetting things. I did mention that I am a biological idiot, didn’t I? That might explain why I chose to breed my own in-house biological expert, so she can explain things to me when she feels like it, although I can’t escape the feeling that she talks to me as if I am a child in kindergarten. I had better get used to it – she has been doing it since she was 9 years old, and it can only get worse from this point.

    So, the pneumonia one-shot vaccine is not a panacea. But it’s a lot better than nothing and, for the sake of one simple injection, when my doctor (himself a gentleman of very advanced years who had already injected himself with it) recommended I have it, I jumped at it.

    My late mother used to refer to pneumonia as ‘the old people’s friend’ because it kills so many geriatrics ‘quietly’ as it were. To hell with that; I want to go out with my boots on, not lying in some hospital full of tubes and gradually blacking out due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain. I’m not optimistic that I’ll get my wish at this point, though.

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  64. […] in the Russian birth rate, and Russia’s Muslim population Anatoly’s interview with Zvezda TV about Trump and the relationship between the US and Russia How Russians have a more positive […]

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  65. @Anatoly Karlin
    On a more serious note, I don't know why iffen has this obsession with me and my supposed anti-Semitism.

    The fact is I don't obsess over or care much for Jews one way or another, apart from a certain degree of respect for both their cultural achievements and political acumen. I have no dog in the fight over Israel and Palestine. I don't go on about the "AngloZionists" as one columnist here does, and I have no quarrel with the more honest Jewish nationalists (aka open Zionists, not neocons). Lieberman is pro-Russian, so I am pro-Lieberman. While I'm open to Ethnic Genetic Interests theory, including its application to Jews, my most substantive comment on Kevin McDonald has actually been a critique of his numbers. I have also banned a couple of the more annoying and Jew-obsessed commenters from my blog.

    What I do dislike is the sheer chutzpah that many Jews display in smearing Russia, even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms. Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust, but the neocons and most American Jews sided with Ukrainian Banderists, who would have been quite happy to see it through to the end. Despite the vast majority of the 1990s robber oligarchs having been Jewish, many of whom turned sharply against Russia when something approximating a sovereign state was established under Putin, Russia remains a very philo-Semitic country by East European standards. In this respect, you could say we Russians are more cucked than American evangelicals!

    But the best part about it is that as a rule many of (((those))) people are also extremely supportive of Israel, a country which happens to be far more of a "national state" than either Russia or any other Western country. As soon as Article 282 was brought against the Russian liberal/Jewish nationalist Anton Nossik for calling for the extermination of Syrians, on the basis that it was good for Israel, the entire Echo of Moscow (((crowd))) suddenly became ardent proponents of free speech, even though they had previously been at the forefront of writing Russia's hate speech laws in the first place. "Nationalism for me, not for thee" has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    And I am going to keep pointing all these coincidences out while banning Holocaust deniers from my blog.

    I do not by any means want to question your ethnic self-identity, that is your business, and I’m even somewhat glad that you consider yourself an ethnic Russian, but at the same time your surname is clearly Jewish (it is even very specific to one Hasidic dynasty) and coupled with your name which is widespread amongst Russian Jews (because of the Anatoly-Nathan allusion), you’re obviously giving an impression of being a Jew or at least a person with Jewish ancestry. I have no doubts that in Russia, the UK and the USA many thought you are a Russian Jew, especially bearing in mind that a great deal of the Soviet/Russian diaspora are actually Russian Jews. So why do you deny your Jewish connections? I suppose you might have got Jewish connections only on your paternal side and thus you do not consider it in any way important being more Russian in all respects than Jewish, but what is wrong even with admitting that? Actually I know enough of ethnic Jews or part-Jews (as well as non-Russians like Armenians, etc.) being admittedly Russophile, and I have a great respect for them, especially knowing that their Russophilia might not save them from the well-known Russian xenophobia (I bitterly admit that exists), but still they do not hide their background, but I never understand that concealment about ancestors, especially if they are Jewish.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    So why do you deny your Jewish connections?
     
    Because I don't and never have (nor about being 25% kebab).

    I am on record as having estimated my Jewish ancestry at around 5% (search my archives if you wish to confirm).

    That was before I did 23andme which showed it to be 3%.
  66. @iffen
    even though Jews disproportionately staffed the apparatus responsible for murdering two orders of magnitude more Russians in the 1920s and 1930s than the 2,000 or so Jews who were murdered by vigilantes during the late Tsarist pogroms.

    I have never seen pogrom deaths proffered as a balance against the Soviet political murders. I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.

    Russians saved at least a couple of million Jews by ending the Holocaust

    I have always thought of this as incidental, same as the American and British effort.

    “Nationalism for me, not for thee” has of course been a consistent credo of neocon-liberal Jewry in both Russia and the West.

    I see this as well. My reading in the area is somewhat deficient. Have you ever read a rational defense of this position by an American Jew?

    I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.

    The majority of capitalists in the Russian Empire were either ethnic old Russian merchant families like the Morozovs, Demidovs, etc., or emerged post-emancipation entrepreneurs from the Russian nobility, or German, French, Belgian, Italian, even American industrialists and bankers, while the Russian Jews were mostly a very impoverished underprivileged class living in ghettos, known as shtetls or mestechki. So even if the Revolution brought down some recently emerged Jewish capitalists, for the most of the Russian Jewry it brought a lot of opportunities, most of all it opened the social ladder for Jews. Jews had become very representative in the Soviet party and administrative apparatus, the thing unimaginable for them in Tsarist Russia. And their ethnic solidarity did not spread over the most important thing for the Jewry, i.e. Judaism. Jewish Bolsheviks, being highly progressive and atheist, despised equally Judaism and all Abrahamic religions. As well as they had been trying to eradicate the Jewish ghetto mentality, for example, they tried to make Jews to be farmers and created some Jewish farming settlements; though without much success, Jews, like Gypsies and unlike Slavs or Germans, are not accustomed to agriculture. So instead, when the Great Purge brought down many Jews from the government, they still secured their dominance in the Soviet intellectual class. The Soviet intelligentsia has always been at least half Jewish in its numbers and Jewish in its mentality. Jews dominated Soviets universities and research institutes as well as humanities. Probably that was the real reason why the Communists banned Jewish emigration, because they might have lost half of the Soviet engineers with that. Actually exactly that has happened during and after the Perestroika. The post-Soviet brain drain for the most part consists of the Soviet Jewish scientists and engineers.

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    • Replies: @inertial
    Jews were not the majority but they were over-represented among the most prominent Russian capitalists. It was causing quite a bit of resentment at the time, actually. The revolutionary era's popular saying was, "Sugar is Brodsky's, tea is Wissotzky's, and Russia is Trotsky's." That's a reference to Russia's sugar and tea magnates. (Incidentally, sugar manufactured by Brodsky was mage from beets grown by Jewish agricultural colonies.) But richest capitalists aside, even great majority of the regular Jews were what we now call self-employed or small business owners. So they were generally not too crazy about the Bolshevik ideas.

    As for the Soviet-organized Jewish farming settlements, they were no more or less successful than regular kolkhozes. They end had nothing to do with Jews not being accustomed to agriculture. Some of them were destroyed during the Great Purge, when any ethnic-based organization became suspect. The rest were swept away by German invasion.
  67. @Boris N
    I do not by any means want to question your ethnic self-identity, that is your business, and I'm even somewhat glad that you consider yourself an ethnic Russian, but at the same time your surname is clearly Jewish (it is even very specific to one Hasidic dynasty) and coupled with your name which is widespread amongst Russian Jews (because of the Anatoly-Nathan allusion), you're obviously giving an impression of being a Jew or at least a person with Jewish ancestry. I have no doubts that in Russia, the UK and the USA many thought you are a Russian Jew, especially bearing in mind that a great deal of the Soviet/Russian diaspora are actually Russian Jews. So why do you deny your Jewish connections? I suppose you might have got Jewish connections only on your paternal side and thus you do not consider it in any way important being more Russian in all respects than Jewish, but what is wrong even with admitting that? Actually I know enough of ethnic Jews or part-Jews (as well as non-Russians like Armenians, etc.) being admittedly Russophile, and I have a great respect for them, especially knowing that their Russophilia might not save them from the well-known Russian xenophobia (I bitterly admit that exists), but still they do not hide their background, but I never understand that concealment about ancestors, especially if they are Jewish.

    So why do you deny your Jewish connections?

    Because I don’t and never have (nor about being 25% kebab).

    I am on record as having estimated my Jewish ancestry at around 5% (search my archives if you wish to confirm).

    That was before I did 23andme which showed it to be 3%.

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  68. @Boris N

    I suppose some Jewish Bolsheviks could have been partly motivated by ethnic reasons rather than class and economic ideology. I am not sure where that would leave the Jewish capitalists.
     
    The majority of capitalists in the Russian Empire were either ethnic old Russian merchant families like the Morozovs, Demidovs, etc., or emerged post-emancipation entrepreneurs from the Russian nobility, or German, French, Belgian, Italian, even American industrialists and bankers, while the Russian Jews were mostly a very impoverished underprivileged class living in ghettos, known as shtetls or mestechki. So even if the Revolution brought down some recently emerged Jewish capitalists, for the most of the Russian Jewry it brought a lot of opportunities, most of all it opened the social ladder for Jews. Jews had become very representative in the Soviet party and administrative apparatus, the thing unimaginable for them in Tsarist Russia. And their ethnic solidarity did not spread over the most important thing for the Jewry, i.e. Judaism. Jewish Bolsheviks, being highly progressive and atheist, despised equally Judaism and all Abrahamic religions. As well as they had been trying to eradicate the Jewish ghetto mentality, for example, they tried to make Jews to be farmers and created some Jewish farming settlements; though without much success, Jews, like Gypsies and unlike Slavs or Germans, are not accustomed to agriculture. So instead, when the Great Purge brought down many Jews from the government, they still secured their dominance in the Soviet intellectual class. The Soviet intelligentsia has always been at least half Jewish in its numbers and Jewish in its mentality. Jews dominated Soviets universities and research institutes as well as humanities. Probably that was the real reason why the Communists banned Jewish emigration, because they might have lost half of the Soviet engineers with that. Actually exactly that has happened during and after the Perestroika. The post-Soviet brain drain for the most part consists of the Soviet Jewish scientists and engineers.

    Jews were not the majority but they were over-represented among the most prominent Russian capitalists. It was causing quite a bit of resentment at the time, actually. The revolutionary era’s popular saying was, “Sugar is Brodsky’s, tea is Wissotzky’s, and Russia is Trotsky’s.” That’s a reference to Russia’s sugar and tea magnates. (Incidentally, sugar manufactured by Brodsky was mage from beets grown by Jewish agricultural colonies.) But richest capitalists aside, even great majority of the regular Jews were what we now call self-employed or small business owners. So they were generally not too crazy about the Bolshevik ideas.

    As for the Soviet-organized Jewish farming settlements, they were no more or less successful than regular kolkhozes. They end had nothing to do with Jews not being accustomed to agriculture. Some of them were destroyed during the Great Purge, when any ethnic-based organization became suspect. The rest were swept away by German invasion.

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