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Westerners have semi-legitimate reasons to like Lenin. Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles). The increasing popular strains of SJW leftism would logically subscribe to the belief that Lenin’s program of national deconstruction (decolonization), struggle against Great Russian chauvinism (white supremacy), and bourgeois parasitism (white privilege) were actually good things in and of themselves.

This shouldn’t be a problem in Russia. The first category of self-haters does exist – somebody like Garry Kasparov comes to mind – but it is electorally negligible. The second category is hardly any more relevant, at least for now. Marginal Trotskyist figures, such as Sergey Biets of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party, and various anarchist collectives, such as Pussy Riot, come to mind. There is an incipient SJW trend emerging amongst the students of the elite Moscow and SPB universities, but based on the American experience, it will be a couple of decades before it leaps into the general population. The KPRF is stronger on immigration than the ruling United Russia pattern, and the Russian Left has been no less firm in its support of the Donbass than mainstream nationalists.

And yet, Russians remain considerably more positive towards Lenin than most Westerners. An April 2017 Levada poll showed 56% positive towards Lenin, versus 22% negative. He incites positive emotions in 44% of Russians, and negative emotions in only 9% of them. Only 14% of Russians support removing Lenin statues, versus 79% opposed – even though 99% of those statues, being mass produced, have no inherent artistic or historical value. Most of the “powerful takes” against my (negative) article on Lenin came from Russians.

Egor Kholmogorov explains the apparent paradox brilliantly in his latest essay (currently in the process of being translates for this website). He points out that modern apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual values, slogans, and programs (e.g. world communism, the unchaining of the working class, the triumph of atheism), but instead appeal to “patriotic, nationalist, conspirological, populist, and even Orthodox” frameworks, all of which were mostly or entirely antithetical to the Communist value system itself. He points out that this has a long history, stretching back to the National Bolsheviks of the 1920s, such as Ustryalov and Kluyev – who, incidentally, were both shot in the late 1930s. (I would point out that this is, of course, hardly the only example. Tens of thousands of Orthodox priests were murdered under both Lenin and Stalin. But that’s all fine, because Stalin allowed them to help crowdfund tanks in 1941. And yet this “reconciliation” between Stalinism and Christianity was the main academic focus of Russia’s current Minister of Education.)

No, there is a more basic reason why Russian patriots/vatniks are driven to engage in Red apologism.

As Kholmogorov points out, in the 1990s, it was a clique of thieves and their professional apologists – many of whom were themselves the literal descendants of nomenklatura bigwigs and NKVD executioners – who took the lead in claiming they had “freed” Russians from Lenin, Communists, and the revolutionary heritage. But since those very same people had also “freed” Russians from their economic and territorial birthrights through criminal privatizations and the Belavezha Accords, all cynically done under the banner of “anticommunism,” a redstalgic counter-reaction was inevitable.

This counter-reaction was merely most visible in the case of Stalin, the best about whom can be said is that he stopped the hysteria around Great Russian chauvinism, while stamping down hard on those non-Russian nationalisms that had gotten too carried with the leeway afforded them in the 1920s (while ironically also moving away from progressive economics: Wage inequality in the USSR peaked under the late Stalin, and fees for the last two years of school were reintroduced in 1940).

Consequently, Stalin was far more palatable as a figurehead of the “resistance” – the name of one of the biggest “patriotic” publishers of authors like Maxim Kalashnikov and Andrey Parshev is literally “The Russian Resistance” (Russkoe Soprotivlenie) – than the internationalist and overtly Russophobic Lenin. Consequently, while the share of Russians claiming Lenin was one of the “greatest persons of all times and places” plummeted from 72% in 1989 to a still cringeworthy 32% by 2017, Stalin’s rating rose from 12% in 1989 to 35% by 1999 – that is, before Putin even came to power – and has stayed at around that level ever since. This was also enabled by the liberal elites directing their most concentrated venom against Stalin, up to and including making up new crimes, as if Stalin’s real record wasn’t sordid enough.

Politically, the liberal-oligarchic faction (The Family/Putin) basically co-opted the redstalgic one (“patriots”/Primakov and the KPRF) in 1999-2000, and the two have been living in an uneasy but surprisingly stable union ever since.

Socially, this resulted in the coalescence of two tribes in Russia, which – borrowing from Scott Alexander – I will call the Blue Tribe and the Red Tribe.

(Reminder that Communism ≈ conservatism in Russia, so the analogy is even more relevant that it might appear at first glance).

The Blue Tribe are the 105 IQ residents of Moscow, the hipsters, the neoliberal reformers, the Echo of Moscow faction that ruled Russia in the 1990s.

The Red Tribe are the 95 IQ residents of Mukhosransk, the vatniks who work in Uralvagonzavod, the budzhetniki, the people who voted for the Communists in the 1990s and now vote for Putin.

Now here’s the thing. Russian liberals – the Blue Tribe – have succeeded in setting the terms of the debate and adoration of Lenin, Communism, the USSR, and especially Stalin is now for all intents and purposes a tribal identifier for the “patriotic” camp, the Red Tribe. In the same way that, say, subscribing to a spectrum of retarded positions (sexual hystrionics, conspicuous religiosity, flag worship, denial of global warming, Israel Firstism, and moar tax cuts for the 1%) has become a tribal identifier for the Red Tribe (or at least its boomer subfaction) in the United States.

The Blue Tribe essentially poisoned the well of the patriotic reaction. This is a very bad, very sad, state of affairs – and it’s not obvious how to get out of here.

Even though sovok worship might be good for triggering Blue Tribe snowflakes – the Russian equivalent of LIBERAL TEARS – it is bad for Russia’s image abroad (excepting, perhaps, in Venezuela and North Korea), it repels intelligent Russians and inducts them into the ranks of the Blue Tribe, so long as it is the only alternative on offer. As Kholmogorov points out, the “canonization of Bolshevism, Leninism, and Stalinism” is not a friend, but an enemy, of Russia’s own future.

The good thing is that the foundations of this narrative are creaky, and can only be sustained by yawning logical fallacies. Here are some typical ones:

russia-empire-stuck-in-time

If not for Lenin/Stalin, time would have literally frozen still and Russia would have remained a Third World cesspool for the rest of the century (variation: Stalin took us from the plow to the atomic bomb). An argument which only someone devoid of any knowledge of economic history or even elementary logic can take seriously. Or a rabid Russophobe who believes that the only way Russians can achieve anything is if they’re prodded to it by a mustachiod Georgian BDSM master.

The Western club only lets its own become wealthy. Japan, South Korea, The Republic of China, the People’s Republic of China (once it started taking the “people’s” part less seriously, that is), Singapore, must all be figments of our collective imagination.

Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.

lenin-was-right

The Tsar/bourgeoisie/aristocracy was oppressing the peasants/serfs (though the serfs were reactionary scum who deserved it anyway). So… the Tsar was good, then? Or bad? I don’t even know.

Lenin offered the people land, bread, peace. I suppose he did, by the standards of the Ministry of Truth:

Civil War is Peace
Prodrazvyorstka is Bread
Collectivization is Land

Okay, here’s another one: “What he’s effectively saying is “for 70 years multiple generations of Soviet people have followed the legacy a traitor, parasite, failure”. All those generations of people were that stupid, apparently. And probably still are. Only A.Karlin is smart. Yeah, right.

Yes, that sort of does hit closer to the truth.

Which is why letting go is hard, and provokes anger…

… as the first stage on the road to acceptance.

In the long-run, the de-sovokization of Russia is inevitable, on the basis that in a free market of ideas, the good arguments eventually tend to win out over bad ones.

This is already happening; as in the United States, where the GOP is known as the stupid party, so in Russia “based” sovoks can’t cognitively compete with the brain fund at the Blue Tribe’s disposal. Once the latter win out, and there is no good reason to think they won’t, there’ll be no more Stalin, but he’ll just be replaced by Soros, and that’s hardly an improvement.

Opinion polls indicate that it is the younger, more educated, wealthier people who are much more skeptical about Lenin. For instance, according to a FOM poll from April 2014, 52% of Russians thought Lenin was a good person, versus only 10% who thought he was bad. However, the percentage thinking he was good falls from 68% amongst the over 60s to 39% amongst the 18-30 age group; from 59% amongst non-college education to 41% amongst the college-educated (36% amongst college-educated youth); 67% amongst the pool to 43% amongst the wealth; and from 64% amongst rural dwellers 39% amongst Muscovites.

But not all hope is lost. One can posit the existence of a third tribe in Russia – let’s call it the Black Tribe – that rejects the truthisms of both the sovok Reds and the pozzed Blues and offers an alternative vision of Russia’s future.

na-korable-polden

And it is up to us, the Black Tribe, to continue patiently, systemically, humorously dismantling the myths and narratives of sovok and liberalism.txt alike before the Poz swallows us all.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Lenin, Russia, Society 
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  1. A great deal of claptrap here. Wouldn’t it be more natural to assume that the communist sentiment is motivated, quite simply, by yearning for justice, and the (relative) popularity by Lenin and Stalin is a result of a honest appraisal of their roles in history? You may disagree with these people’s judgement, but you sounds awfully arrogant, and arrogance is a deadly sin, you know.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    He points out that modern apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual values, slogans, and programs (e.g. world communism, the unchaining of the working class, the triumph of atheism), but instead...
     
    , @Greasy William
    Are you really Chinese? I thought the Chinese all gave up on Communism and traded it in for unapologetic Fascism.

    Afrikatoly: You have mentioned that Putin and Co are big into the Stalin cult. What do Putinites think of Lenin?
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  2. @Mao Cheng Ji
    A great deal of claptrap here. Wouldn't it be more natural to assume that the communist sentiment is motivated, quite simply, by yearning for justice, and the (relative) popularity by Lenin and Stalin is a result of a honest appraisal of their roles in history? You may disagree with these people's judgement, but you sounds awfully arrogant, and arrogance is a deadly sin, you know.

    He points out that modern apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual values, slogans, and programs (e.g. world communism, the unchaining of the working class, the triumph of atheism), but instead…

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    Справедливость. They talk about it all the time. And it's nothing like western liberal 'social justice' - 50% of all the CEOs should be women. It's more of an anarchist kind of justice, left-libertarian.
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  3. @Anatoly Karlin

    He points out that modern apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual values, slogans, and programs (e.g. world communism, the unchaining of the working class, the triumph of atheism), but instead...
     

    Справедливость. They talk about it all the time. And it’s nothing like western liberal ‘social justice’ – 50% of all the CEOs should be women. It’s more of an anarchist kind of justice, left-libertarian.

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  4. What a load… Anatoly, really–try to study at least something which is related to real life and history of Russia? I am not talking about understanding the sheer embarrassment of presenting Kholmogorov as a viable…anything on any issue related to USSR. But here is somebody who is on the order of magnitude more educated and erudite than you, or Kholmogorov, or Prosvirnin are and not “vatnik” or “commie”, she would eat you and your idols in 20 minutes without choking:

    Natalya Narochnitskaya, explaining nostalgia for Stalin didn’t mince the words: “The West hates Stalin namely for restoration of the territory of the historic Russian state, and for Yalta, and for Potsdam. These are the outcomes which do not allow them to calm down. You know, I am no Stalinist and I clearly understand that all nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history, making mockery out of lives of our fathers. It is useless trying to prove to the West that Ivan Grozny (Terrible) in 30 years of his reign killed 10 times fewer people than Catherine De’ Medici killed during St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. We are going to be counted as barbarians no matter what, while the West will remain good!”

    Ностальгия по Сталину в нашей стране вызвана топтанием собственной истории! (Nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history). Natalya Narochnitskaya. KM.RU September 29, 2017.

    Again, you have no business pretending that you know anything about either Russia/Soviet/Russian history since not only you can not relate to them in any meaningful way being, basically, a young American (especially product of US education) who speaks Russian but you simply have no apparatus required for that. You are obviously oblivious to Russian literature, you do not understand in any sufficient way how serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia and, in the end, you don’t know Russian people. Kholmogorov, Prosvirnin or Girkin are hardly best representatives of Russian people. Instead of producing faux-scholarly drudgery (IIRC you are Russian citizen) get yourself into the military service, may I suggest Border Guards or Paratroopers, you may learn a thing or two. Otherwise I observe a steady degradation of what used to be a cute blog into sheer demagoguery, ignorant ideology and, very often, simple avoidance of answering serious questions–such as your platitudes and convoluted “argumentation” about comparison of military capabilities and economic potential of WW I warring sides provided by… Russian Imperial General Staff–hardly vatniks or commies. I understand, the allowance for a young age has to be made but really–maybe it is also a good reason for study?

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    • Replies: @jtgw
    Yalta and Potsdam seem like as good reasons as any to dislike Stalin. I'm not sure why it's so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities. If you expect other nations to respect your independence, why won't you reciprocate?
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Still waiting for the expert on how "serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia" to provide evidence on Russia possessing an alternative to SWIFT before 2014.

    Re-Natalya Narochnitskaya. Very superficial analysis that doesn't even correlate with reality.

    On a broader note:

    Her think-tank (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation) is supposed to spread Russian soft power and enjoys Kremlin funding. I, who follow Russian affairs rather closely, hear about her about once every 1-2 years (inevitably from some third-tier Atlanticist NGO hyping Russia hybrid information war i.e. spongeing State Department money, just like she sponges Kremlin money).

    Could it be that I am just a crap Russia watcher? Just searched through my archives of David Johnson's Russia list for 2017. *Zero* mentions of "narochnitskaya."

    Her institute produced one (!) publication this year.

    Internet mentions. Way less than Alexander Dugin (much as I disagree with him, at least he doesn't subsist on the Russian taxpayer's dime); far less than Prosvirnin's and Kholmogorov's influence, neither of whom has institutional backing either; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn't make Russia's top 100 politologists.

    Oh, and those figures are for the Cyrillic version of her name; "Natalia Narochnitskaya" doesn't even register on Google Тrends, and gets a mere 12,000 hits. I, pretty irrelevant blogger all things considered, get 75,000. Could it be that she's more serious than just some blogger/pundit? Let's look at Google Scholar. There are people mentioning her, but nothing that I can see by her.

    I am sure that she's a nice enough person, but her bang for the buck is pathetic. That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.
    , @Philip Owen
    Russia was industrialising fast before WW1. The only comparable country was Japan which continued development without a Stalin but with an Emporer. The idea that Stalinism or even Lenin's Communism+electricity industrialised Russia is ridiculous leftist propaganda.

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs. It still plagues Russian agriculture to this day but even so before WW1 it was #1 exporter of beef as well as grain. The Communists destroyed that heritage totally, as Chubais described in the 1990's when he postulated that Soviet industry was built by destroying the capital of the agricultural sector. (I don't agree but it isn't strand of argument that has its adherents in some towers of the Kremlin - if only because it is an anti-british argument). Russian agriculture is coming back to life, although only grain is genuinely competitive yet. Miratorg is a creation of subsidy.
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  5. Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles).

    Eh, I suppose you’re not wholly serious, but that “Upper Volta with missiles” thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me. Whatever one thinks of the Soviet system (and I’m not a fan of it), it was much more than that.
    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of “full spectrum challenge” Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort…what kind of ideology would that challenge have had as a basis? And it’s not even clear to me there would have been an American world order as we know it without the threat (real or perceived) presented by Soviet communism and all that followed from it. There might well have been no fascism, no Nazism, no WW2 as it actually happened in our timeline. And without that would the European powers have become as dependent on the US as they did during the 1940s? Very hard to imagine imo what a world would have been like without the Soviet Union, but it certainly would have been very different.

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    • Agree: Zumbuddi
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of “full spectrum challenge” Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort
     
    Karlin never read any serious US National Security Document and what is in the foundation of US foreign policy. Here is from one of those who massively influenced it's formation:

    "I would say, and I have said many times before, that if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today."

    Naval War College Review, Winter 1998, Vol. LI, Sequence 361. Hans Morgenthau's Spruance Lecture "Realism in Foreign Policy", 1957.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but that “Upper Volta with missiles” thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me.
     
    Well yes, from a strictly factual perspective it certain is, and I have criticized those who take it factually, but it is however pretty accurate as a metaphor for the structure of Soviet power (military behemoth on par with the US; unimpressive economy; cultural pygmy).

    China, in contrast, is advancing about evenly on all fronts, purposefully avoiding the Soviet mistake that made it fragile and vulnerably to Western economic and cultural pressure.
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  6. @German_reader

    Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles).
     
    Eh, I suppose you're not wholly serious, but that "Upper Volta with missiles" thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me. Whatever one thinks of the Soviet system (and I'm not a fan of it), it was much more than that.
    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of "full spectrum challenge" Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort...what kind of ideology would that challenge have had as a basis? And it's not even clear to me there would have been an American world order as we know it without the threat (real or perceived) presented by Soviet communism and all that followed from it. There might well have been no fascism, no Nazism, no WW2 as it actually happened in our timeline. And without that would the European powers have become as dependent on the US as they did during the 1940s? Very hard to imagine imo what a world would have been like without the Soviet Union, but it certainly would have been very different.

    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of “full spectrum challenge” Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort

    Karlin never read any serious US National Security Document and what is in the foundation of US foreign policy. Here is from one of those who massively influenced it’s formation:

    “I would say, and I have said many times before, that if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today.”

    Naval War College Review, Winter 1998, Vol. LI, Sequence 361. Hans Morgenthau’s Spruance Lecture “Realism in Foreign Policy”, 1957.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Well, given how obsessively anti-Russian parts of the US elite seem to be even today, long after the end of the Soviet system, I can certainly see some reason for believing that it's all about geopolitics, with ideology being only secondary, and that some sort of confrontation between the two emerging superpowers was inevitable in any case. Personally I don't think that's the whole story, but then I'll readily admit to my ignorance about many relevant issues.
    , @jtgw
    It is true that in the 19th century Tsarist Russia occupied a very similar place to today in the minds of Western liberals: as a huge bastion of reaction ever ready to intervene in its weaker Western neighbors in order to crush democracy and progress. So, without the 1917 revolution, I think that may have continued; there would have been no interlude where Russia was feared for being revolutionary rather than reactionary.

    That being said, I also think there were enough progressive elements within Tsarist Russia that it may well have transitioned into a liberal democracy like the US, again skipping over the revolutionary Communist phase. Not sure if that would have resulted in rivalry with the US or perhaps joining forces to impose worldwide liberalism.

    Ultimately, alternative history is just a game; there are too many variables to make a really good counterfactual scenario.
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  7. @Andrei Martyanov

    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of “full spectrum challenge” Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort
     
    Karlin never read any serious US National Security Document and what is in the foundation of US foreign policy. Here is from one of those who massively influenced it's formation:

    "I would say, and I have said many times before, that if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today."

    Naval War College Review, Winter 1998, Vol. LI, Sequence 361. Hans Morgenthau's Spruance Lecture "Realism in Foreign Policy", 1957.

    Well, given how obsessively anti-Russian parts of the US elite seem to be even today, long after the end of the Soviet system, I can certainly see some reason for believing that it’s all about geopolitics, with ideology being only secondary, and that some sort of confrontation between the two emerging superpowers was inevitable in any case. Personally I don’t think that’s the whole story, but then I’ll readily admit to my ignorance about many relevant issues.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Well, given how obsessively anti-Russian parts of the US elite seem to be even today
     
    They are also "obsessively" incompetent and, if to follow, say Colonel Lang's impressions, him, of course, being a former senior DIA officer and intelligence veteran:

    "You cannot overestimate the effect of the long term baleful effect of the ant-Russia school at Garmisch* and the spread of the effect of the influence of the opinions of its graduates. I don't know if Pompeo took Russian as a language at WP (West Point). All cadets were required to take a language. If it was Russian, that faculty in the language department were all Russophobes and led on by an aged White Russian civilian permanent type who foamed at the mouth at the word, Bolshevik." The head of the Russian language group was an immigrant Siberian colonel who had grown up in Shanghai where his father was an inspector in the Chinese customs. He didn't like the modern Russians much either.”
     
    Kinda paints the picture. Garmisch, of course, being NATO's intelligence school. But,

    I can certainly see some reason for believing that it’s all about geopolitics, with ideology being only secondary
     
    Ideology is not secondary, far from it--the problem is that by the end of the 20th Century most (some exceptions exist) American elites bought own narrative and this "ideology" is now what drives US overall views. Even former Russian Ambassador Kislyak (he left his post of Ambassador to US like two months ago) in his recent interview was straight: "US elites are arrogant and they are delusional". That is the danger. Even the so called US "realism" is not real realism, it is still based on a lot of fantasies.
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  8. So if I’m not mistaken (judging from this post and others), your view is that fixtures of modern liberalism such as multiculturalism, open borders, gay rights…etc

    1) were more popular among educated western elites (this is undeniable),
    2) who then proceeded to “convince”, “win over” the rest of elites and the general population

    I just…don’t see it. This evolution never felt organic, but only the result of elite capture and crude social engineering
    Lion of the Blogosphere once had a post touching on this which seemed spot on to me https://lionoftheblogosphere.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/how-the-gays-won/

    What took place was steady entryism, and after a certain threshold, shaming, exclusion and even criminalization (depending on the country) of alternative viewpoints. I generally hate conspiratorial thinking but in many respect these evolutions have the traits of conspiracies. For instance in France the freemasonry openly advocates for ART for gay couples, surrogacy, euthanasia. Other groups and operations might be harder to track…

    It may be that I misinterpreted you, if so I hope you correct me. But in any case it shows there may be hope for Russia and other countries at odds with the liberal ideological order. Just make sure these students never get anywhere in positions of power or cultural influence.

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  9. The Black Hundreds probably wouldn’t approve of spaceships. Wouldn’t that invite the devils of the ether to affect the minds of those who trespass into its void?

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  10. jtgw says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of “full spectrum challenge” Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort
     
    Karlin never read any serious US National Security Document and what is in the foundation of US foreign policy. Here is from one of those who massively influenced it's formation:

    "I would say, and I have said many times before, that if the czars still reigned in Russia, that if Lenin had died of the measles at an early age, that if Stalin had never been heard of, but the power of the Soviet Union were exactly what it is today, the problem of Russia would be for us by and large what it is today. If the Russian armies stood exactly where they stand today, and if Russian technological development were what it is today, we would be by and large confronted with the same problems which confront us today."

    Naval War College Review, Winter 1998, Vol. LI, Sequence 361. Hans Morgenthau's Spruance Lecture "Realism in Foreign Policy", 1957.

    It is true that in the 19th century Tsarist Russia occupied a very similar place to today in the minds of Western liberals: as a huge bastion of reaction ever ready to intervene in its weaker Western neighbors in order to crush democracy and progress. So, without the 1917 revolution, I think that may have continued; there would have been no interlude where Russia was feared for being revolutionary rather than reactionary.

    That being said, I also think there were enough progressive elements within Tsarist Russia that it may well have transitioned into a liberal democracy like the US, again skipping over the revolutionary Communist phase. Not sure if that would have resulted in rivalry with the US or perhaps joining forces to impose worldwide liberalism.

    Ultimately, alternative history is just a game; there are too many variables to make a really good counterfactual scenario.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes, I agree with that thesis: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/return-of-conservative-russophilia/

    Who talked of the “gendarme of Europe” and “prison of peoples” in 19th century political discourse? Socialists, not conservatives. Marx had very little good to say about Russia and Eastern Europe in general, the idea being that the advanced Western nations were the only ones of interest from a Communist revolutionary perspective. (Though he did modify this view somewhat towards the end of his life)... In stark contrast to the situation even just a few years ago, the Russophobia/Russophilia spectrum now runs from the “militant cosmopolitanism” of European socialism (which today is homosexualist neocon SJWism of the Kirchick sort), to the outright Russophilia of a large part of the Alt Right and neoreaction.
     
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Ultimately, alternative history is just a game; there are too many variables to make a really good counterfactual scenario.
     
    Generally agree. Having said that--once in a while, very seldom, it is prudent to "play out" alternative scenarios but it could be only done on the fullness and veracity of information and having a good "model" to do so--this is absolutely not the case here. BTW, this is also a precise reason why American "elites" can not find their own ass with both hands in the brightly lit room whenever dealing with anything Russia related. Garbage In--Garbage Out. Results are predictable.
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  11. A black faction? Would you say that we number in the hundreds? I like where this is going.

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    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @DNC
    I think Anatoly is drawing from pill memes when he talks of blue, red and black
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  12. jtgw says:
    @Andrei Martyanov
    What a load... Anatoly, really--try to study at least something which is related to real life and history of Russia? I am not talking about understanding the sheer embarrassment of presenting Kholmogorov as a viable...anything on any issue related to USSR. But here is somebody who is on the order of magnitude more educated and erudite than you, or Kholmogorov, or Prosvirnin are and not "vatnik" or "commie", she would eat you and your idols in 20 minutes without choking:

    Natalya Narochnitskaya, explaining nostalgia for Stalin didn't mince the words: "The West hates Stalin namely for restoration of the territory of the historic Russian state, and for Yalta, and for Potsdam. These are the outcomes which do not allow them to calm down. You know, I am no Stalinist and I clearly understand that all nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history, making mockery out of lives of our fathers. It is useless trying to prove to the West that Ivan Grozny (Terrible) in 30 years of his reign killed 10 times fewer people than Catherine De' Medici killed during St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. We are going to be counted as barbarians no matter what, while the West will remain good!"
     
    Ностальгия по Сталину в нашей стране вызвана топтанием собственной истории! (Nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history). Natalya Narochnitskaya. KM.RU September 29, 2017.

    Again, you have no business pretending that you know anything about either Russia/Soviet/Russian history since not only you can not relate to them in any meaningful way being, basically, a young American (especially product of US education) who speaks Russian but you simply have no apparatus required for that. You are obviously oblivious to Russian literature, you do not understand in any sufficient way how serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia and, in the end, you don't know Russian people. Kholmogorov, Prosvirnin or Girkin are hardly best representatives of Russian people. Instead of producing faux-scholarly drudgery (IIRC you are Russian citizen) get yourself into the military service, may I suggest Border Guards or Paratroopers, you may learn a thing or two. Otherwise I observe a steady degradation of what used to be a cute blog into sheer demagoguery, ignorant ideology and, very often, simple avoidance of answering serious questions--such as your platitudes and convoluted "argumentation" about comparison of military capabilities and economic potential of WW I warring sides provided by... Russian Imperial General Staff--hardly vatniks or commies. I understand, the allowance for a young age has to be made but really--maybe it is also a good reason for study?

    Yalta and Potsdam seem like as good reasons as any to dislike Stalin. I’m not sure why it’s so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities. If you expect other nations to respect your independence, why won’t you reciprocate?

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    • Replies: @MarkinPNW
    "I’m not sure why it’s so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities."

    The concessions to Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam are the logical result of the failure of all of the surrounding countries not respecting Russian/Slavic independence for centuries, nay, millennia, with constant invasions and slave raids, as exemplified by my friend Rosa*.

    *Rosa, though not a close friend but nonetheless a family friend, is a victim and survivor of what was the last (and hopefully never to be repeated again) great slave raid against the Slav peoples. She lives about a mile from my house, and you can watch her tell her own amazing story here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h6NIa5W9oM

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  13. @Andrei Martyanov
    What a load... Anatoly, really--try to study at least something which is related to real life and history of Russia? I am not talking about understanding the sheer embarrassment of presenting Kholmogorov as a viable...anything on any issue related to USSR. But here is somebody who is on the order of magnitude more educated and erudite than you, or Kholmogorov, or Prosvirnin are and not "vatnik" or "commie", she would eat you and your idols in 20 minutes without choking:

    Natalya Narochnitskaya, explaining nostalgia for Stalin didn't mince the words: "The West hates Stalin namely for restoration of the territory of the historic Russian state, and for Yalta, and for Potsdam. These are the outcomes which do not allow them to calm down. You know, I am no Stalinist and I clearly understand that all nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history, making mockery out of lives of our fathers. It is useless trying to prove to the West that Ivan Grozny (Terrible) in 30 years of his reign killed 10 times fewer people than Catherine De' Medici killed during St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. We are going to be counted as barbarians no matter what, while the West will remain good!"
     
    Ностальгия по Сталину в нашей стране вызвана топтанием собственной истории! (Nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history). Natalya Narochnitskaya. KM.RU September 29, 2017.

    Again, you have no business pretending that you know anything about either Russia/Soviet/Russian history since not only you can not relate to them in any meaningful way being, basically, a young American (especially product of US education) who speaks Russian but you simply have no apparatus required for that. You are obviously oblivious to Russian literature, you do not understand in any sufficient way how serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia and, in the end, you don't know Russian people. Kholmogorov, Prosvirnin or Girkin are hardly best representatives of Russian people. Instead of producing faux-scholarly drudgery (IIRC you are Russian citizen) get yourself into the military service, may I suggest Border Guards or Paratroopers, you may learn a thing or two. Otherwise I observe a steady degradation of what used to be a cute blog into sheer demagoguery, ignorant ideology and, very often, simple avoidance of answering serious questions--such as your platitudes and convoluted "argumentation" about comparison of military capabilities and economic potential of WW I warring sides provided by... Russian Imperial General Staff--hardly vatniks or commies. I understand, the allowance for a young age has to be made but really--maybe it is also a good reason for study?

    Still waiting for the expert on how “serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia” to provide evidence on Russia possessing an alternative to SWIFT before 2014.

    Re-Natalya Narochnitskaya. Very superficial analysis that doesn’t even correlate with reality.

    On a broader note:

    Her think-tank (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation) is supposed to spread Russian soft power and enjoys Kremlin funding. I, who follow Russian affairs rather closely, hear about her about once every 1-2 years (inevitably from some third-tier Atlanticist NGO hyping Russia hybrid information war i.e. spongeing State Department money, just like she sponges Kremlin money).

    Could it be that I am just a crap Russia watcher? Just searched through my archives of David Johnson’s Russia list for 2017. *Zero* mentions of “narochnitskaya.”

    Her institute produced one (!) publication this year.

    Internet mentions. Way less than Alexander Dugin (much as I disagree with him, at least he doesn’t subsist on the Russian taxpayer’s dime); far less than Prosvirnin’s and Kholmogorov’s influence, neither of whom has institutional backing either; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn’t make Russia’s top 100 politologists.

    Oh, and those figures are for the Cyrillic version of her name; “Natalia Narochnitskaya” doesn’t even register on Google Тrends, and gets a mere 12,000 hits. I, pretty irrelevant blogger all things considered, get 75,000. Could it be that she’s more serious than just some blogger/pundit? Let’s look at Google Scholar. There are people mentioning her, but nothing that I can see by her.

    I am sure that she’s a nice enough person, but her bang for the buck is pathetic. That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Very superficial analysis
     
    Anatoly, you have to understand one very simple fact--you are not Russian, you are a product of American cultural milieu (especially its SF "version") and American "education" so you lack what matters most--understanding. You have a lot of (much of it bad) information and very little knowledge. It IS expected from American "educational" product, especially NOT in any practical field. If you use this:

    far less than Prosvirnin’s and Kholmogorov’s influence; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn’t make Russia’s top 100 politologists.
     
    And internet "quotability" as a criteria of knowledge, let alone understanding of something--sorry, you are in a wrong field, as most of your posts related to war, warfare, military power, politcal and economic power so profoundly demonstrate. No, Narochnitskaya actually nails it here and it has nothing to do with whatever "politology" so called profession is or how many times she is quoted. I can give you more politologists in Russia, from Satanovsky, to Ishenko, to Kulikov, to Mikheev who make your Prosvirnin (a shyster and faux-intellectual) together with Kholmogorov look like a third-year students of some humanities faculty from some backwater humanitarian university in Kazakhstan. Well, they are. That is if you don't like Narochnitskaya, which is fine with me. Other names will do.

    That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.
     
    Oh no, they are very Russian and are based on education, experiences and knowledge which are beyond your grasp. That is the point. I do have enough taste and upbringing not to pretend to be something that I am not, not to speak keeping opinions to myself on the issues I have no clue about. Again, if Prosvirnin or Kholmogorov are your intellectual and "academic" level--expect to be called out on any issue related to the Russian history of the XX century. I know, it is not going to be pleasant but it is what it is.
    , @Seraphim
    Undeniably seventy years of Commie brainwashing resulted in a leveling of the cerebral convolutions. No wonder that many behave like a broken record.
    , @Mikhail
    JRL can be a lousy parameter of judging quality Russia related analysis, as evidenced by some of the sources getting propped there, unlike some others.



    Srdja Trifkovic, James Jatras are among the latter.

    John Laughland is among others in that latter category that includes Trifkovic and Jatras.

    These guys can face the music without the blog censoring oaf troll antics (whether Russophile or Russophobe) that JRL has propped.
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  14. @German_reader

    Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles).
     
    Eh, I suppose you're not wholly serious, but that "Upper Volta with missiles" thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me. Whatever one thinks of the Soviet system (and I'm not a fan of it), it was much more than that.
    Getting into counterfactual history territory, I wonder what kind of "full spectrum challenge" Russia would have provided to the American order if the Tsarist system had continued or if there had been a liberal republic of some sort...what kind of ideology would that challenge have had as a basis? And it's not even clear to me there would have been an American world order as we know it without the threat (real or perceived) presented by Soviet communism and all that followed from it. There might well have been no fascism, no Nazism, no WW2 as it actually happened in our timeline. And without that would the European powers have become as dependent on the US as they did during the 1940s? Very hard to imagine imo what a world would have been like without the Soviet Union, but it certainly would have been very different.

    … but that “Upper Volta with missiles” thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me.

    Well yes, from a strictly factual perspective it certain is, and I have criticized those who take it factually, but it is however pretty accurate as a metaphor for the structure of Soviet power (military behemoth on par with the US; unimpressive economy; cultural pygmy).

    China, in contrast, is advancing about evenly on all fronts, purposefully avoiding the Soviet mistake that made it fragile and vulnerably to Western economic and cultural pressure.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    I mostly agree, am not a fan of the Soviet system myself as I wrote. Not sure about "cultural pygmy" though (if I understand correctly what you mean by that term)...sure, Soviet culture probably was rather stagnant on the whole. But there was serious academic research, and the Soviet Union did have cultural power of a sort for a long time, with many commies and fellow travelers in Western countries admiring it. By contrast, I don't really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.
    , @inertial
    At the time, few in the West thought that USSR has unimpressive economy; on the contrary, they worried that it would soon overtake America.

    Cultural pygmy? Not sure what you mean here. Soviet Union left behind a lot of culture. In fact, it's a major source of what you call Redstalgia. Many Russian listen to old songs, watch movies, etc., and conclude that (a) this stuff is pretty good, and (b) there is no way the society that created it could have the monstrous hell that the anti-Commies are talking about. Go to Youtube, find a video of a Soviet song or a movie clip, and read the comments.
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  15. @German_reader
    Well, given how obsessively anti-Russian parts of the US elite seem to be even today, long after the end of the Soviet system, I can certainly see some reason for believing that it's all about geopolitics, with ideology being only secondary, and that some sort of confrontation between the two emerging superpowers was inevitable in any case. Personally I don't think that's the whole story, but then I'll readily admit to my ignorance about many relevant issues.

    Well, given how obsessively anti-Russian parts of the US elite seem to be even today

    They are also “obsessively” incompetent and, if to follow, say Colonel Lang’s impressions, him, of course, being a former senior DIA officer and intelligence veteran:

    “You cannot overestimate the effect of the long term baleful effect of the ant-Russia school at Garmisch* and the spread of the effect of the influence of the opinions of its graduates. I don’t know if Pompeo took Russian as a language at WP (West Point). All cadets were required to take a language. If it was Russian, that faculty in the language department were all Russophobes and led on by an aged White Russian civilian permanent type who foamed at the mouth at the word, Bolshevik.” The head of the Russian language group was an immigrant Siberian colonel who had grown up in Shanghai where his father was an inspector in the Chinese customs. He didn’t like the modern Russians much either.”

    Kinda paints the picture. Garmisch, of course, being NATO’s intelligence school. But,

    I can certainly see some reason for believing that it’s all about geopolitics, with ideology being only secondary

    Ideology is not secondary, far from it–the problem is that by the end of the 20th Century most (some exceptions exist) American elites bought own narrative and this “ideology” is now what drives US overall views. Even former Russian Ambassador Kislyak (he left his post of Ambassador to US like two months ago) in his recent interview was straight: “US elites are arrogant and they are delusional”. That is the danger. Even the so called US “realism” is not real realism, it is still based on a lot of fantasies.

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  16. @Andrei Martyanov
    What a load... Anatoly, really--try to study at least something which is related to real life and history of Russia? I am not talking about understanding the sheer embarrassment of presenting Kholmogorov as a viable...anything on any issue related to USSR. But here is somebody who is on the order of magnitude more educated and erudite than you, or Kholmogorov, or Prosvirnin are and not "vatnik" or "commie", she would eat you and your idols in 20 minutes without choking:

    Natalya Narochnitskaya, explaining nostalgia for Stalin didn't mince the words: "The West hates Stalin namely for restoration of the territory of the historic Russian state, and for Yalta, and for Potsdam. These are the outcomes which do not allow them to calm down. You know, I am no Stalinist and I clearly understand that all nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history, making mockery out of lives of our fathers. It is useless trying to prove to the West that Ivan Grozny (Terrible) in 30 years of his reign killed 10 times fewer people than Catherine De' Medici killed during St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. We are going to be counted as barbarians no matter what, while the West will remain good!"
     
    Ностальгия по Сталину в нашей стране вызвана топтанием собственной истории! (Nostalgia for Stalin has roots in a non-stop trampling of our history). Natalya Narochnitskaya. KM.RU September 29, 2017.

    Again, you have no business pretending that you know anything about either Russia/Soviet/Russian history since not only you can not relate to them in any meaningful way being, basically, a young American (especially product of US education) who speaks Russian but you simply have no apparatus required for that. You are obviously oblivious to Russian literature, you do not understand in any sufficient way how serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia and, in the end, you don't know Russian people. Kholmogorov, Prosvirnin or Girkin are hardly best representatives of Russian people. Instead of producing faux-scholarly drudgery (IIRC you are Russian citizen) get yourself into the military service, may I suggest Border Guards or Paratroopers, you may learn a thing or two. Otherwise I observe a steady degradation of what used to be a cute blog into sheer demagoguery, ignorant ideology and, very often, simple avoidance of answering serious questions--such as your platitudes and convoluted "argumentation" about comparison of military capabilities and economic potential of WW I warring sides provided by... Russian Imperial General Staff--hardly vatniks or commies. I understand, the allowance for a young age has to be made but really--maybe it is also a good reason for study?

    Russia was industrialising fast before WW1. The only comparable country was Japan which continued development without a Stalin but with an Emporer. The idea that Stalinism or even Lenin’s Communism+electricity industrialised Russia is ridiculous leftist propaganda.

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs. It still plagues Russian agriculture to this day but even so before WW1 it was #1 exporter of beef as well as grain. The Communists destroyed that heritage totally, as Chubais described in the 1990′s when he postulated that Soviet industry was built by destroying the capital of the agricultural sector. (I don’t agree but it isn’t strand of argument that has its adherents in some towers of the Kremlin – if only because it is an anti-british argument). Russian agriculture is coming back to life, although only grain is genuinely competitive yet. Miratorg is a creation of subsidy.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia was industrialising fast before WW1.
     
    Yes. That is the only thing which could be stated. By the start of WW I that is what Russia was-experiencing, shortages in most strategic materiel.

    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6SNDmtJqpB4/WdOVSYJaFXI/AAAAAAAABKw/_0KjfXayF2U9ViH1mStCJD_xRcovKz0oACLcBGAs/s1600/WWI.jpg

    Anatoly provided several weeks ago a fascinating mental acrobatics trying to challenge data of Russian Imperial General Staff. Ask him where is that discussion--I have no interest in discussing that shit anymore.

    by a failed emancipation of the serfs. It still plagues Russian agriculture to this day but even so before WW1 it was #1 exporter of beef as well as grain.
     
    You see your words in bold? Brilliant observation. Per 'exports"--it is a separate issue. Russian Empire by 1914 still lived by freaking Three Field System (tripoliye) and by Mir. I have to agree only in part per "to this day", not anymore.
    , @melanf

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs.
     
    This is a clear myth. Serfs in 1858, was 36% of the population (de facto 15%), and 45% were free peasants who worked on their land. Moreover, a large part of the territory of Russia did not know of serfdom and landlords, and was the land of free peasants. However, there was no significant difference (economic or cultural) between the "free" areas and "feudal" .

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.). Interestingly, according to the memoirs of the writer Gleb Uspensky, serfs different from free peasants for the better (were more hardworking and more independent)
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  17. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but that “Upper Volta with missiles” thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me.
     
    Well yes, from a strictly factual perspective it certain is, and I have criticized those who take it factually, but it is however pretty accurate as a metaphor for the structure of Soviet power (military behemoth on par with the US; unimpressive economy; cultural pygmy).

    China, in contrast, is advancing about evenly on all fronts, purposefully avoiding the Soviet mistake that made it fragile and vulnerably to Western economic and cultural pressure.

    I mostly agree, am not a fan of the Soviet system myself as I wrote. Not sure about “cultural pygmy” though (if I understand correctly what you mean by that term)…sure, Soviet culture probably was rather stagnant on the whole. But there was serious academic research, and the Soviet Union did have cultural power of a sort for a long time, with many commies and fellow travelers in Western countries admiring it. By contrast, I don’t really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    I think he's referring to the fact that the average life for the population in China is not bereft of entertainment and these days there's an active, reasonably high production cinema and fiction output for the population. Its not export-compatible but its present and reasonably entertaining. I really liked this, for example:

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


    Perhaps the SU produced less "prolefeed", I'm not sure.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    By contrast, I don’t really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.
     
    China now at around 40% of US elite science production (Nature Index WFC), and well ahead of third place Germany.

    In terms of total article output, the 1970s/80s USSR was merely at the level of the big European powers like UK/France/W. Germany.

    Soft power - positively viewed for an authoritarian Communist country, more so than Russia, probably more so than Trump's America in W. Europe. Rapidly growing influence in Africa and Central Asia - and its good, organic, economic influence which benefits China, not the artificial influence of sharing a Marxist-Leninist ideology (which drained Soviet resources). Is beginning to offer credible alternatives to the World Bank, its own ratings agencies, etc.

    Admittedly, China does lag severely in terms of influence of its artistic culture (films, video games, etc).

    But anyway, in terms of economic, military, cultural power versus the US, which we will consider to be 100/100/100.

    1980s USSR: 30/100/10
    Today's China: 80/40/20

    Would still say that China is considerably more "balanced" than the USSR.
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  18. @jtgw
    It is true that in the 19th century Tsarist Russia occupied a very similar place to today in the minds of Western liberals: as a huge bastion of reaction ever ready to intervene in its weaker Western neighbors in order to crush democracy and progress. So, without the 1917 revolution, I think that may have continued; there would have been no interlude where Russia was feared for being revolutionary rather than reactionary.

    That being said, I also think there were enough progressive elements within Tsarist Russia that it may well have transitioned into a liberal democracy like the US, again skipping over the revolutionary Communist phase. Not sure if that would have resulted in rivalry with the US or perhaps joining forces to impose worldwide liberalism.

    Ultimately, alternative history is just a game; there are too many variables to make a really good counterfactual scenario.

    Yes, I agree with that thesis: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/return-of-conservative-russophilia/

    Who talked of the “gendarme of Europe” and “prison of peoples” in 19th century political discourse? Socialists, not conservatives. Marx had very little good to say about Russia and Eastern Europe in general, the idea being that the advanced Western nations were the only ones of interest from a Communist revolutionary perspective. (Though he did modify this view somewhat towards the end of his life)… In stark contrast to the situation even just a few years ago, the Russophobia/Russophilia spectrum now runs from the “militant cosmopolitanism” of European socialism (which today is homosexualist neocon SJWism of the Kirchick sort), to the outright Russophilia of a large part of the Alt Right and neoreaction.

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  19. @Anatoly Karlin
    Still waiting for the expert on how "serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia" to provide evidence on Russia possessing an alternative to SWIFT before 2014.

    Re-Natalya Narochnitskaya. Very superficial analysis that doesn't even correlate with reality.

    On a broader note:

    Her think-tank (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation) is supposed to spread Russian soft power and enjoys Kremlin funding. I, who follow Russian affairs rather closely, hear about her about once every 1-2 years (inevitably from some third-tier Atlanticist NGO hyping Russia hybrid information war i.e. spongeing State Department money, just like she sponges Kremlin money).

    Could it be that I am just a crap Russia watcher? Just searched through my archives of David Johnson's Russia list for 2017. *Zero* mentions of "narochnitskaya."

    Her institute produced one (!) publication this year.

    Internet mentions. Way less than Alexander Dugin (much as I disagree with him, at least he doesn't subsist on the Russian taxpayer's dime); far less than Prosvirnin's and Kholmogorov's influence, neither of whom has institutional backing either; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn't make Russia's top 100 politologists.

    Oh, and those figures are for the Cyrillic version of her name; "Natalia Narochnitskaya" doesn't even register on Google Тrends, and gets a mere 12,000 hits. I, pretty irrelevant blogger all things considered, get 75,000. Could it be that she's more serious than just some blogger/pundit? Let's look at Google Scholar. There are people mentioning her, but nothing that I can see by her.

    I am sure that she's a nice enough person, but her bang for the buck is pathetic. That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.

    Very superficial analysis

    Anatoly, you have to understand one very simple fact–you are not Russian, you are a product of American cultural milieu (especially its SF “version”) and American “education” so you lack what matters most–understanding. You have a lot of (much of it bad) information and very little knowledge. It IS expected from American “educational” product, especially NOT in any practical field. If you use this:

    far less than Prosvirnin’s and Kholmogorov’s influence; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn’t make Russia’s top 100 politologists.

    And internet “quotability” as a criteria of knowledge, let alone understanding of something–sorry, you are in a wrong field, as most of your posts related to war, warfare, military power, politcal and economic power so profoundly demonstrate. No, Narochnitskaya actually nails it here and it has nothing to do with whatever “politology” so called profession is or how many times she is quoted. I can give you more politologists in Russia, from Satanovsky, to Ishenko, to Kulikov, to Mikheev who make your Prosvirnin (a shyster and faux-intellectual) together with Kholmogorov look like a third-year students of some humanities faculty from some backwater humanitarian university in Kazakhstan. Well, they are. That is if you don’t like Narochnitskaya, which is fine with me. Other names will do.

    That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.

    Oh no, they are very Russian and are based on education, experiences and knowledge which are beyond your grasp. That is the point. I do have enough taste and upbringing not to pretend to be something that I am not, not to speak keeping opinions to myself on the issues I have no clue about. Again, if Prosvirnin or Kholmogorov are your intellectual and “academic” level–expect to be called out on any issue related to the Russian history of the XX century. I know, it is not going to be pleasant but it is what it is.

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    • Replies: @ussr andy
    here's a bit more measured and shorter version of the comment that got removed by the spam filter (no hyperlinks, too)

    Anatoly, you have to understand one very simple fact–you are not Russian, you are a product of American cultural milieu
     
    he may not get Russia but Russia doesn't get the world.

    how many Russians know what Virtue Signalling is? there was the "Tajik girl" incident but no Russian Steve Sailer to coin the term "Hate hoax." There's a culture war raging (what with all the talk of nebydlo and vatniks) but no-one calls it such. How many Russians get race? Not many, given that Russian propaganda efforts are still in that 60's "you're lynching negroes" mode.

    Read Sailer and try to mentally translate his stuff into Russian (Russia has all the same problems, modulo race.) But you can't (I can't), such is the conceptual gap.

    Most people but Russians especially lack the mental tools to see through the liberal POZ.

    The transformation of left-wing thought from a blue-collar ideology that used to be concerned with things like anti-trust, polluition etc into a corporation-friendly post-democratic identity-politics POZ happened in ALL countries and Russia won't be an exception.

    So Russians should from Sailer, Karlin etc while they still have time.

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  20. @Philip Owen
    Russia was industrialising fast before WW1. The only comparable country was Japan which continued development without a Stalin but with an Emporer. The idea that Stalinism or even Lenin's Communism+electricity industrialised Russia is ridiculous leftist propaganda.

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs. It still plagues Russian agriculture to this day but even so before WW1 it was #1 exporter of beef as well as grain. The Communists destroyed that heritage totally, as Chubais described in the 1990's when he postulated that Soviet industry was built by destroying the capital of the agricultural sector. (I don't agree but it isn't strand of argument that has its adherents in some towers of the Kremlin - if only because it is an anti-british argument). Russian agriculture is coming back to life, although only grain is genuinely competitive yet. Miratorg is a creation of subsidy.

    Russia was industrialising fast before WW1.

    Yes. That is the only thing which could be stated. By the start of WW I that is what Russia was-experiencing, shortages in most strategic materiel.

    Anatoly provided several weeks ago a fascinating mental acrobatics trying to challenge data of Russian Imperial General Staff. Ask him where is that discussion–I have no interest in discussing that shit anymore.

    by a failed emancipation of the serfs. It still plagues Russian agriculture to this day but even so before WW1 it was #1 exporter of beef as well as grain.

    You see your words in bold? Brilliant observation. Per ‘exports”–it is a separate issue. Russian Empire by 1914 still lived by freaking Three Field System (tripoliye) and by Mir. I have to agree only in part per “to this day”, not anymore.

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  21. inertial says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but that “Upper Volta with missiles” thing has always seemed like a really dumb statement to me.
     
    Well yes, from a strictly factual perspective it certain is, and I have criticized those who take it factually, but it is however pretty accurate as a metaphor for the structure of Soviet power (military behemoth on par with the US; unimpressive economy; cultural pygmy).

    China, in contrast, is advancing about evenly on all fronts, purposefully avoiding the Soviet mistake that made it fragile and vulnerably to Western economic and cultural pressure.

    At the time, few in the West thought that USSR has unimpressive economy; on the contrary, they worried that it would soon overtake America.

    Cultural pygmy? Not sure what you mean here. Soviet Union left behind a lot of culture. In fact, it’s a major source of what you call Redstalgia. Many Russian listen to old songs, watch movies, etc., and conclude that (a) this stuff is pretty good, and (b) there is no way the society that created it could have the monstrous hell that the anti-Commies are talking about. Go to Youtube, find a video of a Soviet song or a movie clip, and read the comments.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Cultural pygmy? Not sure what you mean here.
     
    That Soviet Union skipped on 1960s cultural revolution and, in fact, resisted it. Of course, it was impossible to resist Beatles or Pink Floyd in times of TV, radio and reel-to-reel and tape decks. There was appearances emulation, to be sure, but a very few "real deal" hippies or mods, or whatever the hell was available them. Mostly, in music, the art was judged on the merit. There is a reason why USSR was a culture naturally predisposed for Jazz, Art and Progressive Rock--more complex forms. In terms of cinematography, it was superb. Again, nothing like 17 Moments of Spring was or is possible in terms of expert, dramaturgy or acting in the West even today. An immense scope of Soviet theater culture, the scale of theatrical and TV work with Russian classics and Western--I don't know what he is talking about. he wasn't born then, that's for sure and for a person brought up in a Hip-driven culture criteria of culture are somewhat fuzzy, but still. He doesn't know, as an example, that Soviet Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson are universally considered best in the world and that Vasily Livanov, actually, is a recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his Sherlock Holmes and with Vitaly Solomin and Rina Zelyonaya (Mrss. Hudson) are immortalized in museum at 221b Baker Street. Well, obviously coins were also minted in New Zealand

    http://buddy2blogger.blogspot.com/2011/12/vasily-livanov-best-sherlock-holmes.html.

    Obviously Bondarchuk (Father, not his pathetic son) with his War and Peace or Soviet figure skating, among many other things, with the text books from schools, especially in physics or math, which Anatoly will not be able to solve even today, are the signs of being a cultural pygmy. That will be my guess on his definition.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Sure, some of it is good, and post-Stalin (perhaps even post-1950) USSR was no longer hell, I don't think I ever claimed otherwise.

    What percentage of people outside the USSR and perhaps the Eastern Bloc knew or cared?

    Films - White Sun of the Desert; Tarkovsky films are known by film buffs. Otherwise, zero comparison to Hollywood's influence.

    Literature - Strugatsky brothers were known (and come to think of it, probably most famous non-political writer from socialist world was perhaps Stanislaw Lem, and one of the most famous mainland Chineses author is Liu Cixin - what is it with Communist countries and relative overperformance no sci-fi?). Who else? (That is, famous outside the USSR; writing in this time period; and not dissidents who hated Communism).

    Video games - An artistic form that only appeared around the 1970s, the main (and only) Soviet contribution was Tetris. Its story, incidentally, goes a long way to show why the USSR was culturally uncompetitive.

    Music - The Alexandrov Ensemble is cool, but not groundbreaking. Most popular people's artist. Vysotsky. Who happened to be a total dissident.
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  22. @German_reader
    I mostly agree, am not a fan of the Soviet system myself as I wrote. Not sure about "cultural pygmy" though (if I understand correctly what you mean by that term)...sure, Soviet culture probably was rather stagnant on the whole. But there was serious academic research, and the Soviet Union did have cultural power of a sort for a long time, with many commies and fellow travelers in Western countries admiring it. By contrast, I don't really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.

    I think he’s referring to the fact that the average life for the population in China is not bereft of entertainment and these days there’s an active, reasonably high production cinema and fiction output for the population. Its not export-compatible but its present and reasonably entertaining. I really liked this, for example:

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

    Perhaps the SU produced less “prolefeed”, I’m not sure.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    But the Soviet Union had lots of movies as well (some of them supposedly quite good), also occasional prestigious high culture productions like Shakespeare plays etc. which also brought prestige abroad. So I don't really understand the "cultural pygmy" part.
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  23. @Daniel Chieh
    I think he's referring to the fact that the average life for the population in China is not bereft of entertainment and these days there's an active, reasonably high production cinema and fiction output for the population. Its not export-compatible but its present and reasonably entertaining. I really liked this, for example:

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


    Perhaps the SU produced less "prolefeed", I'm not sure.

    But the Soviet Union had lots of movies as well (some of them supposedly quite good), also occasional prestigious high culture productions like Shakespeare plays etc. which also brought prestige abroad. So I don’t really understand the “cultural pygmy” part.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    So I don’t really understand the “cultural pygmy” part.
     
    Probably, because Soviet high school graduates received three times more instructions in physics, math, chemistry and biology then was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or maybe because Soviet curriculum on classic Russian literature even today would blow similar things in USA (per American classic literature) out of the water. Or, maybe because American educators started using Soviet textbooks, but let's Admiral Hyman Rickover speak in his testimony to US Congress in 1953:

    "...part of the "best schools in the world" myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be "bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s
     
    That kind of "cultural pygmies". You know, those who flew into space and created first satellite TV comm system, aka Orbita.
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  24. Matra says:

    Natalya Narochnitskaya, explaining nostalgia for Stalin didn’t mince the words: “The West hates Stalin namely for restoration of the territory of the historic Russian state, and for Yalta, and for Potsdam. These are the outcomes which do not allow them to calm down.

    Maybe she means certain elites in the “West” – apparently a singular entity to many Russians – and that these elites have the ability to shape public perceptions. Maybe, but for the vast majority of politically curious Westerners of all nationalities Stalin’s body count and the take over of central and eastern Europe – hardly a “restoration of the territory of the historic Russian state” – are more likely reasons for hating him.

    It is useless trying to prove to the West that Ivan Grozny (Terrible) in 30 years of his reign killed 10 times fewer people than Catherine De’ Medici killed during St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. We are going to be counted as barbarians no matter what, while the West will remain good!”

    Lol. Both my wife and I learned about the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre as part of the school curriculum in two different European countries, and in my case also in Canada. It has also come up in prominent movies dating from the silent era right up to today. It’s not some hidden event and I’d say much better known, at least in the Protestant countries and France, than any ‘barbarism’ from pre-Revolutionary Russian history. Even Stalin-era atrocities in the Baltics and elsewhere are barely known of at all in Anglo countries and I suspect it is no different in most European nations, outside of the former Soviet sphere. I hope this bitter paranoid Narochnitskaya woman is not typical of Russian thinkers.

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  25. @inertial
    At the time, few in the West thought that USSR has unimpressive economy; on the contrary, they worried that it would soon overtake America.

    Cultural pygmy? Not sure what you mean here. Soviet Union left behind a lot of culture. In fact, it's a major source of what you call Redstalgia. Many Russian listen to old songs, watch movies, etc., and conclude that (a) this stuff is pretty good, and (b) there is no way the society that created it could have the monstrous hell that the anti-Commies are talking about. Go to Youtube, find a video of a Soviet song or a movie clip, and read the comments.

    Cultural pygmy? Not sure what you mean here.

    That Soviet Union skipped on 1960s cultural revolution and, in fact, resisted it. Of course, it was impossible to resist Beatles or Pink Floyd in times of TV, radio and reel-to-reel and tape decks. There was appearances emulation, to be sure, but a very few “real deal” hippies or mods, or whatever the hell was available them. Mostly, in music, the art was judged on the merit. There is a reason why USSR was a culture naturally predisposed for Jazz, Art and Progressive Rock–more complex forms. In terms of cinematography, it was superb. Again, nothing like 17 Moments of Spring was or is possible in terms of expert, dramaturgy or acting in the West even today. An immense scope of Soviet theater culture, the scale of theatrical and TV work with Russian classics and Western–I don’t know what he is talking about. he wasn’t born then, that’s for sure and for a person brought up in a Hip-driven culture criteria of culture are somewhat fuzzy, but still. He doesn’t know, as an example, that Soviet Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson are universally considered best in the world and that Vasily Livanov, actually, is a recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his Sherlock Holmes and with Vitaly Solomin and Rina Zelyonaya (Mrss. Hudson) are immortalized in museum at 221b Baker Street. Well, obviously coins were also minted in New Zealand

    http://buddy2blogger.blogspot.com/2011/12/vasily-livanov-best-sherlock-holmes.html.

    Obviously Bondarchuk (Father, not his pathetic son) with his War and Peace or Soviet figure skating, among many other things, with the text books from schools, especially in physics or math, which Anatoly will not be able to solve even today, are the signs of being a cultural pygmy. That will be my guess on his definition.

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  26. @German_reader
    But the Soviet Union had lots of movies as well (some of them supposedly quite good), also occasional prestigious high culture productions like Shakespeare plays etc. which also brought prestige abroad. So I don't really understand the "cultural pygmy" part.

    So I don’t really understand the “cultural pygmy” part.

    Probably, because Soviet high school graduates received three times more instructions in physics, math, chemistry and biology then was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or maybe because Soviet curriculum on classic Russian literature even today would blow similar things in USA (per American classic literature) out of the water. Or, maybe because American educators started using Soviet textbooks, but let’s Admiral Hyman Rickover speak in his testimony to US Congress in 1953:

    “…part of the “best schools in the world” myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be “bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s

    That kind of “cultural pygmies”. You know, those who flew into space and created first satellite TV comm system, aka Orbita.

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    Many older Americans recall stories about the discipline of Russian scientists, particularly in maths and physics, and their blackboard approach. There is a stark honesty in that interface: you, chalk, blackboard, perhaps an audience of other scholars and students, and no other resources.
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  27. @German_reader
    I mostly agree, am not a fan of the Soviet system myself as I wrote. Not sure about "cultural pygmy" though (if I understand correctly what you mean by that term)...sure, Soviet culture probably was rather stagnant on the whole. But there was serious academic research, and the Soviet Union did have cultural power of a sort for a long time, with many commies and fellow travelers in Western countries admiring it. By contrast, I don't really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.

    By contrast, I don’t really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.

    China now at around 40% of US elite science production (Nature Index WFC), and well ahead of third place Germany.

    In terms of total article output, the 1970s/80s USSR was merely at the level of the big European powers like UK/France/W. Germany.

    Soft power – positively viewed for an authoritarian Communist country, more so than Russia, probably more so than Trump’s America in W. Europe. Rapidly growing influence in Africa and Central Asia – and its good, organic, economic influence which benefits China, not the artificial influence of sharing a Marxist-Leninist ideology (which drained Soviet resources). Is beginning to offer credible alternatives to the World Bank, its own ratings agencies, etc.

    Admittedly, China does lag severely in terms of influence of its artistic culture (films, video games, etc).

    But anyway, in terms of economic, military, cultural power versus the US, which we will consider to be 100/100/100.

    1980s USSR: 30/100/10
    Today’s China: 80/40/20

    Would still say that China is considerably more “balanced” than the USSR.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Would still say that China is considerably more “balanced” than the USSR.
     
    I agree, but still think Chinese potential for soft cultural power abroad is limited, don't think it will ever match or surpass that which the US acquired in the 20th century. Thanks for the answer, much to think about.
    , @5371
    Simple article counting is a very poor way to assess the strength of USSR science. Especially in the most important fields, they had developed their own unique approaches which just couldn't be found anywhere else, including the USA. Ask any specialist.
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  28. melanf says:
    @Philip Owen
    Russia was industrialising fast before WW1. The only comparable country was Japan which continued development without a Stalin but with an Emporer. The idea that Stalinism or even Lenin's Communism+electricity industrialised Russia is ridiculous leftist propaganda.

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs. It still plagues Russian agriculture to this day but even so before WW1 it was #1 exporter of beef as well as grain. The Communists destroyed that heritage totally, as Chubais described in the 1990's when he postulated that Soviet industry was built by destroying the capital of the agricultural sector. (I don't agree but it isn't strand of argument that has its adherents in some towers of the Kremlin - if only because it is an anti-british argument). Russian agriculture is coming back to life, although only grain is genuinely competitive yet. Miratorg is a creation of subsidy.

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs.

    This is a clear myth. Serfs in 1858, was 36% of the population (de facto 15%), and 45% were free peasants who worked on their land. Moreover, a large part of the territory of Russia did not know of serfdom and landlords, and was the land of free peasants. However, there was no significant difference (economic or cultural) between the “free” areas and “feudal” .

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.). Interestingly, according to the memoirs of the writer Gleb Uspensky, serfs different from free peasants for the better (were more hardworking and more independent)

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    The biggest "meta-mistake" of Tsarism as I see it was its very late realization that mass literacy was a necessary component of an industrial economy (not helped along by reactionary ideologues like Pobedonostsev).

    It very rapidly tried to make good the gap from the mid-1890s to 1917, and largely succeeded, but it wasn't quite enough.

    In all fairness I don't suppose anyone in the 19th century quite realized the centrality of human capital to economic growth.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    This is a clear myth.
     
    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines. At issue here is not even as you claim:

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.)
     
    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine long time ago and would cease to exist. But, indeed, with the issue of Tripolie which tied peasant commune to Mir-driven way of both "strips" of land distribution and mezha, and, of course, excessive birth rates--only large agricultural enterprises could solve that problem. That required a complete "re-design" of Mir, which was impossible at the level of both Russia's state-management and industry (and finances). Another horrendous issue was land-rent which, at some point of time in 1880s reached astronomical numbers, and ensured that former Pomeshik-class would still benefit from its former lands while making peasantry even more poor. Here is, also, where the myth of Kulak, as "effective manager" originates among all kinds of Russian "nationalists" (and liberals) whose horizon is limited by Solzhenitsyn's a-historic molasses and ignores overwhelming documentary evidence of Russian pre-1914 agronomists, economist, scientists and military leaders about a horrendous state of Russia's peasantry.

    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly "optimistic" because the issue of emancipation remain the hottest political, economic, cultural and military issue for Russia throughout XIX and even early XX centuries. Here is what Pavel Milyukov (in accordance to Karlin's "Russian history"--really nobody) said in 1905:


    The insufficiency of food is thus … associated with an abundance of working power. To find additional food and to spend additional work in producing it, two methods are possible: either to increase the productivity of the given plot, or to increase the plot itself. But the productivity of the soil cannot be increased without new investment of capital, if even we admit, what many writers do not grant, that such increase is possible at all on lands in communal ownership and in precarious possession of the single cultivator. Now the peasant in distress does not possess any capital, and rural credit for improving land does not exist in Russia. The other, and, under existing conditions, the only possible, method, is to buy or rent additional plots of land. This has always been the most ardent desire of the peasants, and a real struggle for buying or renting land has been going on during the whole period under consideration. Owing to the large number of estates of nobles offered for sale, and also to the material help of the Peasants' Bank (since 1883), the agriculturists have succeeded in increasing the property of the peasant communes since 1875 by 10 per cent. But even though we add such land as has been purchased by individual peasants, independently of the communal allotments, which would increase the amount by another 13 per cent., this general increase of 23 per cent does not prove equal to the increase of the peasant population during the same period, which was 48 per cent, or more than double. As a result, the holdings have constantly decreased and it became necessary to rent neighboring land. This necessity has been so great, and opportunities for renting land have been so comparatively few, that rent has risen enormously. Contrary to the laws of classical economy, the rent has not only reached the amount of the "unearned increment," but has far exceeded it, swallowing up the profits and, very often, the very wages of the tenants. Such exorbitant rent may be compared to what is known to have been the case in Ireland before the great famine of 1846-47, when the competition among the tenants "reminded one of a struggle for food in a besieged city or on a ship in open sea." The same kind of competition is going on among the Russian peasants owing to the absolute insufficiency of their plots for mere subsistence. Of course, no profits are looked for from such renting, the only aim of the peasants--and the only economic explanation of the possibility of such a rent--being to apply their own and their horses' gratuitous labor to produce some more grain for their sustenance. Otherwise this possibility of subsidiary work would be lost, and both man and horse must starve. No wonder that they count their work as nothing
     
    But never mind, everything was peachy, which is precisely why RI bled white in WWI.

    P.S. I deliberately stressed the issue of mezha--those who study Russian history would know what it is.

    , @Philip Owen
    Andrei has said much in more detail than I could. I will add that the 15% doesn't include state peasants. Some will count them as serfs. Some will not.
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  29. Brabantian says: • Website

    One thing striking me in this deep discussion, is that there is somewhat of a limit to what can be accomplished by a reframed historical narrative, re red Russia or anything – as the examples below make clear

    Tho it’s very worthwhile to show that ‘conventional’ views may be quite wrong … on the other hand, with sweeping subjects such as this, when you are beyond the mechanics of specific cases & get general, the end result is only a kind of fog, because it’s just too obvious there are ‘other narratives’

    However much we like Anatoly Karlin & trust his sincerity … we know he can be subject to confirmation bias etc just like ourselves when he selects his ‘data’ … maybe the best we can do overall, is lock in the idea that ‘official narratives’ are often bogus … when we are not personally long involved in a subject, it’s not easy to be inwardly sure ‘X is what happened’

    Take for example how easily we can still be surprised by a new angle implying one of the major global genocide narratives, including the Ukraine one, is a hoax … below are 4 quickly-stated big examples

    (a) In 2012, Israel Shamir wrote a quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, saying that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax, cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) … & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on ‘SouthEast Asian barbarians’ … Shamir claimed he really couldn’t find locals who supported the ‘genocide’ story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    (b) Of course some people long argued the Jewish Holocaust was fake … maybe most striking of these was a Communist Jewish witness, a rabbi’s son, fluent in both German & Russian, who was with the Russian advance troops who liberated places like Auschwitz, ‘Joseph Ginzburg – Joseph G Burg, direct interrogator of Auschwitz survivors‘ … Burg said the Holocaust was an exaggeration, a fraud fabricated by Zionists, he wrote books on this, & had many of those books burned by the modern West German government … Canadian Jew Henry Makow suggests Burg was an overly-passionate Jewish globalist, thus anti-Zionist, thus willing to ‘mis-speak’

    (c) Recently, Sputnik News carried a piece on the theme that the Holodomor or Ukraine famine Stalinist genocide of the 1930s, is a hoax … citing amongst others, a work in 1987 by a writer in Western Canada, Douglas Tottle, who gathered material in a book, ‘Fraud, Famine, & Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard’

    But even a critic of Sputnik & Tottle, who believes fervently in the Ukraine Holodomor, Cathy Young, writes: “One sensational account on the [Ukraine] famine in the Western press, a 1935 series in the Hearst papers by Thomas Walker, was demonstrably fraudulent: Walker (aka Robert Green), a con man & convicted forger, claimed to have witnessed starvation in Ukraine in 1934 & used photos from an earlier Soviet famine in the 1920s. But his malfeasance doesn’t disprove the Holodomor any more than Binjamin Wilkomirski’s phony memoir of surviving as a Jewish orphan in Auschwitz casts doubt on the Holocaust.”

    (d) There are Turks & others who argued artfully that the Armenian genocide of the World War I era, is an exaggeration, a fraud to demonise Muslims & Turks who were successful rebels against Western powers under Atatürk … tho recently Turks saying this are being rather well scrubbed from Western internet searches

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) … & by the West & USA & Anglos
     
    lol, the US actually supported the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese in the 1980s, if anything it would have had an interest in denying the crimes they had committed.
    Historical revisionism can sometimes yield interesting results, but what Shamir and people like him are doing is just dumb.
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  30. @inertial
    At the time, few in the West thought that USSR has unimpressive economy; on the contrary, they worried that it would soon overtake America.

    Cultural pygmy? Not sure what you mean here. Soviet Union left behind a lot of culture. In fact, it's a major source of what you call Redstalgia. Many Russian listen to old songs, watch movies, etc., and conclude that (a) this stuff is pretty good, and (b) there is no way the society that created it could have the monstrous hell that the anti-Commies are talking about. Go to Youtube, find a video of a Soviet song or a movie clip, and read the comments.

    Sure, some of it is good, and post-Stalin (perhaps even post-1950) USSR was no longer hell, I don’t think I ever claimed otherwise.

    What percentage of people outside the USSR and perhaps the Eastern Bloc knew or cared?

    Films – White Sun of the Desert; Tarkovsky films are known by film buffs. Otherwise, zero comparison to Hollywood’s influence.

    Literature – Strugatsky brothers were known (and come to think of it, probably most famous non-political writer from socialist world was perhaps Stanislaw Lem, and one of the most famous mainland Chineses author is Liu Cixin – what is it with Communist countries and relative overperformance no sci-fi?). Who else? (That is, famous outside the USSR; writing in this time period; and not dissidents who hated Communism).

    Video games – An artistic form that only appeared around the 1970s, the main (and only) Soviet contribution was Tetris. Its story, incidentally, goes a long way to show why the USSR was culturally uncompetitive.

    Music – The Alexandrov Ensemble is cool, but not groundbreaking. Most popular people’s artist. Vysotsky. Who happened to be a total dissident.

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Dmitri Shostakovich was the greatest composer and artist that the Soviet Union ever produced. Most youngsters - under 35 0r 40 - seem to have little interest in classical music, whether in Eastern or Western Europe or North America. So I am unsurprised that you didn't mention him.
    Shostakovich was a very, very good composer, even a reactionary like myself could see that.
    But the mental torture he was put through during the 1930s and 40s must have taken years off his live. The Revolution didn't devour him, but it savagely curtailed his life. A very cautionary tale.
    , @inertial
    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names. The second tier of Soviet composers - Schedrin, Khachaturyan, Sviridov, Gavrilin, Schnittke, and others - they are not well known by name but their music is used (and "sampled") often enough. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I am watching one of the Ice Age movies with my kids when suddenly I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)

    Literature is too susceptible to politics. If Dr. Zhivago wasn't useful as a piece of Cold War propaganda, how many people would've heard of Pasternak? Even now not many are aware that he was a poet first and foremost.

    Films? No national cinema can compete with Hollywood, so comparing Soviet movies to Hollywood is not a reasonable standard.

    Video games? Lol. I heard that neither Greece, nor Rome created many popular video games, which surely shows how minuscule their cultural influence was.
    , @DFH
    You underestimate the extent of Soviet literature in the West. Looking around second-hand bookshops (in Britain), I frequently find novels from USSR authors (e.g. I recently saw 'The Fall of Paris' by Ilya Ehrenburg), books from 'Progress Publishers' propaganda books or pamphlets about the Soviet Union, collected works of Communist leaders and even pamphlets of the proceedings of party congresses.
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  31. @Brabantian
    One thing striking me in this deep discussion, is that there is somewhat of a limit to what can be accomplished by a reframed historical narrative, re red Russia or anything - as the examples below make clear

    Tho it's very worthwhile to show that 'conventional' views may be quite wrong ... on the other hand, with sweeping subjects such as this, when you are beyond the mechanics of specific cases & get general, the end result is only a kind of fog, because it's just too obvious there are 'other narratives'

    However much we like Anatoly Karlin & trust his sincerity ... we know he can be subject to confirmation bias etc just like ourselves when he selects his 'data' ... maybe the best we can do overall, is lock in the idea that 'official narratives' are often bogus ... when we are not personally long involved in a subject, it's not easy to be inwardly sure 'X is what happened'

    Take for example how easily we can still be surprised by a new angle implying one of the major global genocide narratives, including the Ukraine one, is a hoax ... below are 4 quickly-stated big examples

    (a) In 2012, Israel Shamir wrote a quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, saying that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax, cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) ... & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on 'SouthEast Asian barbarians' ... Shamir claimed he really couldn't find locals who supported the 'genocide' story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    (b) Of course some people long argued the Jewish Holocaust was fake ... maybe most striking of these was a Communist Jewish witness, a rabbi's son, fluent in both German & Russian, who was with the Russian advance troops who liberated places like Auschwitz, 'Joseph Ginzburg - Joseph G Burg, direct interrogator of Auschwitz survivors' ... Burg said the Holocaust was an exaggeration, a fraud fabricated by Zionists, he wrote books on this, & had many of those books burned by the modern West German government ... Canadian Jew Henry Makow suggests Burg was an overly-passionate Jewish globalist, thus anti-Zionist, thus willing to 'mis-speak'

    (c) Recently, Sputnik News carried a piece on the theme that the Holodomor or Ukraine famine Stalinist genocide of the 1930s, is a hoax ... citing amongst others, a work in 1987 by a writer in Western Canada, Douglas Tottle, who gathered material in a book, 'Fraud, Famine, & Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard'

    But even a critic of Sputnik & Tottle, who believes fervently in the Ukraine Holodomor, Cathy Young, writes: "One sensational account on the [Ukraine] famine in the Western press, a 1935 series in the Hearst papers by Thomas Walker, was demonstrably fraudulent: Walker (aka Robert Green), a con man & convicted forger, claimed to have witnessed starvation in Ukraine in 1934 & used photos from an earlier Soviet famine in the 1920s. But his malfeasance doesn’t disprove the Holodomor any more than Binjamin Wilkomirski’s phony memoir of surviving as a Jewish orphan in Auschwitz casts doubt on the Holocaust."

    (d) There are Turks & others who argued artfully that the Armenian genocide of the World War I era, is an exaggeration, a fraud to demonise Muslims & Turks who were successful rebels against Western powers under Atatürk ... tho recently Turks saying this are being rather well scrubbed from Western internet searches

    cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) … & by the West & USA & Anglos

    lol, the US actually supported the Khmer Rouge against the Vietnamese in the 1980s, if anything it would have had an interest in denying the crimes they had committed.
    Historical revisionism can sometimes yield interesting results, but what Shamir and people like him are doing is just dumb.

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  32. @Anatoly Karlin

    By contrast, I don’t really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.
     
    China now at around 40% of US elite science production (Nature Index WFC), and well ahead of third place Germany.

    In terms of total article output, the 1970s/80s USSR was merely at the level of the big European powers like UK/France/W. Germany.

    Soft power - positively viewed for an authoritarian Communist country, more so than Russia, probably more so than Trump's America in W. Europe. Rapidly growing influence in Africa and Central Asia - and its good, organic, economic influence which benefits China, not the artificial influence of sharing a Marxist-Leninist ideology (which drained Soviet resources). Is beginning to offer credible alternatives to the World Bank, its own ratings agencies, etc.

    Admittedly, China does lag severely in terms of influence of its artistic culture (films, video games, etc).

    But anyway, in terms of economic, military, cultural power versus the US, which we will consider to be 100/100/100.

    1980s USSR: 30/100/10
    Today's China: 80/40/20

    Would still say that China is considerably more "balanced" than the USSR.

    Would still say that China is considerably more “balanced” than the USSR.

    I agree, but still think Chinese potential for soft cultural power abroad is limited, don’t think it will ever match or surpass that which the US acquired in the 20th century. Thanks for the answer, much to think about.

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  33. @melanf

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs.
     
    This is a clear myth. Serfs in 1858, was 36% of the population (de facto 15%), and 45% were free peasants who worked on their land. Moreover, a large part of the territory of Russia did not know of serfdom and landlords, and was the land of free peasants. However, there was no significant difference (economic or cultural) between the "free" areas and "feudal" .

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.). Interestingly, according to the memoirs of the writer Gleb Uspensky, serfs different from free peasants for the better (were more hardworking and more independent)

    The biggest “meta-mistake” of Tsarism as I see it was its very late realization that mass literacy was a necessary component of an industrial economy (not helped along by reactionary ideologues like Pobedonostsev).

    It very rapidly tried to make good the gap from the mid-1890s to 1917, and largely succeeded, but it wasn’t quite enough.

    In all fairness I don’t suppose anyone in the 19th century quite realized the centrality of human capital to economic growth.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    The biggest “meta-mistake” of Tsarism as I see it was its very late realization that mass literacy was a necessary component of an industrial economy
     
    This is true, but the main factor another - monstrous complexity which had to be overcome (for education of peasants) because of the living conditions of the population and cultural heritage (pre-Petrine heritage yeh)

    "Можете себе представить, каково было мое удивление, когда вскоре после моего водворения в деревне ко мне раз пришел мужик с просьбою заступиться за него, потому что у него не в очередь берут сына в школу.
     - Заступись, обижают, - говорит он, - сына не в очередь в школу требуют
    , мой сын прошлую зиму школу отбывал, нынче опять требуют."

    Энгельдарт "Письма из деревни"


    Historian Boris Mironov has published an excellent article on the history of education in Russia http://annales.info/rus/small/gramotnost.htm

    "B. Eklof, brilliantly showed how the Russian peasantry in the late XIX — early XX century consciously and successfully resisted the penetration of functional literacy by the Western cultural standards in the village for the preservation of the traditional foundations of my life 44).
    On the relationship between anti educational paradigm and religion is evidenced by the fact that in the Baltic countries included Russia in the early XVIII century, where the dominant religion was Protestantism and Catholicism, literacy has always been at a higher level and developed in the XVIII—XIX centuries a lot faster than in the Russian regions. {40}
    At the end of the XVIII century in the Protestant the benefit of the Estonian province, the literacy rate of both sexes aged 9 years and older was 70%, Protestant-Catholic Livonia 50%, and in predominantly Catholic Courland 27%, 100 years later in 1897, literacy was in Estonia 95%, in Livonia — 92%, in Courland — 85%
    "

    The decisive factor was not the fault of the rulers, but the deeper reasons

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  34. @melanf

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs.
     
    This is a clear myth. Serfs in 1858, was 36% of the population (de facto 15%), and 45% were free peasants who worked on their land. Moreover, a large part of the territory of Russia did not know of serfdom and landlords, and was the land of free peasants. However, there was no significant difference (economic or cultural) between the "free" areas and "feudal" .

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.). Interestingly, according to the memoirs of the writer Gleb Uspensky, serfs different from free peasants for the better (were more hardworking and more independent)

    This is a clear myth.

    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines. At issue here is not even as you claim:

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.)

    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine long time ago and would cease to exist. But, indeed, with the issue of Tripolie which tied peasant commune to Mir-driven way of both “strips” of land distribution and mezha, and, of course, excessive birth rates–only large agricultural enterprises could solve that problem. That required a complete “re-design” of Mir, which was impossible at the level of both Russia’s state-management and industry (and finances). Another horrendous issue was land-rent which, at some point of time in 1880s reached astronomical numbers, and ensured that former Pomeshik-class would still benefit from its former lands while making peasantry even more poor. Here is, also, where the myth of Kulak, as “effective manager” originates among all kinds of Russian “nationalists” (and liberals) whose horizon is limited by Solzhenitsyn’s a-historic molasses and ignores overwhelming documentary evidence of Russian pre-1914 agronomists, economist, scientists and military leaders about a horrendous state of Russia’s peasantry.

    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly “optimistic” because the issue of emancipation remain the hottest political, economic, cultural and military issue for Russia throughout XIX and even early XX centuries. Here is what Pavel Milyukov (in accordance to Karlin’s “Russian history”–really nobody) said in 1905:

    The insufficiency of food is thus … associated with an abundance of working power. To find additional food and to spend additional work in producing it, two methods are possible: either to increase the productivity of the given plot, or to increase the plot itself. But the productivity of the soil cannot be increased without new investment of capital, if even we admit, what many writers do not grant, that such increase is possible at all on lands in communal ownership and in precarious possession of the single cultivator. Now the peasant in distress does not possess any capital, and rural credit for improving land does not exist in Russia. The other, and, under existing conditions, the only possible, method, is to buy or rent additional plots of land. This has always been the most ardent desire of the peasants, and a real struggle for buying or renting land has been going on during the whole period under consideration. Owing to the large number of estates of nobles offered for sale, and also to the material help of the Peasants’ Bank (since 1883), the agriculturists have succeeded in increasing the property of the peasant communes since 1875 by 10 per cent. But even though we add such land as has been purchased by individual peasants, independently of the communal allotments, which would increase the amount by another 13 per cent., this general increase of 23 per cent does not prove equal to the increase of the peasant population during the same period, which was 48 per cent, or more than double. As a result, the holdings have constantly decreased and it became necessary to rent neighboring land. This necessity has been so great, and opportunities for renting land have been so comparatively few, that rent has risen enormously. Contrary to the laws of classical economy, the rent has not only reached the amount of the “unearned increment,” but has far exceeded it, swallowing up the profits and, very often, the very wages of the tenants. Such exorbitant rent may be compared to what is known to have been the case in Ireland before the great famine of 1846-47, when the competition among the tenants “reminded one of a struggle for food in a besieged city or on a ship in open sea.” The same kind of competition is going on among the Russian peasants owing to the absolute insufficiency of their plots for mere subsistence. Of course, no profits are looked for from such renting, the only aim of the peasants–and the only economic explanation of the possibility of such a rent–being to apply their own and their horses’ gratuitous labor to produce some more grain for their sustenance. Otherwise this possibility of subsidiary work would be lost, and both man and horse must starve. No wonder that they count their work as nothing

    But never mind, everything was peachy, which is precisely why RI bled white in WWI.

    P.S. I deliberately stressed the issue of mezha–those who study Russian history would know what it is.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines.
     
    Nonsense
    http://www.polit.ru/article/2010/12/10/consumlevel/#
    "На этом фоне весьма показателен акцент, который А.С.Ермолов делает на том, что в Европейской России есть губернии, которые «за все годы рассматриваемого периода никаких воспособлений от правительства и из сумм общеимперского продовольственного капитала не получали. Это именно губернии: Гродненская, Ковенская, Могилевская, Московская, Подольская, Полтавская, Лифляндская, Курляндская, Эстляндская и губернии Царства Польского; на последние, впрочем, и не распространяются никакие пра­вила нашего продовольственного устава» ((Ермолов, 1909, т.2: 9)....Напомню, что именно в этих губерниях еще с конца 1870-х гг. начался стихийный процесс разверстания сотен деревень на хутора и отруба."

    As you can see better things were in areas where were predominant (before 1862) serfdom and landlords estates


    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine
     
    "The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten .... And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68..."

    Educate http://ecsocman.hse.ru/data/011/039/1232/015Mironov_1.pdf


    Here is what Pavel Milyukov ...
     
    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?

    "бедственного положения российского крестьянства было профессией – у дореволюционной народнических публицистики и литературы и их прямой наследницы – советской историографии соответствующего спектра
    До 1917 г. истинные и мнимые бедствия крестьянства, о которых трубили народники, породившие почти всю оппозиционную литературу, как бы оправдывали борьбу с «ненавистным режимом» царизма, а после 1917 г. они стали естественным оправданием ужасов революции, гражданской войны и «обычной» советской жизни.
    В преобладающей своей части эта литература была политически ангажирована и чрезвычайно конъюнктурна и уже в силу этого в большой мере попросту недостоверна.
    Тому, кто не занимается профессионально пореформенной эпохой, чрезвычайно трудно представить степень политизированности общества того времени.
    Для «передовой» русской интеллигенции, которая скромно именовала себя «народолюбивой», притом без кавычек, борьба с «ненавистным режимом» ради грядущей Справедливости была едва ли не главной жизненной задачей (о России они не думали вовсе!). Во имя этого они были готовы на любое интеллектуальное шулерство, на какие угодно фальсификации, лишь бы это, по их мнению, шло на пользу Делу. Их сегодняшняя, выражаясь мягко, нечестность оправдывалась будущей Гармонией, суть которой, строго говоря, определяется бессмертным шариковским «Взять все, да и поделить!»
    ."


    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly “optimistic”
     
    Census 1858
    , @Philip Owen
    Thankyou for your comments. You are a valuable contributor to this debate.

    I give advice on export to and investment in Russia. I live in the UK but my firm is based in Saratov. I live there months at a time. I employ people. One of my specialities is agriculture. I have been to Balashov. Brezhnev was still on television. I have been to remote villages on the Black Earth where most people still keep 12 pigs on the other side of the yard. They also spoke Ukrainian deep inside Russia. (I am told it is not very good Ukrainian). I also read books on Imperial Russia written by other foreigners who actually lived there.

    The "to this day" remark has a specific problem in mind. After emancipation, serfs were still obliged to pay tax as a community. A serf working in St Petersburg was still part of the Mir. This carried on. Now it affects ownership rights. People who left the Kholkhoz 40 years ago can still claim a share of the land. So it is difficult to buy the land of a Kholkhoz. Every member must be traced and must agree. This is an inheritance of taxing the MIR not the individual. I have other comments about rich peasants and the suspicion that priests are greedy but this is enough.

    Anatoly does an excellent job of identifying and working on data to present it. I usually end up with a different viewpoint but he makes a unique and informed contribution to debates on Russia. I am sure you agree.
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  35. melanf says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    The biggest "meta-mistake" of Tsarism as I see it was its very late realization that mass literacy was a necessary component of an industrial economy (not helped along by reactionary ideologues like Pobedonostsev).

    It very rapidly tried to make good the gap from the mid-1890s to 1917, and largely succeeded, but it wasn't quite enough.

    In all fairness I don't suppose anyone in the 19th century quite realized the centrality of human capital to economic growth.

    The biggest “meta-mistake” of Tsarism as I see it was its very late realization that mass literacy was a necessary component of an industrial economy

    This is true, but the main factor another – monstrous complexity which had to be overcome (for education of peasants) because of the living conditions of the population and cultural heritage (pre-Petrine heritage yeh)

    Можете себе представить, каково было мое удивление, когда вскоре после моего водворения в деревне ко мне раз пришел мужик с просьбою заступиться за него, потому что у него не в очередь берут сына в школу.
     - Заступись, обижают, – говорит он, – сына не в очередь в школу требуют
    , мой сын прошлую зиму школу отбывал, нынче опять требуют.”

    Энгельдарт “Письма из деревни”

    Historian Boris Mironov has published an excellent article on the history of education in Russia http://annales.info/rus/small/gramotnost.htm

    B. Eklof, brilliantly showed how the Russian peasantry in the late XIX — early XX century consciously and successfully resisted the penetration of functional literacy by the Western cultural standards in the village for the preservation of the traditional foundations of my life 44).
    On the relationship between anti educational paradigm and religion is evidenced by the fact that in the Baltic countries included Russia in the early XVIII century, where the dominant religion was Protestantism and Catholicism, literacy has always been at a higher level and developed in the XVIII—XIX centuries a lot faster than in the Russian regions. {40}
    At the end of the XVIII century in the Protestant the benefit of the Estonian province, the literacy rate of both sexes aged 9 years and older was 70%, Protestant-Catholic Livonia 50%, and in predominantly Catholic Courland 27%, 100 years later in 1897, literacy was in Estonia 95%, in Livonia — 92%, in Courland — 85%

    The decisive factor was not the fault of the rulers, but the deeper reasons

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  36. @jtgw
    It is true that in the 19th century Tsarist Russia occupied a very similar place to today in the minds of Western liberals: as a huge bastion of reaction ever ready to intervene in its weaker Western neighbors in order to crush democracy and progress. So, without the 1917 revolution, I think that may have continued; there would have been no interlude where Russia was feared for being revolutionary rather than reactionary.

    That being said, I also think there were enough progressive elements within Tsarist Russia that it may well have transitioned into a liberal democracy like the US, again skipping over the revolutionary Communist phase. Not sure if that would have resulted in rivalry with the US or perhaps joining forces to impose worldwide liberalism.

    Ultimately, alternative history is just a game; there are too many variables to make a really good counterfactual scenario.

    Ultimately, alternative history is just a game; there are too many variables to make a really good counterfactual scenario.

    Generally agree. Having said that–once in a while, very seldom, it is prudent to “play out” alternative scenarios but it could be only done on the fullness and veracity of information and having a good “model” to do so–this is absolutely not the case here. BTW, this is also a precise reason why American “elites” can not find their own ass with both hands in the brightly lit room whenever dealing with anything Russia related. Garbage In–Garbage Out. Results are predictable.

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  37. DNC says:
    @percy danvers
    A black faction? Would you say that we number in the hundreds? I like where this is going.

    I think Anatoly is drawing from pill memes when he talks of blue, red and black

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Not really. The Red/Blue Tribe division belongs to Scott Alexander (I linked to his brilliant article in the post).

    There's also a Red Empire/Blue Empire concept floating around in NRx which corresponds to the social division.

    I wouldn't say Red Tribe is redpilled. Sure, they're more "based" than Blues, on average, but they're still containers for boomer conservatives/cuckservatives, who constitute their major demographic.

    Scott Alexander also mentions a "Gray Tribe" of technolibertarian nerds who sort of reject the verities of both the Red and Blue Tribes - many in the Rationalism+ movement would qualify; so would, most likely, most Unz dot com columnists and commenters.
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  38. @Anatoly Karlin
    Sure, some of it is good, and post-Stalin (perhaps even post-1950) USSR was no longer hell, I don't think I ever claimed otherwise.

    What percentage of people outside the USSR and perhaps the Eastern Bloc knew or cared?

    Films - White Sun of the Desert; Tarkovsky films are known by film buffs. Otherwise, zero comparison to Hollywood's influence.

    Literature - Strugatsky brothers were known (and come to think of it, probably most famous non-political writer from socialist world was perhaps Stanislaw Lem, and one of the most famous mainland Chineses author is Liu Cixin - what is it with Communist countries and relative overperformance no sci-fi?). Who else? (That is, famous outside the USSR; writing in this time period; and not dissidents who hated Communism).

    Video games - An artistic form that only appeared around the 1970s, the main (and only) Soviet contribution was Tetris. Its story, incidentally, goes a long way to show why the USSR was culturally uncompetitive.

    Music - The Alexandrov Ensemble is cool, but not groundbreaking. Most popular people's artist. Vysotsky. Who happened to be a total dissident.

    Dmitri Shostakovich was the greatest composer and artist that the Soviet Union ever produced. Most youngsters – under 35 0r 40 – seem to have little interest in classical music, whether in Eastern or Western Europe or North America. So I am unsurprised that you didn’t mention him.
    Shostakovich was a very, very good composer, even a reactionary like myself could see that.
    But the mental torture he was put through during the 1930s and 40s must have taken years off his live. The Revolution didn’t devour him, but it savagely curtailed his life. A very cautionary tale.

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  39. inertial says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Sure, some of it is good, and post-Stalin (perhaps even post-1950) USSR was no longer hell, I don't think I ever claimed otherwise.

    What percentage of people outside the USSR and perhaps the Eastern Bloc knew or cared?

    Films - White Sun of the Desert; Tarkovsky films are known by film buffs. Otherwise, zero comparison to Hollywood's influence.

    Literature - Strugatsky brothers were known (and come to think of it, probably most famous non-political writer from socialist world was perhaps Stanislaw Lem, and one of the most famous mainland Chineses author is Liu Cixin - what is it with Communist countries and relative overperformance no sci-fi?). Who else? (That is, famous outside the USSR; writing in this time period; and not dissidents who hated Communism).

    Video games - An artistic form that only appeared around the 1970s, the main (and only) Soviet contribution was Tetris. Its story, incidentally, goes a long way to show why the USSR was culturally uncompetitive.

    Music - The Alexandrov Ensemble is cool, but not groundbreaking. Most popular people's artist. Vysotsky. Who happened to be a total dissident.

    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names. The second tier of Soviet composers – Schedrin, Khachaturyan, Sviridov, Gavrilin, Schnittke, and others – they are not well known by name but their music is used (and “sampled”) often enough. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I am watching one of the Ice Age movies with my kids when suddenly I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)

    Literature is too susceptible to politics. If Dr. Zhivago wasn’t useful as a piece of Cold War propaganda, how many people would’ve heard of Pasternak? Even now not many are aware that he was a poet first and foremost.

    Films? No national cinema can compete with Hollywood, so comparing Soviet movies to Hollywood is not a reasonable standard.

    Video games? Lol. I heard that neither Greece, nor Rome created many popular video games, which surely shows how minuscule their cultural influence was.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)
     
    Evgeny Doga's Waltz from you know what movie is rather well-known. Of course, this Waltz was recognized by UNESCO the 4th Music Masterpiece of the XX century. Ovchinnikov's music is not too shabby either.
    , @Verymuchalive
    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names.

    If they ever were in the USSR or elsewhere, that was long ago. Very few people under 40 have any real interest in classical music. Even classical music radio stations mainly play stuff composed before 1914. More modern stuff is usually minimalist composers like Arvo Part, John Tavener, Philip Glass et al. Oh yes, that Polish guy who composed The Symphony of Tedious Songs as well. Tedious crap without exception.
    Things will get worse before they get better. As things continue to deteriorate for white people, less and less students will study classical music both at school and college. However, the core of that study will be classical music before 1914. If the West recovers, there will likely be a musical revival based on that stem. Berg, Schoenberg, Bartok, Messiaen et al will be excised.
    Where that leaves interesting, tonal C20th composers like Shostakovich, Joaquim Rodrigo, William Walton etc, time will tell.
    , @Kimppis
    Regarding video games:

    What kind of argument is that? I don't think Greeks and Romans created any films either, but you still count them as art. Why not video games? Get on with the times, and get off your high horse.

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing, unlike of the Soviet composers you listed (tellingly, I've never seen or heard literally any of those names before, and I actually listen to classical music from time to time, unlike most other "millenials"). Deal with it.

    I guess film was the last new art form ever created... The history ended.

    It just makes me sad, as a proud console peasant, that the Chinese (or Russians) are not into console-type AAA-games. Which are admittedly getting really repetitive, but still.

    =============================

    On the Soviet military equipment: Yeah, it makes sense that they suddenly became so uncompetitve, even though they were actually really competitive against the Germans during WW2. And of course the fact that monkey models were massively inferior is totally irrelevant.

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  40. @DNC
    I think Anatoly is drawing from pill memes when he talks of blue, red and black

    Not really. The Red/Blue Tribe division belongs to Scott Alexander (I linked to his brilliant article in the post).

    There’s also a Red Empire/Blue Empire concept floating around in NRx which corresponds to the social division.

    I wouldn’t say Red Tribe is redpilled. Sure, they’re more “based” than Blues, on average, but they’re still containers for boomer conservatives/cuckservatives, who constitute their major demographic.

    Scott Alexander also mentions a “Gray Tribe” of technolibertarian nerds who sort of reject the verities of both the Red and Blue Tribes – many in the Rationalism+ movement would qualify; so would, most likely, most Unz dot com columnists and commenters.

    Read More
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  41. @inertial
    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names. The second tier of Soviet composers - Schedrin, Khachaturyan, Sviridov, Gavrilin, Schnittke, and others - they are not well known by name but their music is used (and "sampled") often enough. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I am watching one of the Ice Age movies with my kids when suddenly I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)

    Literature is too susceptible to politics. If Dr. Zhivago wasn't useful as a piece of Cold War propaganda, how many people would've heard of Pasternak? Even now not many are aware that he was a poet first and foremost.

    Films? No national cinema can compete with Hollywood, so comparing Soviet movies to Hollywood is not a reasonable standard.

    Video games? Lol. I heard that neither Greece, nor Rome created many popular video games, which surely shows how minuscule their cultural influence was.

    I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)

    Evgeny Doga’s Waltz from you know what movie is rather well-known. Of course, this Waltz was recognized by UNESCO the 4th Music Masterpiece of the XX century. Ovchinnikov’s music is not too shabby either.

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  42. Mr. XYZ says:

    “Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.”

    Actually, for what it’s worth, there might have still been some kind of World War II even if Russia wouldn’t have turned Red.

    For instance, if a surviving Russian Republic would have turned Fascist in the 1930s (like all Central and Eastern European countries other than Czechoslovakia did in the 1920s and 1930s in real life), I could see Russia launching a war of conquest somewhere. (For instance, maybe a Russian Fascist dictator is going to want to wash his boots in the Indian Ocean!) After all, Hitler did it, Mussolini did it, and Imperial Japan did it. Thus, why can’t a Fascist Russia likewise do this?

    In turn, what this might have resulted in is some kind of military intervention against Russia (almost certainly with Britain being in the anti-Russian coalition). As for who exactly would have won this war, I’m not sure and a lot would have depended on various factors which are very hard to predict.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Sure - hence why I clarified that WW2 would be against the Nazis.

    If by whatever quirk of fate the Russian Empire/Republic did fight against Nazi Germany c.1941 anyway: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/tribal-stalinism/#comment-1456006

    Making the (implausible) assumption that the international situation would have panned out as it did without the Russian Revolution, Stalin’s transfer of some heavy industries to the Urals and Siberia would have probably been more than entirely counteracted by an extra decades’ worth of economic growth (the USSR only recovered the industrial production levels of the last years of Tsarist Russia in the late 1920s).
     
    Of course all sorts of fun alternate histories are possible at this point.

    I suppose some involve mass nuclear exchanges and are more catastrophic than our TL.

    In others, however - perhaps the vast majority of them, if Pinker and the peace theorists are correct in that the world is getting much more peaceful, and both the WWs were freak aberrations - a second World War doesn't happen at all.
    , @German_reader

    For instance, if a surviving Russian Republic would have turned Fascist in the 1930s (like all Central and Eastern European countries other than Czechoslovakia did in the 1920s and 1930s in real life)
     
    "Fascist" is a misnomer for the various authoritarian regimes existing in Eastern Europe in the 1930s; while quite nationalist, those regimes in fact often prohibited genuinely fascist groups and locked up their activists (e.g. the Ulmanis regime in Latvia imprisoned the fascist leader Celmins for several years), like they did with commies.
    Maybe another great war would have eventually happened anyway because the 1918/1919 settlements had left so much unfinished business and grounds for revanchism, maybe not; impossible to know.
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  43. @Mr. XYZ
    "Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed."

    Actually, for what it's worth, there might have still been some kind of World War II even if Russia wouldn't have turned Red.

    For instance, if a surviving Russian Republic would have turned Fascist in the 1930s (like all Central and Eastern European countries other than Czechoslovakia did in the 1920s and 1930s in real life), I could see Russia launching a war of conquest somewhere. (For instance, maybe a Russian Fascist dictator is going to want to wash his boots in the Indian Ocean!) After all, Hitler did it, Mussolini did it, and Imperial Japan did it. Thus, why can't a Fascist Russia likewise do this?

    In turn, what this might have resulted in is some kind of military intervention against Russia (almost certainly with Britain being in the anti-Russian coalition). As for who exactly would have won this war, I'm not sure and a lot would have depended on various factors which are very hard to predict.

    Sure – hence why I clarified that WW2 would be against the Nazis.

    If by whatever quirk of fate the Russian Empire/Republic did fight against Nazi Germany c.1941 anyway: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/tribal-stalinism/#comment-1456006

    Making the (implausible) assumption that the international situation would have panned out as it did without the Russian Revolution, Stalin’s transfer of some heavy industries to the Urals and Siberia would have probably been more than entirely counteracted by an extra decades’ worth of economic growth (the USSR only recovered the industrial production levels of the last years of Tsarist Russia in the late 1920s).

    Of course all sorts of fun alternate histories are possible at this point.

    I suppose some involve mass nuclear exchanges and are more catastrophic than our TL.

    In others, however – perhaps the vast majority of them, if Pinker and the peace theorists are correct in that the world is getting much more peaceful, and both the WWs were freak aberrations – a second World War doesn’t happen at all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    As Taleb and others have pointed out many times to charlatans like Pinker, there is no such thing as general "peacefulness", and fat tails render extrapolation worse than useless from this particular "sample".
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  44. @Mr. XYZ
    "Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed."

    Actually, for what it's worth, there might have still been some kind of World War II even if Russia wouldn't have turned Red.

    For instance, if a surviving Russian Republic would have turned Fascist in the 1930s (like all Central and Eastern European countries other than Czechoslovakia did in the 1920s and 1930s in real life), I could see Russia launching a war of conquest somewhere. (For instance, maybe a Russian Fascist dictator is going to want to wash his boots in the Indian Ocean!) After all, Hitler did it, Mussolini did it, and Imperial Japan did it. Thus, why can't a Fascist Russia likewise do this?

    In turn, what this might have resulted in is some kind of military intervention against Russia (almost certainly with Britain being in the anti-Russian coalition). As for who exactly would have won this war, I'm not sure and a lot would have depended on various factors which are very hard to predict.

    For instance, if a surviving Russian Republic would have turned Fascist in the 1930s (like all Central and Eastern European countries other than Czechoslovakia did in the 1920s and 1930s in real life)

    “Fascist” is a misnomer for the various authoritarian regimes existing in Eastern Europe in the 1930s; while quite nationalist, those regimes in fact often prohibited genuinely fascist groups and locked up their activists (e.g. the Ulmanis regime in Latvia imprisoned the fascist leader Celmins for several years), like they did with commies.
    Maybe another great war would have eventually happened anyway because the 1918/1919 settlements had left so much unfinished business and grounds for revanchism, maybe not; impossible to know.

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  45. @inertial
    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names. The second tier of Soviet composers - Schedrin, Khachaturyan, Sviridov, Gavrilin, Schnittke, and others - they are not well known by name but their music is used (and "sampled") often enough. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I am watching one of the Ice Age movies with my kids when suddenly I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)

    Literature is too susceptible to politics. If Dr. Zhivago wasn't useful as a piece of Cold War propaganda, how many people would've heard of Pasternak? Even now not many are aware that he was a poet first and foremost.

    Films? No national cinema can compete with Hollywood, so comparing Soviet movies to Hollywood is not a reasonable standard.

    Video games? Lol. I heard that neither Greece, nor Rome created many popular video games, which surely shows how minuscule their cultural influence was.

    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names.

    If they ever were in the USSR or elsewhere, that was long ago. Very few people under 40 have any real interest in classical music. Even classical music radio stations mainly play stuff composed before 1914. More modern stuff is usually minimalist composers like Arvo Part, John Tavener, Philip Glass et al. Oh yes, that Polish guy who composed The Symphony of Tedious Songs as well. Tedious crap without exception.
    Things will get worse before they get better. As things continue to deteriorate for white people, less and less students will study classical music both at school and college. However, the core of that study will be classical music before 1914. If the West recovers, there will likely be a musical revival based on that stem. Berg, Schoenberg, Bartok, Messiaen et al will be excised.
    Where that leaves interesting, tonal C20th composers like Shostakovich, Joaquim Rodrigo, William Walton etc, time will tell.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Philip Glass et al
     
    Still have couple of his albums--the brain becomes numb pretty much on the 3-4 minute of any of his pieces. Well, I wouldn't, however, put Terje Rypdal in this category, some beautiful music, both fusion and classic music tradition. As a substitute for Glass, how about Brian Eno--I love his 6-8 hour long pieces. No, I really do--I just usually do not have enough time to finish listening;-)
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  46. High quality content as always. One thing I wonder about is whether there’s also an “of course the king is good and just, but his ministers are bad!” effect here, where individual leaders are for some reason more popular than their ideologies/policies.

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  47. MarkinPNW says:
    @jtgw
    Yalta and Potsdam seem like as good reasons as any to dislike Stalin. I'm not sure why it's so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities. If you expect other nations to respect your independence, why won't you reciprocate?

    “I’m not sure why it’s so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities.”

    The concessions to Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam are the logical result of the failure of all of the surrounding countries not respecting Russian/Slavic independence for centuries, nay, millennia, with constant invasions and slave raids, as exemplified by my friend Rosa*.

    *Rosa, though not a close friend but nonetheless a family friend, is a victim and survivor of what was the last (and hopefully never to be repeated again) great slave raid against the Slav peoples. She lives about a mile from my house, and you can watch her tell her own amazing story here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h6NIa5W9oM

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    That only makes sense in relation to the expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe...what's the justification for what the Soviets and their commie puppets did throughout Eastern Europe? In Poland the commies even held show trials against members of the Home army who had fought against the Germans, and executed quite a few of them...how could something like this ever be justified? Or the mass deportations from the Baltic states and their annexation into the Soviet Union. That was just pure imperialism.
    , @DFH

    The concessions to Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam are the logical result of the failure of all of the surrounding countries not respecting Russian/Slavic independence for centuries
     
    What does this have to do with the Russians re-enslaving the Poles?
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  48. @MarkinPNW
    "I’m not sure why it’s so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities."

    The concessions to Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam are the logical result of the failure of all of the surrounding countries not respecting Russian/Slavic independence for centuries, nay, millennia, with constant invasions and slave raids, as exemplified by my friend Rosa*.

    *Rosa, though not a close friend but nonetheless a family friend, is a victim and survivor of what was the last (and hopefully never to be repeated again) great slave raid against the Slav peoples. She lives about a mile from my house, and you can watch her tell her own amazing story here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h6NIa5W9oM

    That only makes sense in relation to the expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe…what’s the justification for what the Soviets and their commie puppets did throughout Eastern Europe? In Poland the commies even held show trials against members of the Home army who had fought against the Germans, and executed quite a few of them…how could something like this ever be justified? Or the mass deportations from the Baltic states and their annexation into the Soviet Union. That was just pure imperialism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    That was just pure imperialism.
     
    It was more than that and it wasn't "pure imperialism".
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  49. @Mao Cheng Ji
    A great deal of claptrap here. Wouldn't it be more natural to assume that the communist sentiment is motivated, quite simply, by yearning for justice, and the (relative) popularity by Lenin and Stalin is a result of a honest appraisal of their roles in history? You may disagree with these people's judgement, but you sounds awfully arrogant, and arrogance is a deadly sin, you know.

    Are you really Chinese? I thought the Chinese all gave up on Communism and traded it in for unapologetic Fascism.

    Afrikatoly: You have mentioned that Putin and Co are big into the Stalin cult. What do Putinites think of Lenin?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    You have mentioned that Putin and Co are big into the Stalin cult. What do Putinites think of Lenin?
     
    No, they're not big on the Stalin cult, they are big on the WW2 Victory cult, which they try hard (but don't really succeed) to excise Stalin from.

    Lenin is lower than than Stalin on their respect list. After all, Putin has directly blamed Lenin and the early Bolsheviks for setting up the USSR for future collapse along ethnic lines.
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  50. Ivy says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    So I don’t really understand the “cultural pygmy” part.
     
    Probably, because Soviet high school graduates received three times more instructions in physics, math, chemistry and biology then was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or maybe because Soviet curriculum on classic Russian literature even today would blow similar things in USA (per American classic literature) out of the water. Or, maybe because American educators started using Soviet textbooks, but let's Admiral Hyman Rickover speak in his testimony to US Congress in 1953:

    "...part of the "best schools in the world" myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be "bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s
     
    That kind of "cultural pygmies". You know, those who flew into space and created first satellite TV comm system, aka Orbita.

    Many older Americans recall stories about the discipline of Russian scientists, particularly in maths and physics, and their blackboard approach. There is a stark honesty in that interface: you, chalk, blackboard, perhaps an audience of other scholars and students, and no other resources.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Many older Americans recall stories about the discipline of Russian scientists, particularly in maths and physics, and their blackboard approach. There is a stark honesty in that interface: you, chalk, blackboard, perhaps an audience of other scholars and students, and no other resources.
     
    Early mid to late 1990s, early 2000s there were many American teachers who flooded Russia, Ukraine or Belarus public schools--they were there to absorb the experience of teaching, not to teach as one may have expected. Issue of STEM, of course, is a very serious problem since can not be "reasoned", one needs a volume of knowledge and interconnected one at that. A lot of memorization initially is required and by memorization I mean not just some "facts". F.e. proofs of fundamental math theorems require "training", which is repetitive. Some can internalize proof in two tries, others require more. I never saw in US schools kids being called to the white board and asked to proof a theorem on the volume of sphere (as an example), that requires some integration, to a full class. In Russia they still do that.
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  51. Yevardian says:

    Chinese soft power? The cultural output of that country for its immense size is pathetic.
    Even putting aside the difficulties of their idiotic writing-system, even small middling IQ countries like Turkey, Israel or Argentina have produced more culture of worth than China has in a century.
    It will probably come to light later that east Asians have been cheating massively on their PISA tests all this time, I honestly think Middle-easterners are smarter.

    Glossy should really be here now.

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    • Troll: Daniel Chieh
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  52. 5371 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    By contrast, I don’t really see what soft power and cultural attraction China has today tbh.
     
    China now at around 40% of US elite science production (Nature Index WFC), and well ahead of third place Germany.

    In terms of total article output, the 1970s/80s USSR was merely at the level of the big European powers like UK/France/W. Germany.

    Soft power - positively viewed for an authoritarian Communist country, more so than Russia, probably more so than Trump's America in W. Europe. Rapidly growing influence in Africa and Central Asia - and its good, organic, economic influence which benefits China, not the artificial influence of sharing a Marxist-Leninist ideology (which drained Soviet resources). Is beginning to offer credible alternatives to the World Bank, its own ratings agencies, etc.

    Admittedly, China does lag severely in terms of influence of its artistic culture (films, video games, etc).

    But anyway, in terms of economic, military, cultural power versus the US, which we will consider to be 100/100/100.

    1980s USSR: 30/100/10
    Today's China: 80/40/20

    Would still say that China is considerably more "balanced" than the USSR.

    Simple article counting is a very poor way to assess the strength of USSR science. Especially in the most important fields, they had developed their own unique approaches which just couldn’t be found anywhere else, including the USA. Ask any specialist.

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  53. 5371 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Sure - hence why I clarified that WW2 would be against the Nazis.

    If by whatever quirk of fate the Russian Empire/Republic did fight against Nazi Germany c.1941 anyway: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/tribal-stalinism/#comment-1456006

    Making the (implausible) assumption that the international situation would have panned out as it did without the Russian Revolution, Stalin’s transfer of some heavy industries to the Urals and Siberia would have probably been more than entirely counteracted by an extra decades’ worth of economic growth (the USSR only recovered the industrial production levels of the last years of Tsarist Russia in the late 1920s).
     
    Of course all sorts of fun alternate histories are possible at this point.

    I suppose some involve mass nuclear exchanges and are more catastrophic than our TL.

    In others, however - perhaps the vast majority of them, if Pinker and the peace theorists are correct in that the world is getting much more peaceful, and both the WWs were freak aberrations - a second World War doesn't happen at all.

    As Taleb and others have pointed out many times to charlatans like Pinker, there is no such thing as general “peacefulness”, and fat tails render extrapolation worse than useless from this particular “sample”.

    Read More
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  54. Christos T. says: • Website

    Keep in mind that even though the Soviet Union produced a lot of weapon systems the majority were inferior to their Western counterparts, as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2013/04/recurring-problems-of-soviet-tank-design.html

    Also US pilot criticism of Mig-29:

    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/how-to-win-in-a-dogfight-stories-from-a-pilot-who-flew-1682723379

    Even in the military field the SU was a failure…

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Keep in mind that even though the Soviet Union produced a lot of weapon systems the majority were inferior to their Western counterparts, as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars:
     
    A strange argument. In this case, the defeat of the armies Kuomintang/South Vietnam is proof of the superiority of Soviet weapons?
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Not all too relevant since (a) Soviets exported inferior "monkey models" and (b) more pertinently, the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis.
    , @anonymous coward

    as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars
     
    Even the best weapons system in the Universe couldn't have saved Arabs from their military incompetence.

    The inability of Arabs into war is legendary.
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  55. Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.

    I missed that, lol. This is cute.

    Communism is Satan responsible for all the ills in this world. But some errant ‘tribes’ are still worshiping Satan! Renounce Satan!

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf


    Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.
     
    I missed that, lol. This is cute.
    Communism is Satan responsible for all the ills in this world. But some errant ‘tribes’ are still worshiping Satan! Renounce Satan!
     
    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world's history went differently. Instead of "our" wars, there would be other wars (which we'll never know)
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  56. melanf says:
    @Christos T.
    Keep in mind that even though the Soviet Union produced a lot of weapon systems the majority were inferior to their Western counterparts, as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2013/04/recurring-problems-of-soviet-tank-design.html

    Also US pilot criticism of Mig-29:

    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/how-to-win-in-a-dogfight-stories-from-a-pilot-who-flew-1682723379

    Even in the military field the SU was a failure…

    Keep in mind that even though the Soviet Union produced a lot of weapon systems the majority were inferior to their Western counterparts, as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars:

    A strange argument. In this case, the defeat of the armies Kuomintang/South Vietnam is proof of the superiority of Soviet weapons?

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  57. @Greasy William
    Are you really Chinese? I thought the Chinese all gave up on Communism and traded it in for unapologetic Fascism.

    Afrikatoly: You have mentioned that Putin and Co are big into the Stalin cult. What do Putinites think of Lenin?

    You have mentioned that Putin and Co are big into the Stalin cult. What do Putinites think of Lenin?

    No, they’re not big on the Stalin cult, they are big on the WW2 Victory cult, which they try hard (but don’t really succeed) to excise Stalin from.

    Lenin is lower than than Stalin on their respect list. After all, Putin has directly blamed Lenin and the early Bolsheviks for setting up the USSR for future collapse along ethnic lines.

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  58. @Christos T.
    Keep in mind that even though the Soviet Union produced a lot of weapon systems the majority were inferior to their Western counterparts, as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2013/04/recurring-problems-of-soviet-tank-design.html

    Also US pilot criticism of Mig-29:

    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/how-to-win-in-a-dogfight-stories-from-a-pilot-who-flew-1682723379

    Even in the military field the SU was a failure…

    Not all too relevant since (a) Soviets exported inferior “monkey models” and (b) more pertinently, the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Christos T.
    The monkey model excuse is just that. An excuse. The T-55 and T-62’s destroyed in the Middle East were the same as those of the SU. The T-72 destroyed in operation Desert Storm were inferior to the best T-72’s of the SU but as Zaloga explains even those would have been easily destroyed by the US tanks (the US depleted uranium rounds would have gone through them too).

    It’s a matter of inferior design (limited internal space, poor crew layout), not to mention a generation behind in thermal optics (again check Zaloga’s ‘M1 vs T-72’ book).

    Regarding ‘the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis’, it does not invalidate the poor design of Soviet weapons.
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  59. melanf says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.
     
    I missed that, lol. This is cute.

    Communism is Satan responsible for all the ills in this world. But some errant 'tribes' are still worshiping Satan! Renounce Satan!

    Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.

    I missed that, lol. This is cute.
    Communism is Satan responsible for all the ills in this world. But some errant ‘tribes’ are still worshiping Satan! Renounce Satan!

    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world’s history went differently. Instead of “our” wars, there would be other wars (which we’ll never know)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world’s history went differently. Instead of “our” wars, there would be other wars (which we’ll never know)
     
    The great depression of the 1930s had nothing to do with the Russian revolution (I hope this, at least, isn't controversial?). Therefore, the only question is whether in this hypothetical universe the reaction to western economic collapse (of the 1930s) is mostly of a fascist, or communist, or some other (or mixed) nature. In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.
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  60. @Christos T.
    Keep in mind that even though the Soviet Union produced a lot of weapon systems the majority were inferior to their Western counterparts, as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2013/04/recurring-problems-of-soviet-tank-design.html

    Also US pilot criticism of Mig-29:

    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/how-to-win-in-a-dogfight-stories-from-a-pilot-who-flew-1682723379

    Even in the military field the SU was a failure…

    as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars

    Even the best weapons system in the Universe couldn’t have saved Arabs from their military incompetence.

    The inability of Arabs into war is legendary.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The inability of Arabs into war is legendary.
     
    In combined arms warfare--undeniably. This, however, didn't prevent Hezbollah to bloody IDF tank forces pretty badly, using, naturally, Russian-made ATGMs Kornet.
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  61. Christos T. says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Not all too relevant since (a) Soviets exported inferior "monkey models" and (b) more pertinently, the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis.

    The monkey model excuse is just that. An excuse. The T-55 and T-62’s destroyed in the Middle East were the same as those of the SU. The T-72 destroyed in operation Desert Storm were inferior to the best T-72’s of the SU but as Zaloga explains even those would have been easily destroyed by the US tanks (the US depleted uranium rounds would have gone through them too).

    It’s a matter of inferior design (limited internal space, poor crew layout), not to mention a generation behind in thermal optics (again check Zaloga’s ‘M1 vs T-72’ book).

    Regarding ‘the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis’, it does not invalidate the poor design of Soviet weapons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    It’s a matter of inferior design
     
    No, it is a matter of you having no clue on a subject matter and pushing a blatant BS. Unlike you, I have a rather good personal experience with Arab militaries, not to mention even my relatives (granted--remote) training them. The "monkey model" argument is more than valid. You see, we can play this game in two ways:

    1. Credentialism--you lose;
    2. Or pure subject matter--you still lose.

    Regarding ‘the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis’, it does not invalidate the poor design of Soviet weapons.
     
    BS, which can only be written by amateur fanboy who didn't spend a day in Armed Forces.
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  62. DFH says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Sure, some of it is good, and post-Stalin (perhaps even post-1950) USSR was no longer hell, I don't think I ever claimed otherwise.

    What percentage of people outside the USSR and perhaps the Eastern Bloc knew or cared?

    Films - White Sun of the Desert; Tarkovsky films are known by film buffs. Otherwise, zero comparison to Hollywood's influence.

    Literature - Strugatsky brothers were known (and come to think of it, probably most famous non-political writer from socialist world was perhaps Stanislaw Lem, and one of the most famous mainland Chineses author is Liu Cixin - what is it with Communist countries and relative overperformance no sci-fi?). Who else? (That is, famous outside the USSR; writing in this time period; and not dissidents who hated Communism).

    Video games - An artistic form that only appeared around the 1970s, the main (and only) Soviet contribution was Tetris. Its story, incidentally, goes a long way to show why the USSR was culturally uncompetitive.

    Music - The Alexandrov Ensemble is cool, but not groundbreaking. Most popular people's artist. Vysotsky. Who happened to be a total dissident.

    You underestimate the extent of Soviet literature in the West. Looking around second-hand bookshops (in Britain), I frequently find novels from USSR authors (e.g. I recently saw ‘The Fall of Paris’ by Ilya Ehrenburg), books from ‘Progress Publishers’ propaganda books or pamphlets about the Soviet Union, collected works of Communist leaders and even pamphlets of the proceedings of party congresses.

    Read More
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  63. @melanf


    Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.
     
    I missed that, lol. This is cute.
    Communism is Satan responsible for all the ills in this world. But some errant ‘tribes’ are still worshiping Satan! Renounce Satan!
     
    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world's history went differently. Instead of "our" wars, there would be other wars (which we'll never know)

    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world’s history went differently. Instead of “our” wars, there would be other wars (which we’ll never know)

    The great depression of the 1930s had nothing to do with the Russian revolution (I hope this, at least, isn’t controversial?). Therefore, the only question is whether in this hypothetical universe the reaction to western economic collapse (of the 1930s) is mostly of a fascist, or communist, or some other (or mixed) nature. In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    It is not at all obvious. There were any number of depressions in the 19th century that... didn't lead to wars, let alone world wars.
    , @melanf

    In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.
     
    Maybe, but it would be another war (other than "our" WWII). What war - we can only fantasize. We can imagine a quick victory of Russia, but we can imagine the destruction of Russia by nuclear weapons.
    , @Philip Owen
    On the other hand, it can be argued that the withdrawal of one of the two successful "catch up" economies of the first half of the 20th C, the other being Japan, was a withdrawal of demand that might have lessened the effect of the Crash. But a better Tsar in 1905 was probably the really critical point.
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  64. @Christos T.
    The monkey model excuse is just that. An excuse. The T-55 and T-62’s destroyed in the Middle East were the same as those of the SU. The T-72 destroyed in operation Desert Storm were inferior to the best T-72’s of the SU but as Zaloga explains even those would have been easily destroyed by the US tanks (the US depleted uranium rounds would have gone through them too).

    It’s a matter of inferior design (limited internal space, poor crew layout), not to mention a generation behind in thermal optics (again check Zaloga’s ‘M1 vs T-72’ book).

    Regarding ‘the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis’, it does not invalidate the poor design of Soviet weapons.

    It’s a matter of inferior design

    No, it is a matter of you having no clue on a subject matter and pushing a blatant BS. Unlike you, I have a rather good personal experience with Arab militaries, not to mention even my relatives (granted–remote) training them. The “monkey model” argument is more than valid. You see, we can play this game in two ways:

    1. Credentialism–you lose;
    2. Or pure subject matter–you still lose.

    Regarding ‘the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis’, it does not invalidate the poor design of Soviet weapons.

    BS, which can only be written by amateur fanboy who didn’t spend a day in Armed Forces.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Christos T.
    Don’t get so worked up comrade! You’ll burst into flames like your precious Soviet tanks:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2012/07/wwii-myths-t-34-best-tank-of-war.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8E4qPhloKY
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  65. @Mao Cheng Ji

    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world’s history went differently. Instead of “our” wars, there would be other wars (which we’ll never know)
     
    The great depression of the 1930s had nothing to do with the Russian revolution (I hope this, at least, isn't controversial?). Therefore, the only question is whether in this hypothetical universe the reaction to western economic collapse (of the 1930s) is mostly of a fascist, or communist, or some other (or mixed) nature. In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.

    It is not at all obvious. There were any number of depressions in the 19th century that… didn’t lead to wars, let alone world wars.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    Global economic collapse following the 1929 stock market crash in the US isn't called 'the great' depression for nothing. A world war - centered in Europe, to destroy civilian industrial overcapacity - was the only way to overcome it.
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  66. @Verymuchalive
    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names.

    If they ever were in the USSR or elsewhere, that was long ago. Very few people under 40 have any real interest in classical music. Even classical music radio stations mainly play stuff composed before 1914. More modern stuff is usually minimalist composers like Arvo Part, John Tavener, Philip Glass et al. Oh yes, that Polish guy who composed The Symphony of Tedious Songs as well. Tedious crap without exception.
    Things will get worse before they get better. As things continue to deteriorate for white people, less and less students will study classical music both at school and college. However, the core of that study will be classical music before 1914. If the West recovers, there will likely be a musical revival based on that stem. Berg, Schoenberg, Bartok, Messiaen et al will be excised.
    Where that leaves interesting, tonal C20th composers like Shostakovich, Joaquim Rodrigo, William Walton etc, time will tell.

    Philip Glass et al

    Still have couple of his albums–the brain becomes numb pretty much on the 3-4 minute of any of his pieces. Well, I wouldn’t, however, put Terje Rypdal in this category, some beautiful music, both fusion and classic music tradition. As a substitute for Glass, how about Brian Eno–I love his 6-8 hour long pieces. No, I really do–I just usually do not have enough time to finish listening;-)

    Read More
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  67. @Ivy
    Many older Americans recall stories about the discipline of Russian scientists, particularly in maths and physics, and their blackboard approach. There is a stark honesty in that interface: you, chalk, blackboard, perhaps an audience of other scholars and students, and no other resources.

    Many older Americans recall stories about the discipline of Russian scientists, particularly in maths and physics, and their blackboard approach. There is a stark honesty in that interface: you, chalk, blackboard, perhaps an audience of other scholars and students, and no other resources.

    Early mid to late 1990s, early 2000s there were many American teachers who flooded Russia, Ukraine or Belarus public schools–they were there to absorb the experience of teaching, not to teach as one may have expected. Issue of STEM, of course, is a very serious problem since can not be “reasoned”, one needs a volume of knowledge and interconnected one at that. A lot of memorization initially is required and by memorization I mean not just some “facts”. F.e. proofs of fundamental math theorems require “training”, which is repetitive. Some can internalize proof in two tries, others require more. I never saw in US schools kids being called to the white board and asked to proof a theorem on the volume of sphere (as an example), that requires some integration, to a full class. In Russia they still do that.

    Read More
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  68. @Anatoly Karlin
    It is not at all obvious. There were any number of depressions in the 19th century that... didn't lead to wars, let alone world wars.

    Global economic collapse following the 1929 stock market crash in the US isn’t called ‘the great’ depression for nothing. A world war – centered in Europe, to destroy civilian industrial overcapacity – was the only way to overcome it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Global economic collapse following the 1929 stock market crash in the US isn’t called ‘the great’ depression for nothing. A world war – centered in Europe, to destroy civilian industrial overcapacity – was the only way to overcome it.

    Rubbish. The only occidental countries of note for which the per capita product in 1939 was lower than it had been in 1929 were the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Chile. Spain's problems are attributable to the Civil War therein. Per capita product in the United States and Canada exceeded 1929 levels by 1940.
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  69. @anonymous coward

    as shown in the Israeli-Arab wars
     
    Even the best weapons system in the Universe couldn't have saved Arabs from their military incompetence.

    The inability of Arabs into war is legendary.

    The inability of Arabs into war is legendary.

    In combined arms warfare–undeniably. This, however, didn’t prevent Hezbollah to bloody IDF tank forces pretty badly, using, naturally, Russian-made ATGMs Kornet.

    Read More
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  70. @German_reader
    That only makes sense in relation to the expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe...what's the justification for what the Soviets and their commie puppets did throughout Eastern Europe? In Poland the commies even held show trials against members of the Home army who had fought against the Germans, and executed quite a few of them...how could something like this ever be justified? Or the mass deportations from the Baltic states and their annexation into the Soviet Union. That was just pure imperialism.

    That was just pure imperialism.

    It was more than that and it wasn’t “pure imperialism”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Well, whatever one may call it, it's hard to regard it as justified imo.
    I'm against the insane Russophobia common amongst Western "elites", and I don't think the sacrifices and achievements of Russians and other Soviet peoples in WW2 should ever be denigrated. But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for. All the more so given what they did to Russia itself. I think AK is right about this, this isn't rational (unless Russians are all national masochists) and can only be explained by some unfortunate logic of political tribalism and the shock of what happened in the 1990s.
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  71. Christos T. says: • Website
    @Andrei Martyanov

    It’s a matter of inferior design
     
    No, it is a matter of you having no clue on a subject matter and pushing a blatant BS. Unlike you, I have a rather good personal experience with Arab militaries, not to mention even my relatives (granted--remote) training them. The "monkey model" argument is more than valid. You see, we can play this game in two ways:

    1. Credentialism--you lose;
    2. Or pure subject matter--you still lose.

    Regarding ‘the Arabs had/have much lower human capital than Israelis’, it does not invalidate the poor design of Soviet weapons.
     
    BS, which can only be written by amateur fanboy who didn't spend a day in Armed Forces.

    Don’t get so worked up comrade! You’ll burst into flames like your precious Soviet tanks:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2012/07/wwii-myths-t-34-best-tank-of-war.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Don’t get so worked up comrade
     
    Projection? So, what is your take on system of ZNU (knowledge, competence, skills) of Arab militaries? Any specific substantive assessments on your part? How many representatives of Arab militaries did or do you know--so, give us here some "meat", not youtube videos, since I, certainly, can easily post here a shitload of M-1 Abrams exploding too. Yes, I can type letters in the search bar;-)
    , @Anonymous
    This is quality trolling.
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  72. @Christos T.
    Don’t get so worked up comrade! You’ll burst into flames like your precious Soviet tanks:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2012/07/wwii-myths-t-34-best-tank-of-war.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8E4qPhloKY

    Don’t get so worked up comrade

    Projection? So, what is your take on system of ZNU (knowledge, competence, skills) of Arab militaries? Any specific substantive assessments on your part? How many representatives of Arab militaries did or do you know–so, give us here some “meat”, not youtube videos, since I, certainly, can easily post here a shitload of M-1 Abrams exploding too. Yes, I can type letters in the search bar;-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Christos T.
    How many times has Soviet equipment proven superior to Western military equipment?

    What happened in the skies over Korea?
    What happened to the Soviet built T-34/85’s in Korea?
    What happened to Soviet T-55, T-62 and T-72 tanks in the Middle East?
    What happened to Soviet piloted Mig-21’s when they faced the Israeli airforce?
    What happened to Soviet built aircraft (Mig-21, Mig-23 etc) when they faced the Western aircraft of the Israeli airforce?

    Any answers comrade?

    The Soviet Union only produced armaments and even in that category most of it was trash.
    Mathias Rust called. He says Soviet radar is best radar.
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  73. Kimppis says:
    @inertial
    Music? Are you kidding? Prokofiev and Shostakovitch are all but household names. The second tier of Soviet composers - Schedrin, Khachaturyan, Sviridov, Gavrilin, Schnittke, and others - they are not well known by name but their music is used (and "sampled") often enough. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I am watching one of the Ice Age movies with my kids when suddenly I hear Adagio from Spartacus by Khachaturyan (it was a love scene, of course.)

    Literature is too susceptible to politics. If Dr. Zhivago wasn't useful as a piece of Cold War propaganda, how many people would've heard of Pasternak? Even now not many are aware that he was a poet first and foremost.

    Films? No national cinema can compete with Hollywood, so comparing Soviet movies to Hollywood is not a reasonable standard.

    Video games? Lol. I heard that neither Greece, nor Rome created many popular video games, which surely shows how minuscule their cultural influence was.

    Regarding video games:

    What kind of argument is that? I don’t think Greeks and Romans created any films either, but you still count them as art. Why not video games? Get on with the times, and get off your high horse.

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing, unlike of the Soviet composers you listed (tellingly, I’ve never seen or heard literally any of those names before, and I actually listen to classical music from time to time, unlike most other “millenials”). Deal with it.

    I guess film was the last new art form ever created… The history ended.

    It just makes me sad, as a proud console peasant, that the Chinese (or Russians) are not into console-type AAA-games. Which are admittedly getting really repetitive, but still.

    =============================

    On the Soviet military equipment: Yeah, it makes sense that they suddenly became so uncompetitve, even though they were actually really competitive against the Germans during WW2. And of course the fact that monkey models were massively inferior is totally irrelevant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Christos T.
    Help me understand. The Soviet airforce operated ‘monkey model’ airplanes over Korea? Is that why they were slaughtered by Western pilots?

    What was ‘monkey model’ about the equipment given to the Arab states in the 1960’s?

    As for WWII equipment being ‘competitive with the Germans’:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2012/04/eastern-front-aircraft-strength-and.html
    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2013/01/tank-strength-and-losses-eastern-front.html

    No comment…
    , @German_reader

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing
     
    It was much less so in the 1980s though (and the games then available are primitive by today's standards), I think it makes little sense to criticize the Soviet Union for not having produced a video games industry. Its general failure regarding microchips, computer technology etc. is another matter of course.
    Besides, let's be honest here: Video games may be influential, but there may well be good grounds for regarding that as a sign of decadence and general alienation in modern societies. They're not a sign of a confident and serious civilization (and I know them...have played far too many of them myself).
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  74. Christos T. says: • Website
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Don’t get so worked up comrade
     
    Projection? So, what is your take on system of ZNU (knowledge, competence, skills) of Arab militaries? Any specific substantive assessments on your part? How many representatives of Arab militaries did or do you know--so, give us here some "meat", not youtube videos, since I, certainly, can easily post here a shitload of M-1 Abrams exploding too. Yes, I can type letters in the search bar;-)

    How many times has Soviet equipment proven superior to Western military equipment?

    What happened in the skies over Korea?
    What happened to the Soviet built T-34/85’s in Korea?
    What happened to Soviet T-55, T-62 and T-72 tanks in the Middle East?
    What happened to Soviet piloted Mig-21’s when they faced the Israeli airforce?
    What happened to Soviet built aircraft (Mig-21, Mig-23 etc) when they faced the Western aircraft of the Israeli airforce?

    Any answers comrade?

    The Soviet Union only produced armaments and even in that category most of it was trash.
    Mathias Rust called. He says Soviet radar is best radar.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Any answers comrade?
     
    From you? No. As was expected--a lot of hot air, zero knowledge or experience.
    , @pogohere
    "What happened in the skies over Korea?"


    Good question. Some interesting material on this:

    Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs - The Forgotten Air Battle of the Korean War, 23 October 1951

    Paperback – December 3, 2013
    by Earl McGill

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Tuesday-Over-Namsi-Forgotten/dp/1909384380/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

    FWIW:

    MiG Alley: How the air war over Korea became a bloodbath for the West

    https://www.rbth.com/blogs/continental_drift/2017/03/23/mig-alley-how-air-war-over-korea-became-bloodbath-west-725501

    Korean War: How the MiG-15 put an end to American mastery over the skies

    https://www.rbth.com/blogs/continental_drift/2017/04/27/korean-war-how-mig-15-put-end-american-mastery-over-skies-751633
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  75. @Christos T.
    How many times has Soviet equipment proven superior to Western military equipment?

    What happened in the skies over Korea?
    What happened to the Soviet built T-34/85’s in Korea?
    What happened to Soviet T-55, T-62 and T-72 tanks in the Middle East?
    What happened to Soviet piloted Mig-21’s when they faced the Israeli airforce?
    What happened to Soviet built aircraft (Mig-21, Mig-23 etc) when they faced the Western aircraft of the Israeli airforce?

    Any answers comrade?

    The Soviet Union only produced armaments and even in that category most of it was trash.
    Mathias Rust called. He says Soviet radar is best radar.

    Any answers comrade?

    From you? No. As was expected–a lot of hot air, zero knowledge or experience.

    Read More
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  76. Christos T. says: • Website
    @Kimppis
    Regarding video games:

    What kind of argument is that? I don't think Greeks and Romans created any films either, but you still count them as art. Why not video games? Get on with the times, and get off your high horse.

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing, unlike of the Soviet composers you listed (tellingly, I've never seen or heard literally any of those names before, and I actually listen to classical music from time to time, unlike most other "millenials"). Deal with it.

    I guess film was the last new art form ever created... The history ended.

    It just makes me sad, as a proud console peasant, that the Chinese (or Russians) are not into console-type AAA-games. Which are admittedly getting really repetitive, but still.

    =============================

    On the Soviet military equipment: Yeah, it makes sense that they suddenly became so uncompetitve, even though they were actually really competitive against the Germans during WW2. And of course the fact that monkey models were massively inferior is totally irrelevant.

    Help me understand. The Soviet airforce operated ‘monkey model’ airplanes over Korea? Is that why they were slaughtered by Western pilots?

    What was ‘monkey model’ about the equipment given to the Arab states in the 1960’s?

    As for WWII equipment being ‘competitive with the Germans’:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2012/04/eastern-front-aircraft-strength-and.html

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2013/01/tank-strength-and-losses-eastern-front.html

    No comment…

    Read More
    • Disagree: German_reader
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  77. … a spectrum of retarded positions (sexual hystrionics, conspicuous religiosity, flag worship, denial of global warming, Israel Firstism, and moar tax cuts for the 1%) has become a tribal identifier for the Red Tribe (or at least its boomer subfaction) in the United States.

    Aaah, crap, I was just ready to start trying to learn about Russia, and you come and lump Engineers ( you know nothing about engineering, obviously) with the that other stuff. I remember you now, and can tell you never read any of my many posts on the Global Climate Disruption(TM) hoax on mathematical modeling of a complex system like the world climate. I already gave you links to this stuff, but here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and 2 Summary posts here and here. If you aren’t going to learn anything, then I’m done with you.

    Too bad, as I am able to post in real time here. I guess it’s a Russian thing, not really knowing your ass from a hole in the ground, yet spouting off like you’re Solzhenitsyn. Stick to what you know, Mr. Karlin. You don’t know squat about engineering, mathematical computer modeling and accuracy/precision, so why did you put that part in above?

    You are not above learning, are you? I’d have finished your article if you hadn’t put that piece of bullcrap in there. All it takes is one piece of bullcrap to make the reader lose faith in your intelligence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Maybe I was too harsh. Perhaps it's not a "Russian thing", spouting off BS, but an "unz" thing (Sailer, VDare guys, and Ron Paul excepted, of course).
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  78. @Achmed E. Newman

    ... a spectrum of retarded positions (sexual hystrionics, conspicuous religiosity, flag worship, denial of global warming, Israel Firstism, and moar tax cuts for the 1%) has become a tribal identifier for the Red Tribe (or at least its boomer subfaction) in the United States.
     
    Aaah, crap, I was just ready to start trying to learn about Russia, and you come and lump Engineers ( you know nothing about engineering, obviously) with the that other stuff. I remember you now, and can tell you never read any of my many posts on the Global Climate Disruption(TM) hoax on mathematical modeling of a complex system like the world climate. I already gave you links to this stuff, but here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and 2 Summary posts here and here. If you aren't going to learn anything, then I'm done with you.

    Too bad, as I am able to post in real time here. I guess it's a Russian thing, not really knowing your ass from a hole in the ground, yet spouting off like you're Solzhenitsyn. Stick to what you know, Mr. Karlin. You don't know squat about engineering, mathematical computer modeling and accuracy/precision, so why did you put that part in above?

    You are not above learning, are you? I'd have finished your article if you hadn't put that piece of bullcrap in there. All it takes is one piece of bullcrap to make the reader lose faith in your intelligence.

    Maybe I was too harsh. Perhaps it’s not a “Russian thing”, spouting off BS, but an “unz” thing (Sailer, VDare guys, and Ron Paul excepted, of course).

    Read More
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  79. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Christos T.
    Don’t get so worked up comrade! You’ll burst into flames like your precious Soviet tanks:

    http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.gr/2012/07/wwii-myths-t-34-best-tank-of-war.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8E4qPhloKY

    This is quality trolling.

    Read More
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  80. DFH says:
    @MarkinPNW
    "I’m not sure why it’s so important for Russian nationalists to lord it over other nationalities."

    The concessions to Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam are the logical result of the failure of all of the surrounding countries not respecting Russian/Slavic independence for centuries, nay, millennia, with constant invasions and slave raids, as exemplified by my friend Rosa*.

    *Rosa, though not a close friend but nonetheless a family friend, is a victim and survivor of what was the last (and hopefully never to be repeated again) great slave raid against the Slav peoples. She lives about a mile from my house, and you can watch her tell her own amazing story here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h6NIa5W9oM

    The concessions to Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam are the logical result of the failure of all of the surrounding countries not respecting Russian/Slavic independence for centuries

    What does this have to do with the Russians re-enslaving the Poles?

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  81. @Andrei Martyanov

    That was just pure imperialism.
     
    It was more than that and it wasn't "pure imperialism".

    Well, whatever one may call it, it’s hard to regard it as justified imo.
    I’m against the insane Russophobia common amongst Western “elites”, and I don’t think the sacrifices and achievements of Russians and other Soviet peoples in WW2 should ever be denigrated. But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for. All the more so given what they did to Russia itself. I think AK is right about this, this isn’t rational (unless Russians are all national masochists) and can only be explained by some unfortunate logic of political tribalism and the shock of what happened in the 1990s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I think AK is right about this
     
    I have a diametrically opposite view maybe because I know about Russia's history of XX century teeny-weeny, just very slightly more than Karlin or his idols, this is not to mention their utter illiteracy on military-political and geopolitical issues, things which define the world--that is why Karlin avoids any discussion on substance. I already presented Narochnitskaya's superb summary of the phenomenon. A crucible of the modern Civilization, as we know it today, in 2017, is on the battlefields of WW II. One doesn't know (emphasis on knowledge, not on "being informed") those events--one will not understand today's world. This is not a theorem--this is axiom. This is also how "elites" talk and think, admittedly with allowances for personal arrogance and egos, but one has to know subject matter. Anatoly doesn't--I already told him so.

    But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for
     
    I am no Stalinist, I love myself good productive capitalism and, ever diminishing sadly, liberties which it used to provide in post-WW II period and mostly in US which was never touched by war in modern history. This period grows to a close. You are, of course, free to partake in Karlin's "version" of Russian history but I can assure you that overwhelming majority of Russian people would be really surprised to learn that defending the history of their own people they "defend" Stalin. Karlin, being a product of US humanities "education", and being very young man, is inevitably afflicted by Manichean view of the world, plus he doesn't know Russian people, their culture and it shows with him drawing a bad caricature on Russia. I, however, may only continue to recite Sir Bernard Pares on Russia:

    "Irresponsible criticism is generally-self confident; but no one cares to be told:" I am holier than thou", especially by anyone who doesn't know his facts... And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia....This gap has to be filled, or will it cost us dear."
     
    Karlin doesn't know his facts, but, as I stated above, you are, certainly free, to partake in his meme-reduced history if it suites you. What Stalin "stood for", however, requires a very serious discussion across the whole spectrum of Russian state's activities with the use of verifiable and reliable data--this is not the case here. As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:"when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. "(c). One cannot build a viable argumentation on myths but that is what Anatoly is doing.
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  82. @Kimppis
    Regarding video games:

    What kind of argument is that? I don't think Greeks and Romans created any films either, but you still count them as art. Why not video games? Get on with the times, and get off your high horse.

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing, unlike of the Soviet composers you listed (tellingly, I've never seen or heard literally any of those names before, and I actually listen to classical music from time to time, unlike most other "millenials"). Deal with it.

    I guess film was the last new art form ever created... The history ended.

    It just makes me sad, as a proud console peasant, that the Chinese (or Russians) are not into console-type AAA-games. Which are admittedly getting really repetitive, but still.

    =============================

    On the Soviet military equipment: Yeah, it makes sense that they suddenly became so uncompetitve, even though they were actually really competitive against the Germans during WW2. And of course the fact that monkey models were massively inferior is totally irrelevant.

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing

    It was much less so in the 1980s though (and the games then available are primitive by today’s standards), I think it makes little sense to criticize the Soviet Union for not having produced a video games industry. Its general failure regarding microchips, computer technology etc. is another matter of course.
    Besides, let’s be honest here: Video games may be influential, but there may well be good grounds for regarding that as a sign of decadence and general alienation in modern societies. They’re not a sign of a confident and serious civilization (and I know them…have played far too many of them myself).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Well.. AKarlin thought Doom 4 was a good game, so I don't know how much to weigh his opinion on the matter. Anyway, although like most men under 40, I still enjoy them, it's a bit of a stretch to call them 'cultural output'.
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  83. @German_reader
    Well, whatever one may call it, it's hard to regard it as justified imo.
    I'm against the insane Russophobia common amongst Western "elites", and I don't think the sacrifices and achievements of Russians and other Soviet peoples in WW2 should ever be denigrated. But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for. All the more so given what they did to Russia itself. I think AK is right about this, this isn't rational (unless Russians are all national masochists) and can only be explained by some unfortunate logic of political tribalism and the shock of what happened in the 1990s.

    I think AK is right about this

    I have a diametrically opposite view maybe because I know about Russia’s history of XX century teeny-weeny, just very slightly more than Karlin or his idols, this is not to mention their utter illiteracy on military-political and geopolitical issues, things which define the world–that is why Karlin avoids any discussion on substance. I already presented Narochnitskaya’s superb summary of the phenomenon. A crucible of the modern Civilization, as we know it today, in 2017, is on the battlefields of WW II. One doesn’t know (emphasis on knowledge, not on “being informed”) those events–one will not understand today’s world. This is not a theorem–this is axiom. This is also how “elites” talk and think, admittedly with allowances for personal arrogance and egos, but one has to know subject matter. Anatoly doesn’t–I already told him so.

    But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for

    I am no Stalinist, I love myself good productive capitalism and, ever diminishing sadly, liberties which it used to provide in post-WW II period and mostly in US which was never touched by war in modern history. This period grows to a close. You are, of course, free to partake in Karlin’s “version” of Russian history but I can assure you that overwhelming majority of Russian people would be really surprised to learn that defending the history of their own people they “defend” Stalin. Karlin, being a product of US humanities “education”, and being very young man, is inevitably afflicted by Manichean view of the world, plus he doesn’t know Russian people, their culture and it shows with him drawing a bad caricature on Russia. I, however, may only continue to recite Sir Bernard Pares on Russia:

    “Irresponsible criticism is generally-self confident; but no one cares to be told:” I am holier than thou”, especially by anyone who doesn’t know his facts... And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia….This gap has to be filled, or will it cost us dear.”

    Karlin doesn’t know his facts, but, as I stated above, you are, certainly free, to partake in his meme-reduced history if it suites you. What Stalin “stood for”, however, requires a very serious discussion across the whole spectrum of Russian state’s activities with the use of verifiable and reliable data–this is not the case here. As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:”when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. “(c). One cannot build a viable argumentation on myths but that is what Anatoly is doing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:”when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. “(c).
     
    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin's regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated, I don't see how it could be denied that Stalin's regime ruined (or ended) the lives of millions of people (e.g. several million dead as a consequence of collectivization, hundreds of thousands executed during the Great terror, killings and deportations of elites of Poland and the Baltic states like at Katyn). These are generally accepted as facts and not even denied by the Russian state nowadays. Now I understand the argument that supposedly at least some of this was necessary to push through the industrialization which enabled the Soviet Union to repel and defeat Nazi Germany. But 1.) this "no omelette without breaking some eggs" line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people, 2.) I don't see how AK's line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it's also hard to confirm with total certainty).
    And apart from all that, given Stalin's severe political miscalculations in 1939-1941 (how could he have been surprised by the German attack despite all the warning signs?) I can't see how he could be regarded as a flawless genius.

    I already presented Narochnitskaya’s superb summary of the phenomenon.
     
    Have to agree with Matra above. There is some truth in Narochnitskaya's words (negative and hostile Western stereotypes of Russia as "barbarian", "Asiatic" etc. certainly do exist), but it's generalized to such a degree that it comes across as paranoid.
    , @ussr andy

    plus he doesn’t know Russian people,
     
    that's Saïd-type stuff.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Mass killings are, above all, a failure of governance.
    But they needed them to keep the country from being picked apart by foreign interventionists?
    Well, to get to that point, given Russia's resources, is a failure of governance, too.
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  84. @Andrei Martyanov

    I think AK is right about this
     
    I have a diametrically opposite view maybe because I know about Russia's history of XX century teeny-weeny, just very slightly more than Karlin or his idols, this is not to mention their utter illiteracy on military-political and geopolitical issues, things which define the world--that is why Karlin avoids any discussion on substance. I already presented Narochnitskaya's superb summary of the phenomenon. A crucible of the modern Civilization, as we know it today, in 2017, is on the battlefields of WW II. One doesn't know (emphasis on knowledge, not on "being informed") those events--one will not understand today's world. This is not a theorem--this is axiom. This is also how "elites" talk and think, admittedly with allowances for personal arrogance and egos, but one has to know subject matter. Anatoly doesn't--I already told him so.

    But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for
     
    I am no Stalinist, I love myself good productive capitalism and, ever diminishing sadly, liberties which it used to provide in post-WW II period and mostly in US which was never touched by war in modern history. This period grows to a close. You are, of course, free to partake in Karlin's "version" of Russian history but I can assure you that overwhelming majority of Russian people would be really surprised to learn that defending the history of their own people they "defend" Stalin. Karlin, being a product of US humanities "education", and being very young man, is inevitably afflicted by Manichean view of the world, plus he doesn't know Russian people, their culture and it shows with him drawing a bad caricature on Russia. I, however, may only continue to recite Sir Bernard Pares on Russia:

    "Irresponsible criticism is generally-self confident; but no one cares to be told:" I am holier than thou", especially by anyone who doesn't know his facts... And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia....This gap has to be filled, or will it cost us dear."
     
    Karlin doesn't know his facts, but, as I stated above, you are, certainly free, to partake in his meme-reduced history if it suites you. What Stalin "stood for", however, requires a very serious discussion across the whole spectrum of Russian state's activities with the use of verifiable and reliable data--this is not the case here. As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:"when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. "(c). One cannot build a viable argumentation on myths but that is what Anatoly is doing.

    As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:”when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. “(c).

    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin’s regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated, I don’t see how it could be denied that Stalin’s regime ruined (or ended) the lives of millions of people (e.g. several million dead as a consequence of collectivization, hundreds of thousands executed during the Great terror, killings and deportations of elites of Poland and the Baltic states like at Katyn). These are generally accepted as facts and not even denied by the Russian state nowadays. Now I understand the argument that supposedly at least some of this was necessary to push through the industrialization which enabled the Soviet Union to repel and defeat Nazi Germany. But 1.) this “no omelette without breaking some eggs” line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people, 2.) I don’t see how AK’s line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it’s also hard to confirm with total certainty).
    And apart from all that, given Stalin’s severe political miscalculations in 1939-1941 (how could he have been surprised by the German attack despite all the warning signs?) I can’t see how he could be regarded as a flawless genius.

    I already presented Narochnitskaya’s superb summary of the phenomenon.

    Have to agree with Matra above. There is some truth in Narochnitskaya’s words (negative and hostile Western stereotypes of Russia as “barbarian”, “Asiatic” etc. certainly do exist), but it’s generalized to such a degree that it comes across as paranoid.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin’s regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated
     
    Let's clarify a bit: not significantly but one the order of magnitude--that matters. No, it is impossible to justify but one does not choose one's history and as such it has to have not only moral dimension, which is important, but also be very clear with facts and lessons. Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.

    this “no omelette without breaking some eggs” line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people

     

    English old proverb mis-attributed to Stalin. More valid is his, alleged expression "when someone logs forest out--chips are flying". In general, reducing everything to a single person (such as Stalin or Lenin) is a first sign, especially in Russian history, of people having no clue.

    I don’t see how AK’s line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it’s also hard to confirm with total certainty).
     
    A good, in depth excursion, into industrial engineering, machine-building and weapons' design would be a good start, not to mention many times presented here, I wonder how did you miss those, abhorring figures of Russian Empire's "industrialization" which in relative terms was actually falling behind the West, not catching up. If you can give me at least a clue how can complexities of metallurgy, radio, metrology, metal works, transportation, tactics, operational issues could be explained to humanities "educated" pretenders--please, do. I have no clue. I see most (not all) people here, including Anatoly, can not even grasp the gravity of peasant question in Russia. Just to illustrate one point: most Russian war ships in WW I, despite Popov's trailblazing in radio, were equipped with French DuCretet telegraphs and radios. No Russian ones--no any industrial base for production of capacitors or wires. No Russian produced engine or motor, no enough metal to mass-produce tanks, all few Russian aircraft, all Western-made engines. Turbines? I already published here the numbers of electricity production in RI. I may repeat again:

    Being the fifth economy in the world on the eve of the WWI couldn’t hide the fact of how remote this fifth place was from the Russia’s nearest WWI adversary: Germany. By 1913, the Russian economy, with Russia’s population around 132 million, was responsible for 4.4% of world’s industrial output, while Germany, with a population twice smaller than that of the Russian Empire, was responsible for 14.3%8. When compared to the United States’ share of global industrial output of 35.8%, with the US population being still by about 35 million smaller than that of Russian Empire, the picture becomes very grim. Even France, which had less than one third the population of Russia, held a distinct advantage over Russia having a 7% share of industrial output9. Moreover, the actual share of Russia’s industrial output was declining, even when compared to the turn of a century data for 1901. In terms of electrical energy production Russia ranked 15th in the world11. No amount of strategic brilliance or operational genius could offset the overall backwardness of Russia, since the army itself was recruited from the population which by 1913 was only 30% literate and WWI was the first global conflict in which, unlike the relatively less resource-dependent warfare of 1812, the size of industry and the ability to produce an abundance of food and machines mattered more than sheer numbers of soldiers.
     
    So, the country which even in the most basic Material Preponderance Index wouldn't qualify as a serious military force other than the size of her army gets into the war with Germany (see the numbers above) which outproduces her up to 10 fold in most military materiel and equipment and bleeds, do I miss something? OK, let's do Friday BSing, no WWI (yeah, right), anyone can give me an estimate of capital investment into required energy producing infrastructure, for starters, to get Empire from 15th place in the world to at least 5-6th? I want numbers. I want to see what capital would go into creation of the competitive machine-building complex? What would it take to create TsAGI? Just a few thought of discussing what in Soviet and Russian Armed Forces came to be known as spherical horse in vacuum. FYI, In 1918, Zhukovsky, an aerodynamics genius--a Civil War is about to get really-really hot, the country is in ruins, millions dead--gets meeting with Lenin and demands immediate financing for what becomes known globally as legendary Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute TSAGi. He tells Lenin that it is a matter of utter importance and, guess what, gets support and financing. He couldn't do it in Russian Empire, yet got it from Bolsheviks. In 1957 USSR launched first Sputnik, in 1961 Gagarin flew into space. Just one tiny example. Do you need me to write about the financial state of RI in 1910? It was living on IOUs and direct notes to banks from the Csar. I know a story of Soviet radio-electronics. I, certainly know, what it took to start to produce first resistors with capacitors in late 1930s. It would take a massive scientific treatise just to describe what would it take for Russian Empire to actually become competitive. But, obviously, very few here read Goncharov's Oblomov nort understand what that great piece of Russian literature describes. It is also not accidental that other main protagonist has a pure German name--Stoltz. But then again, I am not here to give a review of great Russian literature of 19th Century which is overwhelmingly a literature by Pomeshiks (nobility) and deals primarily with the issue of peasantry.

    P.S. See Stolypin and WHY "reforms". Without breaking peasant commune Russia was doomed.

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  85. @German_reader

    As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:”when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. “(c).
     
    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin's regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated, I don't see how it could be denied that Stalin's regime ruined (or ended) the lives of millions of people (e.g. several million dead as a consequence of collectivization, hundreds of thousands executed during the Great terror, killings and deportations of elites of Poland and the Baltic states like at Katyn). These are generally accepted as facts and not even denied by the Russian state nowadays. Now I understand the argument that supposedly at least some of this was necessary to push through the industrialization which enabled the Soviet Union to repel and defeat Nazi Germany. But 1.) this "no omelette without breaking some eggs" line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people, 2.) I don't see how AK's line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it's also hard to confirm with total certainty).
    And apart from all that, given Stalin's severe political miscalculations in 1939-1941 (how could he have been surprised by the German attack despite all the warning signs?) I can't see how he could be regarded as a flawless genius.

    I already presented Narochnitskaya’s superb summary of the phenomenon.
     
    Have to agree with Matra above. There is some truth in Narochnitskaya's words (negative and hostile Western stereotypes of Russia as "barbarian", "Asiatic" etc. certainly do exist), but it's generalized to such a degree that it comes across as paranoid.

    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin’s regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated

    Let’s clarify a bit: not significantly but one the order of magnitude–that matters. No, it is impossible to justify but one does not choose one’s history and as such it has to have not only moral dimension, which is important, but also be very clear with facts and lessons. Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.

    this “no omelette without breaking some eggs” line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people

    English old proverb mis-attributed to Stalin. More valid is his, alleged expression “when someone logs forest out–chips are flying”. In general, reducing everything to a single person (such as Stalin or Lenin) is a first sign, especially in Russian history, of people having no clue.

    I don’t see how AK’s line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it’s also hard to confirm with total certainty).

    A good, in depth excursion, into industrial engineering, machine-building and weapons’ design would be a good start, not to mention many times presented here, I wonder how did you miss those, abhorring figures of Russian Empire’s “industrialization” which in relative terms was actually falling behind the West, not catching up. If you can give me at least a clue how can complexities of metallurgy, radio, metrology, metal works, transportation, tactics, operational issues could be explained to humanities “educated” pretenders–please, do. I have no clue. I see most (not all) people here, including Anatoly, can not even grasp the gravity of peasant question in Russia. Just to illustrate one point: most Russian war ships in WW I, despite Popov’s trailblazing in radio, were equipped with French DuCretet telegraphs and radios. No Russian ones–no any industrial base for production of capacitors or wires. No Russian produced engine or motor, no enough metal to mass-produce tanks, all few Russian aircraft, all Western-made engines. Turbines? I already published here the numbers of electricity production in RI. I may repeat again:

    Being the fifth economy in the world on the eve of the WWI couldn’t hide the fact of how remote this fifth place was from the Russia’s nearest WWI adversary: Germany. By 1913, the Russian economy, with Russia’s population around 132 million, was responsible for 4.4% of world’s industrial output, while Germany, with a population twice smaller than that of the Russian Empire, was responsible for 14.3%8. When compared to the United States’ share of global industrial output of 35.8%, with the US population being still by about 35 million smaller than that of Russian Empire, the picture becomes very grim. Even France, which had less than one third the population of Russia, held a distinct advantage over Russia having a 7% share of industrial output9. Moreover, the actual share of Russia’s industrial output was declining, even when compared to the turn of a century data for 1901. In terms of electrical energy production Russia ranked 15th in the world11. No amount of strategic brilliance or operational genius could offset the overall backwardness of Russia, since the army itself was recruited from the population which by 1913 was only 30% literate and WWI was the first global conflict in which, unlike the relatively less resource-dependent warfare of 1812, the size of industry and the ability to produce an abundance of food and machines mattered more than sheer numbers of soldiers.

    So, the country which even in the most basic Material Preponderance Index wouldn’t qualify as a serious military force other than the size of her army gets into the war with Germany (see the numbers above) which outproduces her up to 10 fold in most military materiel and equipment and bleeds, do I miss something? OK, let’s do Friday BSing, no WWI (yeah, right), anyone can give me an estimate of capital investment into required energy producing infrastructure, for starters, to get Empire from 15th place in the world to at least 5-6th? I want numbers. I want to see what capital would go into creation of the competitive machine-building complex? What would it take to create TsAGI? Just a few thought of discussing what in Soviet and Russian Armed Forces came to be known as spherical horse in vacuum. FYI, In 1918, Zhukovsky, an aerodynamics genius–a Civil War is about to get really-really hot, the country is in ruins, millions dead–gets meeting with Lenin and demands immediate financing for what becomes known globally as legendary Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute TSAGi. He tells Lenin that it is a matter of utter importance and, guess what, gets support and financing. He couldn’t do it in Russian Empire, yet got it from Bolsheviks. In 1957 USSR launched first Sputnik, in 1961 Gagarin flew into space. Just one tiny example. Do you need me to write about the financial state of RI in 1910? It was living on IOUs and direct notes to banks from the Csar. I know a story of Soviet radio-electronics. I, certainly know, what it took to start to produce first resistors with capacitors in late 1930s. It would take a massive scientific treatise just to describe what would it take for Russian Empire to actually become competitive. But, obviously, very few here read Goncharov’s Oblomov nort understand what that great piece of Russian literature describes. It is also not accidental that other main protagonist has a pure German name–Stoltz. But then again, I am not here to give a review of great Russian literature of 19th Century which is overwhelmingly a literature by Pomeshiks (nobility) and deals primarily with the issue of peasantry.

    P.S. See Stolypin and WHY “reforms”. Without breaking peasant commune Russia was doomed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I am too preoccupied to write a detailed separate reply here, but would like to point out I address some of the arguments here before:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/progressive-russian-empire/#comment-2030282

    In particular:

    1. Electricity production not the best indicator seeing as how Sweden was #1 in 1913 (yes, in terms of total - was very early to develop its hydropower potential). It was a wealthy country to be sure, but hardly an industrial behemoth.

    2. There are different sources for industrial output. Bairoch (the most commonly cited) one gives the Russian Empire 8.2% of global production in 1913.

    More generally, it was falling behind Germany and the United States in the two decades before WW1. However, it was keeping pace with Japan (which was at a lower level to start with), and gaining considerably on Britain and France.
    , @German_reader

    Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.
     
    Yes, but I don't think that's to the credit of the French. And I think there's an important difference between Napoleon's wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin's projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society). And what has been confirmed as having actually happened (millions starved to death, hundreds of thousands executed in 1937/1938, millions sent to labor camps) is still pretty horrible by any standards.
    (There's a good chance btw that Napoleon will eventually be viewed negatively as well...some "activists" have already declared him to be a kind of proto-Hitler for having reintroduced slavery in the French colonies and having allegedly ordered the "gassing" of slaves...that can't endear his memory to the "new French").

    could be explained to humanities “educated” pretenders–please
     
    I'll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can't read Russian, so I'm indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided...certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn't be dismissed, but how do you explain the success of something as fraudulent as Lysenkoism? A system where something like that can flourish, and where its opponents can suffer grave personal consequences, isn't exactly optimal for research.
    Ultimately it's of course not my business, or that of any other foreigner, to tell Russians what they should think about their past; but positive views of Stalin and downplaying of the crimes of his regime (especially those committed against other countries like Poland and the Baltic states) cannot but severely damage Russia's image abroad, and not just among people who would be anti-Russia anyway (though I suppose Russians won't care about this anymore).
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  86. melanf says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    This is a clear myth.
     
    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines. At issue here is not even as you claim:

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.)
     
    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine long time ago and would cease to exist. But, indeed, with the issue of Tripolie which tied peasant commune to Mir-driven way of both "strips" of land distribution and mezha, and, of course, excessive birth rates--only large agricultural enterprises could solve that problem. That required a complete "re-design" of Mir, which was impossible at the level of both Russia's state-management and industry (and finances). Another horrendous issue was land-rent which, at some point of time in 1880s reached astronomical numbers, and ensured that former Pomeshik-class would still benefit from its former lands while making peasantry even more poor. Here is, also, where the myth of Kulak, as "effective manager" originates among all kinds of Russian "nationalists" (and liberals) whose horizon is limited by Solzhenitsyn's a-historic molasses and ignores overwhelming documentary evidence of Russian pre-1914 agronomists, economist, scientists and military leaders about a horrendous state of Russia's peasantry.

    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly "optimistic" because the issue of emancipation remain the hottest political, economic, cultural and military issue for Russia throughout XIX and even early XX centuries. Here is what Pavel Milyukov (in accordance to Karlin's "Russian history"--really nobody) said in 1905:


    The insufficiency of food is thus … associated with an abundance of working power. To find additional food and to spend additional work in producing it, two methods are possible: either to increase the productivity of the given plot, or to increase the plot itself. But the productivity of the soil cannot be increased without new investment of capital, if even we admit, what many writers do not grant, that such increase is possible at all on lands in communal ownership and in precarious possession of the single cultivator. Now the peasant in distress does not possess any capital, and rural credit for improving land does not exist in Russia. The other, and, under existing conditions, the only possible, method, is to buy or rent additional plots of land. This has always been the most ardent desire of the peasants, and a real struggle for buying or renting land has been going on during the whole period under consideration. Owing to the large number of estates of nobles offered for sale, and also to the material help of the Peasants' Bank (since 1883), the agriculturists have succeeded in increasing the property of the peasant communes since 1875 by 10 per cent. But even though we add such land as has been purchased by individual peasants, independently of the communal allotments, which would increase the amount by another 13 per cent., this general increase of 23 per cent does not prove equal to the increase of the peasant population during the same period, which was 48 per cent, or more than double. As a result, the holdings have constantly decreased and it became necessary to rent neighboring land. This necessity has been so great, and opportunities for renting land have been so comparatively few, that rent has risen enormously. Contrary to the laws of classical economy, the rent has not only reached the amount of the "unearned increment," but has far exceeded it, swallowing up the profits and, very often, the very wages of the tenants. Such exorbitant rent may be compared to what is known to have been the case in Ireland before the great famine of 1846-47, when the competition among the tenants "reminded one of a struggle for food in a besieged city or on a ship in open sea." The same kind of competition is going on among the Russian peasants owing to the absolute insufficiency of their plots for mere subsistence. Of course, no profits are looked for from such renting, the only aim of the peasants--and the only economic explanation of the possibility of such a rent--being to apply their own and their horses' gratuitous labor to produce some more grain for their sustenance. Otherwise this possibility of subsidiary work would be lost, and both man and horse must starve. No wonder that they count their work as nothing
     
    But never mind, everything was peachy, which is precisely why RI bled white in WWI.

    P.S. I deliberately stressed the issue of mezha--those who study Russian history would know what it is.

    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines.

    Nonsense

    http://www.polit.ru/article/2010/12/10/consumlevel/#

    На этом фоне весьма показателен акцент, который А.С.Ермолов делает на том, что в Европейской России есть губернии, которые «за все годы рассматриваемого периода никаких воспособлений от правительства и из сумм общеимперского продовольственного капитала не получали. Это именно губернии: Гродненская, Ковенская, Могилевская, Московская, Подольская, Полтавская, Лифляндская, Курляндская, Эстляндская и губернии Царства Польского; на последние, впрочем, и не распространяются никакие пра­вила нашего продовольственного устава» ((Ермолов, 1909, т.2: 9)….Напомню, что именно в этих губерниях еще с конца 1870-х гг. начался стихийный процесс разверстания сотен деревень на хутора и отруба.”

    As you can see better things were in areas where were predominant (before 1862) serfdom and landlords estates

    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine

    The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten …. And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68…

    Educate http://ecsocman.hse.ru/data/011/039/1232/015Mironov_1.pdf

    Here is what Pavel Milyukov …

    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?

    бедственного положения российского крестьянства было профессией – у дореволюционной народнических публицистики и литературы и их прямой наследницы – советской историографии соответствующего спектра
    До 1917 г. истинные и мнимые бедствия крестьянства, о которых трубили народники, породившие почти всю оппозиционную литературу, как бы оправдывали борьбу с «ненавистным режимом» царизма, а после 1917 г. они стали естественным оправданием ужасов революции, гражданской войны и «обычной» советской жизни.
    В преобладающей своей части эта литература была политически ангажирована и чрезвычайно конъюнктурна и уже в силу этого в большой мере попросту недостоверна.
    Тому, кто не занимается профессионально пореформенной эпохой, чрезвычайно трудно представить степень политизированности общества того времени.
    Для «передовой» русской интеллигенции, которая скромно именовала себя «народолюбивой», притом без кавычек, борьба с «ненавистным режимом» ради грядущей Справедливости была едва ли не главной жизненной задачей (о России они не думали вовсе!). Во имя этого они были готовы на любое интеллектуальное шулерство, на какие угодно фальсификации, лишь бы это, по их мнению, шло на пользу Делу. Их сегодняшняя, выражаясь мягко, нечестность оправдывалась будущей Гармонией, суть которой, строго говоря, определяется бессмертным шариковским «Взять все, да и поделить!»
    .”

    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly “optimistic”

    Census 1858

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Nonsense
     
    What nonsense? I write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry--a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.

    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?
     
    Are you specifically pushing here even more odious people from VShE, such as Davydov? Albeit the fact of a horrendous detrimental rear-break on Russia development through peasantry is not denied even by Davydov and it is common view among odious, not so odious or even very angelic Russian economists of the time period. So, basically, you are preaching to a choir here.

    “The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten …. And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68…”
     
    My bad, you are right. Albeit I still have really big issues with resigning myself to 68 days. But it only makes an argument stronger. This is exactly what "odious" Milyukov termed as "medieval" economy, which it was.

    Census 1858
     
    I remember the other figure but it is not contentious point for me.
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  87. melanf says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world’s history went differently. Instead of “our” wars, there would be other wars (which we’ll never know)
     
    The great depression of the 1930s had nothing to do with the Russian revolution (I hope this, at least, isn't controversial?). Therefore, the only question is whether in this hypothetical universe the reaction to western economic collapse (of the 1930s) is mostly of a fascist, or communist, or some other (or mixed) nature. In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.

    In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.

    Maybe, but it would be another war (other than “our” WWII). What war – we can only fantasize. We can imagine a quick victory of Russia, but we can imagine the destruction of Russia by nuclear weapons.

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  88. @melanf

    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines.
     
    Nonsense
    http://www.polit.ru/article/2010/12/10/consumlevel/#
    "На этом фоне весьма показателен акцент, который А.С.Ермолов делает на том, что в Европейской России есть губернии, которые «за все годы рассматриваемого периода никаких воспособлений от правительства и из сумм общеимперского продовольственного капитала не получали. Это именно губернии: Гродненская, Ковенская, Могилевская, Московская, Подольская, Полтавская, Лифляндская, Курляндская, Эстляндская и губернии Царства Польского; на последние, впрочем, и не распространяются никакие пра­вила нашего продовольственного устава» ((Ермолов, 1909, т.2: 9)....Напомню, что именно в этих губерниях еще с конца 1870-х гг. начался стихийный процесс разверстания сотен деревень на хутора и отруба."

    As you can see better things were in areas where were predominant (before 1862) serfdom and landlords estates


    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine
     
    "The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten .... And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68..."

    Educate http://ecsocman.hse.ru/data/011/039/1232/015Mironov_1.pdf


    Here is what Pavel Milyukov ...
     
    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?

    "бедственного положения российского крестьянства было профессией – у дореволюционной народнических публицистики и литературы и их прямой наследницы – советской историографии соответствующего спектра
    До 1917 г. истинные и мнимые бедствия крестьянства, о которых трубили народники, породившие почти всю оппозиционную литературу, как бы оправдывали борьбу с «ненавистным режимом» царизма, а после 1917 г. они стали естественным оправданием ужасов революции, гражданской войны и «обычной» советской жизни.
    В преобладающей своей части эта литература была политически ангажирована и чрезвычайно конъюнктурна и уже в силу этого в большой мере попросту недостоверна.
    Тому, кто не занимается профессионально пореформенной эпохой, чрезвычайно трудно представить степень политизированности общества того времени.
    Для «передовой» русской интеллигенции, которая скромно именовала себя «народолюбивой», притом без кавычек, борьба с «ненавистным режимом» ради грядущей Справедливости была едва ли не главной жизненной задачей (о России они не думали вовсе!). Во имя этого они были готовы на любое интеллектуальное шулерство, на какие угодно фальсификации, лишь бы это, по их мнению, шло на пользу Делу. Их сегодняшняя, выражаясь мягко, нечестность оправдывалась будущей Гармонией, суть которой, строго говоря, определяется бессмертным шариковским «Взять все, да и поделить!»
    ."


    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly “optimistic”
     
    Census 1858

    Nonsense

    What nonsense? I write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry–a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.

    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?

    Are you specifically pushing here even more odious people from VShE, such as Davydov? Albeit the fact of a horrendous detrimental rear-break on Russia development through peasantry is not denied even by Davydov and it is common view among odious, not so odious or even very angelic Russian economists of the time period. So, basically, you are preaching to a choir here.

    “The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten …. And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68…”

    My bad, you are right. Albeit I still have really big issues with resigning myself to 68 days. But it only makes an argument stronger. This is exactly what “odious” Milyukov termed as “medieval” economy, which it was.

    Census 1858

    I remember the other figure but it is not contentious point for me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I still have really big issues with resigning myself to 68
     
    Correction--107.
    , @melanf

    write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry–a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.
     
    Moscow province - Polish peasants? In Belarus - the Polish peasants? You can add St. Petersburg and the Pskov province. Economically better developed were ex-serfdom region, not areas where there was no serfdom (which is a large part of the territory of Russia). The peasants of course were super retarded, but for reasons in no way connects back with serfdom and landlords.
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  89. @Andrei Martyanov

    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin’s regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated
     
    Let's clarify a bit: not significantly but one the order of magnitude--that matters. No, it is impossible to justify but one does not choose one's history and as such it has to have not only moral dimension, which is important, but also be very clear with facts and lessons. Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.

    this “no omelette without breaking some eggs” line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people

     

    English old proverb mis-attributed to Stalin. More valid is his, alleged expression "when someone logs forest out--chips are flying". In general, reducing everything to a single person (such as Stalin or Lenin) is a first sign, especially in Russian history, of people having no clue.

    I don’t see how AK’s line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it’s also hard to confirm with total certainty).
     
    A good, in depth excursion, into industrial engineering, machine-building and weapons' design would be a good start, not to mention many times presented here, I wonder how did you miss those, abhorring figures of Russian Empire's "industrialization" which in relative terms was actually falling behind the West, not catching up. If you can give me at least a clue how can complexities of metallurgy, radio, metrology, metal works, transportation, tactics, operational issues could be explained to humanities "educated" pretenders--please, do. I have no clue. I see most (not all) people here, including Anatoly, can not even grasp the gravity of peasant question in Russia. Just to illustrate one point: most Russian war ships in WW I, despite Popov's trailblazing in radio, were equipped with French DuCretet telegraphs and radios. No Russian ones--no any industrial base for production of capacitors or wires. No Russian produced engine or motor, no enough metal to mass-produce tanks, all few Russian aircraft, all Western-made engines. Turbines? I already published here the numbers of electricity production in RI. I may repeat again:

    Being the fifth economy in the world on the eve of the WWI couldn’t hide the fact of how remote this fifth place was from the Russia’s nearest WWI adversary: Germany. By 1913, the Russian economy, with Russia’s population around 132 million, was responsible for 4.4% of world’s industrial output, while Germany, with a population twice smaller than that of the Russian Empire, was responsible for 14.3%8. When compared to the United States’ share of global industrial output of 35.8%, with the US population being still by about 35 million smaller than that of Russian Empire, the picture becomes very grim. Even France, which had less than one third the population of Russia, held a distinct advantage over Russia having a 7% share of industrial output9. Moreover, the actual share of Russia’s industrial output was declining, even when compared to the turn of a century data for 1901. In terms of electrical energy production Russia ranked 15th in the world11. No amount of strategic brilliance or operational genius could offset the overall backwardness of Russia, since the army itself was recruited from the population which by 1913 was only 30% literate and WWI was the first global conflict in which, unlike the relatively less resource-dependent warfare of 1812, the size of industry and the ability to produce an abundance of food and machines mattered more than sheer numbers of soldiers.
     
    So, the country which even in the most basic Material Preponderance Index wouldn't qualify as a serious military force other than the size of her army gets into the war with Germany (see the numbers above) which outproduces her up to 10 fold in most military materiel and equipment and bleeds, do I miss something? OK, let's do Friday BSing, no WWI (yeah, right), anyone can give me an estimate of capital investment into required energy producing infrastructure, for starters, to get Empire from 15th place in the world to at least 5-6th? I want numbers. I want to see what capital would go into creation of the competitive machine-building complex? What would it take to create TsAGI? Just a few thought of discussing what in Soviet and Russian Armed Forces came to be known as spherical horse in vacuum. FYI, In 1918, Zhukovsky, an aerodynamics genius--a Civil War is about to get really-really hot, the country is in ruins, millions dead--gets meeting with Lenin and demands immediate financing for what becomes known globally as legendary Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute TSAGi. He tells Lenin that it is a matter of utter importance and, guess what, gets support and financing. He couldn't do it in Russian Empire, yet got it from Bolsheviks. In 1957 USSR launched first Sputnik, in 1961 Gagarin flew into space. Just one tiny example. Do you need me to write about the financial state of RI in 1910? It was living on IOUs and direct notes to banks from the Csar. I know a story of Soviet radio-electronics. I, certainly know, what it took to start to produce first resistors with capacitors in late 1930s. It would take a massive scientific treatise just to describe what would it take for Russian Empire to actually become competitive. But, obviously, very few here read Goncharov's Oblomov nort understand what that great piece of Russian literature describes. It is also not accidental that other main protagonist has a pure German name--Stoltz. But then again, I am not here to give a review of great Russian literature of 19th Century which is overwhelmingly a literature by Pomeshiks (nobility) and deals primarily with the issue of peasantry.

    P.S. See Stolypin and WHY "reforms". Without breaking peasant commune Russia was doomed.

    I am too preoccupied to write a detailed separate reply here, but would like to point out I address some of the arguments here before:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/progressive-russian-empire/#comment-2030282

    In particular:

    1. Electricity production not the best indicator seeing as how Sweden was #1 in 1913 (yes, in terms of total – was very early to develop its hydropower potential). It was a wealthy country to be sure, but hardly an industrial behemoth.

    2. There are different sources for industrial output. Bairoch (the most commonly cited) one gives the Russian Empire 8.2% of global production in 1913.

    More generally, it was falling behind Germany and the United States in the two decades before WW1. However, it was keeping pace with Japan (which was at a lower level to start with), and gaining considerably on Britain and France.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    More generally, it was falling behind Germany and the United States in the two decades before WW1. However, it was keeping pace with Japan (which was at a lower level to start with), and gaining considerably on Britain and France.
     
    Yes, that is why Russia sustained one of the most lopsided defeats in military history at Tsushima and sparked first revolution, which, if not for SRs doctrinal dullness and thus basically giving up political power in favor of doctrine, Czarism would have been gone in 1905-06. But I am sure there are many "experts" who would also explain how Tsushima had happened, they sure will find bunch of the excuses.
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  90. @Anatoly Karlin
    I am too preoccupied to write a detailed separate reply here, but would like to point out I address some of the arguments here before:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/progressive-russian-empire/#comment-2030282

    In particular:

    1. Electricity production not the best indicator seeing as how Sweden was #1 in 1913 (yes, in terms of total - was very early to develop its hydropower potential). It was a wealthy country to be sure, but hardly an industrial behemoth.

    2. There are different sources for industrial output. Bairoch (the most commonly cited) one gives the Russian Empire 8.2% of global production in 1913.

    More generally, it was falling behind Germany and the United States in the two decades before WW1. However, it was keeping pace with Japan (which was at a lower level to start with), and gaining considerably on Britain and France.

    More generally, it was falling behind Germany and the United States in the two decades before WW1. However, it was keeping pace with Japan (which was at a lower level to start with), and gaining considerably on Britain and France.

    Yes, that is why Russia sustained one of the most lopsided defeats in military history at Tsushima and sparked first revolution, which, if not for SRs doctrinal dullness and thus basically giving up political power in favor of doctrine, Czarism would have been gone in 1905-06. But I am sure there are many “experts” who would also explain how Tsushima had happened, they sure will find bunch of the excuses.

    Read More
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  91. @Andrei Martyanov

    Nonsense
     
    What nonsense? I write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry--a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.

    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?
     
    Are you specifically pushing here even more odious people from VShE, such as Davydov? Albeit the fact of a horrendous detrimental rear-break on Russia development through peasantry is not denied even by Davydov and it is common view among odious, not so odious or even very angelic Russian economists of the time period. So, basically, you are preaching to a choir here.

    “The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten …. And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68…”
     
    My bad, you are right. Albeit I still have really big issues with resigning myself to 68 days. But it only makes an argument stronger. This is exactly what "odious" Milyukov termed as "medieval" economy, which it was.

    Census 1858
     
    I remember the other figure but it is not contentious point for me.

    I still have really big issues with resigning myself to 68

    Correction–107.

    Read More
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  92. @Andrei Martyanov

    Well yes, but how could that ever justify all the repression and murder carried out by Stalin’s regime? Even if some Cold war claims by people like Robert Conquest have been proven to be significantly exaggerated
     
    Let's clarify a bit: not significantly but one the order of magnitude--that matters. No, it is impossible to justify but one does not choose one's history and as such it has to have not only moral dimension, which is important, but also be very clear with facts and lessons. Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.

    this “no omelette without breaking some eggs” line of reasoning will be morally abhorrent to many people

     

    English old proverb mis-attributed to Stalin. More valid is his, alleged expression "when someone logs forest out--chips are flying". In general, reducing everything to a single person (such as Stalin or Lenin) is a first sign, especially in Russian history, of people having no clue.

    I don’t see how AK’s line of argument that massive industrialization would have happened anyway, and that there might have been no WW2 as we know it without the coming to power of the Bolshevists in Russia can just be dismissed out of hand (obviously it’s also hard to confirm with total certainty).
     
    A good, in depth excursion, into industrial engineering, machine-building and weapons' design would be a good start, not to mention many times presented here, I wonder how did you miss those, abhorring figures of Russian Empire's "industrialization" which in relative terms was actually falling behind the West, not catching up. If you can give me at least a clue how can complexities of metallurgy, radio, metrology, metal works, transportation, tactics, operational issues could be explained to humanities "educated" pretenders--please, do. I have no clue. I see most (not all) people here, including Anatoly, can not even grasp the gravity of peasant question in Russia. Just to illustrate one point: most Russian war ships in WW I, despite Popov's trailblazing in radio, were equipped with French DuCretet telegraphs and radios. No Russian ones--no any industrial base for production of capacitors or wires. No Russian produced engine or motor, no enough metal to mass-produce tanks, all few Russian aircraft, all Western-made engines. Turbines? I already published here the numbers of electricity production in RI. I may repeat again:

    Being the fifth economy in the world on the eve of the WWI couldn’t hide the fact of how remote this fifth place was from the Russia’s nearest WWI adversary: Germany. By 1913, the Russian economy, with Russia’s population around 132 million, was responsible for 4.4% of world’s industrial output, while Germany, with a population twice smaller than that of the Russian Empire, was responsible for 14.3%8. When compared to the United States’ share of global industrial output of 35.8%, with the US population being still by about 35 million smaller than that of Russian Empire, the picture becomes very grim. Even France, which had less than one third the population of Russia, held a distinct advantage over Russia having a 7% share of industrial output9. Moreover, the actual share of Russia’s industrial output was declining, even when compared to the turn of a century data for 1901. In terms of electrical energy production Russia ranked 15th in the world11. No amount of strategic brilliance or operational genius could offset the overall backwardness of Russia, since the army itself was recruited from the population which by 1913 was only 30% literate and WWI was the first global conflict in which, unlike the relatively less resource-dependent warfare of 1812, the size of industry and the ability to produce an abundance of food and machines mattered more than sheer numbers of soldiers.
     
    So, the country which even in the most basic Material Preponderance Index wouldn't qualify as a serious military force other than the size of her army gets into the war with Germany (see the numbers above) which outproduces her up to 10 fold in most military materiel and equipment and bleeds, do I miss something? OK, let's do Friday BSing, no WWI (yeah, right), anyone can give me an estimate of capital investment into required energy producing infrastructure, for starters, to get Empire from 15th place in the world to at least 5-6th? I want numbers. I want to see what capital would go into creation of the competitive machine-building complex? What would it take to create TsAGI? Just a few thought of discussing what in Soviet and Russian Armed Forces came to be known as spherical horse in vacuum. FYI, In 1918, Zhukovsky, an aerodynamics genius--a Civil War is about to get really-really hot, the country is in ruins, millions dead--gets meeting with Lenin and demands immediate financing for what becomes known globally as legendary Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute TSAGi. He tells Lenin that it is a matter of utter importance and, guess what, gets support and financing. He couldn't do it in Russian Empire, yet got it from Bolsheviks. In 1957 USSR launched first Sputnik, in 1961 Gagarin flew into space. Just one tiny example. Do you need me to write about the financial state of RI in 1910? It was living on IOUs and direct notes to banks from the Csar. I know a story of Soviet radio-electronics. I, certainly know, what it took to start to produce first resistors with capacitors in late 1930s. It would take a massive scientific treatise just to describe what would it take for Russian Empire to actually become competitive. But, obviously, very few here read Goncharov's Oblomov nort understand what that great piece of Russian literature describes. It is also not accidental that other main protagonist has a pure German name--Stoltz. But then again, I am not here to give a review of great Russian literature of 19th Century which is overwhelmingly a literature by Pomeshiks (nobility) and deals primarily with the issue of peasantry.

    P.S. See Stolypin and WHY "reforms". Without breaking peasant commune Russia was doomed.

    Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.

    Yes, but I don’t think that’s to the credit of the French. And I think there’s an important difference between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society). And what has been confirmed as having actually happened (millions starved to death, hundreds of thousands executed in 1937/1938, millions sent to labor camps) is still pretty horrible by any standards.
    (There’s a good chance btw that Napoleon will eventually be viewed negatively as well…some “activists” have already declared him to be a kind of proto-Hitler for having reintroduced slavery in the French colonies and having allegedly ordered the “gassing” of slaves…that can’t endear his memory to the “new French”).

    could be explained to humanities “educated” pretenders–please

    I’ll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can’t read Russian, so I’m indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided…certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn’t be dismissed, but how do you explain the success of something as fraudulent as Lysenkoism? A system where something like that can flourish, and where its opponents can suffer grave personal consequences, isn’t exactly optimal for research.
    Ultimately it’s of course not my business, or that of any other foreigner, to tell Russians what they should think about their past; but positive views of Stalin and downplaying of the crimes of his regime (especially those committed against other countries like Poland and the Baltic states) cannot but severely damage Russia’s image abroad, and not just among people who would be anti-Russia anyway (though I suppose Russians won’t care about this anymore).

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror
     
    Ahem. Here is a semantics issue--a quote from one of the foremost authorities on purges in English-language world.

    Only some who lived through the period spoke of pervasive fear; others pointed to quite different themes in their experiences. In many areas of Soviet life, Stalin's power was far from complete. Neither workers nor collective farmers were totally under central control… Strong tensions and differences of opinion existed within Communist Party, even during and after the late 1930s. The party line was often unclear and sometimes was contradictory
     
    Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941. Robert W. Thurston. Yale University. 1996. Page xx.

    Again, I cannot translate here a massive body of work in Russian about realities of GULAG but, for all miscarriage of justice, outright crimes it IS NOT what it is portrayed in the West. Paradoxically, it took the collapse of the Soviet Union and opening of all archives to marginalize all kinds of Russian "dissidents" from Solzheitsyn down to level of such faux-"nationalists" as Karlin who is bound to swim on the fringes in Russia, if not worse. Per famines--no, they were not planned as some "historians" suggest, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, nor was there any Holodomor--a figment of imagination of inflamed Ukrainian svidomy braniaks, Russians also died in droves from that famine. Collectivization was not a project of REPRESSION--it was a project to finance Industrialization and even Stalin himself admitted to Churchill on his first visit to Moscow in 1942 that it was horrendous time. There is no discussion of all that without going back to Russian Empire times and, largely, to XIX century peasant issue. THE question of Russian existence since hell knows what times.

    (especially those committed against other countries like Poland
     
    I have to go with Saker in one of his good pieces that Red Army should have done everything in its power to bypass, in classic Blitzkrieg (or Deep Operation) motion and allow Nazis to do their thing in Poland. At least nobody would be complaining that the Red Army "occupied" free and prosperous Poland in 1944. I am sure Polish armed forces would have handled Wehrmacht just fine on their own.

    I’ll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can’t read Russian, so I’m indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided…certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn’t be dismissed
     
    It is more complex than that. As an example: can "economist" or "historian" in a middle-of-the-road universal sense build and organize a good sandwich place? Yes, most of the time--easy. Can, same people, build and organize manufacturing of the, say, electric motor industry? Nope, they simply have no qualifications and very serious engineering background required to do so. Yet, it is precisely this category of public, granted with some notable exceptions, which continues to express its opinions "dressed" in the form of "academic" knowledge on the whole host of substantive issues and as a result we get--Tesla, iPhones, Steve Jobses, shitty shiny expensive objects, while world continues to go to hell since it is directed there precisely by this category of public who can not even learn basic lessons from history because they have no way of establishing a causality where a completely different type of the knowledge (I am not talking about its volume) is required. We have journalists and "historians" such as Kagans writing military doctrines in US--see the results? We are living in the world which loses its cognitive faculties with a tremendous speed. One of the reason for that is this: learning history, as a truth, not some ideological BS, is not that difficult, learning system integration or operation of the nuclear power plant is a completely different set of skills. How do we reconcile all that, since both are still necessary? I don't know, I do not even pretend to know--but knowing a horrendous abyss which separates today's West and with what Russia was and is, I know it cannot continue like this since it will bring about a catastrophe. I am just trying to prevent it. Here is my statement--West in general knows shit about Russia's XX century history. I am almost finished with my manuscript.
    , @melanf

    And I think there’s an important difference between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society).
     
    Would vote in favor of Stalin. Stalin was preparing for war.

    "We are lagging behind the advanced countries in 50-100 years. We must pass this distance in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us"
    Joseph Stalin, speech on 4 February 1931

    Stalin, as we know was absolutely right. He needed to create in the shortest possible time the industrial economy (after the economic disaster which Lenin did), and for this purpose it was necessary to ruthlessly (really ruthlessly , very very ruthlessly) exploit the peasantry. Since in the Russian peasantry was considered something like the sacred cows, to suppress the resistance to the plunder and destruction of the village, it was only possible through brainwashing and terror.

    No doubt Stalin in this way went too far, but for all that, he really saved the country. Lenin for Russia, it is chemically pure evil, but to Stalin's formula can be used 70% good, 30% evil.
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  93. @Andrei Martyanov

    This is a clear myth.
     
    No, it is not. He is absolutely correct in stating that emancipation failed, in fact it never resolved the main issue of famines. At issue here is not even as you claim:

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.)
     
    Holidays, if that were the case as you state, Russia would have died out from famine long time ago and would cease to exist. But, indeed, with the issue of Tripolie which tied peasant commune to Mir-driven way of both "strips" of land distribution and mezha, and, of course, excessive birth rates--only large agricultural enterprises could solve that problem. That required a complete "re-design" of Mir, which was impossible at the level of both Russia's state-management and industry (and finances). Another horrendous issue was land-rent which, at some point of time in 1880s reached astronomical numbers, and ensured that former Pomeshik-class would still benefit from its former lands while making peasantry even more poor. Here is, also, where the myth of Kulak, as "effective manager" originates among all kinds of Russian "nationalists" (and liberals) whose horizon is limited by Solzhenitsyn's a-historic molasses and ignores overwhelming documentary evidence of Russian pre-1914 agronomists, economist, scientists and military leaders about a horrendous state of Russia's peasantry.

    P.S. I think you numbers of serfs are overly "optimistic" because the issue of emancipation remain the hottest political, economic, cultural and military issue for Russia throughout XIX and even early XX centuries. Here is what Pavel Milyukov (in accordance to Karlin's "Russian history"--really nobody) said in 1905:


    The insufficiency of food is thus … associated with an abundance of working power. To find additional food and to spend additional work in producing it, two methods are possible: either to increase the productivity of the given plot, or to increase the plot itself. But the productivity of the soil cannot be increased without new investment of capital, if even we admit, what many writers do not grant, that such increase is possible at all on lands in communal ownership and in precarious possession of the single cultivator. Now the peasant in distress does not possess any capital, and rural credit for improving land does not exist in Russia. The other, and, under existing conditions, the only possible, method, is to buy or rent additional plots of land. This has always been the most ardent desire of the peasants, and a real struggle for buying or renting land has been going on during the whole period under consideration. Owing to the large number of estates of nobles offered for sale, and also to the material help of the Peasants' Bank (since 1883), the agriculturists have succeeded in increasing the property of the peasant communes since 1875 by 10 per cent. But even though we add such land as has been purchased by individual peasants, independently of the communal allotments, which would increase the amount by another 13 per cent., this general increase of 23 per cent does not prove equal to the increase of the peasant population during the same period, which was 48 per cent, or more than double. As a result, the holdings have constantly decreased and it became necessary to rent neighboring land. This necessity has been so great, and opportunities for renting land have been so comparatively few, that rent has risen enormously. Contrary to the laws of classical economy, the rent has not only reached the amount of the "unearned increment," but has far exceeded it, swallowing up the profits and, very often, the very wages of the tenants. Such exorbitant rent may be compared to what is known to have been the case in Ireland before the great famine of 1846-47, when the competition among the tenants "reminded one of a struggle for food in a besieged city or on a ship in open sea." The same kind of competition is going on among the Russian peasants owing to the absolute insufficiency of their plots for mere subsistence. Of course, no profits are looked for from such renting, the only aim of the peasants--and the only economic explanation of the possibility of such a rent--being to apply their own and their horses' gratuitous labor to produce some more grain for their sustenance. Otherwise this possibility of subsidiary work would be lost, and both man and horse must starve. No wonder that they count their work as nothing
     
    But never mind, everything was peachy, which is precisely why RI bled white in WWI.

    P.S. I deliberately stressed the issue of mezha--those who study Russian history would know what it is.

    Thankyou for your comments. You are a valuable contributor to this debate.

    I give advice on export to and investment in Russia. I live in the UK but my firm is based in Saratov. I live there months at a time. I employ people. One of my specialities is agriculture. I have been to Balashov. Brezhnev was still on television. I have been to remote villages on the Black Earth where most people still keep 12 pigs on the other side of the yard. They also spoke Ukrainian deep inside Russia. (I am told it is not very good Ukrainian). I also read books on Imperial Russia written by other foreigners who actually lived there.

    The “to this day” remark has a specific problem in mind. After emancipation, serfs were still obliged to pay tax as a community. A serf working in St Petersburg was still part of the Mir. This carried on. Now it affects ownership rights. People who left the Kholkhoz 40 years ago can still claim a share of the land. So it is difficult to buy the land of a Kholkhoz. Every member must be traced and must agree. This is an inheritance of taxing the MIR not the individual. I have other comments about rich peasants and the suspicion that priests are greedy but this is enough.

    Anatoly does an excellent job of identifying and working on data to present it. I usually end up with a different viewpoint but he makes a unique and informed contribution to debates on Russia. I am sure you agree.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Anatoly does an excellent job of identifying and working on data to present it. I usually end up with a different viewpoint but he makes a unique and informed contribution to debates on Russia. I am sure you agree.
     
    Not on this statement of yours;-) Per the rest--Soviet and contemporary Russian literature have a major school called Pochvinechestvo (from Pochva--ground, earth), which still thrives today and which still is rooted in Mir. It is still there, albeit today on a much smaller scale than it was even in Shukshin times.
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  94. @German_reader

    Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.
     
    Yes, but I don't think that's to the credit of the French. And I think there's an important difference between Napoleon's wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin's projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society). And what has been confirmed as having actually happened (millions starved to death, hundreds of thousands executed in 1937/1938, millions sent to labor camps) is still pretty horrible by any standards.
    (There's a good chance btw that Napoleon will eventually be viewed negatively as well...some "activists" have already declared him to be a kind of proto-Hitler for having reintroduced slavery in the French colonies and having allegedly ordered the "gassing" of slaves...that can't endear his memory to the "new French").

    could be explained to humanities “educated” pretenders–please
     
    I'll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can't read Russian, so I'm indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided...certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn't be dismissed, but how do you explain the success of something as fraudulent as Lysenkoism? A system where something like that can flourish, and where its opponents can suffer grave personal consequences, isn't exactly optimal for research.
    Ultimately it's of course not my business, or that of any other foreigner, to tell Russians what they should think about their past; but positive views of Stalin and downplaying of the crimes of his regime (especially those committed against other countries like Poland and the Baltic states) cannot but severely damage Russia's image abroad, and not just among people who would be anti-Russia anyway (though I suppose Russians won't care about this anymore).

    between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror

    Ahem. Here is a semantics issue–a quote from one of the foremost authorities on purges in English-language world.

    Only some who lived through the period spoke of pervasive fear; others pointed to quite different themes in their experiences. In many areas of Soviet life, Stalin’s power was far from complete. Neither workers nor collective farmers were totally under central control… Strong tensions and differences of opinion existed within Communist Party, even during and after the late 1930s. The party line was often unclear and sometimes was contradictory

    Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. Robert W. Thurston. Yale University. 1996. Page xx.

    Again, I cannot translate here a massive body of work in Russian about realities of GULAG but, for all miscarriage of justice, outright crimes it IS NOT what it is portrayed in the West. Paradoxically, it took the collapse of the Soviet Union and opening of all archives to marginalize all kinds of Russian “dissidents” from Solzheitsyn down to level of such faux-”nationalists” as Karlin who is bound to swim on the fringes in Russia, if not worse. Per famines–no, they were not planned as some “historians” suggest, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, nor was there any Holodomor–a figment of imagination of inflamed Ukrainian svidomy braniaks, Russians also died in droves from that famine. Collectivization was not a project of REPRESSION–it was a project to finance Industrialization and even Stalin himself admitted to Churchill on his first visit to Moscow in 1942 that it was horrendous time. There is no discussion of all that without going back to Russian Empire times and, largely, to XIX century peasant issue. THE question of Russian existence since hell knows what times.

    (especially those committed against other countries like Poland

    I have to go with Saker in one of his good pieces that Red Army should have done everything in its power to bypass, in classic Blitzkrieg (or Deep Operation) motion and allow Nazis to do their thing in Poland. At least nobody would be complaining that the Red Army “occupied” free and prosperous Poland in 1944. I am sure Polish armed forces would have handled Wehrmacht just fine on their own.

    I’ll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can’t read Russian, so I’m indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided…certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn’t be dismissed

    It is more complex than that. As an example: can “economist” or “historian” in a middle-of-the-road universal sense build and organize a good sandwich place? Yes, most of the time–easy. Can, same people, build and organize manufacturing of the, say, electric motor industry? Nope, they simply have no qualifications and very serious engineering background required to do so. Yet, it is precisely this category of public, granted with some notable exceptions, which continues to express its opinions “dressed” in the form of “academic” knowledge on the whole host of substantive issues and as a result we get–Tesla, iPhones, Steve Jobses, shitty shiny expensive objects, while world continues to go to hell since it is directed there precisely by this category of public who can not even learn basic lessons from history because they have no way of establishing a causality where a completely different type of the knowledge (I am not talking about its volume) is required. We have journalists and “historians” such as Kagans writing military doctrines in US–see the results? We are living in the world which loses its cognitive faculties with a tremendous speed. One of the reason for that is this: learning history, as a truth, not some ideological BS, is not that difficult, learning system integration or operation of the nuclear power plant is a completely different set of skills. How do we reconcile all that, since both are still necessary? I don’t know, I do not even pretend to know–but knowing a horrendous abyss which separates today’s West and with what Russia was and is, I know it cannot continue like this since it will bring about a catastrophe. I am just trying to prevent it. Here is my statement–West in general knows shit about Russia’s XX century history. I am almost finished with my manuscript.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Neither workers nor collective farmers were totally under central control… Strong tensions and differences of opinion existed within Communist Party, even during and after the late 1930s. The party line was often unclear and sometimes was contradictory
     
    Well yes, there certainly is some scope for revisionism, I don't doubt that the traditional Western view of life in the Soviet Union may have been inaccurate in many ways, and that the reality may have often been more complex than just one of pervasive state terror. I also don't believe there was a "Holodomor" in the sense of a planned genocide against Ukrainians (and most Western scholars wouldn't claim that imo), and indeed people died of famine in Russia (and places like Kazakhstan) as well...but those famines still were a result of state policy, they didn't just happen for natural reasons. And as for the Great Terror, it seems to be established beyond doubt, that there were hundreds of thousands of executions (well over half a million) just in 1937/1938. That may not be exactly a unique crime (iirc the number of communists and left-wingers killed in Indonesia in 1965 may be of similar magnitude), but still, there's something deeply wrong imo with a system that executes hundreds of thousands of its own citizens, in peacetime at that.

    I have to go with Saker in one of his good pieces that Red Army should have done everything in its power to bypass, in classic Blitzkrieg (or Deep Operation) motion and allow Nazis to do their thing in Poland. At least nobody would be complaining that the Red Army “occupied” free and prosperous Poland in 1944. I am sure Polish armed forces would have handled Wehrmacht just fine on their own.
     
    I have to admit I don't really understand the position of many Russians on this issue; yes, of course the Red Army did indeed liberate Poland in the sense that a Soviet victory was infinitely better for Poles than the racial terror of the Nazis was. But still, the Soviet Union had occupied parts of Poland in 1939-1941, exercised severe repression during that time (including the mass murder of parts of Poland's elite at Katyn and other sites), and then from 1944 onwards installed a communist system which most Poles didn't want and which included such highlights as show trials and executions of Polish Home army officers. How can you expect people not to feel at least some resentment over something like this?

    We have journalists and “historians” such as Kagans writing military doctrines in US–see the results? We are living in the world which loses its cognitive faculties with a tremendous speed.
     
    I think you're certainly on to something here, the quality of Western "elites" has indeed become shockingly bad, with all manner of grotesque mistakes being made and wishful thinking and ideological fantasies replacing serious analysis (maybe comparable in some ways to the contrast Correlli Barnett whom you admire iirc drew between Britain's elite in the 18th and 20th centuries). I don't understand the reasons for it, but it's very disturbing.

    I don’t know, I do not even pretend to know–but knowing a horrendous abyss which separates today’s West and with what Russia was and is, I know it cannot continue like this since it will bring about a catastrophe.
     
    I fear that as well; hopefully it can be averted.
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  95. @melanf

    Russia was restrained, compared to say Japan, by a failed emancipation of the serfs.
     
    This is a clear myth. Serfs in 1858, was 36% of the population (de facto 15%), and 45% were free peasants who worked on their land. Moreover, a large part of the territory of Russia did not know of serfdom and landlords, and was the land of free peasants. However, there was no significant difference (economic or cultural) between the "free" areas and "feudal" .

    The root of all evil is the peasants themselves and their way of life (260 holidays of the year, the biggest birth rate in Europe, etc., etc.). Interestingly, according to the memoirs of the writer Gleb Uspensky, serfs different from free peasants for the better (were more hardworking and more independent)

    Andrei has said much in more detail than I could. I will add that the 15% doesn’t include state peasants. Some will count them as serfs. Some will not.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    I will add that the 15% doesn’t include state peasants. Some will count them as serfs. Some will not.
     
    The state peasants under the laws of the Russian Empire "free rural inhabitants" (свободные сельские обыватели).
    The total number of serfs (de jure) in 1858 ( in "proper" Russia without the former Polish lands, the Caucasus, Finland, etc.) 36% of the population, not 15%
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  96. @Philip Owen
    Thankyou for your comments. You are a valuable contributor to this debate.

    I give advice on export to and investment in Russia. I live in the UK but my firm is based in Saratov. I live there months at a time. I employ people. One of my specialities is agriculture. I have been to Balashov. Brezhnev was still on television. I have been to remote villages on the Black Earth where most people still keep 12 pigs on the other side of the yard. They also spoke Ukrainian deep inside Russia. (I am told it is not very good Ukrainian). I also read books on Imperial Russia written by other foreigners who actually lived there.

    The "to this day" remark has a specific problem in mind. After emancipation, serfs were still obliged to pay tax as a community. A serf working in St Petersburg was still part of the Mir. This carried on. Now it affects ownership rights. People who left the Kholkhoz 40 years ago can still claim a share of the land. So it is difficult to buy the land of a Kholkhoz. Every member must be traced and must agree. This is an inheritance of taxing the MIR not the individual. I have other comments about rich peasants and the suspicion that priests are greedy but this is enough.

    Anatoly does an excellent job of identifying and working on data to present it. I usually end up with a different viewpoint but he makes a unique and informed contribution to debates on Russia. I am sure you agree.

    Anatoly does an excellent job of identifying and working on data to present it. I usually end up with a different viewpoint but he makes a unique and informed contribution to debates on Russia. I am sure you agree.

    Not on this statement of yours;-) Per the rest–Soviet and contemporary Russian literature have a major school called Pochvinechestvo (from Pochva–ground, earth), which still thrives today and which still is rooted in Mir. It is still there, albeit today on a much smaller scale than it was even in Shukshin times.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    Per the rest–Soviet and contemporary Russian literature have a major school called Pochvinechestvo
     
    Look at the shelves of bookstores shows that the number of people willing to masturbate on peasants (the carriers of spiritual values, according to the pochvennichestvo, in contrast to the immoral citizens) is very negligible.

    But the "Orcs vs elves" is a really popular modern Russian literature. And it's good that people are reading normal recreational reading, not a dull nagging on "social" topics
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  97. @Mao Cheng Ji

    If not for the revolution of 1917, all the world’s history went differently. Instead of “our” wars, there would be other wars (which we’ll never know)
     
    The great depression of the 1930s had nothing to do with the Russian revolution (I hope this, at least, isn't controversial?). Therefore, the only question is whether in this hypothetical universe the reaction to western economic collapse (of the 1930s) is mostly of a fascist, or communist, or some other (or mixed) nature. In any case, another world war (centered in Europe) appears unavoidable. Frankly, Germany (will allies) invading Russia seems like the most obvious scenario in any hypothetical universe.

    On the other hand, it can be argued that the withdrawal of one of the two successful “catch up” economies of the first half of the 20th C, the other being Japan, was a withdrawal of demand that might have lessened the effect of the Crash. But a better Tsar in 1905 was probably the really critical point.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    On the other hand, it can be argued that the withdrawal of one of the two successful “catch up” economies of the first half of the 20th C, the other being Japan, was a withdrawal of demand that might have lessened the effect of the Crash.
     
    But in fact the USSR did help, buying industrial supplies and even accepting a part of western unemployed labor force as immigrants (from Germany, Finland, and even many Americans). Had it been, instead, Russian empire, integrated into capitalist world economy, I suspect it would've had a colossal collapse. In any capitalist crisis, peripheral economies typically suffer most.
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  98. @Andrei Martyanov

    between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror
     
    Ahem. Here is a semantics issue--a quote from one of the foremost authorities on purges in English-language world.

    Only some who lived through the period spoke of pervasive fear; others pointed to quite different themes in their experiences. In many areas of Soviet life, Stalin's power was far from complete. Neither workers nor collective farmers were totally under central control… Strong tensions and differences of opinion existed within Communist Party, even during and after the late 1930s. The party line was often unclear and sometimes was contradictory
     
    Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941. Robert W. Thurston. Yale University. 1996. Page xx.

    Again, I cannot translate here a massive body of work in Russian about realities of GULAG but, for all miscarriage of justice, outright crimes it IS NOT what it is portrayed in the West. Paradoxically, it took the collapse of the Soviet Union and opening of all archives to marginalize all kinds of Russian "dissidents" from Solzheitsyn down to level of such faux-"nationalists" as Karlin who is bound to swim on the fringes in Russia, if not worse. Per famines--no, they were not planned as some "historians" suggest, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, nor was there any Holodomor--a figment of imagination of inflamed Ukrainian svidomy braniaks, Russians also died in droves from that famine. Collectivization was not a project of REPRESSION--it was a project to finance Industrialization and even Stalin himself admitted to Churchill on his first visit to Moscow in 1942 that it was horrendous time. There is no discussion of all that without going back to Russian Empire times and, largely, to XIX century peasant issue. THE question of Russian existence since hell knows what times.

    (especially those committed against other countries like Poland
     
    I have to go with Saker in one of his good pieces that Red Army should have done everything in its power to bypass, in classic Blitzkrieg (or Deep Operation) motion and allow Nazis to do their thing in Poland. At least nobody would be complaining that the Red Army "occupied" free and prosperous Poland in 1944. I am sure Polish armed forces would have handled Wehrmacht just fine on their own.

    I’ll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can’t read Russian, so I’m indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided…certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn’t be dismissed
     
    It is more complex than that. As an example: can "economist" or "historian" in a middle-of-the-road universal sense build and organize a good sandwich place? Yes, most of the time--easy. Can, same people, build and organize manufacturing of the, say, electric motor industry? Nope, they simply have no qualifications and very serious engineering background required to do so. Yet, it is precisely this category of public, granted with some notable exceptions, which continues to express its opinions "dressed" in the form of "academic" knowledge on the whole host of substantive issues and as a result we get--Tesla, iPhones, Steve Jobses, shitty shiny expensive objects, while world continues to go to hell since it is directed there precisely by this category of public who can not even learn basic lessons from history because they have no way of establishing a causality where a completely different type of the knowledge (I am not talking about its volume) is required. We have journalists and "historians" such as Kagans writing military doctrines in US--see the results? We are living in the world which loses its cognitive faculties with a tremendous speed. One of the reason for that is this: learning history, as a truth, not some ideological BS, is not that difficult, learning system integration or operation of the nuclear power plant is a completely different set of skills. How do we reconcile all that, since both are still necessary? I don't know, I do not even pretend to know--but knowing a horrendous abyss which separates today's West and with what Russia was and is, I know it cannot continue like this since it will bring about a catastrophe. I am just trying to prevent it. Here is my statement--West in general knows shit about Russia's XX century history. I am almost finished with my manuscript.

    Neither workers nor collective farmers were totally under central control… Strong tensions and differences of opinion existed within Communist Party, even during and after the late 1930s. The party line was often unclear and sometimes was contradictory

    Well yes, there certainly is some scope for revisionism, I don’t doubt that the traditional Western view of life in the Soviet Union may have been inaccurate in many ways, and that the reality may have often been more complex than just one of pervasive state terror. I also don’t believe there was a “Holodomor” in the sense of a planned genocide against Ukrainians (and most Western scholars wouldn’t claim that imo), and indeed people died of famine in Russia (and places like Kazakhstan) as well…but those famines still were a result of state policy, they didn’t just happen for natural reasons. And as for the Great Terror, it seems to be established beyond doubt, that there were hundreds of thousands of executions (well over half a million) just in 1937/1938. That may not be exactly a unique crime (iirc the number of communists and left-wingers killed in Indonesia in 1965 may be of similar magnitude), but still, there’s something deeply wrong imo with a system that executes hundreds of thousands of its own citizens, in peacetime at that.

    I have to go with Saker in one of his good pieces that Red Army should have done everything in its power to bypass, in classic Blitzkrieg (or Deep Operation) motion and allow Nazis to do their thing in Poland. At least nobody would be complaining that the Red Army “occupied” free and prosperous Poland in 1944. I am sure Polish armed forces would have handled Wehrmacht just fine on their own.

    I have to admit I don’t really understand the position of many Russians on this issue; yes, of course the Red Army did indeed liberate Poland in the sense that a Soviet victory was infinitely better for Poles than the racial terror of the Nazis was. But still, the Soviet Union had occupied parts of Poland in 1939-1941, exercised severe repression during that time (including the mass murder of parts of Poland’s elite at Katyn and other sites), and then from 1944 onwards installed a communist system which most Poles didn’t want and which included such highlights as show trials and executions of Polish Home army officers. How can you expect people not to feel at least some resentment over something like this?

    We have journalists and “historians” such as Kagans writing military doctrines in US–see the results? We are living in the world which loses its cognitive faculties with a tremendous speed.

    I think you’re certainly on to something here, the quality of Western “elites” has indeed become shockingly bad, with all manner of grotesque mistakes being made and wishful thinking and ideological fantasies replacing serious analysis (maybe comparable in some ways to the contrast Correlli Barnett whom you admire iirc drew between Britain’s elite in the 18th and 20th centuries). I don’t understand the reasons for it, but it’s very disturbing.

    I don’t know, I do not even pretend to know–but knowing a horrendous abyss which separates today’s West and with what Russia was and is, I know it cannot continue like this since it will bring about a catastrophe.

    I fear that as well; hopefully it can be averted.

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  99. Yevardian says:
    @German_reader

    The cultural influence of video games is massive, and growing
     
    It was much less so in the 1980s though (and the games then available are primitive by today's standards), I think it makes little sense to criticize the Soviet Union for not having produced a video games industry. Its general failure regarding microchips, computer technology etc. is another matter of course.
    Besides, let's be honest here: Video games may be influential, but there may well be good grounds for regarding that as a sign of decadence and general alienation in modern societies. They're not a sign of a confident and serious civilization (and I know them...have played far too many of them myself).

    Well.. AKarlin thought Doom 4 was a good game, so I don’t know how much to weigh his opinion on the matter. Anyway, although like most men under 40, I still enjoy them, it’s a bit of a stretch to call them ‘cultural output’.

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    Even Doom 1 wasn't a good game.

    I hate first person shooters. It is such a boring, played out genre. After Doom or whatever the first big FPS was, no other FPS should have ever been made.

    The truth is that the peak of video games really was with the Nintendo side scrollers in the late 80's, early 90's. The Mega Man series, Batman, Castlevania, the Ninja Gaiden series and Metroid were gaming at it's best. There were also some great non side scrolling games like Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy.

    In the so called "16 bit era" (more properly referred to 4th generation) they really built on what the previous generation had done, and then in the 5th generation we launched into the future. But ever since the 5th gen began in the mid 90s. there really hasn't been any meaningful progress, other than the way sports games progressed in the 6th gen.

    Bottom line, gaming is stupid unless it is retro games and even that gets old really fast. The late 80's and early 90's are gone forever and you can't go back in time. Anybody who is into video games should get a new hobby.
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  100. I have to admit I don’t really understand the position of many Russians on this issue; yes, of course the Red Army did indeed liberate Poland in the sense that a Soviet victory was infinitely better for Poles than the racial terror of the Nazis was.

    Poles overwhelmingly preferred Nazi rule to Soviet rule.

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    I doubt that's correct, the Germans killed many more Poles than the Soviets did, planned a future for them as basically helots and had no intention of allowing any form of Polish state to exist. People's Poland, while obviously a Soviet satellite, wasn't comparable to this in any way.
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  101. @Yevardian
    Well.. AKarlin thought Doom 4 was a good game, so I don't know how much to weigh his opinion on the matter. Anyway, although like most men under 40, I still enjoy them, it's a bit of a stretch to call them 'cultural output'.

    Even Doom 1 wasn’t a good game.

    I hate first person shooters. It is such a boring, played out genre. After Doom or whatever the first big FPS was, no other FPS should have ever been made.

    The truth is that the peak of video games really was with the Nintendo side scrollers in the late 80′s, early 90′s. The Mega Man series, Batman, Castlevania, the Ninja Gaiden series and Metroid were gaming at it’s best. There were also some great non side scrolling games like Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy.

    In the so called “16 bit era” (more properly referred to 4th generation) they really built on what the previous generation had done, and then in the 5th generation we launched into the future. But ever since the 5th gen began in the mid 90s. there really hasn’t been any meaningful progress, other than the way sports games progressed in the 6th gen.

    Bottom line, gaming is stupid unless it is retro games and even that gets old really fast. The late 80′s and early 90′s are gone forever and you can’t go back in time. Anybody who is into video games should get a new hobby.

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  102. ussr andy says:

    META
    a comment of mine is in the spam filter. please leave it there, it wasn’t that good, anyway.

    AK: I though it was just fine but… okay. :) Incidentally, you mentioned Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies in your spammed comment. Great book, have read it and even once had a review of it on my site, though I deleted it for some reason. I should dig it up and restore it.

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  103. @Greasy William

    I have to admit I don’t really understand the position of many Russians on this issue; yes, of course the Red Army did indeed liberate Poland in the sense that a Soviet victory was infinitely better for Poles than the racial terror of the Nazis was.
     
    Poles overwhelmingly preferred Nazi rule to Soviet rule.

    I doubt that’s correct, the Germans killed many more Poles than the Soviets did, planned a future for them as basically helots and had no intention of allowing any form of Polish state to exist. People’s Poland, while obviously a Soviet satellite, wasn’t comparable to this in any way.

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  104. ussr andy says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Very superficial analysis
     
    Anatoly, you have to understand one very simple fact--you are not Russian, you are a product of American cultural milieu (especially its SF "version") and American "education" so you lack what matters most--understanding. You have a lot of (much of it bad) information and very little knowledge. It IS expected from American "educational" product, especially NOT in any practical field. If you use this:

    far less than Prosvirnin’s and Kholmogorov’s influence; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn’t make Russia’s top 100 politologists.
     
    And internet "quotability" as a criteria of knowledge, let alone understanding of something--sorry, you are in a wrong field, as most of your posts related to war, warfare, military power, politcal and economic power so profoundly demonstrate. No, Narochnitskaya actually nails it here and it has nothing to do with whatever "politology" so called profession is or how many times she is quoted. I can give you more politologists in Russia, from Satanovsky, to Ishenko, to Kulikov, to Mikheev who make your Prosvirnin (a shyster and faux-intellectual) together with Kholmogorov look like a third-year students of some humanities faculty from some backwater humanitarian university in Kazakhstan. Well, they are. That is if you don't like Narochnitskaya, which is fine with me. Other names will do.

    That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.
     
    Oh no, they are very Russian and are based on education, experiences and knowledge which are beyond your grasp. That is the point. I do have enough taste and upbringing not to pretend to be something that I am not, not to speak keeping opinions to myself on the issues I have no clue about. Again, if Prosvirnin or Kholmogorov are your intellectual and "academic" level--expect to be called out on any issue related to the Russian history of the XX century. I know, it is not going to be pleasant but it is what it is.

    here’s a bit more measured and shorter version of the comment that got removed by the spam filter (no hyperlinks, too)

    Anatoly, you have to understand one very simple fact–you are not Russian, you are a product of American cultural milieu

    he may not get Russia but Russia doesn’t get the world.

    how many Russians know what Virtue Signalling is? there was the “Tajik girl” incident but no Russian Steve Sailer to coin the term “Hate hoax.” There’s a culture war raging (what with all the talk of nebydlo and vatniks) but no-one calls it such. How many Russians get race? Not many, given that Russian propaganda efforts are still in that 60′s “you’re lynching negroes” mode.

    Read Sailer and try to mentally translate his stuff into Russian (Russia has all the same problems, modulo race.) But you can’t (I can’t), such is the conceptual gap.

    Most people but Russians especially lack the mental tools to see through the liberal POZ.

    The transformation of left-wing thought from a blue-collar ideology that used to be concerned with things like anti-trust, polluition etc into a corporation-friendly post-democratic identity-politics POZ happened in ALL countries and Russia won’t be an exception.

    So Russians should from Sailer, Karlin etc while they still have time.

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    How many Russians get race? Not many, given that Russian propaganda efforts are still in that 60′s “you’re lynching negroes” mode.
     
    The reason is not propaganda, but the futility of the American racial divide for Russia. The black population in Russia is absent, and a few true "Asian" (I don't mean migrants from Uzbekistan, but native Russian "Asian") do not differ from "whites" in anything (except the appearance). This population is divided not on racial, but on other criteria.
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  105. ussr andy says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I think AK is right about this
     
    I have a diametrically opposite view maybe because I know about Russia's history of XX century teeny-weeny, just very slightly more than Karlin or his idols, this is not to mention their utter illiteracy on military-political and geopolitical issues, things which define the world--that is why Karlin avoids any discussion on substance. I already presented Narochnitskaya's superb summary of the phenomenon. A crucible of the modern Civilization, as we know it today, in 2017, is on the battlefields of WW II. One doesn't know (emphasis on knowledge, not on "being informed") those events--one will not understand today's world. This is not a theorem--this is axiom. This is also how "elites" talk and think, admittedly with allowances for personal arrogance and egos, but one has to know subject matter. Anatoly doesn't--I already told him so.

    But I really find it beyond tragic that so many Russians defend Lenin, Stalin and what they stood for
     
    I am no Stalinist, I love myself good productive capitalism and, ever diminishing sadly, liberties which it used to provide in post-WW II period and mostly in US which was never touched by war in modern history. This period grows to a close. You are, of course, free to partake in Karlin's "version" of Russian history but I can assure you that overwhelming majority of Russian people would be really surprised to learn that defending the history of their own people they "defend" Stalin. Karlin, being a product of US humanities "education", and being very young man, is inevitably afflicted by Manichean view of the world, plus he doesn't know Russian people, their culture and it shows with him drawing a bad caricature on Russia. I, however, may only continue to recite Sir Bernard Pares on Russia:

    "Irresponsible criticism is generally-self confident; but no one cares to be told:" I am holier than thou", especially by anyone who doesn't know his facts... And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia....This gap has to be filled, or will it cost us dear."
     
    Karlin doesn't know his facts, but, as I stated above, you are, certainly free, to partake in his meme-reduced history if it suites you. What Stalin "stood for", however, requires a very serious discussion across the whole spectrum of Russian state's activities with the use of verifiable and reliable data--this is not the case here. As (admittedly quote being mis-attributed) Churchill stated:"when Stalin came to power, Russians were using wooden plows. When his rule ended, the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. "(c). One cannot build a viable argumentation on myths but that is what Anatoly is doing.

    plus he doesn’t know Russian people,

    that’s Saïd-type stuff.
    —————————————————
    Mass killings are, above all, a failure of governance.
    But they needed them to keep the country from being picked apart by foreign interventionists?
    Well, to get to that point, given Russia’s resources, is a failure of governance, too.

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    that’s Saïd-type stuff.
     
    Sure, with one difference--Russia is not Arab satrapy and has the ability to wipe anyone off he map. So, it is one thing applying Said's (false) Orientalism parallels to some backwater shitholes totally another doing the same to Russia. So, why don't you read Sir Bernard Pares' conclusion. But yes, you just confirmed the whole shallowness and superficiality of the "humanities" field ping-pong with a huge number of "concepts" practically none of which has any relation to real world. Per your:

    Russia not getting the world(c). Sure, the world really made sure of that. But in general, you driveled a classic platitude.
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  106. melanf says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Nonsense
     
    What nonsense? I write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry--a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.

    Are you specifically looking for super odious person?
     
    Are you specifically pushing here even more odious people from VShE, such as Davydov? Albeit the fact of a horrendous detrimental rear-break on Russia development through peasantry is not denied even by Davydov and it is common view among odious, not so odious or even very angelic Russian economists of the time period. So, basically, you are preaching to a choir here.

    “The peasantry on the eve of the abolition of serfdom worked in the year 135 days and the landowner, for themselves, and no longer worked. Moreover, the Rural community was sure that all peasants complied with the custom of the holidays. Offenders were beaten …. And after the liberation the number of working days has decreased. In 1872 the number of working days amounted to 125, and in 1902 — 107. In 1913 Russian peasants had 140 public holidays and Sundays, and American farmers — 68…”
     
    My bad, you are right. Albeit I still have really big issues with resigning myself to 68 days. But it only makes an argument stronger. This is exactly what "odious" Milyukov termed as "medieval" economy, which it was.

    Census 1858
     
    I remember the other figure but it is not contentious point for me.

    write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry–a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.

    Moscow province – Polish peasants? In Belarus – the Polish peasants? You can add St. Petersburg and the Pskov province. Economically better developed were ex-serfdom region, not areas where there was no serfdom (which is a large part of the territory of Russia). The peasants of course were super retarded, but for reasons in no way connects back with serfdom and landlords.

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    Moscow province – Polish peasants?
     
    Лифляндская, Курляндская, Эстляндская и губернии Царства Польского (c) I don't know, I kinda read по слогам but sure as hell, as the last several hundred years testify--there were some few Polish peasants on the lands of Polish Kingdom. I omit here the issue of Belarus, you know, where Adam Miskiewics was born (wink, wink) to avoid a possible shitstorm here. But it seems you either really do not express you point properly and merely copy and paste all kinds of snippets, including from dubious "history", such as Davydov's (it is expected from a man with Ph.D. Thesis titled "Production of Sugar in Russian Empire"--that surely qualifies him to speak out on WWI) or you simply in it for the hell of it.

    The peasants of course were super retarded, but for reasons in no way connects back with serfdom and landlords.
     
    Really? And I thought that Tripolie and medieval practices of agriculture had something, really small, almost imperceptible to do with namely land-owners, serfdom and the complex or rather lack thereof of skills required to cultivate and work land in accordance to modern practices. Have you ever worked on any manufacturing or in any other productive field, especially dealing with machinery? "Retardation" of peasants has everything to do with that. Or, using more "scientific" terminology--a Method of Production, which is defined by Productive Forces and Productive Relations which derive from those forces.

    Your statement on Pochvinechestvo I will leave without any response--you simply have no idea what are you talking about. Again, most likely you are some kind of Russian young urbanite.
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  107. melanf says:
    @Philip Owen
    Andrei has said much in more detail than I could. I will add that the 15% doesn't include state peasants. Some will count them as serfs. Some will not.

    I will add that the 15% doesn’t include state peasants. Some will count them as serfs. Some will not.

    The state peasants under the laws of the Russian Empire “free rural inhabitants” (свободные сельские обыватели).
    The total number of serfs (de jure) in 1858 ( in “proper” Russia without the former Polish lands, the Caucasus, Finland, etc.) 36% of the population, not 15%

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  108. melanf says:
    @ussr andy
    here's a bit more measured and shorter version of the comment that got removed by the spam filter (no hyperlinks, too)

    Anatoly, you have to understand one very simple fact–you are not Russian, you are a product of American cultural milieu
     
    he may not get Russia but Russia doesn't get the world.

    how many Russians know what Virtue Signalling is? there was the "Tajik girl" incident but no Russian Steve Sailer to coin the term "Hate hoax." There's a culture war raging (what with all the talk of nebydlo and vatniks) but no-one calls it such. How many Russians get race? Not many, given that Russian propaganda efforts are still in that 60's "you're lynching negroes" mode.

    Read Sailer and try to mentally translate his stuff into Russian (Russia has all the same problems, modulo race.) But you can't (I can't), such is the conceptual gap.

    Most people but Russians especially lack the mental tools to see through the liberal POZ.

    The transformation of left-wing thought from a blue-collar ideology that used to be concerned with things like anti-trust, polluition etc into a corporation-friendly post-democratic identity-politics POZ happened in ALL countries and Russia won't be an exception.

    So Russians should from Sailer, Karlin etc while they still have time.

    How many Russians get race? Not many, given that Russian propaganda efforts are still in that 60′s “you’re lynching negroes” mode.

    The reason is not propaganda, but the futility of the American racial divide for Russia. The black population in Russia is absent, and a few true “Asian” (I don’t mean migrants from Uzbekistan, but native Russian “Asian”) do not differ from “whites” in anything (except the appearance). This population is divided not on racial, but on other criteria.

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  109. melanf says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Anatoly does an excellent job of identifying and working on data to present it. I usually end up with a different viewpoint but he makes a unique and informed contribution to debates on Russia. I am sure you agree.
     
    Not on this statement of yours;-) Per the rest--Soviet and contemporary Russian literature have a major school called Pochvinechestvo (from Pochva--ground, earth), which still thrives today and which still is rooted in Mir. It is still there, albeit today on a much smaller scale than it was even in Shukshin times.

    Per the rest–Soviet and contemporary Russian literature have a major school called Pochvinechestvo

    Look at the shelves of bookstores shows that the number of people willing to masturbate on peasants (the carriers of spiritual values, according to the pochvennichestvo, in contrast to the immoral citizens) is very negligible.

    But the “Orcs vs elves” is a really popular modern Russian literature. And it’s good that people are reading normal recreational reading, not a dull nagging on “social” topics

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  110. melanf says:
    @German_reader

    Napoleon murdered millions of people, guess where is he buried today? And how he is revered.
     
    Yes, but I don't think that's to the credit of the French. And I think there's an important difference between Napoleon's wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin's projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society). And what has been confirmed as having actually happened (millions starved to death, hundreds of thousands executed in 1937/1938, millions sent to labor camps) is still pretty horrible by any standards.
    (There's a good chance btw that Napoleon will eventually be viewed negatively as well...some "activists" have already declared him to be a kind of proto-Hitler for having reintroduced slavery in the French colonies and having allegedly ordered the "gassing" of slaves...that can't endear his memory to the "new French").

    could be explained to humanities “educated” pretenders–please
     
    I'll have to admit to being humanities-educated myself, and of course I can't read Russian, so I'm indeed not qualified to judge the issues. But it seems to me just lauding the achievements of Soviet industrialization and science might be a bit one-sided...certainly, a lot was achieved and that shouldn't be dismissed, but how do you explain the success of something as fraudulent as Lysenkoism? A system where something like that can flourish, and where its opponents can suffer grave personal consequences, isn't exactly optimal for research.
    Ultimately it's of course not my business, or that of any other foreigner, to tell Russians what they should think about their past; but positive views of Stalin and downplaying of the crimes of his regime (especially those committed against other countries like Poland and the Baltic states) cannot but severely damage Russia's image abroad, and not just among people who would be anti-Russia anyway (though I suppose Russians won't care about this anymore).

    And I think there’s an important difference between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society).

    Would vote in favor of Stalin. Stalin was preparing for war.

    We are lagging behind the advanced countries in 50-100 years. We must pass this distance in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us
    Joseph Stalin, speech on 4 February 1931

    Stalin, as we know was absolutely right. He needed to create in the shortest possible time the industrial economy (after the economic disaster which Lenin did), and for this purpose it was necessary to ruthlessly (really ruthlessly , very very ruthlessly) exploit the peasantry. Since in the Russian peasantry was considered something like the sacred cows, to suppress the resistance to the plunder and destruction of the village, it was only possible through brainwashing and terror.

    No doubt Stalin in this way went too far, but for all that, he really saved the country. Lenin for Russia, it is chemically pure evil, but to Stalin’s formula can be used 70% good, 30% evil.

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    Stalin, as we know was absolutely right.
     
    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It's also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn't been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.
    Apart from that, what external threats would the Soviet Union have faced? Maybe Japan, but that was relatively backwards itself. The idea that any western, democratic power or an authoritarian regime like Poland would have attacked the Soviet Union was just ideology-induced fantasy.
    Admittedly Stalin probably wasn't totally incompetent and some credit certainly has to go to him for Soviet victory in WW2, so I can understand to some degree why he's popular in Russia.
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  111. @Philip Owen
    On the other hand, it can be argued that the withdrawal of one of the two successful "catch up" economies of the first half of the 20th C, the other being Japan, was a withdrawal of demand that might have lessened the effect of the Crash. But a better Tsar in 1905 was probably the really critical point.

    On the other hand, it can be argued that the withdrawal of one of the two successful “catch up” economies of the first half of the 20th C, the other being Japan, was a withdrawal of demand that might have lessened the effect of the Crash.

    But in fact the USSR did help, buying industrial supplies and even accepting a part of western unemployed labor force as immigrants (from Germany, Finland, and even many Americans). Had it been, instead, Russian empire, integrated into capitalist world economy, I suspect it would’ve had a colossal collapse. In any capitalist crisis, peripheral economies typically suffer most.

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  112. Seraphim says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Still waiting for the expert on how "serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia" to provide evidence on Russia possessing an alternative to SWIFT before 2014.

    Re-Natalya Narochnitskaya. Very superficial analysis that doesn't even correlate with reality.

    On a broader note:

    Her think-tank (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation) is supposed to spread Russian soft power and enjoys Kremlin funding. I, who follow Russian affairs rather closely, hear about her about once every 1-2 years (inevitably from some third-tier Atlanticist NGO hyping Russia hybrid information war i.e. spongeing State Department money, just like she sponges Kremlin money).

    Could it be that I am just a crap Russia watcher? Just searched through my archives of David Johnson's Russia list for 2017. *Zero* mentions of "narochnitskaya."

    Her institute produced one (!) publication this year.

    Internet mentions. Way less than Alexander Dugin (much as I disagree with him, at least he doesn't subsist on the Russian taxpayer's dime); far less than Prosvirnin's and Kholmogorov's influence, neither of whom has institutional backing either; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn't make Russia's top 100 politologists.

    Oh, and those figures are for the Cyrillic version of her name; "Natalia Narochnitskaya" doesn't even register on Google Тrends, and gets a mere 12,000 hits. I, pretty irrelevant blogger all things considered, get 75,000. Could it be that she's more serious than just some blogger/pundit? Let's look at Google Scholar. There are people mentioning her, but nothing that I can see by her.

    I am sure that she's a nice enough person, but her bang for the buck is pathetic. That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.

    Undeniably seventy years of Commie brainwashing resulted in a leveling of the cerebral convolutions. No wonder that many behave like a broken record.

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  113. Sam says:

    Another great post by Karlin. He has very impressive judgement and seems shockingly sober in dishing out red pills no matter to all groups. Still can’t quite figure where he might have a blind spot. Although as Razib Khan has warned being without a tribe intellectually these days is a sure way to be isolated and marginal.

    Re: USSR vs Nazi counterfactual
    It seems quite reasonable to assume that without the bloody Russian revolution and its aftermath there wouldn’t have been a strong right wing reaction in the form of first fascism and then Nazism. As Paul Gottfried has noted fascism+Nazism was only possible because of a scared bourgeoisie that were horrified at the violence of the communist and unsatisfied with their limp-wristed liberal leaders.
    Would any of the agitating communist parties/groups have been as motivated without having the great guiding light(and presumably ressources) of the USSR?
    It’s inconceivable how Russia wouldn’t have been better off without the revolution except possibly if it was in a pre-Mao China like condition of continual conflict.


    What does Karlin think of the theory peddled in conspiracy circles(Antony Sutton+G Edward Griffen,etc.) that the Russian revolution couldn’t have occurred without support from Western ressources.

    In his book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York: Viking Press;1970), Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote:

    “For impressive evidence of Western participation in the early phase of Soviet economic growth, see Antony C. Sutton’s Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1917–1930, which argues that ‘Soviet economic development for 1917–1930 was essentially dependent on Western technological aid’ (p.283), and that ‘at least 95 per cent of the industrial structure received this assistance.’ (p. 348).
    Professor Richard Pipes, of Harvard, said in his book, Survival Is Not Enough: Soviet Realities and America’s Future (Simon & Schuster;1984):

    In his three-volume detailed account of Soviet Purchases of Western Equipment and Technology … Sutton comes to conclusions that are uncomfortable for many businessmen and economists. For this reason his work tends to be either dismissed out of hand as ‘extreme’ or, more often, simply ignored. (p. 290)”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_C._Sutton

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  114. A great article Anatoly. Thank you!
    From my experience having been around Russians for 35 years, Ukrainians for 25 and having lived in Russia for most of the time since 2003 I would say that by far the most important factor in the general inability to assess information and facts about Russian history especially Lenin, Nicholas 2nd and the so called Russian Revolution is the extreme effectiveness of Soviet brainwashing from early infancy onwards.
    Even some of the most learned, intelligent and objective of people who were brought up in the USSR can suddenly transform into raving idiots when confronted with the subjects and personages mentioned above. Since 2003 I have seen endless docs on Russian TV that try to get the facts about pre revolutionary Russia and the Bolsheviks out there but have so far failed to penetrate the fortress of cognitive dissonance built up by “Soviet education”.
    I had hoped that the effects of this brainwashing were fading but some recent, very shocking (for me) examples among Russian friends including some of our mutual friends on FB have shown me that these effects are as strong as ever leading to Jekyll and Hyde type split personalities.
    I am beginning to arrive at the conclusion that The Russian government should instigate anti brain washing, detoxification classes and that these should even be compulsory. I do not see how Russia will survive the coming attack otherwise!

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  115. @ussr andy

    plus he doesn’t know Russian people,
     
    that's Saïd-type stuff.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Mass killings are, above all, a failure of governance.
    But they needed them to keep the country from being picked apart by foreign interventionists?
    Well, to get to that point, given Russia's resources, is a failure of governance, too.

    that’s Saïd-type stuff.

    Sure, with one difference–Russia is not Arab satrapy and has the ability to wipe anyone off he map. So, it is one thing applying Said’s (false) Orientalism parallels to some backwater shitholes totally another doing the same to Russia. So, why don’t you read Sir Bernard Pares’ conclusion. But yes, you just confirmed the whole shallowness and superficiality of the “humanities” field ping-pong with a huge number of “concepts” practically none of which has any relation to real world. Per your:

    Russia not getting the world(c). Sure, the world really made sure of that. But in general, you driveled a classic platitude.

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  116. @melanf

    write about Russia proper not Polish peasantry–a completely different phenomenon in itself, nor largely Protestant Baltics. Different ethos, hence individual farming.
     
    Moscow province - Polish peasants? In Belarus - the Polish peasants? You can add St. Petersburg and the Pskov province. Economically better developed were ex-serfdom region, not areas where there was no serfdom (which is a large part of the territory of Russia). The peasants of course were super retarded, but for reasons in no way connects back with serfdom and landlords.

    Moscow province – Polish peasants?

    Лифляндская, Курляндская, Эстляндская и губернии Царства Польского (c) I don’t know, I kinda read по слогам but sure as hell, as the last several hundred years testify–there were some few Polish peasants on the lands of Polish Kingdom. I omit here the issue of Belarus, you know, where Adam Miskiewics was born (wink, wink) to avoid a possible shitstorm here. But it seems you either really do not express you point properly and merely copy and paste all kinds of snippets, including from dubious “history”, such as Davydov’s (it is expected from a man with Ph.D. Thesis titled “Production of Sugar in Russian Empire”–that surely qualifies him to speak out on WWI) or you simply in it for the hell of it.

    The peasants of course were super retarded, but for reasons in no way connects back with serfdom and landlords.

    Really? And I thought that Tripolie and medieval practices of agriculture had something, really small, almost imperceptible to do with namely land-owners, serfdom and the complex or rather lack thereof of skills required to cultivate and work land in accordance to modern practices. Have you ever worked on any manufacturing or in any other productive field, especially dealing with machinery? “Retardation” of peasants has everything to do with that. Or, using more “scientific” terminology–a Method of Production, which is defined by Productive Forces and Productive Relations which derive from those forces.

    Your statement on Pochvinechestvo I will leave without any response–you simply have no idea what are you talking about. Again, most likely you are some kind of Russian young urbanite.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    there were some few Polish peasants on the lands of Polish Kingdom
     
    That is, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moskovskuyu province you missed. As well as the fact that in the"Belarus" was not Polish but Belarusian peasantry.

    Really? And I thought that Tripolie and medieval practices of agriculture had something, really small, almost imperceptible to do with namely land-owners, serfdom and the complex or rather lack thereof of skills required to cultivate and work land in accordance to modern practices.
     
    This is obviously a ridiculous argument. The ex-serfs and "hereditary" free peasants (the largest part of the peasantry in Russia) were the same in respect of a "medieval practices of agriculture ". This completely destroys the entire liberal nonsense about serfdom as the main cause for backwardness.

    On the contrary, advanced methods of agriculture were used primarily on the landlords ' fields. If (hypothetically) imagine "alternative" Russia, where all land belonged to the landowners and the all peasants - serfs (after emancipation, ex - serfs), then most likely such a Russia would develop more successfully and would have avoided many problems.

    Again, most likely you are some kind of Russian young urbanite
     
    No doubt. It would be strange to communicate via UNZ with the Russian peasant
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  117. Art Deco says:

    Angus Maddison’s Project estimated the ratio of Tsarist Russia’s gdp per capita to those of contemporary occidental states to be as follows in 1913:

    France: 0.41
    Germany: 0.39
    Great Britain: 0.29
    Italy, central and north: 0.61
    Spain: 0.69
    Australia: 0.27
    United States: 0.27

    Comparable figures for 2010, comparing Russia in its constrained boundaries with the others are as follows:

    France: 0.40
    Germany: 0.42
    Great Britain: 0.36
    Italy, central and north: 0.47
    Spain: 0.52
    Australia: 0.34
    United States: 0.28

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  118. Art Deco says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Global economic collapse following the 1929 stock market crash in the US isn't called 'the great' depression for nothing. A world war - centered in Europe, to destroy civilian industrial overcapacity - was the only way to overcome it.

    Global economic collapse following the 1929 stock market crash in the US isn’t called ‘the great’ depression for nothing. A world war – centered in Europe, to destroy civilian industrial overcapacity – was the only way to overcome it.

    Rubbish. The only occidental countries of note for which the per capita product in 1939 was lower than it had been in 1929 were the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Chile. Spain’s problems are attributable to the Civil War therein. Per capita product in the United States and Canada exceeded 1929 levels by 1940.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    The war ended the great depression. I don't think this is controversial. Look at the unemployment rate.
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  119. @Art Deco
    Global economic collapse following the 1929 stock market crash in the US isn’t called ‘the great’ depression for nothing. A world war – centered in Europe, to destroy civilian industrial overcapacity – was the only way to overcome it.

    Rubbish. The only occidental countries of note for which the per capita product in 1939 was lower than it had been in 1929 were the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Chile. Spain's problems are attributable to the Civil War therein. Per capita product in the United States and Canada exceeded 1929 levels by 1940.

    The war ended the great depression. I don’t think this is controversial. Look at the unemployment rate.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The war ended the great depression. I don’t think this is controversial. Look at the unemployment rate.

    Whether it is 'controversial' or not, it is simply wrong. Production levels and production per capita had returned to pre-Depressionary norms all over the occidental world. Unemployment rates remained elevated in the United States but were lower than their 1933 peak. (Unemployment levels in Britain had by 1939 returned to pre-Depressionary levels).

    You're retailing Marxist rubbish about 'the surplus'.
    , @Sam
    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.
    http://blog.independent.org/2013/01/15/world-war-ii-didnt-end-the-great-depression/
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  120. Art Deco says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    The war ended the great depression. I don't think this is controversial. Look at the unemployment rate.

    The war ended the great depression. I don’t think this is controversial. Look at the unemployment rate.

    Whether it is ‘controversial’ or not, it is simply wrong. Production levels and production per capita had returned to pre-Depressionary norms all over the occidental world. Unemployment rates remained elevated in the United States but were lower than their 1933 peak. (Unemployment levels in Britain had by 1939 returned to pre-Depressionary levels).

    You’re retailing Marxist rubbish about ‘the surplus’.

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  121. @melanf

    And I think there’s an important difference between Napoleon’s wars, horrible as they were, and Stalin’s projects of repression like collectivization and the Great Terror (which happened in peacetime, basically amounted to a war against his own society).
     
    Would vote in favor of Stalin. Stalin was preparing for war.

    "We are lagging behind the advanced countries in 50-100 years. We must pass this distance in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us"
    Joseph Stalin, speech on 4 February 1931

    Stalin, as we know was absolutely right. He needed to create in the shortest possible time the industrial economy (after the economic disaster which Lenin did), and for this purpose it was necessary to ruthlessly (really ruthlessly , very very ruthlessly) exploit the peasantry. Since in the Russian peasantry was considered something like the sacred cows, to suppress the resistance to the plunder and destruction of the village, it was only possible through brainwashing and terror.

    No doubt Stalin in this way went too far, but for all that, he really saved the country. Lenin for Russia, it is chemically pure evil, but to Stalin's formula can be used 70% good, 30% evil.

    Stalin, as we know was absolutely right.

    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It’s also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn’t been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.
    Apart from that, what external threats would the Soviet Union have faced? Maybe Japan, but that was relatively backwards itself. The idea that any western, democratic power or an authoritarian regime like Poland would have attacked the Soviet Union was just ideology-induced fantasy.
    Admittedly Stalin probably wasn’t totally incompetent and some credit certainly has to go to him for Soviet victory in WW2, so I can understand to some degree why he’s popular in Russia.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It’s also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn’t been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.
     
    This is a very controversial statement. But in any case, the "red menace" is the result of the 1917 revolution, but not a personal "achievement" of Stalin.
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  122. pogohere says: • Website
    @Christos T.
    How many times has Soviet equipment proven superior to Western military equipment?

    What happened in the skies over Korea?
    What happened to the Soviet built T-34/85’s in Korea?
    What happened to Soviet T-55, T-62 and T-72 tanks in the Middle East?
    What happened to Soviet piloted Mig-21’s when they faced the Israeli airforce?
    What happened to Soviet built aircraft (Mig-21, Mig-23 etc) when they faced the Western aircraft of the Israeli airforce?

    Any answers comrade?

    The Soviet Union only produced armaments and even in that category most of it was trash.
    Mathias Rust called. He says Soviet radar is best radar.

    “What happened in the skies over Korea?”

    Good question. Some interesting material on this:

    Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs – The Forgotten Air Battle of the Korean War, 23 October 1951

    Paperback – December 3, 2013
    by Earl McGill

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Tuesday-Over-Namsi-Forgotten/dp/1909384380/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

    FWIW:

    MiG Alley: How the air war over Korea became a bloodbath for the West

    https://www.rbth.com/blogs/continental_drift/2017/03/23/mig-alley-how-air-war-over-korea-became-bloodbath-west-725501

    Korean War: How the MiG-15 put an end to American mastery over the skies

    https://www.rbth.com/blogs/continental_drift/2017/04/27/korean-war-how-mig-15-put-end-american-mastery-over-skies-751633

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  123. Sam says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    The war ended the great depression. I don't think this is controversial. Look at the unemployment rate.

    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.

    http://blog.independent.org/2013/01/15/world-war-ii-didnt-end-the-great-depression/

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.
     
    Well, obviously, military keynesianism plus large armies during the war relieved the symptoms.
    But yeah, like I said, in the end it was the destruction of excess capacity and physical assets. And so after the war the new cycle started.
    , @Art Deco
    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.

    You would do well to examine production and income statistics and digest what they mean.
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  124. @Sam
    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.
    http://blog.independent.org/2013/01/15/world-war-ii-didnt-end-the-great-depression/

    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.

    Well, obviously, military keynesianism plus large armies during the war relieved the symptoms.
    But yeah, like I said, in the end it was the destruction of excess capacity and physical assets. And so after the war the new cycle started.

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  125. Art Deco says:
    @Sam
    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.
    http://blog.independent.org/2013/01/15/world-war-ii-didnt-end-the-great-depression/

    No the depression only really ended post WWII although there were ups and downs in the period.

    You would do well to examine production and income statistics and digest what they mean.

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  126. melanf says:
    @German_reader

    Stalin, as we know was absolutely right.
     
    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It's also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn't been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.
    Apart from that, what external threats would the Soviet Union have faced? Maybe Japan, but that was relatively backwards itself. The idea that any western, democratic power or an authoritarian regime like Poland would have attacked the Soviet Union was just ideology-induced fantasy.
    Admittedly Stalin probably wasn't totally incompetent and some credit certainly has to go to him for Soviet victory in WW2, so I can understand to some degree why he's popular in Russia.

    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It’s also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn’t been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.

    This is a very controversial statement. But in any case, the “red menace” is the result of the 1917 revolution, but not a personal “achievement” of Stalin.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    This is a very controversial statement.
     
    Certainly, it's counter-factual history, we can't know for sure what would have happened if things had been different.
    You're of course right regarding the dangers of excessive personalization in history and ignoring larger social forces (though I think a focus on Stalin's person isn't entirely unjustified; at the very least he was an object of extreme personality cult after all).
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    But in any case, the “red menace” is the result of the 1917 revolution, but not a personal “achievement” of Stalin.
     
    It's not even that "the “red menace” is the result of the 1917 revolution". It would make more sense to say that the Russian revolution was one manifestation of “red menace” among many; revolutions/uprising in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Finland, Mexico, etc. Not to forget the Paris commune (that served as the model) a bit earlier and the Spanish republic a bit later.

    That was the zeitgeist.

    And, obviously, it caused a reaction, the elites desperately looking for ways to hang on to power. A wide range of efforts, from nazism to 'social democracy'.

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  127. melanf says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Moscow province – Polish peasants?
     
    Лифляндская, Курляндская, Эстляндская и губернии Царства Польского (c) I don't know, I kinda read по слогам but sure as hell, as the last several hundred years testify--there were some few Polish peasants on the lands of Polish Kingdom. I omit here the issue of Belarus, you know, where Adam Miskiewics was born (wink, wink) to avoid a possible shitstorm here. But it seems you either really do not express you point properly and merely copy and paste all kinds of snippets, including from dubious "history", such as Davydov's (it is expected from a man with Ph.D. Thesis titled "Production of Sugar in Russian Empire"--that surely qualifies him to speak out on WWI) or you simply in it for the hell of it.

    The peasants of course were super retarded, but for reasons in no way connects back with serfdom and landlords.
     
    Really? And I thought that Tripolie and medieval practices of agriculture had something, really small, almost imperceptible to do with namely land-owners, serfdom and the complex or rather lack thereof of skills required to cultivate and work land in accordance to modern practices. Have you ever worked on any manufacturing or in any other productive field, especially dealing with machinery? "Retardation" of peasants has everything to do with that. Or, using more "scientific" terminology--a Method of Production, which is defined by Productive Forces and Productive Relations which derive from those forces.

    Your statement on Pochvinechestvo I will leave without any response--you simply have no idea what are you talking about. Again, most likely you are some kind of Russian young urbanite.

    there were some few Polish peasants on the lands of Polish Kingdom

    That is, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moskovskuyu province you missed. As well as the fact that in the”Belarus” was not Polish but Belarusian peasantry.

    Really? And I thought that Tripolie and medieval practices of agriculture had something, really small, almost imperceptible to do with namely land-owners, serfdom and the complex or rather lack thereof of skills required to cultivate and work land in accordance to modern practices.

    This is obviously a ridiculous argument. The ex-serfs and “hereditary” free peasants (the largest part of the peasantry in Russia) were the same in respect of a “medieval practices of agriculture “. This completely destroys the entire liberal nonsense about serfdom as the main cause for backwardness.

    On the contrary, advanced methods of agriculture were used primarily on the landlords ‘ fields. If (hypothetically) imagine “alternative” Russia, where all land belonged to the landowners and the all peasants – serfs (after emancipation, ex – serfs), then most likely such a Russia would develop more successfully and would have avoided many problems.

    Again, most likely you are some kind of Russian young urbanite

    No doubt. It would be strange to communicate via UNZ with the Russian peasant

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  128. @melanf

    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It’s also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn’t been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.
     
    This is a very controversial statement. But in any case, the "red menace" is the result of the 1917 revolution, but not a personal "achievement" of Stalin.

    This is a very controversial statement.

    Certainly, it’s counter-factual history, we can’t know for sure what would have happened if things had been different.
    You’re of course right regarding the dangers of excessive personalization in history and ignoring larger social forces (though I think a focus on Stalin’s person isn’t entirely unjustified; at the very least he was an object of extreme personality cult after all).

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I'll offer you the hypothesis that the course of events over the period running from 1938 to 1945 was crucially dependent on Hitler being a lunatic. That he was in a position to implement his lunacies was in turn was dependent on a series of contingencies breaking the right way over the period running from 1929 to 1934. A currency devaluation in 1931 might have been tonic enough for the German economy to stifle the Nazis. Or, imagine the appearance of a political figure ca. 1929 who could rally the more civilized and circumspect elements of the German right to challenge the floundering parliamentary parties. See the course of events in Finland over the period running from 1928 to 1936 when formerly sidelined grandees emerged and first co-opted the local fascist movement, then in office placed it under legal restrictions and gelded it. Various figures which come to mine - Hindenburg, Ludendorff, von Westarp, Hugenburg, von Kahr, Schacht simply did not fill the bill.

    The Nazis were a fad movement derived from acute economic stress and wartime humiliations. There is no indication they manifested an abiding aspect of the German political spectrum.

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  129. Art Deco says:
    @German_reader

    This is a very controversial statement.
     
    Certainly, it's counter-factual history, we can't know for sure what would have happened if things had been different.
    You're of course right regarding the dangers of excessive personalization in history and ignoring larger social forces (though I think a focus on Stalin's person isn't entirely unjustified; at the very least he was an object of extreme personality cult after all).

    I’ll offer you the hypothesis that the course of events over the period running from 1938 to 1945 was crucially dependent on Hitler being a lunatic. That he was in a position to implement his lunacies was in turn was dependent on a series of contingencies breaking the right way over the period running from 1929 to 1934. A currency devaluation in 1931 might have been tonic enough for the German economy to stifle the Nazis. Or, imagine the appearance of a political figure ca. 1929 who could rally the more civilized and circumspect elements of the German right to challenge the floundering parliamentary parties. See the course of events in Finland over the period running from 1928 to 1936 when formerly sidelined grandees emerged and first co-opted the local fascist movement, then in office placed it under legal restrictions and gelded it. Various figures which come to mine – Hindenburg, Ludendorff, von Westarp, Hugenburg, von Kahr, Schacht simply did not fill the bill.

    The Nazis were a fad movement derived from acute economic stress and wartime humiliations. There is no indication they manifested an abiding aspect of the German political spectrum.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Yes, I pretty much agree with this. The more traditional German right failed utterly and through its irresponsible behaviour paved the way for Nazism coming to power. But it could well have gone differently, possibly even at the end of 1932 if there had been an authoritarian regime under von Schleicher that would have cracked down on both communists and Nazis. By 1932 the reparations issue which had been exploited by Nazi propaganda had been mostly solved and the economy was probably set to recover at least to some degree, so the political situation might have stabilized again. Of course the Nazis' coming to power wasn't just an accident or due to luck - it was the strongest party in the 1932 elections after all - but it wasn't inevitable either.
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  130. @Art Deco
    I'll offer you the hypothesis that the course of events over the period running from 1938 to 1945 was crucially dependent on Hitler being a lunatic. That he was in a position to implement his lunacies was in turn was dependent on a series of contingencies breaking the right way over the period running from 1929 to 1934. A currency devaluation in 1931 might have been tonic enough for the German economy to stifle the Nazis. Or, imagine the appearance of a political figure ca. 1929 who could rally the more civilized and circumspect elements of the German right to challenge the floundering parliamentary parties. See the course of events in Finland over the period running from 1928 to 1936 when formerly sidelined grandees emerged and first co-opted the local fascist movement, then in office placed it under legal restrictions and gelded it. Various figures which come to mine - Hindenburg, Ludendorff, von Westarp, Hugenburg, von Kahr, Schacht simply did not fill the bill.

    The Nazis were a fad movement derived from acute economic stress and wartime humiliations. There is no indication they manifested an abiding aspect of the German political spectrum.

    Yes, I pretty much agree with this. The more traditional German right failed utterly and through its irresponsible behaviour paved the way for Nazism coming to power. But it could well have gone differently, possibly even at the end of 1932 if there had been an authoritarian regime under von Schleicher that would have cracked down on both communists and Nazis. By 1932 the reparations issue which had been exploited by Nazi propaganda had been mostly solved and the economy was probably set to recover at least to some degree, so the political situation might have stabilized again. Of course the Nazis’ coming to power wasn’t just an accident or due to luck – it was the strongest party in the 1932 elections after all – but it wasn’t inevitable either.

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  131. @melanf

    He was only right because the Nazis came to power in Germany, and arguably Stalin/German communists (which were closely linked to the Soviet Union) contributed to that outcome by destabilizing the Weimar republic. It’s also possible (if impossible to prove) that Nazism would have had much less appeal if there hadn’t been the Soviet system and communist movements inspired by it which led to strong fear and paranoia among the (petite) bourgeoisie.
     
    This is a very controversial statement. But in any case, the "red menace" is the result of the 1917 revolution, but not a personal "achievement" of Stalin.

    But in any case, the “red menace” is the result of the 1917 revolution, but not a personal “achievement” of Stalin.

    It’s not even that “the “red menace” is the result of the 1917 revolution”. It would make more sense to say that the Russian revolution was one manifestation of “red menace” among many; revolutions/uprising in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Finland, Mexico, etc. Not to forget the Paris commune (that served as the model) a bit earlier and the Spanish republic a bit later.

    That was the zeitgeist.

    And, obviously, it caused a reaction, the elites desperately looking for ways to hang on to power. A wide range of efforts, from nazism to ‘social democracy’.

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  132. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Still waiting for the expert on how "serious military, economic, ideological things interact in Russia" to provide evidence on Russia possessing an alternative to SWIFT before 2014.

    Re-Natalya Narochnitskaya. Very superficial analysis that doesn't even correlate with reality.

    On a broader note:

    Her think-tank (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation) is supposed to spread Russian soft power and enjoys Kremlin funding. I, who follow Russian affairs rather closely, hear about her about once every 1-2 years (inevitably from some third-tier Atlanticist NGO hyping Russia hybrid information war i.e. spongeing State Department money, just like she sponges Kremlin money).

    Could it be that I am just a crap Russia watcher? Just searched through my archives of David Johnson's Russia list for 2017. *Zero* mentions of "narochnitskaya."

    Her institute produced one (!) publication this year.

    Internet mentions. Way less than Alexander Dugin (much as I disagree with him, at least he doesn't subsist on the Russian taxpayer's dime); far less than Prosvirnin's and Kholmogorov's influence, neither of whom has institutional backing either; comparable to mine, even though I only started doing punditry full-time in the past year. Doesn't make Russia's top 100 politologists.

    Oh, and those figures are for the Cyrillic version of her name; "Natalia Narochnitskaya" doesn't even register on Google Тrends, and gets a mere 12,000 hits. I, pretty irrelevant blogger all things considered, get 75,000. Could it be that she's more serious than just some blogger/pundit? Let's look at Google Scholar. There are people mentioning her, but nothing that I can see by her.

    I am sure that she's a nice enough person, but her bang for the buck is pathetic. That said, thank you for clarifying your standards of efficiency. They are very Soviet.

    JRL can be a lousy parameter of judging quality Russia related analysis, as evidenced by some of the sources getting propped there, unlike some others.

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    Srdja Trifkovic, James Jatras are among the latter.

    John Laughland is among others in that latter category that includes Trifkovic and Jatras.

    These guys can face the music without the blog censoring oaf troll antics (whether Russophile or Russophobe) that JRL has propped.

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