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powerful-take

It will be the centenary of the October Revolution in a couple of days – the original color revolution that finished off a great and rapidly modernizing empire and handed power to a gang of Russia-hating criminals.

To mark the occasion, the next two weeks I will be documenting the dismal failure of sovok across almost virtually all spheres of life. Obligatory trigger warning for commies.

Featured

* gwern’s October 2017 newsletter

* Not only a good intro to Bitcoin per se, but an original (so far as I know) way of thinking about it: https://blog.chain.com/a-letter-to-jamie-dimon-de89d417cb80

There’s a TL;DR version at the end.

map-becker-world-iq

* James Thompson: The World’s IQ = 86: Test results of 550,492 individuals in 123 countries

Link to David Becker’s database: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3c4TxciNeJZWUx5bzBWZ1BuMUk

The discussion is also worth reading.

* Heiner Rindermann has what appears to be a rather interesting book coming out on January 1, 2018: Cognitive Capitalism: Human Capital and the Wellbeing of Nations

poll-military-government* PEW: Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy (PDF)

Many interesting tidbits there but one table I liked is support for military government by left/right.

Mostly as you’d expect (right more supportive), with the understandable exception of Venezuela – and the less understandable exception of Hungary (unless you read hbd*chick).

* Emil Kirkegaard: About that blog: Italian IQs, Lynn IQs, brain size and doctors

* /r/gorgich: Cultural macroregions of Russia

* Daniel Treisman – 2017 – Democracy by mistake

How does democracy emerge from authoritarian rule?… In about two thirds, democratization occurred not because incumbent elites chose it but because, in trying to prevent it, they made mistakes that weakened their hold on power. Common mistakes include: calling elections or starting military conflicts, only to lose them; ignoring popular unrest and being overthrown; initiating limited reforms that get out of hand; and selecting a covert democrat as leader. These mistakes reflect well-known cognitive biases such as overconfidence and the illusion of control.

Leonid Bershidsky writes about it.

* 39% of French citizens spoke Occitan in 1860.

* A beautiful @WrathOfGnon thread about the superiority of medieval urbanism:

Russia

* Lucy Komisar: The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act Did Bill Browder’s Tax Troubles in Russia Color Push for Sanctions?

Attack on RT

* RT: Revealed: How Twitter pushed RT to spend big on 2016 US election; Twitter’s multi-million dollar US election pitch to RT revealed in FULL

kovalev-saudi-propaganda

Even some Russian oppositioners like Alexey Kovalev think it is ridiculously selective.

* RT: NGO publishes names of 2,300+ RT guests, labels them ‘useful idiots who undermine Western democracy’

I was amused to see that Nina Khrushcheva was on there (not sure about the “useful” part, though).

Alexander Mercouris: Blackmail and the latest attack on RT

* Michael Tracey uncovers Twitter’s criteria for being a Russia troll:

We took a similarly expansive approach to defining what qualifies as a Russian-linked account. Because there is no single characteristic that reliably determines geographic origin or affiliation, we relied on a number of criteria, including whether the account was created in Russia, whether the user registered the account with a Russian phone carrier or a Russian email address, whether the user’s display name contains Cyrillic characters, whether the user frequently Tweets in Russian, and whether the user has logged in from any Russian IP address, even a single time. We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria.

Beware of the Cyrillic autocracy!

Russiagate

* Alexander Mercouris: Robert Mueller should resign

In other words instead of arriving its suspicions of Russian meddling in the Presidential election on its own investigations the FBI chose to rely on the work of two private contractors – CrowdStrike and Christopher Steele – both of whom were found and paid for by the DNC, and one of whom – Christopher Steele – was then passed on by the DNC to the FBI so that he could be paid by them as well.

That makes the FBI look more like an accomplice of the Democrats and the DNC than an impartial and objective police agency.

* But perceptions are another matter.

* Some stuff comes out further proving that DNC colluded with Hillary to give her the nomination.

Real Democrats: Donna Brazile was duped by Russia. Putin is God, etc.

* Latest video from Kirill Nesterov, chief editor of ROGPR podcast.

(It’s in Russian, but mostly just consists of translations of the most “powerful” Russia takes from Anglo Twitter).

* The insanity is not contained to the Left:

putler-welcome-to-resistance

* Daily Caller: Growing Evidence That Russia Using ‘The Resistance’ To Stoke Division

Powerful Takes on Manhattan Terror Attack

Other

* Paul Robinson: Wall of Grief (Putin on Stalin)

* Patrick Armstrong: How I Became a Kremlin Troll

* Chechens organize a queue for the new iPhone in Moscow, selling the first position for R300,000 ($5,000). A few hundred Virgin Kreakls – their idea of “creativity” consisting of being the first person in their tusovka to get a new iPhone – wait in line for a several hours… only for a gang of Chechen Chads to push them aside at the last moment, snap up all the iPhones, and put them up for sale on Russia’s eBay within a few minutes.

* Daily Beast: She’s in Pussy Riot. He’s on the Far Right: How Maria Alyokhina and Dmitry Enteo Fell in Love

Still a better love story than Twilight.

* Affirmative action Kremlinologist Terell Starr: “Ukrainians and black folk share common bonds when it comes to resisting supremacy, whether it is from “white people” in the U.S. or Russia.Memetic response.

Hell

Meanwhile, in the actual Putlerreich…

* Moscow authorities want to install a monument to Islam Karimov in the city center, a Central Asian tinpot dictator who removed all of his country’s WW2 monuments.

What makes this even “better” is that the Uzbeks themselves are slowly doing away with Karimov’s legacy, with their new President inching towards liberal reform and criticizing his predecessor for abuses. So it fails even as geopolitical bootlicking.

Almost certainly pointless petition against this: https://www.change.org/p/владимир-путин-против-установки-в-москве-памятника-президенту-узбекистана-исламу-каримову

* Leader of Tatarstan implicitly threatens Putin with low vote numbers if Tatar language instruction in schools is made non-obligatory (“We made it so that all the electoral processes are done by the directors of our schools“).

The problems of relying on ethnic minority states-within-states to give you a 10% point bump in elections…

* Meanwhile, the son of a Tatar director of a military academy (who is also a member of the pseudoscience organization RAEN) was arrested in Tajikistan for joining ISIS for 2 years. Previously, after completing his PhD under his dad at said military academy (nepotism), he was made responsible for ensuring the security of military R&D communications, and had the appropriate high level security clearance for it. Said military academy to KP journalists requesting comment: “We won’t say anything, the director isn’t here, and we don’t know when he will be.”

World

conferederate-iconography

* @tcjfs: Huntington argues the Confederate monuments to “the Blue & the Gray” were built thru 1920 to foster united American national reconciliation

Seems to parallel Soviet celebration of Victory Day: First Moscow May 9 parade after 1945 was in 1965; then 1985, 1990, became yearly event in 1995.

* Guardian: Romania shrugs off label of Europe’s poor man as economy booms.

* China unveils massive island-building vessel

Remarkable cultural continuity: Great Wall on land 2,000 years ago, now a Great Wall in cyberspace and on the high seas.

alt-right-bin-laden

* So Osama bin Laden was a gamer, like all the other great men of the 20th century.

BTW, Navalny is a console peasant, while proves he is not destined for greatness.

 

racism

Culture War

* Bread Pilled: Jordan Peterson turning young, Western men into Christians Again

Only heard of the guy thanks to spandrell. Sounds like a big phenomenon.

* #ItsOkayToBeWhite is a brilliant strategy. /pol/ continues to deliver.

* Frances Lee: Why I’ve Started to Fear My Fellow Social Justice Activists

* John Derbyshire: Geezers Don’t Care! Marc Faber Defies AntiRacist Moral Panic

* Feminist prof says ‘traditional science’ is rooted in racism

* Geoffrey Miller channels Taleb: To understand the present, read good books about our biological & cultural history, & sci fi about the future. ‘News’ is a distraction.

* Melissa Meszaros: Buzzfeed’s Male Writers Revealed to have Dangerously Low Testosterone

* Porn Addicted Bomb Nazi Mutilated Himself With An Axe. Exemplary commitment to nofap.

* Eliezer Yudkowsky’s struggle:

.

 
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The Cville Cyberpurge

Europe famously has hate speech laws, which run the gamut from banning Nazi propaganda to criticizing mass immigration.

Russia’s version of it is Article 282, which has been used on everyone from genuine Neo-Nazis and radical Islamists to the nationalist pundit Konstantin Krylov for stating that it’s “time to do away with this strange economic model [of federal subsidies to the Caucasus]“.

And yet if the United States has an exceptional degree of respect for absolute freedom of speech, encodified in the First Amendment, this is mitigated by its organic “Society 282,” as the Russian nationalist Egor Prosvirnin has poetically called it.

In the days the Unite the Rite march in Charlottesville, in which one antifa counter-protester was killed by a Neo-Nazi going postal with his car (the MSM version of events; reality might be rather different), Society 282 has gone on a veritable purge of Alt Right and Dissident Right content on cyberspace.

Too many people to name have been banned from Twitter.

Pax Dickinson is the most prominent one to come to mind. He was an easy target, since he has already been removed from the platform several times, though Twitter usually waits for new accounts to (re)gain popularity before kicking them back into purgatory. The trigger for the latest banning might have been his detailed, first-hand coverage of the Charlottesville rally, which features evidence that the Virginia State Policy pursued a strategy of corraling Alt Right protesters into antifa in a deliberate attempt to provoke violence.

The Alt Right blogger Christopher Cantwall has been banned from Facebook, Paypal, Mailchimp, and… OkCupid, just for good measure.

PayPal has banned American Renaissance, which had nothing to do with Unite the Right.

It is two particular cases, however, that are perhaps the most illustrative – and foreboding, at least for those who still value “freeze peach” (to use the derogatory antifa term).

VDARE

First off, Paypal has banned VDARE from using its services. Now VDARE is far more “dissident Right” than it is Alt Right. Two of the biggest names there are John Derbyshire and Steve Sailer.

John Derbyshire is an elderly English essayist, very milquetoast in manners, who campaigns againt mass immigration and enforced diversity in his columns; but heavens forbid those proles take their concerns to the streets (“what an unsavory bunch!“).

And Steve Sailer… well, does he even need an intro, here of all places? His ideology is “citizenism,” which is essentially civic nationalism informed by HBD realism.

And, as many of you know, both are core contributors to this very webzine, The Unz Review.

This is rather portentuous, since the Unz Review/VDARE cluster is, between Sailer, James Thompson, a bevy of other dissident right figures, and the ghost of Razib Khan, a central hub of HBD realistic commentary on the web. On the great map of the Dark Enlightement and the Alt Right, it is also surely the closest to political “normalcy” on the Great Chain of Respectability.

Any serious moves on the part of Society 282 and tech giants against this cluster will surely herald the onset of full-fledged Lysenkoism in the US.

The Daily Stormer

I suspect The Daily Stormer is to the Alt Right/Dissident Right what normie journalists are to Steve Sailer: A good percentage of them read it, but far fewer want to admit it.

Insane, over the top Nazi shtick; it’s not much of an exaggeration to say Andrew Anglin is more hardcore than Hitler. It’s repulsive, to be sure, but also morbidly enchanting. Because Anglin is one heck of a funny writer – you have to be somewhat inured to having your moral sensibilities offended to really appreciate it, but many of his people are /pol/ veterans, after all. It’s not hard to see why, at close to 3 million monthly visits, it has far eclipsed the weather-related forum to become by far the most popular website on the Neo-Nazi Right.

Curiously, unlike the older wehraboo generation of Nazis, Anglin is strongly pro-Russian and pro-Putin – and it’s not even on account of ignorance about what Putin actually represents:

Here’s the thing. Vladimir Putin isn’t even really a fascist. He’s a conservative populist leader who’s doing his best to improve Russia’s situation by whatever means are necessary. He promotes traditional values because that’s what will hold the nation together.
He’s not even an ethnic nationalist, in the full sense of the term; Russia isn’t a nation, it’s a medieval-type multi-ethnic empire, including Moslems, Jews and other non-Whites. And Putin has no intention of changing that fact.
But he’s running a multi-ethnic state the way it needs to be run: by violently suppressing all rebellion, encouraging national pride, keeping the different ethnic groups mostly separated geographically (outside of Moscow) and closely monitoring all dissident groups.

Though his second in command and technical manager, Andrew Auernheimer (the hacker troll known as “weev”) is… another matter.

weev-on-ukraine

Though this certainly hasn’t stopped the presstitutes from trying to put their own spin on things:

… [Andrew Auernheimer] currently lives in Ukraine and has called on its pro-western, anti-Putin president, Petro Poroshenko, to step down.

Anyhow, the stormers have had such a barrage of punishment unleashed upon them by the powers that be that they have been effectively “unpersoned” from the Internet in the past few days.

(1) DNS service provider GoDaddy gave The Daily Stormer a one day warning to take their business elsewhere.

(2) They took it to Google of all places, which promptly suspended service within a couple of hours.

(3) They then tried dailystormer.wang, but the “sneaky, bucktoothed Chinese” made sure that didn’t last long.

(4) The content delivery network Cloudflare ceased providing service, making the site vulnerable to DDoS attacks that promptly shut it down.

It is noteworthy that Cloudflare has long boasted of its absolute commitment to content neutrality, even being criticized for providing support to Islamic terrorist groups.

But a group of Neo-Nazis who don’t appear to have killed anybody to date – apart, perhaps, from Russians in Ukraine, if weev’s boasts are to be believed, but Hillary McCain and the Blue Checkmarks don’t consider them to be humans anyway – are 1,488 negative social justice karma points too much for them.

So much so that they are willing to invalidate their one truly unique selling point for the sake of virtue signalling.

(5) When Cloudflare service ended, The Daily Stormer’s hosting provider was revealed to have been Digital Ocean, which promptly ditched them as well.

daily-stormer-putler-trump(6) Finally, they went to the based Putlerreich… which promptly fobbed them off as well.

The T-Journal has the story.

The Stormers registered dailystormer.ru with Ru-Center on August 15. A day later, the Russian web censor Roskomnadzor sent them a letter requested them to stop delegating the domain in the .ru zone.

However, this had no legal force, since it was not backed up by a court judgment; it not realistic to procure it on such short notice. Therefore, it was something that the Russian registrar had done on its own initiative.

Not that it curried Russia favor with any of the Blue Checkmarks.

blue-checkmarks-on-daily-stormer

While the initial reports of The Daily Stormer joining back up with Putler got tens of thousands of RT’s, the response to the follow-up that it was kicked out within a day was… *crickets*.

The Ascent of Society 282

There are three big forces that are driving the end of the end of the classical liberal idea of freedom of speech as a foundational principle in the United States.

Generational change

Millennials are far less supportive of free speech (expressed as “support for censoring offensive statements about minorities” – as hazy and Orwellian a definition as you can get, considering that one can choose to be offended by anything) than any other generation. Maybe “Generation Z(yklon)” will reverse this trend 2-3 decades down the line, as Audacious Epigone hopes, but don’t count your chickens before the eggs are hatched.

pew-millennials-anti-free-speech

E-mobs

The braying Twitter mob can roar its condemnation of some individual on a scale never before seen in history. Historically, a poet or philosopher ostracized from his home city could wanter off to seek his fortune in a faraway land. Only a limited number of people could ever participate in a witch-hunt due to restrictions of physical space and information flow. The Internet and social media allows the instant participation of millions in Two Minute mobs, creating unimaginable and unprecedented pressure on tech companies, employers, student conduct boards, etc. to purge them.

Tech oligopolies

The products of tech companies are more and more intertwined with our everyday lives.

The most germane aspect of this influence for dissidents are media platforms: The complex of DNS registrars, web hosts, and CDN providers that you need to run a website; the social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) behemoths that account for an ever greater percentage of news delivery; the online payments systems that finance them.

But it doesn’t stop there. As Egor Kholmogorov succinctly remarked, “In this new world, if your politics aren’t approved of by the owners of Uber, or Airbnb, or food delivery services – you will have to walk by foot and remain hungry and stay at home.” Airbnb has been permanently deactivating the accounts of people it suspected of planning to march on the Alt Right side in Charlottesville. Uber has kicked off people who participated as well.

This trend is only going to intensify. Cars are going to get automated. Google Glass or something similar is a matter of time as well. Combining them with reputational apps will allow the global village to identify its pariahs on sight.

As the Marxists said, you can’t have an ideological superstructure without the economic base; by cutting off the latter, you can strangle the former.

Global Impact

For all the SJW retrogression, America is still the one place in the world that is most firmly committed to the ideal of free speech.

map-pew-free-speech-poll

Considering the global economic scope of America’s tech giants, and the hegemony of its culture, the creeping introduction of the “hate speech” exception towards the First Amendment will have global reverberations.

Proponents of liberty will no longer even be able to say, “But what about America?”

And there will be a rapid universalization of authoritarian Social Justice as a global values system.

Solutions

These fall into three bins, though each has their own very big problems.

menaquinone4-zucks-vision(There used to be a fourth one, namely, Moldbug/Curtis Yarvin’s ideas about neocameralism and Silicon Valley techno-monarchy. Congrats, you sort of got that. How’s it working out?).

Exile to Lagos

This is the oldest solution – just flee from the mob to somewhere a bit saner.

This is already happening. In the past, many people moved to the United States, for its more congenial intellectual (and legal!) atmosphere. Mark Steyn and The Derb immediately come to mind.

More recently, crimethinkers have started an exodus into Eastern Europe. Budapest already hosts a small Alt Right hub, Matt Forney having decamped there. AltRight.com’s Vincent Law is based in Saint-Petersburg.

Problem: The aborigines don’t necessary care all that much for your ideology or welfare, especially if you get in the way of favorable horse-trades.

Somewhat hilariously, Orban’s Hungary is the only European country that Richard Spencer has been deported from to date.

And as the recent experience of The Daily Stormer has shown, Russia isn’t any nicer to foreign nationalists than to its own, if and when the heat gets turned on.

As a matter of fact, some of the kremlins might have just decided to dump Trump overboard because they got very very sad hearing about the big bad Orange Nazi from CNN – a testament, if there ever was one, to the sheer power and influence of the American deep state and its propaganda organs.

kremlins-sad

The big, sad secret of ROG is that it’s about as real as Trump’s collusion with Russia. I.e., it doesn’t exist.

There is no escape from ZOG.

Alternative ecosystems

As the tech giants have grown more domineering, they have spawned a set of alternatives.

For instance, Gab.ai for Twitter (my profile there: https://gab.ai/akarlin, for whenever I finally get shoahed from Twitter), and Hatreon (https://hatreon.us/akarlin/), an alternative to Patreon that also hosts a variety of personalities considered to be too unreputable for the handshakeworthy version.

This, too, has many problems.

hatreon-ditched-by-digital-ocean First, the Internet’s infrastructure is highly complex and interconnected, and even these sites still need higher-level resources to run properly. A concerted effort from establishment players can squeeze out the upstarts. Even as I write this, Hatreon is down, because Digital Ocean pulled its web hosting support in the wake of the scandal around The Daily Stormer thanks to the public connection made by a Blue Checkmark journalist.

Second, the lure of money can be even more powerful than the threat of retribution. Twitter, too, had a reputation for free speech absolutism back during the Wikileaks-Cablegate era. That ended as soon as it started rivaling Facebook and attracting celebrities and other handshakeworthy people to its platform. The CEO of Gab.ai, Andrew Torba, has been blacklisted from the Silicon Valley social scene, including the Y Combinator start-up incubator, for Tweeting a “build the wall” meme, which apparently made some Y Combinator members feel “unsafe.” There are powerful material and reputational incentives for such people to get back in line.

Into the Deep Web

If we are fated to drift into a hardcore cyberpunk dystopia controlled by faceless tech oligopolies, then we might as well start living up to the genre’s aesthetics.

For instance, The Daily Stormer already has a deep web presence at http://dstormer6em3i4km.onion/ (can be accessed using the TOR Browser). The deep web hosts all kinds of underground markets for shady and illegal products, such as drugs, stolen information, casinos, weapons, CP, even hitman services (though it’s likely most of those are feds).

In the dankest timeline, where Zuckerberg lords over a mulatto underclass clicking sponsored content all day, soylent is the only legal food, and your basic income determined by social justice quotient of your social media posts and shares, it is feasible that all the cool blogs and websites and videos retreat into samizdat in the deep web, leaving Picus News – the collective CNN/FOX/Buzzfeed – on the surface.

There already exists a readymade solution for financing difficulties once Paypal and the half a dozen other players cut you off: Cryptocurrencies.

A more exotic variant that I have suggested in the past is to create a social media/communications platofrm on blockchain-based principles. This might be the only viable longterm solution as the Bilderbergers and Picus TV continue to extend their tentacles.

 
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I have already written about the Russian government’s blocking of Sputnik i Pogrom, Russia’s foremost nationalist resource.

Two politicians have taken a clear stance on this. Zhirinovsky was one. I have been weighing whether to vote for him or Putin (if only to “reward” him for Crimea) in March 2018. Well, the decision is vastly easier now.

Another supporter is Sergey Shargulin, a Communist deputy, who has sent a letter to the General Prosecutor requesting they provision the materials on the basis of which they were blocked. This is probably connected to Shargulin having been an active supporter of the Donbass resistance, so to hear inanities such as SiP’s support for Ukrainian nationalists must have been especially jarring for him.

The liberals have generally approved of this, since Russian liberalism has little to do with liberal values as such (e.g. freedom of speech) and is more often a respectable fig-leaf for Russophobia and Western cargo cultism. (Alexey Kovalev is a consistently honorable exception).

Perhaps surprising to some – though it shouldn’t be – was the joyous reaction of Stalinists and Eurasianists, such as Israel Shamir. He has not only celebrated the “closure” of that “Vlasovite site,” but believes the authorities haven’t gone far enough; nothing less than a prison term under Article 282 would suffice!

One might think that cheering political prosecution is a rather incongruent position for someone labeled as a Holocaust denier by the Western media, but apparently SiP sinned by not being hard enough on the Jews. Not making this up! “A desperate attempt to set Russians against everyone: Against Armenians, against the Kyrgyz, against Ukrainians. But not against the Jews! They obviously get their money from the CIA, and they wouldn’t give them a penny if they criticized the Jews.

It’s hard to see where to even begin to comment.

I mean, kudos to Shamir for thinking up one of the more… idiosyncratic rationalizations for having a legal system in which obese 90 IQ bureaucrats decide what Russians are allowed to read on Russian taxpayer money (or try to, anyway; Russians are aware of VPN). Hopefully he takes this as a compliment.

So instead I will make just two points. First, this is a good illustration of why Stalinists and Eurasianists are not Russian nationalists (as the Western media almost always clumps them), and why the two factions don’t usually want to have anything to do with each other.

Second, I do want to take the opportunity to specifically address the “Vlasovite” smear that is repeatedly lobbed at Russian nationalists, including SiP, by Stalinists, Eurasianists, and assorted Soviet people.

Vlasov was an exemplary Soviet officer. He did not disappear in the 1937 military purges. Instead, he “faithfully followed the party line” as a member of military tribunals, and enjoyed steady career progression. He so impressed his superiors that he was awarded with a golden watch in 1940. But after going over to the Germans, he suddenly became a resolute enemy of Bolshevik tyranny. The Prague Manifesto, compiled in 1944 under Nazi tutelage, praised the ideals of the February revolution, supported the self-determination of the nations within the USSR (that is, an independent Ukraine, Belarus, etc), and promised to fight against “reactionary forces.”

All of that is in direct opposition to what Russian nationalism stands for. But it is also very congruent with the ideals of the rootless liberal elites who ruled Russia in the 1990s, and continue to exercise significant cultural and economic power today. Who are themselves in large part just the mutant offspring of the late Soviet nomenklatura. (The case of Nobel Peace Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich is particularly instructive: A woman who transitioned seamlessly from writing cringeworthy odes to the ethnic Polish founder of the Soviet secret police Dzerzhinsky to penning Russophobic screeds, she is perhaps the quintessential representative of this “Soviet-liberal” class).

Now here’s the thing. To my knowledge, SiP has never expressed any support or sympathy for Vlasov. (I’ve read a good percentage of everything they’ve written since about 2014, so I am reasonably qualified to make this judgment).

They have, however, pointed out inconvenient facts – including the critical observation that Vlasov was a successful product of the Soviet system and a quintesential Soviet person (as judged by that system itself until 1942).

But for devotees of a tyrant who literally erased people who fell afoul of him from historical record, this might well be more infuriating than if SiP actually were the swastika-toting Vlasovites of their imagination.

 
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Sputnik i Pogrom (SiP), the premier online resource of the Russian nationalists has just been blocked by Roskomnadzor.

It was done on the request of the General Prosecutor, along with five other nationalist sites. They claim to have found evidence of them “justifying” Right Sector, the Islamic State, Al-Nusra, and other terrorist groups, fighting in Syria. Formulaic reminder about how the Islamic State is banned on the territory of the Russian Federation, in case anyone forgot. The resources in question “propagandize the ideas of national and religious discord, which constitute a threat to social peace and incite extremism.”

Apart from the inherent absurdity of implying Russian nationalists have sympathies for Islamists – an absurdity that any honest person can recognize regardless of ideological orientation – the more telling characteristic is no particular offending material was identified. This means “correcting” a sentence or even removing an article or two doesn’t appear to be an option. SiP’s editors seem to have recognized this, and are mulling switching domain names and directing readers to guides on how to install VPN. (Though the Russian government is working on banning VPN too).

sip-blocked-news As a reminder, SiP isn’t some fringe Neo-Nazi blog bedecked in swastikas and dug up from the bowels of the Internet. It is a glossy magazine with long, high-quality articles about Russian history that now garners 1.5 million monthly visits, despite many of its articles being paywalled. It has been remarkably successful at penetrating its way into the Russian elites: Alexander Voloshin, Igor Strelkov, and Ksenia Sobchak (!) are known to be readers. Combining the visitor numbers of the top Alt Right websites with the intellectual sophistication and elite influence of the upper-tier neoreactionary blogs, SiP’s success as a media phenomenon cannot be denied. As the ultimate “compliment,” many of the large federal MSM organizations have already written about the pogrom of Sputnik i Pogrom.

It is highly critical of the Putin regime for what they see as its corruption, privileging of ethnic minorities, open borders with Central Asia, laxness in Ukraine, and the stiffling climate of political authoritarianism and social conservatism. One can agree or disagree with these assertions to varying extents, but one cannot credibly accuse it of being an agent for Western (or Islamist) interests; in 2014, they actively supported Crimea’s incorporation into Russia and the Donbass resistance, contributing 60 million rubles for humanitarian needs, sending volunteers, and crowdfunding an APC for the people’s militias.

Nor could SiP have been banned for its relative social and political liberalism, such as their criticism of organized religion and homophobia. The website of the Russian Imperial Movement, which whom I became acquainted in Saint-Petersburg, has also been blocked, even though they are hardline social conservatives and require applications for membership to be Orthodox Christians.

In totality, all this points to one conclusion: The Russian government has increasingly had it with Russian nationalism.

To be sure, the General Prosecutor balked at stating that directly, but the very lameness and lack of specifics of its accusations indicates that this is indeed the case. (More than half of Russians agree with the implicitly ethnonationalist slogan “Russia for Russians,” so perhaps that was a wise decision on their part).

What are the consequences and implications?

From a political perspective, the Russian elections are coming up in March 2018, and the authorities might have decided that oppositionist nationalism is not a media factor they want in play. This might imply that Navalny will be allowed to run after all (even though SiP has in truth been opposed to Navalny as much as Putin).

Another predictable theory that rears its head at times like these is that a “Putinsliv” (betrayal) is being planned for the LDNR, so the screws are being tightened in preparation for that – needless to say, a capitulation there will infuriate oppositionist nationalists more than any other group. This is very highly unlikely. Russia is coming out out of recession, so concerns about the economic impact of Western sanctions should be at a relative minimum. Besides, this is not the first time that SiP has been subjected to state harassment; its chief editor Egor Prosvirnin had his apartment searched and electronic devices confiscated back in September 2015.

Finally, it would be amiss to end this without a brief discussion of this event in the current political and sociological context.

First, there is a rich irony in that just a few weeks ago, Egor Prosvirnin was disinvited from the Saint-Petersburg “Geek Picnic” tech conference thanks to the no-platforming efforts of SJWs of “multinational nationality” such as Mikhail Gelfand, Boris Stern, David Homak, and Asya Kazantseva. Their logic being that Prosvirnin is a Kremlin attack dog and an imperialist Russian chauvinist (all these terms are interchangeable to them). The rather more banal reality is that Russian nationalists are squeezed between globalist “ZOG” and the “Putletreich” that loathes them in almost equal measure.

Second, it is just beautiful that SiP is now banned not just in “brotherly” Belarus, but in Russia as well, but not yet in “Banderite” Ukraine. Needless to say, this has nothing to do with any particularly Ukrainian respect for free speech. It is just that Ukraine is the least competent of these three Russophobic states. It’s still funny, though.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Censorship, Nationalism, Russia 
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Back in 2016, Twitter bannings mostly targeted Gamergaters who pissed off the Gamerghazi clique who have seized Twitter’s Orwellian-named “Trust & Safety Council,” as well as the occasional outright Neo-Nazi.

Now it seems to be extending beyond those groups to the entirety of the Alt Right, including the milquetoast Alt Lite, to NRx, and even the HBDsphere.

The past week has seen the following people banned from @jack’s playground:

(1) The philosopher Nick Land got banned for accelerating too damn hard. Pay my respects to Gnon, will you? (edit: He has since been unsuspended).

This was a particularly shocking development considering that his account has been consistently polite and non-aggressive and his ideology belongs to the milquetoast techno-commercialist, not ethnonationalist, wing of NRx.

outsideness-prole-genocide

(2) The entire core of #FrogTwitter, the irreverent band of archaeo-futurist cultural critics/trolls, for no discernible (non-political) reason. In particular:

@BronzeAgePerv, the nudist fascist bodybuilder who called to return to spirit of the Bronze Age, burn down the cities in fire, and deadlift our way to the Trumpenreich

He was recently featured in the Atlantic thanks to a trolling Moldbug.

bronzeageperv-point-of-twitter

He was evidently banned for terrifying the bugmen of Twitter with his excesses of unvarnished masculine energies.

@menaquinone4, author of the best tweet on the Internet.

menaquinone4-zucks-vision

> also your basic income determined by the social justice quotient of your social media posts and shares

But his deconstruction of the Derp State made him too woke for Twitter, especially when his humiliation of McMullin was RTed by Ann Coulter:

menaquinone4-derp-state

 

 

Egg McMuffin didn’t like that.

mcmuffin-vision

(3) @kantbot2000, the guy who believed Trump will make German Idealism Great Again, seems to have been shoahed too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOk6HB609po

(4) Master of the Shiv @ChateauEmissary, second time round.

(5) Gamergate icon @Sargon_of_Akkad banned (then unbanned) once again, again for no discernible reason.

In retrospect, looks like @jokeocracy was prescient – he, at least, went out with the dignity of a literary suicide bomber.

Anyhow, it looks more and more obvious that they’re working off a list.

A few weeks ago, an anonymous poster who claimed to be a Twitter insider claimed there is a list of 700+ accounts slated for liquidation, and posted the 250 most prominent of them at /pol/.

Although there is no way to way to check his authenticity, assembling this list (especially of the already purged accounts) would have required considerable effort, especially just for a /pol/ shitpost. And it is striking that ALL of the subjects of Twitter’s recent bans have are in his Black Book. One might be a coincidence, two is suspicious, 5+ is a targeted purge.

I compiled that pollack’s separate images into one big image list at the bottom of the post.

For now, I will highlight some of the more prominent, intelligent, and/or amusing accounts whose days are probably numbered. Accounts that will be familiar to many Unz.com readers are bolded:

  • AnnCoulter herself (she is one of the 43 accounts that Trump follows, and incidentally, menaquinone4′s suspension was probably directly linked to her RT’ing his humiliation of Egg McMuffin).
  • Prison Planet
  • Cernovich (PRIORITY)
  • Gavin_McInnes
  • Sargon_of_Akkad (reverted)
  • StefanMolyneux
  • Ricky_Vaughn99 (banned)
  • RichardSpencer (reverted) – Unusual that he was let out, and even presented with a Verification badge.
  • ramzpaul (PRIORITY)
  • wesearchr (banned)
  • vdare (PRIORITY)
  • AmRenaissance (PRIORITY)
  • ReactionaryTree (banned)
  • TOOEdit (PRIORITY) – Kevin MacDonald. @occdissent is also on it.
  • Steve_Sailer – Julia Ioffe will have her revenge.
  • ChateauEmissary (banned) – For the second time.
  • WrathOfGnon – Really hope he keeps regular backups of his archives, this is arguably the best NRx account on Twitter.
  • altright_fanfic
  • BronzeAgePerv (PRIORITY) – Head of #frogtwitter, undisputed leader of the Alt Right, recently banned. Day of the Bronze Bull when?
  • kantbot2000 (PRIORITY) – Recently banned.
  • menaquinonone4 – Recently banned.
  • MatthewHeimbach (banned)
  • NathanDamigo (PRIORITY)
  • MillennialWoes (PRIORITY)
  • weimerica (PRIORITY)
  • hbdchick – Wow, just wow. Is RationalWiki also on the Twitter Trust & Safety Advisory Council?
  • henrydampier
  • Outsideness – Nick Land. Recently banned, unbanned.
  • MPCdot (PRIORITY)
  • DerbQOTD – Account that reposts Derbyshire’s content.
  • socialmattermag
  • Nick_B_Steves
  • HbdNrx (PRIORITY)

The million dollar question: Am I on the List?

dont-know

***


unkawaiipigdog-death-row

Where To Go From Here?

As Nick Land points out, Twitter is now an “undisguised leftist ideological operation” and there really is very little point in relying on it any further, at least for those who dabble in crimethink no matter how seemingly minor.

Alternatives:

  • Just log off and make blogging great again.
  • gab.ai is the popular to go platform, and Nick Land suggests minds.com. Alternatives to Twitter might be attractive now, but what happens if they become popular and draw corporate money? They would then be subject to the exact same forces propelling censorship on more established platforms.
  • Everybody in Russia is head over heels with Telegram. It was built by Pavel Durov, who is a serious crypto-anarchist, unlike @jack and Faceberg (Durov chose to give up control of Vkontakte instead of agreeing to cooperate with Russia’s intelligence services). If it’s good enough for ISIS recruiters, it’s probably a safe enough space for you.
  • Wait for Urbit?
  • Someone should create a social media/communications platform blockchain-based principles. This will probably be the only viable longterm solution as the Bilderbergers and Picus TV continue to extend their tentacles.

The List

twitter-hitlist

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Censorship, Twitter 
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As I noted in my old post on the false dichotomy between race denial and racism, there is a regrettable degree of overlap between racism and race realism. This shouldn’t however blind us to the real distinctions between the two, which were very succinctly summarized by Half Sigma thus:

The race realist understands The g Factor, The Bell Curve, and other works of scientific research. The racist apparently thinks that because Barack Obama is half black, it’s impossible for him to have a significantly higher g than John McCain.

This applies to comments such as this one joking that only 12 or 13 US Blacks have the cognitive capacity to learn Mandarin, with Obama not among them. This is obviously false. Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law on the basis of blind grading, which implies elite cognitive cognitive ability. And for that matter, I know two Blacks who speak fluent Mandarin. Are they two of the Elite 13? LOL.

That said, I will not as a general rule be censoring “racist” comments, unless they are couched in the most explicit and offensive language (for that there is Stormfront if you are so inclined). Part of the reason is that the line between racism and race realism is blurry and open to debate. For instance, arguing on the basis of statistics that apartheid wasn’t all that bad for Black South Africans probably isn’t racism. What about calling for its return? I do not know. As I said, blurry lines. I have neither the time nor wish to subject individual comments to such detailed scrutiny.

I do however urge commentators to exercise restraint and good taste. After all, the HBD-sphere is plagued by accusations of racism, and not entirely unfairly either; and this is used to stifle valid and much-needed discussion on racial differences. Let’s not give the PC brigade any more ammo if we can possibly help it.

PS. I am following with interest the discussions in the posts on Indian and Chinese IQ. I cannot participate, as I’m now writing a lengthy piece on Pussy Riot, but rest assured the comments will be read and the more interesting ones examined further.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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The Press Freedom Index issues by Reporters Without Borders is a good starting point for assessing journalistic freedoms in global comparative perspective. However, much like all attempts to measure democracy or Transparency International’s assessment of corruption perception, their methodology relies on tallying a number of intangibles that cannot be objectively estimated: Censorship, self-censorship, legal framework, independence. These can barely be quantified and are in any case subject to a wide degree of interpretation based on one’s ideological proclivities; for instance, just how do you go about estimating the degree of self-censorship?

I have decided to strip out these elements and focus only on indicators that can be objectively measured, i.e. the numbers of killed and imprisoned journalists set against the size of the national journalistic pool. Using figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists, I tally the numbers of journalist murders from the past three years – to reflect the fact that journalist killings can have a chilling effect years into the future – and the numbers of imprisoned journalists imprisoned now multiplied by six, so that their aggregate weighting is twice that of journalist killings. The reason I do that is because truly authoritarian regimes typically have a tight clampdown on monopoly violence, including on the various independent criminal elements (e.g. drug cartels, rogue intelligence officers); as such, direct killings of journalists tends to be rare. On the other hand, due to the threat of imprisonment and other harassment, independent journalism is severely circumscribed if at all existent. But instead of just going with this figure, I further adjust it to the size of the national journalist pool, because – for obvious reasons – a few journalist killings in a country the size of India is tragic, but nonetheless qualitatively different from the same number of killings in a country with a far smaller population like Honduras where there is a far bigger chance those journalists would know each other. The resulting figure is the Journalism Security Index; a narrower (but far more objective) measure than the Press Freedom Index, which – by necessity – relies on fallible expert judgments on unquantifiable measures such as self-censorship and journalistic independence.

Scroll down to the bottom to see the full results of the Journalism Security Index 2012.

Some of the rankings will come as a surprise to many people, so let me address those. First, we see a few countries where press freedoms are certainly heavily circumscribed, such as Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Vietnam, get perfect scores. This reveals the major weakness of the index – it measures not so much press freedom as journalistic security (hence its name). Second, and tied in with this, it only measures the most severe things that can happen to a journalism, i.e. killing or imprisonment. It has no way of accounting for things such as Hungary’s new media laws, the rumored weekly meetings of Russia’s federal TV channel heads with Kremlin officials, or the 42 journalists and counting arrested at Occupy events in the US. Suffice to say that a score of zero on the JSI most certainly does not mean said country is an oasis of press freedom.

This is also not to mention that the CPJ has a fairly rigorous methodology for listing a journalist as imprisoned – it has to be political. For instance, while Turkey “only” has 7 journalists listed as imprisoned, other estimates put the number at more than 70. However, according to Yavuz Baydar, a similar methodology may give a figure of 17 imprisoned journalists in the UK for their part in the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Obviously, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

Third, there may be surprise that Russia is ranked somewhere in the middle, whereas it is near the bottom on most other indices of press freedom. The explanation is fairly simple. Russia does not currently have any imprisoned journalists by the CPJ’s reckoning, and whereas a total of four journalist deaths are recorded for the years 2009-2011, this is both a significant decrease on earlier years and not a catastrophic situation when set against its 143 million strong population (see Gordon Hahn’s Repression of Journalism in Russia in Comparative Perspective from December 2009) or – to be even fairer – the vast size of its journalistic pool, which at 102,300 newspaper journalists is the largest in the world.

On the converse, countries such as Bahrain, Syria, and Afghanistan do really badly because even a small number of journalist killings and imprisonments translate into very high scores because of the hugely circumscribed size of the journalistic pools in those countries. Some may dispute that Israel’s ranking is absurdly low. If so, please take it up with the CPJ. It lists 7 imprisoned journalists; now of them, 3 are under Hamas arrest, so I subtracted them from the Israeli total and gave them to Palestine. Nonetheless, that still leaves 4 Palestinian journalists that are under Israeli imprisonment, all of them without charge.

(In contrast, the sole Russian journalist listed as imprisoned in recent years was one Boris Stomakhin for “inciting hatred” and “making public calls for extremist activity”, writing things such as, “Let tens of new Chechen snipers take their positions in the mountain ridges and the city ruins and let hundreds, thousands of aggressors fall under righteous bullets! No mercy! Death to the Russian occupiers! … The Chechens have the full moral right to bomb everything they want in Russia.” One may dispute the ethics of imprisoning someone for what is, in the end, still an opinion; but one has to note that prosecutions take place in the UK (Samina Malik) and the US (Jubair Ahmad) for essentially equivalent activities).

Whereas countries like Brazil and Mexico have essentially free media, they are – as are Russia and much of the rest of the former Soviet republics – terrorized by the generally high background violence of their societies. In the former, this issue is particularly problematic, as Brazil has a much lower aggregate press pool than Russia; therefore, its three murders in the past three years exert more of a relative effect than Russia’s four.

Please make sure to note the caveats and methodological clarifications that follow below the following table.

Journalism Security Index 2012

Country Impr. Kill. #pop. JSI(p) #journ. JSI
1= Algeria 0 0 37.1 0.0 2,041 0.0
1= Argentina 0 0 40.1 0.0 1,444 0.0
1= Armenia 0 0 3.3 0.0 2,363 0.0
1= Australia 0 0 22.8 0.0 5,416 0.0
1= Bangladesh 0 0 142.3 0.0 2,846 0.0
1= Canada 0 0 34.6 0.0 5,000 0.0
1= Cuba 0 0 11.2 0.0 3,425 0.0
1= France 0 0 65.4 0.0 5,441 0.0
1= Georgia 0 0 4.5 0.0 3,222 0.0
1= Germany 0 0 81.8 0.0 26,000 0.0
1= Hungary 0 0 10.0 0.0 8,661 0.0
1= Italy 0 0 60.8 0.0 8,866 0.0
1= Japan 0 0 127.7 0.0 20,315 0.0
1= Korea 0 0 48.6 0.0 4,034 0.0
1= Poland 0 0 38.1 0.0 32,995 0.0
1= Portugal 0 0 10.6 0.0 4,071 0.0
1= Qatar 0 0 1.7 0.0 136 0.0
1= Saudi Arabia 0 0 27.1 0.0 2,168 0.0
1= Spain 0 0 46.2 0.0 6,745 0.0
1= Sweden 0 0 9.5 0.0 5,392 0.0
1= Ukraine 0 0 45.7 0.0 32,721 0.0
1= UK 0 0 62.3 0.0 13,437 0.0
1= USA 0 0 312.9 0.0 54,134 0.0
1= Vietnam 0 0 87.8 0.0 5,444 0.0
25 Russia 0 4 142.9 0.3 102,300 0.4
26 India 0 1 1,210.2 0.0 16,079 0.6
27 Belarus 0 1 9.5 1.1 6,802 1.5
28 Kazakhstan 1 1 16.7 4.2 11,957 1.7
29 Indonesia 0 4 237.6 0.2 13,634 2.9
30 Azerbaijan 1 1 9.1 7.7 6,516 3.1
31 China 27 0 1,339.7 1.2 82,849 3.3
32 Brazil 0 3 192.4 0.2 6,914 4.3
33 Thailand 1 3 65.9 1.4 7,644 5.2
34 Greece 0 1 10.8 0.9 1,577 6.3
35 Nigeria 0 4 48.3 0.8 6,148 6.5
36 Mexico 0 9 112.3 0.8 13,027 6.9
37 Uzbekistan 5 0 28.0 10.7 6,580 7.6
38 Kyrgyzstan 1 0 5.5 10.9 1,295 7.7
39 Israel 4 1 7.8 32.1 5,585 9.0
40 Peru 0 1 29.8 0.3 1,073 9.3
41 Venezuela 0 1 26.8 0.4 965 10.4
42 Turkey 8 1 74.7 6.6 8,652 10.4
43 Morocco 2 0 32.5 3.7 1,782 11.2
44 Colombia 0 2 46.4 0.4 1,670 12.0
45 Sudan 4 0 30.9 7.8 3,064 13.1
46 Egypt 2 2 81.5 1.7 2,608 15.3
47 Tunisia 0 1 10.7 0.9 589 17.0
48 Myanmar 12 0 48.3 14.9 2,898 41.4
49 Pakistan 0 15 178.6 0.8 3,572 42.0
50 Ethiopia 7 0 82.1 5.1 1,642 42.6
51 Palestine 3 0 4.2 42.9 700 42.9
52 Iran 42 1 76.1 33.2 8,828 48.7
53 Yemen 2 2 23.8 5.9 476 84.0
54 Philippines 0 37 94.0 3.9 4,000 92.5
55 Afghanistan 0 6 24.5 2.4 490 122.4
56 Iraq 0 14 32.1 4.4 1,027 136.3
57 Syria 8 2 21.4 23.4 685 146.0
58 Libya 1 5 6.4 17.2 205 293.0
59 Bahrain 1 2 1.2 66.7 96 312.5
60 Eritrea 28 0 5.4 311.1 108 2592.6

Methodological clarifications: Impr. figures taken from CPJ‘s 2011 Prison Census; Kill. figures taken from CPJ’s numbers of killed journalists from 2009 to 2011; #pop. taken from Wikipedia’s list of official statistics on national populations; #journ. taken from UN data on the numbers of journalists per country.

JSI(p) is the Journalism Security Index calculated only relative to the population; it is more accurate, in narrow terms, than the JSI calculated relative to numbers of journalists (see below why), but suffers from the fact that it underestimates the risks of working in very populous and poor countries where journalists are low as a share of the population and even a few killings can have a chilling effect on their general community.

JSI is the official Journalism Security Index, calculated by (1) tallying the numbers of journalist murders from 2009-2011 and the numbers of imprisoned journalists imprisoned in 2011 multiplied by six so that the aggregate weighting of every imprisoned journalist is twice that of a killed journalist, (2) dividing by the numbers of newspaper journalists in that country, and (3) multiplying that figure by 10,000 to get convenient numbers for the index.

There are two very important caveats to be made about the UN data on journalists. First, it only measures the numbers of newspaper journalists, not the total number of journalists and media workers. As such, it should be viewed as a rough proxy. In some regions, newspapers have a much higher profile relative to TV (e.g. East-Central Europe, Russia, Scandinavia); in others, it is the opposite (e.g. Latin America). Adjusting for this would, for example, narrow the gap between in the JSI between Russia and Brazil. Second, far from all countries have data; many of them are fairly important ones in terms of press freedom issues (e.g. Iran, Israel, Mexico, Bahrain). To fix this, I just extrapolated the per capita figures from other countries with similar literacy and socio-cultural profiles, e.g. I equalized Iran and Mexico with Turkey; Israel and Belarus with Russia; Bahrain with Qatar, and calculated their numbers of journalists by multiplying their population by their estimated journalists per capita figures. Needless to say, this is an extremely inexact method, and may be off by several factors. For that reason, countries with no concrete data from the UN source are marked in italics; note that for them, the JSI may be off by several factors (though most likely not by an order of magnitude).

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
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Imagine a respected American financial newspaper such as the WSJ writes an article investigating elections fraud in favor of the Democrats. To illustrate the rightness of their point, they include a photo of a ballot for the Republicans that – they allege – wasn’t tallied by the dodgy Solyndra machines rolled out for use in California in 2012. The ballot has “Obama, Go Fuck Yourself!” written out in big red letters. The captions below read: “Correctly filled out ballot, ruled spoiled.” A few days later, the newspaper’s owner fires a high-ranking editor and a CEO at the paper, noting that the publication of that photo “bordered on petty hooliganism.” The paper then apologizes to its readers and advertising partners. The Russian business paper Vedomosti titles its account of this episode “Washington Editor Fired Over Election Coverage”, while Russia Today does a documentary on the retreat of press freedoms in America without even bothering to mention the source of the controversy. You’d think this was a case of severe journalistic bias and incompetence in Russia, no?

I’m glad you do, because this is basically the saga of Kommersant Vlast’s publication of its investigation on falsifications in the Russian legislative elections. It has not been removed from the Internet, to the contrary you can still read it on their site and comment on it. It is an extensive work, titled “United Stuffers” (a play on United Russia) featuring a collection of twelve articles. The only part of it that was subject to “censorship” – and the reason given by its tycoon owner Alisher Usmanov for the dismissal of the editor who approved it – is the photograph below:

“PUTIN, GO FUCK YOURSELF.”

The literal translation is different, it sounds something along the lines of “Putin go to the cock” but the meaning is as above. Okay, you might think this is edgy, controversial stuff; perhaps grounds for a warning, but probably not a firing. But then consider the caption: “Correctly filled out ballot, ruled spoiled.” If you think this is anything but a double entendre used by an editor to spell out his feelings for Putin, I have a bridge to sell you to Russky Island. Needless to say, whatever your personal feelings about swearwords, there is no doubt that this would be completely unacceptable in a major newspapers in reference to any Western political leader. This is the Russian version of the NYT we’re talking about, not The eXile.

What this would have looked like in the US… How long would the editor who approved the photo to the right keep his job? Hmm… a few minutes?

It is telling that even in the comments to the article (which was left unchanged apart from the removal of the offending photo) most readers – and Kommersant’s readers tend to be relatively liberal – agree that it was unacceptable.

And now you can’t find Putin’s cock on Kommersant! (Yes, the file was literally called that)

Incidentally, this particular article itself was about the voting in London. It was pretty interesting. Our good man Andrei Sidelnikov, the Strategy-31 Abroad organizer whom I’ve written about here, makes an appearance. There were clear violations of the electoral law (e.g. anti-United Russia political campaign materials close to the polling station). The ballot with big orange letters “addressed personally to the Prime Minister” (as the writer calls the ballot that is the subject of this post) was marked spoiled, which apparently is “in contradiction of the law” because, despite its defacement, there was nonetheless a clear cross next to Yabloko. Nonetheless, that one “stolen” vote didn’t stop Yabloko from voting 43% of the vote in that station, followed by 21% for the Communists, 16% for Fair Russia, and 10% for United Russia. Pretty much what one can expect of Londongrad.

Courtesy of our Strategy-31 Abroad friends and great champions of free elections like Berezovsky.

In reality, this entire ridiculous episode was made out to be like Putin’s oligarch henchmen clamping down on Russian criticism of the elections (which in reality has been widespread and with no serious consequences for the journalists involved to date).

Possibly the most dishonest reporting of this came via The Telegraph (Russian media tycoon Alisher Usmanov fires two after reporting election fraud), which implies that journalists were fired for fulfilling their journalistic duties whereas the actual facts of the matter is that it was a senior editor and business manager getting the boot for things like breaking Kommersant’s own code of conduct. The other photo that The Telegraph alleges the Kremlin / Usmanov took a dislike to – “another photograph from London of a spray-painted image of Putin with the slogan in English “Public Enemy No. 1″” – was unaffected and remains online.

A recent analogue in Western coverage of the Russian media’s “persecution” is the case of the translator who left Inosmi because – according to him – they forbade him from translating “harsh stories” about Putin and United Russia (or to least not feature those stories on the front page). His case was likewise championed in the Western media as evidence of the endless and permanent disintegration of media freedoms in Russia. My guess is that he thought his job sucked and decided to go out with a bang. Whatever the case, a single visit to Inosmi and use of Google Translate will reveal thus story for the absurdity it is; Inosmi not only posts regularly anti-UR and anti-Putin material but positively delights in doing so as it provokes the most voluminous and salacious responses from its varied audience.

Now that’s a wise and tasteful vote.

There are two further points I want to make.

First, Kommersant is privately owned, and theoretically Usmanov can hire and fire pretty much as he pleases. Though parts of his career are shady to say the least, his claims that he does not interfere in Kommersant’s editorial policy are valid, as evidenced by the fact that they had some of the best and most critical coverage of the elections and falsifications. But weren’t the Western commentariat claiming that all Russian media is Kremlin-controlled anyway? Ah, but Usmanov is an oligarch who serves the Kremlin, so there’s no difference. Not unlike our free and independent watchdog press. (To appreciate the scorn in that last reference just read any Glenn Greenwald article on the Western media).

Second, it is especially ironic to see these criticisms coming from American media, where many journalists have been dismissed for far more circumspect criticism of Israel (i.e. not using schoolyard insults) or trying to consider Arab or Islamist viewpoints (not endorse them; just consider them on their own merits). As a general rule the mass media is subservient to the taboos established by power in all societies, but I would venture to say that in 2011 the Russian media, especially print media, has proven to be a much better watchdog of freedoms – as evidenced by the generally excellent coverage of the elections and protests – than has been the case in the US (and much of the West) for years. Which reminds me. Shouldn’t outlets like the WSJ or NYT be covering shit like this as opposed to Russian editors losing their jobs for acting like teenagers?

I guess not. A Russian editors’ obsession with Putin’s cock is far more important.

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
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In a recent editorial, The Guardian complained about the expulsion of their Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding. All the usual Russia tropes were brought up in explanation, including its “shrinking space for a free press.”

But Harding’s “crowning offense”, at least according to the Guardian’s “guess”, was “his association with this paper’s story on what the WikiLeaks material revealed about the views of foreign diplomats and others on the nature of the Russian system as it has evolved, or rather, devolved, under Vladimir Putin.”

By this time, most of my “guesses” were revolving around the question of WTF are the Guardian Editors smoking. Not very diplomatic, true, so I limited myself to just pointing out that their arguments are specious, and why (unfortunately failed to screenshot my response). But the gist of it went something along these lines…

1. As shown by a simple Googling, Luke Harding is a professional plagiarist, ripping off from the eXile. It’s well documented and we have to wonder what he’s doing as a journalist in the first place. And that’s not going into the observation that most of Harding’s “real” journalism consists of dogged Russia-bashing – and that countries like the US also bans journalists it dislikes from entering. No outcry from the Guardian there!

2. The Guardian’s argument that Russia banned Luke Harding for his Wikileaks stories is simply absurd on too many levels. For a start, there are literally thousands of articles – both from Western journalists in Russia and Russian journalists writing for Russian newspapers – covering the cables in which US diplomats blow off about Russia being a “mafia state.” All you need to confirm this is a 30-second search of Russian Google News, but I guess that is too much real work for an accomplished specialist in plagiarism and sensationalism.

3. Frankly, boohoo! And good riddance.

As it turned out, good riddance to me too. The Guardian is more than happy to dish it out, but can’t take the heat itself. Of the first 50 comments on that Editorial – located in the section Comment Is Free, of all places – some 11 have been censored because they don’t “abide by [The Guardian's] community standards.”

That’s more than 20% censorship, including all of the truly critical views. Comment is free indeed. But I “guess” that some comments are freer than others.

UPDATE #1

To John Haskell’s question, “Are we then to conclude that Harding was denied entry to Russia because he ripped off the Exile?”

AK – If I had to “guess” – just as the Guardian does – then I’d say someone took a look at Harding’s articles for his past years in Russia, noticed they were full of negative spin, fact distortion and outright propaganda (e.g. this, making out the South Ossetia War as a “cruel” Russian invasion of Georgia), and hence the ban.

Harding is perhaps unfortunate that it befell him (after all Ed Lucas can still travel there freely), but “guessing” that it was due to his Wikileaks coverage – if it was hundreds of other Western and Russian journalists would also be expelled or in jail – is mendacious.

UPDATE #2

Response to Sean Russia Blog’s “The Hard Lessons of the Harding Affair.”

Some paranoias die hard. Some day, though I can’t imagine that it will be anytime soon, the Russian government will have enough self-confidence in themselves and their system to see that the best way to deal with irritants is to ignore them, or better yet defuse them through positive recognition. This is after all what mature liberal democracies do, and as Gramsci taught, consent is always more effective than force.

AK - If you consider the US a “mature liberal democracy”, then Russia is already playing to form. I don’t follow these news closely, but just in 2004, according to the CPJ, “nine foreign journalists were detained and denied entry because they did not have visas.” A Google search reveals that in 2010 a Colombian and a Palestinian journalist were denied entry, whose coverage went against American interests.

Think the Guardian’s Britain is any better? Off the top of my head, they denied entry to right-wing radio personality Michael Savage. While I despise his views, and agree with the Foreign Office opinion that some of it is “hate speech”, why are the Russians not allowed to consider Luke Harding’s anti-Russian diatribes to be also hate speech?

PS. Despite the whataboutism here – justified, I think, because of the double standards the same countries that criticize Russia display – I actually agree with you that barring Luke Harding is more trouble than its worth. That said, now that the milk has been spilled, Russia might as well refrain from backpedaling.

UPDATE #3

So it appears Russia has allowed Luke Harding to come back. Meanwhile, I remain censored by the Guardian.

Guardian = less respect for free speech than the Kremlin.

EDIT: This post has been translated into Russian at Inosmi.Ru (Цензура в The Guardian: некоторые комментарии свободнее других). Thanks guys – you rock!

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
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I’ve remembered about the article What We Believe I wrote two years back, in the early days when I was still writing anonymously (as “stalker”) and was pretending to be a team. Had fun rereading it, almost like a time machine. My views on Russia have remained mostly unchanged. I’ve grown to become somewhat more positive about the legacy of the Soviet Union; like most Russians, I retain the same ambiguous attitude towards Stalin, whom I have described as “the despotic Messiah who led and ruled [Russians] like the God of the Old Testament”; and I am as convinced as ever of the hypocritical and double standards-laced coverage of subjects like Putin, Chechnya, and Russia’s human rights record in the Western media.

Furthermore, I’ve become much more skeptical about the universalism of liberalism and HR. Two years back I believed the West should be actively involved in cultivating social progress in regards to women’s rights, LGBT rights, etc, in backward areas of the Muslim world; not any more, though I remain a social progressive. It’s just that I’ve recognized that these concepts – liberalism, HR, etc – are but manifestations of a specific Romano-Germanic (Western) culture, and do not necessarily have much resonance with the cultural traditions of other civilizations. In some cases the cultural clash between the two leaves produced nothing but destruction. Other civilizations should be left free to forge their own path into the iron cage of modernity, or not.

Far more interesting was reading my own “General Values” from two years ago, back when the world was so different and global neoliberalism appeared to be at high noon – whereas in reality it is near sunset, in large part due to the imminence of peak oil and the creeping insolvency of Pax Americana. I too have changed a lot. Reading about myself from back then is almost like listening to a highly familiar, but nonetheless different, person. From economic centrism, of the Krugmanite variety, to Green Communism. From atheism to pantheism. Lots more postmodernist claptrap. Etc. Let me outline my beliefs two years on.

Political Compass

Da Russophile is economically centrist, extremely liberal socially and supportive of liberal democracy, albeit with an authoritarian streak. We are Economic Left/Right: -1.25, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.59 on the Political Compass test.

Make that economically leftist, extremely liberal socially, and with an interpretation of political power that is much freer from forced categorization. Who is more democratic, the deaf “liberal” ideologue with a 5% approval rating or the post-ideological pragmatist / semi-authoritarian uniter with an 80% approval rating?* The post-historical “liberal democratic” country ran by socialist oligarchs or an unelected “deliberative dictatorship” that acts on opinion polls and executes corrupt officials using mobile execution buses? For what it’s worth, I am now Economic Left/Right: -9.50, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.28 on the Political Compass. Quite a shift leftward if there ever was one.

Theophilosophy

We are atheists and have a secular worldview. We do not think religion is useful for anything other than some of its aesthetic aspects (like choral music and icons)…

I no longer agree with this at all. All worldviews are valid from within their own frames of reference. The Christianity of the Middle Ages – as reflected in the sublimity of their holy rites, the dark Gothic splendor of the cathedrals rising above the plains, etc – had at least as much meaning and validity to the West European peasant mind, as does the science-rationalism of the Machine to the modern Faustian mind. I have come to appreciate this, in a postmodern way, and have now embraced pantheism; all religions have validity, they are all slivers of one indivisible, unbounded whole, the Void. In particular, I appreciate Orthodox Christianity for its aesthetics, and the great Eastern philosophical religions – Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism. I think there is great potential in synthesizing traditional belief with secular mythologies such as Marxism, achieving a sublation that reconciles social and cultural progress with eternal transcendental values and ideals such as the sobornost (the just social contract) and natural balance (ecological homeostasis, in the scientific jargon).

Death Penalty

Our position on the death penalty is that it is wrong out of a) humanitarian concerns (that is, death row syndrome) and b) the impossibility of making 100% sure that innocents are never executed. Nonetheless, we recognize that there is a (one) valid justification for the death penalty – deterrance. This applies particularly to those countries where violent crime is at very high levels (South Africa, Columbia, etc). We also accept its use as a deterrant against corruption, as is the case in China and Vietnam – this is because corruption also kills people, if indirectly. Since our goal is deterrance (rather than ‘moral’ reasons of ‘eye for an eye’ retribution), we see this as merely being consistent.

I have to admit I tend to oscillate in my support for the death penalty. At some moments I feel all humane and sentimental. At other points I follow the logic above, and support it for: murder, serial rape, child rape, human trafficking, treason, and gross corruption & sabotage (on the scale of >10mn $, say). After all, is it not an affirmation of a higher and noble form of love for one’s people, the love inherent in self-sacrifice, to vouch for the death penalty (which is an objective form of deterrent), despite one’s moral scruples?

Another idea I’ve had on this topic is to determine guilt by the standard jury method, but let the people decide the punishment. So the bad guy / gal gets to make an impassioned televised plea to the nation electronically voting on the punishment. If (s)he is convincing and / or pitiable enough, the sentence gets adjusted from the death penalty to community service, psychiatric treatment, flogging, deportation to the Canadian gulags, and reality TV gladiator death games like in the dystopian movies (maybe not). And it’s all very democratic. BTW, another thing – the current prison system should be eliminated or at least massively downsized.

Anyhow, reality supersedes individual beliefs. The social rifts that will be inevitably opened up by the shocks of peak oil and its consequences will probably lead to the reintroduction of the death penalty throughout Europe, and the expansion of its use elsewhere (e.g. for corruption and sabotage, which become far more serious issues in a world of scarcity and limits to growth).

Abortion

We are in favor of full abortion rights, since it is our opinion that a) women should have full sovereignty over their own bodies and b) that a clump of human cells with no self-awareness should not be considered a person with rights. We view restrictions on abortion as violations of human rights.

I will take this opportunity to expound on an old idea of mine for a new ethics for the Information Age (though I can’t say I fully subscribe to it).

This is a values system based on patterns. Every human individual is an extraordinarily complex and interesting pattern. A pattern, formally defined, is a set of rules which can be used to generate things – the pattern is said to exhibit itself if the things created have enough in common for the underlying rules to be inferred. Hence, we can treat a specifically adult human pattern as a soul (with its capacity of around 10^26 calculations per second and specific software or neural makeup), and the set of all patterns in our universe as the Pattern; the values system will be based on patterns and their particular relationship, in complexity, interest and ‘meaningfulness’, to a soul; over time, of course, the latter two concepts will evolve with the whole Pattern. This opens up a Pandora’s box of possible repercussions, but they are all containable and can be used to justify a range of propositions.

For instance, abortion is permissible because the pattern of a human foetus is negligibly small compared with the soul of the mother-to-be; it is directly comparable to that of lower animals, depending on the state of its development. Outright banning abortion will inflict much greater net sin because of the psychological damage to the soul, and its possible total termination due to unsafe backstreet abortions. Furthermore, it can save souls by lowering the murder rate, as maintained by Steven Levitt… Nonetheless, such an ethics system does not make killing a human baby equivalent to killing, say, a parrot with the intelligence of a five year old, so long as the aforementioned baby has souls heavily devoted to it; by terminating it, one removes the neural connections stimulated or used to communicate with the baby, so one in fact destroys a significant part of several souls through such a deed.

This new ethics can be summarized with a rather freehanded conversion of Asimov’s original Three Laws of Robotics – these will be the Three Laws of the New Ethics.

  1. Preserve existing patterns.
  2. Expand patterns in scope and complexity unless it conflicts with the First Law.
  3. Future patterns also have value, but their sum converges to a limit.

The inevitable question – doesn’t this apply to the death penalty? Not really. While the death penalty destroys a soul (Law 1), the deterrent effect preserves a lot more further down the road (Law 3)

Drugs

Da Russophile supports a gradual decriminalization of all drugs. We consider ‘wars on drugs’, like ‘wars on terrors’, to be a cover for infringements on human rights and state corruption. Licensing them will take money away from criminal organizations and bolster government funds, which can be directed towards healthcare (including treating drug addicts). Marijuana, LSD and ecstasy are fun things and as such little different in essence from alcohol and tobacco, which are legal out of the force of tradition. We would also tax the fat, salts and sugar content in foods so as to cut heart disease and cancer rates and create incentives to move to healthier diets.

Yes, bring on the fat tax and libertarian drug laws.

Economic Philosophy

We would best be described as economic centrists, though in general we like to steer clear of labels, preferring to judge policies on their own merits. We support liberal ‘ease of doing business’ laws (e.g. on unemployment, starting up companies, etc) and private participation in the social sphere, e.g. healthcare, education, etc. In general, we oppose government subsidies to failing industries, preferring instead that they invest money into retraining workers. However, we support an extensive welfare state that would shield everyone and anyone in case of crisis – our role model is mostly Scandinavian.

Global capitalism, however thickly sugar-coated with socialism / welfarism, is incapable of resolving its fundamental contradiction – that economic growth is its essence, and thus ecological overshoot and collapse are inevitable barring a technological silver bullet, i.e., a deux ex machine. Read my post on Green Communism.

Trade & Protectionism

We support free trade so as to achieve the optimal division of labor and hence prosperity in the world.

Free trade is only good if it’s really free, which it is not. So I retract this. And let’s not even go into the energy and ecological costs of the freighter fleets and air transports fueling the global consumerist orgy.

Feminism

We support the goals of the feminist movement and consider that gender equality has not yet been achieved anywhere. Men are still more valued as bread-winners and women-more as home-makers, and changing these social perceptions is one of our goals.

Some musings I wrote on this, again quite a while back – a Hegelian interpretation of herstory.

Consider the dialogue of power between the sexes. In prehistoric societies, women held a rough balance of power, apparently independently procreating, augmenting the sustenance base through forage and practising medicine from the derived knowledge of plant properties. However, men’s focus on animal domestication – derived from their previous hunting specialization – drew their attention to the link between animal copulation and reproduction. Women came to be seen as mere vessels, defined as unwilling and unable to participate in battles for pure prestige and hence entirely subhuman. Furthermore, harsher tribal societies based on herding tended to subjugate agricultural societies and so embed their values upon their submissive populations. By the times of the Old Testament women were little more than chattel in the most advanced cradle of civilization, the Near East.

However, after thousands of years, Christianity (and Islam) came to be widely adopted: both proclaimed theoretical spiritual equality between everyone. In time the image of women was transformed into the ‘Lady’ of courtly love, an object of admiration and worthy of respect that was to continue on into the industrial era as the Victorian ‘angel of the house’, moral agent of cleanliness and sobriety. Yet the social agitation of the industrial ‘wage-slaves’ resulted in a clamour for extension of the democratic franchise, a wing of which included the suffragettes. The first part of the twentieth century saw the franchise extended to women in much of the advanced world, with a few local exceptions like Switzerland; the second part witnessed the active promotion of social equality between the sexes, enabled above all by the Pill (a facet of technology) that allowed the liberated feminist to reassert her own sexuality.

Hence we observe that the major step changes in feminist history – vessel, lady and woman – coincide with both social (slavery, feudalism and capitalism) and economic (agriculture, basic mechanization, industrialism) paradigm shifts, even though social transformations tends to be both blurred and lag behind economic changes. ‘Herstory’ is the collective history of the female thymos – the combined desire of women to achieve recognition as human beings and to reject their epithet as the ‘second sex’. That is the world-historical mission of the feminist movement, which has always existed even if it only recognized itself for what it was just two hundred years ago with the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft and other visionaries.

Things are now returning back to the future, which is a cyber-primitivist one, the circle returns to the original point but higher up (or lower down) on the spiral of history. Perhaps the circle will be broken entirely by the development of an artificial womb (more research and experiments should be done on this).

Limits to Growth

It is obvious that global warming is both real and anthropic. Furthermore, the latest research implies that it is catastrophic, threatning to go out of control once it passes certain tipping points – which may well have been passed already. Hence, man-made emissions, by raising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and thus causing global warming, can trigger other mechanisms that will release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – frozen methane clathrates under the world’s seas, methane in the Siberian permafrost and Indonesian peat bogs, and the vast amount of carbon locked into the world’s tropical forests. …

Yes, but even more so; I know support a global policy of “sustainable retreat” from industrialism in search of Green Communism. Furthermore, unlike 2 years back when I was a relative optimist on the energy front, I am now a full-blown “peaker” on oil and resource issues. It shows.

Other Issues

Unfortunately, LGBT rights are weak…

Yes.

We support testing on animals.

But with a lot more reservations and strict conditions than which I had in my days of tunnel-minded faith in the religion of science. We should recognize that pharmaceutical industries are bloated and corrupt; that in many cases traditional alternative approaches produce better results; and that in some sense (e.g. growing antibiotic resistance), industrial-era medicine is going down a dead alley. Quite literally.

We are against censorship.

At least in principle.

We are against gun control, since we think than an armed citizenry tends to reduce the crime rate. However, we insist on licensing and would stop short of allowing full-automatics to be sold.

Remove the full-automatics bit. One can never have too many guns.

For more on my beliefs, especially those related to Russia and being afflicted with a diasporic mentality, see my interview @ Siberian Light.

* E.g., Yushchenko and Putin, respectively.

Edit 2013: Needless to say I no longer agree with a lot of this.

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
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I am being a sarcastic, of course. Ukraine has banned broadcasting of Russian TV channels. Georgia cut access to the .ru domain and banned Russian TV channels (and Euronews!), no doubt to silence any questioning voices over their criminal aggression as opposed to the likes of Fox, CNN or the BBC, which swallowed the psychopathic Saakashvili’s lies hook, line and sinker. Finally, and most disturbingly, Latvia is now arresting those who dare question the stability of its economy on charges of ‘destabilizing the financial system’.

The Western MSM would do well to express greater interest in this instead of endlessly hectoring Russia – the whole specks of chaff and logs and eyes thing, you know. Otherwise, as in the 1930′s, the debris of capitalism could end up once again incubating incipient fascist regimes.

Russia concerned over banned Russia TV in Ukraine regions

MOSCOW, October 9 (Itar-Tass) — Russia is seriously concerned over a ban on broadcasting of Russian TV channels in several Ukrainian regions, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Andrei Nesterenko said on Thursday.

“As a result a considerable part of the Ukrainian population were deprived of an opportunity to receive information on the native language,” he pointed out. “The ousting of the Russian language and the Russian culture cannot but affect bilateral relations. Numerous letters are coming in the Russian Foreign Ministry from people expressing concerns over the situation in this issue, and we share these deep concerns,” Nesterenko said.

Looks like they’ve decided to take Loco Lucas’s advice to heart (apparently, Russian media is a hotbed of Nazi propaganda), thus following in the footsteps of Georgia which banned Russian TV broadcasts and access to the .ru domain during their criminal aggression against Ossetia.

EDIT 11/26/08:

False Dmitri gives us the breakdown on Latvian information control about the financial crisis. Put’s the Streetwise Professor’s (mostly unfounded) complaints of Russian ‘information management‘ into perspective.

Valter Fridenberg (on the photo), a popular Latvian pop-singer, has been arrested by the country’s security services. Apparently he made a joke during a concert about the state of the Latvian economy. More specifically at the concert given on November 9, 2008 in Elgava he said:

“If anyone wants to run and get their money out of the bank, please at least wait until the end of the performance.”

The young man is now a suspect in the crime aimed to destabilize the financial system of Latvia, according to Mixnews.lv. Mr. Fridberg said that his words were a joke made to introduce the next song, and his fans understood them as such. However, the people at the security services think otherwise. In an interview following his arrest, he said very cautiously: “It looks like now we have a censorship in Latvia.”

A few days ago the Latvian Finance Minister Atis Slakteris informed that several of those responsible for spreading rumors about devaluation of the Latvian currency had been arrested. Another disturbing news concerns an economist working at the Ventsipls University College who has been arrested for an article about the perspectives of the Latvian economy and the banking system of Latvia.

All this confirms that Latvia is experiencing a very serious financial crisis. The days of the “Latvian economic miracle” (and democracy?) are over.

The latter claim is not as outlandish as it might seem. During the Great Depression, civil liberties and the Constitution were suspended in Latvia and power passed to the authoritarian Ulmanis. He pursued a ‘Latvia for Latvians’ campaign (Lettization), which eliminated ethnic minorities from all important positions in the national economy (about 90% of the banks and credit establishments in Latvia were in Latvian hands in 1939, as against 20% in 1933). A dark foreboding of what the future may have in store for already oppressed Baltic Russians…

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.