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The recently departed Vitaly Churkin was /ourguy/ in every sense of the word.

Not only did he fight the good fight in the UN, it has recently emerged he also blogged the good blog (and commented the good comments) online as imperia-mir.

We can’t be 100% certain that it is him. We have only the last post on that blog, claiming Churkin as its main author, to assert that. However, that blog has been in existence for a long time, and the person behind it has consistently commented like someone who is pretty high up, and in the know about, the inner workings of Russian international politics, so the claim is not incredible.

If this is the case, then the picture that emerges is of a Russian patriot, committed to state service, whose ideas and values are surprisingly unorthodox, original, and interesting, especially by the standards of the gray Russian bureaucractic caste.


aivazovsky-stormy-sea-1868

On Crimea (Mar 11, 2014)

Crimea is not just…

It is not just Cimmeria, of which the man in the street primarily knows only on account of the name of a barbarian played by a future governor of California…

It is not only the land of the ancient Scythians, whose name resounded far beyond the borders of the Empire that adopted them…

It is not only the kingdoms, cities, towns, and polises, with the proud names of Panticapaeum, Kalos Limen, Theodosius, Heracleon. It is not just only just the realm of the ancient – the shipbuilding, the viticulture, the growing of olives, the construction of temples, theaters, stadiums. It is not just Euripedes, and not just the drama Iphigenia in Tauris.

Yes, Odysseys rested in Evpatoria. Yes, the caligae of the Roman vexillationes gathered dust on the Via Militaris. But not only them. “From Scythia to Camelot,” yes, but not only.

It is not only the Sarmats and the Goths, and the Horde, and the Rus. It is not only wars, it is not just the shores bleached gray by eternity, it is not just the vineyards of the Golitsyns, it is not just the Tatars, not just the sieges, not just the splendor of Potemkin, his works, his pains, and the horrific myths dreamt up about his feats. Not just the Russian fleet, not just the union of steel, will, and talent of all Europe, not just the ascent of John Paul Jones, the creator of the US Navy and an admiral of the Russian Navy, and hundreds of others, who are no less ours by law and blood.

It is not only Ivan Aivazovsky and Alexander Grin, it is not just the crimson sails of the Soviet squadrons, it is not just the endless defenses of endless Sevastopol in the name of endless Russia, baptized into the Empire by the will of God at Chersonesus. And it is not even the Kazantip festival.

It is not only the underground submarine base at Balaklava, where the British Light Brigade perished; it is not the sailor hero Koshka; it is not the endless landing troops, polygons, airports, scientific centers, not the space observation stations, not the looted long-range radar stations and the destroyed fields that were once used to test the Lunokhod moon rovers; it is not Levadia, not Yalta, not the 147 bays and 295 wharfs; it is not the sunsets, the auroras, and not even the secluded lakes and islands, where people learned to talk with dolphins.

Taurida is our Avalon.

It is our sword. And is it returning to us.

***

On Putin (Jul 19, 2014)

Today I learned something that has forced me to reevaluate my opinion about Vladimir Putin.

“Forced” – not quite the right word, and “something” – is a euphemism.

I have always voted for him freely (including, dear God, during “Operation Successor”). I have always been critical towards him – from his personnel policy to a certain (in my view) naive and complacent strategy towards our “Western Partners” (TM), a criminally lackadaisical attitude towards homegrown Russophobe extremists, the strange loyalty to an entire array of strange neoliberal economic mantras, the lack of a clear general development strategy in the widest sense of the word, indecisiveness, the art of “thin ambiguity,” the secret service mentality of not explaining things fully – in other words, my criticism is the entire repertoire of a person who criticizes Putin for not being sufficiently Putin (that is, one’s own singular Putin). And I will continue criticizing him, in part because I do not conflate patriotism and the absence of criticism for making mistakes.

My criticism is based on a social heart, a liberal (in the correct, original, and good sense of this word) mind, an anarchic liver, and monarchic (not constitutional) nerves. My soul belongs to God in the Orthodox interpretation (I hope), but I’d like to live in a pantheistic (not in a pagan one! nor in a so-called “secular”) state! I don’t like Stalin, but hate his demonization, and lies about him. I don’t consider the Russian Empire to be better than the USSR, or vice versa – I have no desire to try to compare the incomparable, or to divide up a continuum. I am a conservative, but can’t stand the opponents of progress. I love ancient traditions, but I am all for genetic engineering and other experiments with embryonic cells. I believe that humanity will conquer the stars, but will be unable to master itself. I equally despise all political systems, but consider direct and absolute democracy, which doesn’t exist and never has, to be closest to my own worldview. Today I live in the country, the US, that is closest to this ideal (with the exception, perhaps, of San Marino), and consider that Russia would find this model to be even more natural and useful and effective, than here. When I live in Russia, I forget all this and it’s all irrelevant to me (joke). Abroad, they categorize me as a “Russian nationalist,” even though, if I am a “nationalist” of anything, it is of the (early) Roman Empire.

In short, I am a typical Russian person.

And my attitudes towards Putin are thus homespun, rustic, true with an inevitable correction for an unusually high level of informedness, but nonetheless, still in the style of, “Caesar, don’t forget that you’re bald!”

But now, everything has changed.

If what I have learned is true (and I have no doubts about this, except in the scenario, “The entire world is an illusion, Neo”), then I have been very much mistaken on Putin.

I believed that he was an ordinary man – well, someone with a high intellect, highly developed instincts, etc., a modest requisition on historical greatness, and so on.

But now I doubt all that. When this happened to him, I am not sure – at birth, before birth, at his meeting with Father John Krestyankin, or even when he swam with the dolphins – but it happened.

And verily I speak: When “Zeus lifts up his soul into the starry sky,” all of Olympus will spar for the right to his nerves, for they are the metal to create invulnerable armor for new Achilles – and Hephaestus himself will prostrate himself before his iron will.

Because nothing human is alien to man.

And because after all that I have learned, I no longer fear even Armageddon with this leader.

Everything will be great.

Our trials will be fearsome. Very fearsome.

But we got very lucky with him. Very lucky.

Dixi.

PS. Anticipating the inevitable dull reactions (in the style of “LOL this vatnik found his idol”), I will just quote the aforementioned Father John Krestyankin:

“You know, once upon a time in Russia before the Revolution there was this one attraction: A circus frequently visited the market, and they hadvarious shows. And one show was called, “Live Peter the Great for 20 kopeks.” There was a tent, within which was a giant telescope, and there entered a person who began to look into its tube, to see Peter the Great. The staff said, “Focus it.” He focused it. “Focus it more.” He focused it even more. And when all attempts failed, they asked him, “And? Do you not yet see him.” “No, I don’t.” And then they told him, “Well, who’d have thought! What did you want, anyway – to see the live Peter the Great for just 20 kopeks!” And on this note, the show ended.

Of course, this might be an invented example, but the Father explained it further. He said, “And so we too in this life want to see a living Christ, for 20 rubles or 20 kopeks. No, it doesn’t work like that. We have to strive together, we have to work, we have to live an intense spiritual life, because man reaps what he sows – He who sows parsimoniously, reaps little; he who sows generously, reaps richly.

Commenter: So what is it that you found out?

imperia_mir: I still want to live. I’m not writing this from Russia. There can be many sorts of provocations, and different situations, and more serious than the one with the Boeing. And when they are averted, it is as if they do not exist. And that’s good. Because the mere voicing of some situations – can be a catastrophe.

 
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alien-screenshot

Scene from Alien Girl (2010).

“Mafia is not a Russian word,” retorted Putin, in a brusque exchange with Italian journalists questioning him on the rule of law in Russia in 2000.

View it as a forceful reframe or a case of aggrieved butthurt as you wish, but he has a point. Despite the comparisons made between them, there are in fact very few intersectionalities between the Sicilian Mafia (Cosa Nostra) and its less well known cousins such as the Calabrian Ndrangheta and the Apulian Sacra Corona, and the amorphous network that has come to be known as the “Russian” mafia, or Bratva (“brotherhood”).

I.

The Cosa Nostra is extremely hierarchic, whereas the Bratva is far more “horizontal.” To be sure, it has its pakhan equivalent to Italian and Italian-American godfathers/bosses, and its avtoritety (“authorities”) that correlate to caporegimes. But that is where the similaries end. The Cosa Nostra clans are strongly familial, territorial, and substantially hereditary (though more so in the US than in Italy itself). This directly extends to the name of their basic organizational unit: The family. Membership in most Sicilian families is limited to men of Sicilian ancestry or even specific regional ties or bloodline associations. There are formal initiation rites involving symbolic blood sacrifice (a pinprick to draw out blood and splatter on an icon, which is then burnt, with the promise that the initiate will likewise burn in hell should he betray the oath of omerta).

The Russian mafia is completely different, even in etymology. It is not a “family” but a “brotherhood.” And a brotherhood not in any literal blood sense, but in a way that evokes associations with a “fraternity,” or a “band of brothers.” Organization is strongly hierarchic, as is the case in every strongly masculine institution from the army to the priesthood, but the direct control the pakhan exercises over matters such as personnel policy is far more limited relative to the godfather. They are highly decentralized, with the constituent “brigades” operating largely independently of each other. There are no particularly elaborate initiation rituals; instead, a vor’s (thief’s) position in the criminal pecking order can be gauged by his associates through an elaborate system of tattoos that can be studiously analyzed and decoded by the brothers in bathhouses, in prison showers during the vor’s periodic spells of incarceration, and during card games many of which are played while topless. After all, if you don’t have blood ties, you need to be able to recognize your own through other means.

By far the most striking difference is that the “Russian” mafia is strongly multiethnic. It has its origins in the heavily Jewish port city of Odessa in Tsarist times, which originated most of the criminal argot known as fenya, or blatnoy language. (The term “blat” itself is a Yiddish one which has transmigrated to denote the whole concept of crony connections, kickbacks, favors, etc. that have its parallels in what we might know as an old boy network in the Anglo-Saxon West (but more overtly criminal) or guanxi in China (but less overtly nepotistic). The world of blat and of the vor are not the same thing, but they do intersect quite heavily – many businessmen and politicians associate with them out of the pursuit of advantage or just plain necessity).

Fast forwarding to the 21st century, some of the most prominent Russian mafia bosses of recent years were the Kurdish Aslan Usoyan (“Grandpa Hassan”), assassinated in January 2013 by a competing kingpin rumored to be either the Georgian Tariel Oniani or the Azeri Rovshan Janiev. In the US, they had their counterparts in the Evsey Agron and Boris Goldberg; the heavily Jewish nature of the Russian mafia in the US was made clear in the 2005 movie Lord of War. Though it is necessarily incomplete, what statistical evidence exists indicates that ethnic minorities, especially the Caucasians, are so massively overrepresented in the ranks of the Russian mafia that ethnic Slavs are a minority within it. As such, the Bratva is a highly multiethnic and universalistic organized criminal group.

The traditional Italian mafia is an organic part of its community, with no restrictions on conventional employment to its “associates.” In contrast, one of the core “vorovskie ponytie” (thief understandings) is that it is forbidden to pursue legitimate employment. Another such “understanding” is that the thief is to take no wife and father no children (though as in the Night’s Watch, having a woman or even many women is just fine). There are of course no such restrictions in the Cosa Nostra. As Don Corleone informs us, a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.

Speaking of women, they are very rare but not completely unheard of in both organizations. However, in the Italian mafia, they are almost invariably related by blood to senior figures within the organization and typically only come to play a role when their male relatives die, go to prison, or are otherwise incapacitated in some way. Within the Russian mafia, they are just another crewmember, possibly an unreliable one; one of the first songs in the Soviet criminal chanson genre was about a “murka” who betrayed her crewmates to the Cheka and got paid with lead for it.

One point of similarity is that both organizations are highly antithetical with respect to nationalism: The Russian mafia because of its “multinational” nature and ingrained aversion to authority, and the Italian mafia because of its strongly familial and regionalistic nature. The Cosa Nostra hated Mussolini, and even helped the Allies take southern Italy. However, some forms of organized crime group, which we will soon come to, are far more conductive to nationalism than others.

So what you have then in the Russian mafia is a far more amorphous, globalist, and literally “rootless cosmopolitan” structure relative to the far more grounded and blood-knit Italian mafias.

”The problem is in the definition,” said Pino Arlacchi, an expert on the Italian mafia and a former Italian senator who heads the United Nations’ Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. ”When you go to court, you have to be able to define what the mafia is. In Italy, we discovered that there was a formal structure, with a very precise division of roles, and formal system for joining. In Russia you don’t have that.”

This accords with the opinion of Giovanni Falcone, the famous Sicilian prosecutor assassinated by his quarry in 1992:

Even if the Russian mafia (and those of the other countries of the ex-Soviet bloc) do pose serious problems… in the East an organization comparable to Cosa Nostra does not exist. Without doubt the collapse of state and ideological structures will inevitably cause a growth in illegal traficking and criminality, but the criminal organizations of the ex-Soviet Union, for the moment, are above all a phenomenon of generalized adminstrative corruption. There is no sense in calling something a Mafia when it is not…

II.

But why these differences?

Many people and even criminologists would say “culture” and leave it at that. But as the HBDsphere constantly asks, “Where does culture come from?”

Ultimately, it comes from the family.

(1) Here is Emmanuel Todd’s map of Europe’s traditional family systems:

todd-family-systems

Emmanuel Todd’s European family systems. Link to best intro to this topic.

(2) hbd*chick on the viscosity of different family systems:

and some populations are more viscous than others:
1) inbreeding populations where close relatives marry frequently over the long-term. mating with relatives must be highly viscous [insert sweaty/sticky incest joke here]. not only do the individual members of the population likely interact fairly regularly (can depend on your mating pattern), they pass many of the genes they share in common on to the next generations — who then also interact and mate. that’s what i call viscous! and, as you all know by now, some human populations inbreed more than others, and some have been doing so for longer than others. and vice versa. (see: entire blog.)
2) populations where extended families are the norm. societies where two or three generations of families all stay together, work together, play together. viscous. plenty of opportunity for nepotistic behaviors to be selected for. on the other hand, societies of nuclear families where more distant relatives are seen only once a year on thanksgiving, and then only to argue, and where your your heir is your pet cat…not very viscous. (see: family types and the selection for nepotistic altruism.)
3) socio-economic systems which push for close relatives to remain together rather than dispersing. if that sounds vague, that’s ’cause it is. sorry. i haven’t thought through it all yet. i do have an example of the opposite for you — a socio-economic system which pushed for close relatives to disperse — and that is the post-manorialism one of northwest europe. already by the 1500s, it was typical for individuals in northwest europe to leave home at a young age (as teenagers) and live and work elsewhere — often quite long distances away (several towns over) — before marrying. then it was not unusual for them to marry someone from their new locale. not viscous. conversely, many societies outside of the hajnal line (northwest europe) have had systems which encouraged the opposite.

There is a vast body of literature – very helpfully summarized and interpreted by several bloggers, most prominently hbd*chick – on traditional family systems before industrialization. In short, more “introspective” family systems – that is, ones characterized by greater degrees of inbreeding and clannishness (not necessarily the same thing) – tend to produce more in the way of corruption and less in the way of civic virtue, even after adjusting for IQ (which also tends to suffer).

The Arabs, for instance, are an extreme case – more than a millennium of widespread FBD (father’s brother’s daughter) marriage has brought their levels of average IQ down to close to Sub-Saharan African levels. Even where inbreeding doesn’t have a direct effect, clannish dysgenics might have selected against intelligence (though considering that the communitarian family is humanity’s “default,” it’s perhaps more accurate to speak of merely the absence of nuclear or authoritarian family eugenics).

But inbreeding is unlikely to have inflicted much of an IQ hit on either South Italians/Christian Mediterraneans or Russians/Eurasians directly. First cousin marriage was the exception rather than the rule in the former (just as in pre-Meiji Japan), and virtually completely absent in the latter.

That said, this doesn’t exclude the appearance of particular cultural peculiarities.

With the extended schemata recently proposed by hbd*chick quoted above, it strikes me that South Italians would fall fall into Category 3 with considerable overlap with Category 1, while Russians would fall heavily into both Category 2 and Category 3 but largely avoid Category 1.

This is confirmed by a later post by hbd*chick herself:

so, again, i think there are at least three things to juggle in our heads here when thinking about possible selection pressures for nepotistic (or or not-so-nepostistic) altruism, all having to do with the “viscosity” of populations: 1) inbreeding, 2) family types, and 3) the forces socio-economic systems exert on familial relationships. for more than the last thousand years, northwestern european pops have had low inbreeding, small family types, and societal pressures which have pulled apart related individuals (those pressures increased over the period). eastern european pops have probably had higher inbreeding for some or all of this time period (although nothing on the scale of the arab world), large family types, and not very many social or economic pressures for family member to disperse. the mediterranean world, aside from the large islands mentioned by kaser above, has had higher inbreeding rates than northwestern europe (especially southern italy), small family types (at least, small residential family types), but few pressures for close family to separate much.

III.

Organized criminal groups tend to hew to conservative social mores and act as repositories of tradition.

They are the distillation of the essence of a national culture.

And isn’t it striking that the heavily regionalistic and nepotistic nature of the Cosa Nostra is perfectly synced with the traditional family system of Southern Italy, which combined conjugal autonomy, modest degrees of inbreeding, and a strong regionalistic focus?

In contrast, the strongly exogamous communitarian family system of Russia is, in crime as in politics, authoritarian but strongly universalistic.

Incidentally, while the Russian mafia has little in common with the Sicilian Mafia and its American offshoots, that is not the case with respect to the Camorra, or Neopolitan mafia:

Of Italy’s other regional crime groups, the Camorra in Naples is the most anarchic, a loose band of gangs whose penetration into local society has been more difficult to root out. According to Mr. Arlaachi, Russian organized crime is closer in kind to the Neapolitan version, although even in Naples, he conceded, the Neapolitans abide by rules that the Russians routinely ignore.

By its very essence, the Russian version of the mafia defies the Italian definition of a secret society, which until recently protected itself by a wall of silence. Here there is no oath of silence, or ”omerta,” as the Sicilians call it. Instead, crime groups have an open-door policy that over the last 10 years has been wide enough to let in a large swath of society, willingly and unwillingly, from policemen to bankers, from politicians to industrialists.

The region of Campania from which it hails had a historically lower rate of consanguineous marriage than either Sicily (Mafia) or Calabria (Ndrangheta), with their far more restrictive entrance policies.

italy-consanguinity

Consanguinity rate in Italy, 1930-1964.

Midway between Sicily/Calabria and Hajnal Northern Italy, it is also organizationally midway between the Sicilian Mafia and the Russian mafia.

And lo and behold! Unlike the Sicilian mafia, who disapprove of them, the Neapolitan mafia sure do love their tattoos! And their card games!

IV.

Apart from the patriarchal clans of Sicily and Calabria, and the horizontal networks formed in the cosmopolitan seaports of Naples and Odessa, perhaps the most culturally distinctive criminal underworld is that of the Japanese yakuza.

The yakuza are far less familial than the Sicilians; its structure resembles that the traditional oyabun-kobun (FOSTER parent – FOSTER child) model. Most of the kobun are drawn from low caste and “outcast” backgrounds, such as the burakumin; ethnic Koreans, who are marginalized in Japanese society, are strongly overrepresented (0.5% of the population; 20% of the top bosses in the early 1990s). Traditional folklore features many stories of orphans getting accepted by the yakuza.

Predictably enough, the yakuza take their tattoos to the max; they are not just a veritable book of symbols testifying to a rich criminal history, as with the Russian and Neapolitan mafia, but veritable full body ink suits.

yakuza-tattoos

 

And they love their cards so much that the yakuza are named after a particular hand in a card game, which they play without their shirts on:

The nickname for the worst hand in oicho-kabu—an eight, a nine and a three—is phonetically expressed as “ya-ku-za” and is the origin of the Japanese word for “gangster,” yakuza.

However, unlike the Russian mafia, the yakuza are extremely hierarchical; the oyabun holds unquestioned authority, instead of being sustained by (ever treacherously shifting degrees of) respect as in the Russian mafia. Rank and file relationships are defined in terms of brotherhood; but unlike with the Bratva, there are explicit designations for “elder” and “younger” brothers.

The yakuza are also strongly “rooted” in their communities, even to the extent of helping with earthquake and tsunami relief. The police famously know the locations of the main yakuza HQs and maintain good relations with them on the “understanding” that they don’t make too much of a mess and help them keep other roach infestations down. In contrast, the Russian “vorovskie ponytie” precludes any form of cooperation with the authorities or participation in the white market economy, and relations between the state and organized crime relations are, as in Italy and the US, strongly antagonistic (rhetoric from some quarters about their supposed “merger” to the contrary).

Thanks to this transparency, it is possible to maintain a much more accurate tally of the number of yakuza members than for almost any other criminal grouping (there are around 100,000 of them, if you’re curious).

Moreover, this symbiotic relationship has deep roots, from Tokugawa times when oyabun were granted the right to wear a wakizashi (short sword) – a right otherwise reserved for the nobility – to their close cooperation with and intermingling with the ultranationalist factions during the 1930s.

So, in short, with the yakuza you have: Top down authoritarian control, inegalitarian brotherhood, regional rootedness, nationalism, and a penchant for cooperative relationships with the official authorities.

What does this remind you of? The authoritarian/stem family type characterized by paternal authority, unequal inheritance, and a tendency towards social democratic and fascist governments upon its breakdown – and which also happens to be the family type characteristic of traditional Japan!

V.

So what sort of organized crime group corresponds to the last of the major family types: The traditional Anglo-Saxon absolute nuclear family?

Characterized as it is by autonomy, decentralization, a tendency towards Christianity, patriotism, capitalism, and “libertarianism”?

Why, bikers, of course.

Proud and iconic products of American civilization – Hells Angels are almost as much a staple of global popular culture as the Sicilian mafia, the Russian mafia, and the yakuza – the biker culture ironically enjoyed its biggest political success upon migrating to Russia, where “The Surgeon” – the leader of the Night Wolves biker gang – has become a regular guest at convocations of the Russian elites thanks to his expert geopolitical trolling of Europe.

(The communitarian family had broken down in Russia two or three generations ago, so presumably by the 1990s there was no presumably no longer any substantial cultural barrier to such an assimilation).

But now the political winds are shifting in their homeland, and the bikers are gonna help make America great again!

bikers-for-trump-2

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Crime, Family Systems 
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One of the problems critics of mass immigration face is that there aren’t that many concrete statistics on their crime rates (substantially thanks to European institutions being in the habit of forbidding the gathering of said race/ethnicity data).

But things do leak through every now and then and more often than not they tend to confirm the hateful stereotypes.

Latest example: The German Federal Criminal Office compiles data on “nationality of suspect” across different criminal categories current up to 2014 (see Table 62). In the last year before the Great Migration, immigrants – accounting for less than 10% of the population – were responsible for 18% of rapes and 30% of murders. One enterprising fellow who presumably prefers to remain anonymous compiled a big infographic combining the criminal and demographic data to produce estimates of criminality rates by different crime categories and country of origin. (The infographic is attached at the bottom of this post, which the stats for perhaps the two most important/topical indicators, homicide rates and rape rates, are reprinted).

Murder / 100,000

Country of Origin Murder Rates
Lebanon 23
Tunisia 14
Algeria 12
Afghanistan 9
Albania 8
Iraq 7
Somalia 6
Morocoo 6
Iran 6
Russia 6
Turkey 5
Serbia 5
Pakistan 4
Syria 3
Nigeria 3
Eritrea 3
Bosnia 3
Kosovo 3
Poland 2.9
Brazil 2.6
Greece 2
France 2
Vietnam 2
Romania 1
Italy 1
USA 0.9
Germany 0.8
Spain 0.6
UK 0.4
Netherlands 0
India 0
Thailand 0
China 0

Sexual Assault/Rape Rates / 100,000

Country of Origin Sexual Assault/Rape Rates
Algeria 36
Tunisia 32
Somalia 29
Aghanistan 24
Lebanon 24
Pakistan 21
Iraq 18
Nigeria 16.7
Albania 15
Eritrea 15
Iran 14
Morocco 13.4
Serbia 10
Romania 10
Syria 9.3
India 9
Turkey 8
Kosovo 7.4
Bosnia 7
USA 6
Brazil 5
Italy 5
Poland 4
Greece 4
Russia 3.9
Spain 3.6
Netherlands 3.5
Vietnam 3.5
Germany 3
France 3
Thailand 3
UK 3
China 2.5

 

Frankly even I was rather surprised by some of these figures – perhaps not so much the figures on rape, but I do find the killer performance of the likes of Lebanon, Tunisia and Algeria in the homicide rates to be unduly impressive. After all, according to international homicide rate statistics, the Maghreb is actually rather civilized – 2.2/100,000 in Tunisia and Morocco, and a mere 0.7/100,000 in Algeria (lower than in Germany itself at 0.8/100,000). Lebanon for all its chaos is also at 2.2/100,000. Homicide rates are the one major type of crime that can be reliably measured across countries, so that actually makes them safer than large chunks of Eastern Europe, including Poland before the 2000s. But for some reason when they come to Europe their homicide rates soar by an order of magnitude.

What could be the cause? Lower migrant quality relative to their average population? Being overwhelmingly drawn from ethnic groups with a higher relative proposensity towards violence? (hbd*chick noticed that a disproportionate number of Muslim terrorists in the Paris Attacks had Berber backgrounds; does this extend to “ordinary” criminal violence?). Or perhaps this is one case where it is not so much a case of ethnicity as of culture – namely, traditional and/or authoritarian societies being better at keeping a lid on violent crime than the dissolute anomie of Western urbanism? I don’t know, but this discrepancy has to be explained.

Note that 70% of prisoners in French jails are Muslim. Of course most French Muslims are from the Maghreb. Originally I thought there might be some scintilla of truth to liberal claims that this proves that France is structurally racist towards its Muslim minorities because I was aware that the countries where French Muslims come from aren’t that violent overall so it’s strange so many of them would be in jail. But if they acquire the criminological profiles of American Negroes on coming to Europe, then the preponderance of French Muslims in orange becomes perfectly explainable.

It also becomes easier to see why the latest wave of immigration has been such a shock to Europe and elicited such strong headlines in the right-wing press. The current wave of migrants into Germany and Europe tend to have rape rates around 5x the native German norm according to its own police statistics. Moreover, this refers to presumably established migrant communities – with relatively more women and older people – whereas the current influx has generally been acknowledged to be primarily composed of young males. This means it is entirely plausible for even relatively “small” numbers of those immigrants (the million or so who came into Germany in 2015) to have a hugely disproportionate impact on crime rates that would be noticeable even in a country of 80 million.

 


germany-immigrant-crime-rates

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Crime, Germany, Immigration, Rape 
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Scott Alexander has a long article with a lot of graphs about to what extent the high US homicide rate relative to other First World countries could be explained by its liberal gun laws.

I have a much shorter article with what are perhaps two of the most relevant graphs.

guns-and-gun-murder-rates-us

Guns vs. Gun Murder Rates in the US states.

blacks-and-gun-murder-rates-us

Blacks vs. Gun Murder Rates in the US states.

I have excluded Washington D.C., an extreme outlier with the highest percentage of Blacks (50.7%), the most gun related murders (16.5/100,000), and the lowest rate of official gun ownership (3.6%).

Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

I do think its reasonable to argue that at some very low level of gun ownership you will begin to see substantial decreases in the homicide rate relative to what it would otherwise be if only because it is true that having a gun makes killing someone quite a lot easier. But to see that you will need to see draconian restrictions of the sort you have in Japan or the United Kingdom, where it is next to impossible for a normal civilian to acquire firearms of any sort.

***

Gun Ownership Murders/100k Gun Murders/100k Blacks(%)
Alabama 51.70% 4.2 2.8 26.38%
Alaska 57.80% 4.4 2.7 4.27%
Arizona 31.10% 5.5 3.6 4.16%
Arkansas 55.30% 4.5 3.2 15.76%
California 21.30% 4.9 3.4 6.67%
Colorado 34.70% 2.3 1.3 4.28%
Connecticut 16.70% 3.7 2.7 10.34%
Delaware 25.50% 5.3 4.2 20.95%
Florida 24.50% 5 3.9 15.91%
Georgia 40.30% 5.3 3.8 30.02%
Hawaii 6.70% 1.8 0.5 3.08%
Idaho 55.30% 1.3 0.8 0.95%
Illinois 20.20% 3.5 2.8 14.88%
Indiana 39.10% 3.1 2.2 9.07%
Iowa 42.90% 1.2 0.7 2.68%
Kansas 42.10% 3.5 2.2 6.15%
Kentucky 47.70% 4.5 2.7 7.71%
Louisiana 44.10% 9.6 7.7 31.98%
Maine 40.50% 1.8 0.8 1.03%
Maryland 21.30% 7.3 5.1 29.44%
Massachusetts 12.60% 3.2 1.8 7.02%
Michigan 38.40% 5.6 4.2 14.24%
Minnesota 41.70% 1.7 1 4.57%
Mississippi 55.30% 5.6 4 37.30%
Missouri 41.70% 7 5.4 11.49%
Montana 57.70% 2.1 1.2 0.67%
Nebraska 38.60% 2.8 1.8 4.50%
Nevada 33.80% 5.9 3.1 8.10%
New Hampshire 30.00% 1 0.4 1.22%
New Jersey 12.30% 4.1 2.8 14.46%
New Mexico 34.80% 5.7 3.3 2.97%
New York 18% 4.4 2.7 15.18%
North Carolina 41.30% 4.7 3 21.60%
North Dakota 50.70% 1.3 0.6 1.08%
Ohio 32.40% 4 2.7 12.04%
Oklahoma 42.90% 5 3 7.96%
Oregon 39.80% 2 0.9 2.01%
Pennsylvania 34.70% 5.1 3.6 10.79%
Rhode Island 12.80% 2.8 1.5 6.36%
South Carolina 42.30% 6.1 4.5 28.48%
South Dakota 56.60% 1.7 1 1.14%
Tennessee 43.90% 5.6 3.5 16.78%
Texas 35.90% 5 3.2 11.91%
Utah 43.90% 1.9 0.8 1.27%
Vermont 42.00% 1.1 0.3 0.87%
Virginia 35.10% 4.6 3.1 19.91%
Washington 33.10% 2.2 1.4 3.74%
West Virginia 55.40% 3 1.5 3.58%
Wisconsin 44.40% 2.7 1.7 6.07%
Wyoming 59.70% 1.4 0.9 1.29%
District of Columbia 3.60% 21.8 16.5 50.7%
 
• Tags: Crime, Guns 
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The commentator T. Greer, who incidentally has a wonderful blog of his own, writes in response to my Charlie Hebdo post:

“And because of the critical import of IQ to virtually all aspects of human behavior, it explains a whole host of other domains – crime, unemployment, etc. – in which Muslim immigrants continue to underperform.”

Things are more complicated than this.

They sure are.

Today I have been reading through the data in the 2010 UNODC report on global crime and have been a bit surprised with what I’ve found. SS Africa is of course a pretty violent, crime ridden place. But the Near East isn’t. Rape, robbery, murders — on everything but kidnappings M.E. countries are safer than Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, and in some measures, China (!). Folks in the Middle East might be clannish, but they are not unusually violent.

There are some caveats here.

For instance, international rape statistics are all but useless. If you took them at face value, as a woman you would be terrified at stepping outside the door in Sweden, while not having a second thought about doing so in Pakistan.

Needless to say, that is not how things work. For a rape to happen, you need four male witnesses in Pakistan, and just one dissatisfied woman in Sweden.

The only crime statistics that are really are more or less consistent throughout the world, with the exception perhaps of some undercounting in the most Third World places, are homicides. Below is a map of the murder rate per 100,000 people as of the latest data.

Source: Wikipedia.

Source: Wikipedia.

The Middle East in general has higher criminality than both Western Europe and East Asia, including China. (Note that the homicide rate of the UK, France, and China is at exactly 1.0/100,000, just marginally missing out on the map’s lightest color). But it is not any higher than Eastern Europe’s, and very much substantially lower than Latin America’s

But lets say the stats are correct. Where does that leave us? Why do global IQ levels correlate poorly with global crime rates, violence, and terrorism?

Well, I wouldn’t say that the correlation is exactly bad. Sub-Saharan Africa is right about where we would expect it to be. Latin America is somewhat more violent than what we would expect from its IQ, and the Middle East less. At first glance, this is a real issue, because they are otherwise, at least superficially, similar (broadly similar average IQs and levels of economic development, high religiosity, high machismo). Meanwhile, by far the lowest violence countries – those in Western Europe and East Asia – are also those with the highest average measured IQs. The US is a substantial outlier, more violent that it “should” be. But once we adjust for its specific demographic characteristics – after all, your typical American suburbia with “good schools” are no more dangerous than any European or East Asian city – the puzzle resolves itself.

Source: The Bell Curve (Charles Murray and Richard Hernnstein).

Source: The Bell Curve (Charles Murray and Richard Hernnstein).

And as Charles Murray showed, IQ is a very good predictor of criminality rates amongst US whites. Why does it work less well for the world at large? Mostly because the world at large is a great deal less homogenous, and as such several other major factors, or “multipliers,” come into play. I think there are three really big ones.

Agriculture: Agriculture was generally associated with the appearance of centralized states, which gradually usurped a monopoly on violence. There is a tenfold decrease in homicide rates between hunter-gatherers and early agriculturalists (an anthropological fact recently popularized by Steven Pinker). And another tenfold decrease between early agriculturalists and advanced agriculturalists, as happened in Early Modern Europe and probably considerably earlier in China. The very first civilizations sprang up in what is now the Near East and Egypt, and through shackles, stones and scimitars, they’ve been weeding out the more individually psychopathic elements of their population for a very, very long time. These selective pressures had considerably less time to run in Africa and Latin America, before they were extinguished more or less altogether by human rights interventions (fun fact: Venezuela was the world’s first country to abolish capital punishment).

Alcohol: Crime rates were notoriously high among heavy-drinking Irish immigrants in the 19th century US, but over time they gradually sobered up and converged with the European average. Russia, and eastern Slavs in general, are a huge homicide outlier relative to the Caucasoid average. This is overwhelmingly a function of the region’s alcoholism epidemic, in particular of vodka binge drinking, which began to soar in the 1960s, peaked in the 1990s, and only began to sustainably retreat in the past decade. One estimate (Nemtsov 2003) showed that alcohol was involved in some 72% of Russian homicides. Your typical Russian homicide isn’t getting shot in the streets by some young punk, but a bunch of middle-aged dudes hacking each other to death in their vodka-soaked apartments (just read through scandalous magazine The Exile’s archived “death porn” columns from the 2000s and you’ll get the idea). Remove that, and Russia’s homicide rates become almost European. The most alcoholized Western European country is Finland, whose homicide rates are twice to two-and-a-half times as high as that of Sweden, Denmark, or Norway (all of which have far more Third World immigrants), and the same as Greece (which is far more macho, in contrast to the Finns’ more depressive, placid personalities, and is up to 0.5SD lower in IQ). Alcoholism is endemic in peoples who made the transition to modernity, or at least its accoutrements, without the interval of agriculture. Greenland has a very high homicide rate. So, too, do the northernmost Canadian provinces. In Russia, of the ten oblasts with the highest homicide rates, four are majority populated by indigenous peoples (including the top three), while another three have very substantial indigenous minorities.

Blue = boobs, red = butts. Source: Pornhub.

Blue = boobs, red = butts. Source: Pornhub.

Alphas: Latin Americans are known for their machismo. So are Africans and Arabs. The men have an acutely developed sense of jealosy, displaying an aggressively possessive attitude to women rarely seen nowadays in the West, and both the men and womenfolk respect traditional masculinity. Those who do not are despised, and are called “faggots” without the slightest trace of irony. They prefer butts over boobs, a macho/alpha/r-strategy vs. wimpy/beta/K-strategy Rorschach test if there ever one. You can see it on the roads, and you can see it in the nightclubs. That said, I would wager that as it relates to individual violence, there is a very big difference between the machismo of Latin Americans and Africans, and the machismo of Arabs. It all comes down to family types. Both Africa and Latin America are characterized by exogamous family types, while the Arabs are highly endogamous. The former is characterized by intensive competition for mates, with women enjoying a large degree of social and sexual freedom – which translates to hypergamy in practice – so there is a large payoff to being all rough and badass. In contrast, in most of the Muslim world and virtually all of the Arab world, by the logic of the endogamous community family and its institution of cousin marriage, many men already have a partner “pre-arranged,” and if not, there is not much they can do about it anyway, no matter how hard they posture. They have to act much more respectable because marriages are arranged through families.

One obvious factor I left out is the prevalence of guns. Though I am pro-gun myself, I think it is very likely that in net terms, they do increase homicide rates – after all, killing someone with a pistol is much easier than with a knife – although they might well reduce other crimes such as burglaries. But the overall effect appears to be much smaller than that of IQ, agriculture, alcohol, and alphas.

So, to return to T. Greer’s comment:

There are other factors — sociological or genetic — that need to be part of this discussion. IQ doesn’t take us the whole way.

Add in (limited historical exposure to) agriculture, (vulnerability to) alcohol, and (unrestrained) alpha males as multipliers.

Higher IQ is invariably better than low IQ. All of the high IQ regions (>100) have low homicide rates.

While Arabs are more macho than Westerners, they are restrained by their traditional family system. Islam prohibits alcohol, and the peoples of the Middle East have a longer history of agriculture than any other.

If you’re affected by just one of those three factors, you’re still basically fine.For instance, Finland is substantially more alcoholized – if to nowhere near as big an extent as Russia or Ukraine, let alone Greenlanders and Yakuts – than either the US or the rest of Western Europe. But its homicide rate is only very modestly higher than what it “should be” going just from its average IQ.

But when you start getting affected by two or more of these factors, things start getting hairy fast.

How would this theory logically pan out in various regions?

Africa: Short history of agriculture, too many alphas, low IQs. The traditional family system, which is polygamistic, just accentuates the problem, as female hypergamy and hence intense male competition is unleashed in full. Result – Very high homicide rates.

Latin America: Short history of agriculture, too many alphas, mediocre IQs. In some Latin American cities, as a man, you are as likely to die a violent death as you’d have had as a member of a constantly warring hunter-gatherer band in the Paleolithic. Result – Very high homicide rates.

Middle East: Very long history of agriculture, mediocre IQs. The Islam they currently practice bans alcohol entirely, and pretty successfully at that. While they are macho, this personality factor is neutralized by their family system (it is worth noting that Turkey and Iran, where the family system isn’t as rigidly endogamous as among the Arabs, also happen to have generally higher homicide rates despite being richer and more developed). That leaves just the low IQs. Thus, their homicide rates are substantially higher than the most civilized parts of the world, i.e. Western Europe or East Asia, but no higher than in Eastern Europe, and much lower than in Africa or Latin America.

Eastern Slavs: Respectable IQs similar to Mediterranean Europeans, as are machismo levels, but significantly less exposure to agriculture. And a lot more alcohol. So as expected, homicide rates amongst South Slavs, e.g. Serbs and West Slavs, e.g. Poles are now pretty low – almost as low as in Western Europe proper (though against that you have to adjust for them having far fewer Third World immigrants). The East Slavs and Balto-Finnish groups, however, are still in the grip of a strong if receding alcohol epidemic, so their homicide rates are considerably inflated, if to nowhere near African or Latin American levels. Even in Russia itself, homicide rates amongst ethnic Russians veer higher as you go north, where Slavic Russians admixed with Balto-Finns. The Balto-Finns were the last major European ethnic group to adopt agriculture. (While the alcohol epidemic as of today is less severity in Estonia or Latvia than in Russia, to say nothing of Finland, that is a function of their greater socio-economic progress).

Indigenous northern peoples: IQs aren’t bad, but short history of agriculture, plus alcohol. They aren’t near as macho as the above groups; children would have needed much more paternal investment to survive in the frozen north, hence too much male competition would have been an evolutionary dead end. But their alcohol epidemics tend to be so vast in scope that it really needs to be observed to be appreciated.

19th century frontier Americans: Had extremely high homicide rates. In his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker gives homicide rate figures of 50/100,000 for Abilene, Kansas, 100/100,000 for Dodge City (no wonder you want to get the hell out of it), 229/100,000 in Fort Griffin, Texas, and 1,500/100,000 (sic) in Wichita. Back then, apart from being a bit less intelligent than today (Flynn Effect), Americans were also far more alcoholic. This is little known now, but back then, the US was known as the “Alcoholic Republic,” with alcohol consumption per capita being roughly twice what it is today despite much lower incomes. The frontier towns would not only have been more alcoholized than average, but were also extremely macho, explained in theory by the high male-to-female ratio, and immemorialized by the lingering cultural legacy of the Colts and cowboys of the Wild West.

 
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I have no idea what possessed Putin.

Did he think that it would spare him Western criticism in the run-up to Sochi? Of course not. Khodorkovsky was on the back-burner. LGBT rights are West’s stick du jour to beat up on Russia.

Did he think it would improve the legal and investment climate? I sure hope not, because it would mean he is an idiot who laps up the propaganda of those who loathe him.

Did he think it would reflect well on him? Journalists are rushing in to confirm that Putin’s pardon is just as arbitrary as the original indictment. (They have a point – about the former). Even pundits who once excoriated Khodorkovsky as the criminal he was, such as Mark Adomanis, now talk of the “trumped-up charges of fraud and tax-evasion” that put him in prison.

Did he think Khodorkovsky would shut up in gratitude? There was no admission of guilt involve, and the Menatep bandit has begun agitating from his 5-star Berlin hotel already.

Russia desperately needs more Westernization. In any truly civilized country, YUKOS’ campaign of tax evasion and contract killings would have ensured Khodorkovsky would have been locked up and the keys thrown away forever.

Instead, he will busy himself with plotting intrigues, as oligarchs are wont to do in banana republics. The only difference is that Russia doesn’t have bananas.

12/22/2013 EDIT: Alexander Mercouris has penned what I consider to be the defining article on this: Khodorkovsky – The End of the Affair? Go, read.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crime, Human Rights, Law, Politics 
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Though I know I missed the train on this news, one point in particular is worth drawing attention to as regard the stabbing of (the half-Tatar) paratrooper Ruslan Morzhanov by a 16-year-old ethnic Chechen, which incited the small town of Pugachev to stage a peaceful mini-revolt against the feds.

The town has seen similar tragedies before. A brutal murder was committed in very similar circumstances in 2010. Twenty four-year-old Chechen Beslan Mudayev fatally stabbed twenty eight-year-old Nikolai Veshnyakov five times during a fight that broke out right in front of Zolotaya Bochka. Locals claim that the Chechen community, consisting of a dozen families in total, has been harassing the local population. According to official statistics, there are about 80 Chechens living in various parts of the Pugachev District.

So. Two murders, committed within the space of 3 years, from a group of 80 people belonging to a “repressed” minority. The town’s population is a mere 41,000 and in such places, a lot of people do know each other.

I would be angry as well. Moreover, I would feel unsafe. If 2.5% of a certain group are murderers, then complaints that many of the rest are thugs in general become all that more credible (at least for minds not dominated by political correctness). The popular demands made by Pugachev residents to expel those local Chechens that are not employed or registered in their city – that is, merely enforcing the law on residence, as opposed to the ethnic cleansing it has been portrayed as – though perhaps quite harsh, is not obviously unreasonable given the horrifying circumstances.

One can have some issues with Navalny, co-signing a petition condemning the federal government’s limp-wristedness on ethnic crime, its opposition to legalizing self-defense isn’t one of them, and its at times heavy-handed response to airings of legitimate ethnic Russian grievances isn’t one of them.

The Western media doesn’t see it that way of course. To left/liberals, the small-town Russian protesters are chauvinist troglodytes – with Putin at times even held responsible for this “xenophobia,” despite the government’s avowed opposition to all expressions of russki nationalism; while the conservatives/neocons salivate over the prospect that the Pugachev Affair is but the prelude to Russia’s disintegration.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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As Russia develops a Migration Code to deal with recent influxes, one police official testifies that 47% of crimes in Moscow are committed by foreigners.

Interior Ministry: 47% of Crimes in Moscow are Committed by Foreigners

47% of crimes in Moscow are carried out by foreigners, according to the latest statistics. This was announced by at a meeting of a Duma working group by the deputy chief of police – the head of public order of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs in Moscow, Vyacheslav Kozlov.

In his words, 5% of crimes are committed by migrants from the Far Abroad, while the other 42% are committed by those from the Near Abroad. These figures also don’t take into account internal migration.

Kozlov likewise noted that Muscovites themselves commit very few crimes.

“If not for crimes committed by newcomers, Moscow would be the quietest and most peaceful city,” he said at a meeting of a Duma working group on the Migration Code.

He also noted that some 120,000 people gathered at the Moscow Cathedral Mosque to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

“I heard so many drivers complaining and cursing us for the blockage of traffic during the festivities,” he added.

As our correspondent noted, this is the first meeting of the working group on this issue. The director of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky, the chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Vladimir Pligin, and representatives of the research institutes of the Interior Ministry and other research organizations are taking part in the development of the Migration Code.

(Republished from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crime, Moscow, Society, Translations 
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Hard as it is to believe, but in the wake of the Boston Bombings, many Western commentators actively trying to find the roots of the Tsarnaev brothers’ rage in Russia’s “aggression” or even “genocide” of Chechnya.

This is not to deny that Chechens did not have an exceptionally hard time of it in the 1990s. That said, what strikes one is the pathological one-sidedness of some of the commentary, such as this vomit-inducing screed by Thor Halvorssen, a self-imagined human rights promoter from Norway. In their world, it is a simple morality tale of small, plucky Chechnya being repeatedly ravaged by the big, bad Russian imperialist – and it is one that many people, conditioned in appropriate ways for two decades by the Western media, swallow hook, line, and sinker.

It’s not that simple. But rather than (re)dredging up many words and sources, let’s just suffice with one of the most telling graphs on the matter: The population graph of Chechnya since 1989.

chechnya-population-by-ethnicity-to-2010

Some people are certainly getting ethnically cleansed there alright, but it’s not who you might think it is. So this, essentially, is what the Russian “genocide” of Chechens boils down to: 715,306 Chechens & 269,130 Russians in 1989; 1,206,551 Chechens & 24,382 Russians in 2010. Russians almost entirely gone from there, even though the lands north of the Terek River – that is, about a third of Chechnya – were first settled by Cossacks during the 16th century and had never been Chechen until the 20th century. Those Russians (and other minority ethnicities) were terrorized out of Chechnya during the rule of “moderate nationalists” Maskhadov and Zakayev, whom the likes of Halvorssen describe as the “legitimate government of Chechnya,” with several thousand of them murdered outright. This ethnic cleansing continued unimpeded into the 2000s with the complicit silence of the “nationalist” Putin regime.

I really wish all the (non-Chechen) “Free Chechnya!” people could be reborn as minorities in 1990′s Chechnya in their next lives so that the likes of Halvorssen can experience firsthand the extent to which Chechens “share the democratic values of a Western civilization.”

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Is discussed at the other blog.

To add a couple of things that are Russia specific:

(1) We now learn that the FBI had interviewed the older brother at the bequest of an unspecific foreign government – almost certainly Russia. Tamerlan had visited it for 6 months in 2011. I wonder if he established links with some of the Caucasus Emirate Wahhabi types while there – and if so, whether US suspicions about Russia’s “assaults” on human rights in Chechnya made them drop their guard on a man who, it is now clear, was by then fast becoming an Islamist radical. The one silver lining to this horrible event is that it will become even more obvious that the Chechen rebellion has now been completely subsumed into the global Islamist struggle – and by extension, it will encourage the West to take a closer look at its “friends” in Syria.

(2) The reactions of Russian liberals has as always been as hilarious as it is nauseating. They seriously believe that the FSB is behind this.

Vasily Gatov, state news agency RIA employee: “I am watching three TV channels and listening to the radio, and reading the Boston Globe, and I gather that the main task of the FBI is to take the suspect alive. There is a drama brewing between Watertown, Washington, Moscow, and Grozny… And who knows which other cities. But I’m sure that the greatest fear is felt in Grozny. Which is why he will be taken alive.

Self-hating random Echo of Moscow commentator: “I will not be surprised if it turns out that the Tsarnaev brothers where recruited by Russian special forces for the execution of this terrorist act, because Russia will benefit from it. Why? Because this terrorist act will change American and Western public opinion – and hence, that of their politicians – towards Chechnya. If before the Western public supported the Chechens’ independence struggle, it is now more likely that they will support the Russian government’s policy on the Caucasus. And this means that the Kremlin KGBists will be able to use still crueler and more barbaric methods to fight separatism on the part of the Caucasus peoples. In other words, this terrorist act will untie the hands of the Kremlin in its war against the peoples of the Caucasus.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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The anti-corruption crusader and best hope of the Russian race Navalny will be on trial for embezzlement on April 17th. And it has to be admitted that even many of us who tend to look at the liberal opposition’s claims of repression with a healthy degree of skepticism are now “plagued by vague suspicions.”

It’s just too convenient. After all, there are now a total of four criminal cases against him, three of them potential (SPS, Yves Roche, Post of Russia) and one in process (Kirovles). Most of them appear to be pretty flimsy. It’s as if the Investigative Committee read through the entire book of his life and placed a laser-like focus on every spelling and grammatical error. Which the IC itself acknowledges:

Interviewer: But if the case didn’t have Navalny, then, probably, the case itself wouldn’t exist?

Vladimir Markin, IC spokesman: Perhaps, it would not have happened so quickly, because unfortunately the numbers and energy of our investigators are quite limited. In an ordinary case of embezzlement and misappropriation perhaps our hands wouldn’t have reached in so quickly. But if the person in question draws attention to himself with all his strength, or we can even say, teases authority – saying that oh I am so white and flawless, then the interest in his past increases and the process of exposing it to the sunlight, understandably, accelerates.

Yet with all that said, the fact of this vastly intensified scrutiny being politically motivated does not – as with Khodorkovsky – absolve the defendant of guilt should he actually have committed the crimes in question. And here is where an objective appraisal of the case parts ways with the narrative that has been presented by the liberal opposition and Western media, which asserts that the case against Navalny has been invented out of thin air on Putin’s orders.

After all, stealing 15 million rubles of timber should, at least in theory, be as bad if done by Navalny as if done by any random Nashist – and as deserving of punishment. IF he did actually steal them. But how to find out if he did?

You could do a lot worse than avoiding the media din, and instead systemically reading through the documents and arguments offered by both sides. Here are the more important sources I have identified:

The only problem? All this material is in Russian. But despair not! For your fearless Leader (aka myself) is going to do this for you in the coming days, and write informative posts and articles on the basis of his discoveries.

I will not write a lot right now, but there are four things I wish to clear up from the beginning, to set down the correct channels about how to think about the case.

(1) At the most basic level, the allegation is that Navalny, in concert with Ofitserov, set up a shell company to criminally enrich themselves. Originally, Kirovles, a state company headed by Opalev, had a set of agreements with its customers to supply them with timber. Under pressure from Navalny, who was an adviser to Governor Belykh, these agreements were torn up and rewritten at the same prices, but with their shell company as the new partner. Kirovles, in its turn, sold the same amount of timber to the shell company, but at lower prices. The difference, presumably, was pocketed by Navalny and Ofitserov. This scheme only lasted four months before there was a scandal and Opalev was evicted from Kirovles.

(2) It is not clear that this, even if true, would constitute outright theft. As Politrash’s second lawyer Strigov argues, the charges then would not be Article 160, part 4 of the Criminal Code (theft/хищение) – as per the Investigative Committee – but Article 165, part 2 (causing financial loss by way of deceit and misuse of trust/Причинение имущественного ущерба путем обмана или злоупотребления доверием).

(3) There are dozens of witnesses testifying that they were pressured into rewriting timber supply contracts from Kirovles to Navalny and Ofitserov’s shell company. For his part, Navalny alleges that he had nothing to do with the shell company and was only marginally acquainted with Ofitserov. The evidence within the IC’s indictment however overwhelmingly suggests that this was the not case on both counts. Navalny would have been wiser to focus his defense on proving that the shell company did not do anything illegal, as opposed to (falsely) disavowing any involvement with it, and I do not know if it’s now too late to change tactics.

PS. More links:

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Corruption, Crime, Law, Navalny Affair, Politics 
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In my previous post about the real incidence of rape (it is in massive decline! contrary to the claims of the campus rape industry), I said there was a discrepancy in the National Crime Victimization Survey statistics about its prevalence in the past several years. Steven Pinker writes that it was at 50/100,000 in 2008, whereas the only data I was able to access showed it to be at about 94/100,000 in 2011. Since it’s rather unlikely that the incidence of rape has doubled in the past three years, I suggested that either Pinker made a mistake or the NCVS has changed its definitions.

I was pleased to receive a reply from Steven Pinker on this and it seems that the second option is the likely one. The first one is certainly wrong, because he attached a spreadsheet showing the NCVS figures on rape for 1973-2008, and they do indeed show it declining from around 250/100,000 in the 1970′s to just 50/100,000 in recent years.

On the basis of that data I made the following telling chart.

rape-rates-usa-ncvs

It shows that a generation ago there really was something of a “rape culture” in that your average rape was very unlikely to be reported to police. Ironically, it was at precisely the time in history that reports of rape to police started to converge with the number of people who said they were raped in that year that all this rape culture rigmarole got going.

But as we can see, by that point the train had long departed. With reported rapes drawing close to the anonymously reported general incidence of rape*, plus the inherent ambiguity and fluidity around what actually constitutes rape, it is practically impossible to continue to imagine in good faith that a large number of innocent men aren’t getting tangled up in the narrow space between those two converging lines.

(Finally, even within just the modern US, there will be significant differences in rape prevalence between different regions and socio-economic groups. For instance, “rape culture” is considered by feminists to be more prevalent on the nation’s campuses. But considering that the average college student is one S.D. higher in IQ than the national average, and the close correlation between IQ and crime rates, it is in fact quite likely that modern US college towns are some of the very safest places for women in history. Then again it’s much safer to rant about “campus rape culture” from an actual campus than from within some inner city ghetto).

That is why I think that the higher-end (i.e. 25%+) estimates for false rape accusations, far from being the products of MRM chauvinist hysteria, are in fact the most credible ones today.

PS. Here is Steven Pinker’s reply in full:

The rape statistics come from
U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2009. National Crime Victimization Survey Spreadsheet.http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/sheets/viortrd.csv.
which I attach (accessed 2010/5/3). Unfortunately that URL now redirects to http://www.bjs.gov/glance_redirect.cfm which apologizes for a BoJ Web site redesign rendering the file unavailable until this summer.
You’ll see in a comment line within the spreadsheet that the survey methodology changed at least twice during the 1973-2008 interval, though the numbers reported in it have been adjusted to make (except for one year) commensurable with one another.
It’s not certain why the numbers you found for 2011 are so out of whack with those in this dataset, and it would take some digging to resolve the discrepancy. But the warning in this spreadsheet about previous methodology changes suggests a likely answer. Under pressure from activist groups, common definitions of “rape” and “sexual assault” have recently been broadened to include, for example, a man verbally pressuring a woman into sex, and a man getting a woman drunk and having sex with her; even, in some surveys, sex that the woman regrets afterwards. These expansive definitions are the source of some of the incredible claims such as that one in every four female college students has been raped. I doubt that the NCVS uses such a definition which is quite that expansive, but if the question asked in the past few years differs from those asked in 1973-2008, we would have an explanation for the discrepancy. And you may be correct that the restrictive and expansive definitions correspond to “rape” and “sexual assault,” respectively, but it would take some digging into the recent survey methodology to verify this.

* These two measures aren’t strictly comparable, because one person can report multiple instances of rape to police, whereas in any one year someone can only either be raped or not raped in the NCVS statistics. Nonetheless, one would imagine that the percentage of (very unfortunate) people experienced two or more cases of rape per year and reporting them to police would be very low.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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The past two days I had the pleasure of observing the blowout over a post by blogger Matt Forney about rape – or more precisely, about “how to rape women and get away with it.” It’s completely satirical, quite funny, and one can’t help but by impressed by the size of the balls (no homo) needed to write that shit in a culture where rape is far more of a taboo than murder. Not very logical that, is it? But it’s true. You can assault people with reckless abandon or even shoot up civilians at a Russian airport in any number of FPS games, but rape is a no-no (so is even normal sex, for that matter). Unless you’re in Japan, but I digress…

Anyhow, I don’t know what set off the tripwire – Mr. Forney had published the article in question months ago – but within a few hours he was getting a flood of Internet hate from assorted Tumblr feminists and their angry beta male orbiters. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Director for International Freedom of Expression” expressed the hope he’d get fired; others called for him to be raped and/or killed. The Anonymous brigade also joined in. After a couple of days, they blackmailed him into taking the post down. You can still read the original here at this blog (which is ironically enough dedicated to PUA hate).

As anyone can quite clearly see, the real issue Mr. Forney was addressing was false rape, and more specifically the campus rape industry that has sprung up in recent decades to employ the new legions of Gender Studies majors. According to those moonbats, something like 25% of female university students were raped in the course of their studies (suffice to say pulling down your panties after having had too much to drink and regretting it afterwards qualifies as “rape” in their bizarro-world). One almost can’t refrain from making jokes at their expense, but since that doesn’t tend to turn out so well, I will focus on statistics as is my wont anyway. After all, facts and data are much more difficult to censor out of existence than articles that can be construed – however tendentiously – as “promoting” rape.

The National Crime Victimization Survey is a dataset of interviews with a vast and representative sample of the US population that aims to get an objective picture of the true incidence of crime in America. The graph below is from the book The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker, a dyed-in-the-wool end-of-history type liberal: “It shows that in 35 years the rate has fallen by an astonishing 80 percent, from 250 per 100,000 people over the age of twelve in 1973 to 50 per 100,000 in 2008.” Now one has to give the feminists their fair due; if not for their anti-rape campaigns, the rate of decline would have likely been slower. Nonetheless, it is ironic that the public panic over rape and sexual assault has risen to fever pitch at precisely the moment in history when the real lifetime risk of becoming a victim of rape has never been lower.

incidence-of-rape-us-pinker

Now to be honest again, I do not know if the 50 per 100,000 figure is entirely accurate. Checking the data directly gives 243,800 rapes for an over-twelve population of 257,542,240 in 2011, which translates to a rate of 94 per 100,000 for 2011. Whence the discrepancy? I don’t know. Maybe Pinker made a mistake in his calculations. Or maybe it’s a semantic difference; whereas Pinker refers to just “rape”, the NCVS study linked to above calls it “rape / sexual assault.” Maybe they are treated as distinct crimes? Regardless, it is not even in the same ballpark as the 25% victimization rates – during four years of college – cited by the campus rape industry. It is, in reality, as gauged by a representative sample of the population of whom half will be women, much less than 1%, and probably around 0.1% or 0.2%.

Moreover, the NCVS destroys yet another gender feminist trope: That only 10% (or 1%, or whatever) of rapes are reported to the police because of pressure from the patriarchal rape culture. In reality, this figure was 55% in 2002, 49% in 2010, and 27% in 2011; the latest figure represents a puzzling drop, true – for a start, it isn’t replicated in reports of domestic violence – but even if it marks a new normal as opposed to a weird fluctuation during one year, it would still mean that the rate of rape reporting is many multiples higher than what the radical feminists claim.

So in short the situation we have as of recent years is that the rate of rape is 50-100 per 100,000 of which some 12.5-50 per 100,000 is reported. This closely tallies with the official reported rape rate of 27.3 per 100,000 (though bear in mind that this measures individual rapes and a few women will report more than one rape per year).

As of 1995, the rate of conviction for rape was about 20 per 100,000 of the male population over ten. This would make it around 10 per 100,000 of the total (to make it comparable with the data above), and while I would think it likely this figure has increased since then, let’s assume that it has remained stable (obviously kudos to anyone who can hunt down more recent data from a reliable source). So as of today there is a man convicted for every third woman who reported being raped – and that’s even before we take into account the fact that a man can well be responsible for raping several women, which would make the true conviction rate even higher. After you adjust for the serial rapists, who surely account for a very considerably fraction of real rapists, the rape conviction rate will probably be around 50%. Which is quite different from the figure of 5% that the campus rape industry cites.

For comparison, from the same link, in 1995 there were around 6 convictions per 100,000 for murder. In the same year the murder rate was 8.2 per 100,000. So the conviction rate for murder, a crime that is typically much, much easier to prove than rape, was at slightly less than 75%.

So the conviction rate for rape is, in reality, impressively high. It would be absolutely great if it accurately reflected a coin toss risk of conviction for rapists, but I don’t have nearly the amount of optimism in the criminal justice system that the radical feminists might ascribe to me. Here is a quotation from a 1996 Department of Justice study that tried to quantify the incidence of false rapes:

In about 23 percent of the 21,621 cases, DNA test results excluded suspects, according to respondents. An additional 16 percent of the cases, approximately, yielded inconclusive results, often because the test samples had deteriorated or were too small. Inconclusive results aside, test results in the balance of the cases did not exclude the suspect.

The FBI reported that, in the 10,060 cases it received, DNA testing results were about 20 percent inconclusive and 20 percent exclusion; the other 18 laboratories (11,561 cases) reported about 13 percent and 26 percent, respectively.*

So we have about 20% of cases in which DNA results flat out exculpate the suspects, and another 20% in which results are inconclusive. This is even before we stop to consider that these results merely set a minimum floor, as the remaining figures do not exclude consensual intercourse.

A series of other studies compiled by Frank Zepezauer – one of which took place in the US military and allowed the use of polygraph testing – set the rate of false rape reports at around 25%-60% (but weighted more towards the higher figure).

The false rape figures of 2% or so that you see bandied about by feminist organizations typically reflect only the percentage of those that the police explicitly recognize to be false. Given the very high burden of proof needed for that (because seriously questioning rape victims is a taboo today unlike the case in the 1970′s) this figure would obviously not be the same thing as the actual rate of false reports.

To sum up so far you have a yearly rate in the US of:

  • c.75 (50-100) rape victims per 100,000, vast majority women.
  • c.30 (12.5-50) rape victims per 100,000 reported to the police, vast majority women.
  • For which 10 per 100,000 will get a conviction, all men except for some weird cases.
  • Therefore, taking into account serial rapists, something like half of the rape victims will be “avenged” (at least on paper).
  • But of the women who report rape to the police, about 25% to 50% will be either lying or greatly distorting what really happened.
  • The last figures are backed up not only by the cited estimates of the prevalence of false rape accusations, but by realistic assumptions about the fallibility of the criminal justice system.

As per the last point, it’s too much to hope for that the criminal justice system will only, exclusively nail real rapists. In reality the deck is, if anything, stacked against innocent men and “pseudo-rapists” (i.e. the drunk fratboy who has sex with a consenting and equally drunk chick who really, really regrets it the morning after) because the pro rapists are almost by definition more proficient at it in the first place and would take care to cover their traces and create alibis.

Based on the above rough numbers, it is a reasonable estimate that in the US probably more than 25% of convicted rapists are in fact innocent, while a good 25% or so are the type of “pseudo-rapist” described above. And of course while far from all rape convicts will go to jail, their criminal record and the sheer opprobrium associated with rape will generally create multiple problems for them for the rest of their lives such as finding a job, maintaining good relations with friends and family, and wooing romantic prospects. In fact even a false rape accusation can wreck lives because whereas women are allowed to remain anonymous, the accused does not have that same privilege.

Now I know this concept of the “pseudo-rapist” is going to get me flak from the feminists but what can you do. Alcohol lowers inhibitions. People might do stupid things when they’re drunk, but they never do things that they don’t actually want to do – including those which are highly embarrassing in sober retrospect. Whereas female behavior in modern times is highly slutty (not that I’m complaining! – at least personally…) this goes against the human evolutionary heritage – not to mention the superstructure created by the traditional private property system – which prizes female chastity. Men simply do not prize women who sleep around a lot, so they have a biological imperative to protect their sexual reputations in order to get committed, higher quality mates. In a tiny minority of cases – but which constitute a sizable number in proportion to the number of real rapes! – this means that making a false rape accusation is preferable to a woman than letting it be known that she happily slept with the poor beta/omega bastard while blind drunk.

This doesn’t, of course, change the fact that many real rapes still go unreported (about 50% of them) and “unavenged” (also about 50% – and 75% when you adjust for the unjustly convicted). But at this point you’re not going to improve these percentages much by heeding feminist calls to criminalize more and more sexual activity and stacking the legal deck against men even more than it already is. At this stage we are well into the area of diminishing returns to legal sanctions, with any further tightening now only serving to vastly increase the number of ruined lives due to false or misleading rape reports while only ensnaring a few additional real rapists.

TL;DR version. I do think that some of the wilder MRM claims that 90% of rape reports are false are vast exaggerations with questionable motives. However, radical feminist claims of patriarchal rape cultures on American college campuses (which are some of the safest places for women in the world and history) or which minimize the incidence of false rape claims – or argue that the very concept of a false rape is a product of patriarchal thinking, which is downright loathsome and totalitarian – are if anything even more risible and incredible.

This post was about the US. The next one will be about international comparisons, and the conclusions drawn from there will make this post look tame and politically correct by comparison.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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It’s not just the gopniks who are withering away; so are racist skinheads. According to the SOVA Center – an NGO which is about as anti-Kremlin as it gets, so no point in speculating that it cooks the figures for PR purposes – racist attacks in Russia have plummeted from their peak levels in 2007-2008, back when newspapers carried headlines such as “Moscow foreign students told to stay in as racist attacks rise over Hitler’s birthday.” (h/t Maksim for pointing it out to me)

racist-attacks-russia-sova

This is, of course, unquestionably a good thing. Obviously so for for non-White foreigners or immigrants, and likewise so for Russia in general. Whatever one’s views on the cost-to-benefit ratio of mass immigration, it’s hopefully clear to all that arbitrary violence shouldn’t be part of the discussion.

Of course even 18 racially motivated murders is a lot, as the annual average for the US is about 2 in recent years (the US has twice the population but half the background homicide rate). But it’s a lot better than the peak of 109 reached in 2008.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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In an interview with Dmitry Nadezhdin, Russia’s chief police officer says that he, as a citizen – if not as a government Minister – supports the return of the death penalty for the worst crimes. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that it ain’t happening.

Vladimir Kolokoltsev: “The Death Penalty is Society’s Normal Reaction”

The Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev gave an interview to NTV, in which he laid out his position on several issues.

On the death penalty for child killers

Although I’m afraid of incurring the wrath of opponents of the death penalty, speaking not as a Minister, but as an ordinary citizen: I do not see anything reprehensible in reconstituting it for such criminals. In the EU, there is one approach; in the US, there is another. Every state has its own particularities, and these must be acknowledged. But for these subhumans, and for those who carry out terrorist attacks that kill multiple victims, I consider the death penalty to be society’s normal reaction to such facts.

On punishments for policemen

The severity of a punishment does not give anywhere the same prophylactic effect as its inevitability. In the past year, more than 1,700 police officers were fired for offenses committed by their subordinates. The principle of personal responsibility has to play a role.

On drunk drivers

For citizens with epaulettes, there can be only one road – either he sits behind the wheel in a sober state, or he writes a dismissal report on himself. We are working on a number of mechanisms for identifying such employees, who think it is acceptable to get in car and drive to work after an all night binge.

As regards civilian drivers, there is no option other than to make them more accountable for drunk driving. By that stage educating people is too late, we’re all adults now. One option is to confiscate vehicles. It’s a tough reaction, but a very effective one.

On corruption

Citizens accuse us for bribery being prevalent, and for the atmosphere of venality. But then, you ask this citizen, “Why do you give bribes?” There is an immediate silence.

That said, all cases of corruption within the Ministry of Internal Affairs have to be burned out with red-hot irons and punished most severely. This will then make a man wonder: Is it really worth raising his level of material wealth in this way and then going to prison, or is it better to work cleanly and professionally?

On ethnic crime

I have set the policy that a main focus of attention will be directed to the fight against ethnic Organized Crime Groups. And we will hold officers accountable for how this task is executed. Especially when it comes to cases of particular resonance, there should be no room for compromise.

A call to the Kremlin

Komsomolskaya Pravda placed a call to the President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

KP: “Dmitry Sergeyevich, in recent months there’s been a terrifying wave of child murders, e.g. in Tatarstan, in Irkutsk. We assume that the head of state is aware that such crimes are being committed?”

DP: “Certainly. He receives daily reports on the matter.”

KP: “Have you seen how he reacts to such reports?”

DP: “He reacts like any citizen. This is of course an absolutely monstrous phenomenon.”

KP: “Do you remember any of the President’s words, reactions?”

DP: “In this case, it is not a topic for discussion”

KP: The Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, in a recent TV interview, said that he – not as a Minister, but as a citizen – supports the introduction of the death penalty for criminals who distinguish themselves by exceptional cruelty. Do you think that the recent high-profile cases could influence the President’s position, his attitudes towards this highest measure of punishment?

DP: The President’s position has been known for a long time, and it is a consistent, reasonable, and well argued one. In this case, the Minister expressed a personal point of view. This is absolutely normal. Indeed, there exists a wide spectrum of opinion as regards the death penalty. This is a significant and very sensitive social problem. But we know the official policy on the death penalty that exists today. [Read further] {Translator: To summarize Peskov’s full interview, hyperlinked left, Putin’s position on the death penalty is well-known, he is not going to change it, and there are no questions of putting it up for a legislative vote.}

Meanwhile

The State Duma came out against the death penalty.

On Monday, 11 February, the head of the Duma Committee on Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov commented on the Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev’s yesterday interview, in which he raised the possibility of bringing back the death penalty in our country. The deputies didn’t agree with the Interior Minister’s opinion.

“The abolition of the death penalty is needed, for the state shouldn’t be an instrument of vengeance,” Pavel Krasheninnikov said.

(Republished from Russia Voices by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crime, Death Penalty, Society, Translations 
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1. For Russian orphans life is much more dangerous in Russia than in America. Let’s agree to disregard the hidden subtext which implies that any country ought to give over its orphans to foreign nationals should it be ranked safer for children. Let’s first examine if the claim that Russia is 39 times more dangerous for adoptees than the US is even true.

This number most prominently featured in a March 2012 article at the liberal website Ttolk, perhaps (probably?) it originated there. It then spread to the rest of the Internet via Yulia “Pinochet” Latynina at the Moscow Times

According to official government statistics, a child adopted by Russian parents is 39 times more likely to die than one adopted by parents in the West.

… and Victor Davidoff at the St. Petersburg Times.

It is also well-known that the chances a child will die after being adopted by a family in Russia are almost 40 times higher than if adopted by a family in the West.

While it’s no great secret that Western countries are safer than Russia, the differential struck me as absurdly high. Especially when I checked mortality rates, according to which on average Russian children have approximately twice the risk of death as do their American counterparts (or the same as the US in 1980). This is pretty much as to be expected, as Russian healthcare despite intensive modernization in the past decade still lags developed country standards.

So we have a paradox: While Russian children are on average are “only” 2x as likely to die as American ones, adoptees in particular are supposedly 39x more at risk. The differential between the two groups is simply too high to be credible.

Thankfully one gelievna had already done most of the work. Here is what the article in Ttolk wrote:

Already for several years semi-official documents cite the following number: Since 1991 to 2006, i.e. over 15 years, there died 1,220 children who had been adopted by Russian citizens. Of them 12 were killed by their own adopters.

During this same period, from 1991 to 2006, there died 18 Russian children in adopting families in the West. Knowing the number of adoptees there and in Russia (92,000 and 158,000, respectively) we can calculate the relative danger of adoption in these two worlds. It turns out that there is one dead child per 5,103 foreign families, whereas in Russian families this ratio is at one dead child to every 130 families. This means that adoptees in Russian families are in 39 times more danger than in foreign ones.

Well isn’t that shocking? Surely a humanitarian intervention is called for to rescue Russia’s children and place them in American homes. The only problem is that the 1,220 figure doesn’t refer to deaths at all. Here is what the original source, a 2005 report, actually said:

In 2005, the Ministry of Education and Science gathered preliminary statistics for the past 5 years on cases of death and incidences of ill treatment of orphans, adopted by Russians or taken into guardianship or a foster family, according to which:

Out of 1220 children, 12 died by the fault of the adopters and guardians;

Out of 116 children, whose health was for various causes subjected to heavy harm, 23 suffered by the fault of the adopters and guardians

So the article at Ttolk is basically comparing apples and oranges, i.e. the numbers of Russian adoptees who died in foreign countries vs. the numbers of Russian adoptees that were ill treated in Russia. Of course the latter figure is always going to be much, much higher.

What concrete findings we have (assuming the rest of the article is accurate) is that 18 Russian adoptees died in foreign countries (of those we know! there is no systemic tracking) during 1991-2006 vs. 12 Russian adoptees died by the fault of their foster parents specifically during 1999-2004 or so.

So while an exact comparison remains elusive we can know be fairly certain that in fact the risk of murder is broadly similar for a Russian adoptee in both Russia and the US. Basically it is (thankfully) extremely rare in both countries. I would also point out that this is far from a “Russophile” or “Russian chauvinist” conclusion, knowing that a lot of Russians harp on about the supposedly everyday shooting rampages in schools all over America. In reality this is just the usual anti-guns hysteria mixed in with Americanophobia, American schools are actually extremely safe with only 1-1.5% of all violent deaths of children occurring on school premises in any single year. (Even a very “catastrophic” event like the Newtown shooting would only raise this by about one percentage point).

This whole episode strongly reminds me of similar cases in the past when some wild figure was misquoted, spread in Russian liberal circles, and then transferred to the West. E.g. an imaginary spike of abortions in the wake of the economic crisis. Or the wild exaggeration of Russian emigration figures.

2. It was a cynical and pre-planned ploy to “punish” the US for the Magnitsky Act. Mercouris has already very elegantly demonstrated why this is the wrong way to look at it so one can do worse than quote him in extenso:

“I gather the Federation Council has now voted unanimously to support the adoption ban. This is a direct result of the campaign against it.

The adoption ban looks to me like an emotional response not just to the Magnitsky law but also to the way in which the original Dima Yakovlev law was first formulated. This very wisely limited sanctions to US officials who have violated the human rights of Russians. By doing so Russia has avoided the ridiculous situation created by the Magnitsky law by not extending its jurisdiction to US citizens whose actions have nothing to do with Russia. Understandably enough someone decided to name the law after Dima Yakovlev, who is not a Russian whose rights were violated but who as a child makes the ideal poster boy for this sort of law. However by naming the law after Dima Yakovlev the whole subject of the mistreatment of Russian children in the US was opened up and someone (Putin?, Russia’s Children’s Ombudsman?, someone within United Russia?) in what was surely an emotional response decided to tack on an adoption ban to the original Dima Yakovlev law. That this was not pre planned is shown by the fact that the Russian Foreign Ministry was until recently busy negotiating the agreement with the State Department to protect Russian children that I discussed previously. I gather this agreement was reached as recently as last month i.e. November not September as I said in my previous comment. It is scarcely likely that the Russian government negotiated an agreement it planned to cancel, which shows that the adoption ban must have been an emotional afterthought.

Since the adoption ban was almost certainly an emotional afterthought that almost certainly had not been properly thought through the best way to defeat it would have been to try to reason the Russian parliament and government and Russian public opinion out of it. The point could have been made that adoption is a private matter, that the number of Russian children abused by their US adoptive parents is microscopically small, that it is unfair on other intended US adopted parents to discriminate against them because of the bad behavior of a very few bad US adoptive parents and that the problems involving Russian children with the US authorities and with the US courts have hopefully been addressed by the agreement with the US State Department, which should be given a chance to work. It could also have been pointed out that the adoption ban sits uneasily with the rest of the Dima Yakovlev law, which is intended to hit out at US officials who violate the rights of Russian citizens and not at innocent US citizens who want to adopt Russian children.

All of these arguments have been lost by the hysterical and hyperbolic reaction to the adoption ban. Thus critics of the law have accused Russian legislators of cynically acting contrary to the interests of children, which unnecessarily offends those Russian legislators who may genuinely have thought that by supporting the adoption ban they were trying to protect Russian children. They have also all but said that Russia is incapable of looking after its own orphaned children, which must offend patriotically minded people generally. They have even come close to insinuating that Russian children are better off being brought up in the US than in Russia, which must offend patriotically minded people even more. For its part the US has behaved equally crassly by using the Magnitsky law to threaten Russian legislators in a matter that has nothing to do with either human rights or with Magnitsky and by apparently saying that the adoption ban violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is doubtful but which is also crass if it is true as I have heard that unlike Russia the US is one of the two or three countries which have not ratified it.

The totally predictable result is that the adoption ban has not only been overwhelmingly supported by the parliament and is now certain to become law but Russian public opinion has consolidated behind it.”

3. The law meets fierce population opposition within Russia. Here is what the Guardian writes:

But inside Russia the bill has been criticised by opposition figures as “cannibalistic”, with a petition against the act being signed by more than 100,000 people.

The Western media has spread the idea there is huge grassroots opposition to the Dima Yakovlev law. In addition there has been coverage of a petition floating around the White House to place Duma deputies who voted for the adoptions ban to be placed on the Magnitsky list as “human rights abusers” and denied entry to the US.

This image is however almost entirely false.

Laurie Penny hints at it in the Guardian:

Not all the adopted children thrived, as the populations “back home” are painfully aware. In 2008 Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler adopted by Americans, died after being left in a sweltering car for hours. His adopted parents were found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Russia’s new bill is named after Dima Yakovlev.

Max Fisher in the Washington Post spells it out clearly:

As it turns out, the ban on American adoptions is remarkably popular in Russia. A new Russian survey finds that 56 percent support the ban and 21 percent oppose, a ratio of almost three-to-one. The support seems to stem from a belief that American families are dangerous, cruel, and at times violent to their adoptive Russian children.

Here is the link to the FOM poll. What’s especially noticeable is that a majority of all major social groups support it: 44% of Prokhorov voters; 50% of young people; 48% of people with a higher education; etc.

If one believes that only the scum of the earth like Putin could write the Dima Yakovlev Law, then it would be incongruent not to extend the hatred towards ordinary Russians. La Russophobe is one of the few who gets points for consistency.

4. The Russian government was very enthusiastic about the Dima Yakovlev Law. No, it wasn’t. As Mercouris wrote above, it basically torpedoed months of negotiations with the Americans for Russian officials to get more information about the status of Russian orphans in the US. That is presumably why FM Lavrov was against it as were at least two other Ministers. It was the Duma taking the initiative.

In a further irony, I found an article at the Communist Party website that criticized United Russia for not supporting a similar law back in 2010.

NOTE: The following points are taken pretty much directly from the very разоблачительная article “Orphans Q&A” by gloriaputina.

5. Russia has an inordinately huge number of orphans. The number is 654,355 as of end-2011, however the vast majority are so-called “social orphans” (their parents have been found incapable of parenting). Furthermore, even if a social orphan is adopted, he still remains in the social orphan category. The analogous figure for the US is 3 MILLION.

Ironically, as argued by the blogger, there is an inverse correlation between the rate of orphans and children’s safety. Basically when the state makes children into orphans, the numbers of deaths of children falls (presumably because they are taken away from violent and/or abusive parents). Now yes of course this is not positively good, sometimes there are ridiculous cases, but in Russia at least he is correct in that there is a correlation: As the numbers of parents who had children taken away climbed from 31,000 in 1995 to 53,000 in 2000 and 74,000 in 2008, overall child mortality has plummeted throughout the period (although of course other factors like better healthcare and less alcohol consumption would also play major roles).

Very few Russians abandon their children. They account for 1% of the total number of orphans, vs. 4% both of whose parents died, and 95% “social orphans”.

6. Russians don’t adopt, if there are no kind Americans to take up some of the slack, Russian orphans will be condemned to slow death in state orphanages.

It’s not so much a matter of Russians and Americans not adopting as few people anywhere being interested in adopting children over the age of three. Here is a graph.

In the above graph green represents adoption by Russian citizens, blue by foreign citizens, in 2009. In state orphanages, 90% of children are older than 11 years; 70-80% are older than 14 years. There is a waiting list for adopting children under the age of 3.

7. The majority of Russian orphans have to live in orphanages. Wrong, and this apparently has never been the case.

The yellow bars represent children who are transferred to foster parents (which I think is distinct from “adopted” as in the US), the blue bars represent the numbers of children who are housed in state institutions at any one year. The ratio between the two is steadily increasing and converging to the typical Western model, in which almost all children are taken in by foster parents.

7. Russians only adopt healthy children, while only kind foreigners take those with disabilities. Again, wrong.

30% of the children in the federal database are children with some registered physical disability; the vast majority of them are living with families, only 5% of their numbers live in child institutions.

Now since 1995 about 10% of Russian children adopted by both foreigners in general and Americans in particular were registered as having a disability. In 2011, the US adopted 44 children with disabilities, whereas Russians adopted 188 children with disabilities. In 2009-2011 more than 20,000 orphaned (0-6 age range) children left Russia, whereas as of January 2012, the waiting list for them in Russia was 12,900 long.

8. Russia is alone in being a nasty country that (now) bans American adoptions of children.

Guatemala

Romania

In any case adoptions from Russia had been dropping rapidly since 2004 anyway, constituting less than 1,000 by 2011.

There are in fact quite a number of countries that make foreign adoptions very difficult stopping short of outright bans including many in the ECE area. Russia’s ban is the only one the Western media decides to politicize however (although in fairness it’s a two way street given the absurd association on Russia’s part to portray it as a response to the Magnitsky Act).

9. I think that the Dima Yakovlev Law is a good idea. No, I don’t, I’m just clearing up major misconceptions in this post. While there may be valid grounds to much more stringently regulate foreign adoptions (e.g. ensuring all Russians wishing to adopt have the chance to, and ensure children don’t fall into the hands of pimps/organ traders/etc), the decision to only target Americans and to present it as a response to the Magnitsky Act is crude and idiotic, and just one of the many examples of the Russian government shooting itself in the foot PR-wise.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Eighteen percent of the women in Sweden have at one time been threatened by a man. Forty six percent of the women in Sweden have been subjected to violence by a man.

At least according to ultra-leftist Stieg Larsson (of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame).

But thing is, if you actually ask women if they’ve been experienced violence sexual or physical violence from a partner, one will find that it is actually East Asian and White countries that have the lowest rates. Via The Inductivist:

In the WHO study, the lowest prevalence of lifetime and current partner violence was found in urban Japan and Serbia and Montenegro, which suggests that rates of abuse may reflect, in part, different levels of economic development.

Japan yes, but Serbia, with a GDP (PPP) per capita of $12,000, isn’t all that rich; at least, not significantly more so than Brazil or Thailand. And yet rates of abuse in the past 12 month are as low as in Japan, and far lower than in any other of the other surveyed areas: Brazil, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Thailand, Tanzania.

Even the lifetime risk of assault in Serbia was lower than in any of those other places bar Japan – this despite it being lawless and war-torn for much of the 1990′s.

In short this appears to be primarily an HBD thing, and not so much an economic development thing.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Taisiya Osipova was sentenced to 8 eight years in jail for selling and possessing heroin.

This was twice more even than what the prosecution requested. Even if the case was rock solid it would still be wildly disproportionate as she suffers from diabetes. But it’s not; to the contrary, there are reasonable suspicions that the drugs were planted by the police.

However Mrs. Osipova isn’t telegenic, and her politics are National Bolshevik, so she will get 1,000x less attention than the Pussy Rot whores.

Addendum 8/30: Certainly, unlike with Pussy Riot, I don’t see any Raskolnikov wannabe knifing a mother and daughter to death in their apartment and inscribing “Free Taisiya Osipova” in blood on the walls.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crime, Drugs, Human Rights, Law, Politics 
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Is 21 years in prison, with the rarely mentioned (but real) addendum that it may be indefinitely extended if he is assessed as a risk to society. Which he no doubt will be.

If I were the judge I’d put him up against the wall and be done with it. On this I actually agree with Breivik himself:

Breivik derided a jail term as ‘pathetic’, and said acquittal or execution were the only reasonable outcomes, although the country does not have the death penalty.

As it is, he is going to live in fairly luxurious conditions (for a prisoner) featuring three rooms, each 8 square meters: A bedroom; his own private gym; and a computer, from where he will continue writing his opuses. (At least they won’t take recent moves to have Internet access declared a fundamental human right to apply to Breivik).

Don’t really have much more to say on this that hasn’t been said elsewhere. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much is that Breivik is yet another quintessential example of beta male rage as in George Sodini, James Holmes, etc (though the driving causes in his case were quite different from what motivated most of the American mass shooters). Breivik was very beta: World of Warcraft junkie, no girlfriend, etc.

Another fun thing to consider is what Breivik will observe from his prison as the decades go by. There will be no uprising against “Eurabia” of the type he dreams about and hopes to foment. On the other hand the predictions of “Eurabia experts” about dhimmitude won’t pan out either. What will actually happen is that Norway’s population will continue diversifying, bolstered by millions of climate refugees – only a modest fraction of which will be from the Islamic world – ushering in a caste society by the time as the century goes on. In these new conditions I fully expect ethnic Norwegians to remain generally on top like the Kshatriya and Brahmans in India.

I wonder what Breivik would think about that?

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Crime, Norway 
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A PR disaster: Five views on Pussy Riot’s war.

Go, read. Comment there if possible.

Just a couple more notes:

  • Since I submitted the article, commentator peter made one of the most convincing arguments against the validity of the sentence against Pussy Riot. I suppose this will be raised in PR’s appeal.
  • Just to clarify, as I said in the piece above, I do not think consider 2 years to be a fair sentence. I’d have given them 50-100 hours of community service. I agree with Kononenko here.
  • But the law’s the law in Russia as elsewhere. On that note, see this story (h/t Jon Hellevig) in which it is said that three German PR supporters who disturbed a service in Cologne cathedral may be liable for imprisonment of up to 3 years.

Other non-MSM line coverage of the PR not mentioned in my Al Jazeera case includes this, this, this, this, this, this.

There is also an active discussion of my Al Jazeera piece at reddit (h/t Sam Bollier).

PS. Also apparently the second link I threw in about Iran(ian universities banning women) isn’t as straightforward as that. h/t Fatima Manji

Addendum 8/24: There have been a number of reactions to this article at AJ, Reddit, Twitter, and other platforms, and it is good to see that a majority of them have been positive even if they picked over some details. I don’t disagree with that. This is a culture war and as such there are going to be vehement disagreements; besides, it’s not exactly like I’m in the “hardline” camp that wants to lock em up and throw away the key either.

That said, a few reactions have been strongly negative, and I want to draw attention to them. Not because I think they’re correct (duh) nor because of my narcissism (at least not primarily so) but because in my opinion they very considerably illuminate the mind frames of Russian liberals and Western journalists in Russia.

Exhibit one: Miriam Elder, Western democratic journalist.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MiriamElder/status/238888198997164033]

Do not see what relevance this has to anything. But as I told her if she dislikes the fact that much, she already knows how to remedy it: Go tittle-tattle to The Guardian.

Exhibit two: Tomas Hirst, Western democratic journalist.

[tweet https://twitter.com/tomashirst/status/238891570135461889]

Aka I don’t like what AK says ban him from the MSM wah wah wah. How very democratic.

Exhibit three: Konstantin von Eggert, Russian democratic journalist.

[tweet https://twitter.com/kvoneggert/status/238939875745873923]

So if you don’t have a higher degree, you’re not allowed to comment. In my experience, people who place a lot of emphasis on someone’s educational credentials tend to be incredibly vapid. Most of this commentary seems to be about praising NATO and smearing Assange.

Eggert, BTW, in his very person also puts the lie to any notion that the Russian media is substantially controlled by the Kremlin, seeing as he regularly writes for state news agency RIA Novosti and newspaper Kommersant.

[tweet https://twitter.com/kvoneggert/status/238941886746857472]

Also as above unlike many “democratic journalists” he is quite explicit about his double standards. That is quite rare though not unheard of.

Exhibit four: Andrey Kovalev, editor of Inosmi and a liberal with principles.

[tweet https://twitter.com/AnatolyKarlin/status/239090147843506176]

That I can respect. Though I don’t really agree with the “undemocratic” aspect. I consider myself very democratic (which is not synonymous with “liberal”).

(Republished from Da Russophile 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.