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Eastern Europe

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I meant to write about this PEW poll when it came out this May. Better late than never, I guess.

They highlight what they consider “9 key findings” here.

Here is what I found to be the most interesting, significant, and/or surprising:


This doubles as a rough demographic tally. Russia is around 10% Muslim – around the same as Georgia, and lower than Bulgaria (you rarely tend to hear about their Muslim minorities).


View on democracy and free markets: Amusingly, the Ukraine is least pro-market, Lenin statue topplings regardless.


Majorities in all the Orthodox countries, even including rather not exactly Russophile Georgia and Romania, look to Russia to balance the influence of the West.

Ukraine is the sole glaring but understandable exception.

Even more curiously, 50% of Croatians (Salo is doing yeoman’s work) and even 34% of Poles support this.

In contrast, Bulgaria is rather more Russia skeptical than its stereotype as a supposedly Russophile country would imply.



There is strong support in both Russia and amongst Russians in the Near Abroad for protecting coethnics outside its borders.

Surprisingly, there is also near universal majority support for Russia protecting Orthodox Christians and ethnic Russians outside its borders – a majority agrees even in Georgia and Romania.

There is a pronounced split between west and east Ukraine on this question. Overall support is at 38% there. (Crimea, Lugansk, and Donetsk were not polled).


Who’s to blame for the conflict in the Donbass?


More Orthodox believe their culture to be superior than Catholic or especially Protestant ones. Poland here is perhaps especially surprising.


Russia is considerably more atheist than Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland. (I suspect almost entirely on account of the more atheist, Finno-admixed north).

Women are also universally more religious than men.


Acceptance of evolution. However, most curiously, the most evolution-skeptical, Armenians, also believe the most strongly that “science will eventually explain everything.”

poll-east-europe-homosexualityCaucasus almost monolithically “based” on God and homosexuals. Poland is actually pretty progressive these days.


Support for gay marriage based on the poll results.

I have sometimes joked that Belorussia can into Hajnal Line.


That said, in geneal, opinions on social attitudes are pretty similar across Russia/Ukraine/Belarus.


That said, there doesn’t seem to be any strong correlation between “based” attitudes on God and social policy, and on the desirability of diversity.

The most pro-homogeneity peoples are the very religious Armenians and the very atheist Czechs.


This is pretty interesting – and surprising. Did Hungary produce Orban, or did Orban do this to Hungary?


Stalin remains very popular in Georgia as well as in Russia, just like 4 years ago.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Eastern Europe, Opinion Poll, Religion 
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East-Central Europe – the Visegrad nations and the Balts – are commonly considered to have had far better post-Communist transitions than Russia. They started earlier, and from a more privileged position; in contrast, the Soviet economy was more distorted in the first place, and there were no living memories of prewar capitalism. They got more economic and institutional support from the West. There was no haphazard rush to privatize state assets, preempting the development of a powerful oligarch class that in Russia’s case has become a byword for sleaze and boorishness.

One positive result of this was a generally much lower degree of income inequality than in Russia.


This conventional view is mostly true.

However, as Leonid Bershidsky has just pointed out, citing a recent research paper by Thomas Piketty et al., there is a small catch.

Finally, the large negative foreign asset positions of Eastern European countries should obviously be put in relation to the fact that these countries have adopted a development strategy based upon economic and political integration within the European Union. Eastern European countries are largely foreign-owned, but the owners tend to come from EU countries (in particular from Germany). So in some sense it is not entirely different from the situation of peripheral regions that are being owned by more prosperous central regions in a large federal country.

It is also worth noting that these patterns of foreign ownership also have consequences for the study of domestic inequality. In particular, as demonstrated by Novokmet (2017), the fact the holders of top capital incomes tend to be foreigners rather than domestic residents contributes to lower top income shares in countries like the Czech Republic or Poland or Hungary (as compared to countries like Russia or Germany). I.e. foreign owned countries tend to have less domestic inequality (other things equal).

In other words, a lower net international investment position – all other things equal – should result a country having lower inequality by dint of their 1% being foreigners.


The two major exceptions in the ex-Communist world are Russia and China.

Finally, it is interesting to compare ex-communist countries with respect to the importance of foreign assets (see Figure 7d). It is particularly striking to contrast the case of Russia and China, which both have positive net foreign assets (i.e. these two countries own more assets in the rest of the world than what foreigners own in Russia and China), and Eastern European countries, which all have hugely negative net foreign assets (i.e. these are largely foreign-owned countries). These differences are partly due to differences in economic and natural endowments. In particular, it makes sense for countries with large (but not permanent) natural resources such as Russia to accumulate trade surpluses and foreign reserves for the future.

Certainly Russia’s resource endowments helped and perhaps made it possible, but there was also a political element to it. Even under Yeltsin, the Kremlin had always been loathe to privatize state corporations to foreigners, even though they managed them better than either the state or domestic oligarchs.

One explanation is that privatization was unpopular enough, and selling off assets to foreigners would have made it even more politically untenable. A more cynical interpretation is that foreigners were harder to influence or to provide the kickbacks and favors their benefactors in the state expected for their largesse.

Be that as it may, Russia (and China) developed national oligarchies, whereas Visegrad and the Baltics ceded theirs to the established oligarchies of Mitteleuropa.

Finally, the large negative foreign asset positions of Eastern European countries should obviously be put in relation to the fact that these countries have adopted a development strategy based upon economic and political integration within the European Union. Eastern European countries are largely foreign-owned, but the owners tend to come from EU countries (in particular from Germany). So in some sense it is not entirely different from the situation of peripheral regions that are being owned by more prosperous central regions in a large federal country.

Ergo for Belarus and the Ukraine (!) with respect to Russia. (Despite everything that’s happened since 2014, Russia remains the biggest foreign investor in Ukraine).

Now as Bershisky goes on to point out, while foreign ownership has its benefits – institutional integration, better management, etc. – there is also a price to pay: A loss of sovereignty.

It’s not really a choice; Eastern Europe will eventually need to champion integration, just as it once championed membership. My own view is that eventually, it will no longer matter where a European company is headquartered because a united Europe will have a common budget, and economic cohesion will become inevitable. Nationalism may be having a moment, but it’s too late: The Eastern European countries have been open to investors for too long, and they’ve lost too much control over their economic future to hold on to political control.

Of course opinions on the desirability of this will differ.

As an immigration optimist who had a hysteric fit on Twitter over Brexit, we can be pretty sure that Bershidsky will see this as a good thing.

That said, Bershidsky might be jumping the shark here. As the Ukraine has shown, if there is sufficient political will, an economic “colony” can well defy its foreign owners, despite the economic cost of it (a 15% collapse in GDP). On the other hand, could Muslim immigration really be the hill on which Eastern Europe’s populists and Brussels skeptics make their last stand? After all, multicultural enrichment is a process that takes years if not decades to get noticed and to start having a marked effect on natives’ lives, whereas the loss of Crimea and the Donbass – and the ensuing threat to Ukraine’s continued statehood – was a much more sudden jolt.

In the lack of any such highly visible state of emergency, it is easy to imagine the East Europeans taking their hush money and piping down.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Eastern Europe, Inequality 
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Harvard University maintains an online database of “implicit association tests” that purport to show your subconscious outlook on things. In the race test, you are presented with a series of pictures of Whites and Blacks, which you have to racially identify; these are interspersed with adjectives (joyous, anger, cherish, horror), which you simultaneously have to identify as “good” or “bad.”

Bias in favor of whites is taken to occur when test takers categorize positive words paired with white faces, and negative words with black faces, faster than they categorize positive words with black faces or negative words with white faces.

Here is a map of the US from the Washington Post. As you can guess, red implies more implicit racism. (RCAFDM made some more comprehensive analyses in 2014).


Now Tom Stafford has created a similar map for Europe.

(Although Russia is not included, it does appear on a supplementary graph – no figure given, but its practically next to Belarus, so I added it as a circle in its color).


Common observation that Europe’s rednecks are in the east is confirmed again. Might explain why they’re the biggest proponents of border fences, even though no Syrian is going to be settling in Hungary longterm anytime soon.

Also chalk one up for the Hajnal Line – even though that streak of Balkan tolerance is pretty strange (sure, your average Serb doesn’t have any substantive experiences with Blacks, but same goes for your average Czech or Lithuanian).

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Eastern Europe, Racism 
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The commentator fcomp writes:

If you think about it, there is a strong rationale self interest between feminism and the increase of female obesity. If feminism is to be defined as increasing the societal power of women, then it would serve them well for their to be more obese women. The desirability of a women to a man is far more objective then subjective. If women were to be, across the board, more attractive, if all women became, at minimum, 6s, men who ended up marrying 6s, the men who would be the lowest in male desirability in such a society, wouldn’t nearly be as unhappy as men who end up marrying 1s in our society. The logical result of that, is that in such a beautiful society, ironically, the value of female beauty would become far less valuable, and beauty would be far less desired.

That is exactly right. You see this in EE. Beauty is so common that it’s much less valued than in America. Basic market forces at work. Feminists go on about the importance of “inner beauty”, but ironically, the social trends that are in their own interests to encourage achieve the exact opposite – preoccupation with physical beauty (because it is rare).

If there isn’t a chance that one might end up with a landwhale, I suspect that most men would hardly bother with stuff like game and the like.

Of course. There are millions of things more valuable than game. It’s like gambling, or financial speculation: Good for those who are good at it, socially worthless.

I would imagine that such a society would experience little sexual discrimination, but at the same time, be very anti-female, in the sense that women who are competitive with men in economically productive fields would be quite successful, but at the same time, “feminine virtues”, a females capacity attracting men, the only area in which women surpass men, would be far less valued.

Yes, ironically, there is little sexual discrimination in such societies. Female salaries as a percentage of male salaries are higher in Russia than in the US or the UK. There are far more self-made female billionaires in China than in the Anglo world. It is true that the women there can’t “attract men” as well as in societies without gender feminism, but why on earth would you want them to? There is a name for women who are really good at this: Sluts.

There is a upper cap on female attractiveness, which are the feminine ideals hardwired into us by evolution, but there is no downward cap. This is in direct contrast to male attractiveness, because male attractiveness is strongly based with ability, and strong relativistic. ie: A man can always become more powerful, more wealthy, more physically capable. In this fashion, feminism is intrinsically a downward trend because the only thing a beautiful women can do to that makes herself more desired in a society, is to reduce the amount of beauty in that society.

This is why your typical Third Wave feminist or rape activist is fat, has a manjaw, or is otherwise unattractive.

If you are ugly, devaluing beauty is not bad evolutionary strategy.

The prevalence of female obesity in the middle east can also be explained in this fashion. If increasing the amount of non-obese women in a society is a form of sexual egalitarianism, because it increases the amount of sexual contentment across the board, then what society is less sexually egalitarian then Islam?

I have been meaning to write about the links between radical Islam and gender feminism for quite some time. Suffice to say for now that, contrary to what one may think, they make for excellent bedfellows.

Of course, none of this is to say that female obesity is a feminist conspiracy, that would be quite absurd. Like you said, dystopian societal trends.


(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
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A few months ago I posted a table and map of Russian IQ’s as derived from regional PISA performance. Those figures are based on Jarkko Hautamäki’s slideshow comparing regional PISA performance in Finland and Russia.

That material is a bit inadequate because, as had been my custom up that point, I was only making IQ estimates based on the Math and Science components of the PISA tests, and avoiding Reading to maintain reverse compatibility with my (now disused, in favor of just IQ) Human Capital Index. In light of some realizations that verbal IQ is no less important than numerical, I have updated the figures to include the verbal component as well. This doesn’t create any radical changes – the overall IQ only drops by 0.3 points – so I reuse the same map.

(Note that the legend on the map isn’t converted to IQ. “PISA scores, mean 500, SD 100, have to be transformed into IQ values, mean 100, SD 15, by adding or subtracting the deviation from the mean in the relationship 100 : 15 = 6,67.”)


There are any numbers of comments one can make, but I will confine myself to the most important ones:

(1) In some regions, margins of error are high, as samples were low. Nonetheless, it is still possible to identify some concrete patterns. The overall estimate is very accurate because the sample was N=5,308 and representatively distributed across the country.

(2) Moscow pupils performed very well, at the level of the highest scoring OECD countries like Finland, Taiwan, and Korea. This is especially impressive considering the significant numbers of immigrants in that city from the North Caucasus and Central Asia, who come from poorly-scoring countries and rarely have good Russian. This is surely the result of a century of attracting Russia’s (the USSR’s) cognitive elite.

(3) St.-Petersburg and Tyumen oblast performed above the OECD average, while a few other regions performed at or only slightly below the OECD average.

(4) Among ethnic Russian republics, Siberian regions performed well, while the Urals and southern regions performed badly.

(5) Performance in ethnic minority republics differs dramatically. Many of the Turkic and Finno-Ugric regions, such as Tatarstan, Komi, Chuvashia, and Karelia did well; however, Mari El is a big exception. The Buddhist peoples of Asia, such as Chita oblast (now merged into Zabaykalsky Krai) and the Sakha Republic, performed relatively poorly, as did the Muslim North Caucasus region of Dagestan. Chechnya and Ingushetia would probably score around very low – probably in the mid-80′s. We can be pretty confident about that because their unemployment rates are nearly 50% despite tons of federal transfers.

Bear these figures in mind when considering long-term investments into Russia alongside with their business climate, corruption levels, etc.

PISA-derived IQ of Russian regions

The results by each of the 44 Russian regions which participated in PISA are reproduced below:

Moscow 106.6
Saint-Petersburg 102.6
Tyumen oblast 100.6
Novosibirsk 100.0
Chelyabinsk oblast 99.7
Omsk oblast 99.3
Samara oblast 99.2
Vladimir oblast 98.9
Tula oblast 98.6
Karelia 98.1
Tatarstan 98.1
Komi 98.0
Tomsk oblast 97.9
Primorie krai 97.2
Krasnoyarsk 97.1
Chuvashia 97.0
Udmurtia 96.4
Sakhalin oblast 96.4
Saratov oblast 96.0
Tambov oblast 95.9
Moscow oblast 95.6
Volgograd oblast 95.5
Vologda oblast 95.3
Kemerovo oblast 95.3
Altai krai 94.9
Astrakhan oblast 94.8
Ryazan oblast 94.7
Kursk oblast 94.6
Khanty-Mansijsk 94.2
Bashkortostan 93.4
Krasnodar 93.3
Perm krai 93.3
Rostov oblast 93.3
Nizhnij Novgorod 93.1
Voronezh oblast 92.7
Orenburg oblast 92.7
Kaluga oblast 91.7
Sverdlovsk oblast 91.6
Ulyanovsk oblast 91.5
Adygea 91.2
Stavropol 91.0
Mari El 90.1
Dagestan 88.7
Chita oblast 88.5
Sakha (Yakutia) 87.7

Correlation with economic development

Doing the same exercise as I once did with Italy, the exponential correlation between IQ and GDP per capita (adjusted to reflect local prices; 2008) turns out to be R2=0.5262, if we only take into account those regions whose economies aren’t skewed by substantial natural resource sectors.

This is not as good as Italy’s R2=0.7302, but the result is still an amazingly good one in social sciences. In fact in Russia’s case it’s all the more impressive because its economy was for the most part built up under central planning, which isn’t as good as markets at allocating resources efficiently.

Even under a command economy, the principle still holds: Higher average IQ, higher human capital, greater productivity, greater GDP pre capita.

Other data on the Russian average IQ

(1) The PISA-derived IQ is 96.0.

(2) Richard Lynn estimates Russia’s average IQ to be 96.6 in his 2012 book Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences.

(3) Heiner Rinderman estimates it at 97.3 in a 2009 paper.

The two most comprehensive authorities on international IQ’s, as well as the most comprehensive international standardized test, are all in agreement that Russia’s current average IQ is in the 96-98 range.

Other data on Russian regional IQ

(1) Map of average Unified State Exam (USE) scores among Russians admitted to institutions of higher education in 2010.

This is a biased sample because it only measures those Russians who were admitted to a university in 2010. It is not indicative of average regional IQ.

Data from Межвузовское исследование «Успеваемость студентов первого курсавысших учебных заведений России».

(2) Here is the same data by Federal District. They are, in order: Volga; North-West; Siberia; Central; Urals; Far East; North Caucasus.

(3) The share of “Olympians” (basically students who did really well and get benefits) in the annual university cohort. By region from top to bottom: Northern Caucasus; South; Far East; Volga; Urals; Siberia; North-West; Central.

There is nothing surprising about this. The Central Federal District contains Moscow. The North-West Federal District contains Saint-Petersburg, and I also suspect that ethnic Russians from the North-West region also have the highest IQ potential of all Great Russians because of admixture with Finno-Ugrics. (Finns and ethnic Estonians both have very high PISA scores).

(4) Unfortunately, Russia does not release regional average USE scores. It does this on purpose to avoid inciting ethnic enmity. (Basically, some regions – most of them non-Russian ones – systematically cheat and inflate their USE scores).

(However, I do recall visiting a site showing the number of people from each region who scored a 100/100 on USE subjects such as the Russian language, math, etc. It is a very rigorous exam and getting full marks on a subject like math is exceedingly hard; only a few hundred manage to do it every year if memory serves right. As IQ distributions are bell curves, it should be theoretically possible to get some idea of regional IQ’s by looking at the perfect scorers per capita rate. To do this however I will need to locate that site.)

Other EE Nations

The Ukraine didn’t participate in PISA 2009, but extrapolating from its TIMSS scores, its IQ would be around 93.1. Belarus would probably be considerably higher, because (1) they are basically genetically identical to Great Russians and Poles, and (2) they have done economically better than Ukraine since the 1990′s despite keeping much of their economy state-owned.

This section will be updated with info on other countries in the near future.

Slavic Genetic IQ Ceiling

The Slavic genetic ceiling appears to be around 100 based on the Czechs and Poles. The average height of young Russian men is about 175cm compared to 179cm-180cm among the Central-Europeans (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks). This discrepancy likely arose from the fact that Russia’s (and Ukraine’s) post-Communist transitions were far more catastrophic than those of the Poles and Czechs, involving a major deterioration in quality of nutrition during the 1990′s when the PISA 2009 cohort was growing up.

Russia’s meat consumption per capita (kg).

Russian nutrition has already returned to First World levels however; for instance, meat , fish, fruit, etc. consumption is now basically the same as in Europe or the US. This means that in the next decade I expect the Flynn Effect to kick off in Russia’s favor, raising its average IQ levels to their theoretical peak of 100 by the 2020′s.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
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Commentator AP writes:

Very true. Russian and Ukrainian women enjoy being women. This was once the case in the United States too, a couple of generations ago. But in the American case there was the baggage of the second-rate status of women. It seems that in legitimately struggling against inequality, Western feminists have confused eqality with sameness and damaged femininity by making women more like men (my wife and our female Russian friends always see deep underlying [misogyny] in the feminists they have encountered). It’s like if blacks had battled racism by not only fighting against discrimination but also by creating the image of a “liberated” black having pale skin, straight hair, and no hint of ebonics.

He is correct in every respect.

Russian women achieved the vote in 1917. Criticize them as you will – and I do – the Bolsheviks early on inserted equity feminism into the foundations of Russian society. This was a generation or two ahead of similar developments in the West. And it was a good thing. Today Russian women get paid more relative to men than in America or Britain, probably because spending a fortune on a Womyn’s Studies degree and then ranting about the “global patriarchy” at Jezebel or The Guardian when they find out no-one wants to hire (or marry) them isn’t a commonly accepted lifestyle choice.

When American women started demanding more rights many of them embraced gender feminism as the solution. Unlike equity feminism, which corresponds to classical liberal notions of legal equality, gender feminists want to feminize men and institute matriarchy. Matriarchy is of course an oxymoron and in practice means rule by alpha males, coupled with wanton repression of beta males (achieved in the West via alimony law, “rape culture”, harassment lawsuits, etc). Alpha males don’t take shit from feminists and as women they admire them; respectable betas follow the rules, as is their wont, and get shafted for their troubles, because no woman can truly respect a man who submits to her whims.

What you have then is complete social dysfunction, as a result of what is a deeply reactionary and anti-human ideology. It is ironic that (real) Marxism shielded Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe from the much more ruinous scourge that is cultural Marxism.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
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This is one of those stereotypes that is totally correct. Take a casual stroll about any Russian town and the typical woman you see would be considered “very cute” or “pretty” in places like the Germany, the UK or the US. And one or two of them will have supermodel looks. That kind of talent you will only get in a few select places in the US like Santa Barbara, parts of LA, etc. You also see unremarkable lanky, unkempt dudes with solid 8′s whereas in the US they will either be with a fat white chick or a 5/6 Asian.

I recall some studies been done about this which basically came to the same conclusion. Women from Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Poles, etc) being rated as the most attractive among whites. In my experience I’d also add Norwegians (Swedes are too Germanic-plain) and Bulgarians to the list.

Why is this the case? The eXile theory of “dyevolution” posits that this stemmed from the USSR’s huge manpower losses in WW2. The theory goes that in the postwar period, with sex ratios absurdly skewed, only the hotter part of the beauty bell curve was able to find husbands. While under other circumstances we could have expected some degree of “soft polygamy” in which alpha males develop harems (or formal polygamy, as practiced by traditional Islamic societies with lots of inter-tribal warfare) this was not the case in the USSR what with strict Stalinist social mores and controls.

The theory is superficially attractive but false. This pussy paradise was only actual for a single generation i.e. 1945-65, i.e. not enough time to make any substantial genetic level impact given reversion to the mean. Besides it wouldn’t explain countries like Bulgaria or the Czech Republic, where demographic wartime losses were minimal, or even Poland, where half the 6mn deaths were of Jews and the other 3mn were of civilians (i.e., not as overwhelmingly skewed towards young males as military deaths). On the other hand, German military deaths relative to their male population were no lower than those of the Russians, and in addition many of their POW’s were in prison until the mid-1950′s. But German chicks haven’t become particularly beautiful. They remain much the same as they always have: Plain and stolid Gretchen. In addition, the high reputations of Slavic women precedes the 20th century anyway. Napoleon’s mistresses were Polish. The Ottoman Sultans filled their harems with East Slavic women. One of them, Roxelana, became very politically influential.

Of course there are plenty of other possible explanations. For a start Eastern Europe, and Ukraine in particular, was always pretty violent. Then again was it exceptionally so by medieval standards? After the Viking period, Scandinavia was very peaceful, and their women are considered very beautiful and desirable too (I for one fully agree with Norway’s inclusion in that group). I think Chinese and Korean women are prettier than average too and these have consistently been very peaceful and “beta” societies. Maybe Slavic EE women just dress better and take more effort to look more feminine? That is certainly part of the equation, but even if Anglo/Germanic women started (re)adopting these same habits, the difference would not be bridged. So this must remain an open question…

(Republished from 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.