The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Topics/Categories Filter?
Foreign Policy Politics Western Media Russia Society Russophobes Western Hypocrisy Human Rights Economy USA Corruption Ukraine Opinion Poll Liberal Opposition Putin Ideology Demography International Relations Translations Core Article History Elections Military Geopolitics Humor Race/Ethnicity IQ China Futurism Psychometrics Democracy UK Georgia Blogging International Comparisons Moscow Crime Russian Media Convergence Human Biodiversity Sociology Education Soviet Union Admin Economics Medvedev Miscellaneous Public Health Putin Derangement Syndrome Germany NATO Energy Obama PISA Science United States Immigration Climate Change France Imperialism War Finance India Islam Baltics Belarus RealWorld Wikileaks Chechnya Guardian Islamism Jews The Economist US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel Culture Forecasts Translation Venezuela Inequality Islamophobia Israel Nick Eberstadt Open Thread Poland Syria Terrorism Feminism Iran Kompromat Literacy Migration Alcoholism BRICs Caucasus Estonia Internet Population Growth Soviet History The AK Turkey Communism Demographics Europe Fertility Rates Gender Relations Greece Law Mortality Nationalism news-2008 Statistics Armenia Conspiracy Theories Donald Trump Journalism Near Abroad Peak Oil SJWs Sociobiology Video War In Donbass Development East Asians Espionage Far Abroad Flynn Effect Interviews Living Standards Manufacturing Media Pax Americana Syrian Civil War AIDS Alcohol Arab Spring Big History Canada Crisis Economic History Finland Food John McCain Literature Mitt Romney Sweden Technology TIMSS Trade Whites Al Jazeera Alexei Navalny Azerbaijan Brazil Color Revolution Death Penalty Environment Nuclear Weapons Nutrition Obesity Philosophy Racism Rationality Richard Lynn Ron Unz Singapore Taiwan Trump Derangement Syndrome Ukrainian Crisis US Blacks US Elections 2016 Vladimir Putin World War II Anti-Semitism Censorship East Asian Exception Egypt Iceland Intelligence Law Levada Center Malthusianism Neocons Political Economy Poverty Projects Saudi Arabia United Kingdom WSJ Academia Alexei Kudrin Apollo's Ascent Arctic Sea Ice Melting Bahrain California Corruption Perceptions Index EROEI Freedom Green Guest Hezbollah Hillary Clinton Homosexuality Infrastructure Islamist-liberal Alliance Italy Japan maps Mexico Middle East Military Technology Nazism Opposition R&D Russian Economy Russian Politics Sex Ratio Socialism Svidomy Transhumanism Travel Trolling Tsarist Russia Agriculture Ancestral Health Arabs Assange Berezovsky BigPost Cars Central Asia Chinese History Dark Lord Of The Kremlin Edward Snowden Eurasia European Union Genetics Global Warming Hubbert's Peak Ideologies Islamic State kremlinology Languages Learning LGBT Liberalism North Korea Norway Paris Attacks Philosophy Pigs Prediction Psychology Ray Kurzweil Russian Far East Russian History Scandinavia South Korea stalin Superintelligence systems-modeling The Bell Curve The Russian Spectrum Thermoeconomics 2010 Census 2012 US Elections Afghanistan Aging Alexander Mercouris Alt Right Anthropology Arctic Resources Blacks Bolivarian Revolution Capitalism Chinese IQ Chinese Language CNN CO2 Emissions Coal Crimea Czech Republic discussion Drugs Eastern Europe falsifiable-predictions Fantasy FEMEN Financial Times Football Foreign Policy Glenn Greenwald Great Powers Guardian Censorship Health Hindu Caste System Hispanics Human Achievement Illegal Immigration Indians Inequality IPCC Ireland Jared Diamond John Michael Greer Joseph Tainter Julian Assange Junta Latin America Libya life-expectancy Malnutrition Masculinity Milan Kundera Militarization Military History Money Moscow Mayoral Election 2013 NAMs Natural Gas navalny ngos Novorossiya Paper Review race-realism Robert Ayres Romanticism Russia Debate Russian Demography Russian Orthodox Church sergey-zhuravlev Sex Social Media Space Sport Steven Pinker Switzerland Urbanization Yemen 2008-south-ossetia-war Abortion Administration AGW Denial Ahmadinejad Anatoly Karlin Andrei Korotayev Arctic Civilization Asian Americans Australia authoritarianism Beer Cartoon CEC Charles Murray Chinese Economy Chinese People Christianity Cliodynamics collapse Copenhagen Summit Cousin Marriage Cuba Demoscope Dmitry Medvedev Dysgenic Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Earth Day Economist Democracy Index Ecuador Effective Altruism EMP Weapons Eugenics Genetic Engineering Gérard Depardieu Globalization Hanzi Healthcare Hist kai Hitler homicides human-capital immigrants inosmi Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program Iraq Islam Ivan Bloch Jorge Luis Borges Kenneth Pomeranz Kremlin Clans la-russophobe levada Life Limits To Growth Malthusian Loop Map Marxism Massive Ordnance Penetrator me Monarchy Navalny Affair Netherlands New York Times Niall Ferguson Nuclear Power Occupy Oil Diet PDVSA Peter Turchin Police Propaganda Protestantism Rape Razib Khan Review RFERL rise-of-the-rest RTS Stock Market Russian Military Russian Reaction RussPol San Francisco Sci-Fi Scotland Debt Space Exploration Tamerlan Tsarnaev Taxes The Sublime Tim Ferriss Twitter UN Unemployment World War I Zoology 9/11 Aesthetics Affirmative Action Africa Age Of Malthusian Industrialism Airborne Laser Aircraft Carriers American Media Anarchism Apocalypse ARCS Of Progress Arctic Methane Release Argentina Arthur H. Smith Arthur Jensen Assad Aubrey De Grey Austria Automation Bangladeshis Barbarians Bashar Al-Assad Berkeley Books Boris Berezovsky Brahmans Brexit Brezhnev Brighter Brains Business Calisthenics Charlie Hebdo Chechens china-russia-relations Chinese Communist Party Chuck Schumer CIA Class Climate Cognitive Elitism Cold War Collapse Party Colmar Von Der Goltz Colombia Confucianism Marriage Conservatism Crimean Tatars Crispr Cultural Marxism Cyprus David Moser Demographic Transition Digital Philosophy Dostoevsky Drought Dubai Elites Enemy Belligerent Act Of 2010 Ester Boserup Eurabia European History Evolution Family Fascism fat-diets FEL Weapons Fertility fertility-rate Fossil Fuels Free Speech Freedom Of Speech Friedrich List Gail The Actuary Gaza Flotilla Raid Geography George Friedman George Soros GMD Goldman Sachs Graham Turner grains Greeks Green Party USA Gregory Clark Guantanamo Guns Half Sigma Hank Pellissier Hashemi Rafsanjani HBDchick Himachal Pradesh Hong Kong HplusNRx Hungary Ibn Khaldun ICBMs Idiocracy IMF incarceration-rate Indian Economy Indian IQ industrialization Inflation interview IT James Kunstler James Lovelock Jennifer Rubin Jezebel Jim O'neill John Yoo Kant Karlinism Khamenei khodorkovsky konstantin-von-eggert Korean Cuisine Laissez-faire Lazy Glossophiliac Libertarianism limp-wristed-liberals Linguistics LNG london luke-harding Malthus Maoism mark-adomanis Matt Forney Max Weber Meme Middle Ages Moltke The Elder Muammar Gaddafi Muslims NCVS Neoreaction Nick Bostrom Nobel Prize Norman Finkelstein Novorossiya Sitrep NYT oligarchs open-discussion orientalism Orinoco Belt Orissa Orthodoxy Pakistan Palestine Patriot Missiles Paul Chefurka Pedophilia People's Liberation Army PIRLS PLAN Podcast Polar Regions Political Correctness Poll Productivity protests pussy-riot Race/IQ Reading RIA Novosti RossPress Russia-Germany Relations russian-cuisine Russian Society Schlieffen Plan schools Schopenhauer Science Fiction Serbia sergey-magnitsky Sergey Nefedov Shanghai Singularity Sisyphean Loop Slavoj Zizek SLBMs SM-3 sobornost Social Evolution Songun space-based-solar-power Spain Steve Sailer Strait Of Hormuz String Of Pearls Sublime Oblivion Suicide Supercomputers Survivalism Tamil Nadu THAAD The Bible The Guardian The Lancet The Matrix The Oil Drum War transparency-international UAE UAVs UC Berkeley Ugo Bardi UKIP Universities US Navy us-russia-relations vegetarianism Vekhi Velayat-e Faqih Vietnam Viktor Yushchenko Wall Street wealth-creation Welfare Willem Buiter william-burns William Catton Womyn's Studies World Health Organization World Values Survey Writing yulia-latynina Zombies
 Russian Reaction Blog / ElectionsTeasers

dutch-elections-2017-results

So this was pretty bad.

poroshenko-good-monkeyWilders’ PVV did increase its share of the vote by 3% points relative to the last elections, but considering the hopes and fears getting pum pumped up, this was certainly a defeat for populism – as Hollande, Merkel, Juncker, Macron, and all the other Respectable Politicians recognized as they rushed to congratulate Mark Rutte.

Poroshenko hailed his victory as a peremoga against the forces of populism in Europe.

But ultimately, the idea of the Netherlands (or Germany) playing any significant role in reversing the rising tide of population replacement in Europe has never been realistic.

Consider this. By the standards of European far right parties, the PVV is an unusually socially liberal, economically neoliberal, and philo-Semitic party. They support drug legalization, they support gay marriage, they not only completely disavow anti-Semitism but avidly support Israel (Wilders’ own opposition to Islam, which is much more hardline than even Le Pen’s, grew out of his travels across Israel’s kibbutzes during the his youth). All these things generally appeal to the higher IQ part of the electorate.

dutch-elections-2017-by-educationEven so, however, it was still the dumbest who voted for Wilders.

Only 14% of PVV voters have a higher education, versus 57% for the trendy left-liberal pro-European D66. This is completely in line with the demographic profile of the post-Trump Republican Party, with the Front National, even with the LDPR in Russia, and explicitly nationalist parties pretty much everywhere else in Europe.

This is a crazy theory that will anger pretty much everyone, but I think there’s something to it, so here goes.

With some of the highest (native) IQs in Europe, the Dutch are too intelligent and too smack dab in the center of Hajnal Europe, with its associated modern-day psychological complexes (e.g. pathological altruism), for their own good. They have been a country of literate merchants since even before Great Britain. They are the Eternal Merchants of Europe.

Since cuckoldry is an intellectual fetish, perhaps there is simply no hope for the Netherlands, or for that matter, for similarly native high-IQ Germany.

There might yet be hope for France, though, since they’re a bit dumber on average, and as such, haven’t had the self-preservation instinct so completely brainwashed out of them by liberal academia and the globalist elites.

Though he was made fun of it, Trump was not incorrect to state, “We love the poorly educated.” It is, of course, a rather inconvenient reality that the people most committed to European demographic continuity tend to the unlettered. But it is a reality that has to be recognized and catered to.

High IQ is the mindkiller. The working class will save the white race!

Practical implications: Wilders should have dropped all the neoliberal austery rhetoric and gone hard hard on protectionism, like Le Pen and even Trump. Tone back criticisms of Islam that are rooted in its opposition to free speech, which is not something that lower IQ people very much care about. One suspects most Dutch nationalists don’t care overmuch for Israel either. Do that, maybe get your share of the vote up to a not entirely embarassing 25%, or something.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Elections, Nationalism, Netherlands 

Simon Hix has published graphs showing the percentage share accruing to different ideological families in European elections since 1918.

a-history-of-ideology

The first thing that strikes one is how constant things have been, all things considered. There was a Radical Right spike in the early 1930s, and a longer-term Radical Left resurgence following the war that petered out half a century later, but otherwise preferences have been remarkably steady.

Some might be concerned about the modern day Radical Right surge, especially since it appears to be far more stable than the fleeting one during the Great Depression. However, its worth emphasizing that the Radical Right today are essentialy the Conservatives of yesteryear. For instance, here is what Charles de Gaulle had to say about multiculturalism:

It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But [it is good] on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are still primarily a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and the Christian religion. Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird. Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-The-Two-Churches but Colombey-The-Two-Mosques.

Compare and contrast with his ideological successor, Nicolas “Le métissage obligatoire” Sarkozy.

The Left, too, has grown far less hardcore. Nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy and some degree of openness to central planning characterized Social Democracy a half-century ago and earlier. Now they’re just a slightly different shade of the neoliberal center, while most Communists now abandoned the class struggle in favor of various SJW inanities.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Elections, Ideologies 

As I’ve pointed out, support for the pro-Western agenda in Russia is highly circumscribed, usually in the low single digits, never higher than 10%.

However, much like with divisions in Europe, Britain, and the US – where the globalist agenda (HRC, “Stay,” etc) are supported by multinational and cosmpolitan rich elites in the big cities and abroad while being opposed by the working/gopnik class in the suburbs and the provinces (Trump, Le Pen, Brexit, etc) – it is actually much the same in Russia.

All these maps are via Alexander Kireev.

Moscow

russian-elections-2016-moscow-united-russia

Map of United Russia’s performance in Moscow in the 2016 elections. (Note that the elections in Moscow have been free from fraud since 2011, so this is an accurate representation of electoral preferences).

map-of-muscovite-tolerance-2016

Incidentally, recall that map of tolerance?

russian-elections-2016-moscow-second-place

Map of second place: Green = Yabloko, Red = KPRF, Yellow = LDPR.

So basically the Eye of Sauron Moscow edition (yuppies and oligarchs), the middle-class Moscow, and the gopnik Moscow.

russian-elections-2016-moscow-liberals-ldpr Here is how the LDPR in particular does relative to the liberals with a little illustrative edit from myself.

Abroad

(Again via Kireev, based on data from Oleg Lisovsky).

russian-elections-2016-abroad

This map shows where United Russia (blue) vs. Yabloko (green) won first place in different countries.

This is, incidentally, a stable pattern; more or less the exact same pattern was observed in the 2012 Presidential elections between Putin and Prokhorov.

In terms of absolute voters, there are basically three main “buckets” of Russian voters abroad: (1) The satellite states of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria; (2) The Near Abroad, aka the territories of the ex-USSR; and (3) The Far Abroad, aka everywhere else.

(1) Here United Russia gets around 80%, just like Putin got 90% in 2012. The people there either overwhelmingly wish to join Russia (as in South Ossetia and Transnistria), or want to be closely associated with it (as in Abkhazia), so it is natural that the residents of those places who also have Russian passports would overwhelmingly support the party of power.

(2) In the ex-USSR, United Russia’s fluctuated between 50% and 60% (compared to 65%-90% for Putin). The biggest change from 2012 is, predictably enough, in Ukraine, where the numbers of Russian voters relative to the last election plummeted from 17,000 to 369.

(3) In the Far Abroad, the main division was between (a) countries where the majority of Russians are diplomatic/military personnel, who tend to vote overwhelmingly for United Russia, followed by LDPR; as opposed to (b) where the majority are 1990s-era economic migrants (many more of whom vote for Yabloko and PARNAS).

(a) This describes the classical “Third World,” whose Russian voters are primarily crusty career diplomats who vote more or less like the Russian average. This also describes the BRICS, albeit to a lesser extent, because those countries also host a number of (cosmopolitan) business types, who tend to vote more liberal; also in this category would be Thailand, the Phillipines, and Goa (India), which have seen a number of Russian “downshifters” who draw online incomes and emigrated there to enjoy better climate and lower living costs. PARNAS got its best result anywhere in Thailand!

Three amusing cases stand out in particular:

Syria – Had 4,571 voters total, which incidentally gives one a pretty good idea of the magnitude of the Russian military presence there (i.e., probably around 5,000, since turnout is close to 100% at military bases). United Russia got 63%, LDPR got 20%, KPRF got 6%, Fair Russia got 1.6%, and Yabloko and PARNAS got 0.5% between them. This is a good proxy for the political views of the Russian military.

Baikonur – The LDPR with 30% got its highest results abroad with the 6,438 voters at this Russian space base in Kazakhstan.

Best Korea – 20% voted for LDPR, continuing a long tradition of Russian diplomatic personnel in Pyongyang voting for ultranationalists. The Juche spirit must be rubbing off on them! Commies only got 4% here.

(b) The most extreme examples are the latter are of course the Anglosphere and most of Western Europe, where Yabloko either won outright or came close to beating United Russia. Their spokespeople are of course the Masha Gessens and the Leonid Bershidskys.

In the US itself, Yabloko + PARNAS got more than 50% of the total vote, versus 20% for United Russia, 5% for LDPR, and 7% for KPRF. Note that even accounting for electoral fraud Yabloko + PARNAS still got substantially less than 5% in Russia on average (pockets of support in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg regardless). This is a very clear illustration of why the views of emigre Russians should never be considered as being in any way representative of Russian opinion as a whole.

I had a longer discussion of this in my Prokhorov, President of Londongrad post.

The results at the polling station of the San Francisco consulate (where I happened to vote) were 57.1% for Prokhorov and 26.7% for Putin, the biggest discrepancy in all the Russian polling stations in the US. My experience is that of the people from Berkeley, votes were split evenly between Prokhorov and Zyuganov (what do you expect? It’s a leftist place), with Putin taking up third place. However, in the wider Bay Area, the electorate is dominated by Silicon Valley types, who tend to be people who emigrated from Russia during the Soviet era and who associate it with backwardness, anti-Semitism, etc., and coupled with the libertarian / bourgeois nature of their views, Prokhorov is a perfect fit for them.

In this election, of the 367 people who cast ballots at the San Francisco Russian Consulate polling station (#8276), the breakdown was as follows:

  • United Russia – 24.98%
  • LDPR – 6.54%
  • PARNAS – 11.99%
  • Yabloko – 37.87%
  • KPRF – 4.09%
  • Fair Russia – 3.27%

These are basically the Russian political prefences of Silicon Valley Sovok Jews.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Elections, Russia 

(1) United Russia was polling at around 40% according to different pollsters (both state-owned FOM and VCIOM, as well as independent Levada) in the run-up to the elections. However, adjusting for undecideds would raise it to 55%.

This is in line with United Russia’s official tally of 54.14%.

That said, it should be noted that Russian pollsters tend to overestimate popular support for the party of power (an ironic consequence of their models being constructed on the assumption that there is no electoral fraud).

(2) For the first time, there was a US-style predictions market organized by VCIOM, which had United Russia getting 44%.

russian-elections-2016-predictions-market-vciom

(3) The VCIOM exit poll had United Russia getting 44.5%, and FOM had it getting 48.4%, implying a 6-10% discrepancy versus the official results.

(4) There have been some videos of apparent ballot stuffing. Whether or not they were real is irrelevant. The vast bulk of Russian electoral fraud takes place during the counting phase.

(5) Using the Gaussian method, made famous in 2011, Sergey Shpilkin comes out with an estimate of 14% fraud during these elections (see also by region). The basic idea is that the number of votes each party receives should abide by a single bell curve relative to turnout. This happens for United Russia across the left hand side of the bell curve, but begins to diverge more and more as turnout increases – a phenomenon that could be explained by turnout being inflated by fictitious votes for United Russia.

russian-elections-2016-fraud-shpilkin

As I wrote in my 2011 post on the mathematics of Russian electoral fraud, Shpilkin’s method almost certainly overstates the level of fraud because an alternative explanation is that the sorts of people who vote for United Russia also tend to turn out more (e.g. rural areas vs. urban areas was a classical case of precisely that in 2011, which the then head of the Central Election Commission Vladimir Churov brought up to argue that fraud was minimal). There are also plenty of cases of this exact phenomenon in developed countries, such as the UK and Germany, where the share of votes accruing to their respective conservative parties, the Tories and the CDU, increase with turnout.

As such, most serious, statistics-based estimates of the level of fraud in the 2011 elections hovered between 5% and 10% (with around 8-9% being the likeliest), and 4-7% (with around 5-6% being the likeliest) in the 2012 elections. Even though this Gaussian method doesn’t work as a good estimator of absolute fraud, it is presumably pretty good at gauging the levels of relative fraud across elections; historically, it yielded a figure of 16% in the 2011 Duma elections, and 6% in the 2012 Presidential elections. The 14% figure that Shpilkin came up with this time round implies that fraud was higher than in 2012, but lower than in 2011 – perhaps 7-8%.

This rough estimate is supported by the fact that United Russia got almost exactly 5% points more than in 2011. Likewise, the VCIOM opinion polls immediately prior to the elections – not a great indicator of absolute support by themselves, but useful for comparisons across time – showed United Russia as being 5% points more popular now than in 2011.

russia-elections-support-for-united-russia

This is an additional hint that the level of fraud was similar to that seen in 2011.

However, it is virtually certain not to excite any protests because (1) Putin is himself much more popular now than he was in 2011, (2) the Western-orientated opposition has discredited itself by opposing Crimea’s return to its traditional homeland, and (3) elections in Moscow, the most (relatively) oppositionist city, have been consistently clean since 2012.

(6) United Russia massively increased its share of the seats from 52.9% to 76.2%, forming an easy supermajority with a margin of 10% points.

russian-duma-2016

There would have been no major differences without fraud. Russia’s shift to a partial FPTP system meant that 2/3 of the seats would have been assured even if the level of fraud was at Shpilkin’s 14%.

(7) The Western-orientated parties, aka the so-called “genuine” opposition: With just 2.0% of the vote, the liberal-left Yabloko party would not have broken the 3% required for state financing, not to even mention the 5% barrier for representation in the Duma. However, at least Yabloko has some genuine roots in Russia. PARNAS, the current home to most of Russia’s foreign grant-eating and WSJ oped-writing opposition, got a mere 0.7%. The only place where they enjoy significant support is in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, where their combined share of the vote was at 11%-12%.

Their platform of giving Crimea to Ukraine is just not that popular, least of all in Crimea itself, where their combined votes were a mere 1.2% of the total (making it yet another data piece that gives to lie to Western propaganda that Russia is “occupying” Crimea). Incidentally, PARNAS even went so far as to ask Ukraine for official permission to campaign in Crimea (Kiev refused. Sad!).

(8) I was on record saying that with the introduction of the partial FPTP system, the degree of falsification should fall:

Second, it will also massively lower the incentives for direct falsifications, which are a very prominent and undeniable stain on Russia’s elections in the past decade. After all while in a proportional system falsification will have a direct and immediate impact on the result, in a mixed system United Russia or UR-friendly candidates will be sweeping the constituency elections anyway. Ergo much smaller degrees of fraud or even the absence of fraud would still result in better results for UR than the c.8% falsification in its favor in the 2011 elections everything else being equal.

This was not just my opinion, here is Bershidsky saying the same thing earling this year:

In September, this Duma will be replaced by a new one, and if there’s any vote-rigging, it will be much harder to notice than in 2011. Putin doesn’t want to be accused of cheating.

The levels of fraud did decline relative to 2011, but only modestly.

Why does the Kremlin still bother to falsify when it could enjoy greater legitimacy by keeping them clean? There are academic theories that electoral fraud, even when victory is assured, is still “rational” from the POV of an authoritarian ruler. Falsification helps you signal such overwhelming dominance that it effectively demoralizes the opposition {Simpser 2013}. But this can backfire (see the Moscow protests in 2011), and besides, there are very real benefits even for authoritarian polities to keep their elections clean – namely, to credibly signal regime strength and to receive reliable information on their true level of political support. These benefits are especially germane for dictators with “rich financial resources, disciplinary ruling organizations, and weak opposition” {Higashijima 2014). Russia satisfies all three conditions.

Allow me to advance a more banal thesis: Electoral fraud in Russia is largely a function of regional corruption as opposed to a conscious game theoretic strategy, and one which the Kremlin is as little interest in addressing as corruption in its own elite ranks (post-2011 Moscow is the only prominent exception to this).

russian-elections-2011-fraud-map

Map of Russian election fraud in 2011 by region (green = fair) based on Dmitry Kogan’s estimates, compiled by Kireev.

russia-corruption-map-2011-fom

Map of corruption prevalence in Russia based on a 2011 FOM survey.

Dat Finno-Ugric admixture line yo.

(9) The nationalist Liberal Democratic Party – yes, Russians invented Alt Right trolling a couple of decades in advance of Americans – has massively improved its position, drawing level with the Communist Party.

russia-elections-2016-ldpr-kprf

Second place: Yellow = LDPR won, Red = KPRF won. Map via Kireev.

I recall some Communists in 2011 expressing the hope that the party would be revitalized by an influx of new blood, but these hopes appear to have completely flopped.

russia-elections-2016-party-support-age-group

According to the VCIOM exit poll, while United Russia voters are largely uniform across age groups, this is not the case for the Reds vs. Browns. Whereas 60+ year old Communist voters hugely outnumber 18-24 year old LDPR voters, by 22% to 10%, amongst LDPR voters the relationship is the complete inverse, with 60+ year old LDPR voters being outnumber by 18-24 year old LDPR voters by 19% to 8%.

As an LDPR voter myself, I am pretty chummed with these results – the best for the party since 1993.

However, this is counteracted by a genuinely worrisome trend. Moscow’s 115+ IQ yuppie latte sipping skinny jeans wearing Western cargo cult worshipping class is thoroughly pozzed. A stunning 45% of voters at the Moscow State University polling station voted for Yabloko and PARNAS. A good half of Russia’s future intellectual elites are basically cucks who are happy to sell their own countrymen down their river if it helps them get visa-free travel to Europe and accolades from budding Corpse-in-Chief Clinton.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Elections, Russia 

brexit-vote-prediction Unless there is a truly stunning reversal soon, a victory for Remain is increasingly looking to be mathematically impossible.

England outside London is voting 60% Leave. The two biggest Remain hotspots, London and Scotland, do not have the numbers to make up for it.

Meanwhile, Wales and Northern Ireland are too evenly divided and too low in numbers to make a big difference anyway.

As of the time of me writing this sentence, Leave is on 53% and that is despite the fact that thrice as big a share of the votes have been counted from Scotland as from England.

The Independent has a list of regions (see full map right) to watch as bellweathers of the referendum result which are predicted to get 50/50 in the event of a split vote. In the event, these bellweathers seem to be consistently voting around 55% in favor of Leave.

(1) This looks like it is turning out to be yet another disaster for British polling.

Whereas it was predicted that in the last days British voters tend to shift to the status quo, drawing on the experience of the Scottish referendum, it appears that the true underweighing was with regards to conservative positions. This was demonstrated during the UK 2015 general elections, which pollsters predicted would be a close run thing but in reality saw a decisive Conservative win. In other words, their tendency to underweigh conservative voters – the “Shy Tory” factor first identified in 1992 – remains as prevalent as ever.

Also contrary to conventional wisdom prior to this referendum, online polls have turned out to be more accurate (or rather less wrong) than telephone polls.

(2) It appears that Thomas Mair’s murder of Jo Cox did not impact on the Leave campaign as many people – myself included – anticipated it would.

eu-doesnt-take-no-for-answer(3) What comes next? Well, again assuming no stunning reversals, this is going to be a long, drawn out process.

First, as many referendums and dank memes attest, the EU doesn’t like to take no for an answer. This will be a long and drawn out process. The Guardian, the voice of the British neoliberal Left, is already beginning a discussion on whether the EU referendum is legally binding.

Alexander Mercouris argues the effects either way won’t be big because he no longer sees the UK as an influential Power. There is merit to that interpretation but I think he overdoes it. The EU is a fragile construction and once a big member leaves there might well be a tipping point, especially since the remaining rich members will have to foot more of the bill for Eastern Europe’s “convergence” funds and bailing out Greece every other year.

I think the effect on the British economy will be modest. All the economists forecasting doom belong predominantly to a London/Brussels/Frankfurt centered class that tends to have overly inflated ideas of the importance of the finance sector and free trade to economic growth (which Brexit is going to impact far more modestly and gradually than they project anyway). This is not to say I agree with Eamonn Fingleton that protectionism is some sort of panacea either (that particular honor belongs to human capital). But being outside the EU is not some kind of economic death sentence. It’s not like Switzerland is a byword for poverty and isolation.

 

zyklon-ben-abandon-eu-ship

Source: Ben Garrison – Abandon Ship

In recent days the Brexit debate has suddenly gone from boring to interesting, with opinion polls swinging from a comfortable lead for Remain to a neck and neck race between staying in and leaving the EU. One of the most recent polls has even seen Leave take a ten percentage point lead over Remain, though it remains an outlier.

wikipedia-polls-brexit-2016The major financial institutions now rate the chances of Brexit at 30%-40%, which is in sync with the odds given by prediction markets. (Quite the change from the start of this year, when it wasn’t even clear that the Brexit referendum would be held in the current year and I gave it a 10% total chance of happening).

What must be especially worrying for Bremain supporters is that polls have historically tended to have an anti-conservative bias in the UK, the most famous example being the 1992 elections (which saw the coining of the famous “Shy Tory” term) and continuing through to today in both the 2015 elections (Conservatives did much better than expected) and the Scottish referendum (rejection of independence, a primarily younger and more liberal position, by a much larger margin than the polls predicted).

There are two big reasons for the turn around in the past few weeks.

First, there are problems specific to the Remain campaign, whose strategy basically boils down to: (1) Threatening Britons with negative economic consequences for Brexit; (2) Trundling out a bevy of Very Respectable People such as Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Tony Blair, Tony Blair’s spinmaster Alastair Campbell, Peter Sutherland, George Soros, etc., etc., to make the case for Remain; (3) Displaying a “compendium of tabloid poltergeists” such as Trump, Putin, Le Pen, and ISIS who are alleged to support Brexit. Unfortunately, fewer people are impressed by such hamfisted tactics than were presumably hoped for.

pew-2016-eu-favorability-historical The second reason for the Leave surge is that it is part and parcel of the general disatisfaction with The Establishment sweeping the Western world, which has manifested itself in the good electoral performance of the Front National in France, the general swing towards nationalist parties throughout Europe, Corbyn’s successful takeover of the Labour Party in the UK, and the twin challenges of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump to the old order in the US.

This sense of disillusionment extends to the EU. Although the EU enjoyed a small bump in support in 2015 once the effects of the 2012 double-dip recession faded away, anger has since returned with a vengeance in the wake of the recent European immigration crisis and the widespread perception that it was disastrously mishandled by a dangerously out of touch globalist elite. There are also broader concerns with the EU’s lack of democratic legitimacy, opposition to national sovereignty, straitjacket monetary policies, and unsolicited geopolitical adventurism in Ukraine and beyond.

pew-2016-eu-favorability Indeed, one of the most stunning findings of a recent PEW poll is that Britain, once the central bastion of Euroskepticism, may have actually been superceded in its dislike of the EU not just by a Greece understandably upset with Frankfurt’s diktats (so hardline that even the IMF balked) but by a France where a majority now want a Frexit referendum of their own.

The only places where the EU remains unambigiously favorable is amongst its newer eastern members, their contrarian yapping in opposition to mass immigration regardless (which is ultimately for show, since to be quite frank no refugee is going to be staying in Bucharest when he can move on to Budapest and then Berlin).

The reason for that essentially reduces to money:

eu-transfers-per-capita

SourceReddit, OP’s per capita calculations based on EU data.

Basically, the Eastern Europeans get huge amounts of gibs from the West Europeans, especially the Germans and Scandis. Poland alone got €57bn in 2010-2014. These numbers are rarely mentioned but they are quite huge – in fact, in per capita terms, they are comparable to what the Russian budget gets from the entirety of its oil and gas sectors. Those much vaunted economies (“Polish economic miracle,” “Baltic tigers,” etc) would look much different without the huge capital transfers implicit in EU structural funds.

The EU has also been good for the northern countries who, unlike the Mediterranean states, have the discipline to keep labor costs down without resorting to devaluations: The Netherlands, Sweden, and of course Germany. In contrast to the stagnation in the peripheries, their economies have generally done well since 2010 and they have become labor magnets stripping the south and east of their human capital.

But for most of the rest of the EU these arrangements haven’t been working out, with the result that support for the EU there has generally plummeted.

These internal economics explain much of the panic behind Brexit, which from a certain perspective is admittedly altogether irrational. The exit of the UK alone would remove 10% of total EU contributions and 15% of net contributions (based on 2007-2013 figures). This would increase the funding strain on the other rich members. If more of the core countries then started to withdraw, it would conceivably lead a cascading collapse in which the last man out has to pay the utilities bills. No longer accruing benefits from its competitiveness advantage, Germany is the last major net funder to throw in the towel, and thus only the husk of the EU is left, stretching all the way from Lodz to Lemberg.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Elections, European Union, United Kingdom 

An absolute majority – 51.5% – of French policemen and soldiers planned to vote for the Front National in the recent regional elections, according to a poll by CEVIPOF. This is far more impressive than the oft quoted 20% of Greek policemen who support Golden Dawn (though to be sure Golden Dawn is far more hardcore than FN).

french-siloviks-support-front-national

At the opposite end of the spectrum, less than 10% of schoolteachers and postdocs – a proxy for the Cathedral, one might say – supported the Front National.

As I pointed out in my post on the recent regional election s, though, the priests aren’t that successful at converting their flock; FN support is highest amongst the youngest age groups.

Reminder that the last of the three major Estates, the merchants/bourgeoisie – agriculturalists, artisans, business owners – are exactly in between at 35%.

fn-support-by-social-group-france

This brings to mind Westerosi KGB head Varys’ riddle to Tyrion in ASoIaF:

“In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. ‘Do it,’ says the king, ‘for I am your lawful ruler.’ ‘Do it,’ says the priest, ‘for I command you in the names of the gods.’ ‘Do it,’ says the rich man, ‘and all this gold shall be yours.’ So tell me – who lives and who dies?”

It will be fascinating to see who the French commonfolk choose to follow in the years ahead.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Elections, France, Nationalism 

Here are my US Presidential elections of 2016 results from what is possibly the most comprehensive quiz/polling site on the issue:

i-side-with-trump

I have to say that this tool is quite accurate. For instance, in my 2012 results, it identified Barack Obama as the (realistically) best candidate I could support.

If I was 100% American I might have had a small preference for Romney but that was precluded by my Russian ethnic genetic interests. Hence my verdict then: “I for one still favor Obama if with no particular enthusiasm.”

As self-identified Alt Left or #LRx I’m fine with Bernie being fourth, but what is the warmongering hag doing immediately below him?

Ted Cruz is far from the worst option, but he is tainted by his absurd degree of loyalty to a certain lobby. Why opt for him when you can have the real deal with Trump?

ideological-preferences

This looks about right. Although I might not fully sign up to minor planks of his platform on topics such as science and environment, it is really the Invade/Invite thing that trumps (pardon the pun) everything else.

everybody-else-thats-crazy

This is a rational set of political preferences so I have no qualms with being labeled centrist. It is everyone else who’s crazy.

ideological-preferences-2

 

map-greek-elections-2015-sept

The map above (adapted from Wikipedia) shows the changes in Syriza’s and New Democracy’s electoral fortunes between the elections in January, 2015 and the new elections yesterday.

A couple provinces flipped to Syriza, and three turned to ND. In short, no meaningful change at all, a fact also reflected in both the number of seats Syriza won (from 149 to 145) and its share of the popular vote (36.3% to 35.5%). As before, it is expected to remain in coalition with the patriotic right ANEL. The main opposition party, the center-right main opposition party (and party of the Greek oligarchy) failed to make any gains, nor did the Communists, nor – despite widespread fears on this account – did the extreme right Golden Dawn. Popular Unity, composed of Syriza renegades who couldn’t stand Tsipras’ betrayal on austerity, such as former Communist and previous Syriza Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and the fiery human rights lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou, failed to make it into the new Parliament at all.

This, along with Tsipras’ steadily high approval ratings (still at 60%+), is something of a surprise (at least to me) coming as it does amidst the tumult of the past few months. Consider:

  1. Tsipras epochally screwed up negotiations with the Troika, resulting in both harsher austerity conditions and an extra shock to confidence in the Greek economy. Despite Varoufakis’ urgings, no measures were undertaken to make preparations for transition to the drachma. This made their hardball approach with the ECB not credible and they very predictably got called on it and had to fold. In the process, the Greek electorate was betrayed – Syriza had promised no further austerity – and recalcitrant party members were purged.
  2. Complete failure at international relations, probably stemming from Tsipras & Co.’s belief that internal Greek style politicking works there as well. European institutions trust him no more than they did back when the headlines were screaming “Communism!” on Syriza’s victory, and he has also lost the trust of Russia since it soon became obvious that their only intentions in cozying up to Moscow were to use the prospect of closer energy and diplomatic relations with Russia as a scarecrow to extract more concessions from the EU without actually intending to follow through with anything.
  3. Early on in his tenure, Tsipras committed to sweeping “reforms” on immigration policy: The abolition of illegal immigrant detention centers, amnesty to anchor babies, calling on journalists to remove the word “illegal” from their lexicons. Work begun on a mosque in Athens, as if the country had no other, more pressing priorities. In retrospect, the timing couldn’t have been worse, with the recent immigrant influx making some of the Greek islands like Lesbos virtually uninhabitable for the natives.

And yet here we are. Despite a catalogue of failures across economics, international relations, and immigration; of internal backstabbing and electoral betrayals – Syriza has essentially maintained its ratings. Why?

First and foremost, I suppose, Greeks might have the perception (probably correct) that they have no other real choice. A Syriza voter might not want to submit to ECB diktats, but would still consider it preferable to voting for Communists (KKE) or the Neo-Nazis (Golden Dawn). This apathy is reflected in lower voter registration (presumably as Greeks continue voting with their feet and emigrating) and lower turnout, translating into a 12% overall decrease in total number of votes cast between during these September elections relative to January.

Also, up until a few months ago, many people still believed that Syriza were hardline socialists or even Communists, instead of the opportunistic left-liberals most of them actually are. This means that even as Syriza lost votes to apathy, it might have gained roughly equal numbers of converts from people who might have previously viewed them as being rather too extreme.

Golden Dawn continues doing surprising poorly, increasing their share of the vote from 6.3% to 7.0%. Even though they are one of the most hardcore far right parties in Europe, making many voters averse to them in principle, it is still perhaps surprising that the rise in votes for them was so relatively modest, since they are resolutely against both austerity and immigration – both very pressing hot button issues for Greece. As it is, both Brussels liberals screeching about the spectre of a Nazi junta in Greece and the Greeks hoping for the coming of… a golden dawn? continue to be disappointed.

What I would suggest is surprising is that the Independent Greeks (ANEL), a right patriotic party that is Euroskeptic, anti-immigration, and unlike Golden Dawn, well within the respectability Overton Window – as I understand it, it is approximately Greece’s equivalent of the German AfD – has not improved its standing. They did not betray their electorate by voting for austerity, and opposed Syriza on their pro-immigration stance, which must surely have worked to their favor in the context of today’s immigration crisis. To the contrary, ANEL saw one of the largest relative declines in its share of the vote, from 4.8% to 3.7%. Unless it has unusually uninspiring, stupid, or corrupt leaders – I am not well versed enough in Greek politics to have any opinion on that – I do not see why this should have happened.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Crisis, Elections, Greece 

The results for all 650 constituencies in, time to make some brief observations.

(1) Almost everyone was wrong (including myself). It is 1992 all over again, with opinion polls massively understating Conservative support.

(2) Regionally, the story was essentially one of Conservative and SNP triumph in England and Scotland, respectively. Miliband (Labour), Clegg (LibDem), and Farage (UKIP) all resigned within the hour. The Tories can now govern for the next 5 years without having to accomodate any coalition partner. Cameron must be a very happy man today.

(3) Once again the inadequacies of the FPTP electoral model were on full display, with UKIP getting 3.9 million votes and one seat (!) while the SNP got 1.5 million votes and 56 seats. That is because the latter got pluralities in almost all Scottish regions, while UKIP was perenially scoring second place to the Conservatives in England.

(4) Our good friend Matthew Atkins, interviewed here, got 10% in his constituency of Lancaster and Fleetwood, which is a respectable result for a region where Labour is strong. If UKIP hadn’t been scoring 10%-15% across most of England – primarily to the loss of the Conservatives – then even more of England would have been blue, including Lancaster and Fleetwood.

(5) Bearing the above point in mind, the vision of the country by national lines becomes even starker than what would be implied by this map (Blue = Conservatives; Red = Labour; Yellow = SNP; Orange = Liberal Demorats; Green = various Welsh and Irish nationalists):

uk-electoral-map-2010-2015

EDIT: As whyvert points out in the comments, the 2015 map here seems to be based on forecasts, as opposed to the actual elections results. Here is the real map. Nothing changes cardinally, just the English/Scottish border is no longer delineated quite as neatly, and the Conservative victory in England becomes all the more absolute.

This is what we have now:

  • A very convincing Conservative win in England, where it has repositioned itself successfully as the party that looks after English interests.
  • A spectacular SNP sweep in the north.
  • Which is to the detriment of Labour, the party that has been historically strong throughout the Kingdom: In Scotland, the industrial northwest, immigrant communities, and the socialist parts of London.

With nationally-orientated parties in the ascendant throughout the country, questions must be asked as to how long the UK will be able to hold together, the failure of Scotland’s independence referendum last year regardless. The economy is in a stable long-term stagnation (real GDP per capita has even now yet to recover to its peak level of 2007), while big deficit spending continues. There will likely now be a further wave of austerity, which will not please leftist Scots. Cameron has also promised a referendum on EU membership for 2017, should the Conservatives win an outright majority in the current elections, which they have. Polls indicate this refenredum will probably fail, but as we have seen, polls can be deceptive. If that vote wins, it may well provoke another Scottish crisis, since Scots are very EU-friendly, and for many of them it would be just another case of the English deciding their fates.

This is not to say that I think the UK will break up sometime this decade. To the contrary, a whole chain of things still has go wrong (or right, depending on your outlook) for that to happen. No, my argument is far more minimal. It is that the political challenges the UK faces to its continued existence have not vanished after the failure of the Scottish independence referendum.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Elections, Scotland, UKIP, United Kingdom 

As voting gets underway – and by all accounts, it seems to be overwhelmingly heading for the pro-secession choice – it’s worthwhile to dispel four common but erroneous beliefs about it.

(1) The referendum is unconstitutional.

Where political power in Ukraine rests today.

Where political power in Ukraine rests today.

This is true enough, as all of Ukraine would have to vote on it. But there is one big catch: The Ukrainian Constitution has been null and void since around February 22, 2014, when the Kiev mob overthrew a democratically elected President and the opposition seized power. If the new regime absolutely insists on constitutional niceties, then it should dissolve itself and bring back Yanukovych from Rostov. This is hardly going to be happening anytime soon, so the only conclusion to be drawn is that, as in much else, the new regime and its Western backers only discover legality when it suits them. And that’s just fine, it’s “people power” and that’s supposed to be great and all, especially when it’s happening outside the West… but unless one wants to proudly and openly embrace double standards, then the mobs in Crimea have just as much of a right to decide their own destiny as do the mobs in Kiev.

(2) The referendum can’t be fair because of the presence of armed Russian troops.

Of course, nobody is buying the official Kremlin line that there are no Russian troops – or at least mercenaries – operating in Crimea. That said, if we insist on going by this standard, then we’ll have to concede that all Afghan elections since 2001 and all Iraqi elections since 2003 will have to be likewise invalidated. For some reason, I don’t see Washington conceding this anytime soon.

(3) There is no choice – both options are, in effect, a “yes.”

cimea Here is the form, which is printed in the Russian, Ukrainian, and Tatar languages. The two options are:

  1. Do you support joining Crimea with the Russian Federation as a subject of Russian Federation?
  2. Do you support restoration of 1992 Crimean Constitution and Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine?

It is also clearly stated that marking both answers will count as a spoiled ballot.

So the option isn’t between joining Russia or joining Russia, but between joining Russia and getting more autonomy. Furthermore, there is a clear and democratic way to vote AGAINST any changes – boycott the referendum (as official Kiev and the Mejlis have been urging Crimeans to do). If turnout is below 50%, the referendum is automatically invalidated.

(4) Most Crimeans do not support independence.

Two pieces of evidence are typically wheeled out in support for this: The fact that the Crimean PM Aksynov’s Russian Unity Party only achieved 4% in the 2010 elections in Crimea, and a February 8-18 poll showing that only 41% of Crimeans supported union with Russia.

The rejoinder to the former is easy – tactical voting. An outfit such as the Russian Unity Party would have no chance at the all-Ukraine level, so pro-Russian Crimeans understandable voted for the Party of Regions. And overwhelmingly so.

The poll is harder to argue with, but far from impossible.

Bisn5MTCMAET6yX First, 41% is a very substantial share of the population, and clearly enough to justify a referendum. Most polls show lower support for Scottish independence, and yet they are going through with it. The referendum that split Montenegro from Serbia succeeded by the lowest of margins.

Second, the political situation has changed cardinally since mid-February. The President that Crimeans overwhelmingly voted for has since been overthrown in an unconstitutional coup, and power has been parceled out between Batkivschina and the fascist Svoboda party. Instead of maintaining the status quo until the elections – a not unreasonable expectation of an unelected transition government – they have instead pushed to roll back the Russian language, “lustrate” Party of Regions officials, appoint oligarchs to rule the restive eastern provinces, and formalize the status of Right Sector – the armed wing of Svoboda – as a paramilitary force. At the same time, Russian intervention has transformed the prospect of joining Russia from a pipedream held by Soviet nostalgics to a real choice on a paper ballot. In these circumstances, it is almost certain that support for Crimean secession has gone up.

Up, and radically so. Since then, two more recent polls have shown support for joining Russia at 77% and more than 80%. This is largely confirmed by anecdotal evidence (with all the necessary caveats about it being a lower standard of evidence than polls). Residential buildings and cars are festooned with Russian flags. There is nary a voice of objection to be heard at the (politically neutral) Sevastopol city forum. Turnout at the pro-Russian rallies in Crimea was several times higher than at the pro-Ukrainian one. Source? That infamous Kremlin stooge, The Economist’s Russia correspondant:

New update 3/16 – futhermore, as several commentators have pointed out, the precise wording of the poll that showed 41% support for union with Russia asked the question for Ukraine as a whole, as opposed to just the respondents’ region. In which case the cause of the discrepancy between it and the two recent polls becomes eminently clear: While Crimeans would very much like to join Russia themselves, they also realize that Lviv, say, wouldn’t be too happy or productive with such an the arrangement.

Crimea is the only region of Ukraine where ethnic Russians, at 58% according to the last Census in 2001, constitute an absolute majority. Conquered by Russian arms, it was handed over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, at a time when inter-Soviet borders were little more than a formality, to mark the 300-year anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav that bound Ukraine’s destiny with Russia’s. Now that Kiev has been taken over by a clique who utterly and entirely reject this shared legacy, and see their future as an outpost of the Euro-Atlantic Empire, it is hardly fair to expect Crimeans to suppress their own cultural and political traditions in pursuit of a revolutionary project spearheaded by Kiev and Lviv that they themselves have no interest in and no attachment to.

(5) The Crimean Tatars will be persecuted or marginalized.

The problem with the above argument, a Euromaidanite might rejoinder, is that Crimea really belongs to the Tatars.

With Sochi over and the Circassians once again relegated to the margins now that they are no longer useful for kicking Russia, many crocodile tears are now being shed in editorials and blog comments about the Tsarist persecution and Stalinist deportations of the Crimean Tatars. Their blood, their land, so to speak. But then, why not the Scythians? Or the Greeks? Or for that matter, why no consideration for the three million Slavs – Russians, Ukrainians, and Poles – that were sold into slavery by the Crimean Khanate during its three centuries of existence? Funnily enough, the people who are concern trolling all the way back into 18th century history conveniently stop at that precise point when Catherine the Great conquers the Crimean Khanate.

Short of Turkey invading and ethnically cleansing the Slavs, or making the Tatars into a ruling caste, Crimea will never “belong” to the Tatars under any vaguely liberal and democratic political order.

Back in the real world of 2014, the Crimean Tatars are going to guarantees of proportional representation in the legislative and executive bodies, and official status for the Tatar language (this is more, incidentally, than they could bargain on in a Ukraine co-run by Svoboda and Right Sector). Bearing in mind all this, it should come as no surprise that Crimean Tatars are nowhere near as monolithic on the secession question as the Western media has made them out to be. For a start, Crimea’s Deputy PM, Rustam Temirgaliev, is an ethnic Tatar. Many ethnic Tatars can be found – including by the none too Russophilic Guardian – who do not subscribe to the Mejlis’ party line.

(Reprinted from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

1. The CEC results

Here they are. The turnout was 32%.

  • Sergey Sobyanin – 51.37%
  • Alexei Navalny – 27.24%
  • Ivan Melnikov – 10.69%
  • Sergey Mitrokhin – 3.51%
  • Mikhail Degtyaryov – 2.86%
  • Nikolai Levichev – 2.79%
  • Invalid ballots – 1.53%

2. Pre-elections opinion polls:

Navalny’s support – among those who indicated a clear preference for one candidate or another – rose from the single digits in June to around 20% on the eve of the elections (Levada, VCIOM, FOM, Synovate Comcon). All the polls – even including the SuperJob poll that only queried active workers, aka excluded pro-Sobyanin pensioners – gave Sobyanin more than 50% in the first round.

His actual result massively exceeded expectations. By common consensus, this was because the “party of the couch” won; although close to 50% of Muscovites were saying they were going to vote, only 32% ended up doing so. These were mainly Sobyanin supporters who were, nonetheless, loth to shift their butts to vote for an uninspiring if competent technocrat who had ran a most lacklustre campaign.

3. Election observers

In the SMS-ЦИК program, accredited election observers would send text messages from their polling stations with numbers from the protocols at their precinct. They could then be compared with the official CEC numbers.

And Sobyanin’s result here was 49.52%.

Mikhail Degtyaryov 2,77%
Nikolay Levichev 2,78%
Ivan Melnikov 10,82%
Sergey Mitrokhin 3,71%
Alexei Navalny 28,54%
Sergey Sobyanin 49,52%
spoiled ballots 1,86%
from home 4,61%

Does this mean he really did cheat Navalny out of a second round? Well, not necessarily.

Here’s a key caveat. Far from all polling stations were covered by the SMS-ЦИК. Their figures thus have a significant margin of error. I would speculate that the bias is, in fact, more likely to be in favor of Navalny than of Sobyanin, because the observers who would get involved in this project in the first place would likely be more liberal-leaning in the first place, would on average appear more frequently in the more oppositionist areas of town, and would and come to observe their local station.

Still, it’s not a shut and closed case. Someone should really make an analysis of which areas where covered by this program – and whether the sample really does favor Navalny as I reasonably hypothesized above.

4. Exit polls

These are, admittedly, all over the place. The Center of Political Technologies gave Sobyanin 56% and Navalny 29%; FOM – Sobyanin 52.5%, Navalny – 29%; VCIOM – Sobyanin 53%, Navalny 29%. An exit poll carried out by Navalny’s supporters gave him 35.6% to Sobyanin’s 46%, while the Communist Party claimed their candidate Melnikov performed much better, with 19%, than he did according to the official 11 – though their poll still gave Sobyanin a first round victory with 51%.

In conclusion, four out of five exit polls gave a first round victory to Sobyanin. The only one that didn’t was carried out by explicit supporters of the opposition candidate.

5. Statistical evidence

The art of electoral fraud detection via statistical means has come a long way (and has – probably not coincidentally – been mostly spearheaded by Russian mathematicians). You can read the details here.

Suffice to say that for a relatively homogenous city like Moscow, it is expected that each candidates turnout to vote share graph should resemble a Gaussian curve. And here it is for 2013: The mean for Sobyanin is 51.65%, and for Navalny – 28.1%.

moscow-2013-elections-gauss

Or, expressed in the form of a “heat graph” for any one candidate in which the turnout at each station is graphed to the result there, it should form a single concentrated dot. A long tail leading up and to the right, as well as additional distinct dots – especially if they are concentrated at around the 100%/100% – constitutes strong evidence for systemic election fraud.

In regards Moscow, its elections were clean up to and including 2003 or so. But then it started growing ever thicker tails, and additional concentrations popped up, to reach absolutely bizarre and astounding levels in the 2009 City Council elections and the 2011 parliamentary elections. But then it seems obvious that some kind of order and directive was passed down to clean them up, and the graphs snapped back to what they were before 2004 during the 2012 Presidential elections.

moscow-elections-2011-2012

Now here is the heat graph for 2013. Which of the above does it most closely resemble?

moscow-2013-elections-heat

The verdict: As in 2012, but not in 2004-2009, the Moscow mayoral election of 2013 didn’t see any significant fraud and Sobyanin won legitimately in the first round.

(Reprinted from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

According to a roundup of all the major exit polls by Kommersant, it appears that although Navalny’s performance was massively better than expected, Acting Mayor Sobyanin still managed to avoid a second tour.

Exit Polls are Pubished for the Moscow Elections

In Moscow, voting has finished for the new Mayor. According to exit polls carried out at the doors of the election stations by Alexei Navalny’s supporters, the oppositionist candidate got 35.6% of those queried. “According to the exit polls, there will be a SECOND TOUR of mayoral elections. Alexei Navalny – 35.6%, Sergey Sobyanin – 46%,” according to their Twitter. According to the Foundation of Public Opinion, the majority of Muscovites extended their sympathies towards Sergey Sobyanin – he got 52.5% of the votes, Alexei Navalny – 29.1%. The Center of Political Technologies provides the following data: 56% to the Acting Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin 56%, Alexei Navalny – 29%.

Sergey Sobyanin is leading in the Moscow elections with 53% of the votes, according to data from VCIOM’s exit polls. Alexei Navalny, according to the exit polls carried out by the organization’s workers, got 32%. “According to the results of the exit poll, the Mayor of Moscow, chosen in the first round, is Sergey Sobyanin (53% of the vote). His closest adversary, Alexei Navalny, got 32% of the vote. The other candidates’ results were far more most modest: Ivan Melnikov – 8%, Sergey Mitrokhin – 3%, Nikolai Levichev – 1%, Mikhail Degtyaryov – 1%. Some 1% of the ballots were spoiled. 27% of the respondents refused to answer,” according to VCIOM’s communique.

(Reprinted from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 

A couple of polls to provide the fodder for the subsequent discussions.

Feel free to provide an exact figure (to one decimal place) for Navalny’s percentage share in the comments and we can have a little competition along the lines of the one we had for the Presidential elections.

BackgroundSobyanin vs. Navalny in Figures (July 23 summary); last Levada poll; last WCIOM poll; last FOM poll and prediction; last Synovate Comcon poll.

Discussion thread at The Russia Debate forumThe Moscow Elections, 8 Sept 2013.

Poll #1:

[polldaddy poll=7372081]

Poll #2:

[polldaddy poll=7372096]

(Reprinted from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

There has been some confusion about Navalny’s poll ratings due to the varying timing, phrasing, and options in the polls on the matter. The Russian Spectrum tries to clear things up.

Navalny Gaining, Sobyanin Dominant

Below is a summary of comparable polls on this subject by date from two of Russia’s three biggest polling agencies: The private Levada Center, and state-owned pollster VCIOM.

Levada, June Levada, 4-8 July VCIOM, 9-10 July VCIOM, 20-21 July
Sobyanin 68.2% 81.0% 78.3% 77.1%
Navalny 4.5% 9.5% 11.6% 12.9%

The Levada polls asked, “Which of the following candidates are you prepared to vote for in the Moscow mayoral elections of 8th September?” It divided the respondents into three groups: “All Muscovites,” “… of which prepared to vote,” and “… of which have made their decision.” Though figures were given for all three, I am listing only the first group (“all Muscovites”) to make the Levada figures comparable to all the other polls, which had no such division.

The VCIOM polls asked their respondents who they were going to vote for if the elections were held this Sunday.

All polls were adjusted to exclude those who don’t have an opinion, didn’t intend to vote, or planned to spoil their ballot, just as would happen in a real election.

The jobs agency SuperJob and the company Synovate Comcon also carried out polls.

Synovate Comcon, 27 Jun-3 July Synovate Comcon, 4-10 July Synovate Comcon, 11-16 July SuperJob, 16 July
Sobyanin 77.9% 78.% 76.2% 62%
Navalny 10.8% 10.7% 14.4% 26%

Should Navalny start celebrating that bump at the end? Probably not. The SuperJob poll only asked the “economically active” parts of the population. It is not exactly a secret that many of Navalny’s supporters are younger people, so their 26% likely overstates his actual level of support. Furthermore, pensioners tend to have higher turnout rates in Russian elections, a factor which is likely to favor Sobyanin.

There is definitely an upwards trend coinciding with the recent furor over Navalny’s conviction, and his release on bail the day after. But catching up with Sobyanin, who remains dominant, is a tall order.

PS. I did not bother include polling numbers for the other candidates. Suffice to say all the polls have them all down in the single digits. Amusingly, the Fair Russia candidate Nikolay Levichev got an absolute 0.0% in the last two Synovate polls.

(Reprinted from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 

With the registration period over, there are now six candidates left to compete for the position of Mayor of Moscow in the coming city elections. Who will Muscovites vote for?

Moscow on the Eve of the City Elections

Which of the following candidates are you prepared to vote for in the upcoming Moscow elections on 8 September?

Out of all Muscovites

…who intend to vote

… & have made their choice

June

July June July June

July

Sergey Sobyanin

45

34 61 53 67

78

Alexei Navalny

3

4 3 5 3

8

Ivan Melnikov (KPRF)

-

2 - 4 -

6

Sergei Mitrokhin (Yabloko)

1

1 2 2 2

3

Sergey “Pauk” Troitsky

1

1 1 1 2

1

Nikolai Levichev (Fair Russia)

-

<1 - <1 -

1

Mikhail Degtyaryov (LDPR)

-

<1 - 1 -

1

Alena Popova

-

<1 - 1 -

1

Gleb Fetisov

-

<1 - <1 -

1

Svetlana Peunova

-

<1 - <1 -

1

will spoil ballot

2

2 1 1 1

1

hard to say

18

42 9 33 -

-

won’t participate

14

14 - - -

-

(Reprinted from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
(Reprinted from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

Okay, I promise this will be the last post on the matter. But some of the tropes that come up time and time again in coverage of Chavez’s legacy, from neocons and faux-leftists alike, just have to be addressed for me to rest easy. Note that this is NOT meant to be comprehensive; just some things that continuously get slipped in on the side and tend to get taken for granted.

Chavez rigged elections. Look, I like to think I’m objective here. Some politicians I like rule countries where electoral fraud is widespread. But Venezuela isn’t Russia in this respect. Not only are election results consistent with pre-elections, unbiased polls, but Venezuela’s voting technology makes fraud extremely difficult. See Mark Weisbrot:

In Venezuela, voters touch a computer screen to cast their vote and then receive a paper receipt, which they verify and deposit in a ballot box. Most of the paper ballots are compared with the electronic tally. This system makes vote-rigging nearly impossible: to steal the vote would require hacking the computers and then stuffing the ballot boxes to match the rigged vote.

Unlike in the US, where in a close vote we really have no idea who won (see Bush v Gore), Venezuelans can be sure that their vote counts. And also unlike the US, where as many as 90 million eligible voters will not vote in November, the government in Venezuela has done everything to increase voter registration (now at a record of about 97%) and participation.

Chavez closed down critical TV stations. And yet the old case of the failure to prolong RCTV’s broadcasting license continues to be cited as the main evidence of this media “suppression.” E.g. from the faux-liberal Daily Beast:

And yet Latin America’s new democratic leaders rarely spoke against the excesses of Chávismo, turning a blind eye when he canceled the operating license of independent broadcaster RCTV in 2007…

What typically goes studiously unmentioned is that RCTV gleefully and one-sidedly supported the foreign-backed coup attempt against the legitimately elected Chavez administration in 2002. In many other countries, this would have been considered treason, with the attendant penalties of long-term imprisonment or even execution. In humane Venezuela, however, you just lose your broadcasting license.

Electricity blackouts. Guardianista presstite Rory Carroll, who clearly has an agenda:

He leaves Venezuela a ruin, and his death plunges its roughly 30 million citizens into profound uncertainty.

Because that exactly describes an increase in GDP per capita from $4,105 in 1999 to $10,810 in 2011 (according to his own newspaper). As Craig Willy says:

But particularly hilarious is this statement:

Underinvestment and ineptitude hit hydropower stations and the electricity grid, causing weekly blackouts that continue to darken cities, fry electrical equipment, silence machinery and require de facto rationing.

Because of course they never happen in pro-Western, investor-friendly countries.

Chavez stole $2 billion. These are rumors that keep slithering about in the comments from various neocons, although they rarely pop up into mainstream media texts outright. Apparently this claim comes from some right-wing law firm in Miami that claims the Castro brothers of Cuba are billionaires too. I find it about as credible as claims about Putin’s $40 billion fortune (or is it $70 billion now?), initially made by some non-entity Russian political scientist, and Gaddafi’s $200 billion fortune, probably spread by the CIA or somesuch in the course of NATO’s assault on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (very ironic, coming from thieves who had seized Libya’s foreign-based assets). Funny how it’s always those who dare stand up to Western imperialism who get accused by their flunkies of massive corruption, no? I wonder if one causes the other?

Oil dependence. A lot of the presstitutes have accused Chavez of increasing Venezuela’s oil dependence, e.g.:

Former minister Gerver Torres points out that in 1998 oil represented 77 percent of Venezuela’s exports but by 2011 oil represented 96 percent of exports. That means today only around 4 percent of the goods that Venezuela exports are non-oil products! The Venezuelan economy relies almost exclusively on the price of oil and the ability of the government to spend oil revenues.

That’s kind of what happens when the oil price goes from being $11.91 per barrel (in 1998) to $87.04 (in 2011)! Funny how they harp on about how rising oil prices “unfairly” helped Chavez but then instantly shut up about it when making THIS particular point.

Higher violent crime. Not a myth. In fact, as I made clear, it’s one of the Chavez administration’s very biggest failings. Then ago, we also have many of the presstitutes claiming he was a dictator – even though the precise opposite happens with real dictators (they don’t tolerate alternate sources of violence, and they don’t bother with legal niceties; they just put all the suspected mafiosi up against a wall – put the two together, and violent crime almost always plummets under the rule of real dictators. The Sicilian Mafia actually provided help to Allied troops against the Mussolini regime).

He was friends with Ahmadinejad. Plenty of Western politicians are friends with Saudi prices. Drop the double standards.

He was anti-American. Well, what can you expect if you plot a coup against someone and then incessantly demonize him for not respecting democracy? Like Castro, incidentally, he actually started out fairly pro-American. It didn’t have to be this way.

He didn’t build skyscrapers. This has to be read to be believed. From AP’s Pamela Sampson:

Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.

The author’s agenda speaks for itself. (Not to mention her ignorance – while Venezuela remains fiscally sound, Dubai’s big tower remains 80% unoccupied and needed a $10 billion bailout. Had Chavez listened to people like these then Venezuela would have gone bankrupt for real, not just in their sordid, bitter like imaginations).

(Reprinted from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

I just remembered I’d made some in 2012. It’s time to see how they went, plus make predictions for the coming year.

Of course I failed to predict the biggest thing of them all: The hacking that made me throw in the towel on Sublime Oblivion (remember that?), but with the silver lining that I could now split my blog between my interest in Russia and my interest in many other things. After all tying my criticism of the Western media on Russia with topics like climate change and futurism and HBD was never a very good fit. Overall I am very satisfied with the new arrangement.

Predictions For 2013

(1) Russia will see slight positive natural population growth (about 50,000) as well as significant overall population growth (about 400,000). Do bear in mind that this prediction was first made back in 2008 when a Kremlinologist who did the same would have been forced into a mental asylum.

(2) The life expectancy will reach 71.5 years, the total fertility rate will rise to 1.8. The birth rate will reach a local maximum at about 13.3-13.5 (it will then remain steady for a couple of years, and then begin to slowly decline) while the death rate will go down to about 13.0-13.2). Net immigration should remain at about 300,000.

(3) Putin will not be overthrown in a glorious democratic revolution. In fact, things will remain depressingly stable on the political front. As they should!

(4) Currently Russia is one of Europe’s most corrupt countries. While it’s certainly not at the level of Zimbabwe, as claimed in the Corruption Perceptions Index, it’s not like having the Philippines, Romania, or Greece for neighbors on an objective assessment is anything to write home about. I believe that Russia missed a great opportunity to undermine the rotten culture of official impunity that exists there by refraining from prosecuting former Moscow Mayor Luzhkov with his Montenegrin villa, billionaire wife, and his VP Mayor Resin who wore a $500,000 watch following his dismissal in 2010. Today a similar opportunity presents itself with blatant evidence of large-scale corruption on the part of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his female hangers-on (see the comments threads here, here at the Kremlin Stooge for details). There are conflicting signals as to whether charges will extend to the very top, i.e. Serdyukov himself. Having incorrectly anticipated a Luzhkov prosecution, I am now once bitten, twice shy. So I’ll take the lame way out and call it a 50/50.

(5) Needless to say, the economy remains as uncertain as ever, and contingent upon what happens in the EU and the world. In the PIGS the economic contraction is finally starting to slow down, but Greece is something of a disaster zone, and Spain is raiding its pension fund to keep afloat. If this becomes unsustainable this year then the EU member states will have to make some fundamental choices: Fiscal union? Or its division into a “Hanseatic” core and Mediterranean periphery? Which of these three things will happen I find impossible to even begin to foretell… As applied to Russia, under the first two scenarios, it will continue plodding along at a stolid but unremarkable pace of 3-4% or so GDP growth; if things come to a head (as they eventually must) and Germany decides to toss the Latins overboard, then the divorce I assume is going to be very, very messy, and we can expect Russia’s economy to fall into recession.

(6) No special insights on foreign policy. Ukraine may join the Customs Union; however, I suspect that’s more likely to happen in 2014 or 2015, as Yanukovych faces re-election and has to make a choice between continued prevarication between it and the EU, and encouraging his Russophone base. The creeping influence of the Eurasian Union will likely keep US-Russian relations cold; whatever the current disagreement that’s talked about (Magnitsky Act; Dima Yakovlev Law; Syria; Libya…) I lean to the “Stratfor”-like position that at heart the US just does not want what it sees as a “re-Sovietization” of the region – which the Eurasian Union is, in geopolitical terms, if under conditions much softer than was previously the case – and will thus be driven, almost by force of instinct, to oppose this trend.

How did I do for 2012?

Here is the link again. In short, this wasn’t the best year for my predictions.

1. “So that’s my prediction for March: Putin wins in the first round with 60%, followed by perennially second-place Zyuganov at 15%-20%, Zhirinovsky with 10%, and Sergey Mironov, Mikhail Prokhorov and Grigory Yavlinsky with a combined 10% or so.I later ended up refining this, and running a contest. My predictions for the five candidates were off by an aggregate error of 14%. The heroic winner was Andras Toth-Czifra (who has yet to get his T-Shirt – my profound apologies dude, it will be done…) Half a point.

2. “I will also go ahead and say that I do not expect the Meetings For Fair Elections to make headway.” Correct, although this was self-evident to anyone not afflicted with Putin Derangement Syndrome (which admittedly doesn’t include 90% of Western Russia journalists). Full point.

3. Here I made general points that I still think fully apply. That said, my own specific prediction turned out to be false. “But specifically for 2012, I expect Greece to drop out of the Eurozone (either voluntarily, or kicked out if it starts printing Euros independently, as the former Soviet republics did with rubles as Moscow’s central control dissipated).” Wrong! I am perhaps foolhardy to do so, but I repeat this prediction for this year. I really don’t know why the Greeks masochistically agree to keep on paying tribute to French and German banks when they know full well they have no hope of ever significantly bringing down their debt-to-GDP ratio without major concessions on the parts of their creditors. Zero points.

4. Last year I made no major predictions about the Russian economy; basically, unexciting but stable if things stay normal – a downswing if the EU goes down, albeit not on as big a scale as in 2008-2009. I was basically correct. One point.

5. “I expect 2012 will be the year in which Ukraine joins the Eurasian common economic space.” Nope. To activate their Russophone base, they decided to go with the language law. Zero points.

6. “Russia’s demography. I expect births to remain steady or fall slightly… Deaths will continue to fall quite rapidly, as excise taxes on vodka – the main contributor to Russia’s high mortality rates – are slated to rise sharply after the Presidential elections.” Too pessimistic on births, albeit understandably so because Russia’s cohort of women in their child-bearing age has now begun to decline rapidly (the echo effect). Although ironically enough however I am one of the most optimistic serious Russia demographers. In reality, as of the first 10 months of 2012, births have soared by a further 6.5% (which translates to a c.8% increase in the TFR, bringing it up from 1.61 in 2011 to about 1.74 this year – that’s about the level of Canada and the Netherlands – while deaths have fallen by 1.5%, implying a rise in life expectancy from 70.3 years in 2011 to about 71 years in 2012 (which is a record). Most remarkably the rate of natural population growth is now basically break-even, with birth rates and death rates both at about 13.3/1000; the so-called “Russian cross” has become a rhombus. Still, considering that my predictions were basically more optimistic than anyone else’s (even Mark Adomanis’), I still feel justified in calling this n my favor. One point.

So, that’s 3.5/6 for the Russia predictions. I will be very brief on the non-Russia related ones, as this is a Russia blog.

7. Wrong, Romney did not win LOL. Although later I did improve greatly, coming 12th out of 66 in a competition to predict the results of the US popular vote. I now owe a few bottles of whiskey to various people.

8. US did not attack Iran, but I gave it a 50% chance anyway. So, half point?

9. “But I will more or less confidently predict that global oil production in 2012 will be a definite decrease on this year.” Too early to tell.

10. “China will not see a hard landing.” Correct.

11. “Record low sea ice extent and volume. And perhaps 100 vessels will sail the Northern Sea Route this year.More like 46 vessels, and completely correct on extreme new sea ice lows.

12. “Tunisia is the only country of the “Arab Spring” that I expect to form a more or less moderate and secular government.” I think that’s basically correct.

13. Protests will not lead to any major changes outside the Arab world – yes.

14. “The world will, of course, end on December 21, 2012.” Correct, we’re now living in a simulation, the real world having ended as I predicted.

(Reprinted from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

Lost in the furor and liberal butthurt over Depardieu’s defection has been a development of far greater import: Russia is going to cardinally change its elections system.

According to Putin’s directive to the Presidential Administration and the Central Elections Committee, they are to come up with a bill that transforms Russia’s current proportional system to a mixed one based on proportional and majoritarian representation.

In other words, it is returning to the system in had in 2003 and earlier, or adopting the system now in place in Hungary and Ukraine.

This change is very clever. First, it will massively favor the dominant party, i.e. United Russia. In 2003, it got almost half the seats despite only getting 38% in the proportional race and a mere 24% in the constituency races (plus a lot of UR-friendly “independents” to seal the deal). This system allows United Russia to “artificially” (I put apostrophes around it because this system is not after all considered inherently anti-democratic) bolster its results during a period when its ratings are likely to decline further. The recent example of Ukraine’s Party of Regions shows how a party with only about 30% popular support can seize virtually half the seats with a split opposition and the usage of admin resources including pro-PR “independents.”

Second, it will also massively lower the incentives for direct falsifications, which are a very prominent and undeniable stain on Russia’s elections in the past decade. After all while in a proportional system falsification will have a direct and immediate impact on the result, in a mixed system United Russia or UR-friendly candidates will be sweeping the constituency elections anyway. Ergo much smaller degrees of fraud or even the absence of fraud would still result in better results for UR than the c.8% falsification in its favor in the 2011 elections everything else being equal.

So, if played right, United Russia in 2016 can still get its parliamentary majority or close to it despite (1) a likely decline in support and (2) allowing for much lower levels of fraud. Hence also much less scope for criticism on the part of various elections watchdogs and Western governments. Even though (as in Ukraine) this system will be inherently less democratic than the current proportional one, ironically enough.

(Reprinted from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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.