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Non-West European nationalists don’t tend to like Charles Murray’s Human Accomplishment (HA) database.

For instance, as relates to Russia: Why is Marconi propped over Popov? Where is Lodygin? Where is Bulgakov!?

Let’s answer that very last question.

It would certainly be very useful to see Murray’s assessments of the most eminent Russians correlates with Russian assessments. If the correlations are low, then perhaps the critics are correct about his alleged Western Eurocentrism. If, however, the correlations are high, though, then he should probably be taken seriously. Especially if these correlations are attained in more “subjective” fields such as literature, which are separated by a language barrier (e.g. Pushkin is far harder to translate well into English than Dostoevsky) and 70 years of fraught international relations.

Fortunately, I came across a list of the most influential Russian writers as tallied by the Russian Book Chamber (RBC), the national bibliographic agency.

This allows us to compare Murray’s list to one compiled by a major institutional authority.

A few years ago, the RBC tallied the relative shares of publications accruing to literary authors from 1917-2012. Here is the correlation with the HA:


And yet despite all these problems, there is a remarkable r=0.79 agreement between the two lists. Including on Bulgakov’s absence from both!

Yes, there are many things that I myself find strange about both lists. The absence of Kuprin and Esenin from HA is somewhat unexpected. The absence of figures such as Nabokov, Sholokhov, Babel, Ehrenberg, and Zamyatin from the RBC list is even weirder, as is, for that matter, Nabokov’s very low rating on HA. (The absence of Derzhavin and Lomonosov from the RBC list would be strange, but RBC does state that it only only covers 19th-early 20th century writers). And the absence of Bulgakov from both lists is genuinely absurd.

Even so, the numbers are what they are, and so far as I’m concerned, it confirms the legitimacy of Murray’s assessments with respect to Russian accomplishment.


HA & RBC Lists Compared

Author RBC HA
A.S. Pushkin 10.29% 30.05
L.N. Tolstoy 7.93% 40.53
M. Gorky 7.05% 18.82
A.P. Chekhov 5.48% 24.01
A.N. Tolstoy 4.15% 7.30
N.V. Gogol 4.08% 26.03
I.S. Turgenev 4.00% 24.30
M.Y. Lermontov 3.58% 12.48
F.M. Dostoevsky 3.10% 40.20
N.A. Nekrasov 2.34% 5.84
I.A. Bunin 2.29% 5.01
V.V. Mayakovsky 2.23% 16.29
V.G. Korolenko 1.64% 3.15
A.A. Blok 1.57% 11.31
N.S. Leskov 1.49% 7.30
A.N. Ostrovsky 1.42% 5.34
V.Y. Bryusov 1.40% 4.93
B.L. Pasternak 1.39% 11.76
K.D. Balmont 1.18% 2.48
F.I. Tyutchev 1.15% 3.38
A.A. Fet 1.11% 2.71
I.A. Goncharov 1.11% 7.95
A.A. Akhmatova 1.07% 4.73
A. Bely (Bugayev) 1.00% 7.70
L.N. Andreev 0.86% 5.42
F.K. Sologub 0.86% 3.15
V.M. Garshin 0.83% 2.01
A.K. Tolstoy 0.83% 2.38
A.S. Griboedov 0.80% 4.82
E.A. Baratynskyi 0.66% 1.93
O.E. Mandelstam 0.65% 2.29
A.I. Herzen 0.65% 5.46
N.G. Chernyshevsky 0.58% 4.43
M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin 0.44% 6.12
D.S. Merezhkovsky 0.43% 6.15
A.V. Koltsov 0.41% 2.49
A.F. Pisemsky 0.13% 2.28

Appear Only in HA

Author HA
Karamzin, Nikolai 6.52
Ehrenberg, Ilya 5.00
Babel, Isaak 4.33
Derzhavin, Gavril 4.25
Lomonosov, Mikhail 4.19
Zoshchenko, Mikhail 4.11
Lenz, Jakob 4.07
Sholokhov, Mikhail 4.04
Krylov, Ivan 3.94
Fedin, Konstantine 3.77
Zamyatin, Yevgeny 3.51
Fonvizin, Denis 3.09
Aksakov, Sergey 2.91
Nabokov, Vladimir 2.68
Radishchev, Alexander 2.42
Katayev, Valentin 2.31
Olesha, Yuri 1.52

Appear Only in RBC

Author RBC
A.I. Kuprin 2.42%
D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak 2.01%
S.A. Esenin 1.24%
V.A. Zhukovsky 1.00%
I.F. Annensky 0.88%
N.S. Gumilev 0.88%
P.P. Ershov 0.87%
M.I. Tsvetaeva 0.81%
V.F. Odoevsky 0.79%
I.S. Shmelev 0.71%
Z.N. Gippius 0.66%
V.I. Ivanov 0.64%
D.I. Harms 0.62%
M.A. Kuzmin 0.60%
M.A. Voloshin 0.52%
A.A. Pogorelsky 0.47%
N.G. Garin-Mikhailovsky 0.44%
V.F. Khodasevich 0.38%
A.M. Remizov 0.35%
G.I. Uspensky 0.35%
D.V. Grigorovich 0.35%
P.A. Vyazemsky 0.28%
K.N. Batiushkov 0.28%
A.I. Vvedensky 0.28%
G.V. Ivanov 0.27%
I. Severyanin 0.27%
O.N. Klyuyev 0.24%
B.K. Zaitsev 0.20%
V. Khlebnikov 0.20%
A.V. Druzhinin 0.17%
A.B. Mariengof 0.14%
R. Ivnev 0.13%
N.G. Pomyalovsky 0.12%


• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Human Achievement, Literature, Russia 
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Who is really the greatest Russian?

Okay, formally, the Levada survey that put Stalin in the lead asked about the “of all times and places.” However, in practice – and this isn’t just limited to Russia – most people interpret it as “who is your greatest countryman.”

In my opinion, to be considered “great,” you must be both eminent (i.e. frequently mentioned in encyclopedias and reference works) and to have positively impacted the world, or at least your own country. Few would call Hitler great, though he was almost surely the most influential/eminent Austrian (and one of the most influential Germans).

So perhaps the least controversial approach is to just tally the Great People (scientists, artists, inventors, etc).

Charles Murray’s Human Accomplishment database is not the worst place to start.

To qualify, the persons below either had to have been born in Russia, and at least either worked in Russia, or had Slavic ethnicity. (Otherwise the most influential Russian would have been Georg Cantor, whose connections to Russia were fleeting at best; his Jewish parents left Saint-Petersburg with him for Germany when he was 11 years old).

It’s morbidly funny to note that Lenin and Stalin, respectively ranked #4 and #1 by Russians, were instrumental in getting a noticeable percentage of the people on this list – e.g. Zworykin, Sikorsky, Gamow – to permanently leave Russia, and convincing Dobzhansky to stay there (a good thing for him considering the Lysenkoism of the 1930s).

# Name Index Inventory Birth Death Birth Work Ethnos
1 Stravinsky, Igor 45.42 Music.West 1882 1971 Russia Russia Slavic
2 Tolstoy, Leo 40.53 Lit.West 1828 1910 Russia Russia Slavic
3 Dostoevsky, Fyodor 40.20 Lit.West 1821 1881 Russia Russia Slavic
4 Kandinsky, Vasily 30.62 Art.West 1866 1944 Russia Germany Slavic
5 Pushkin, Alexander 30.05 Lit.West 1799 1837 Russia Russia Slavic
6 Gogol, Nikolay 26.03 Lit.West 1809 1852 Russia Russia Slavic
7 Mendeleyev, Dmitry 25.03 Chem 1834 1907 Russia Russia Slavic
8 Turgenev, Ivan 24.30 Lit.West 1818 1853 Russia Russia Slavic
9 Chekhov, Anton 24.01 Lit.West 1860 1904 Russia Russia Slavic
10 Zworykin, Vladimir 21.79 Tech 1889 1982 Russia USA Slavic
11 Tchaikovsky, Piotr 20.48 Music.West 1840 1893 Russia Russia Slavic
12 Lobachevsky, Nikolay 19.41 Math 1792 1856 Russia Russia Slavic
13 Popov, Aleksandr 18.86 Tech 1859 1906 Russia Russia Slavic
14 Gorky, Maxim 18.82 Lit.West 1868 1936 Russia Russia Slavic
15 Ostwald, Wilhelm 18.31 Chem 1853 1932 Russia Germany Slavic
16 Sikorsky, Igor 16.89 Tech 1889 1972 Russia USA Slavic
17 Mayakovsky, Vladimir 16.29 Lit.West 1894 1930 Russia Russia Slavic
18 Mussorgsky , Modest 15.61 Music.West 1839 1881 Russia Russia Slavic
19 Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay 15.33 Music.West 1844 1908 Russia Russia Slavic
20 Malevich, Kasimir 14.63 Art.West 1878 1935 Russia Russia Slavic
21 Lenz, Emil 14.39 Eart 1804 1865 Russia Russia Slavic
22 Tsvet, Mikhail 14.27 Biol 1872 1919 Russia Russia Slavic
23 Dobzhansky, Theodosius 13.99 Biol 1900 1975 Russia USA Slavic
24 Lomonosov, Mikhail 12.82 Astr 1711 1765 Russia Russia Slavic
25 Lermontov, Mikhail 12.48 Lit.West 1814 1841 Russia Russia Scots
26 Tatlin, Vladimir 11.94 Art.West 1885 1953 Russia Russia Slavic
27 Ivanovsky, Dmitri 11.80 Biol 1864 1920 Russia Russia Slavic
28 Pasternak, Boris 11.76 Lit.West 1890 1960 Russia Russia Jewish
29 Shostakovich, Dmitri 11.55 Music.West 1906 1975 Russia Russia Slavic
30 Prokofiev, Sergei 11.52 Music.West 1891 1953 Russia Russia Slavic
31 Blok, Aleksandr 11.31 Lit.West 1880 1921 Russia Russia Slavic
32 Korolev, Sergei 10.54 Tech 1907 1966 Russia Russia Slavic
33 Claus, Carl 10.06 Medi 1796 1864 Russia Russia Germanic
34 Tamm, Igor 9.44 Phys 1895 1971 Russia Russia Jewish
35 Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin 8.51 Tech 1857 1935 Russia Russia Slavic
36 Kovalevskaya, Sonya 8.34 Math 1850 1891 Russia Sweden Slavic
37 Borodin, Alexander 8.18 Music.West 1833 1887 Russia Russia Slavic
38 Scriabin, Alexander 8.15 Music.West 1872 1915 Russia Russia Slavic
39 Oparin, Alexander 8.05 Biol 1894 1980 Russia Russia Slavic
40 Veksler, Vladimir 7.99 Phys 1907 1966 Russia Russia Slavic
41 Glinka, Mikhail 7.96 Music.West 1804 1857 Russia Russia Slavic
42 Goncharov, Ivan 7.95 Lit.West 1812 1891 Russia Russia Slavic
43 Bely, Andrei (Bugayev) 7.70 Lit.West 1880 1934 Russia Russia Slavic
44 Frank, Ilya 7.60 Phys 1908 1990 Russia Russia Jewish
45 Friedmann, Alexander 7.54 Phys 1888 1925 Russia Russia Slavic
46 Markov, Andrei 7.33 Math 1856 1922 Russia Russia Slavic
47 Tolstoy, Alexey N. 7.30 Lit.West 1882 1945 Russia Russia Slavic
48 Leskov, Nikolay 7.30 Lit.West 1831 1895 Russia Russia Slavic
49 Cherenkov, Pavel 7.27 Phys 1904 1990 Russia Russia Slavic
50 Rachmaninov, Sergei 7.13 Music.West 1873 1943 Russia Russia Slavic
51 Gelfond, Aleksander 6.82 Math 1906 1968 Russia Russia Jewish
52 Lebedev, Pyotr 6.62 Phys 1866 1912 Russia Russia Slavic
53 Karamzin, Nikolai 6.52 Lit.West 1766 1826 Russia Russia Slavic
54 Merezhkovski, Dmitri 6.15 Lit.West 1865 1941 Russia Russia Slavic
55 Saltykov, Mikhail (N. Shchedrin) 6.12 Lit.West 1826 1892 Russia Russia Slavic
56 Nekrasov, Nikolay 5.84 Lit.West 1821 1877 Russia Russia Slavic
57 Balakirev, Mily 5.80 Music.West 1837 1910 Russia Russia Slavic
58 Herzen, Aleksandr 5.46 Lit.West 1812 1870 Russia Russia Slavic
59 Andreyev, Leonid 5.42 Lit.West 1871 1919 Russia Russia Slavic
60 Ostrovsky, Aleksandr 5.34 Lit.West 1823 1885 Russia Russia Slavic
61 Ambartsumian, Viktor 5.34 Astr 1908 1996 Russia Russia Slavic
62 Bunin, Ivan 5.01 Lit.West 1870 1953 Russia Russia Slavic
63 Ehrenberg, Ilya 5.00 Lit.West 1891 1967 Russia Russia Jewish
64 Gamow, George 4.96 Phys 1904 1968 Russia USA Slavic
65 Bryussov, Valery 4.93 Lit.West 1873 1924 Russia Russia Slavic
66 Rodchenko, Alexander 4.87 Art.West 1891 1956 Russia Russia Slavic
67 Gabo, Naum 4.82 Art.West 1890 1977 Russia Russia Slavic
68 Griboyedov, Alexander 4.82 Lit.West 1795 1829 Russia Russia Slavic
69 Kapitsa, Pyotr 4.77 Phys 1894 1984 Russia Russia Jewish
70 Akhmatova, Anna 4.73 Lit.West 1889 1966 Russia Russia Slavic
71 Goncharova, Natalia 4.72 Art.West 1881 1962 Russia Russia Slavic
72 Lenin, Vladimir 4.65 Phil.West 1870 1924 Russia Russia Slavic
73 Chernyshevsky, Nikolay 4.43 Lit.West 1828 1889 Russia Russia Slavic
74 Babel, Isaak 4.33 Lit.West 1894 1941 Russia Russia Jewish
75 Derzhavin, Gavril 4.25 Lit.West 1743 1816 Russia Russia Slavic
76 Lomonosov, Mikhail 4.19 Lit.West 1711 1765 Russia Russia Slavic
77 Szymanowski, Karol 4.14 Music.West 1882 1937 Russia Poland Slavic
78 Archipenko, Alexander 4.14 Art.West 1887 1964 Russia France Slavic
79 Zoshchenko, Mikhail 4.11 Lit.West 1895 1958 Russia Russia Slavic
80 Kolmogorov, Andrey 4.09 Math 1903 1987 Russia Russia Slavic
81 Lenz, Jakob 4.07 Lit.West 1751 1792 Russia Germany Slavic
82 Sholokhov, Mikhail 4.04 Lit.West 1905 1984 Russia Russia Slavic
83 Tchebycheff, Pafnuty 3.94 Math 1821 1894 Russia Russia Slavic
84 Krylov, Ivan 3.94 Lit.West 1768 1844 Russia Russia Slavic
85 Fedin, Konstantine 3.77 Lit.West 1892 1977 Russia Russia Slavic
86 Pfitzner, Hans 3.70 Music.West 1869 1949 Russia Germany Slavic
87 Zamyatin, Yevgeny 3.51 Lit.West 1884 1937 Russia Russia Slavic
88 Glazunov, Alexander 3.51 Music.West 1865 1936 Russia Russia Slavic
89 Larionoff, Mikhail 3.39 Art.West 1881 1964 Russia Russia Slavic
90 Tyutchev, Fedor 3.38 Lit.West 1803 1873 Russia Russia Slavic
91 Dargomïzhsky, Alexander 3.31 Music.West 1813 1869 Russia Russia Slavic
92 Markovnikov, Vladimir 3.20 Chem 1838 1904 Russia Russia Slavic
93 Sologub, Fedor 3.15 Lit.West 1863 1927 Russia Russia Slavic
94 Korolenko, Vladimir 3.15 Lit.West 1853 1921 Russia Russia Slavic
95 Fonvizin, Denis 3.09 Lit.West 1745 1792 Russia Russia Slavic
96 Butlerov, Aleksandr 3.07 Chem 1828 1886 Russia Russia Slavic
97 Cui, César 2.94 Music.West 1835 1918 Russia Russia Slavic
98 Aksakov, Sergey 2.91 Lit.West 1791 1859 Russia Russia Slavic
99 Repin, Ilya 2.88 Art.West 1844 1930 Russia Russia Slavic
100 Fet, Afanasy 2.71 Lit.West 1820 1892 Russia Russia Slavic
101 Nabokov, Vladimir 2.68 Lit.West 1899 1977 Russia USA Slavic
102 Koltsov, Alexey 2.49 Lit.West 1809 1842 Russia Russia Slavic
103 Balmont, Konstantin 2.48 Lit.West 1867 1943 Russia Russia Slavic
104 Radishchev, Alexander 2.42 Lit.West 1749 1802 Russia Russia Slavic
105 Tolstoy, Alexey K. 2.38 Lit.West 1817 1875 Russia Russia Slavic
106 Katayev, Valentin 2.31 Lit.West 1897 1986 Russia Russia Slavic
107 Mandelstam, Osip 2.29 Lit.West 1892 1938 Russia Russia Jewish
108 Pisemsky, Alexey 2.28 Lit.West 1820 1881 Russia Russia Slavic
109 Kabalevsky, Dmitry 2.27 Music.West 1904 1987 Russia Russia Slavic
110 Garshin, Vsevolod 2.01 Lit.West 1855 1888 Russia Russia Slavic
111 Baratynsky, Evgeny 1.93 Lit.West 1800 1844 Russia Russia Slavic
112 Myaskovsky, Nikolay 1.68 Music.West 1881 1950 Russia Russia Slavic
113 Olesha, Yuri 1.52 Lit.West 1899 1960 Russia Russia Slavic
114 Vogel, Wladimir 1.24 Music.West 1896 1984 Russia Germany Slavic
115 Taneyev, Sergei 1.16 Music.West 1856 1915 Russia Russia Slavic
116 Glier, Reinhold 1.06 Music.West 1875 1956 Russia Russia Jewish
117 Arensky, Anton 1.00 Music.West 1861 1906 Russia Russia Slavic
118 Bortniansky, Dmitry 1.00 Music.West 1751 1825 Russia Russia Slavic


• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Human Achievement, Russia 
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Alexander Dugin is continuously trouted out by the Western media as this gray cardinal of the Kremlin, who is the “brain”, the favorite philosopher, and even the Rasputin behind Putin and no doubt soon behind Trump as well.

The banal reality is that Dugin is, at least in relative terms, far better known in the West than he is in Russia.

Last month, a Russian website quantified the media presence of the country’s top politologists. Dugin placed a rather unremarkable 39th on that list.

I translated the names of the first ten people, as well as of the other notables on the list. Here is a sampling of Russian politologists people who are more influential than Dugin:

  • Alexander Prokhanov – Clearly the top Russian “hard nationalist.”
  • Mikhail Delyagin – An unorthodox economic and proponent of protectionism.
  • Evgeny Minchenko – One of the foremost analysts of Russian “clan politics.” A while back I translated one of his articles.
  • Stanislav Belkovsky – Very popular in the West as the originator behind the “Putin has $40 billion socked away” meme (since inflated to $70 billion and $200 billion). Even though Putler personally murders all his detractors, Belkovsky somehow continues to have a flourishing career.
  • Natalia Zubarevich – A liberal critic of the regime. I translated one of her articles.
  • Fedor Lukyanov – Editor in Chief of Russia in Foreign Affairs.
  • Lilya Shevtsova – The originator of the silovik takeover of the Russian state meme, who has the tendency to “agree with the United States and condemn her own country on every single issue on which they have disagreed.”
  • Gleb Pavlovsky – Infamous in the West as one of the foremost practitioners of “political technology,” though he has long since become more anti-Putin than pro-Putin.
  • Dmitry Zhuravlev – Entirely apolitical, but mentioning him as one of Russia’s best economics commentators.

And finally, we have:

  • 39. DUGIN – So influential and close to Putler he wasn’t allowed to hold onto his sociology professorship at Moscow State University. (Even though it’s not like sociology is even a real science, considering that the field is monopolized by SJW quacks in the West, so it should not have been difficult to justify keeping Dugin on).

And yet Dugin is the person we are to believe is the puppetmaster behind Trump’s puppetmaster.

Incidentally, in my opinion the deepest and most talented Russian nationalist politologist is Egor Kholmogorov, who is based, economically literate, and unlike most Russian (and European) nationalists even has an inkling of HBD understanding i.e. doesn’t think open borders with Central Asia is a great idea. I have translated two of his articles (here, here). However, there is no doubt that his influence is decidedly modest, and mainly survives by writing columns for second-tier media outlets. For context, he is only marginally less influential than Dugin, at 47th position.


место Политологи итог
1. Nikonov, Vyacheslav 8486
2. Markov, Sergey 6901
3. Makarkin, Alexey 5859
4. Orlov, Dmitry 5671
5. Kalachev, Konstantin 5474
6. Prokhanov, Alexander 5426
7. Delyagin, Mikhail 5350
8. Mukhin, Alexey 5299
9. Minchenko, Evgeny 4729
10. Vinogradov, Mikhail 4133
11. Belkovsky, Stanislav 3600
12. Симонов Константин 3583
13. Zubarevich, Natalya 3395
14. Костин Константин 3232
15. Lukyanov, Fedor 3220
16. Рар Александр 3164
17. Чеснаков Алексей 3163
18. Орешкин Дмитрий 3116
19. Shevtsova, Lilya 2782
20. Абзалов Дмитрий 2760
21. Михеев Сергей 2615
22. Мартынов Алексей 2405
23. Pavlovsky, Gleb 2348
24. Галлямов Аббас 2332
25. Миронов Николай 2230
26. Ремизов Михаил 2192
27. Морозов Александр 2152
28. Данилин Павел 2148
29. Бадовский Дмитрий 2105
30. Малашенко Алексей 2001
31. Кынев Александр 1859
32. Zhuravlev, Dmitry 1772
33. Гонтмахер Евгений 1761
34. Шульман Екатерина 1758
35. Жарихин Владимир 1739
36. Кузнецов Глеб 1608
37. Бунин Игорь 1565
38. Фадеев Валерий 1530
40. Kurginyan, Sergey 1449
41. Матвейчев Олег 1260
42. Пожалов Александр 1250
43. Иноземцев Владислав 1225
44. Караганов Сергей 1225
45. Zlobin, Nikolay 1208
46. Туровский Ростислав 1204
47. Kholmogorov, Egor 1173
48. Куликов Дмитрий 1165
49. Бордачев Тимофей 1114
50. Межуев Борис 1112
51. Станкевич Сергей 1059
52. Становая Татьяна 1048
53. Зудин Алексей 1041
54. Trenin, Dmitry 1035
55. Нейжмаков Михаил 984
56. Третьяков Виталий 910
57. Добромелов Григорий 771
58. Колядин Андрей 737
59. Поляков Леонид 734
60. Макаренко Борис 725
61. Кагарлицкий Борис 671
62. Федоров Георгий 602
63. Тишков Валерий 598
64. Фетисов Дмитрий 589
65. Маркедонов Сергей 545
66. Жаров Максим 544
67. Смирнов Сергей 532
68. Lipman, Maria 502
69. Коновалов Александр 400
70. Солозобов Юрий 385
71. Дмитриев Михаил 372
72. Мигранян Андраник 351
73. Пионтковский Андрей 350
74. Минтусов Игорь 293
75. Kryshtanovskaya, Olga 247
76. Урнов Марк 191
77. Гаман-Голутвина Оксана 160
78. Игрунов Вячеслав 136
79. Мельвиль Андрей 124
80. Ципко Александр 98
81. Максимов Андрей 93
82. Шаравин Александр 71
83. Каспэ Святослав 64
84. Рябов Андрей 19
85. Кувалдин Виктор 11
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Human Achievement, Nationalism, Russia 
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Commentator jimmyriddle finds statistics about the ethnic composition of scientific cadres in the Soviet Union in 1973 via Cassad (the original comes via the blogger Burkino Faso).



Drawing on earlier statistical data, although on a more limited sample of different ethnicities, we have the following sets of correlations:

  • 1926 Census, literacy amongst 50 years olds+ – r = .92
  • 1926 Census, overall literacy – r = .72
  • 1939 Census, overall literacy – r = .61
  • 1939 Census, high school graduation – r = .93
  • 1939 Census, higher education – r = .99

Considering this without Jews who are huge outliers everywhere here:

  • 1926 Census, literacy amongst 50 years olds+ – r = .82
  • 1926 Census, overall literacy – r = .74
  • 1939 Census, overall literacy – r = .72
  • 1939 Census, high school graduation – r = .91
  • 1939 Census, higher education – r = .93

So the two best predictors are:

(1) The literacy rate amongst the last Tsarist era generation, i.e. people who were 50+ years old in 1926, hence were born before 1876. That was before the advent of mass schooling in the Russian Empire, so I suspect that was when the literacy rate amongst the various regions of the Russian Empire was also the most “g loaded” (apart from places where the Protestant factor was also at play).

(2) Even more so, the share of people with higher education according to the 1939 Census. This stands to reason.


PISA suggests that the Georgians have very low IQs. I mean literally India-like, in the low 80s. However, the above suggests that its underperformance is more a result of massive brain drain – as in other countries that score ridiculously lower than expected based on their ethnic composition, such as Moldova and Puerto Rico, and before the 1990s, Ireland – as well as possibly the collapse of the schooling system to an extent that didn’t happen elsewhere. Probably the two most highly achieving Georgians today are historical detective fiction writer and political oppositioner Boris Akunin (Chkhartishvili) and the controversial but undoutedbly very talented Moscow based sculptor Zurab Tsereteli.

Armenia does not participate in PISA, but its results from TIMSS were significantly lower than Russia’s, at around Ukraine’s or Romania’s level. However, it might be grossly underperforming for the same reasons that Georgia is. First off, a massive amount of the brainier Armenians have emigrated to Russia and the West. In both places they are prominent relative to their numbers, with a powerful lobby in the US (even if it has nothing on the Jewish lobby) and a very powerful lobby in Russia that one could argue stretches all the way to Sergey Lavrov himself, who is half-Armenian. Former chess champion and oppositionist Gary Kasparov is half-Armenian, while the older Soviet chess champion Tigran Petrosian was fully Armenian. They are also the closest cousins of the Jews in terms of genetic distance. A mischievous observation one can make is that like the Jews, Armenians also seem to be unduly prone to political radicalism when abroad, from Sergey Kurginyan and Gary Kasparov (in their own ways) in Russia to Maoist nutjob Bob Avakian and SJW figurehead Anita Sarkeesian in the US, but maintain a safely homogenous and culturally rightist (if dumber) society at home.

In the overall scheme of things, from Jews down to Gypsies, there are no really big surprises.

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book-human-accomplishment Charles Murray has made the entire database compiled for his book Human Accomplishment freely available at the Open Science Framework.

Here is the link:

Incidentally, my concept of Apollo’s Ascent was to a significant extent the result of my reaction to Human Accomplishment. (A brief reminder of the AA thesis: The rate and global distribution of technological progress is dependent on the absolutely numbers of literate “smart fraction” people available to different societies at different points in history). Although Human Accomplishment was a thoroughly brilliant work, I had some quibbles with its core argument – namely, that Christianity was at the root of Europe’s post-1450 intellectual preeminence.

The Greeks laid the foundation, but it was the transmutation of that foundation by Christianity that gave modern Europe its impetus and differentiated European accomplishment from that of all other cultures around the world.

This was a judgement that Murray appears to have made relatively late in the writing process, and I suspect that as a social scientist he might not have been 100% satisfied – intellectually, at any rate – with ascribing possibly the biggest puzzle in world history to unquantifiable and unfalsifiable “transcendental values.”

After all, purely cultural explanations don’t tend to have a greaat track record in explaining economic success/failure (which are substantially related to intellectual achievement: You need smart fractions both to invent stuff and to have more productive economies). See how Confucianism was first used to explain the stagnation of East Asian societies before 1950, before the historians and sociologists did a 180 and started citing that same Confucianism to explain the success of the East Asian tiger economies when they burst into prominence by the 1980s. I don’t think it’s a particularly wild or radical idea that concrete, quantifiable concepts such as literacy rates and smart fractions would be a more credible explanation. But let the eventual critics of Apollo’s Ascent be the judge of that.

Speaking of Apollo’s Ascent, writing the book will be much easier with access to Charles Murray’s database. It would also be on much firmer theoretical ground, since instead of just highlighting general patterns – it’s not as if I have the time or resources to construct a comprehensive database of human accomplishment by myself – I will also be able to run numerical experiments, e.g. on on the correlation between calculated historical “aggregate mindpower” levels in different countries (aka literate smart fraction people) and their production of eminent figures.

Charles Murray was actually kind enough to email me the HA database a couple of months ago, so this public release is mostly redundant for my own project. But it is a very good thing nonetheless that many more people will now be able to run their own historical and social “experiments” using his data, including those who might earlier have shied at openly requesting it.

It is also part of a general process now underway in which there is growing demand for scientists to make their data publically available as opposed to just on request. To a significant extent I think the reason more scientists don’t yet do this is that the technical means for doing so – especially for older scientists who tend to be less computer savvy – are still few and far between. The Open Science Framework, for instane, only began operations in 2011. So persons such as Emil Kirkegaard who are heavily involved with the opening up of the scientific process – incidentally, it was partly thanks to his timely prodding that the Human Accomplishment data was released – should also be strongly commended.

To go a bit meta, this process – both in its technological and social aspects – is itself an information technology that acts as a multiplier on aggregate mindpower, in the style of Renaissance reading glasses and the Internet. The Flynn Effect has stopped in the developed world, literacy rates are pretty much maxed out, and Apollo’s load almost always gets heavier, not lighter. Just like in the Civilization video games, you need more and more “science points” to generate discoveries as you go up the technology tree. As such, we have to start eking everything we can out of existing technology to keep up the production of our Great Scientists. Shifting to open science paradigms is by far not the worst way of going about this.

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According to Forbes, yes he is, for the third time in a row.


A natural question would be – how on Earth do you actually quantify such things? Forbes relies on an index consisting of a political/demographic component (control over people), a financial component (wealth), prominence in various spheres (e.g. automative, space, financial, etc.), and whether they actually used their power.

Even so, is it really plausible for Merkel to be ahead of Obama? For semi-retired Bill Gates to be ahead of virtually all other national leaders? For the Pope to be ahead of Xi Jinping? (Stalin’s jibes about how many divisions the Pope has regardless, I really don’t see how the leader of an emerging superpower could be less powerful than a media celebrity priest).

Perhaps a slightly more interesting and legitimate way of calculating individual power would be to calculate what share any one person has over the “power” of his country or countries. (The reason for this is that, like it or not – and rhetoric about globalization to the contrary – the nation-state remains far and away the most dominant actor on the international stage. Even if you think that lobbying groups, corporations or even the Illuminati rule the roost, nation-states are still the vectors by which they exercise their influence).

According to my estimates of comprehensive national power (CNP) for 2015, the leading country is the US, set to 100, followed by China (52), Russia (28), UK/France (both 20), India (18), Japan (17), and Germany (15).

Does this mean that Obama and Xi Jinping are more powerful than Putin? Not necessarily.

Putin, arguably, has far more relative power over Russia than either of them. In particular, both Obama and Xi Jinping are subject to a two term limit (even if they are enforced very differently). Putin’s two term limit is a mere formality. Although Putin has to satisfy some key interest groups, and as a fairly intelligent person consults widely with experts and opinion polls, he still has an astounding degree of leeway over Russian policy. In contrast, the position of the General Secretary in the Chinese Politburo has been characterized as merely “first amongst equals.” Any US President needs to contend for power with the other branches of government, first and foremost, the legislature. This makes him even less relatively powerful.

So if we posit that, say, Putin “controls” 75% of power in Russia, versus 40% for Xi Jinping and 20% for Obama – this is just about plausible, I think – then the Forbes ranking would be confirmed. But it is impossible to imagine how Merkel could conceivably take second place. That is just the recent media furore making itself felt on Forbes’ pages.

• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Human Achievement, Power, Vladimir Putin 
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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.