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Just came back from a workshop on “Intelligence and Culture as Factors of National Competitiveness” organized by the Institute of Psychology RAS.

ipras-iq-russia

The most interesting presentation was by Konstantin Sugonyev, which may be published in a forthcoming paper. It concerned the following test:

https://recrut.mil.ru/career/soldiering/test.htm

This is a test on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website, where potential contract soldiers are offered to take an IQ test (30 questions, testing verbal, numerical, logical), and a couple of personality tests, to assess their suitability for military service (unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to give you your score, only a pass or a fail).

Over the years 2012-2017, almost 250,000 Russians have done this test, possibly making this the largest source of regional psychometric data on Russia apart from the Unified State Exams (regional data about them is carefully secreted away).

The results:

Cohorts

While people born between 1973 and 1987 performed at a stable 19.5-20/30, the post-1988 period saw a steady improvement towards an average score of 21/30.

S.D. is around 6 points.

Whether this is due to a Flynn effect or ageing isn’t clear.

ipras-regions-russia

Regions

Only the top/bottom 5 regions were displayed, but they were exactly as expected. The difference between the best performers and worst performers was almost 1 S.D.

Best regions:

  1. Saint-Petersburg
  2. Yaroslavl
  3. Moscow
  4. Kirov oblast
  5. Chuvashia

Worst regions:

  1. Ingushetia
  2. Tyva
  3. Chechnya
  4. Dagestan
  5. Kabardino-Balkaria

So nice when new investigations continue building on stereotypes, especially n=250,000 investigations.

Note that I have long thought Yaroslavl might have a high IQ.

It had the highest literacy rate of any non-capital Russian region in 1897:

Incidentally, I am not surprised to see Yaroslavl being the top non-Baltic/non-capital Russian region by literacy rate in 1897. It struck me as by far the cleanest and most civilized provincial Russian town on the Golden Ring when I visited it in 2002 (a time when Russia was still shaking off the hangover of the Soviet collapse). Curiously enough, it also hosted one of the most vigorous insurrections against the Bolshevik regime in central Russia. Although it was not one of the regions covered by PISA, I would not be surprised if Yaroslavl oblast was to get a 100-102 score on it should it be carried out there (and as would be implied by the correlation curve).

They also had the biggest percentage of Russian peasant families with passbooks (needed for savings accounts) in 1897 and 1913.

“Patriotism”

The major disadvantage of this test that it selects for some degree of Internet proficiency (so also a mild sort of IQ test). No easy way to correct for this.

The major advantage of it is that you can also get a good idea of the “patriotism” of different Russian regions by the percentage of their population who do these tests.

Most patriotic regions:

  1. Sevastopol
  2. Altay
  3. Buryatia
  4. Murmansk
  5. Amur
  6. Zabaykal
  7. Adygea
  8. Kaliningrad
  9. Tyva

Least patriotic regions:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Ingushetia
  3. Tyumen
  4. Sakha (Yakutia)
  5. Tatarstan
  6. Khanty-Mansiysk
  7. Yamalo-Nenets
  8. Dagestan
  9. Karachay-Cherkassia

Note that Sevastopol was first, even though Crimea only joined up with Russia in 2014, i.e. about 40% of the way through this “experiment.”

The patriotism of the Buryats and Tuvans is also noted. This is not all that surprising – recall that Buryats had the highest percentage rate of military deaths in WW2 alongside Russians.

In contrast, DICh – especially Chechnya and Ingushetia – are distinguished by their lack of patriotism.

Saint-Petersburg was more patriotic than Moscow, as well as being more intelligent.

Results were robust according to a variety of statistical checks.

Several other people, including myself, made presentations.

ipras-davydov

One, by Denis Davydov, was about a 19 region (n=4010) survey of 18-50 year old Russians with Raven’s tests carried out in 2005-2007. (For some reason, its detailed results remain unpublished – at the least, they don’t appear in Lynn’s or Becker’s database).

They found no correlation with income, though I suspect the problem there is low sample + no adjustment for oil income.

There was also a negative correlation with homicides, suicides, and alcohol consumption, which is of course unusual. My pet theory is that this is due to the Finno-Ugric admixture in northern Russia making them both more intelligent and more prone to alcohol abuse, with most homicides/suicides in Russia themselves being a function of alcohol abuse.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: IQ, Moscow, Patriotism, Psychometrics, Russia, The AK 
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Reuters poll:

We set out to find out which of these cities are safe for women – and which need to do more to ensure women are not at risk of sexual violence and harassment and harmful cultural practices and have access to healthcare, finance and education.

In each of the 19 megacities, we contacted 20 experts focused on women’s issues including academics, non-government organisation workers, healthcare staff, policy-makers, and social commentators.

Here is what they found:

Safety from “cultural practices”

reuters-sexual-violence

Safety from sexual violence

reuters-cultural-ractices

In an earlier post I noted that Moscow is the last and only megacity in the world where Europeans remain a solid majority.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Moscow, Rape, Women 
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Regular readers will know I live in the prole area of Moscow. As it turns out, my flat is ghetto as fuck. Drug overdose a few months ago. A murder a couple of days ago. 14/88 graffiti on the walls.

flat-1488

Meanwhile, on the same day, the Higher School of Economics – Russia’s top economics institution, located within walking distance of the Kremlin, and one of the few academic institutions in Russia that pays academics internationally respectable salaries – opened a Higher School of Equality. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re expecting: “Our organization does scientific and educational work in the spheres of gender and feminism, sexuality, queer culture, and other investigations.”

higher-school-of-equality

There is no escape from the poz anywhere on the face of the planet, and the alternatives aren’t exactly appetizing either.

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Moscow, Society 
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Liberal electoral victories in Moscow compared to the prevalence of those ultimate SWPL status symbols, bike sharing stations…

moscow-elections-2017-and-bicycles

… the upscale organic food store Azbuka Vkusa…

moscow-elections-2017-and-azbuka-vkusa

… and concentrations of nomenklatura housing as of 1989.

moscow-elections-2017-and-nomenklatura

At first glance, one of these is not like the others.

But that’s not all that surprising.

Dig into the family histories of the Russian liberals, as they are disparagingly called, and all sorts of Communist and chekist skeletons tumble out of the closet.

  • Evgenia Albats (liberal enforcer, sort of like a one-woman SPLC) – Grandfather a candidate member of the Communist Party, arrested and shot in 1937.
  • Konstantin Borovoy (simply a clinical Russophobe on Novodvorskaya’s level) – Mother was secretary of the “Association of Proletarian Writers,” cooperated with the KGB.
  • Alexey Venediktov (head of Echo of Moscow) – Grandfather was a military prosecutor. From the award handed out to him: “He carried out a ruthless struggle with turncoats, spies, and traitors against the Motherland; dozens of traitors were judged by him and sentenced to their deserved punishment.”
  • Maria Gaidar (went to Ukraine after Euromaidan) – Her father was an editor of political economy in the Communist Party journal, “Communist.” Grandfather was head of the military section of Pravda.
  • Vasily Gatov (gained fame for an unsolicited apology for the Crimean deportations on behalf of Russia) – Grandfather was the fourth in the chain of command of the NKVD; head of the Senior Officer School of the NKVD – and headed the operation to resettle the Crimean Tatars.
  • Masha Gessen (lesbian Jewish feminist who hates Putin for the lack of European cheese in Moscow) – Grandmother worked for the MGB (predecessor to the KGB) as a telegram censor in Moscow.
  • Dmitry Gudkov (anti-Crimean socialist) – Father worked in the KGB in the 1980s.
  • Irena Lesnevskaya (pro-Ukraine activist) – Grandfather was a Bolshevik revolutionary and friend of Dzerzhinsky; shot in the 1930s.
  • Andrey Piontkovsky (anti-Putin activist who called on NATO to include a nuclear strike against the Russian leadership as part of its military doctrine_ – Grandfather was a judge in the Supreme Court of the USSR during the late Stalin period from 1946-51.
  • Ilya Ponomarev (anti-Crimea activist, emigre deputy wanted for fraud over absurdly renumerated lectures at Skolkovo) – Nephew of a candidate to the Politburo, who also occupied some other prestigious positions.
  • Vyacheslav Rabinovich (failed investor who has predicted a dozen of the Russian economy’s past zero economic collapses) – Grandfather was one of the first Komsomol members, served in the Cheka, engaged in accusations and counter-accusations of “Menshevism” and other thoughtcrimes in the 1930s; spent the 1948-55 period in prison as a result.
  • Mark Feygin (Pussy Riot’s lawyer who fails his cases and attacks his clients when they question his team’s competence) – Granduncle one of the founders of the Komsomol; died during the crushing of the Kronstadt mutiny in 1921.

In other words, just the sort of fine, upstanding people you’d want to replace Putin and rule Russia (if you hate it).

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Communism, Moscow, Society 
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moscow-elections-2017

On September 10 there was a round of gubernatorial elections in Russia, as well as elections to local councils in Moscow.

There’s a lot of confusion on account of whether it was a victory for United Russia.

On the one hand, the low turnout – which traditionally favors more motivated liberals – allowed them to outright win most of the prestigious areas of Moscow.

moscow-elections-2017-and-bicycles

Amazing correlation between liberal victories (green) and bike sharing stations, that ultimate SWPL symbol.

On the other hand, United Russia did score 76% even in Moscow, gaining 1,150 deputies out 1,500. In contrast, liberal opposition, with 180 deputies, didn’t even manage to gather enough mandates to pass the municipal filter for participation in the Mayoral elections in September 2018. Since municipal councils in Moscow are toothless, having no access to the city budget and answering for little more than park benches, this would seem to be irrelevant.

That said, one thing that most people agree on is that this was a defeat for Navalny. He had distanced himself from the Moscow elections, not out of ideological reasons but personal ones; his deputy Leonid Volkov had fallen out with Maxim Kats, a liberal hipster figurehead who went on to unite with Dmitry Gudkov to form the United Democrats, the anti-Putin opposition bloc that went on to sweep SWPLy Moscow in close cooperation with Yavlinsky’s Yabloko. Incidentally, their positions are radically anti-Russian, more so even than Navalny’s; according to insider accounts, disavowal of Crimea – to say nothing of the Donbass – was a hard condition of entry into their coalition. Although this performance might not be that impressive in the large picture, it still probably counts for more than the number of Navalny’s YouTube views.

How important is this development? Probably, not very.

First, turnout was only 15%, and this naturally favored the liberals, who are more motivated than average.

Second, this pattern of voting is in any case a long-established pattern going back to the 1990s, in which the better educated, higher social status (higher IQ, in short) districts vote more strongly for liberal candidates. As I have long pointed out, the problem of very hostile elites is a problem common to both Russia and America.

See the data analysis by Emil Kirkegaard here:

moscow-elections-putin-phd

In the less prestigious, lower IQ, more prole areas, United Russia came out well ahead. My own district is pretty representative in this respect.

zhulebino-2017-elections

In terms of the average share of the vote of each political faction (you could vote for up to five people), United Russia got ~1,500, the liberals ~700, the commies ~700, and the nationalists ~300.

Personally I voted for two LDPR candidates, one from Rodina, and some green/ecological chick (she was not in United Russia, a commie, or a liberal traitor, so that was fine by me).

On the one hand, these results are still pretty encouraging; Moscow’s peripheries still reject the Westernist cargo cult, unlike the coddled hipsters of Central Moscow, who hate Russia despite everything that Mayor Sobyanin has done for them in transforming their living spaces into the gentrified SWPL urbanist paradise that they have always yearned for. But is United Russia actually a political force in its own right, or is it just a facade for normies who don’t want to “rock the boat,” and which will fold as quickly as did the Party of Regions in the Ukraine when the pedal is put to the metal? If it’s the latter, with liberals and commies running neck and neck, and nationalists basically out of the picture, the prospects for Russia will be grim in the event of a color revolution.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Moscow, Politics, Russia 
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musinov-moscow

Credit: Ivan Musinov.

There is this strange dichotomy with respect to Russia.

The Western elites like Hillary Clinton and many Russophile right-wingers believe that it is a paragon of fascist/conservative and white supremacist/traditionalist values, respectively. (The main difference being that the former think that this is Bad, while the latter think it’s Good).

On the other side, the more fervently anti-Putin Russian nationalists and /pol/ shitposters are in agreement that the Kremlin are just pursuing a Russian version of multiculturalism and open borders.

The Myth of Mosque-O

The central exhibit in this has become the Cathedral Mosque, and photos of the 100,000-200,000 strong crowds congregating around it on Islamic holidays.

Even Steve Sailer has written about it. Our Ukrainian friend AP never tires of reminding us about it in the comments.

pol-moscow-mosque

Here is a slightly more relevant statistic: There are a grand total of four mosques in Moscow, and this is one of them.

Moreover, it was originally built in 1904, then controversially demolished, and rebuilt in a project largely financed by a private Dagestani tycoon, Suleiman Kerimov.

The other Moscow mosques include the historical Old Mosque (constructed in 1823), the Moscow Memorial Mosque (more of a war monument than a place of worship), and one that is part of a complex of religious buildings that also includes a Buddhist stuppa. The latter two were both constructed in the 1990s.

This is in comparison to Moscow’s 1110 churches, a number which is increasing by about 5% yearly.

Two of them are Catholic churches. What is the ratio between the Muslim and Catholic population in Moscow? 20:1? 100:1?

To add an international perspective, the “UK Mosque Searcher” lists 427 mosques in London (many of which are funded by Saudis).

It should therefore be immediately obvious as to why the streets around the Cathedral Mosque are jam-packed with worshippers. Unlike in London, or Paris, or Berlin… they pretty much have nowhere else to go!

It is also probably – hopefully – as good a proof as any that Russia’s elites are not focused on a population replacement agenda, as is evidently the case in Western Europe. If mosques aren’t being constructed, then presumably, there aren’t any intentions to keep many Muslims around in the long-term.

What I am saying is that there is rhetoric and there are facts and statistics, and the former is no substitute for the latter if you want to be taken seriously outside your own narrow ideological circles.

The Myth of Moskvabad

Here is another, in many ways stunning, statistic: Moscow is the last and only megacity in the world where Europeans remain a solid majority.

According to the 2010 Census, 92% of Muscovites are Russians, rising to 94% amongst infants. For all intents and purposes these figures go up to more than 95% if you only count Slavs and other non-Central Asian and non-Caucasian minorities. Now yes, to be sure, if you go outside, then 85%-90% of the faces you encounter will have a Slavic appearance. In 2014, the Federal Migration Service estimated there were 1.4 million foreign workers in the city, of whom 400,000 were there illegally. Bearing in mind that the city’s official 12 million strong population is overwhelmingly Russian,

Rounding that up to two million – while bearing in mind that a significant percentage of those are Ukrainians and Moldovans – and adding them to the city’s official population of 12 million, which is overwhelmingly Russian, and you get a figure of about 14 million people. That is, about 85% European.

In comparison, London is 60% white according to the latest UK census. The French (in)famously don’t collect such data, but Paris is probably similar. Non-Hispanic whites constitute 45% of New Yorkers and 29% of Los Angelinos.

Most importantly with respect to the post-1960s European experience, fertility amongst these Gastarbeiters appears to be very low. There’s a simple explanation why this must be the case: There are 8x as many Uzbek and Tajik male citizens in Russia as women in the 17-25 year age group, and 4-5x as many in the 25-45 year age group. Men cannot bear children, as it generally acknowledged outside the SJWsphere.

gastarbeiters-age-sex-stats

There’s another scrap of circumstantial but pretty strong evidence to support this. In Europe, we are constantly inundated with news of how Mohammed has become the most popular’s baby boys’ names in the latest European city of church spires and historical taverns. Yet according to Moscow official statistics, it was the 80th most popular name in the city in January 2015, with only ten Mohammeds being born (actually some “ethnic” names were more popular: There were 26 Amirs in 51st position, and 16 Umars in 66th position). The most popular “ethnic” girl’s name was in 36th position, with 34 Aminas being born.

This is not to say things are ideal, and I don’t think I ever have. London, Paris, and Berlin did not become the way they are now over a few years, but over several decades. Not even the Social Democrats of Germany ever planned for Gastarbeiters to stay permanently. There is no guarantee that the same will not happen in Russia.

Yet even so, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

na-korable-polden

The Last White Megacity

Here’s a stunning implication: Moscow is now the last and only megacity in the world where Europeans remain a solid majority.

In contrast, Japan has three 99% Japanese conurbations, out of 127 million people. China has more than a dozen. Korea has one.

This is a very sad state of affairs for the European world in general, but it might well be a relative boon for Russia itself. Economists have long identified increasing returns to city size for economic wealth and technological productivity, and psychometricians have long noticed that big cities tend to attract the cognitive elites, which further turbocharges economic dynamism. Russia is the only country within “Greater Europe” to retain a megacity with a solidly predominant white population and its associated benefits of a high average IQ.

To be sure, there are plenty of megacities in the world. Most are now in the lower IQ Third World, and thus inconsequential from a “smart fractions”-central perspective, but a good twenty or so are in high-IQ East Asia, a civilization that has thus far managed to escape the “baizuo” disease of mass immigration and cultural decomposition.

However, considering East Asians’ relative lack of curiosity, it is not completely beyond the realm of the possible that Moscow might become a genuinely one of a kind cultural and scientific hub as the 21st century goes on.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Demographics, Eurabia, Moscow, Russia 
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The Russia wide protests organized by Navalny on June 12 were a flop.

This was not unexpected, given the lack of enthusiasm on social networks – in Moscow, there were 20% fewer people expressing interest in going to this event relative to the March 26th protest on Facebook. The earlier event had translated into 8,000 people, which is pretty much a “fail” so far as a 13 million population metropolis is concerned.

In the smaller Russian cities, where the June 12 protests went ahead as agreed with the local authorities, turnout was unimpressive, typically numbering in the low 100′s.

Pavel Gladkov has collected some photos (h/t melanf):

The protest in Novosibirsk, the third biggest Russian city (1.5 million) and unofficial capital of Siberia, gathered 2,000 people, which is about the same as in March.

Turnout has in general been similar to the March 26 rallies. This implies Navalny’s support on the streets – as in the polls – hasn’t improved since then.

Which, I suppose, explains why Navalny decided to sabotage his own protests in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.

Quick recap:

The Moscow city authorities gave Navalny permission to stage a meeting at prospekt Sakharova, a relatively central and spacious location. In Saint-Petersburg, they offered a location at Udelnaya, which is less central, but still spacious and easily accessible by metro.

In the last few hours before the protests, Navalny made a location change, to Tverskaya in Moscow and The Field of Mars in Saint-Petersburg, both of which are at the very centers of those cities. Moreover, Tverskaya in particular was already hosting a massive historical reconstruction festival.

sakahrov-speakers Before the protests, many observers, including myself, had expressed skepticism about Navalny’s claims that stage and sound suppliers had been pressured not to service his event. Navalny used this “insult” as the formal explanation for why he was moving the location of the protest.

However, the only evidence he provided was a phone conversation between two anonymous people. Moreover, as the liberal blogger Ilya Varlamov pointed out, why couldn’t he have bought speakers at a store and then returned/resold them?

Then on the day of the event itself it emerged that a sound and speaker system did emerge on prospekt Sakharova anyway, which should blow up anyone’s suspicion meter through the roof.

The weight of the evidence thus indicates that the sound and speaker blockade reason was bogus.

The likeliest alternative explanation is that Team Navalny, aware that attendance numbers were going to be unimpressive – in the event, an accurate assessment – decided that the only way to get into the news cycle would be to create an interesting spectacle for make benefit of Western cameras.

Unfortunately, due to the very low quality – or malicious competence – of the Western media, he largely succeeded in this, as RT’s Bryan MacDonald points out:

macdonald-crap-russia-journalism Then there were the blatant misrepresentations. Such as when New York Times’ bureau chief Neil MacFarquhar and Financial Times’ Eastern Europe Editor Neil Buckley both attempted to depict barriers clearly erected as props for the military history show as “traps” to impede protesters. Tweets they later deleted, in fairness. Nevertheless, this particular “fake news” tweet by the anti-Russia activist Alex Kokcharov has been shared hundreds of times, enjoying retweets from the likes of Economist magazine editor Edward Lucas and Anders Aslund of NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct.

Almost every correspondent refused to tell followers how the event was “unsanctioned” and “illegal,” instead preferring to act as cheerleaders. Some examples included hacks from Foreign Policy, the Guardian, BBC and the Moscow Times. Meanwhile, Associated Press, the Washington Post, ABC and Fox all managed to omit any mention of the history festival in their reaction to the change of location.

And then there was CNN, always good for a laugh on this beat, breathlessly telling its viewers that hundreds of thousands of demonstrators could be mobilized. When in reality it was around 5,000 in Moscow.

Unfortunately for Navalny, the Russian electorate are not Western audiences, and these stunts are unlikely to work out well for him.

The March 26 meeting was an essentially harmless affair, perhaps a minor inconvenience to some Muscovites, but one that was adequately compensated by the entirely voluntary personal risk the protesters took by participating in an unauthorized gathering.

It was the protesters’ choice to come there and effect non-violent resistance (for the most part) in service of a cause they believed in. It was OMON’s choice to uphold the letter of the law and clear out an unsanctioned protest; they are well-compensated for their trouble. It was my own choice to risk arrest by covering it as a “citizen journalist” of sorts; as with Vincent Law, my greater fear is not getting arrested per se, nor the fines, nor a day or two in detention; it’s the fact of getting arrested *at a Navalny protest*.

The important thing is that the risk of innocent passersby getting caught up was minimal.

This time round, Navalny and his crew purposefully crashed a separate event where people wanted to cosplay historical battles, not participate in an actual one against the police. This would have been irresponsible and unethical course of action for anyone with pretenses to serious politics. That this was very likely based on a lie makes it outright disgraceful. These are the actions of a two bit rabblerouser.

For instance, here is one account of how Navalny supporters ruined the day of one reconstructor who wanted to show Muscovites how medieval Russians made decorative beads (h/t E for partial translation):

They [the liberals] yelled into the faces of myself, the musicians and historical reconstructionists that we were “traitors”, that what we’re doing is useless sh*t, that we should instead be having meetings, that we are paid-off varmints who were placed there in order to disrupt their meetings. To our protests that we’re teaching people crafts and history, we received the reply: “Nobody needs any of that sh*t! We need to have meetings and create a revolution!”. I really wanted to bash these people’s faces in, but people were yelling at us that we shouldn’t give in to provocation, because EVERYTHING was CONSTANTLY being filmed by dozens of cameras.

In the end, the programme continued after a several-hour interruption. Of course, I didn’t make any more beads, because I needed to heat up my oven again and there wasn’t much time left.
In one of the camps, they took down and broke a pavilion, and broke the tent in another. But the reconstructionists, having armed themselves with shields, saved the most important places from total destruction. I understand how difficult it must have been not to grab the spears and axes, as well.

By all rights, this should finally finish off Navalny’s portrayal of himself as a champion of honesty and transparency in politics.

As his recent interview with Ksenia Sobchak confirmed, this is a non too bright man who does not know elementary facts and figures about the state of the Russian economy or public health. He is a one-trick pony who is only any good on corruption, or at least coming up with catchy slogans about it. However, even on corruption, it just so often happens that Navalny’s demonstrated behavior is at odds with his purported principles and beliefs, with this latest episode being just the latest example.

That said, Navalny is undoubtedly extremely talented at playing the democratic martyr for the Western cameras.

Therefore, the main part of his constituency – Western consumers of CNN and Buzzfeed – will have to keep on wondering why the collapse of the Putin regime keeps failing to pan out for the nth time.

 
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Navalny has just moved the planned June 12 protest from Prospekt Sakharova, a fairly central and very spacious location, to Tverskaya, which is minutes away from the Kremlin, at the last minute.

The former event was officially sanctioned by the city authorities.

The new one is *not*.

Navalny claims that this was done because the Moscow city administration pressured sound and stage suppliers not to participate in his event. This makes it impossible for him to give a speech to a large crowd. As evidence, he attached a recording between one of the suppliers and what is presumably one of his staff members, in which the supplier sheepishly explains that he has received instructions from on high not to service the event.

This is his version of the story.

There is however an alternate theory.

The Tverskaya protests on March 26 were unsanctioned, meaning that the more timid and “respectable” avoided showing up. Attendance at a sanctioned meeting, all other things equal, should be considerably higher (the middle-aged office plankton who form a considerable percentage of Navalny’s support base aren’t keen on risking arrest by participating in illegal gatherings). But with less than 12 hours to go, the the number of people saying they are “going” on Facebook stands at a modest 4,000. In contrast, 5,200 say they “went” to the Tverskaya protest in March, which translated to an actual turnout of about 8,000. Assuming the correlation holds, we are looking at similar figures this June. This is decidedly embarassing, especially in light of the anti-khrushchevki demolition protests this May, which gathered 20,000 people – and at the very place where Navalny was supposed to hold his meeting, to add to the humiliation.

Ordinary Muscovites evidently care more about their khrushchevki – and for that matter their summer sojourns to their dachas – than staying behind in Moscow to hear more about Navalny’s latest beef with Uzbek oligarchs. Not good!

So this is where the alternate explanation comes in. Since the original protest looked like it was going to be a flop anyway, why not make a last minute change to “illegalize” it, inviting a potentially heavy police response for the delectation of Navalny’s YouTube fans and Western videocameras?

preobrazhensky-polk

There is an additional fact that makes this version of events both more plausible, and more potentially dangerous. June 12 is a national holiday (Russia Day), and there is already another event planned for the Tverskaya location – the last day of a 12 day historical reconstruction festival that has been advertised for weeks, and is expected to draw up to 150,000 visitors.

The last day of the reconstruction festival will be dedicated to the defense of Sevastopol in the Crimean War.

So imagine the spectacle of Preobrazhensky Regiment riflemen coming from all over Russia and abroad to support Navalny – and having to pit their “reconstruction skills” against the truncheons of the OMON.

headlines-ready As noted by one Twitter user: “Cameras and headlines are ready.

Not a lot more to add. Now we wait and see.

Hopefully, the Russian police exercise appropriate restraint, so that we don’t actually have to find out whether the bayonet is a fine lad. They are well funded and quite professional these days, so I don’t think it’s likely things will get out of hand.

It is also worth underlining that it is grossly irresponsible and unethical for someone who pretends to be a serious politician to push his agenda on people who didn’t ask for it, and who only want to watch pretend battles, not risk being caught up in a real one. This applies tenfold if Navalny misrepresented the situation with the stage and sound suppliers to justify his planned hijacking of the reconstruction festival (if so this would not be the first time that he has bent the truth to serve his own narrative).

Though who cares about any of that when there is clickbait to be written about the latest crimes of the Putler regime.

EDIT June 12, 1330 Moscow time: On Reddit (1, 2) a couple of people have criticized me for not using VK.com attendance data. I copy my response:

What matters is not absolute numbers who say they are going to attend, but relative numbers from event to event.

Assuming that a similar multiple of Facebook “goings” translate into visitors from event to event, then comparing the previous event to the later event on just one social media platform is legitimate.

Anyhow, there is a banal reason I didn’t include VK – while this current protest does indeed have 15K, I was simply unable to locate the VK event page for the March 26 protest.

Moreover. List of event pages for the March 26 protest. But Moscow links takes us here, which now advertises today’s event. This is not an event page, but as I understand a group page.

Was the counter actually reset to zero after the last event? This is a critical question that I don’t know the answer to (I don’t use VK much and am not very familiar with its fine workings), so using VK data would have been doubly unrealistic.

Anyhow, if anybody can’t answer the two questions above – whether or not the counter reset to zero after the March event, and if it did, what was the peak “going” figure for it – that would be much appreciated.

EDIT 2: It now emerges that a sound & stage system *was* installed at prospekt Sakharova after all (1, 2), which would appear to invalidate Navalny’s claim that suppliers were forced to pull out.

 
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limonovka

The National Bolshevik (NatsBol) meeting was at the Monument to the Heroes of the Revolution of 1905-1907, festooned with the black-red flags of movement, though the chiliastic chic of Limonov’s monthly rant was somewhat checked by the Mickey D. golden arch and the skyscrapers of the Moscow financial district in the background.

daughterland-calls Eduard Limonov is a most idiosyncratic figure. A dissident Jew (or maybe not; it’s unclear) who emigrated to New York and spent the 1970-80s doing drugs and having trysts with powerful Negro studs, Eddie returned to Russia in the 1990s where he took up the banner of the red brown alliance – with far more punk, homosex, and an unusually good female-to-male ratio by 1488 standards.

He published the book Another Russia in 2001, calling on youth to dig into the bunkers and wage a total war against the bureaucrats, businessmen, and assorted bugmen of the modern world. Unlike other nihilist philosophers, who are a dime a dozen, he actually proceeded to follow up his words with actions, attempting to foment a Russian insurrection in north Kazakhstan, for which he did a stint in jail.

After spending the 2000s in rabid opposition to Putin, after the reunification with Crimea and the war in the Donbass he finally learned to love the Leader.

Clearly a most “passionary” fellow, so I thought it worthwhile to come check out what he had to say.

The introductory slogans were simple: “Stalin, Beria, gulag.” “Confiscate and divide.”

Unlike your typical kremlinoid bugman, who speaks of rossiyane citizens or even “inhabitants of Russia,” Limonov is unafraid to speak to and about ethnic russkie. (In general, the russkie/rossiyane ratio is a good proxy for how based a Russian politician is).

natsbol-industry Re-Ukraine. He seems to identify the Russian World with the geographic areas where the Russian language is predominant – that is, the eight oblasts of prospective Novorossiya. The rest of the Ukraine he proposed to divide with Romania, Poland, and Hungary – in a process also detaching them from the EU, which is “sending them nothing but migrants.” The latter reflects a rather serious detachment from reality. Romanians were unenthusiastic even about their lost Wallachian provinces, i.e. Moldova, to say nothing of territorial ambitions in the Ukraine. As for the EU, it sends all of those countries the yearly equivalent of more than a thousand Euros’ worth of welfare payments per capita; in return, all they ask of them is to take in some token number of refugees, who all proceed to go on to the richer gibsmedats pastures of Germany and Sweden anyway. Seriously, I doubt even a dozen of the recent Syrian immigrants ended up permanently settling in any of those countries. In the meantime, they get to entertain themselves by sticking a middle finger to the Eurocrats.

More geopolitical comments. Trump and his $110 arms deal with the Saudis – Russia can’t compete with that kind of money, because its not rich enough, because of its cold climate (past instances of “confiscate and divide” obviously not mentioned as contributory factors).

He is a big fan of Kurdistan, thinks Russia should support it more actively. Wants a bigger military contingent in Syria, including ground forces. Very boomer mindset.

Macron is fat, but “fancies himself a D’Artagnan” – original line of attack, if a somewhat strange one (is Macron actually fat? Never noticed). Claims that he was owned by Putin. My impression was that it was rather the other way round – Macron received Putin at the Palace of Versailles. The last foreign dignitary to be given a reception there was Gaddafi in 2007 under President Sarkozy, who in a few more years met a sticky end thanks in large part to Sarkozy himself. The impression that this was a deliberate slight was reinforced by the post-reception press conference, where Macron called RT and Sputnik journalists propagandists to Putin’s face and said that France would bomb Syria if it were to use chemical weapons again. But no matter – according to Limonov, Putin subdued Macron, and made him “respect” him, laying the foundations for improved relations with France. So much so that perhaps in the near future Russians “will be able to go France to help beat up immigrants.”

natsbol-girl-with-gun Now I am personally not a fan of beating up immigrants. Document checks and deportations seem to be the more civilized and effective policy. Still, if you are a nationalist of some sort, and want to beat up immigrants, shouldn’t you prioritize the ones in your own country? E.g., the up to 10 million illegals in Russia?

*crickets*

I mean, I don’t want to be too tough on Limonov, who at least is red-pilled on race (in another part of his speech, he said the US has a lot of Negroes, “half of whom are on welfare”). This alone places him far closer to the American Alt Right than Greater Turkestan proponent Dugin. Even so, this tendency to notice “problems” in Western countries while studiously not extending the same analytical framework to their own country seems to be a defining feature of the Russian nationalist boomer mindset. Is this due to a generational cognitive blind-spot, a concern about alienating their audiences, or fear of possible legal repercussions?

This is something I’m trying to figure out myself.

Re-Navalny. If he were to die today, and the oligarch Usmanov (with whom Navalny is currently feuding) were to die tomorrow, Limonov would “not be sad.” Skeptical about whether the Americans are financing him, but that said, he does ask where does the money for Navalny’s extensive network of regional election HQs come from? Complains about state persecution of nationalists, citing one “Yura” who got three years for non-violently defending a female journalist from the police, while Navalny is walking free despite having two suspended sentences. The unspoken implication is that Limonov thinks the Kremlin is in cahoots with Navalny.

At this point Limonov wraps up the lecture, everyone claps, and a few people go up to him to have books signed and to discuss things further (including the American fan of Limonov and Unz Review reader who brought me out there).

The next speaker was some NatsBol activist with a boring jeremiad about “economic justice” and the “social lifts of Soviet society.” Limonov, inane as he often is, is at least entertaining. Those activist ideologue types never are, so we left.

***

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• Category: Ideology • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russian Nationalism 
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There have been three significant political protests in Moscow in the past few months, and each in their own way – and in their relation to each other – say a lot about the state of Russia today.

It’s not that great for the Kremlin.

But not for the reasons the Western media would have you believe.

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“He Is Not Dimon” / Navalny, March 26

This unsanctioned protest in response to Navalny’s video about Medvedev’s corruption gathered about 8,000 people, mostly young people and university students, with some seasoned color revolution veterans sprinkled in.

It also got by far the most Western coverage, even though 8,000 people is less than 0.1% of Moscow’s population.

This is reflected in Navalny’s poll numbers, which remain very low – firmly in the single digits, though in an election – on the off chance he is allowed to run – I suspect he might eke out as much as 10%, if he overperforms expectations as he did in the 2013 Moscow elections.

I am not going to write much more about Navalny and his protests, since I already have several blog posts about that. My goal here is to look at the alternatives on offer.

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“Enough” / Khodorkovsky, April 29

That Navalny is head and shoulders above any other Westernist liberal figure is proved by the embarassingly low turnout at the “Enough” protests called for by Khodorkovsky’s “Open Russia” NGO.

There were perhaps 200 people there. As RT’s Bryan MacDonald noted, “I have honestly seen bigger crowds at bus stops in Russia than what has assembled for Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s march today.” Their guerilla advertising strategy – the graffiti in the photo above appeared on the sidewalk close to my apartment – evidently didn’t work out.

Khodorkovsky himself was quite sad about this, whining on May 1 that it is dangerous to “have a monopoly on opposition” in a transparent dig against Navalny. My advice to him would be just stick to what he does best, such as inserting anti-Putin op-eds into English language papers and single-handedly providing a living for about half the world’s Russia-specialized neocons.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that if Navalny’s anti-corruption populism at least enjoys some degree of mass appeal, Khodorkovsky doesn’t even have that. There just aren’t that many Russians outside a 100 meter radius of Echo of Moscow HQ willing to rise up on hearing the clarion call for more sanctions against their own country on the pages of Politico and The World Affairs Journal.

There wasn’t that much coverage of this protest in the West. I suppose it was just too humiliatingly small for it to be worth giving any further exposure.

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Credit: George Malets, martin_camera

Anti-Khrushchevki Demolition Protest / Evgenia Vinokurova, May 14

In 1955, Khrushchev began a massive program of urban housing construction – an urgent priority at the time, what with the massive influx of peasants into the cities. On the plus side, the program succeeded, and the USSR consequently avoided the slums typical of the urbanizing Third World. On the negative side, these “khrushchevki” were cramped and poorly constructed, both by the standards of Stalinist housing (which mostly catered to the elites) and even of the later Soviet apartment blocks of the 1970s-80s.

Moscow’s mayoralty has recently announced that renovating this housing stock is unfeasible, and it will instead be demolished over the course of the next ten years at a cost of 3.5 trillion rubles ($60 billion), or twice the city’s annual budget income. The current residents will be compensated with more modern housing, of which there is a surplus in the wake of the last construction bust. On paper, everyone will benefit: People will get apartments with working plumbing and internal wiring; the politically connected real estate lobby won’t lose money; and many officials will doubtless be enriched.

But not everyone is happy with this deal. Some have invested considerable amounts of money into renovating their apartments. Others have grown attached to their neighborhoods. Although khrushchevki are bottom tier housing stock, the districts that contain them do tend to have a certain verdant vibrancy to them. They are walkable, they have plenty of greenery, and ecosystems of shops, schools, and other services have long evolved around them. In contrast, the new blocks tend to be massive, gray concrete monoliths on flat, gray plains criss-crossed with asphalt and more concrete.

What’s more, they tend to be farther from the nearest metro station, and at the outskirts of Moscow, if not entirely outside it. Moscow property prices depend far more on location than on building quality, and since the exchanges are square meter for square meter, not ruble for ruble, it is easy to imagine cases where people would stand to actually lose asset value in absolute terms.

And some of those people reacted. Around 20,000 people protested on Sakharov Avenue on May 14 against the khrushchevki plans – more than twice as much as at Navalny’s protest, and a couple of orders of magnitude more than at Khodorkovsky’s.

Moreover, these protesters weren’t kreakl hipsters, or professional revolutionaries, or Ukrainian nationalists, or the assorted other weirdos that tend to fill out Moscow protests against the regime. They were pensioners, housewives, and office plankton, many of them with children, who made their voice heard about a matter of real world concern to them. In other words, they and people like them are the closest thing there currently is to a genuine Russian civil society – and though the situation is currently fluid, it currently appears that officials are seriously engaging with their demands.

And of course the Western media pretty much ignored them.

Incidentally, as Maxim Kononenko points out, Navalny’s response to this protest is also very telling as to his agenda.

Initially, Navalny and his staff largely ignored the anti-demolition campaign, unable to believe that political nobodies campaigning on some boring socio-economic issue could be more successful than the undisputed leader of the “real” Russian opposition with its cult following, massive online presence, and lack of any serious competitors in the professional color revolution industry. But once it emerged that this protest was going to be a big hit after all, Navalny hurriedly dressed up as a very concerned khrushchevka resident and set off for the protest meeting. (As one online wit commented, “Whom hasn’t Navalny roleplayed as?: An owner of a mortgage in foreign currency; a Moscow stall owner; a Dagestani truck driver; a Chechen gay. Now he is a khrushchevka resident”).

Navalny proceeded to request a speaking slot at the meeting. The organizers refused, for the understandable reason that Navalny had no part in organizing them. Shocked by their impudence, Navalny and his acolytes decided to blame this epic zrada on Evgenia Vinokurova, one of the dozen largely female organizers of the protest. She made for an easy target: She has ties with both Putinist patriot-conservatives (she is friends with Kris Potupchik, a former spokeswoman for the youth movement Nashi) and more hardcore nationalists (she is an open Sputnik and Pogrom reader, Russia’s premier nationalist publication), all of which makes her completely “unhandshakeworthy” in the respectable Westernist circles to whom Navalny owes his ultimate loyalty.

So Navalny got an excuse for his failure there – he was sabotaged by a Putler agent. Still, the old problem of said respectable circles remains as acute as ever: Their inability to get any significant number of Russians out into the streets.

 
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In recent weeks I’ve had cause to look at Moscow property prices.

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There are basically three major socio-economic regions in Moscow:

  • The center – Upper middle class, very high property prices (300-400,000R/sq m), cosmopolitan, tilted against Putin and towards liberal parties like Yabloko, full of cafes with Macbook toting hipsters, do not discriminate against immigrants when renting out their properties (presumably because its not like Central Asian Gastarbeiters can afford the prices there anyway).
  • The south-west and west – Middle class, moderately high property prices (200,000R/sq m), tilted against Putin and towards liberals and Communists. This region traditionally hosted a large percentage of Moscow’s academic/R&D institutions and hi-tech factories, so the locals tend to be engineers and technicians and their well-educated children.
  • The east, south and north – Lower class, low property prices (150,000R/sq m), tilted towards Putin and especially the nationalist LDPR, majority proles – though very few work in factories, with a significant contingent of lumpenproles (one woman in my flat died from a drug overdose a few weeks ago) with a growing immigrant presence.

Whereas you see many Central Asians in the center of Moscow, there they are almost inevitably doing street sweeping or construction work, whereas in the outskirts there many of them start appearing out of work uniform. Most of them actually live in the cheaper outskirts, and are increasingly buying up property there. This is accompanied by ethnic tensions. One such region, Biryulyovo – which has Moscow’s second lowest property prices – was the site of a small race war back in 2013 provoked by the murder of a Russian by an immigrant. That said, it’s (still) a long way from the yearly “fireworks” you have in Paris.

In the meantime, I also suspect that many of the more successful locals from the prole areas are making their way to more prestigious regions. In the USSR, you tended to live where you worked (your apartment was assigned to you). With a free market in real estate, the way is clear for the sort of “cognitive clustering” that you see throughout the US and Europe, where the brightest, richest, most successful (all inter-correlated) converge onto good neighborhoods close to the center, while the duller and less successful elements are left behind in the Biryulyovo banlieues.

(Incidentally, this cognitive stratification is a microcosm of Russia as a whole – the average IQ in Moscow is ~106, versus ~96 in the rest of the country).

Here is a graph that I think supports this interpretation (left: Rubles / sq m, right: USD / sq m).

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Vykhino and Zhulebino (blue, orange) are classic prole regions – at 120,000R per sq m, they are marginally more upscale than Biryulyovo, but only just. Sokol (red) is a solidly middle-class region, and contains two universities and an industrial museum within its boundaries. Its average property price is 200,000R per sq m. Tverskaya (green) is a super-elite central region that hosts many of Moscow’s tourist landmarks, including the Bolshoi Theater; property prices there are a cool 400,000R per sq m.

But the trend is even more interesting – note the steady stratification of property values of Sokol and Tverskaya relative to prolecore Vykhino-Zhulebino. Even as early as 2013, Sokol was only about 40% as expensive, whereas today it is more than 60% as expensive. The differential between Vykhino-Zhulebino and Tverskaya has increased from being twice as expensive a decade ago, to almost four times as expensive today.

(This isn’t due to any particularities of the chosen regions – the trend for the prole South-East as a whole relative to the middle-class South-West and the elite Center matches the specific example above).

london-house-price-map Nor do I think this is likely to change anytime soon. This differential in real estate prices is now approaching what you see in both Paris and London (see right), both of which are far more advanced on the diversity (and financialization/cognitive clustering) front than Moscow.

This isn’t great for me personally. For instance, while it was still possible to leverage my apartment, which is in one of the crappier regions, to jump into the center a decade ago and maybe 5 years ago, it’s no longer so realistic today. I suppose I should hurry up while regions like Sokol are still within reach.

I suspect these differentials will continue widening in the years ahead. Immigration will continue, and might intensify as the Russian economy emerges out of recession. Cognitive clustering has a momentum of its own and isn’t going to run out of steam anytime soon.

Finally, I suspect that the advent of driverless cars in one or two decades will produce another major uptick in housing prices in the central regions of the world’s metropolises. One of the few major downsides of life in big cities is that traffic congestion costs go up 34% with every doubling of the urban population. The much greater efficiency of driverless cars should largely nullify those costs, turbocharging property prices in big cities and especially the central, already very expensive cores of the big cities even further.

I am obviously not in the business of giving financial advice. That said, even all else equal, I suspect that in Russia as in most of the Western world, people who move to the big cities – especially the expensive, prestigious regions where high property prices form an effective wall against vibrant diversity – will do financially better than those who stay in the outskirts.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Moscow, Real Estate, Urbanization 
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As one of the world’s leading activists against the Putin regime, I had no choice but to show up on Tverskaya Street today, to fight for your freedom and mine.

As expected, turnout wasn’t particularly high. Although the area around the Pushkin Monument was crowded, it only extended to half a block in every direction. The regime loyalist I was with estimated there were about 5,000 protesters. A guy with a Ukrainian flag lapel badge whom I asked for his opinion said 10,000. Taking the average estimate from supporters and detractors was a good strategy for estimating crowd size in 2011-12, and coincidentally enough, the resulting figure of 7,500 coincided exactly with the police estimate of 7,000-8,000 protesters. This is not altogether bad, thought quite insubstantial in a city of 12 million.

To be sure, this was an unsanctioned protest, and as I pointed out earlier, a lot of the risk-averse office plankton who form the bulk of Navalny’s support don’t turn up to such protests. They don’t want to run the risk of getting arrested, not when it could impact on their employment. Still, this is about 3x fewer participants than in the last big protest of the 2012 wave, which was also unsanctioned, the farcical “March of the Millions” of May 6 to which about 25,000 turned up.

With the lack of office workers in the crowd, the demographics were heavily tilted towards young people and university students, though there were quite a few older people with that Soviet intelligentsia look.

Definitely lots of Euromaidan supporters – apart from Ukrainian flag lapel badge guy, there was another man, who had the look of a protest veteran about him, who regaled a small crowd with tales of his adventures fighting the police in Khabarovsk, in Kiev in 2014, and afterwards, in Kharkov (the local police there was hostile, and they had to wait it out long enough for them to get reinforcements from Poltava and further west; putting things together, he was one of the people who helped preempt the formation of a Kharkov People’s Republic). However, the Ukrainophilia wasn’t quite as noticeable as in Ekaterinburg, where the crowd chanted, “He who doesn’t jump is Dimon” (a riff on “he who doesn’t jump is a Moskal,” a rallying cry for the “Glory to Ukraine” crowd).

(Incidentally, this is one reason of many as to why the protests in Russia are unlikely to amount to much – the Ukrainians, at least, advanced into bullets for their own nationalism during Euromaidan; in contrast, the pro-Ukrainian Russians at these protests are “cucking” for someone else’s nationalism. Come to think of it, trolling the protesters by shouting “Glory to Russia” at the next protest might be a good idea).

There were also, as expected, plenty of journalists. Most of them were local media; I observed a couple from the opposition TV channel Dozhd, as well as a group from some state TV company. Incidentally, contrary to some reports, the protest was covered in the Russian state media, both in Russian and English. There did not seem to be many foreign journalists (perhaps its too early in the political season for that). However, one of them, The Guardian’s Alec Luhn, did manage to get himself arrested and charged with an administration violation, which he understandably complained about. On the other hand, such “heavy-handedness is hardly exclusive to Russia (e.g. six RT journalists were charged for covering violence at Trump’s inauguration).

About 30 minutes after the announced start of the march, the police and the OMON started arresting people, darting into the crowds and hauling people off into the waiting police buses. Navalny was also arrested, not having even made it as far as the Pushkin Momument, let alone the Kremlin that was his destination.

The arrests were for the most part non-violent, though there were several hundreds of them, and one policemen was hospitalized for a traumatic head injury following a kick to the head from a protester.

While I’m myself rather indifferent to arrest – as a committed NEET, I have no need to worry about any repercussions on my employment or education prospects, and if anything it would provide me with nice new content – I certainly don’t want my first arrest in Russia to happen at a fucking Navalny demo of all places, so I began skulking away as soon as the arrests started. I spent the next couple of hours drinking at a bar with my regime loyalist friend.

Towards the evening, I returned to Pushkin Square. It was much less crowded now, though there were still throngs of people discussing the days’ events, with the police swooping down on them every so often to enquire as to whether they were protesting, and ensuing philosophical debates between them and the police about the semantics of group discussion versus group protest, and the precise point at which the former transitioned into the latter.

I descended into the Metro.

***

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• Category: Ideology • Tags: Color Revolution, Moscow, Russia, The AK 
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With a bit less than a year left to Russia’s Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle’s protest movement against Putin are already coalescing.

Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny in turn refused its offer of alternative venues, so the march is going to be unsanctioned. These events tend to come with a high journalist to protester ratio, because Navalny’s office plankton constituency doesn’t like events where there is a non-negligible chance they’ll be roughed up by the police. So I don’t expect much to come out of it. But we’ll see. I’ll probably go myself to observe it first hand.

As in 2011-2012, when he coined the term “The Party of Thieves and Scoundrels” to describe United Russia, the brunt of Navalny’s attacks are going to be on corruption in the Kremlin. It appears that the centerpiece this time around is going to be a massive investigation carried out by Anti-Corruption Fund on Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev, and released early this March:

In Russia, even amongst liberals, Medvedev has a reputation as a cuddly, affable, and absent-minded sort of fellow, often nodding off at meetings, but endowed with a hip, modernist outlook that will take “Russia forwards” into the clean, prosperous, sponsored content clicking future. This expresses itself in things such as appreciation for Deep Purple, support for the Skolkovo technology hub, and an obsession with hip electronic gadgets – the latter of which earned him his nickname, iPhonchik. Another of his nicknames is his diminutive, “Dimon,” which became very popular after his press secretary told Russia’s bloggers, commenters, and online trolls not to use that name: “He is not Dimon to you.” That worked on the Internet! (Not).

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But according to Navalny’s investigation, which builds on earlier work by Russian journalists, the nice, professorial teddy bear is a mere mask for a deeply corrupt swindler; not so much a fan of hi-tech Apple gadgets as of big money and elite properties. Piecing together documents, his team constructed a convoluted web of charitable funds directed by Medvedev’s friends, classmates, and even relatives that don’t seem to do much in the way of genuine charity work, but do maintain a sprawling network of elite real estate for make benefit of the Prime Minister.

This includes an elite estate in Moscow’s Rublevka district and a luxury ski resort in Krasnodar, each of which is valued at about $100 million; a big estate and agro holding compnay in his ancestral homeland of Kursk oblast; two yachts, both named after the Orthodox version of his wife’s name; an elite apartment in Saint-Petersburg; and even a wineyard and villa in Tuscany, Italy, bought in 2012-13 for $120 million. There is strong evidence, including from Medvedev’s Instagram account, that he has stayed at many of these properties, and partaken of his yachts.

These “charitable funds” are sponsored by a bevy of Kremlin-friendly oligarchs and state banks. For instance, one of them was funded by Novatek’s Simanovsky and Mikhelson, who contributed $500 million. The Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who spent six years in a Soviet prison in the 1980s for financial fraud, appears to have funded the acquisition of the Rublevka property. Gazprombank is on record giving a loan of $200 million in 2007. Its Deputy Chairman at the time? Ilya Eliseev, a classmate of Medvedev’s from his time at Saint-Petersburg State University, who also happens to be listed as the current chairman of most of these charitable funds. In total, documented “contributions” run to about 70 billion rubles, or more than $1 billion.

Even a small fraction of this would sound the death knell for any politician in a country within the Hajnal Line.

In Russia, however, this is not atypical for the elites. Everybody knows that they are stealing, and if Russians didn’t move to overthrow them in 2011-12, in the aftermath of massively fraudulent elections in Moscow and at a time when Putin was at a trough in his popularity, they are certainly not going to do so now; not when Putin’s approval rating remains north of 80% in the long afterglow of the Crimea euphoria. Moreover, Navalny’s own reputation has since become tarnished, due to his own corruption scandal (which might disqualify from running for the Presidency entirely), and due to his ardent pro-Ukrainian rhetoric, which has driven off most of his former nationalist supporters.

This, at least, is my impression.

Anyhow, March 26 will be an opportunity to more directly gauge his support at the level of the streets.

 
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beer-and-books

I was privileged to meet one of the columnists at The Unz Review. Feel free to guess who.

Ironically, we met up at Jean-Jacques cafe on Nikitsky Boulevard, the favorite watering hole of the rukopozhatnaya kreakl crowd (handshake-worthy/”respectable” “creative” hipsters). It’s a solid enough place, though – slightly pretentious French style lunch with wine for 1,000 rubles.

Finally got Twenty Years to the Great War, a massive tome on the late Tsarist industrialization by HSE professor Mikhail Davydov.

A taste of some of what it covers in the intro to an an interview with the author:

The development of Magnitogorsk? Planned by the State Council of the Russian Empire in 1915. The irrigation of Central Asia? Started in 1901, by 1912 there were working excavators… About the poverty of the people: In 1906-1913 credit cooperatives gave farmers loans totalling 2.5 billion rubles (equivalent to six naval modernization programs). In 1913, 30% of families in the country possessed savings books.

People lived considerably better than Soviet propaganda would later claim, and in fact many of the big “signature” Soviet modernization projects were first planned out and initiated in the waning days of the Empire (even including electrification).

But there’s really a lot more to it. One thousand pages, many of which are devoted to statistical tables. Looking forwards to reading it and reviewing it properly.

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A mundane example of how Moscow has really been spruced up in the past couple of years.

Some more culinary notes, since we haven’t had those for a while:

nutria-burger

At around the time of the New Year, I tried out a nutria burger at the Krasnodar Bistro, thanks to a “recommendation” of sorts from The Guardian’s Shaun Walker (“Hot rat is so hot right now: Moscow falls for the rodent burger“).

It was entirely fine, a bit similar in texture to a beef patty, but with a distinctive flavor and a greasier texture. Not perhaps the best meat, but still, 2033 should be perfectly survivable.

The more relevant and encouraging sociological observation is that its one example of many in which Russia is developing its own culinary traditions as opposed to aping from abroad (nutria is particular to Russia’s Krasnodar region).

likuria-wine

Thanks to JL for the Likuria recommendation – I got a set of them. I thought the Blend and the Merlot were pretty good, but the Cabernet Sauvignon disappointed, and the Shiraz was very bad.

The Agora bastardo from Crimea remains my favorite dry Russian red, but frankly none of them are anything to write home about. For now at least its better to just get the European imports.

That said, the Abrau Durso champagnes, with the partial exception of their bruts, are surprisingly good and continue to gain on me.

I enjoyed Ararat cognac from Armenia, the standard product in this class here, but I am not a conoisseur of cognac, so my opinion isn’t worth much.

I am not exactly a big cheese fan, I don’t even buy it normally, but I do like to make Greek salad from time to time, and that means feta. I suspect it is directly on the sanctions list because I haven’t been able to find it in the usual supermarkets (though I haven’t bothered searching). The alternative here is a thing called bryndza, but it is most decidedly not feta; the Serbian bryndza I bought first is far closer to cheap standard cream cheeses. That said, the “classical” version is the one that’s at least very faintly reminscent of feta.

kharcho

As I explained in one of my earlier open threads, in my opinion Georgian cuisine is overrated (it’s only particularly interesting or “exotic” by Soviet standards).

That said, the one exception to that assessment – and its a real bigly one – is kharcho.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russia, The AK, Travel 
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trump-in-moscow

I watched the God Emperor’s ascension to the Golden Throne at a bar night for American expats in Moscow. The mood there was largely pro-Trumpist, though obviously there was a self-selection mechanism involved. Everyone disliked HRC, though there were a fair number of Bernouts.

I got into a discussion with a reasonably influential official from the Russian Foreign Ministry. As I expected, the mood there is reasonably optimistic. They seem to be assigning considerable weight to Trump’s past as a businessman, the assumption being that such a person would be easier to do deals with than the globalist ideologues who previously occupied the White House.

That said, once burnt, twice shy – and Russia was burned not just once, but thrice. Three times Russia made unilateral concessions to incoming US Presidents promising a reset in relations that ultimately went unreciprocated (the Foreign Ministry still has Hillary Clinton’s infamous reset button in its museum). The sanctions are simply not regarded as a very critical matter – the import substitution program is in full swing, and it is working – so there is absolutely no enthusiasm for making more of the unilateral concessions that Russia had gifted previous incoming US Presidents. A limited mutual reduction of nukes is considered an acceptable deal for a US commitment to curtail its interference in Ukraine, since the ongoing killings of Russians in the Donbass by the Maidanist regime is regarded as a legitimacy problem for the Russian government.

I got briefly interviewed by a French journalist doing a story on Moscow expat attitudes to Trump. Incidentally, the world of Moscow expats is a pretty small one – even though it was not a particularly big event, I nonetheless managed to meet half a dozen people whom I had corresponded with or at least seen on some comment thread or another during my now almost decade’s worth of “Russia watching.”

In other news, my latest podcast/interview with Robert Stark is out now.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, The AK, Trump 
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zvezda-interview

Not even a week in Moscow, and I get contacted by a Zvezda TV journalist requesting an interview about life in America and why I returned to Russia. In a deserted billiards room, I began talking about my theory that there is a civility-friendliness spectrum, with Britain on one end of it, Russia on the other, and America in between. However, I rather embarassingly botched it. I kept saying that while Britons are more civil and polite, Russians tended to be more open and genial, at least once you broke the ice with them. The problem is that my brain hadn’t fully adjusted from English to Russian, and so one of the key words I kept using, “genial,” didn’t actually mean what I thought it meant in Russian – in effect, I have been arguing that Russians were more ingenious than the Anglo-Saxons (they are not). But it was only at the end of the interview that I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness. The quizzical looks my interviewer and the cameraman had given me at the start of the interview also suddenly made sense.

I explained what had happened to them, and suggested they cut that part since it made no sense. Relieved that I was in fact sane, they agreed. Unfortunately, my little joke about the only polite Russians being the Polite People would also have to go into the trashbin. But no matter – that episode only accounted for 10% of the entire interview, with almost everything else being about the burning political topic of the day in Moscow right now: Donald Trump. Is the Establishment trying to organize a Maidan against Trump? (Sort of. But in such a lame-assed way that more electors abandoned HRC than Trump himself). Would Trump be a friend to Russia? (Consult Palmerstone and Alexander III. So, most likely, not. But as a successful businessman and a non-ideological “America First” nationalist, it would be easier to make deals with him). What do you make of his apparent hostility towards China? (Let the Eagle and the Dragon claw at each other. Why we worry?).

***

My friend Artem Zagorodnov, whom I met in London, presented a talk in Juneau, Alaska deconstructing some of the major Western myths about Russia – that is, the sort of material I have written a lot about.

You can watch it here: Putin and Russia’s Evolving Image in the United States.

***

In more mundane news, I continue renovating my apartment, enjoying the cold dry climate, and making observations of potential interest.

In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light). You should still look round, but then the same applies to London, and New York might even be marginally worse. Even as civility in Russia has risen, it has been falling in both Britain and America, so that we are steadily seeing a sort of ironic convergence between the two.

Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it.

***

Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards. Low efficiency – took me three times longer to order a piece of furniture than it would have in the US or Britain. But I don’t suppose it matters that much right now – the shopping centers were surprisingly empty, especially for this time of year. Russia might be climbing out of the recession according to the latest indicators, but it’s clear that it is not yet being reflected in consumer confidence on the ground.

That said, the quality of service is now very good. At my local El Dorado, the staff were very helpful in explaining the different products on sale and speeding up access to out of stock items. Thanks to the devaluation, Russian made products in most categories of electronic goods are competitive. Online ordering also works smoothly, at least in Moscow. There is no central super-vendor like Amazon in the US, but shipping is fast and and you have the option of paying in cash on delivery.

Hauling large pieces of furnitures up the stairs can be relatiely expensive. But you can hire a couple of Tajiks to do it for much cheaper. No formal agreements, just pluck them off the streets, where the municipality pays them by the hour, and they are grateful for the couple hundred extra rubles while on the taxpayer’s dime. Still probably not a good reason to allow hundreds of thousands of them in, but since they’re here anyway, why not make mutually beneficial deals?

***

There are two sorts of item which were traditionally cheap in Russia, but are no longer so.

The first such items are books. The time when you could get high quality hardbacks for a few dollars appear to be long gone. This is especially surprising since Russian book publishing takes place in Russia, and as such should have benefited from the devaluation. But apparently not. For instance, I was planning on acquiring a hardback copy of “Twenty Years to the Great War,” a recent published magisterial 1,000 page study of late Tsarist industrialization by the historian Mikhail Davydov, but at $50 it will have to wait.

Incidentally, local bookshops are a favorite haunt of mine, since they – especially their politics and history sections – reflect the ideas of the intelligentsia, or at least the sorts of ideas the elites want their intelligentsia to have. For instance, in a Waterstones in London, Richard Shirreff’s “War with Russia” was very prominently featured. In this poorly written Red Storm Rising remake, the “self-obssessed nutter” and “ruthless predatory bastard” Putler launches a brutal war of aggression against the West. The undertone is crystal clear – Four legs good, two legs bad, and we must never falter in our faith (and funding for) NATO!

The history section of my local bookshop is a decidedly more lowkey affair. The books most prominently featured in that section were Ian Morris’ “Why the West Rules – For Now,” Niall Ferguson’s “Civilization”, and the first two volumes of Boris Akunin’s ongoing project “The History of the Russian State.” Respectively, these books represent: An ideologically neutral study of big history and social evolution from a quantitative perspective; populist dreck based on a lame catchphrase transparently designed to appeal to the Intellectual Yet Idiot crowd; ahistorical dreck from a popular detective fiction writer with a severe animus against the state he is chronicling.

So the next time you encounter a Western hack claiming that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts, recognize it for what it probably is: Projection.

***

The second item that was more expensive than you might expect in Russia was vodka. This was not surprising to me personally, since over the years I have written a lot about Russia’s mortality crisis, how it is primarily vodka bingeing that is to blame for it, and how Putin has been successfully tackling the problem by raising excise taxes on alcohol, amongst other measures. Still, it was good to see the effects of those policies in person – the cheapest 0.5 liter bottle was 219 rubles, while the average bottle cost 350 rubles. These prices are not far from American ones in absolute terms and far higher relative to Russian salaries.

The flip side is that this encourages “left” production – the fatal poisoning of 74 people in Irkutsk due to a bad batch of alcohol extracted from bath oil has been at the top of the news this past week. And everytime something like this happens, populists inevitably demand the government lower vodka prices, even though every ruble decrease in vodka prices would result in far more aggregate deaths than the odd Boyaryshnik poisoning now and then.

***

Thanks to g2k for the Amtsa recommendation – it is indeed the best adjika I have tried to date. Still can’t say I’m a fan, I would prefer any standard Mexican salsa, but I can imagine buying it again.

As I said previously, Russia isn’t the best country for spicy food. As far as I can gather the hottest pepper widely available here is something called “Ogonek,” which I think is similar to jalapeno on the Scoville scale. Most Russians regard it as excruciatingly hot.

I did manage to finally find a cheap, drinkable dry red wine – the Agora bastardo from Crimea. Very far from the best, rather too sour for my taste, but at least I won’t have to become a teetotaller in Russia for lack of options.

I am looking forwards to trying out the Lefkadia/Likuria wines recommended by JL.

That said, I don’t want to give off the impression that Russia, or at least Moscow, is a consumer hellscape. Far from it. While the wine and spice departments are subpar relative to what an American or Briton might be used to, the local teashop has about thirty sorts of Chinese teas on sale, some of them remarkably rare, but all of them at rather reasonable prices. In London, you’d probably have to go to something like the venerable Algerian Coffee Store to find a similar Chinese tea collection.

***

 
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moscow-snow

Rapidly becoming who I am.

So I have fulfilled the demands of some of my most committed detractors and self-deported myself back to Russia.

My first sociological observation on landing in Domodedova this Tuesday, and perhaps the one most germane to Unz.com readers, was that about 100% of the airport cleaning stuff were Uzbeks and Tajiks, and well more than 50% of the black leather jacket-wearing taxi drivers aggressively hustling their services to arrivees were Caucasians. Of course I used Uber. It was twice cheaper – 1,000 rubles versus 2,000 for the shady taxi ride – and most likely considerably safer to boot.

That said, the title of this post is (mainly) exaggeration. Official census statistics say that Moscow remains well more than 90% Russian. This is patently untrue, and nobody argues otherwise. Even so, it’s fair to say that a good nine out of ten faces you see on the streets are Slavic, and I say this as someone who now resides in one of the more “enriched” (and nationalist) areas. The bottom line is that Moskvabad might or might not become a reality by 2050. Londonistan is a reality today.

Since my last visit was more than a decade ago, I needed to make good on a considerable amount of bureaucratic backlog. The general impression amongst informed observers is that the Russian bureaucracy has gone from being atrocious to merely adequate. I concur. What in 2006 would have likely taken me several days to resolve only took half a day. It is still a far cry from North European digital nirvanas but the paperwork has become crisper and more efficient.

One of the main points I have made over and over again on this blog is that while wages in Russia might be low, they are countered by the banal fact that prices are much cheaper, so the gap in living standards between Russia and the developed Western world is not so much the fivefold difference you see in nominal GDP per capita comparisons, but rather the twofold difference you get after a purchasing power adjustment.

DSC_0394

Food is very cheap. Twice cheaper is the general rule of thumb, and that is with respect to Moscow, supposedly one of the most expensive cities in the world (incidentally, this was only ever true for the most clueless expats, and has in any case ceased to be the case since the devaluation). The Big Mac, a classic component of comparison, costs 130 rubles in the Moscow suburbs, which is twice cheaper than in Britain and the US. Salted cucumbers – the real deal, not the vinegar soaked abomination that passes for them in the Anglosphere – cost close to nothing, while in California you can buy a modest bottle produced by “artisan farmer” types from Whole Foods for the princely sum of $5. Ergo for alcohol – pictured above is Massandra Muscat, a Crimean dessert wine that was actually pretty good. (However, I have yet to find a good Russian Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Any suggestions?).

Despite fond early childhood memories, I was decidedly underwhelmed by all the Ajika sauces I have sampled thus far. They’re too mild and far too salty – in other words, I guess you can say I’ve been spoiled by Mexican salsas and Indian spices. (Georgian food was traditionally considered to be this cool, exotic cuisine for meat-and-potato Russians in the USSR, but from a global perspective, my opinion is that it’s rather unimpressive). I was surprised to find that the typical Russian supermarket carries Tabasco Original sauce – my favorite hot sauce, luckily enough – and though as an import, it is twice as expensive as in the US, it’s not exactly a daily grocery item. Finding spices much more exotic than cinnamon and turmeric is a challenge. Indian food, unlike Japanese or Korean, never took off in Russia, so I plan to scout Moscow’s specialized spice shops in the coming weeks for my star anise and garam masala.

moscow-internet-speed

My lifeblood, the Internet, is dirt cheap: $8 (500 rubles) for 72Mbps. In terms of upload speed, they don’t even exaggerate, as is typical everywhere.

In London, it was $45 for 10Mbps downloads and 0.5Mbps (!) uploads. In California, it was $80 (!) for 15Mbps downloads and 5Mbps uploads with Concast.

I also got a cell phone plan for $6.5 (400 rubles) with 10GB data- I don’t use anywhere near that much, but why not after paying $35 for 2.5GB from Cricket Wireless and $20 for 2GB from EE?

Ironically, many Russians complain about the high cost of Internet, cell phone plans, and other utilities. Things are always relative.

I will be busy furnishing my office and visiting friends and relatives in the coming days and weeks, so blogging will initially be slow but will gradually pick back up.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russia, The AK, Travel 
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A few days ago the Russian urban lifestyle magazine Afisha commissioned some big data geeks to visualize the percentage of Muscovite landlords specifying “Russians only” (“Slavs only,” “No Caucasians,” etc.) in their home rental listings.

Here is the resulting map (red is more “xenophobic”):

map-of-muscovite-tolerance-2016

The range of landlords making ethnic requirements varied from 0% in the center and west of the city to up to a third in the outskirts, especially the east and south. (The district where I come from is around 22%).

What do they tend to have in common?

Here is a map of rental prices in 2013 (red is more expensive):

moscow-property-prices-2013

Here is a map of the percentage of ethnic Russians from 1993-2003 on the basis of local birth records (red is more ethnically Russian):

 

moscow-percentage-russians-2000

And finally here is a map of the official candidate Sobyanin’s and the pro-Western liberal opposition candidate Navalny’s share of the vote in the 2013 Moscow city elections (bluer regions strongly favored Sobynian, while greener regions saw Navalny do relatively better):

m4-viboriTASS-1109-12

In other words, a typical limousine liberals vs. Putintariat story.

Although the lack of “Russians only” criteria in the richer, more liberal areas is probably substantially on account of their greater progressivism (even though Navalny is somewhat of an ethnic nationalism himself) the purely economic reasons are probably more important. If you can pay the rental rates in the center, which are twice as high as in the outskirts, chances are you’ll be better behaved regardless of your ethnicity and won’t mess up the place. Landlords in the outskirts however might have greater incentives to play it safe.

Or this happens.

wish-we-had-mexicans

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Minorities, Moscow, Russia 
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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.

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

(Republished from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

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

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

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