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Big surprise. /s

Lots of boring and repetitive takes out there, so I’ll write about something different; maybe this too will be boring, but at least it’s probably unique.

Here is how three of the leading lights of the Russian nationalist movement, the Two Egors and Igor Strelkov, reacted to this news.

putin-regal

Egor Kholmogorov approves, as one might guess from the very title of his Tsargrad article: “Twenty years of peace.” This is, of course, a reference to Stolypin’s comments in 1909 on the state of the Russian Empire; ultimately, of course, it only got five. He notes that Putin came to power in a country that had been practically destroyed by two massive “social defaults,” the first one being the Bolshevik Revolution, and the second one the liberal reforms that undid its legacy. Each provoked a wave of Russophobic nihilism that denied Russians the right to their own existence.

Instead of a new utopian project, Putin gave Russia breathing room to recuperate itself economically, politically, and spiritually; today, “we see a Russia that is not only richer, better fed, stronger and more confident,” but also one “that is truer to its real self,” having rejected both “liberal globalism” and sidelined “the post-traumatic syndrome of neo-Bolshevism and neo-Stalinism.” Putin has proved an attentive pupil of Solzhenitsyn, who insisted that the best choice for Russia would be “calm authoritarianism, dedication to Russia’s Christian foundations, and putting the interests of the Russian people above that of any utopia.”

If there’s one thing to be regretful about, it is that Russians are still talking about “Presidential terms,” and in so doing paying their dues to a political system that is alien to their nature. But perhaps it is a positive testament to Putin’s gradualist spirit that he hasn’t done away with it.

putin-forever

Egor Prosvirnin has a rather dimmer opinion: “Another 6 years under the thumb of a pensioner who doesn’t use computers or the Internet. Another 6 years of new restrictions and idiotic criminal cases for posting images to Vkontakte. Another 6 years of paranoia and searching for spies and enemies… of trash-patriotism… of “clever plans” and 666D chess… of helping Syria, Sudan, and whoever else they find… of anti-intellectualism… of devouring the private economy and raising the state’s share of GDP in tandem with a lowering of social welfare… of neo-Soviet revanche… of war against russki fascism and our replacement with rossiyane… of multi-nationality and unrestricted immigration from Central Asia… of Latin Americanization and cultural degradation… of lies and offshore firms… of ever richer judo partners… of selling oil and importing hi-tech products… of blathering about moral values, while their real values are a London mansion… of this schizophrenic state where we are “fighting the West” but “sending our families to the West,” where the regime has “popular support” but “there exists the risk of a Maidan,” where there is “stability” but “no money, but you hold tight“… Another 6 years of Kadyrov… of Serdyukov… of Bobokulova… the Rotenbergs… the Minsk Accords… Mutkos… Medvedevs… SORM… FSB…”

Well, you get the point. Prosvirnin doesn’t like Putin or the Russian regime very much at all. And one can sympathize, I’d probably dislike him a lot more as well if I was to have my apartment searched and my computer seized, and my website blocked for “justifying the Islamic State” amongst other ludicrous accusations.

He comes to a pessimistic but grim conclusion: There is no chance of stopping Putin, nor of converting a fundamentally hostile elite to their side. As he clarifies in the comments in response to a question, even politics as such is useless, since the Kremlin simply refuses to register nationalist parties. Furthermore, he believes authoritarianism is only going to get worse: “In the past 20 years, the people in charge have decided on a strategy: Families and capital to the West, building a Venezuela here; or an Iran, if the population is sufficiently stupid to allow it; and North Korea in the worst case.” As such, with conventional politics out of the question, the nationalist strategy should be to intensify their informational work.

putin-emperor

Igor Strelkov doesn’t have anything good to say of Putin either, though his antipathy is one of fatalism rather than anger: “For a person who has managed to screw up everything that remained working in Russia (after the traitor Gorby and the alcoholic Borya), plus get on the wrong side of his “dear Western partners,” remaining in power is a matter of “life or death.” But the Nanogenius wants to live long and happy… and not just himself, but his entire “Ozero Coop” mafia.”

He compares the Russian Federation that Putin has “raised from its knees” to the “oligarchic monarchy” that was the Roman Principate, in which Emperors were made consuls in meaningless elections. After the Principate there came the Dominate, where you would have to bow before the statues of the “godlike” Emperors… and then came the barbarians, “masses of whom Vladimir Vladimirovich has already invited into the country.” And Russia will also have “coups and civil wars” to look forwards to, as the “inevitable accompaniment to life in a great decaying empire.” None of which concerns Putin, because “after Him, the deluge.”

 
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poll-fom-russia-elections-2018

Yesterday there was another poll on the Russian Presidential elections in 2018, this time from FOM (although state-owned, my impression is that they aren’t any less accurate than the independent – and somewhat oppositionist – Levada).

Adjusting for undecideds/no shows, the results if elections were to be held tomorrow are as follows: Putin – 84%, Zhirinovsky – 9%, Zyuganov – 5%, Sobchak – 3%.

First, I am pretty pleased with these results, since they tally with my 80/7/7/7 prediction (Putin will lose a few percentage points due to lower turnout, but make it up with a little padding of the results; relative to Zyuganov, Zhirinovsky traditionally does better in polls than in real life; and Sobchak will eke out quite a lot more thanks to (a) liberals usually being underweighed by polls, and (b) many of the Yavlinsky (1%) and “other candidate” (1%; I assume these are mostly hardcore Navalny fans) supporters voting for her.

But the second, and more interesting, point is how Zhirinovsky, permanent Fuhrer of the nationalist LDPR, has suddenly become the primary recipient of Russia’s protest vote, a role that was previously the preserve of the Communists. Whereas Zhirinovsky gets 13% to Zyuganov’s 11% and the liberals’ (Sobchak, Yavlinsky, other candidate = Navalny) combined ~9% amongst people with a mixed view of Putin, and 17% to Zyuganov’s 10% and the liberals’ ~8% amongst people who are apathetic towards Putin, Zhirinovsky now commands the support of 40% of Russian voters with a negative view of Putin, versus Zyuganov’s 7%, the liberals’ 18%, and 35% who would not vote or would spoil their ballots (many of these are probably liberals).

Several years ago, it was popular to talk of Hungary’s “Putinization” in neoliberal circles. But I submit that we might now get to see Russia’s “Orbanization,” as the great mass of the opposition to a dominant conservative regime shifts from tired old Communists, and liberals whose popularity is confined to yuppies and the intelligentsia in the big cities, to more overt and hardline nationalists.

zhirinovsky-rifle

Bearing this in mind, it is worthwhile to take a closer look at Zhirinovsky’s 2018 program:

The first thing one notices is that it is something of a mess; an idiosyncratic collection of populist, authoritarian, populist, statist, democratic, and even genuinely liberal proposals. It’s like they locked a cryptoanarchist, an Alt Rightist, and a /pol/tard in a room and forced them to come up with something without bothering to even edit the final product. Said room being Zhirinovsky’s beautiful brain. As such, there is something to be found for almost every exotic species of Russian nationalist – though fully satisfying far fewer of them.

The famous Russian far right blogger/troll Vladimir Frolov (“yarowrath“) once argued that the “basedness” level of a Russian politician could be accurately proxied by the ratio of “russkie” (ethnic Russians) vs. “rossiyane” (anodyne PC term for denizens of Russia) in his vocabulary. Perhaps one of the most distinguishing features of Russian nationalists is that they are unafraid to speak of the interests of russkie, whereas kremlins and liberals alike opt for the term rossiyane (PM Dmitry Medvedev prefers the even less offensive “inhabitants of Russia”).

Consequently, the second thing one notices is that Zhirinovsky’s 1,200 word program is full of “russkie” – twelve instances, to be precise. In contrast, the similarly short program of Alexey Navalny, whom some believe to be a nationalist, mentions the word a grand total of once – in the context of the “russkie” (Russian) language.

Here is what Zhirinovsky is promising to do for russkie, in the sense of ethnic Russians:

  • Give passports to all Russians. Defend Russians abroad, do not allow foreigners to take children from Russian families.
  • Russia, its environment and its democracy – for everyone: For Russians, and the other peoples of the country.
  • 23. Add the following preamble to the Constitution: “We, Russians and the other peoples of Russia…”
  • 24. Create an Institute of the Russian Holocaust of the 20th Century
  • 66. Rely on Russians, not foreigners, in the Academy of Sciences and the universities.
  • We will not allow [foreigners] to shoot down russkie planes, or to laugh at, criticize, lie about, and smear Russia.

The mention of an institute dedicated to the persecution of Russians in the 20th century is particularly fascinating, since this is one of the ideas that we (Kirill Nesterov, @pigdog, myself) have been promoting at our ROGPR podcast for the past year. There are few better ways to generate national solidarity than to promote the idea of some great shared tragedy, and it’s not like Russians would even have to invent anything. Meanwhile, it will accelerate the further discreditation of Communism, liberalism, and the cult of West Worship.

In Russian Nationalism 101, I mentioned three things that virtually all Russian nationalists agree on: An end to mass immigration from Central Asia; no more prosecutions for “hate speech”; and the liquidation of regional autonomies. Zhirinovsky’s program is a “tick, tick, tick” so far as all of these are concerned.

  • 8. Do not allow people from the south to commit crimes in central Russia.
  • 22. Remove the political Article 282 from the criminal code.
  • 26. The country should be divided into 30-40 guberniyas.
  • 27. Cancel the Federation Council.
  • 34. Limit immigration to Russia.
  • 57. Teach local languages only if locals want to.

Note that the “nationalist” Navalny only ever mentions the cancelation of Article 282 when he is specifically asked about it. It is not in his program, and while he doesn’t shy away from using his social media reach to promote various petitions and causes, including some rather inconsequential ones, for some reason he has never tried to collect signatures for the cancelation of Article 282.

Ideologically, Zhirinovsky’s program can perhaps best be described as populist-reactionary:

  • 12. Reconcile Tsarist, Soviet, and modern Russia.
  • 13. All revolutions are evil.
  • 15. Return Imperial symbols: The black-gold-white flag, “God Save the Tsar” as the national anthem, replace the Kremlin’s red stars with the original imperial eagles.
  • 20. Return the old names of Russia’s cities and streets.
  • 82. Redominate the ruble: Remove two zeros, one dollar is worth 60 kopeks.

Almost all non-Leftist Russian nationalists support some form of de-Communization program. It is, of course, rather strange that Russia has a 700,000 population city named after an Italian Communist leader who didn’t even succeed in taking power, a 250,000 population city named after a Polish red terrorist, and a 200,000 population city named after a German Russophobe.

The program has a strong patriarchic slant, and is strongly targeted towards siloviks:

  • 6. Further strengthen the Army and security services.
  • 7. Hit criminality. Create a system of military field trials.
  • 9. Cancel the moratorium on the death penalty.
  • 21. Do not allow more than 10% negative information on TV and radio.
  • 65. Encourage men to go into the education sector.

This would meet support with mainstream conservative nationalists, though many of its points would not go over well with the more liberal Sputnik i Pogrom. While they support an increase in the size of the military, especially of the Ground Forces – the Ukraine and Belorussia aren’t going to regather back into Russia by themselves – they want to do it at the expense of the National Guard and other bloated police and paramilitary agencies.

However, there are otherwise few specifics on foreign policy, apart from the general policy of defending Russians abroad:

  • We need to finish things up in the Middle East. Reorient foreign policy to the South. Alliance with Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria. This is 400 million people, technologies, resources, armies.

This is probably Zhirinovsky’s background as a Turcologist speaking, but the general point or for that matter even the feasibility of this proposal is a very open question.

There is a strong pro-natality element.

  • 50. Pay women to avoid abortion, the child will be raised by the state.
  • 51. Create a Ministry of Demographics and offer free fertility treatments.
  • 53. Promote a cult of the family.
  • 54. Pay 20,000 rubles per month to people who adopt orphans.
  • 55. Stimulate fertility in regions where deaths exceed births.

It’s worth noting that #55 is basically codeword for ethnic Russian regions.

That said, this is far from a grim document propounding unremitting authoritarianism, militarism, xenophobia, and ultranationalism.

In some respects, it would also increase the civil liberties of ordinary people.

  • 1. Build a country without Communism, Nazism, racism, or authoritarianism.
  • 12. A one party regime doomed the Empire, and the USSR.
  • 17. Name the mistakes of the Soviet leadership, publish the archives, condemn perestroika.
  • 22. Remove the political Article 282 from the criminal code.
  • 29. Replace all the judges.
  • 30. Conduct free and fair elections.
  • 31. Develop local self-government.
  • 42. Political and criminal amnesty. Humanize the Criminal Code.
  • 73. Easen the processs of getting European visas, remove all sanctions.
  • 74. Make life easier for disabled people: Accessible accomodations, more ramps, freedom from having to pay utilities fees.
  • 91. In Russia, the economy, and democracy, was always offered “from above.” Everything was decided by bureaucrats. The people weren’t allowed to decide anything.

Admittedly, there’s a substantial element of schizophrenia here. For instance, given the rest of the program, it’s rather hard to see the Europeans agreeing to expedite #73.

As regards basic governance and economic policy, the proposals fall into two big, somewhat contradictory categories.

On the one hand, there are the “developmental” policies, e.g. high infrastructure spending, the repatriation of offshore capital, and a reduction of regulations on business along lines that one can imagine even institutions like the IMF approving of.

  • 4. Intense development of road networks, trains with speeds of 400km/h.
  • 10. Attention to the fight against corruption. Bribe-taking bureaucrats should be fired and have their assets confiscated. A businessman should compensate anything stolen by a multiple of three.
  • 19. State commission to investigate the looting of the country after 1991.
  • 28. Reduce the numbers of Duma deputies to 200.
  • 35. Forbid banks from offering credit with property as collateral.
  • 42. Political and criminal amnesty. Humanize the Criminal Code.
  • 48. Develop tourism in Russia.
  • 78. Review the results of privatization, without violence and persecution, through persuasion.
  • 81. Organize a mass free distribution of shares in the state companies to Russian citizens.
  • 83. Large-scale economic amnesty, introduce secret accounts in at least one Russian state bank, and return to Russia all capital illegally taken offshore.
  • 87. Companies working in Russia should have their accounts in Russian banks.
  • 92. Motivate rich citizens to return their money to Russia, only here can they be safe, because abroad they are under the threat of sanctions, freezes, and confiscations.
  • 93. No inspections of businesses, apart from restaurants/catering and medicine. Don’t bother hard-working people!
  • 94. Small businesses involved in science and production – freedom from taxes.
  • 96. Reduce amount of compulsory contributions from entrepreneurs.

Orban pushed through the equivalent of #28 in Hungary. A definite answer to the 1990s privatization question needs to be furnished sooner or later to secure property rights in Russia (for comparison, Navalny proposes a windfall tax, as in Britain). #81 is perhaps a good idea to make ordinary Russians feel more invested in any future privatizations, which are otherwise bound to be unpopular. Economic amnesty is an idea often promoted by liberal economists. Since business inspections are too often just a source of rent for bureaucrats in Russia, cutting them down even further is also often proposed.

However, many of Zhirinovsky’s policies are to various extents statist, populist, or just plainly badly thought out; are of dubious efficacy; and would have the general effect of raising spending on social welfare, restricting individual autonomy, increasing state control of the economy, and increasing general inefficiency.

  • 2. Not a single person unemployed, homeless, or hungry.
  • 33. Import substitution, sell finished products, not raw materials, abroad.
  • 37. Cancel the principle of equity construction. The state must build and sell housing.
  • 38. Cancel mortgages. Only building cooperatives and social housing.
  • 39. Forbid debt collectors.
  • 41. Remove all debt-related restrictions on travel abroad.
  • 43. War against unhealthy additives to food. Forbid imports of GMO food.
  • 44. There is an obesity problem. Time to restrict advertising of unhealthy food.
  • 45. No to black market vodka. Create state stores selling cheap but high quality vodka; elsewhere, at market prices.
  • 46. Forbid sects, trainings, centers, etc. whose activities are harmful to citizens.
  • 49. Return completely free healthcare.
  • 59. Cancel the Unified State Exam. Accept students to universities without exams and return 5 year education.
  • 68. Minimum wage of no less than 20,000 rubles.
  • 85. A tax on superincomes.
  • 86. Remove Russia’s foreign currency reserves from US Treasuries.
  • 88. Nationalize trading centers, free up space for domestic producers.
  • 89. Debt forgiveness of at least 50% for all agrobusinesses and farmers.
  • 100. Special attention has to be given to Siberia and the Far East: No tax economy, salary bonuses, housing subsidies, road construction.

Unfortunately the good or at least perspective ideas are more than counterbalanced by alternatingly questionable and outright catastrophic ones which will, in all likelihood, make Russia into Venezuela.

In particular, the assumptions in #45 are simply wrong, and will collapse Russian life expectancy back down by 5 years or so.

As for ending university exams, that’s not just a return to the USSR, but to the 1920s USSR; without even the Unified State Exam to go on, how are universities supposed to select for talent?

However, in all fairness, many of these proposals will play well to the LDPR’s low-information voters.

This hints at the biggest and most irreconcilable problem of nationalism not just in Russia but throughout Europe and the US generally – the human capital is very low.

Nonetheless, there is precisely zero chance of Zhirinovsky winning and consequently trying to push through his more maladaptive ideas (even assuming that they are earnestly meant). As such, a case can be made that Russian nationalists would be well-advised to vote for him to move those issues which the LDPR really is good on – immigration policy, free speech, a vision of a future where ethnic Russians can advocate for their own ethnic interests without being accused of insulting minorities – further within the Overton Window.

 
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The conventional view of nationalism is that it was a product of mass literacy and the modern state, underpinned by schoolbooks and Tombs of the Unknown Soldier. Recent years have seen challenges to this historiographic consensus at both a general level (e.g. Azar Gat’s Nations), and with respect to specific peoples (Robert Tomb’s recent The English and Their History comes to mind).

Our latest translation of Russian conservative intellectual Egor Kholmogorov is more than just a Russian contribution to this debate. It makes the much more radical argument that not only was Russia not a laggard in the process of nation-building, as European historiography has long claimed, but was at the very forefront of this process for longer than a millennium, from Novgorod’s implicit devotion to the Russian commonweal in the 13th century to Russia’s defense of a “Europe of Fatherlands” against the globalist tide of national annihilation today.


russian-mammoths

Mammoths and Patriots on the Russian Plain

A Brief History of Russian National Sentiment

by Egor Kholmogorov

Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus

Original: https://um.plus/2016/04/09/rossiya-rodina-mamontov-i-patriotov/

Sometimes I hear that saying “patriotism as a national idea” is akin to saying that water is wet. However, this argument comes from people with a very superficial understanding of how difficult it is to be patriot given that, unlike a comfortable cosmopolitanism, patriotism is the path of struggle. Also, they fail to realize how important the contribution of Russia and Russian culture is to shaping the very phenomenon of a patriotic consciousness in the modern world. The Russians developed patriotism as a national idea far earlier than most European nations. And it is Russia that keeps its faith in a “Europe of Fatherlands” or a “World of Fatherlands” in today’s age of identity erasure.

“Russia is the Motherland of elephants.” This zinger, coined as a mockery of Russian patriotism[1], is, however, entirely true, with a slight correction: Russia is the Motherland of mammoths. It is thanks to the hunt of those majestic beasts that the first humans on the Russian Plain, then half-concealed by the Great Glacier, created a culture highly developed for its time. Nowadays, archaeologists even speak of a “mammoth hunter civilization.”

Indeed, even nowadays the remains of long-term housing built out of mammoth ivory, exhibited at the museum of Kostenki village, Voronezh Oblast, are no less amazing than some stone ruins from Oriental or European antiquity. Overall, it seems that the mammoth joke is on the jokers.

With the same minor correction, one can claim that Russia is the Motherland of patriotism. Of course, patriotism is a word of Latin roots, also hearkening back to Greek. Of course, the cult of pride for one’s country, its history and its heroes, was developed in Greece and Rome, and new European nations learned this art from the ancients (for example, Old Rus’ via Byzantium).

But there are different kinds of patriotism. “The thrust of the Greek notion of freedom was directed at their closest neighbors: being free meant not being dependent on them”, as noted by Robert Wipper (1859 – 1954), one of our foremost Classical scholars. Only two or three times out of the entirety of Hellenic history the Greeks showed a capacity for working together and for a Pan-Hellenic patriotism, but even 300 Spartans, defending a bottleneck that led to the heart of Greece, believed they were fighting for “Laconic law.” The Greeks saw Hellas not as a common home country but as a common space for competing hometowns, peaceful if possible (at the Olympic Games).

Roman patriotism was more similar to ours. It was a not solely urban but also imperial patriotism, that of a city turned superpower. The history of a city that defended its freedom from foreign invaders and domestic tyrants, vanquished all of its neighbors, and transformed into a worldwide Empire formed the archetype of a patriotic myth for future generations.

The Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg houses a sculpture by Vasily Demut-Malinovsky (1776 – 1846) named The Russian Scaevola. A very Classical-looking Russian peasant with an axe is chopping off his arm bearing a brand of the letter N, meaning “Napoleon.” This patriotic legend was born as an imitation of a celebrated Roman historical myth. A young Roman patrician named Gaius Mucius, nicknamed Scaevola (“Left-Handed”), attempted to assassinate Porsenna, the Etruscan king. When he was caught and subjected to torture, he placed his right hand on a brazier and endured the pain until it became completely charred. Porcenna, terrified by the Roman’s defiant fortitude, sued for peace with his city.

However, it was the city that formed the nucleus of Roman patriotism. If Russia truly were “Muscovy”, if Moscow had been seen as a creator of a new world and not as a unifier of Russian lands, then we could have developed a Roman-styled urban patriotism.

But Russian patriotism existed long before the rise of Moscow, and had at its forefront not the City, but the Land. Russian patriotic consciousness is the oldest national consciousness among European peoples. There is no France yet, only a “Western Frankia.” There is no Germany yet, just the Holy Roman Empire, which would only have the “of the Germanic nation” appended to its name in 1512. England, only recently under the rule of Danish kings and separated into territories of Danelaw and Saxon Law, has fallen under the sway of new conquerors, the haughty Normans marked by both Frankish arrogance and Norse ruthlessness. Meanwhile, a Russian chronicler is already penning the title of his work containing the question: “From whence came the Russian Land?”[2]

150 years before that, Russian envoys already come to Constantinople bearing the words, “We are of Russian kindred”, and they come, as the chronicle puts it, “from the great Russian prince, and all other princes, and all people of the Russian land.” The oldest historical document mentioning the Russians, the Annales Bertiniani from the year 838, already contains this “Russian kindred” formula (id est gentem suam, Rhos vocari dicebant). The chronicler still remembers the differences between Polans, Drevlians, and Vyatichi[3], he knows that Russian princes united Varangians and Slavs, but the unity of this society named “Rus’” seems to him indisputable and beyond all doubt. The first Russian chronicler deliberately constructs the image of Russian history as that of a unified people creating a unified country and subject to a unified authority. The same is discussed by Hilarion of Kiev (11th century) in his Sermon on Law and Grace with regards to Prince Vladimir: “For he was the sole ruler of his land, bringing all neighboring countries under his sway, some of them by peace, and the unruly ones by the sword.

Those three elements – Land, People, Empire – are, in their unity, the true formula of Russian patriotism, inherited by Russia from the times when Western European peoples had no patriotic consciousness to speak of. Only in 1214, when French king Philip II Augustus crushed the joint forces of the Holy Roman Empire and England near Bouvines, can we discover a semblance of French national pride. Only three decades later, an anonymous Russian scribes writes the Lay of the Ruin of the Russian Land, a haunting patriotic manifesto lamenting the destruction of Rus’ in the flames of the Mongol invasion.

Due to the vagaries of history, the tale of the destruction per se is not extant[4], yet we can still read the preamble, a veritable hymn to old pre-Mongol Rus’ demonstrating the height of its patriotic sentiment. The Lay is a love-letter to the Russian Land, a paean to its beauty and wealth. In my opinion, the text should be learned by heart as a part of school curriculum.

“Oh Russian Land, bright with brightness and adorned with adornments! Many are thy beauties: thou art adorned by many lakes, rivers and wells famed in thy lands, mountains, steep hills, tall oak woods, clean fields, marvellous beasts, diverse birds, countless great cities, marvellous villages, vineries of monasteries, houses of the Lord and redoubtable princes, honest boyars, noblemen aplenty. The Russian Land is filled with everything, oh true Christian faith!”

But it is not just the beauty of nature of Rus’ that he relishes; it is also its might, its dominion over other nations and the prestige of its rulers:

“From here to Hungarians and Poles and Czechs, from Czechs to Yotvingians[5], from Yotvingians to Lithuanians to Germans, from Germans to Karelians, from Karelians to Ustyug[6], where live the pagan Toymichi[7], and beyond the Breathing Sea[8], from the sea to Bulgars, from Bulgars to Burtasians[9], from Burtasians to Cheremis[10], from Cheremis to Mordva[11] – everything did the Lord bring under the sway of Christian people. The pagan lands submitted to the Grand Prince Vsevolod[12], and his father Yuri, prince of Kiev[13], and his grandfather Vladimir Monomakh[14], with whose name the Polovtsy[15] scared their children in their cradles. And Lithuanians dared not crawl out of their swamps, and Hungarians fortified their stone cities with iron gates so that the great Vladimir would not strike at them, and the Germans rejoiced, living far away beyond the Blue Sea[16]”

This common national memory, the idea of the Russian Land as a unity was the force that kept Russia from disintegration and destruction during the years of the Mongol yoke. Serapion, Bishop of Vladimir (? – 1275), lamented that “our majesty is brought to the ground, our beauty is dead, our wealth profits others, our works inherited by pagans, our land is the legacy of outlanders.” This, by the way, is the best answer of a contemporary of the Mongol invasion to those that today would present this incursion from the East as a time of friendship and cooperation.

“We cannot relish our own bread.” This formula of Serapion’s is a precise description of centuries-long Russian woes that intensified in the years of the Horde: we cannot have the joy of relishing our bread, it is either won with blood and tears, or stolen by foreign invaders, or the harvest fails. A simple Russian dream: to relish our own bread.

Nevertheless, that dream required fighting for. The Russians afforded particular reverence to those that would fight for Rus’, like Saint Alexander Nevsky. For Novgorod, he was both protector and hangman when he forced a rich mercantile city untouched by the Mongol invasion to pay the tribute imposed by the Horde. This was done to relieve the burden of other Russian lands, pillaged and impoverished. He chopped heads off, drowned peolpe, gouged eyes out; he should have been remembered as a tyrant. Yet here are the words of a Novgorod chronicler in the First Novgorod Chronicle (oldest recension) regarding the prince’s passing: “Merciful Lord, reveal Thy Countenance to him in the ages to come, for he labored much for the sake of Novgorod and the whole of Russian Land.”

“For the whole of Russian Land”, words written in Novgorod, a city oftentimes presented today as something of an independent state forcefully subjugated by Muscovy. However, in spite of all trade ties to the West, Novgorodians gave priority to a Pan-Russian patriotic sentiment, even judging the prince that had harshly mistreated them from the viewpoint of an integral Russian cause, and not just that of their city.

That is the ideological foundation of the unified Russian state, the great Russia, which appeared not with a delay compared to Western Europe, but with a lead. Dmitry Likhachov (1906 – 1999) noted in his book Russian Culture of the Period of Russian Nation-State Formation (1946): “The origins of national elements of specific cultures are more or less simultaneous everywhere in Europe, but only in Russia do they receive support in the form of a proper Russian nation-state. That is why the national character of 14-15th century culture of Rus’ is more pronounced than in that of England, France, or Germany of the same period. The unity of the Russian language is much stronger than that of French, English, German, Italian national languages. Russian literature is much more subordinate to the theme of state-building than that of other nations…”

I cannot agree with Lev Gumilyov’s (1912 – 1992) statement claiming that “they came to the Kulikovo Field[17] as men of Moscow, Serpukhov, Rostov, Beloozero, Smolensk, Murom, etc., but returned as Russians.” The desire to frame the great battle as a turning point is understandable, but the warriors came to fight, came as Russians already, not only those from from the Vladimir Principality and its vassals, but also from Lithuanian-held Rus’. They realized quite well that the true Pan-Russian cause was that of Moscow and not Lithuania. Simeon the Proud, the uncle of Dmitry Donskoy, the victor of Kulikovo, already claimed the title “of all Russias”[18], and the Byzantine emperor referred to him in his epistles as riks pasis Rossias, “the king of all Russia.” Therefore, the warriors of Kulikovo were already fighting for Russia and just Moscow.

Thanks to Joan of Arc, the French got the idea that Englishmen have no right to claim La Belle France for themselves. The Hundred Years’ War in general played an enormous part in developing national awareness in European peoples. It would suffice to compare two versions of the same chronicle written by the famous Jean Froissart with a difference of several decades and describing the same events. The first version is steeped in chivalric ideas, the second one is inspired by the concept of nationality. Froissart interprets the same act first as conforming to the concept of honor, then as typical of English or French character.

In spite of this dichotomy, it is hard to imagine a 15th or early 16th-century French or English king justifying his claims to a certain territory with a national principle, not defending his own domain but demanding to cede a different one “because Frenchmen live there.” At the same time, barely freed from the yoke of the Horde, Russia begins an irredentist struggle for Russian lands. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Livonia are seen as thieves of “ancestral lands” inherited by Russian princes from their forefather, Prince Vladimir.

The Papal envoys, while attempting to cajole Vasily III into a war with distant Turkey, got the following reply from the boyars: “The Grand Prince wants his ancestral domain, the Russian Land” (at that particular moment this claim also included Kiev). Those demands were invariably followed by lengthy historical justifications of the rights Russian state that would shock European diplomats.“Russian diplomats skilfully used their historical learning and created a complex theory of Muscovite princely power that elevated the prestige of the Russian monarchy… It was a creative political ideology that directed the politics of the Russian state towards the defence of national interests and culture in the complex milieu of European civilisation”, writes Dmitry Likhachov in National Consciousness of Old Rus’.

At that time Europe was engulfed in wars of religion. The battle of Catholics and Protestants almost succeeded in stamping out the sprouts of nascent national consciousness. Only horror and revulsion at the atrocities inflicted by kin and kith speaking the same language keeps national consciousness alive in spite of religious boundaries. European nations mostly grew out of a rejection of religious schism, and this was a positive and unifying side of European nationalism. But it was also marred by a certain Hellenic particularism, all too often national bigotry was directed at closest neighbors and formed a nation based on this hostility. What are the French without hating Englishmen, Germans, or Spaniards?

Russian national awareness evolved in a different way. It was not directed against a neighbor. Even the attitude towards Poland-Lithuania, in spite of incessant hostilities, never developed into an ethnophobia. If Russophobia is an unfortunate fixture of Polish national awareness, the Russian side of the conflict limited itself to “I’ll have my revenge and then forget.” Russian self-awareness was based on a positive patriotism, on love for one’s own land, people, culture, and ruler. The rejection of others expressed itself not in hatred but in a good-natured gibe similar to the manner in which The Lay of the Ruin describes the neighbors of Rus’.

The “foreign” becomes a threat only if it is injurious and harmful to Russian identity. It is menacing not as an external but as an internal threat, as demonstrated by the Time of Troubles. Russia has no difficulty in repelling invaders but wasted much effort on surpassing internal conflict that almost wrecked the state itself. Ivan Timofeev (ca. 1555 – 1631), one of the most acute observers of the Time of Troubles, saw the root of all evil in an obsession with all things foreign that had engulfed Ivan the Terrible and Boris Godunov. He chastises the first Russian czar for straying from national identity:

“He slew many nobles of his czardom that were loyal to him, others he exiled into lands of heathen faiths, and instead of them he favored those who had come from foreign lands… That is why we are surprised: even people of moderate reason would have understood that one cannot trust one’s enemies forever. And he, a man of such great wisdom, was laid low by his own weak conscience, willingly putting his head into serpent’s jaws. All enemies that came from other lands would have never defeated him if he hadn’t surrendered himself into their hands. Alas! All of his secrets were in the hands of barbarians, and they did what they pleased with him. I will say nothing more – he was a traitor to himself.”

Timofeev reproaches the common folk as well. “Their tongues grew mute and their mouths were shut with bribery; all of our feelings were weakened by fear” is his description of Boris Godunov’s rise to power, the ascendancy of a man who was seen by many as a criminal and a child-murderer. The same complacence in the face of wickedness at the beginning of the Time of Trouble is lambasted by Avraamy Palitsyn (? – ca. 1625), who speaks of “a mad silence of the entire people.”

The restoration of the country begins with a loud patriotic proclamations: the epistles of Patriarch Hermogenes (ca. 1530 – 1612), calling Russia to resist brigands and invaders; the letters of the Nizhny Novgorod volunteer army[19] calling to “stand united against common enemies and Russian brigands that spill our own blood in the country.” Patriotic rhetoric and patriotic awareness were the remedy that nursed Russia back to health in the moment where its statehood was in tatters. The Chronograph (1617)[20] describes the Council of the Land that elected a new dynasty[21] by painting a picture of national unity: “From the borders to the hinterlands of the Russian land the Orthodox people, men both meek and powerful, rich and poor, old and young, were granted the generous gift of life-giving wisdom and illuminated with the light of virtuously minded concord. Even though they came from different lands, they spoke with one voice, even though they were dissimilar as they lived far apart, they were gathered in one council as equals.”

The Time of Troubles and the heroism of Minin and Pozharsky’s resistance army are a damning argument against the popular myth that denies the existence of the Russian nation in that period. On the contrary, Russia, in the depth of its national and patriotic consciousness, was a step or two ahead of even the most progressive of neighbouring countries, where even a century later collusion with foreigners against one’s own nation was not considered dishonorable and considered a legitimate political instrument.

In Russia this was already unthinkable. There, patriotic consciousness was a hallmark of identity, which enabled the reunification of Ukraine, the patriotic heroism of the Great Northern War that required a mighty collective effort of the entire nation to carve out a space among great European powers, the brilliant achievements of Catherine the Great, the majestic victory over Napoleon in 1812. The last war is particularly remarkable: not only ex post facto, but even during the campaign itself it was seen as, and called, a Patriotic War. All gestures and words of the actors in this patriotic drama were made for the cause of the Fatherland.

The Russian propaganda machine left Napoleon no chance to subjugate the Russian people or entrench his dominance. The narcissistic conqueror was opposed not only by soldiers but by artists of rhetoric, from patriotic admiral Alexander Shishkov (1754 – 1841) who wrote the czar’s manifestos to populist propaganda virtuoso Count Fyodor Rostopchin (1763 – 1826) and his broadsides[22]. Without understanding the cultural and symbolic background we can never understand the most important of historical events, from the Battle of Borodino, fought mainly for political reasons, where every Russian officer saw death or injury as the highest honor, to the epic and terrifying fire of Moscow. Russia opposed Napoleon not only with a superior fighting spirit but also with a superior, elaborate patriotic ideology.

Even in Europe, German nationalism was not a predecessor but perhaps a byproduct of Russian patriotic resistance to Napoleon. Russia created a vast network of resistance, inspiring many European minds. Alexander Svechin (1878 – 1938), a prominent military theorist, gives the following description of the German front of Russian propaganda wars:

Russia organized a German Committee under the de facto leadership of Baron Heinrich von und zu Stein, the political head of the German national movement, who consented to leading the Russian propaganda effort. With a brilliant cadre of German patriotic officers that had resigned Prussian service when Prussia had been strongarmed into an alliance with Napoleon, Stein decided to create a German Legion staffed with German deserters and prisoners of war from La Grande Armée. The Legion was intended as a revolutionary challenge to a Germany enslaved by the French and then the core of an armed insurrection within Germany itself.

A fine example of propaganda tracts published in Saint Petersburg in October 1812 at the printers of the Senate, financed by an absolute monarch, is the “Brief Catechism of the German Soldier” written by Ernst Moritz Arndt by special commission. It claimed that German soldiers used to have their own emperor, but then they made a pact with Satan and Hell in the guise of Napoleon. People who were once free became slaves and are being sent to far-flung countries to turn free and happy peoples into slaves just as themselves. A German emperor sends a German soldier to war; must he fight? No, says Arndt; the idea of monarchy is subordinate to that of the nation and Fatherland. If the sovereign forces his soldiers to oppress the innocent and violate their rights, if he conspires against the happiness and freedom of his own subjects, if he colludes with the enemies of his own nation, if he allows his population to be robbed, dishonored, and raped, then following the orders of such a sovereign would be an affront to divine law. German honor commands the German soldier to break the sword that German despots force him to raise for the cause of his nation’s enemies, the French. The soldier must remember that the Fatherland and nation are timeless and deathless, while monarchs and all kinds of superiors will stay in the past with their petty ambitions and disgraceful misdeeds…

The success of propaganda among German regiments that defended Napoleon’s operation lines in 1812 was largely instrumental for the Berezina battle plan, an encirclement of the La Grande Armée core that had delved too deep into Moscow.

This fact seems like a veritable mockery of the popular Western “time zones of nationalism” theory formulated by Ernest Gellner. Allegedly, national consciousness in Europe develops from West to East. The further to the West, the more developed the national sentiment, the stronger its civic nature. Conversely, the further you look to the East, the more tardy and ethnocentric the national sentiment there.

As we can see, this is patently untrue. Russian national sentiment is not younger but older than German, or even the French and English. It is the oldest among the modern peoples of Europe, based on an identity of the Russian Land already pronounced in 10-11th centuries. There is no reason for assigning the Russians a more recent birth date. At the same time, the Russian self-awareness is perhaps not the most but the least ethnocentric, sometimes overly so, causing certain inconveniences for the Russians themselves.

The object of this sentiment is not the place of a particular ethnic group among others but the Fatherland, the Russian Land, its beauty and grandeur among other lands.

The Russians were indeed late in realising the ethnic aspect of nationalism, not due to an alleged backwardness, but because they were late in encountering ethnic nationalism directed against them, mostly in the western borderlands of the Russian Empire. A certain part was played by the German nationalism in the Baltic region; having clashed with it, Yuri Samarin (1819 – 1876) formulated his idea of Russians as a nation that needs equal rights within its own empire in his Letters from Riga (1849)[23].

In spite of the “time zone” theory, German nationalism – in the form of a Pan-German, unifying, state-driven national sentiment – was not a predecessor but a product of Russian patriotism that manifested in the anti-Napoleonic struggle. Russia stimulated German nationalism as an opposition to a Pan-European empire, not imitated it. Russia became a protector of identity and national diversity in Europe in spite of all attempts to forge it into some faceless union.

Nowadays, Russian patriotism preserves the same importance. As justly reminded by Vladimir Putin: “For Russia, for a Russian person […] the patriotic sentiment is very important, the sense of national belonging that is now, to their chagrin, being eroded in certain European countries.” In today’s Europe, the eyes of those who seek to preserve their national identity, those who are patriots and nationalists in the best sense of the word, are fixed upon Moscow. Conversely, those who yell the loudest about a “Russian menace” and a “European unity in the face of Russian aggression” are mostly partisans of a complete erasure of European faces and borders, oriented towards the EU Quarter of Brussels and the White House.

As I have attempted to demonstrate, this is really old news. Russia is still the Motherland of patriotism in Europe, and now, in defiance of an artificial denationalisation imposed by Communism, we are returning to our old mission – keeping the flame of nationality in Europe, preserving it as a Europe of Fatherlands and not a public thoroughfare.


Notes

[1] The origins of this memetic phrase are in the so-called Anti-Cosmopolitan campaign enacted in the final years of Stalinism (1948-53); one of its prominent traits was the “discovery” Russian “firsts” in science, invention, the arts, etc.; many of such “discoveries” were based on dubious or outright falsified data. The “Motherland of elephants” joke was born as a parody of this propaganda blitz.

[2] An allusion to the Primary Chronicle, a.k.a. The Tale of Past Years (ca. 1110), Russia’s oldest surviving historical chronicle traditionally attributed to Nestor (ca. 1056 – 1114), a monk of the Kiev Monastery of the Caves. Its first words, often interpreted as the work’s title, are “These are the tales of past years, of where the Russian Land comes from, of who reigned the first in Kiev, and of how the Russian Land came to be.”

[3] Early East Slavic tribal groups.

[4] The anonymous 13th-century work only survives in fragments and quotations, most of them limited to its poetic preamble.

[5] Baltic tribal group.

[6] Modern-day Velikiy Ustyug, a city in the far Russian North.

[7] An obscure Finno-Ugric tribe.

[8] The White Sea or the Arctic Ocean.

[9] A defunct Volga ethnic group of unknown origin.

[10] An ancient name for the Mari ethnic group, in the modern-day Mariy El Republic of Russia.

[11] A Finno-Ugric ethnic group, in the modern-day Mordovia Republic of Russia.

[12] Vsevolod the Big Nest (1154 – 1212), Grand Prince of Vladimir.

[13] Yuri Dolgorukiy (ca. 1099 – 1157), Grand Prince of Suzdal and Kiev, founder of Moscow.

[14] Vladimir Monomakh (1053 – 1125), Grand Prince of Kiev. Famous, among other things, for organizing successful collective Russians expeditions against steppe nomads.

[15] Russian name for Cumans, nomads of Turkic origin.

[16] The Baltic.

[17] The battle of Kulikovo (1380) was fought by a Muscovy-led coalition of Russian principalities and was the first major Russian victory over Mongols in decades.

[18] This traditional English translation of title is something of a misnomer, a more precise one would be “of the whole of Rus’” or “of the united Rus’.”

[19] A popular resistance force organized in 1611 in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod by the merchant Kuzma Minin and the nobleman Dmitry Pozharsky with the goal of suppressing roving bands of brigands, expelling Polish invaders, and preventing the complete collapse of the Russian state. It was instrumental in defeating the Polish garrison in Moscow in 1612 and restoring an independent Russian monarchy in 1613.

[20] Compendium of Russian and world history from Biblical events to recent times, including the events of the Time of Troubles.

[21] An irregularly convened assembly of delegates from all estates of Russian feudal society (sometimes including peasantry) that discussed and voted on the affairs of the state, active ca. 1549 – ca. 1683. The Council of 1613 was particularly important for electing a new dynasty (the Romanovs) to take the vacant Russian throne.

[22] As governor of Moscow during the Napoleonic invasion, Rostopchin became famous for the mass printing and distribution of colorful broadsides with grotesque caricatures and easy-to-grasp text, written in a deliberately folksy style, that satirized the enemy and called for a mass popular resistance.

[23] In 1846, as a government inspector, Samarin travelled through what now is Latvia, documenting many facts of abusive and arrogant attitude towards Russia and the Russians by privileged Baltic German nobility amid the tacit or open support of Russian government officials. Drawing from those experiences, he published a pamphlet titled Letters from Riga (1849), considered one of the first Slavophile manifestos and a seminal document of modern Russian nationalism. The publication caused a scandal that led to Samarin’s brief imprisonment and exile for “fomenting anti-government dissent.”


Translator’s Notes

  1. Several abridgements were made in accordance with the author’s wishes.
  2. The translator took the liberty of making the text more accesible to readers not possessing an in-depth knowledge of Russian history. All names were rendered in their full form, and mentions of most Russian historical figures come with birth and death years for easier reference.
  3. Only names, events, etc. that cannot be identified with a quick Google or Wikipedia search were annotated. So were several allusions to historical events known to every educated Russian but obscure in the West.
 
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I have already written about the Russian government’s blocking of Sputnik i Pogrom, Russia’s foremost nationalist resource.

Two politicians have taken a clear stance on this. Zhirinovsky was one. I have been weighing whether to vote for him or Putin (if only to “reward” him for Crimea) in March 2018. Well, the decision is vastly easier now.

Another supporter is Sergey Shargulin, a Communist deputy, who has sent a letter to the General Prosecutor requesting they provision the materials on the basis of which they were blocked. This is probably connected to Shargulin having been an active supporter of the Donbass resistance, so to hear inanities such as SiP’s support for Ukrainian nationalists must have been especially jarring for him.

The liberals have generally approved of this, since Russian liberalism has little to do with liberal values as such (e.g. freedom of speech) and is more often a respectable fig-leaf for Russophobia and Western cargo cultism. (Alexey Kovalev is a consistently honorable exception).

Perhaps surprising to some – though it shouldn’t be – was the joyous reaction of Stalinists and Eurasianists, such as Israel Shamir. He has not only celebrated the “closure” of that “Vlasovite site,” but believes the authorities haven’t gone far enough; nothing less than a prison term under Article 282 would suffice!

One might think that cheering political prosecution is a rather incongruent position for someone labeled as a Holocaust denier by the Western media, but apparently SiP sinned by not being hard enough on the Jews. Not making this up! “A desperate attempt to set Russians against everyone: Against Armenians, against the Kyrgyz, against Ukrainians. But not against the Jews! They obviously get their money from the CIA, and they wouldn’t give them a penny if they criticized the Jews.

It’s hard to see where to even begin to comment.

I mean, kudos to Shamir for thinking up one of the more… idiosyncratic rationalizations for having a legal system in which obese 90 IQ bureaucrats decide what Russians are allowed to read on Russian taxpayer money (or try to, anyway; Russians are aware of VPN). Hopefully he takes this as a compliment.

So instead I will make just two points. First, this is a good illustration of why Stalinists and Eurasianists are not Russian nationalists (as the Western media almost always clumps them), and why the two factions don’t usually want to have anything to do with each other.

Second, I do want to take the opportunity to specifically address the “Vlasovite” smear that is repeatedly lobbed at Russian nationalists, including SiP, by Stalinists, Eurasianists, and assorted Soviet people.

Vlasov was an exemplary Soviet officer. He did not disappear in the 1937 military purges. Instead, he “faithfully followed the party line” as a member of military tribunals, and enjoyed steady career progression. He so impressed his superiors that he was awarded with a golden watch in 1940. But after going over to the Germans, he suddenly became a resolute enemy of Bolshevik tyranny. The Prague Manifesto, compiled in 1944 under Nazi tutelage, praised the ideals of the February revolution, supported the self-determination of the nations within the USSR (that is, an independent Ukraine, Belarus, etc), and promised to fight against “reactionary forces.”

All of that is in direct opposition to what Russian nationalism stands for. But it is also very congruent with the ideals of the rootless liberal elites who ruled Russia in the 1990s, and continue to exercise significant cultural and economic power today. Who are themselves in large part just the mutant offspring of the late Soviet nomenklatura. (The case of Nobel Peace Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich is particularly instructive: A woman who transitioned seamlessly from writing cringeworthy odes to the ethnic Polish founder of the Soviet secret police Dzerzhinsky to penning Russophobic screeds, she is perhaps the quintessential representative of this “Soviet-liberal” class).

Now here’s the thing. To my knowledge, SiP has never expressed any support or sympathy for Vlasov. (I’ve read a good percentage of everything they’ve written since about 2014, so I am reasonably qualified to make this judgment).

They have, however, pointed out inconvenient facts – including the critical observation that Vlasov was a successful product of the Soviet system and a quintesential Soviet person (as judged by that system itself until 1942).

But for devotees of a tyrant who literally erased people who fell afoul of him from historical record, this might well be more infuriating than if SiP actually were the swastika-toting Vlasovites of their imagination.

 
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Sputnik i Pogrom (SiP), the premier online resource of the Russian nationalists has just been blocked by Roskomnadzor.

It was done on the request of the General Prosecutor, along with five other nationalist sites. They claim to have found evidence of them “justifying” Right Sector, the Islamic State, Al-Nusra, and other terrorist groups, fighting in Syria. Formulaic reminder about how the Islamic State is banned on the territory of the Russian Federation, in case anyone forgot. The resources in question “propagandize the ideas of national and religious discord, which constitute a threat to social peace and incite extremism.”

Apart from the inherent absurdity of implying Russian nationalists have sympathies for Islamists – an absurdity that any honest person can recognize regardless of ideological orientation – the more telling characteristic is no particular offending material was identified. This means “correcting” a sentence or even removing an article or two doesn’t appear to be an option. SiP’s editors seem to have recognized this, and are mulling switching domain names and directing readers to guides on how to install VPN. (Though the Russian government is working on banning VPN too).

sip-blocked-news As a reminder, SiP isn’t some fringe Neo-Nazi blog bedecked in swastikas and dug up from the bowels of the Internet. It is a glossy magazine with long, high-quality articles about Russian history that now garners 1.5 million monthly visits, despite many of its articles being paywalled. It has been remarkably successful at penetrating its way into the Russian elites: Alexander Voloshin, Igor Strelkov, and Ksenia Sobchak (!) are known to be readers. Combining the visitor numbers of the top Alt Right websites with the intellectual sophistication and elite influence of the upper-tier neoreactionary blogs, SiP’s success as a media phenomenon cannot be denied. As the ultimate “compliment,” many of the large federal MSM organizations have already written about the pogrom of Sputnik i Pogrom.

It is highly critical of the Putin regime for what they see as its corruption, privileging of ethnic minorities, open borders with Central Asia, laxness in Ukraine, and the stiffling climate of political authoritarianism and social conservatism. One can agree or disagree with these assertions to varying extents, but one cannot credibly accuse it of being an agent for Western (or Islamist) interests; in 2014, they actively supported Crimea’s incorporation into Russia and the Donbass resistance, contributing 60 million rubles for humanitarian needs, sending volunteers, and crowdfunding an APC for the people’s militias.

Nor could SiP have been banned for its relative social and political liberalism, such as their criticism of organized religion and homophobia. The website of the Russian Imperial Movement, which whom I became acquainted in Saint-Petersburg, has also been blocked, even though they are hardline social conservatives and require applications for membership to be Orthodox Christians.

In totality, all this points to one conclusion: The Russian government has increasingly had it with Russian nationalism.

To be sure, the General Prosecutor balked at stating that directly, but the very lameness and lack of specifics of its accusations indicates that this is indeed the case. (More than half of Russians agree with the implicitly ethnonationalist slogan “Russia for Russians,” so perhaps that was a wise decision on their part).

What are the consequences and implications?

From a political perspective, the Russian elections are coming up in March 2018, and the authorities might have decided that oppositionist nationalism is not a media factor they want in play. This might imply that Navalny will be allowed to run after all (even though SiP has in truth been opposed to Navalny as much as Putin).

Another predictable theory that rears its head at times like these is that a “Putinsliv” (betrayal) is being planned for the LDNR, so the screws are being tightened in preparation for that – needless to say, a capitulation there will infuriate oppositionist nationalists more than any other group. This is very highly unlikely. Russia is coming out out of recession, so concerns about the economic impact of Western sanctions should be at a relative minimum. Besides, this is not the first time that SiP has been subjected to state harassment; its chief editor Egor Prosvirnin had his apartment searched and electronic devices confiscated back in September 2015.

Finally, it would be amiss to end this without a brief discussion of this event in the current political and sociological context.

First, there is a rich irony in that just a few weeks ago, Egor Prosvirnin was disinvited from the Saint-Petersburg “Geek Picnic” tech conference thanks to the no-platforming efforts of SJWs of “multinational nationality” such as Mikhail Gelfand, Boris Stern, David Homak, and Asya Kazantseva. Their logic being that Prosvirnin is a Kremlin attack dog and an imperialist Russian chauvinist (all these terms are interchangeable to them). The rather more banal reality is that Russian nationalists are squeezed between globalist “ZOG” and the “Putletreich” that loathes them in almost equal measure.

Second, it is just beautiful that SiP is now banned not just in “brotherly” Belarus, but in Russia as well, but not yet in “Banderite” Ukraine. Needless to say, this has nothing to do with any particularly Ukrainian respect for free speech. It is just that Ukraine is the least competent of these three Russophobic states. It’s still funny, though.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Censorship, Nationalism, Russia 
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france-elections-2017-whos-who-update

I don’t have much to add to my previous posts on this matter:

ipsos-poll-france-elections-2017

An n=8,200 Ipsos poll from May 5 gave Emmanual Macron 63% to Le Pen’s 37%. She needs a miracle.

The betting markets are likewise gloomy. Macron is 87% favorites on PredictIt, which is bad but not hopeless for Le Pen.

However, the picture becomes much worse for the French nationalists when you look at betting markets with a wider breakdown of options. For instance, the probability distribution for the question asking what percentage of the popular vote MLP will get displays a bell curve with a peak around 37%-38%, declining to 1% for the segment 45-46%, and staying at 1% for each consecutive one percentage point segment until we get to 11% predicting 50%+, i.e. a Le Pen victory.

These Le Pen optimists are clearly banking on some kind of miracle – systemic polling problems that massively understate MLP’s support (seemingly disproved in the first round); the spirit of kek; perhaps a few timely leaks.

And it just so happens that kek has delivered through the hacker 4chan.

On May 3, a /pol/ack posted two PDFs with evidence of an offshore bank account owned by Macron in the Cayman Islands.

The first doc is the incorporation of a shell company in Nevis, a country that doesn’t keep ownership records of corporations. The second is proof of a banking relationship with a bank involved in tax evasion in the Cayman Islands.

People have known for a while that Macron underreported his income and assets to the government, but nobody knew where it was stored. Here’s where his money is stored. See what you can do with this, anon. Let’s get grinding. If we can get #MacronCacheCash trending in France for the debates tonight, it might discourage French voters from voting Macron.

Document 1: https://my.mixtape.moe/onviuq.pdf

Document 2: https://my.mixtape.moe/bspenp.pdf

palmer-banking-spy Curiously, in the final debate, Le Pen had implied Macron might be in possession of an offshore account in the Bahamas, in response to which Macron had threatened a defamation lawsuit.

The lawyer who the documents indicate set up Macron’s Cayman LLC appears to have had a career as a top CIA banking spy.

One day later, about 9GB of email, photos, and attachments up to April 24, 2017 were posted on the /pol/ boards.

Are you ready /pol/?

https://pastebin.com/bUJKFpH1

http://archive.is/eQtrm

In this pastebin are links to torrents of emails between Macron, his team and other officials, politicians as well as original documents and photos

The emails were quickly established as credible, though the Macron campaign has taken a cue from the HRC campaign and hinted that there are fakes interspersed amongst the real emails.

Though nobody has comprehensively looked through the entire thing, and of course doing so before the actual elections is unrealistic, some interesting tidbits are cropping up that may involve insider trading, unauthorized access to classified state information, and the purchase of recreational drugs and perhaps harder stuff.

Needless to say, this has created quite the stir on cyberspace. Wikileaks and Jack Posobiec spread the message on Twitter; as I write this, #MacronLeaks is the number one trending hashtag on French Twitter. The French police have taken a formal interest in ascertaining the identity of the leaker.

Problem: The French media has entered its election silence period, so there will be no substantive discussions of the MacronLeaks in the MSM. (I checked the front pages of the major French newspapers and Le Monde is the only one to have prominent coverage of MacronLeaks).

Which begs the question of whodunnit.

The MSM has, of course, rushed to blame the Russian hacker Ivan. However, as more level-headed people have pointed out, what would be the point of doing this at the last moment? Macron is the least Russia friendly of the four major candidates – his campaign has scandalously barred the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik from his events – and, the logic goes, would now be even less well disposed towards Putin.

On the other hand, a more cynical view might be that the Kremlin views the prospects for cooperation with a Macron-led France as being so dismal anyway that it might as well begin destabilizing him straight away.

Two other possibilities:

(1) Bryan MacDonald: “My bet is other state actors trying to ruin any chance of a future Macron-Putin arrangement or freelance Russians acting the maggot.”

(2) Technically competent, disgruntled Leftist/Communist supporter who wants to undermine Macron, but who doesn’t want Le Pen to benefit from it.

 
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hi-reddit-russia A couple of weeks back I had an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with /r/Russia.

Direct link: Hi /r/Russia! Anatoly Karlin, writer for The Unz Review / Анатолий Карлин, “пейсатель” о России, геополитике. AMA!

Thought I would reprint some of the questions and answers there so that they don’t vanish into the digital ether.

***

Politics

You were at the March 26 protests

Can we confidently say that the Kremlin lost young voters forever.

Does Russia have a new protest generation?

For example in the west, there was the contrast between the WWII conservative generation and the young generation of the 60s( this so-called counterculture )

Yes, here’s my account of the March 26 protests.

I don’t think the Kremlin has lost young voters, though some kremlins are definitely trying to. Ultimately, Putin after Crimea still has the steady support of about 80% of Russians, so that precludes any great dip in support amongst young people.

My impression is that paradoxically, both liberal and pro-Putin sentiments might be somewhat higher amongst the younger generations, alongside a melange of other, more idiosyncratic ideologies like monarchism and whatnot. Why? Because Communist sympathies collapse amongst younger Russians. That is, relative to the older generations, there are still plenty of “vatniks,” but many fewer “sovoks.”

If there is going to be a strong youth-based protest movement in the future – which isn’t the case now, 8,000 protesters in a city of 12 million is nothing – I suspect nationalists will play a big role in it.

***

Two questions

  1. In your opinion, what are the most important politcal challenges facing our country and how can those challenges can be adress?
  2. What should the federal government’s top three priorities be in setting a sound foreign policy vital to our interest?

(1) The lack of a clearcut succession mechanism is a serious problem. Putin after Crimea has become sort of what the poli-sci types call a “charismatic leader,” so his own power is quite secure, but you can’t say the same for the beigeocratic bugmen who make up his entourage from Medvedev on down. Hopefully he can groom an adequate replacement in his remaining years as President.

(2) It all boils down to this: Be smarter.

pushkov-need-to-be-smarter

Alexey Pushkov: “Russia invested $200bn in Ukraine’s economy in the past 20 years, the US – $5bn in the “development of democracy.” Looks like we didn’t invest correctly. Important lesson.”

The lack of a clearcut succession mechanism is a serious problem. Putin after Crimea has become sort of what the poli-sci types call a “charismatic leader,” so his own power is quite secure, but you can’t say the same for the beigeocratic bugmen who make up his entourage from Medvedev on down. Hopefully he can groom an adequate replacement in his remaining years as President.

What do you think might happen if Putin fails to produce a successor in time (for one reason or another)? Are there any political elites or oligarchs who might be plotting an aggressive move to be executed against Putin (if his support wanes over time) or shortly after him suddenly stepping down (ill health, death, or something else)? Maybe someone in the military or siloviki? Indeed, the lack of any clear mechanisms will cause chaos, which will be an opportunity for some.

I am just as skeptical about the prospects of an internal coup against Putin as about the prospects of a color revolution (detailed article about this).

Putin’s approval rating hasn’t consistently dipped below 60% since late 1999. Any event or development that brings it down into dangerous territory is likely to be so unexpected and traumatic that little could be meaningfully predicted about it. If Putin steps down due to “life” reasons (e.g. ill health), Medvedev would be the immediate logical successor. He will get by in the short to medium term, I suppose, though being much less popular and charismatic than Putin his position will be shakier.

***

How much of a role did the US have in the Russian troubles in the 90s? Mostly talking about the domestic problems. Aside from their monetary support of Yelstin in the 1996 election, can’t think of any nefarious actions, while some claim that the CIA conspired with the oligarchs to destroy the country, and then with the Chechens to destroy it again, and so on. From what I’ve read, the US (as a whole, with the exception of some officials including presidents) was mostly disinterested in Russian domestic problems, leaving it to its own problems.

Do you think that if the US managed to execute a Marshall plan-style aid for Russia back then, it would have been a better place now?

I think US role in that is overdone in “patriotic” Russian propaganda. Most of the damage was either self-inflicted (the kleptocratic nature of the privatizations), or inevitable (reintroducing markets after 60 years of central planning – you can turn a fish into a fish stew, but turning a fish stew into a fish is harder, as the economists joked).

To be sure, the oligarchs pretty much were Western agents of influence, but I agree with you that the dominant US policy towards Russia was disinterest.

Russian opinion towards the US was extremely positive in the early 1990s, through to the war against Serbia. There were even serious considerations of pursuing NATO membership through to the early 2000s. If there ever was an opportunity to draw Russia within the Euro-Atlantic orbit and preempt a Sino-Russian alliance, it was then. Instead, Washington D.C. considered itself the victory in the Cold War and chose to expand NATO (a policy opposed by both George Kennan and Henry Kissinger).

***

Do you think Lenin will be buried? How do you expect the 100th anniversary of his revolution will be “commemorated” in Russia?

Lenin was a traitor, so if his body has to be disposed of in some way, it should be cremated and scattered to the four winds.

That said, it does have some historical value as the oldest well preserved body in the world, so perhaps it could be moved to an outskirt of Moscow. Maybe the commies could crowdfund a “shrine” of some sort there.

***

If Vladimir Zhirinovsky had a daughter named Martine could she lead the LDPR to power?

Martine Lebedeva would be a good name for a video game anti-heroine.

***

Political Theory

Any favorites among right-wing thinkers from nineteenth century? Do you think that, say, Pobedonostev still holds water today as an actual political philosopher, or he should be read from purely historical POV? Name your three favorite russian philosophers, right-wing or not.

I haven’t studied Pobedonostev in any great depth, but I’m not enarmored with him; too often he seems to adopt egregiously reactionary positions just for, well, the heck of it.

I do recall him having some good thoughts on how the mass media operates, rushing to print anything without fact-checking (#fakenews?). But his proposed solutions tended to be antagonistically authoritarian, and some were outright crazy, like his arguments against mass schooling.

Favorite 3 Russian philosophers:

  1. Ivan Ilyin
  2. Vladimir Vernadsky
  3. Nikolay Berdyaev

***

What’s your take on classic Moldbug writings from 2008-2013, and separately, on current state of neoreactosphere?

I am not a big fan of Moldbug.

For instance, he not only denies AGW, but also seems to be under the impression that this makes him some sort of dissident against the “weaponized memeplex of Hypercalvinist Atheo-Oecumenic conspiracy,” as opposed to just subscribing to one of the tenets of Conservatism Inc. (USA).

As for his big idea, neocameralism – dividing up sovereignty into shares to be bought up by Silicon Valley oligarchs? Congratulations, neoreactionaries – you’ve just handed the SJWs absolute political power on a platter.

My view on NRx (in its original formulation) is that it was just libertarians trying to deal with the fact that the average person has an IQ of 100. Since I was never a libertarian, it never appealed to me all that strongly, despite certain sympathies for it. To be sure, there was also an “ethnonationalist” strain in NRx, but my impression is that it has since pretty much merged into the Alt Right (as Michael Anissimov predicted a couple of years back).

***

Let me just say that I greatly value your blogging over the years. It’s a breath of fresh air. Western coverage of Russia is 100% propaganda but the simpletons over at RT are not much better. I realise your biases – you’re open about them – but I much prefer that over feigned ‘neutrality’ which always end up in a monotone demonisation.

Now to my question. Putin strikes me as less of a nationalist than an imperialist . An imperialist believes in a larger, over-arching idea. Rome went from being a nation-state to an Empire, and being “roman” moved from an ethnic concept to a universal concept. Same is true with America.

In my view, if you’re a Russian nationalist, then you should be against imperialism. This isn’t to say that you don’t want Russia to be strong(which is often confused with being an imperialist by naïve people). Because only nationalism will preserve the Russian nation(see the Central Asian immigration problem).

So, with such a large preamble, do you A) agree with my characterisation of Putin and B) what do you think are the chances of purely ethnic Russian(with some allowances for other ethnicities, as long as they meld into the larger Russian core) nationalism? I’m thinking post-Putin mostly given that he is in his mid-60s and is unlikely to change.

I am a Russian nationalist, but I subscribe to the concept of the triune Russian nation – i.e., of Great Russians, Little Russians, and White Russians – as the nation-building core of a prospective “Big Russia.”

This implicitly demands the eventual reunification of the Russian lands – not as an imperial project, but a nation-(re)building one.

The most “imperial” aspects of Russia are (1) Chechnya/Ingushetia/Dagestan and (2) Central Asia, both of which were only brought within the Russian Empire in the middle of the 19th century. And I am indeed lukewarm about whether or not the former should remain within Russia, and am certainly opposed to any significant degree of integration with the latter (not least for demographic reasons: There are about now as many young Central Asians as there are ethnic Russians).

With that out of the way, to answer your specific questions:

(A) Putin is an imperialist, a nationalist, as well as a conservative, a liberal, a liberal-conservative, a patriot, a sovok, an opportunist, and so forth. His modus operandi has always been to balance between different political and ideological factions.

(B) Support for this strain of nationalism is certainly growing – as of the latest polls, “Russia for [ethnic] Russians” enjoys about 50% support, and that viewpoint is relatively far more prevalent amongst the younger generations.

***

Geopolitics

Who will take power next in Ukraine? Do you think the Kremlin’s decision to take a passive approach will be vindicated? My impression is that Ukraine is a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment, which will make anyone who steps inside regret it. But then, vigorous action might have and might yet restore the status quo ante of a reasonably large and friendly buffer state (minus west Ukraine).

I speculated about developments in Ukraine here. There’s a possibility that Tymoshenko is mounting a slow-motion coup against Poroshenko with the help of Turchinov, Kolomoysky, and his pet far right batallions.

I unenthusiastically supported Minsk II at the time, however I think since then its detractors have been proven right – as of Q4 2016, the Ukrainian economy was growing by close to 5% (after all, even Ukraine has to hit bottom at some point). That said, Trump’s election victory is an unexpected wild card that may yet rescue the day, and Ukrainian nationalists have proved to be reliably helpful.

restore the status quo ante
friendly buffer state

Pick one. Pre-Maidan Ukraine was not friendly.

Yes, this is true. Yanukovych only turned to EEU at the last moment, right after running an extensive pro-EU campaign. Genius!

The demographics in Ukraine are also very unfavorable in terms of attitudes towards Russia. The Far West is growing vigorously – it has some of the highest fertility rates in Europe – whereas the Donbass was in a true death spiral even before the war.

Moreover, even I can sympathize with Ukrainians who don’t want their country to be a buffer state. While both the EU and Russia can sell tantalizing (if unrealistic) visions of what is possible – TyschaVDen’ to the west, space race victory to the east – literally like, nobody, wants to be a “buffer” between a bunch of gayropean degenerates and sovok cretins. :)

***

What is your opinion on the syrian intervention and how much longer in your opinion will we stay in the country?

I initially supported it on the theory that its goals were to provide cheap real life training for the Russian Air Force; secure itself a couple of useful bases in the MENA region; use it as a bargaining chip with the US in future discussions about spheres of influence in Eurasia.

I have since become more skeptical about it. There is now a much larger degree of involvement, including ground involvement, and it seems like Russia is taking its own rhetoric about fighting the terrorists in Syria so as not to have to fight them in Russia itself seriously. That said, I still support it, though I now have major reservations about the dangers of overextension.

If there is no further substantial US intervention, I expect Syria to be eventually divided between the Syrian government west of the Euphrates, and Kurdistan east of it, maybe by 2019-20. They will come to some kind of confederal arrangement. If however the neocons win out and move forwards with HRC’s no fly zone ideas, who knows what will happen. Nothing good, that’s for certain.

***

What’s the general sentiment towards Germany? What do Russians think about Germany today and how much did the feelings towards Germany change after our relations took a change for the worse recently? Also, what do you think would need to happen to better the German-Russian relations?

(1) Were generally good until 2014. I can’t find polls on Levada, but I would imagine Russian opinion of Germany tracks that of the EU, which was consistently higher than opinion of the US, but converged after 2014.

(2) AfD comes to power in Germany. Khodorkovsky comes to power in Russia.

More realistically, if the US goes full neocon and goes gallivanting on Middle East adventures again. There are committed Atlanticists in Germany like Julian Roepcke, but they are still a minority. German assessments of US trustworthiness have already plummeted from ~60% under Obama to close to 20% after Trump (similar to the current figures for Russia), and especially if the SPD takes back power and anyone other than Macron or Hamon win in France, I could just about see the reformation of the Paris/Berlin/Moscow bloc that opposed the Iraq War. Still, it’s a huge longshot.

Thank you! Military misadventures of the US are the most realistic possibility for an improvement in my eyes, too. But such an outside influence wouldn’t be a very substantial one and also may only be short lived.

Still, it’s a bit paradox that while the “West” seems to be united in its condemnation of and mistrust towards Russia, Germany is building NordstreamII and some german lower rank politicians like Seehofer keep traveling to Moscow, seemingly to keep relations from dropping too low. I think Germany is caught in the middle, having to appease its main and most influential ally, the US, while trying to maintain some contact with Russia and access to the Russian market on which can be build upon in the future, if the situation improves and allows for it.

A last note on why I asked my question… I was very moved by Putin’s speech at the German Bundestag in 2001 and felt like the vision of a shared EU/Russian market, common security policy and general cooperation between the EU and what is now the EEU would have been a true path to stability and prosperity for our region and most of the world and it saddens me very much that this vision is more or less dead now.

***

What do you think of use of military force to achieve Russian goals? Syria seems to me to be a success, regardless of many possible concerns, however instances like Georgia and Ukraine seem to be very much a mixed bag. In short – was it worth it, and was there a viable alternative?

Georgia – Russian peacekeepers were directly attacked, no choice but to respond forcefully.

Ukraine – Crimea was an undisputed success that saved it from Donbass’ sad fate. If anything, a timely Russian large-scale intervention in early 2014 would have resulted in far fewer overall deaths and suffering.

Syria – See here.

***

Technology

Will Russia return to the cutting edge of space exploration (and/or exploitation, colonization, etc.) technology in the near future?

How does the Russian military stack up against the US and China when it comes to the space domain?

No. In fact, I expect Russia to continue slipping behind.

Ultimately, there is only so much $3.5tn economy and $3bn Roskosmos budget can sustain versus a $20tn economy (USA, China) and a $35bn NASA budget/$6bn and rapidly growing Chinese space budget.

That said, I don’t expect space colonization to occur on any substantial scale in this century, Musk’s rhetoric regardless.

***

As a transhumanist myself I don’t really understand how transhumanism and nationalism mixed together in you. The idea of transhumanism transcends the ideas of nations, races and even the human nature. Technological evolution should unite the humanity and as long people become more and more connected today with each other – the ideas of national goverments and nations will be rendered oblosete with time.

Good question.

Very legitimate one, of course. I am sure that once we get to computer superintelligence or CRISPR ourselves up to 175 average IQs, the world will become thoroughly cosmopolitan (support for tolerance, open borders, free trade, etc. tends to increase with IQ).

Problem #1 – developing those technologies takes brains. Elite brains. “Smart fractions,” as they’re known in the psychometric literature. As well as the appropriate technological growth-friendly institutions, which again need a certain level of average national IQ to maintain.

Problem #2 – the evidence suggests that mass immigration from the Third World has negative effects on average national IQ. There is also good recent economic research that suggests that immigrants tend to carry over their home country cultural attitudes, with negative impacts on the quality of institutions in the host countries. See Garett Jones.

Can you envision the US or Japan (average IQ ~100) launching a singularity? It doesn’t seem entirely implausible.

Can you envision Brazil or Indonesia (average IQ ~85) launching a singularity? Sub-Saharan Africa (average IQ ~70)? Seems rather less likely.

As the neoreactionaries say, you can’t cultivate gardens without walls. We don’t know what kind of smart fraction ingenuity would be necessary for the biosphere to complete its transition into a disembodied noosphere. As such, it makes sense to play it safe.

Thank you for broad answer! Technological singularity is my dream. I wish would live long enough only to see the start of it. I have limited knowledge about general AI and even less about gene alteration technology, but guts of the computer engineer say that achieving artificial or virtual intelligence is faster way to help humanity to solve difficult problems. Only after development of such system humanity would reach the level when they will “gene-engineer” the humanity itself. Putting it simply – be smart enough to become smarter first and use this knowledge later.

Sometimes I think that sometimes society and technology develops way ahead of human basic behavior – eat, dominate and multiply – and that creates problems we have worldwide.

***

Economics

Russia’s economic growth 2000-2008: how much is luck and how much is sound fiscal management/ macroeconomic policy? I find this to be a fundamental question when it comes to assessing Putin’s legacy.

Russia’s future economic growth: will Putin be able to deliver solid numbers or do you agree with me that the preferable route for Russia going forward would be to be led by liberal reformists such as Medvedev/Kudrin?

EEU: Does it make sense for Russia economically? Should it continue to be pursued for geopolitical purposes? Bonus: should Russia seek closer ties with Europe or do it’s own Eurasian thing?

Also, do you share my assessment that Putin’s domestic policy since 2008 of increased authoritarianism etc has been a bad thing and that there is a need for a change in direction?

(1) Russia did about average for the ex-Soviet region – much better than Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, most of the Central Asian states; about the same as two of the “Baltic tigers,” Latvia and Lithuania; and worse than Estonia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Oil production in the latter two greatly increased relative to the peak Soviet period, whereas Russia’s only recovered to where they were. It might have done better without hasty corruption-wracked privatizations; even star reformer Poland didn’t rush with them, and they did very well. Even just doing what Belarus did would have probably been better. Their GDP stopped falling around 1995. OTOH, it wasn’t a total disaster like Ukraine. I don’t know if the Estonian example is extendable to Russia given its status as a tiny entrepot.

(2) What does “reform” even mean? Russia is now 40th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ratings. I call that successful reform.

Then there is the “cult of reform” which involves installing pro-Western yesmen into power for a temporary bump to the stockmarket in return for selling state assets for pennies on the dollar, unilateral geopolitical concessions, etc.

Kudrin once went on record calling on Russians to drink more vodka for the good of the budget. Vodka bingeing is the leading cause of premature mortality in Russia. I don’t think Russia needs “economic geniuses” like that, regardless of the opinions of Davos bugmen.

(3) I supported the EEU when it appeared to be something around which Russia could return to its older borders through peaceful economic integration. Since then it has started to look more like a mechanism to send cheap labor to Russia, styming automation, suppressing wages, helping Central Asian sovok dictators stay in power, and perhaps eventually turning Russia into Greater Turkestan. I support a wall with Central Asia and the regathering of the Russian lands.

(4) “Bonus: should Russia seek closer ties with Europe or do it’s own Eurasian thing?”
Meaningless question. Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong. Europe is a geographical expression. – Bismarck. For instance, even today there are huge differences in attitudes towards Russia, from Russophobic Swedes to Russophilic Italians.

(5) I don’t have any cardinal disagreements with the setup of the Russian political system, though there are certainly many specific points of disagreement (e.g. the lack of a clear succession mechanism; the undeniably high levels of corruption within the elites; etc).

Thank you for the reply.

1) This does not really answer my question. Basically, how much credit can Putin take for Russia’s fast economic growth? His critics would say he simply “got lucky” as he was able to export expensive oil and gas.

2) I have noted the progress in the “doing business” ranking. However, how significant is this in practice? By “reform”, I mean modernisation and diversification away from energy dependence. The govt seems to have largely failed in this regard – would you agree?

4) Andrei Tsygankov divides Russia’s political class into three ‘schools’: Westernisers, statists and civilisationists. Westernisers (Medvedev, Kudrin etc) perceive Russia as a “European” country and argue that Russia should join the ranks of Western countries and seek closer ties with the EU and disregard Eurasian integration initiatives – essentially, become as “normal” a European state as it can.

5) What about heavy state ownership of the media? On corruption – is it fair to say that Putin does not appear to have done enough? Are you familiar with any of the intricacies of it – ie how difficult would it be to actually “clean up” Russia and get it to Northern European levels of corruption? Saakashvili appears to have managed to do something like this in Georgia, for all his flaws.

(1) The point that I tried to make, perhaps unsuccessfully, is that this is a very hard question that might be impossible to answer without rewinding history. Perhaps Russia could have done a bit better – though not necessarily through “Western approved” methods, as Belarus showed – but it’s also easy how it could have gone considerably worse (see Ukraine).

(2) The ease of business rankings seem to be pretty important in that (a) they are objective, unlike many other indices, such as the CPI; (b) businesspeople pay a lot attention to it; (c) n=1, but it syncs with my own impressions that the Russian bureaucracy has improved, if from a very low base.

Consider diversification practically, instead of as a slogan. Since Russia produces as much oil as Saudi Arabia, diversification away from it is not easy, just as it is not for, say, Norway, or Australia (both fully developed countries with large natural resource sectors). Unlike, say, Saudi Arabia, Russia does have a substantial manufacturing base – comparable in scope to that of France, Italy, India, and Brazil. In my opinion, the problem with the Russian economy isn’t so much that there’s no diversification beyond oil and gas – there is – but that it tends to be technologically underdeveloped.

(4) There is a difference in becoming a “normal European country” (which is good, and something that Russia has been doing anyway, not unsuccessfully as was pointed out by Treisman & Schleifer as early as 2003) and pursuing European integration, which right now is akin to boarding a sinking ship, and was never a realistic option for Russia anyway.
(5) “What about heavy state ownership of the media?”

The (realistic) alternative is ownership by oligarchs who wish their own and pro-Western agendas. Here’s the famous quote on this from Pelevin (only in Russian, unfortunately):

“On corruption – is it fair to say that Putin does not appear to have done enough? Are you familiar with any of the intricacies of it – ie how difficult would it be to actually “clean up” Russia and get it to Northern European levels of corruption?”

Yes, that’s fair. He is far too easy on corrupt members of his entourage. Which, frankly, is most or all of them.

That said, I am very skeptical that Russia can “solve” corruption for a variety of historical (both Tsarist Russia and USSR failed to), comparative (Italy, Greece, etc. haven’t come anywhere near Northern European standards, despite decades of institutional convergence by dint of EU membership), and cultural/biocultural (see hbdchick’s theories on the Hajnal Line) reasons.

Obviously we should aim to become better, but expectations should be kept realistic. I am pretty sure that liberal appetites for corruption are constrained only by their own lack of access to power, not ethics, and besides, Ukraine next door has now – twice! – demonstrated that color revolutions do nothing for improving corruption.

“Saakashvili appears to have managed to do something like this in Georgia, for all his flaws.”
Commented on this here:

“6% of Georgians reported paying a bribe in the past year in 2004, the first year of Saakashvili’s Presidency, and before his reforms could reasonably be expected to have taken effect; in 2013, the last year of his President, it was 4%. An improvement, sure, but not a particularly radical one. Actual opinion polls by Transparency International suggest that lowlevel corruption was not a big problem in Georgia pre-Saakashvili, and its reduction under him could just as easily have been a simple matter of the general withering away of the state’s regulatory agencies under his libertarian reforms. For instance, the near wholesale removal of university tuition subsidies – essential for democratic access to higher education in a country as poor as Georgia – led to a plunge in tertiary enrollment by almost a third relative to the early-to-mid-2000s. Fewer students automatically translates to fewer bribes for grades. These examples can be extended indefinitely: Less contact with the state automatically leads to “lower” corruption. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “good” in all cases.”

Share of exports does not equal level of dependency. Natural resources may make out a large part of Norwegian exports, but they siphon only a very small percentage​ of this income into the state budget (<4% per annum). Russia has clearly taken a bigger hit from the recent crisis than many other energy exporters.

It seems I may have fallen prey to the myth of Saakashvili’s ingenuity on this front. How come Georgia’s level of corruption was already so low? Did they not go through the same decade of looting during the 90′s? In any case, does Georgia’s relative similarly to Russia (in terms of history and culture) not suggest that Russia should be able to reach a similar level?

The revelations by Navalny suggest something bordering on complete apathy towards corruption on the part of the Russian elites, wouldn’t you agree? You don’t really see the same level of – let’s face it – looting among the leaders of less corrupt countries. This leads me to suspect they are ultimately responsible for the high levels of corruption.

On the topic of inequality – I assume you agree it is a significant problem in Russia. Do you see any remedies for it? Would you favour additional Khodorkovsky-style, let’s call it, “acquisitions” by the state? Russia appears to be in quite a unique position in that it could massively improve its level of inequality by dealing only with a few select individuals. Again, my suspicion is that the political elite much prefers the current situation, wherein it enjoys free access to these looted assets.

I wasn’t aware there was any unified consensus on what exactly constitutes oil & gas dependency (i.e. share of the budget, share of exports, share of GDP, or some combination of the three).

But speaking of the budget… The share of oil & gas in the consolidated budget is now 21%, so I don’t think the situation is exactly catastrophic. Ultimately, despite the recent collapse in oil prices, the Russian budget has avoided slipping deep into the red.

I don’t think Georgia is similar to Russia at all. It is Orthodox Christian, but otherwise they speak a totally different language, belong to another (older) civilization, are genetically distinct, etc. It is also much more rural. Don’t think its very extendable to Russia at all.

Re-corruption. Mostly agreed. I would also note that there are different kinds of corruption, e.g.:

  • Everyday corruption – high by European standards though not an outlier (not only Ukraine but Romania, Hungary, Lithuania are similar); seems to be constant under Putin.
  • Business corruption (e.g. pay to get construction permit) – high by European standards though not outlier; massively improved according to World Bank Enterprise Surveys under Putin.
  • Elite corruption – very hard to measure – not exactly like you can poll them on this, like you can random individuals and businesses – but seems to be very high; trends hard to ascertain, though my guess would be that the situation is modestly better than in the 1990s, but hasn’t seen any major improvement under Putin.

Re-inequality. The political elite as such, though wealthy, doesn’t enjoy access to most of those “looted assets.” They mostly belong to the oligarchs who became rich off the 1990s privatizations, and who were explicitly told to stay out of politics (Khodorkovsky disobeyed).

Should those oligarchs be expropriated? I don’t know. On the other hand, it might frighten businesspeople and discourage longterm investment (the standard economists’ argument). On the other hand, it’s not as if they don’t deserve it, and so long as this issue remains unresolved, the consequences of privatization will remain a potential source of political illegitimacy.

I wasn’t aware there was any unified consensus on what exactly constitutes oil & gas dependency (i.e. share of the budget, share of exports, share of GDP, or some combination of the three).

I don’t think one exists, hence my objection to going simply by “share of GDP”.

But speaking of the budget… The share of oil & gas in the consolidated budget is now 21%, so I don’t think the situation is exactly catastrophic.

That doesn’t seem too bad. However, I wonder what the number would be if you included indirect income from the oil and gas sector – ie payroll taxes on employees and even the economic activity generated by their spending (this isn’t measurable, but I’m sure some estimates could be generated). This could be quite significant simply given how much more profitable this sector is than other sectors of the Russian economy.

I don’t think Georgia is similar to Russia at all. It is Orthodox Christian, but otherwise they speak a totally different language, belong to another (older) civilization, are genetically distinct, etc. It is also much more rural. Don’t think its very extendable to Russia at all.

I can see how there are certain differences, but I don’t see why they should result in such a disparity re corruption levels. You also have to factor in the 70 years spent as part of the same union. IQ levels and GDP per capita also point in Russia’s favour in this sphere (though the latter point may be negated by the “resource curse” argument).

I find your distinction between different types of corruption useful. This leads me to believe that “elite corruption” (what I guess you could also term “inequality”) is the real problem here. This, coincidentally, appears to be the domain over which Putin should be able to exert the most influence.

I’m not sure if this is so much about the political elite, in general, as about the small clique surrounding Putin. As Navalny’s most recent work revealed, the oligarchs’ assets appear to be largely at the disposal of this inner circle. For example, Usmanov gifted Medvedev his personal homes and allowed him to stay in his residence​ in Italy. Why give that up?

Even if Putin did want to break the piggy bank this would be an extremely risky (even potentially lethal) project, as the remaining guys would do anything they can to protect their assets. However, desperate times call for desperate measures and Putin will need to maintain his “performance legitimacy” somehow.

It will be interesting to see how Putin’s popularity develops going forward. Any ideas? I assume it can only go so low post-Crimea, but the lacklustre economic predictions are not very reassuring. Absent regular foreign policy victories (which is hardly a reliable political strategy despite recent successes), I suspect there may be clouds lining up in Putin’s horizon. If there’s one thing Navalny’s documentary showed, it’s that people are eyeing the oligarchic piggy bank and they may grow increasingly unhappy with Putin if he does not let more of its contents flow into their pockets.

I kind of do and kind of don’t buy the economic argument against re-acquisition of assets. On the one hand, I believe it could be done in a way that would clearly single out the top 6-7 cats. These would be distinct from foreign investors in that they will be natives and their assets will have formerly belonged to the state and often be related to natural resources. On the other hand, I guess you can always trust clueless foreign investors with zero local knowledge to completely fail to understand what’s going on and proceed to get their panties in a twist.

Sure, the indirect effects of the oil & gas sector certainly has positive downstream effects – certainly inflates consumption to some extent – though of course similar considerations would apply to all large per capita oil & gas exporters.

Pretty much agreed with everything you say about corruption here. that seems to describe reality.

I am actually quite optimistic about economic growth in the next 5 years, barring any major political or geopolitical shocks. We’ve had a two year period of gloom, but this period also saw a tight monetary and fiscal policy, the taming of inflation, and a demographic shock as the numbers of workers entering the labor force plummeted (minimum fertility in Russia was in 1999). But the negative aspects above should attenuate soon, while the positive ones stand the Russia economy in good stead for a strong recovery in the near future.

I’m not categorically against re-appropriation. As you say, it’s not entirely obvious that the reaction will be all that bad, and certainly few people would feel sorry about the likes of Usmanov or Abramovich getting their (belated) just desserts.

I did not think of the demographic factor. I wonder if it will be sufficient to bring about decent growth figures. I wish I shared your optimism, but I feel like significant structural changes are needed to see anything above 2% growth.

***

Which sectors you believe are likely to become future drivers of Russian economy?

Probably the current mainstays: Oil & gas, steel, the military-industrial complex.

I am actually pretty pessimistic on the long-term prospects of the Russian economy, though not for the usual reasons such as demographics and corruption. Automation in manufacturing is extremely low, scientific output is minimal however you try to measure it, on virtually any hi-tech metric from numbers of supercomputers to numbers of high-thoroughput sequencers, Russia is on the level of small European countries like Sweden and Switzerland.

Despite a few areas of excellence such as nuclear power, Putin’s preference for football stadiums (and the Rotenbergs’ wallets) over R&D funding is increasing Russia’s technological lag, and I’m concerned even the MIC will simply be unable to compete with the likes of the US or China past c.2025.

Considering Putin’s past job of “acquiring” foreign technology in the DDR, he must be aware of Russia’s technological weakness.

What are the prospects of reindustrialisation and foreign investment in Russia considering the collapse in oil prices, Western sanctions as well as more positive economics aspects such as a cheaper Ruble and turning to non-Western sources of investment.

Edit: How well will raising trade barriers work for encouraging domestic manufacturing like how agriculture is benefitting now.

He’s no doubt aware of it, and has even said as much (recall the nanotech initiative back around 2008? Or his promise of 20mn (?) hi-tech jobs in 2012? There was also, of course, Skolkovo. But none of these seem to have been particularly successful to my knowledge. Rosnano was handed over to Anatoly Chubais (LOL), who I think preceeded to invest most of it in Western startups, perhaps after skimming some off for himself.

I don’t know what Russia can do to change to radically improve the situation. Even the East-Central European states that have integrated with the EU haven’t developed strong hi-tech sectors; neither has Mediterranean Europe. It’s something that remains largely confined to the US, North-West Europe, Japan, and increasingly, China. Maybe its just a combination of superior human capital and/or institutions.

However, less money on show-off sporting events and more money for R&D would surely be a good start. There’s also a huge amount of bloat and corruption in Russia higher education, from university rectors to paid-for dissertations (they constitute approximately 10% of the total according to the Dissernet plagiarism detection organization). This must be tackled, but with Putin himself being the recipient of a fictive PhD, not to mention a good percentage of the Russian elites, that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Nationalism, Neoreaction, Politics, Russia, Ukraine 
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Marine Le Pen got just 4.0% of the vote in the 11th arrondissement of Paris in the first round of the French Presidential elections.

Emmanuel Macron, who said that terrorism will be part of our daily lives for years to come (echoing London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s sentiment that this is just “part and parcel of” life in a major city), got a stunning 34.8%.

It is an elite central district, where the average house costs about 10,000 Euros per square meter, and hosts relatively few Arab-African immigrants.

It also hosts the Bataclan theater, the site of the worst terrorist attack in Western Europe in the past decade.

And Le Pen here got 1% point lower than the 5.0% she got in Paris as a whole, and the 4.9% she got in the previous Presidential election in 2012.

It’s time to take the #blackpill on France. Le Pen isn’t going to win, or even come close.

Not unless there’s a dirty nuke attack in the center of Paris, and as per above, I’m not even sure that would do the trick!

There was a hope, one which I subscribed to, that the polls were understating her support, due to the Front National’s lack of respectability and the hostile media climate. We saw it with Brexit. We saw it with Trump. But France refused to complete the trifecta.

The French pollsters, apparently, were better than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts (or luckier), and if anything, somewhat overestimated Le Pen’s popularity.

Overall first round election results:

Liste des candidats Voix % Inscrits % Exprimés
M. Emmanuel MACRON 8 657 326 18,19 24,01
Mme Marine LE PEN 7 679 493 16,14 21,30
M. François FILLON 7 213 797 15,16 20,01
M. Jean-Luc MÉLENCHON 7 060 885 14,84 19,58
M. Benoît HAMON 2 291 565 4,82 6,36
M. Nicolas DUPONT-AIGNAN 1 695 186 3,56 4,70
M. Jean LASSALLE 435 365 0,91 1,21
M. Philippe POUTOU 394 582 0,83 1,09
M. François ASSELINEAU 332 588 0,70 0,92
Mme Nathalie ARTHAUD 232 428 0,49 0,64
M. Jacques CHEMINADE 65 598 0,14 0,18

Her final result of 21.3% was considerably below the ~24% average of the nearly one hundred polls one month prior to the election.

As such, we cannot hope for the polls to be cardinally wrong, and there are looking very, very bad for /ourgal/.

Direct polls of her performanc e against Macron show a consistent lead for him of 20% points.

france-elections-2017-2-opinion-poll

Likewise, simple arithmetic models of second-choice preferences applied to the electorates of the knocked out candidates also suggest that she will lose by at least 20% points.

france-election-2017-2-voting-intentions-2Even most of Fillon’s voters will go with Macron, especially after his endorsemenet of the Establishment candidate. Melenchon refused to endorse either, but the polls suggest his voters will overwhelmingly go with Macron as well.

There’s no much hope from other quarters, either. Dupont-Aignan is a solid Gaullist, but even his base are split on Le Pen. Most of the rest are Communists and anarchists of various hues who are going to vote for Macron the Outsider.

Turnout was already high, at 78%, and cannot be increased much further.

france-election-2017-2-voting-intentions-1

My back of the envelope – well, jotted down on Excel – calculations suggest that if the electorate voters as in the first chart above and the rest splits 50/50 between Macron and Le Pen – the latter, an assumption highly favorable to Le Pen – Macron will still win by 63% to 37%.

This ENEF poll (via Philippe Lemoine, see chart right) confirms the dismal outlook for Le Pen.

This is due to the fundamental differences between the French and American political systems.

If the US was a multiparty democracy, then somebody like Trump representing the nationalist part of the political spectrum would also have gotten 25% of the vote, with the constitunet elements of the Republican party splintering between religious conservatives like Cruz (Fillon) and financiers (Jeb!/Rubio), and with Hillary Clinton proceeding to wreck him in the runoffs. It was ironically by dint of its electoral system, long considered by observers as being very much resistant to populists from one extreme of the political spectrum or another, that someone like Trump could come to power by dint of Republican party loyalty. (Of course, Trump’s subsequent moderation/neoconization – cross out as per your own ideological preferences – might yet prove that said observers were right after all).

macdonald-german-political-interference In France, it is basically Gallic Jeb! – successfully portrayed by the “free and impartial Western press” as an outsider, despite him having served as a Minister in Hollande’s government, worked at a Rothschild bank, and attended Bilderberger conferences – with the support of both Hillary Clinton, Cruz, many of Bernie’s voters (if not the man himself), and the entirety of the international globalist cabal against the true political outsider, Le Pen.

As regardless the future of nationalism in France, and indeed of the French nation, I suppose the only realistic way forwards is to focus on widening the Front National’s reach so as to prepare the way for a more effective challenge in 2022. For the first time, nationalist forces are now outright winning many regions, and ironically, the Bilderbergers’ anointment of Macron as their representative in France has redefined the political struggle to be more in line with Marine Le Pen’s own formulation: “There is no left or right, only nationalists and globalists.

Though in net terms, this is still a disaster. Especially jarring is the apparent obliviousness of both the affluent, well-educated French elites in places like Paris, and the as yet non-enriched majority French areas in places like Britanny, that overwhelmingly vote against Le Pen and their own demographic dispossession.

As always, the race is between uncuckening and demographics; between White-World Supremacy Conservation…

marion-le-pen

… and the Rising Tide of Color.

vibrant-diversity-paris

France might only have a couple more electoral cycles to start reversing things before its submersion into Sub-Saharan Africa becomes irreversible.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: European Right, France, Nationalism 
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François Hollande, widely considered to be a failure with single digit approval ratings, has – unusually for French politics – decided not to run for a second term.

The polls are now split almost evenly between four canditates: The neoliberal Emmanuel Macron; the hard left Jean-Luc Mélenchon; the conservative François Fillon; and the nationalist Marine Le Pen.

The Socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, a representative of the Globalist Left who advocates for greater social spending, a universal basic income, and is on record complaining about there being “too many white people” in his hometown of Brest, is trailing badly in the polls.

The two frontrunners will face off in a second round on May 7.

***

french-election-2017-candidate-positions

Source: Data Debunk.

Who’s Who?

One of the very best summaries I’ve seen on this is from this podcast between Amren’s Jared Taylor and the French identitarian thinker Guillaume Durocher.

The power summary below is mostly based on that conversation.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon

  • Ideology: Populist Left.
  • Wikipedia: “Domestic policies proposed by Mélenchon include a 100 per cent income tax on all French nationals earning over 360,000 Euros a year, full state reimbursement for healthcare costs, a reduction in presidential powers in favour of the legislature, and the easing of immigration laws.
  • That said, the Guardian’s neoliberal warmonger Natalie Nougayrède really dislikes him for his populism and relatively Russophile positions, so he can’t be all that bad.

Emmanuel Macron

  • Ideology: Globalist Center.
  • Former banker for Rothschild & Cie Banque; Minister of Economy under Hollande, but refrained from becoming a member of the Socialist Party, and has disassociated himself from Hollande’s government; pushed for reforms to make the labor market more flexible; used that as springboard to market himself as independent candidate.
  • No such thing as French culture, there is only culture in France and it is diverse.
  • Obama at least waited until he became President to start his apology tour. Called French colonialism a crime against humanity while in Algiers.
  • Russophobe – promises he will force Putin to “respect” France.
  • According to Durocher, “a very strange dude.” Married his HS teacher at the age of 18, even though she was 24 years his senior and had three children from a previous marriage. Unusually for a French politician, he has refrained from having affairs with younger women.
  • Is seen as the favorite of the Establishment liberal elites, and usually leads in the polls.
  • Durocher: Is getting the HRC treatment – journalists love him, oligarchs love him, he is on all the trendy magazine covers! But as with HRC, this implies that there might also be an artificial character to his poll numbers.

François Fillon

  • Ideology: Globalist Right.
  • Catholic; married to Englishwoman, has 4 children; PM under Sarkozy; not radical, but went off the reservation when he said France should help Putin against ISIS – in French politics, you have to be anti-Assad (and de facto pro-Islamist).
  • Moderately Russophile: Has acknowledged Crimea is Russian in “terms of history, culture and language,” and stresses the right of national self-determination, recalling Kosovo. But is this a genuine position, or a marketing ploy to gain the support of French farmers hoping for a repeal of Russian food sanctions?
  • Started off strong, but has since become embroiled in corruption scandals – usually this happens to politicians after their Presidency, not before. He has lost the support of the UDI party, and his spokesman has resigned. Durocher notes that he has never seen this amount of pressure against a mainstream candidate. This is suspicious, because many French politicians practice petty nepotism.

Marine Le Pen

  • Ideology: Populist/Nationalist Right.
  • Not as hardcore as her father, but still the best from an HBD/IQ-realistic perspective: Wants to shut down immigration, make naturalization virtually impossible, no birthright citizenship. If she can fulfill her promises, she will at least put a tourniquet on the demographic replacement.
  • Durocher: While the National Assembly may be uncooperative, she can put some items of her program to the referendum, such as #Frexit.
  • Strongly Russophile: Has stated that Crimea is Russian, that Russia is as European a country as any, has personally met with Putin (if she is going to be accused of being a Russian shill, one supposes she might as well reap the benefits of it by posing for a photo opp with a major world leader).

Who Will Win?

france-elections-2017-media-coverage As Durocher said, the media absolutely loves Macron; according to a study by Harris Interactive, he gets more than twice as much positive as negative coverage (46% to 19%).

The numbers are almost inverse for Melenchon (20% to 35%), and unrelentingly negative for both Fillon (11% to 57%) and Le Pen (15% to 55%).

(Free Western media, folks! Not biased Kremlin TV.)

Le Pen suffers from the classic problem of all nationalists in multiparty systems – there is a hard ceiling to their support, beyond which all other forces – liberals, socialists, conservatives, maybe Islamists at some point in the future – set aside their differences to shove Hitler back into the closet.

For instance, in a Macron vs. Le Pen second round, /ourgal/ is pretty much bounded at 40%.

A vast improvement over her father, to be sure – his ceiling was around 20% – but still apparently hopeless.

In line with this, the Depuis 1958 Monte Carlo simulations model predicts the following chances of ultimate victory: Macron 91%; Melenchon 5%; Fillon 4%; Le Pen 0%.

On the other hand, if Brexit and Trump have demonstrated anything, it’s that opinion polls can be wrong – especially regarding unrespectable, or as we Russians ironically say, “unhandshakeworthy,” questions.

As Durocher points out, there is this dominant ideology in France – the only respectable and “handshakeworthy” one – that stands for globalism, for open borders, for devolution of sovereignty to the EU, for dependence on financial markets, for demographic replacement with an “endless tide of Africans and Muslims.” If you are don’t like it, then too bad, you are a fascist. Just as a Silicon Valley office drone would be well advised to keep his pro-Trump opinions to himself, so as a Le Pen supporter you will be ostracized from many French social circles.

france-elections-2002-opinion-poll And there is good evidence that there is a “Shy Tory” effect in France. In the famous 2002 elections, for instance, opinion polls had Jean-Marie Le Pen at 8%, hopelessly behind favorites Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin.

In the event, Le Pen stormed in to a second place finish with 16.9%, just above Jospin with 16.2%, though the forces of the Republic rallied in the second round to deny the fascist victory.

france-elections-2017-predictit More importantly, the gamblers – the people with #skininthegame, the people who put their money where their mouths are – consider that Marine Le Pen has a ~30% chance of eventual victory (Oddschecker, PredictIt).

The gamblers were more correct than the pollsters and experts on Brexit. The gamblers were more correct than the pollsters and experts on Trump. Now we are are about to see if we can complete the trifecta.

Betting against the gamblers is… a gamble.

Feel free to place your predictions in the comments.

EDIT: Rather belated, but here’s a Vote Compass for this election: https://votecompass.france24.com/president/home

france-elections-2017-preferences

 

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Elections, European Right, France, Nationalism 
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There is a huge amount of misinformation and disinformation about what is and what is not Russian nationalism.

As a ROG agent and evil Russian oppressor, it’s incumbent on me to set the record straight.

sputnik-i-pogrom-big-russia

Sputnik and Pogrom’s vision of “Russia for Russians.”

***

Platform: The 3 Principles

Western commentators love to designate every single frothing at the mouth bearded Russian maniac into the ranks of “Russian nationalists.” Even many Russians whose only sin is to oppose replacing ICBM parades with LGBT parades in Moscow qualify.

In their world of the ROG conspiracy, Putler is the “godfather of extreme nationalism.”

In the world of reality, however, the term “Russian nationalist” has much more precise boundaries and connotations, at least within Russia itself. It can be narrowed down to loyalty to a set of common principles, of which perhaps the three most critical ones are:

  1. The cessation of political prosecutions for “hate speech” under Article 282.
  2. An end to mass immigration from Central Asia.
  3. The regathering of the Russian lands, including Belorussia, North Kazakhstan, Novorossiya, and Malorossiya.

To be sure, just like the Alt Right in the West, we do have our own internal debates and disagreements on all sorts of issues – on Putin, on Navalny, on the Syria adventure, on whether Orthodoxy is part of implicit Russian identity, on whether Pussy Riot should be locked up, on the optimal levels of gun freedoms, even on whether or not some aspects of SJW culture should be accomodated for. It is a wide tent that is open to people from a wide variety of ideological and religious backgrounds, and you do not have to be an ethnic Russian to join in.

But we do not waver on those three big principles. Those who do, such as Anatoly Nesmiyan (El Murid), who in recent months started writing positively of a united Ukraine, get excommunicated.

What Russian nationalism is not about is dismembering Russia, transforming it into “Little Russia” around its old Novgorod heartlands, etc. This misconception centers around the frequently repeated propaganda trope that Russia is a multi-ethnic empire, which Russian ethnic nationalism will break apart. Only political prosecutions of nationalists and infinity Moslems from Central Asia can avert that.

Reality: 81% of the Russian population are ethnic Great Russians, and 83% are Slavs. This is far higher than the percentage of White Americans in the US, but for some reason the US survives just fine without any ethnic minority republics with special privileges. It is also hard to square with the very hardline positions of Russian nationalists on the Ukraine question, which match word for word the publicly stated positions of traditional Russian conservatives such as the anti-Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the political philosopher Ivan Ilyin.

Incidentally, the reincorporation of the lost territories of the triune Russian nation will raise the percentage of Slavs in Russia to close to 90%, making problems with Muslims even less of a consideration.

***

People: Who’s In? Who’s Out?

Russian nationalists do include the following:

  • The “Committee of January 25″ (K25) movement under Igor Strelkov and many of the people who were or are at associated with it, such as Konstantin Krylov and Eduard Limonov. Its US equivalent might be something like Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute.
  • The flagship magazine of Russian nationalism, Egor Prosvirnin’s Sputnik and Pogrom. Its Western equivalents would be higher tier Alt Right publications such as Radix Journal, Counter Currents, and Occidental Observer
  • Possibly Konstantin Malofeev’s Tsargrad TV, especially after Dugin’s recent ouster and replacement with Egor Kholmogorov. That said, it is more conservative than nationalist, with more than a passing resemblance to Breitbart.

Russian nationalists do not include the following:

  • Eurasianists, such as Alexander Dugin, a Warhammer 40k cosplayer who wants to replace Russia with Greater Turkestan.
  • Soviet nationalists, such as Alexander Prokhanov and Sergey Kurginyan, who want to resurrect the Soviet Union and its suppression of Russian identity.
  • Liberal nationalists, such as Alexey Navalny, who want to make Russia into a ZOG colony.
  • Ukrainian nationalists, which is what most liberal nationalists and Neo-Nazis functionally are.
  • Putin personality cultists, such as Nikolay Starikov and the (now defunct) Nashi youth movement.
  • Orthodox fundamentalist nutjobs such as Vsevolod Chaplin, who wants to legalize FGM and to replace Russia with Central Africa.

***

Putin: Putler or Putlet?

Attitudes towards Putin amongst Russian nationalists range from moderate support to outright hatred.

The more conservative and Orthodox elements of Russian nationalism tend to support him, while the more socially liberal, atheist, and/or racialist ones tend to oppose him. The most fervent Putin fans tend to be “patriots” (“putzriots“), they are not Russian nationalists, except in the loosest sense of the word. Their foreign equivalents would be the personality cults that have formed around “strong” charismatic leaders such as Trump and Erdogan.

Realistically speaking, Putin deserves neither the uncritical adulation nor the frothing condemnation of Russian nationalism. As I pointed out in my earlier article on whether or not Putin is “the godfather of extreme nationalism,” Putin is neither /ourguy/ nor (((theirguy))); he is a politician who needs to carry out a complex balancing act between various political-economic blocs and ideological strands in Russian society.

Let’s just briefly consider how Putin stacks up against Navalny and some Western politicians on the Three Principles:

(1) Russian nationalists do get imprisoned for hate speech, sometimes on remarkably spurious and illegitimate grounds. On the other hand, 282 is also wielded against Russophobes and Islamic extremists, which has made the Council of Europe very sad, so the situation here is perhaps not quite as bad as in the more “cucked” European countries. Still, its worth noting that Richard Spencer himself managed to get deported from Orban’s Hungary of all places, so there are few true nirvanas in this respect. Navalny would probably be an improvement on Putin here, assuming he does move to repeal Article 282; many of the Echo of Moscow liberals, who form part of his constituency, are big fans of it, and were instrumental in legislating it in the first place. On the plus side, there is far less political correctness in Russia than in Europe or the US, though this has little-to-nothing to do with Putin per se.

(2) Putin is very weak on immigration, though at least there are considerably fewer Third World immigrants per capita than in the UK, Germany, or Sweden; not exactly a high bar to clear, of course, but it’s still worth keeping in perspective. Navalny would almost certainly be an improvement, at least if he follows through on his platform. Putin is somewhat like American Republicans theorizing that socially conservative Latinos would be a solid support base for conservative politics, except that in Russia, this theory actually “works” – ethnic minority republics and Central Asians vote 90% for United Russia. Putin is also no match for Trump (2016 edition) on this question, though as we have recently seen, the Current Year has brought many unwelcome surprises on the God-Emperor’s true agenda.

(3) While Putin did not realize Russian nationalist aspirations to the extent that many hoped he would in the spring of 2014, it is difficult to imagine any other (viable) politician going as far as he did by bringing back Crimea and helping the LDNR survive. With Navalny, the Donbass will be left to the tender mercies of a vengeful and very Russophobic regime in Kiev, and even the long-term status of the Crimea will be put under question. On the other hand, Putin’s growing fondness for adventures in the Arab world – first Syria; soon, perhaps, Libya – is also a source of concern in some quarters of the Russian nationalist movement, who view it as a way of deflecting attention from the plight of Russia’s co-ethnics in the Donbass.

***

What is to be Done?

The only major political force in Russia that, at least on paper, satisfies all Three Principles is Zhirinovsky’s LDPR. It is against Article 282, against Central Asian immigration, and has a very strong line on Ukraine. However, there are many questions over both its competence and its independence from the Kremlin, so most Russian nationalists vote for it not so much out of ideological considerations as to move the Overton window in the right direction.

Russian nationalism as a political force is in a somewhat ironic situation. Theoretically, a good 80% or so of Russians are “vatniks” (whereas only perhaps 40% of Americans are “deplorables”), and more than half agree to some extent with the implicitly ethnonationalist slogan “Russia for Russians” (which makes half the Russian population either idiots or provocateurs, according to Putin himself). On the other hand, the main demands of Russian nationalism are either accomodated for or subverted by the Kremlin just enough to prevent a strong independent nationalist movement from emerging. For instance, Igor Strelkov, a potential figurehead for such a movement, was blacklisted by the MSM soon after his return from Ukraine.

There is currently no unity on strategy. The bulk of K25 advocates cautious cooperation with the Kremlin. Sputnik and Pogrom is more overtly oppositional. Tsargrad TV are basically regime loyalists who want it to take a harder line on the pursuit of Russian national interests, like America’s Breitbart or China’s Global Times.

My own modest aims are twofold. First, I want to help introduce the Alt Right to Russian nationalists, and vice versa. Second, I am trying to place Russian nationalism on a firmer, more scientific ideological footing, by importing useful concepts developed primarily in the West and applying them to Russian realities, such as IQ/HBD-realism.

Russian nationalism is extremely underdeveloped on these issues, thanks in part to the Soviet “blank slate” legacy, as well as to Eurasianism’s destructive promotion of “traditionalist” obscurantism (Dugin in particular denies the concept of race, period, which perhaps explains why he is so open to Central Asian population replacement). Moreover, to the extent that race is discussed at all amongst Russian nationalists, most of it happens amongst Neo-Nazis who unironically subscribe to Nazi era pseudoscience on the matter. (That said, it’s worth pointing out that European nationalisms aren’t much better. This is not surprising, since something like 80% of psychometrics and evopsych research takes place in the US, while European nationalists obssess over the intellectual miasma that is continental philosophy/Heideggerism).

This is a very sad and very stupid state of affairs – but it also represents some very low-hanging fruit. To this end, I and a couple of my friends here, Kirill Nesterov and @pigdog, have recently started up a podcast to discuss Russian politics from an Alt Right and HBD/IQ-realistic perspective in /pol/’s irreverent and semi-ironic style.

If you understand Russian, or are learning the language, you can check it out at ROGPR.com.

 
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navalny-2018

Instead of speculating about what Navalny’s program involves, let’s just look at his website: https://2018.navalny.com/platform/

I summarize the main points and provide some brief comments on each of them:

A Satisfactory Life for All, and Not Riches for the 0.1%

  • Oligarchs that live on reselling oil and resources should pay a windfall tax (as in the UK in 1997).
  • Massively reduce bureaucracy
  • Individual entrepreneurs with small incomes should be freed from taxes, regulations, and accounting requirements.
  • Minimum wage of 25,000 rubles per month. [~$400]
  • Removing construction regulations will hugely decrease housing prices. Subsidize mortgage rates.

This mostly sounds good, since Russia does genuinely have too much bureaucracy and regulations, but Navalny is having his own work out for him. Russia is now 40th in the World Bank’s Ease of Business rankings, sharply up from 112th in 2013 (the first full year of Putin’s third term).

A high minimum wage is a great idea both out of economic justice concerns and to disincentivize low skilled labor migration. Russia’s current minimum wage is entirely symbolic.

The UK’s Windfall Tax produced £4.5, almost pocket change by national standards, so this is probably just a way to legitimize past illegal privatizations under the mask of populism.

Time to Fight Corruption, and Not to Make Peace with Thievery

  • Bureacrats should live in accordance with their salaries. If there’s a mismatch, either they explain it, or they answer it in court.
  • Anti-corruption processes should be public and transparency, not hushed away like with Serdyukov and Vasilieva. [The Defense Minister dismissed for corruption]
  • Transparency in state corporations.
  • If MSM publishes facts about a bureaucrat’s corruption, he should refute them or give up his post and be prosecuted.
  • Uncovering the end owners of all companies that provide goods and services to the state and to state companies.

Navalny claims that even his detractors recognize him as the leading anti-corruption expert in Russia, which gives him the qualifications necessary to root it out.

I agree that if anything will improve under Navalny, it will likely be corruption.

However, there are good reasons doubt it will be the revolutionary change he promises for two reasons. Russia is “naturally” corrupt, like most of the rest of South/Eastern Europe; places like Italy and Hungary remain considerably more “corrupt” than the countries of “core Europe” despite decades of institutional convergence under the EU. This goes back to millennial factors revolving around culture and possibly selection for beyond-kin altruism in core Europe, that didn’t operate so much outside it.

Second, Navalny is not going to be able to pick his cadres from scratch. He will have to draw heavily from the ranks of the liberal elites, and they are only less corrupt than the people currently in power to the extent of their own distance from the feeding trough. Whenever they did have access to power, the likes of Kasyanov, Belykh, Ponamarev, etc., proved adept at translating it into wealth for themselves.

Time to Trust People, and Not to Decide Everything in Moscow

  • All but the smallest decisions are made in Moscow… All of Russia should develop, not just Moscow.
  • More taxes should be kept in local budgets, instead of going to Moscow
  • Local administrations should receive more rights and resources for solving the problems of people “on the ground.”

This is just a mix of things that have already been done and unworkable populism.

Moscow is central to Russia, and is much more developed, primarily because it has by far Russia’s highest concentration of human capital – not because it concentrates resources (it is a massive net donor).

Second, responsibility for education and healthcare has long been largely under the purview of local authorities. In fact, Navalny’s demand that the federal government should be responsible for not only guarding the borders and maintaining order, but also “building roads and hospitals,” would be a move towards centralization. I.e., his rhetoric is not even internally consistent.

Perhaps Navalny means decentralization more in a political sense. This will be a disaster, since Russia has no substantive experience of local self-government devoted to the commonweal. This is a product of Anglo civilization that it spent centuries developing and that has no chance of working in Russia. When local bigwigs acquire too much autonomy, as in the 1990s, corruption and nepotism increase, if anything.

Economic Development, Not Political Isolation

  • Russia should use its unique location between Europe and Asia to become a respectable partner for everyone.
  • The hundreds of billions thrown away on the wars in Syria and Ukraine, and on helping far-off countries, are better spent on improving life at home.
  • Our country would profit from moving politically and economically closer to European countries.
  • Visa regime with Central Asia and the South Caucasus. Labor migrants should come on work visas, and not in an uncontrollable flood, like today.
  • Russia should be the leading country of Europe and Asia, expanding its influence through economic might and cultural expansion, including worldwide support for the Russian language.

Navalny has been consistently strong on immigration, much more so than Putin, if less so than Trump. That said, he does not clarify his stance on illegals currently in Russia, nor even on precisely how many work visas he intends to give out to Uzbeks and Tajiks, nor details on how those long borders would be secured. Nonetheless, apart from his record on corruption, the immigration question is Navalny’s other major ace against Putin, especially now that the recent terrorist attacks in Saint-Petersburg and Astrakhan have brought it out into the limelight.

Navalny’s foreign policy is a trainwreck that will unilaterally any influence Russia still has over Ukraine and rule out the reunification of the Russian nation, the largest divided nation on the planet, most likely forever. This should be read in conjunction with his public statements on holding a second referendum on Crimea’s status. Even though the pro-unification side will undoubtedly win under a fair vote, this will still functionally be a retreat from the Russian government’s position that the incorporation of Crimea is a fait accompli and non-negotiable. With Donbass unilaterally surrendered to the tender mercies of the anti-Russian regime in Kiev, the status of the peninsula will become a leverage point against Russia by a vengeful Ukraine, and possibly even by the West as a whole, if Navalny’s hoped for “reset” with Europe and the US doesn’t pan out.

Navalny’s comments on global economic and soft power are populist nonsense that a quick glance at Russia’s share of global GDP should instantly dispel.

Justice for All, or Impunity for Siloviks

  • Justice reform. Courts must be respected and truly independent.
  • The police should be trusted, not feared; service there should be prestigious and well compensated.
  • Siloviks should be stripped of excessive authority, which allow them to enact levies upon entrepreneurs.

All well and good, though short on details, which we absolutely need to know if we are to assess whether the rate of improvement under Navalny is likely to be higher than under Putin.

For instance, according to the World Bank’s Enterprise Surveys, the percentage of Russian firms expected to give gifts in meetings with tax officials fell from 55% in 2002 to 7% by 2012, which hardly hints at soaring silovik banditry that he implies is happening under Putin.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alexei Navalny, Liberalism, Nationalism, Russia 
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margarita-simonyan

In a recent, widely shared Facebook post, Margarita Simonyan, the ethnic Armenian chief editor of RT, has asked what exactly a Kyrgyz national of Uzbek ethnicity did to get Russian citizenship while ethnic Russians from the wartorn Donbass struggle to even get a residency permit:

The nurse of my children and her family, whom we evacuated from Donbass after having massed a vast thicket of queues, insults, delays, examinations, etc., can’t acquire a Russian residency permit after three years. This is despite my “administrative resource,” which, I freely admit, in this particular case I freely used. This family are simply Russian people with a Russian mentality, language, faith, biographies, and connection to the Motherland. Hard-working people who would be of GREAT USE to our country where, as is well known, there is a demographic crisis and a shortage of people. Fuck them, no residence permit! But here comes Akbarzhon Jalilov, who received Russian citizenship five years ago. CITIZENSHIP!

I have two questions in this regard:

1) Who, and under what circumstances, provided this citizenship. Perhaps at the time he was just a nice schoolboy, who had solid reasons for getting citizenship in my country. Or perhaps not, especially on account of consequent events. I don’t want to judge without first knowing all the details. But I do want an answer.

2) For how long will Russia continue to be embarassed to give citizenship to Russian people just on account of them being ethnic Russians. Like how it is done in “respectable” countries from Israel to Germany. I don’t understand.

This note of protest is especially striking in light of the fact that Margarita Simonyan is the quintessential Putinist Russian patriot, and as such, an object of loathing from the pro-Western liberal opposition, who simply hate Russia and Russians, to the more extreme Russian ethnonationalists, who hate her for her Armenian ancestry and for her status as a “stalwart of the regime.”

Putin once called Russians – specifically, ethnic Russians – the “biggest divided nation in the world.” But the time has come for back up his words with actions. He can now either take the side of the Russian people, or double down on the friendship of peoples project that will eventually lead to either Navalny or Greater Turkestan.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Nationalism, Russia, Russophobes 
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ukronationalists

On March 16, the three main political forces of Ukrainian nationalism – the political party Svoboda, Right Sector, and the National Corpus (i.e. the Azov batallion’s political wing) – signed a National Manifesto that declared the ideological unity of the three structures, and conveniently summarized the 20 key theses of Ukrainian nationalism.

Given the increasingly evident political bankruptcy of the Poroshenko government, its increasing readiness to capitulate before nationalist demands, and the even greater influence Ukrainian nationalism looks set to wield over the regime that comes next, it would be germane to give a brief translation and analysis of the main points of this National Manifesto.

***

We, Ukrainian nationalists, understanding the catastrophic state of our country and with the goal of acquiring and developing a great national state, capable of securing the prosperous existence of Ukrainians and a future for Ukrainian children, are uniting our efforts on the basis of fundamental, unambiguous, and unchanging principles and goals, and thereby offer a concrete plan of action that we can embark upon straight away for the achievement of these goals.

Not bad, though the pilfering from David Lane is a bit too obvious.

1. Define as a priority of state policy the realization of Ukraine’s national interests.

As the Russian nationalist website Sputnik i Pogrom notes, there is no division between Ukraine the state and Ukrainians the people.

This is typical for semi-fictional national projects, in which there is no people without a state.

2. New vector of Ukrainian geopolitics – orientation not to the West or the East, but the creation of a new European unity – that of the Balto-Black Sea Union.

So basically a resurrection of the Intermarium, a geopolitical vision promoted by interwar Polish leader Józef Piłsudski to unite the countries from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.

Today, it has mainly become a Ukrainian nationalist obsession.

It also happens to be even more demented and schizophrenic than Eurasianism (which is at least theoretically realizable, even if its end result will be to turn Russia into Greater Turkestan due to demographic factors).

Ukraine, with a nominal GDP per capita below that of Nigeria, will be economically dominated by Poland in any such arrangement. Furthermore, the Poles have no love for Ukrainian nationalists; there are numerous human interest stories of Ukrainian Gastarbeiters in Poland getting beaten up by Polish skinheads for expressing their love for Bandera. Speaking of Polish nationalists, they outright want Lwow back.

As such, it is unclear how such a neo-Rzeczpospolita union would even be set up in the first place, unless the Ukrainians decide to keep it real authentic and also return to their old socio-economic status under the old union, i.e. as serfs under the Polish szlachta.

3. Recognize the Russian Federation as an aggressor state… break diplomatic relations, blockade the occupied territories, end Russian business activities in Ukraine, sanction Russian capital, goods, and services.

This is an excellent idea (to sideline the Western politicians and Kremlin “geniuses” who threw Ukraine a lifeline in the form of Minsk II, and allowed Russian businesses to continue investing in Ukraine to the tune of billions of dollars since 2014).

Some of these actions – namely, the blockade of the Donbass, and the shuttering down of Russian banks – have already been embarked on and post-facto legitimized by the state in recent weeks, which has resulted in the Kremlin’s apparent loss of interest in shoving Donbass back into Ukraine.

May they continue wracking up more and more peremogas along these lines!

4. Recognize [the LDNR] as occupied territories and develop a real plan to liberate Crimea and Donbass. Immediately embark upon economic, informational, and reconaissance-sabotage actions in furtherance of these goals.

Even better idea.

Though they should beware that the frontline can move backwards as well as forwards.

5. Return the right to recreate a nuclear weapons capability as a foundation of national security in light of the violation of the Budapest Memorandum.

Ukraine does have the technical capacity and human capital to do this.

Of course, the types of people who rule the West, such as Merkel or Juncker, will absolutely love the idea of nuclearization in a state full of groups of armed extremists roving around. By “absolutely love” I mean so shell-shocked they’d be begging Putin to put that rabid animal down.

6. Create a high-tech professional contract army, and a reserve army, based on the territorial principle.

This is very doable on a $90 billion GDP, by which I mean it’s completely bonkers (even if Ukraine does now spend 6% of that measly figure on its military).

7. Legalize the right to armed defense and gun ownership.

Good idea.

Incidentally, this right has existed in the “sovok” DNR since 2015, which has caused no end of butthurt amongst Right Sector.

8. Eliminate hostile propaganda from the Ukrainian information space. Cultivate traditional values, strengthen national consciousness. The Ukrainian language should be the only state language.

Russian culture is already aggressively marginalized – the list of banned Russian TV shows, films, and books is so long it’s hard to keep track. There are hundreds of political prisoners, almost none of them, of course, recognized by Western human rights organizations.

But if Ukrainian culture is indeed so powerful, attractive, and natural to the denizens of the western Pontic steppes, why does it need to be imposed through such repressive and illiberal methods?

9. Carry out a real lustration… strengthen criminal punishments for corruption.

So they do at least recognize that the Euromaidan has done nothing to improve corruption in the past three years, regardless of all the (invariably inconsequential) public workers that its activists shoved into rubbish bins.

Solution: Something along the lines of “Only mass shootings with save Ukraine!,” aka the convergence of UkSSR patriots with retrograde Russian Stalinists (as is oddly appropriate).

10. Introduce a workable procedure for impeaching the President and make a law about the recall of deputies of all levels and judges.

Presumably to be forgotten about as soon as Poroshenko gets removed and their own people are in power.

Because the alternative in Ukraine would be anarchy.

11. Introduce elections for judges and certain categories of local bureaucrats.

Not a bad idea, since along with (17), it will result in the effective breakup of the Ukrainian project.

12. Liquidate the oligarchic system: Return subsoil ownership to the state, as well as strategic objects and enterprises, illegally privatized after 1991; liquidate private monopolities, end capital flight to offshore havens.

This is not bad.

As in Russia, privatization in the 1990s was code word for mass looting, and the oligarchs borne of that period have since proven to be exceptionally bad stewards of their ill-gotten gains.

However, liberal economists will not approve (neither will the countries in thrall to them, i.e. the West).

So goodbye IMF funds. Enjoy the default.

13. Guarantee the labor rights of Ukrainians and create conditions for an effective labor union movement.

As is much of the rest of this program, it boils down to two options:

Either they will institute what it says on the tin, allowing real labor unions that stymie productivity and cancel out even the competitive advantages of Ukraine’s absurdly low wages; or the labor unions they have in mind would be utterly subservient to the state, as in Nazi Germany.

14. Create a new socially just tax code, which will encourage the development of small and medium businesses.

Nice sentiment – no details.

15. Encourage the development of national atomic and alternative energy as a foundation of energy independence.

Many alternative energy schemes are bondoogles even in developed Western countries.

In Poroshenko’s Ukraine, front companies were paid to import coal from South Africa as part of widely propagandized schemes to achieve energy independence from Russia, while in reality those funds were used to buy cheaper coal from Donbass. The difference went to predictable places.

This is a country which can’t even build a proper wall on the border with Russia. Nobody knows where the funds went.

Now try to imagine how Ukraine’s experiments with alternative energy will go.

16. Ban the trade of Ukrainian strategic resources, such as agricultural lands.

Okay.

17. Introduce real self-government by creating self-sufficient territorial units with a large degree of authority.

Agreed – federalization has been consistently touted even as a solid solution to Ukraine’s many… existential problems.

18. Rationalize immigration law, including effective provisions against illegal immigration and the creation of conditions for the return of Ukrainians to the motherland.

Ukraine isn’t facing an immigration problem; it is facing an emigration and brain drain problem, which will become even more catastrophic should it ever achieve the Maidan’s holy grail of bezviz (visa free travel with Europe).

Moreover, in light of the fact that migrants to the EU don’t even bother stopping over in Romania on their way to Germany and Sweden, this has a decidedly comical ring to it.

19. Restore positive dynamics in the national demographics; strengthen the traditional family, strengthen national-patriotic education, and place our bets on the young generation.

Births in all regions of Ukraine were lower in 2016 than in 2014.

Only in Crimea did they improve. What did they do right?

In conjunction with the rest of these proposals, the demographic situation will only plummet further as Ukraine falls into a new depression and perhaps finally falls apart.

20. Encourage the creation of a single local church based in Kiev.

This implies the final removal of the Russian Orthodox Church from Ukraine, including the confiscation of its remaining properties.

Considering ROC’s neutral, at best, and sometimes hostile, attitude to the Russian Spring -it has gone so far as to excommunicate priests who blessed warriors setting off for Donbass – this will perhaps be no more than what it deserves.

In the process, though, it will play a martyr’s role that will be far more useful than its groveling before Our Ukrainian Partners these past three years.

***

slava-ukraine Overall, solid program, I agree with almost all of it.

Consequently this blog will also be a leading torch-bearer of Ukrainian nationalism on the Internet, just as it is already Erdogan’s No.1 on the Internet.

Slava Ukraine!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Nationalism, Ukraine 
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dutch-elections-2017-results

So this was pretty bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Elections, Nationalism, Netherlands 
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Alexander Dugin is continuously trouted out by the Western media as this gray cardinal of the Kremlin, who is the “brain”, the favorite philosopher, and even the Rasputin behind Putin and no doubt soon behind Trump as well.

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

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

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

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

And finally, we have:

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

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

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

***

место Политологи итог
1. Nikonov, Vyacheslav 8486
2. Markov, Sergey 6901
3. Makarkin, Alexey 5859
4. Orlov, Dmitry 5671
5. Kalachev, Konstantin 5474
6. Prokhanov, Alexander 5426
7. Delyagin, Mikhail 5350
8. Mukhin, Alexey 5299
9. Minchenko, Evgeny 4729
10. Vinogradov, Mikhail 4133
11. Belkovsky, Stanislav 3600
12. Симонов Константин 3583
13. Zubarevich, Natalya 3395
14. Костин Константин 3232
15. Lukyanov, Fedor 3220
16. Рар Александр 3164
17. Чеснаков Алексей 3163
18. Орешкин Дмитрий 3116
19. Shevtsova, Lilya 2782
20. Абзалов Дмитрий 2760
21. Михеев Сергей 2615
22. Мартынов Алексей 2405
23. Pavlovsky, Gleb 2348
24. Галлямов Аббас 2332
25. Миронов Николай 2230
26. Ремизов Михаил 2192
27. Морозов Александр 2152
28. Данилин Павел 2148
29. Бадовский Дмитрий 2105
30. Малашенко Алексей 2001
31. Кынев Александр 1859
32. Zhuravlev, Dmitry 1772
33. Гонтмахер Евгений 1761
34. Шульман Екатерина 1758
35. Жарихин Владимир 1739
36. Кузнецов Глеб 1608
37. Бунин Игорь 1565
38. Фадеев Валерий 1530
39. DUGIN, ALEXANDER 1453
40. Kurginyan, Sergey 1449
41. Матвейчев Олег 1260
42. Пожалов Александр 1250
43. Иноземцев Владислав 1225
44. Караганов Сергей 1225
45. Zlobin, Nikolay 1208
46. Туровский Ростислав 1204
47. Kholmogorov, Egor 1173
48. Куликов Дмитрий 1165
49. Бордачев Тимофей 1114
50. Межуев Борис 1112
51. Станкевич Сергей 1059
52. Становая Татьяна 1048
53. Зудин Алексей 1041
54. Trenin, Dmitry 1035
55. Нейжмаков Михаил 984
56. Третьяков Виталий 910
57. Добромелов Григорий 771
58. Колядин Андрей 737
59. Поляков Леонид 734
60. Макаренко Борис 725
61. Кагарлицкий Борис 671
62. Федоров Георгий 602
63. Тишков Валерий 598
64. Фетисов Дмитрий 589
65. Маркедонов Сергей 545
66. Жаров Максим 544
67. Смирнов Сергей 532
68. Lipman, Maria 502
69. Коновалов Александр 400
70. Солозобов Юрий 385
71. Дмитриев Михаил 372
72. Мигранян Андраник 351
73. Пионтковский Андрей 350
74. Минтусов Игорь 293
75. Kryshtanovskaya, Olga 247
76. Урнов Марк 191
77. Гаман-Голутвина Оксана 160
78. Игрунов Вячеслав 136
79. Мельвиль Андрей 124
80. Ципко Александр 98
81. Максимов Андрей 93
82. Шаравин Александр 71
83. Каспэ Святослав 64
84. Рябов Андрей 19
85. Кувалдин Виктор 11
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Human Achievement, Nationalism, Russia 
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Putin Derangement Syndrome and Trump Derangement Syndrome continue moving towards an ever more perfect union.

Problem is: Putin is not actually a proponent of extreme nationalism, let along its godfather. At least, not according to the people who would presumably know best: The vast majority of, like, actual Russian nationalists.

They tend to consider Putin as a representative of sovok “multinationality,” who sends “real” Russian nationalists off to jail under the infamous Article 282 (one of them, Alexander Potkin/Belov, was jailed for 7.5 years on the same day as Hillary Clinton’s announcement) while allowing mass immigration and the transfer of the Russian economy to minorities and ethnic clans. 20% of Russia’s billionaires are Jews according to a study by Lenta a couple of years ago, and a recently released report by Forbes Russia revealed that only one of the ten richest “clans” in Russia are ethnically Russian, or russkie. (Incidentally, that is a term that, tellingly, Putin himself hardly ever uses, preferring the ethnically neutral term “rossiyane” that refers to all Russian citizens. A quick way of estimating how “based” a Russian commentator is Ctrl-F’ing and tallying the russkie/rossiyane ratio in his texts).

Of course the irony is that the Clinton Clique tends to like those kinds of anti-Putin nationalists and their Ukrainian counterparts.

nuland-meeting-parubiy

Clinton protege Victoria Nuland meeting with Parubiy, Chairman of the Rada and founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine.

As for Putin’s actual nationalist/non nationalist status, what both Pozocracy hacks and the more “svidomy” elements of the Western Alt Right fail to realize is that in between:

(1) Being an open borders “keep them at arm’s length” cuck; and

never-said-this(2) Living up to the overly “optimistic”/false image that the “Russophile” wing of the Alt Right (summarized in the widely shared but 100% fake meme/quote to the right) – and the Putin Derangement Syndrome-suffering SJWs and (((neocons))) – have of Putin;

… there is a pretty big middle ground around which Putin actually falls.

Yes, many Russian nationalists are sitting under Article 282 (some of them deservedly, but yes, many of them regrettably not; it is an unjust law that should ideally go the way of the rest of Europe’s “hate laws,” i.e. into the dustbin of history). But, at least, Russia also imprisons many Islamic extremists and even anti-ethnic Russians under that same law (a partial lack of double standards that the Council of Europe is very unhappy about). And moderate Russian (anti-immigration) nationalists like Egor Kholmogorov – I have translated a couple of his pieces here and here – are hardly social or legal pariahs; they get to write op-eds in the nation’s highest circulation newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda.

And there are even outright nationalists in positions of power, such as Dmitry Rogozin, who was an outright (anti-immigration) nationalist. He currently curates the military-industrial prospect and is not an altogether impossible (if highly unlikely) Presidential successor. Although with power, he has also of course strongly toned down his prior ethnonationalist rhetoric.

To reiterate, there is a very wide spectrum between a self-hating cuckold like Wolfgang Schaeuble and /pol/’s image of Ben Garrison, and on that spectrum, Putin is far closer to the likes of Trump, Le Pen, and Orban than he is to the Western political elites aka the Pozocracy (on this, at least, the Western MSM has it correct). Reasonable figures in the Alt Right recognize such as Richard Spencer recognize that they can’t have their way all of the time, and as such urge people to support these sorts of “middle ground” politicians, despite their occasional concessions to cuckoldry (even though Spencer himself got arrested in and banned from in Hungary for holding an identitarian conference so he has personal reasons to be skeptical of Orban).

However, this still does not make Putin a nationalist. In reality, like most serious politicians, Putin is a complex figure who continuously carries out an ideological balancing act (remember Angela Merkel’s “multiculturalism is a failure” speech, a long time ago in a galaxy far away?). Yes, nationalism is necessarily a part of that, and yes, to a greater extent than a decade ago, but it still needs to be balanced out against liberal, conservative, and socialist countercurrents. The dominant strand within Russia’s current ideological matrix is liberal-conservatism, a set of political and social ideas developed under late Tsarism and later amongst the White emigration that were perpendicular to both Marxism and Westernophile cargo cultism. The philosopher that Putin cites most frequently is Ivan Ilyin, an uncompromising anti-Stalinist emigre with views that are decidedly unorthodox (one daresays, cuckservative) for a Russian “extreme nationalist.”

Here are a couple of notes I made while reading Ilyin’s Our Tasks recently:

* Frankly he is much more of an anti-Communist ideologue than a Russian nationalist. He condemns in no uncertain terms those members of the White movement who were drawn towards the late Stalinist USSR by its adoption of quasi-nationalist rhetoric and is generally sanguine about Western (though not German) intentions towards Russia, casually discussing even the prospect of the atomic bombing of his country. That is decidedly strange for a nationalist, even a highly anti-Communist one.

* He even condemns the “oppression” of ethnic minorities in the USSR, whereas a staple of traditional Russian nationalist narratives on the USSR is the disproportional influence of ethnic minorities (especially the Jews) for its “anti-Russian” nature. So far he has been rather vague on the “who to blame” question as regards the Bolshevik Revolution, not going much further than “spiritual sickness.” Again, that is very milquetoast stuff, for a purported nationalist.

Putin’s nationalism, to the extent that it exists, boils down to a practical and materialist sort of patriotism or at most, a Human Biodiversity-naive civic nationalism:

We do not have and cannot have any unifying idea other than patriotism. … You said that public servants and business and all citizens in general work to make the country stronger. Because if that is the case, then each of us, each citizen will live better, and have higher incomes and be more comfortable, and so on. And that is the national idea. It isn’t ideological, it isn’t connected with any party or any stratum of society. It is connected to a general, unifying principle. If we want to live better, then the country must become more attractive for all citizens, more effective, and the public service and state apparatus and business must all become more effective. As you said, we work for the country, not understanding it in an amorphous way, like in Soviet times… when the country came first and then there was who knows what. The country is people, that’s what working ‘for the country’ means.

Of course even this might be rather too much for someone who blames whitey when blacks shoot up policemen and rewards the families of Islamic terrorists with front row seats at her conventions. (Though given HRC’s own “racist” skeletons – associations with KKK figures, the comments on superpredators, punitive anti-Black sentencing laws, etc. – it’s quite clear that her BLM and feminist pandering rhetoric is completely cynical and mercenary).

Now to be sure, Hillary Clinton can easily get away with such comments about Putin because of the strong ignorance of Russian political realities in the West and the Russophobic tilt of the Western media. But such comments elicit more skepticism when applied to anti-elite politicians in Western countries, because by definition Westerners are more familiar with them and they are pretty clearly not true (for instance, the “nationalist” Marine Le Pen is basically the conservative mainstream of yesteryear, being infinitely closer to Charles De Gaulle than, say, Marshal Pétain). And they should elicit much more skepticism when used to smear Donald Trump, given that basically everything “racist” he has ever said was taken out of context.

Will such ceaseless lying and prevarication, of which this is but one example, eventually rebound against Hillary Clinton and the mainstream media?

And eventually, perhaps, even on American perceptions of Russia?

After all if you can’t trust your media and self-proclaimed experts to tell your the truth about your own country, why should you defer to them to them on the Far Abroad?

Let us hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

 
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stalin-the-tajik

Stalin waxing lyrical about the friendship of peoples in April 1941, a famous period of international idyll when there were no other important concerns:

… I want to say a few words about the Tajiks. The Tajiks are a special people. They are not Uzbeks, Kazakhs, or Kyrgiz – they are Tajiks, the most ancient people of Central Asia. The Tajik – that means the one who wears the crown, that is how they were called by the Iranians, and the Tajiks have justified this title.

Out of the all the non-Russian Muslim peoples of the USSR, the Tajiks are the sole non-Turkic ethnicity – they are an Iranian ethnicity. The Tajiks are the people whose intelligentsia produced the great poet Ferdowsi, and it is no surprise that the Tajiks draw their cultural traditions from him. You must have felt the artistic flair of the Tajiks in the past decade, that their ancient culture and unique artistic talent as expressed in music, and song, and dance.

Sometimes our Russian colleagues mix them up: The Tajiks with Uzbeks, the Uzbeks with Turkmen, the Armenians with Georgians. This is, of course, incorrect. The Tajiks are a unique people, with a huge and ancient culture, and under our Soviet conditions they are marked out for a great future. And the entire Soviet Union must help them with that. I want their art to enjoy everyone’s attention.

I propose a toast to the flowering of Tajik art, to the Tajik people, and so that we, Muscovites, are always prepared to help them with everything that is necessary.

This is approximately a bazillion times less well known than Stalin’s toast to the Russian people at the end of World War 2, which is often cited by anti-Russian Cold Warriors (and many deluded Russian nationalists) to equate Stalinism with Russian nationalism.

While I don’t have anything particular against the Tajiks, the above toast does not strike me as something that would be uttered by any Russian nationalist like… ever.

The reality is that Stalin hated and persecuted Russian nationalism as much as any other Bolshevik ideologue, but opportunistically adopted some of its talking points every now and then to shore up his regime. Of course actual Russian nationalists who took him at his word seriously enough to return to the USSR tended to meet sticky ends.

The main thing that distinguished Stalin from his multinational predecessors was that he was more consistent and also went after the other national minority – Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish, etc. – nationalisms that the Old Bolsheviks had fostered. Considering the ethnic composition of the most active Cold Warriors and neocons explains a lot about their curiously specific hatred of Stalin and (regrettably, rather successful) efforts to associate him with Russian nationalism in the Western discourse.

 
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According to a recent BBC/Globescan opinion poll, Russia and Germany (sic!) are some of the most ethnically nationalistic major countries on the planet.

Here are some highlights from the full report (PDF):

Index of Rootless Cosmopolitanism

bbc-2016-poll-1-global-citizen

Curiously, the current pattern, in which the advanced/OECD nations (Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Spain, UK, USA) have become more insular than non-OECD nations (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia) is an inversion of the situation prior to 2009, when the opposite was more true. I suppose this might be because only around the late 2000s did the rich countries begin to “lose out” in a visible way to globalization.

This effect has been especially pronounced in Germany:

This sentiment has continued to grow at a strong pace since then among respondents in emerging economies to reach a high of 56 per cent in both 2015 and 2016. Conversely in seven OECD countries it has followed an opposite trajectory, dropping to a low of 39 per cent in 2011 and remaining at low levels since (now at 42%). This latter trend has been particularly pronounced in Germany where the poll suggests identification with global citizenship has dropped 13 points since 2009 to only 30 per cent today (the lowest since 2001).

Thanks Angela Merkel?

Approval of Intermarriage between Different Racial/Ethnic Groups

bbc-2016-poll-2-intermarriage

The US is no surprise here; since 1960, approval of interracial marriages has gone from from the fringe to the universal, including amongst evangelical conservatives.

In contrast, only 34% of Germans approve of interracial marriage, which is equivalent to US rates in the 1970s. This might come across as something of a surprise to people whose image of modern day Germany revolves around Alt Right cuckoldry rhetoric, but then again Germany also until quite recently had explicitly racial citizenship laws.

Russia is higher at 43%, but also considerably more Russians outright oppose it.

Perhaps the only more or less surprising figure here is from South Korea, where 66% approve of interracial marriage. Koreans are an extremely nationalistic people. I suppose one thing to bear in mind that in Korea and East Asia more generally “interracial marriage” means Whites/Europeans, whereas in the US the default assumption is that its with Blacks and in Europe, with Muslim ethnicities.

Approval of Immigration

bbc-2016-poll-3-immigration-acceptance

Worth noting that immigrants to Spain seem to be mainly elderly Brits and Germans buying up seaside retirement homes in the south, while many younger Spaniards themselves are emigrating in large numbers to the northern and more economically dynamic members of the EU.

Defining Criteria of Self-Identity

bbc-2016-poll-6-identity

There’s only three countries in which a plurality of citizens don’t feel the highest amount of identification with their national citizenship.

Most Spaniards think of themselves as world citizens.

A plurality of Pakistanis consider themselves Muslims first and foremost. This stands to reason and many or most other Muslim countries would display similar results.

More Indonesians on their thousands of islands identify most strongly with their local community.

The largest percentage of people identifying most strongly with their race or culture are in South Korea. As per above, this is of no surprise.

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

french-siloviks-support-front-national

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

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

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

fn-support-by-social-group-france

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

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

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

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Elections, France, Nationalism 
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In my nearly 20 years experience as a Russian living in the West, I have found that almost all my fellows can be reduced to five basic types: 1) The White Russian; 2) The Sovok Jew; 3) The Egghead Emigre; 4) Natasha Gold-Digger; 5) Putin’s Expat.

My background and qualifications to write on this topic? My dad is an academic who moved to the UK with his family in 1994, i.e. an Egghead Emigre. Later on, I moved to California. Much of the Russian community in the Bay Area (though not Sacramento!) are in fact Russian Jews, who are culturally distinct from Russians, albeit the boundaries are blurred and there’s lots of intermingling though Russian cultural events. Topping off the cake, I have some White Russian ancestors, and am familiar with many of them as well as more recent expats via my hobby of Russia punditry.

I hope this guide will entertain American and Russian (and Jewish) readers interested in what happens when their cultures interact and fuse, as well as those very Russian Americans who will doubtless see traces of themselves in at least one of the five main archetypes.

***

Arrived in: 1917-1920′s, 1945
Social origins: Clerks, Tsarist officials, aristocrats, White Army officers, philosophers.
Culturally related to: Earlier Orthodox Slavic migrants from the Russian Empire who came from 1880-1914, though White Russians proper are more sophisticated than them as they tended to be high class whereas former were peasants.
Political sympathies (US): Moderate conservatism
Political sympathies (Russia): Putin, Prokhorov

No, I’m not talking about Jeff Lebowski’s favorite cocktail. The White Russians (or “White emigres”) are the officers, officials, and intellectuals who fled their country after the Russian Revolution. Prominent examples included Zworykin (TV), Sikorsky (helicopters), and Nabokov (writer). They did not necessarily come to the US straight away: Many came via the great European cities, like Berlin, or Paris, where in the 1920′s, old White Army officers sat around dinghy bars, drowning their sorrows in drink and spending what remained of their money on cockroach racing. Some took more roundabout ways. One girl I know originated from Russian exiles in Harbin, Manchuria (mother’s side) and Brazil (father’s side) who met up and stayed in the US.

White Russians tend to be well-assimilated into US society, and many of the younger generations no longer speak Russian. However, many of them retain a positive affinity with traditional Russian culture – even if it tends to the gauzy and superficial, an attitude that transitions into “kvas patriotism” when taken to an extreme (kind of like Plastic Paddies). The quintessential White Russian comes from an upper-middle class family, holds moderately conservative views, and goes to the occasional Orthodox service and Russian cultural event featuring zakuski, vodka, and traditional singing and dancing.

To the extent they have detailed opinions on Russian politics, they tend to respect Putin, seeing him as a conservative restorer. Needless to say, they never support the Communists – though the antipathy does not extent to Red Army victories or space race triumphs, of which they are proud. Solzhenitsyn is their spiritual figurehead. Many however are partial to liberal forces such as Yabloko and Prokhorov; especially those who are no longer Russophones, and have to rely on Western coverage of Russia. A few kvas patriots go well beyond the call of duty to their Motherland, “telling it like it is on Trans-Dniester” and exposing “court appointed Russia friendlys.”

***

Arrived in: 1970′s-early 1990′s
Culturally related to: The early wave of Jewish emigration from Tsarist Russia, which included Ayn Rand.
Social origins: Normal Jewish families, with smattering of colorful dissidents and black marketeers/organized crime; also many pretend Jews.
Political sympathies (US): Republicans, neocons, libertarianism
Political sympathies (Russia): Prokhorov, Russian liberals

The Sovok Jew is a very complex figure. At home with American capitalism, he nonetheless continues to strongly identify with Soviet mannerisms (but don’t tell that to his face).

The modern Russian diaspora began in the 1970′s, when many Soviet Jews began to leave for Israel and the US. It accelerated in the late 1980′s, when the Soviet government eased emigration controls (prior to that the US had sanctioned the USSR for limiting Jewish emigration with the Jackson-Vanik amendment; bizarrely, it remains in effect to this day).

Leveraging their intelligence and entrepreneurial talent, many became very rich in the IT (California) and finance (East Coast) sectors. The ultimate example is, of course, Google founder Sergey Brin, who once opined that Russia is “Nigeria with snow.” He is the rule, not the exception. Most Sovok Jews have very poor impressions of Russia, and like to tell funny anecdotes about ethnic Russians’ stupidity and incompetence:

Ivan: What if we have to fight China? They have more than a billion people!
Pyotr: We’ll win with quality over quantity, just like the Jews with the Arabs.
Ivan: But do we have enough Jews?

The above joke courtesy of a Silicon Valley bigwig. He must have assumed I’m Jewish, given my surname. (Reality: I’m not a Jew culturally, though I’ve calculated I’m about 10% Ashkenazi Jewish at the genetic level).

Two further important points must be made. First, while they’re very successful on average, far from all Soviet Jews made the American dream: While many are millionaires, the vast majority still consists of shop assistants, office plankton, and the driving instructor I hired for a refresher lesson prior to my California driving exam. The less successful they are in America, the fonder their recollections of Soviet life. Their biggest enclave, Brighton Beach (“Little Odessa”), used to be a dump; and was the original spawning ground of the so-called “Russian Mafia” abroad, as popularized by Yuri Orlov, the gunrunner antihero from Lord of War.

Second, despite that many famous Soviet dissidents were Jewish (e.g. Brodsky, Dovlatov, – and satirized by the fictional e-persona Lev Sharansky), not to mention their appreciation for capitalism, most Russian Jews regard the USSR in a far more positive light than Russia itself. (Of course, there are exceptions, e.g. Lozansky, and I believe the DR commentator Lazy Glossophiliac). This might sound surprising at first, but one needs to bear in mind that Jews did very well in the early USSR: As Jewish Russian-American author Yuri Slezkine argues in The Jewish Century, the three major homelands of the Jews in the 20th century were the US, Israel, and the USSR, while the traditional Russia of icons and cockroaches was not a homeland, but a pogrom-land.

Furthermore, the USSR’s early philo-Semitism reversed from later Stalinism on, with rhetoric about “rootless cosmopolitanism” and “anti-Zionism” even as the US became highly pro-Israel. In a neat ideological reversal, Soviet Jews in America whose parents had sung Communism’s praises turned to libertarianism and neoconservatism, and in the 2000′s, most became hardcore anti-Putinists.

A controversial assertion, perhaps… But one need only drop a few names: Anne Applebaum (Putin stole my wallet), Miriam Elder (Putin stole my drycleaning ticket), Julia Ioffe (I hate objectivity), Masha Gessen (Putin has no face), Anna Nemtsova (Russian dudes suck)*… Or recall the blood-curdling and frankly threatening responses I got from one Irina Worthey (“Ira Birman”) when trolling a pro-Khodorkovsky Facebook group with inconvenient questions about his actual democratic credentials. Or consider that Prokhorov got 90% of the votes at Palo Alto.

Yet while they harbor little love for Russia, Jewish Russian-Americans continue to speak Russian among themselves, play durak and eat borscht, and recite Radio Yerevan jokes. They remain stuck in the Soviet attitudes and tastes that they brought with them to American shores; arguably, far more so than ethnic Russians (who have co-evolved with post-Soviet Russia). But as the USSR is dead, this Soviet identity has no future; the children of Sovok Jews tend to undergo complete Americanization.

***

Arrived in: 1990′s
Social origins: Academia.
Political sympathies (US): No real pattern.
Political sympathies (Russia): Communists, liberals; but increasingly, some have learned to stop worrying and love Putin.

The third major group are the Egghead Emigres – those Russians, who left during the 1990′s “brain drain”, when the Russian state lost its ability to even pay salaries regularly. There are Jews among them (e.g. Andre Geim, recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics), as well as other nationalities, but most of them are ethnic Russians. They cluster around university towns; if there’s a campus, chances are there are a few Russians around. As an in-joke among them goes: “What’s an American university?”, “It’s a place where Russian physicists lecture to Chinese students.”

Though one would think that these Russian academics are entrepreneurial go-getters – after all, they were willing to gamble on a new life abroad, right? – most are actually risk-averse and ultimately limited in their horizons. They are highly intelligent, but their ineptness at office politics limits their chances for promotion – as in companies, so within universities – where far less accomplished but socially savvier native bosses leech off their work. While they are now almost uniformly well-off, the Egghead Emigre lacks the Sovok Jew’s entrepreneurial drive, and as such there are very few truly rich among them. But on second thought this ain’t that surprising. Academia is a very safe environment (in terms of employment) and guarantees a reliable cash flow and career progression but it won’t make you a millionaire. The truly entrepreneurial Soviet academics have long since abandoned academia and made big bucks in the business world.

Many Egghead Emigres seem to be stuck in the 1990′s when it comes to their perceptions of Russia, with which they have very bad associations; after all, they ended up leaving the country back then. They feel genuinely betrayed by the Russian state – which for a time didn’t even pay them their salaries – and at the same time, many also became big fans of their adopted countries. I suspect this is in large part born of their need to justify their own emigration to themselves. After all, many of them still have Sovok mindsets, in which emigration and betrayal are near synonyms; but is it still betrayal to betray a country that betrayed you?

Consequently, some even view any “defense” of Russia, no matter how justified, as a personal attack on themselves and respond ferociously. Furthermore, and logically, the more successful they are in the West, the more anti-Russian they tend to be; whereas many of the least successful Egghead Emigres have already gone back to Russia.

Their views on the Soviet Union are mixed: While most admire it for its educational system, they also criticize it for its politicized idiocies and censorship. Nonetheless, their overall impression of the USSR is far higher than that of Russia; at least in the former, they were paid salaries and socially respected.

There’s also a generational aspect. Whereas the migrant “fathers” tended to indulge in Russia-bashing (out of a genuine sense of betrayal; overcompensating need to justify their emigration; etc), and embraced all aspects of Westernization with the fanaticism of the new convert, the effect of emigration was sometimes quite different on their “sons”. A few followed in the footsteps of the “fathers”; some (perhaps most) are largely indifferent to Russia, and have blended into the socio-cultural mainstream of Anglo-Saxon society; and others appreciate Russia to an extent that the “fathers” find puzzling, annoying, or even intolerable.

As you may have deduced, the Egghead Emigre shares many similarities with the Sovok Jew. Nonetheless, many of them still retain a few patriotic vestiges; and politically, they are considerably to the left, with social democratic, socialist, and even Communist leanings being common (whereas Sovok Jews are right-leaning, ironically, unlike purely American Jews who tend to be more leftist). Though not many are still much interested in Russian politics, those who are typically vote for Prokhorov/Yabloko or the Communist Party. That said, it should be noted that in recent years, opinion about the old homeland has improved, especially as Russia recovered under Putin, and once again started paying researchers decent salaries and courting the Egghead Emigres with generous packages on condition they return. But thus far very few of them have taken up those offers.

***

Arrived in: From early 1990′s
Social origins: Ordinary families
Political sympathies (US): Year 0: Adventurous, naive, wants marriage to nice American guy; Year 2: Wants American betaboy’s nice money
Political sympathies (Russia): ?

Natasha Gold-Digger is the most (in)famous type of Russian American, her image having thoroughly permeated pop culture (e.g. films such as The Russian Bride, Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukraine). In practice however, Natasha isn’t only the rarest of the five major types of Russian American; frequently, she is not actually Russian, but Ukrainian or Moldovan.

A common delusion that feeds the “mail order brides” industry is that Russian women are less feminist than their over-entitled Western counterparts, eternally thankful for the opportunity to escape poor, barbaric Russia with its alcoholic Beastmen, and hotter to boot. Sounds like a good deal, no?

But while traditional gender roles are indeed far more prevalent in Russia than in the US or Britain, this does not extend into family relations – Russia’s divorce rate is over 50%, which is only slightly lower than in the US. Furthermore, the type of American man who actually orders a bride online is typically someone who does not have the social skills to compete for America’s admittedly much narrower pool of non-obese women. These Russian brides – strong and adventurous almost by definition, as per their choice to emigrate – don’t respect, let alone supplicate, to these Yankee betaboys.

The customer doesn’t get what he thought he signed up for, as his Russian wife gets her residency papers, empties his bank account, wins alimony for any children they had together, and dumps him to ride the alpha cock carousel. The embittered husbands then go on to vent their resentments to anyone who would listen and many who would not. But they have only their own loser selves to blame.

***

Arrived in: 2000′s
Social origins: Students, businesspeople, rich elites, yuppies
Culturally related to: The expats of all political persuasions who whirled about Europe in the time of Tsarism
Political sympathies (US): Democrat, anti-war, Ron Paul
Political sympathies (Russia): All over – Putin, Prokhorov, Communists

They might not support Putin – though many do. Take the student at Stanford University, son of a senior manager at a Russian tech company; or the Russian financier working working in New York – more likely than not, both would vote for Prokhorov, and maybe even participate in a picket of the Russian Embassy as part of a protest for free elections or the freeing of Pussy Riot. But in a sense they are all Putin’s children, as is the Russian middle class from whence it comes; a middle class that only began to develop beyond a narrow circle of oligarchs during the 2000′s.

In this sense, Russia has become a “normal country”, as this class of global expats – typically consisting of young, upwardly mobile and ambitious people – is common to all developed countries; and just as in Russia, they too tend to have specific political preferences (the US – Democrats; France – Sarkozy/UMP). And unlike previous waves of emigration, which encompassed all the four types of Russian American that I already covered, most of “Putin’s expats” will eventually go back once they finish their course of study or gain work experience in a Western country.

Paradoxically, spending a lot of time in the West does not make these expats significantly more liberal or anti-Putin; even the reverse, if anything. On closer analysis this is not surprising. Even when in Russia, they already have access to what Western “free journalists” write about their country – if not in the English-language original, then translation websites like Inosmi. When spending time in the West, many realize their own country isn’t that bad in comparison; and that typical American perceptions of Russia tend to be irredeemably skewed (“Is it always cold in Russia?”, “Do you drink vodka everyday?”, “What do you think about your dictator Putin?”). Consequently, even someone who may be relatively liberal in Russia not infrequently ends up defending many aspects of Russian politics and society that he otherwise hates when in the West.

In the future, Sovok Jews will almost all Americanize, as will a majority of Egghead Emigres and their progeny. Those Russian-Americans who survive as distinct social communities will be primarily the White Russians (largely through the Orthodox Church), as well as increasing numbers of Putin’s Expats who will continue traipsing across America and the globe even after their namesake retreats into history. And if Russia becomes a developed country, it is easy to imagine that more Russian Americans will become Putin’s Expats… or even, just Russians.

***

russian-american-poll

***

* One thing that really stands out is that it is female Jews who dislike Russia more than anything, at least among Western journalists. As this post has already pushed well beyond all respectable limits of political correctness, I might as well go the full nine yards and outline my theory of why that is the case. In my view, the reasons are ultimately psycho-sexual. Male Jews nowadays have it good in Russia, with many Slavic girls attracted to their wealth, intelligence and impeccable charm (if not their looks). But the position of Jewesses is the inverse. They find it hard to compete with those same Slavic chicks who tend to be both hotter and much more feminine than them; nor, like Jewish guys, can they compensate with intelligence, since it is considered far less important for women. This state of affairs leads to sexual frustration and permanent singledom (pump and dump affairs don’t count of course), which in turn gives rise to the angry radical feminism and lesbianism that oozes out of this piece by Anna Nemtsova bemoaning Russia’s “useless bachelors”. Such attitudes further increase male aversion to them, thus reinforcing their vicious cycle of singledom. And the resulting frustration indelibly seeps into their work…

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

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

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

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