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Russia has half the world’s Neo-Nazis

This claim appears to date to a 2007 ABC News report about far right violence in Russia:

In a country that lost more people defeating the Nazis than any other country, there are now an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 neo-Nazis, half of the world’s total. They even have supporters in parliament.

We know that because we have Neo-Nazi censuses.

Oh wait, we don’t.

No original sources are cited, there are no hints as to who qualifies to be a Neo-Nazi, and ABC News had a pronounced anti-Russian agenda even by Western media standards (they were banned from continuing to work in Russia after having an interview with the Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev in 2005).

Russia does of course have quite a few Neo-Nazis, but they only constitute a small percentage of nationalists in general. This might be a hard concept for two-bit journalists who are convinced that all the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protesters, or even Donald Trump voters, are Nazis, but in the real world definitions are important and Russian Neo-Nazism always has been, and remains, a numerically marginal movement.

Russians/(Poles, Slavs, etc.) have to be are stupid/insane/historically illiterate to be Nazis, don’t they realize the Nazis killed 27 million of them?

I never really understood how this is even an argument.

Presumably, to the extent they harbor any genocidal fantasies, Russian (Polish, etc.) Neo-Nazis would much sooner want to kill 27 million foreigners, not 27 million of their own. (They aren’t Communists, after all, whose democidal ambitions are primarily aimed at their own people).

The Holocaust regardless, the Jews constructed the most unapologetically ethnonationalist state in the First World; that very event is not infrequently cited as one of the reasons that the Jews need a Jewish state.

So clearly the mere fact of having suffered from German Nazis constitutes no logical impediment to adopting elements of Nazi policy for what they consider to be in service of their own people. Nazism is national socialism, after all; it’s not the NSDAP (which specifies German workers) that they subscribe to.

On this note, here is one additional argument that I encountered on the (now defunct) blog of a Russian Neo-Nazi. I don’t endorse it, but it’s interesting and relevant.

To loosely paraphrase yarowrath: Both Western leaders and the highly Jewish Kiev regime today are perfectly fine using openly Neo-Nazi batallions to prevent Russians from seceding from the Ukraine (a state that only exists thanks to the Bolsheviks). However, they label you a Russian troll just for noticing the symbology on Azov’s flag.

Now considering that Russians:

  • Don’t have any “white guilt” from colonialism, having done more than anyone to end it (to the extent that the Kalashnikov graces the flags of Mozambique and Hezbollah);
  • Suffered more than anyone except the Jews from Hitler;
  • Did not themselves participate in the Holocaust, but did more than anyone else to stop it;
  • The Jews themselves haven’t shown much hesitancy about borrowing from Nazism in service of their interests;

One can argue that Russians have more of a moral right to dispassionately assess Hitler, without shame or condemnation, and adopt those of his ideas that are good and useful than well nigh any other people.

Russian Neo-Nazis all (1) support Ukraine against Kremlin mongolo-katsaps OR (2) hate Ukraine and fight for Putler.

This is a rather strange myth since it takes the form of a binary. But both versions are equally wrong.

In reality, the War in the Donbass has split the Neo-Nazis.

The more explicitly Nordicist elements of the Russian Neo-Nazis supported Ukraine, and a number of them went off to fight with Azov.

The rest of the Neo-Nazis supported the insurrection in the Donbass, and even formed their own batallion, Rusich.

By far the most famous Nazi figure in Russia is Tesak (Maxim Martsinkevich), a skinhead of Polish-Russian ancestry who is perhaps most notable for having invented the concept of Nazi ironic trolling a decade ahead of /pol/ and The Daily Stormer. His fans, the most numerous of any Russian Neo-Nazi, specialized in street actions that ranged from funny slapstick affairs to highly violent, illegal, and disgusting. Following the crackdown on his group in July 2014 (which saw Tesak jailed for 10 years this year), this cluster has turned strongly anti-Kremlin and many of their members have jaunted off to the Ukraine.

However, if support for the Ukraine vs. Novorossiya was perhaps 70-30% amongst Russian Neo-Nazis in 2014, by now those ratios have reversed.

Reading their forums as early as 2015, the general sentiment amongst them was that they had been betrayed and used by ZOG.

Poroshenko and his clique obviously and understandably cared much more for the opinions of besuited businessmen and bureacrats than tatted up stormers, and many of the Russian Neo-Nazis who had gone into exile in Ukraine for the cause of the white race were even failing to get residency permits, let alone Ukrainian citizenship, putting them at risk of deportation back to a Russian jail.

That said, regardless of their current opinions on Novorossiya and Ukraine, which are indeed mixed, Russian Neo-Nazis do more or less uniformly detest Putin, as they always have.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Nazism, Russia 
A Russian Conservative on James Damore

Prosvirnin is the most talented writer. Limonov has by far the most colorful personality. Dugin has been the most effective at promoting himself in the West. Prokhanov probably has the most name recognition in Russia. Galkovsky created the most powerful memes. Krylov provided the esoteric flavoring.

And yet out of all of Russia’s right-wing intellectuals, there is perhaps none so unique as Egor Kholmogorov.

egor-kholmogorovThis is ironic, because out of all of the above, he is the closest to the “golden mean” of the Russian nationalist memeplex.

He is a realist on Soviet achievements, crimes, and lost opportunities, foregoing both the Soviet nostalgia of Prokhanov, the kneejerk Sovietophobia of Prosvirnin, and the unhinged conspiracy theories of Galkovsky. He is a normal, traditional Orthodox Christian, in contrast to the “atheism plus” of Prosvirnin, the mystical obscurantism of Duginism, and the esoteric experiments of Krylov. He has time neither for the college libertarianism of Sputnik i Pogrom hipster nationalism, nor the angry “confiscate and divide” rhetoric of the National Bolsheviks.

Instead of wasting his time on ideological rhetoric, he reads Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and writes reviews about it on his website. And about 224 other books.

And this brings us to what makes Kholmogorov so unique: He is an extremely well-read autodidact.

This allows him to write informed and engaging articles on a very wide variety of different topics and breaking news.

In my opinion, Kholmogorov is simply the best modern Russian right-wing intellectual, period.

Unfortunately, he is almost entirely unknown in the English-speaking world; he does not angle for interviews with Western media outlets like Prosvirnin, nor does he energetically pursue foreign contacts like Dugin. Over the years I have done my very small part to remedy this situation, translating two of Kholmogorov’s articles (Europe’s Week of Human Sacrifice; A Cruel French Lesson). Still, there’s only so much one blogger with many other things to write about can do.

Happily, a multilingual Russian fan of Kholmogorov has stepped up to the plate: Fluctuarius Argenteus. Incidentally, he is a fascinating fellow in his own right – he is a well recognized expert in Spanish history and culture – though his insistence on anonymity constrains what I can reveal, at least beyond his wish to be the “Silver Surfer” to Kholmogorov’s Galactus.

We hope to make translations of Kholmogorov’s output consistently available on The Unz Review in the months to come.

In the meantime, I am privileged to present the first Fluctuarius-translated Kholmogorov article for your delectation.

***

A New Martin Luther?: James Damore’s Case from a Russian Conservative Perspective

google-image

Original: https://tsargrad.tv/articles/triumf-gendernyh-sharikovyh_79187

Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus:

Google fires employee James Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.

– You persecute your employees for having opinions and violate the rights of White men, Centrists, and Conservatives.

– No, we don’t. You’re fired.

A conversation just like or similar to this one recently took place in the office of one of modern information market monsters, the Google Corporation.

Illustration to the Google scandal. James Damore fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”. Source: Screenshot of Instragram user bluehelix.

Google knows almost everything about us, including the contents of our emails, our addresses, our voice samples (OK Google), our favorite stuff, and, sometimes, our sexual preferences. Google used to be on the verge of literally looking at the world with our own eyes through Google Glass, but this prospect appears to have been postponed, probably temporarily. However, the threat of manipulating public opinion through search engine algorithms has been discussed in the West for a long while, even to the point of becoming a central House of Cards plotline.

Conversely, we know next to nothing about Google. Now, thanks to an ideological scandal that shook the company, we suddenly got a glimpse of corporate values and convictions that the company uses a roadmap to influencing us in a major way, and American worldview even more so. Suddenly, Google was revealed to be a system permeated by ideology, suffused with Leftist and aggressively feminist values.

The story goes this way. In early August, an anonymous manifesto titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber was circulated through the local network of Google. The author lambasted the company’s ideological climate, especially its policy of so-called diversity. This policy has been adopted by almost all of US companies, and Google has gone as far as to appoint a “chief diversity officer”. The goal of the polity is to reduce the number of white cisgendered male employees, to employ as many minorities and women as possible and to give them fast-track promotions – which, in reality, gives them an unfair, non-market based advantage.

The author argues that Leftism and “diversity” policies lead to creating an “echo chamber” within the company, where a person only talks to those who share their opinions, and, through this conversation, is reinforced in the opinion that their beliefs are the only ones that matter. This “echo chamber” narrows one’s intellectual horizon and undermines work efficiency, with following “the party line” taking precedence over real productivity.

In contrast to Google’s buzzwords of “vision” and “innovation”, the author claims that the company has lost its sight behind its self-imposed ideological blindfold and is stuck in a morass.

As Google employs intellectuals, argues the critic, and most modern Western intellectuals are from the Left, this leads to creating a closed Leftist clique within the company. If the Right rejects everything contrary to the God>human>nature hierarchy, the Left declares all natural differences between humans to be nonexistent or created by social constructs.

The central Leftist idea is the class struggle, and, given that the proletariat vs. bourgeoisie struggle is now irrelevant, the atmosphere of struggle has been transposed onto gender and race relations. Oppressed Blacks are fighting against White oppressors, oppressed women challenge oppressive males. And the corporate management (and, until recently, the US presidency) is charged with bringing the “dictatorship of the proletariat” to life by imposing the “diversity” policy.

The critic argues that the witch-hunt of Centrists and Conservatives, who are forced to conceal their political alignment or resign from the job, is not the only effect of this Leftist tyranny. Leftism also leads to inefficiency, as the coveted job goes not to the best there is but to the “best woman of color”. There are multiple educational or motivation programs open only to women or minorities. This leads to plummeting efficiencies, disincentivizes White men from putting effort into work, and creates a climate of nervousness, if not sabotage. Instead of churning out new ground-breaking products, opines the critic, Google wastes too much effort on fanning the flames of class struggle.

What is the proposed solution?

Stop diving people into “oppressors” and “the oppressed” and forcefully oppressing the alleged oppressors. Stop branding every dissident as an immoral scoundrel, a racist, etc.

The diversity of opinion must apply to everyone. The company must stop alienating Conservatives, who are, to call a spade a spade, a minority that needs their rights to be protected. In addition, conservatively-inclined people have their own advantages, such as a focused and methodical approach to work.

Fight all kinds of prejudice, not only those deemed worthy by the politically correct America.

End diversity programs discriminatory towards White men and replace them with non-discriminatory ones.

Have an unbiased assessment of the costs and efficiency of diversity programs, which are not only expensive but also pit one part of the company’s employees against the other.

Instead of gender and race differences, focus on psychological safety within the company. Instead of calling to “feel the others’ pain”, discuss facts. Instead of cultivating sensitivity and soft skins, analyze real issues.

Admit that not all racial or gender differences are social constructs or products of oppression. Be open towards the study of human nature.

The last point proved to be the most vulnerable, as the author of the manifesto went on to formulate his ideas on male vs. female differences that should be accepted as fact if Google is to improve its performance.

The differences argued by the author are as follows:

Women are more interested in people, men are more interested in objects.

Women are prone to cooperation, men to competition. All too often, women can’t take the methods of competition considered natural among men.

Women are looking for a balance between work and private life, men are obsessed with status and

Feminism played a major part in emancipating women from their gender roles, but men are still strongly tied to theirs. If the society seeks to “feminize” men, this will only lead to them leaving STEM for “girly” occupations (which will weaken society in the long run).

It was the think piece on the natural differences of men and women that provoked the greatest ire. The author was immediately charged with propagating outdated sexist stereotypes, and the Google management commenced a search for the dissent, with a clear purpose of giving him the sack. On 8th August, the heretic was revealed to be James Damore, a programmer. He was fired with immediate effect because, as claimed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. Damore announced that he was considering a lawsuit.

We live in a post-Trump day and age, that is why the Western press is far from having a unanimous verdict on the Damore affair. Some call him “a typical sexist”, for others he is a “free speech martyr”. By dismissing Damore from his job, Google implicitly confirmed that all claims of an “echo chamber” and aggressive Leftist intolerance were precisely on point. Julian Assange has already tweeted: “Censorship is for losers, WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore”.

It is highly plausible that the Damore Memo may play the same breakthrough part in discussing the politically correct insanity as WikiLeaks and Snowden files did in discussing the dirty laundry of governments and secret services. If it comes to pass, Damore will make history as a new Martin Luther challenging the Liberal “Popery”.

However, his intellectual audacity notwithstanding, it should be noted that Damore’s own views are vulnerable to Conservative criticism. Unfortunately, like the bulk of Western thought, they fall into the trap of Leftist “cultural constructivism” and Conservative naturalism.

Allegedly, there are only two possible viewpoints. Either gender and race differences are biologically preordained and therefore unremovable and therefore should always be taken into account, or those differences are no more than social constructs and should be destroyed for being arbitrary and unfair.

The ideological groundwork of the opposing viewpoints is immediately apparent. Both equate “biological” with “natural” and therefore “true”, and “social” with “artificial” and therefore “arbitrary” and “false”. Both sides reject “prejudice” in favor of “vision”, but politically correct Leftists reject only a fraction of prejudices while the critic calls for throwing all of them away indiscriminately.

As a response, Damore gets slapped with an accusation of drawing upon misogynist prejudice for his own ideas. Likewise, his view of Conservatives is quite superficial. The main Conservative trait is not putting effort into routine work but drawing upon tradition for creative inspiration. The Conservative principle is “innovation through tradition”.

The key common mistake of both Google Leftists and their critic is their vision of stereotypes as a negative distortion of some natural truth. If both sides went for an in-depth reading of Edmund Burke, the “father of Conservatism”, they would learn that the prejudice is a colossal historical experience pressurized into a pre-logical form, a collective consciousness that acts when individual reason fails or a scrupulous analysis is impossible. In such circumstances, following the prejudice is a more sound strategy than contradicting it. Prejudice is shorthand for common sense. Sometimes it oversimplifies things, but still works most of the time. And, most importantly, all attempts to act “in spite of the prejudice” almost invariably end in disaster.

google-fox

Illustration to the Google scandal. A fox sits gazing at the Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber exposing the ideas of the fired engineer James Damore. Source: Screenshot of Instragram user bluehelix.

However, the modern era allows us to diagnose our own prejudice and rationalize them so we could control them better, as opposed to blind obedience or rejection. Moreover, if the issue of “psychological training” ever becomes relevant in a country as conservative as Russia is, that is the problem we should concentrate on: analyzing the roots of our prejudices and their efficient use.

The same could be argued for gender relations. Damore opposes the Leftist “class struggle of the genders” with a technocratic model of maximizing the profit from each gender’s pros and cons. This functionalism appears to be logical in its own way, but is indeed based on too broad assumptions, claiming that all women are unfit for competition, that all of them like relationships and housekeeping while all men are driven by objects and career. And, as Damore claims biological grounds for his assumptions, all our options boil down to mostly agreeing with him or branding him as a horrible sexist and male chauvinist.

However, the fact that gender roles historically developed based on biology but are, as a whole, a construct of society and culture does not give an excuse to changing or tearing them down, as clamored by Leftists. Quite the contrary: the social, cultural, and historical determinism of these roles gives us a reason to keep them in generally the same form without any coups or revolutions.

First, that tradition is an ever-growing accumulation of experience. Rejecting tradition is tantamount to social default and requires very good reasons to justify. Second, no change of tradition occurs as a result of a “gender revolution”, only its parodic inversion. Putting men into high heels, miniskirts, and bras, fighting against urinals in public WCs only reverses the polarity without creating true equality. The public consciousness still sees the “male” as “superior”, and demoting “masculinity” to “femininity” as a deliberate degradation of the “superior”. No good can come of it, just as no good came out of humiliating wealth and nobility during the Communist revolution in Russia. What’s happening now is not equal rights for women but the triumph of gender Bolshevism.

Damore’s error, therefore, consists in abandoning the domain of the social and the historical to the enemy while limiting the Conservative sphere of influence to the natural, biological domain. However, the single most valuable trait in conservative worldview is defending the achievements of history and not just biological determinism.

The final goal of a Conservative solution to the gender problem should not be limited to a rationalist functionalization of society. It should lead to discovering a social cohesion where adhering to traditional male and female ways and stereotypes (let’s not call them roles – the world is not a stage, and men and women not merely players) would not keep males and females from expressing themselves in other domains, provided they have a genuine calling and talent.

The art of war is not typical of a woman; however, women warriors such as Joan of Arc leave a much greater impact in historical memory. The art of government is seen as mostly male, yet it makes great female rulers, marked not by functional usefulness but true charisma, all the more memorable. The family is the stereotypical domain of the woman, which leads to greater reverence towards fathers that put their heart and soul into their families.

Social cohesion, an integral part of it being the harmony of men and women in the temple of the family, is the ideal to be pursued by our Russian, Orthodox, Conservative society. It is the collapse of the family that made gender relations into such an enormous issue in the West: men and women are no longer joined in a nucleus of solidarity but pitted against one another as members of antagonistic classes. And this struggle, as the Damore Memo has demonstrated, is already stymieing the business of Western corporations. Well, given our current hostile relations, it’s probably for the better.

 

navalny-vs-strelkov

H/t Eduard-456.

Navalny has accepted Strelkov’s call for a debate from June 15. Get hype? At any rate, this is probably the closest things to politics that has happened in Russia this year.

There are going to be the main topics of discussion in the debate next week, which may be hosted by Echo of Moscow:

  • How can Navalny beat corruption, if he’s President?
  • His position on Russia’s Western partners?
  • What is he going to do about Crimea and the Donbass?

This has been met with general surprise from all quarters.

The former commander of the LDNR militias is as much an object of hatred for Russian liberals – Navalny’s core constituency – as he is an idol for Russian nationalists.

sip-game-of-russian-=spring

Famous Sputnik i Pogrom designed banner from 2014 that still adorns many pro-Novorossiya sites.

As such, many Russian liberals and Ukrainian nationalists (but I repeat myself) are already squealing and kvetching about Navalny agreeing to appear with the “war criminal” Girkin.

One need only read some of the top responses to Navalny’s Facebook post announcing the debate to get a flavor of their fury:

  • Pavel Khmelnytskyi: You guys are so cool in Russia… a debate between a Presidential candidate and an international terrorist. On the right path!
  • Denis Zatsepin: Alexey, I’m a strong supporter of yours, but in this case I consider it a mistake to appear in the same frame as a bandit and killer. Debates with him are only possible in the form of interrogations about his war mongering, murders, illegal arms transfers, mercenary work.
  • Alexey Karpov: A great opportunity to publicly disavow your phrase that “Crimea is not a sandwich” [i.e., as an object to be haggled over]. And if you fail to do this, I will consider the ensuing crash of your political career to be perfectly justified.

That said, there is a logic to Navalny appearing with Strelkov.

The only half-way conceivable way in which the Putin government could be overthrown would be through an overarching alliance between liberals and nationalists, as in the Ukraine itself in 2014, or in Serbia in 2000.

Navalny could either comfortably occupy the “liberal niche” that constitutes no more than 10% of the Russian electorate – the one that Prokhorov filled in 2012 – or he could try to convince the patriotic-nationalist crowd to sign up with him, which would cut into Putin’s own support base.

The price of his gamble is the risk of alienating his diehard liberal supporters, and consequently fading away into the limelight. Then again, as pro-Donbass blogger El Murid points out, there is, in any case, only so much fuel left in Navalny’s anti-corruption engine; the engine on which he rose to prominence. After the film about Medvedev, one can hardly generate any political excitement over exposing the corrupt machinations of one more CEO of a state firm or regional governor; everybody is waiting for the “Big Film” starring “The Main Hero.” Anything else would be a let-down. After the failure of the June 12 protests, one can make a good case that Navalny needs to do something bold and unexpected to turn around a negative trend in publicity and get people talking about him again – and going head to head against Strelkov is perhaps not the worst idea.

However, this is going to be an opportunity for the patriotic/nationalist crowd to make their mark as well.

Navalny, at least, enjoys access to Gazprom-funded Echo of Moscow and TV Rain. Since returning from the Donbass, Strelkov has been blacklisted from appearing on federal MSM – a not atypical fate for repatriated war heroes with harsh words for the leaders who “abandoned” their cause. Shorn of media resources – no radio or TV mass media to speak of, their main website blocked, and reliant on blogs and social networks to spread their messages – this will be a good opportunity for nationalists to remind Russians that there are choices beyond Putin and Navalny.

The main danger for them is that Strelkov performs poorly. Although he has a poor grasp of issues beyond his pet theme of corruption, as demonstrated in his recent interview with Sobchak, Navalny more than makes up for it as a demagogue. And whereas Strelkov might be an inspirational battlefield commander, his sartorial style and rhetorical skills… leave much to be desired.

strelkov-not-inspiring

 

Another interesting question is to what extent this debate has been cleared with the Kremlin.

The ideal outcome for Kremlin Inc. would be for Navalny to destroy Strelkov, a minor nuisance for them, while affirming his pro-Western and pro-Ukrainian positions on Crimea and the Donbass (that is, a second referendum in the former, and withdrawal of support from the latter). This would also close off any lingering prospects for a liberal-nationalist alliance against Putin.

In this scenario, it is even feasible that Navalny would be allowed to run in the Presidential elections. Without any significant support from the patriotic-nationalist camp, Navalny would be more or less safely bounded at a maximum of 10-15% of the vote, while the fact of his participation in the electoral process – as the most prominent figure in the non-systemic opposition – would serve to “legitimize” Putin’s inevitable victory in the West.

Best of all, there is probably nothing quite as good for burnishing one’s questionable credentials as a Russian nationalist or even patriot for the domestic audience as running against an outright Ukrainian nationalist and Western representative.

 

Ilya Glazunov, one of Russia’s great painters is dead at the age of 87.

The “official” art of the modern age is an aesthetic desert; a postmodernist joke that celebrates fraudsters and degenerates, and benefits art dealers and billionaires. Yet there are still men of idealism, far from the cameras and the accolades of handshakeworthy critics, who labor on, creating Great Art for this lost age, and ages yet to come.

Ilya Glazunov was undoubtedly such a man, capturing the “spirit” of Russia’s 20th century on canvass with a flair that no-one else has matched. A nationalist of monarchic and Orthodox inclination who was alternatively persecuted by and accomodated for by the Soviet regime, the unloosening of social and political strictures following its collapse – especially in tandem with the dark backdrop of the despair and moral anomie of the 1990s – offerd Glazunov the scope to realize his full potential.

It is unclear who will carry on his legacy. Pavel Ryzhenko, a pupil of his, was the prime candidate, until his untimely death in 2014 from a heart attack at the age of 44 (his life’s work is now tirelessly propounded by his widow, whom I met at an exhibition a few months ago). That said, he headed an academy that churned out dozens of graduates trained in his style of realistic painting every year, so there is a good chance that some of them will rise to deserved prominence.

His website where you can view many of his works: http://glazunov.ru/en

A longer, more comprehensive article about him by Russia Insider’s Ricky Twisdale.

***

glazunov-tsarevitch-dmitry

Tsarevich Dmitry, 1967

glazunov-mystery-of-the-20th-century

Mystery of the 20th Century, 1976. (I ts display in 1988 was one of the first steps towards Solzhenitsyn’s rehabilitation).

glazunov-roads-of-war

The Roads of War, 1985.

glazunov-the-legend-of-kitezh

The Legend of the City of Kitezh, 1986.

glazunov-eternal-russia

Eternal Russia, 1988.

glazunov-in-memory-of-wife

In Memory of Wife, 1994. (His wife committed suicide, a trauma he only managed to artistically address eight years after the event).

glazunov-market-of-democracy

The Market of Our Democracy, 1999.

glazunov-dekulakization

Dekulakization, 2010.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Art, Obituary, Russia 

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.

 

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 

musinov-moscow

Credit: Ivan Musinov.

There is this strange dichotomy with respect to Russia.

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

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

The Myth of Mosque-O

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

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

pol-moscow-mosque

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Myth of Moskvabad

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

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

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

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

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

gastarbeiters-age-sex-stats

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

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

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

na-korable-polden

The Last White Megacity

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

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

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

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

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

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Demographics, Eurabia, Moscow, Russia 

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

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

Let’s answer that very last question.

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

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

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

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

murray-rbc-eminence-russian-writers

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

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

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

***

HA & RBC Lists Compared

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

Appear Only in HA

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

Appear Only in RBC

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

.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Human Achievement, Literature, Russia 

Another Uraza Bayram.

Countless photos showing zillions of Muslims filling up Moskvabad’s streets. More gleeful shitposts from /pol/ to svidomy forums about imminent Russabia.

moscow-uraza-bayram-2017

But you don’t have to be a particularly big fan of open borders with Central Asia to be able to look at statistics.

In a series of recent posts, Russian blogger Ivan Vladimirov tallied the percentage of newborn ethnic Russians relative to the percentage of Russians as a whole per region.

This is a solid approach, because while counting immigrants is hard – estimates of illegal migrants in Russia vary all over the place – doing so for newborns is far easier. Ultimately the vast majority of births happen in hospitals, and it is difficult to imagine a vast Uzbek/Tajik underground baby boom taking place, not least because of the banal fact that the vast majority of Gastarbeiters are males.

Anyhow, bearing in mind that newborns today reflect society in 30-50 years’ time, the figures are actually quite encouraging (from an assimilationist perspective).

acer120-map-russia-minorities-change

The percentage of ethnic Russians is increasing across almost the entirety of core Russia.

Here is another set of maps from blogger n_avdeev.

The first one shows the percentage of ethnic Russians by region:

avdeev-map-russia-minorities

The second shows the percentage of ethnic Russians younger than 5 years by region (note that green numbers represent an increase, and red numbers a decrease, relative to the total percentage of ethnic Russians):

avdeev-map-russia-young-minorities

You can actually see the majority Russian areas getting even more Russian. This even includes Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, despite them being Gastarbeiter magnets.

The Chuvash, Udmurts, Karels, Komi, Mari, and Mordva are steadily becoming Russians. The Republic of Karelia, once a separate Soviet Socialist republic from 1940-1956, has gone from being 57% Russian in 1926 to 82% by 2010 (and 94% amongst infants), while the comically named Jewish autonomous oblast has seen its Jews decline from 16% of the population in 1939 to 1% by 2010, and becoming 93% Russian overall (98% amongst infants).

Unsurprisingly, the Ukrainians and Belorussians are becoming Russians at an even faster pace, as are as the few remaining Jews and Germans.

Only the Tatars and Bashkirs are holding their own in their ethnic republics, though outside them, they too are dissolving into Russiandom.

However, in regions already mostly populated by highly fertile, underdeveloped, and lower IQ ethnic minorities, such as the North Caucasus (esp. “DICh”, i.e. Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya) and some Siberian regions such as Tyva and the Sakha Republic, the share of ethnic Russians is falling, often at a precipitous rate.

If Russia has an equivalent to US states like Arizona and Texas, where the original White American stock is steadily being outpaced by demographic expansionism from more virile southern ethnicities, it is Stavropol krai (81% total vs. 77% infants), Astrakhan oblast (67% vs. 64%), and the Altai republic (57% vs. 51%).

yuray-map-european-census However, these are literally the only major exceptions to a pattern where ethnic Russians are stable or increasing in the parts of the country where they already constitute a solid majority. In this sense, Russia is far better off not just relative to the US, where non-Hispanic Whites now total 62% of the population and account for less than 50% of new births since 2011, but also many West European countries that have gone from being ~99% to 85%-90% White in the space of just a couple of generations (see Mark Yuray’s map to the right).

Since ethnic Russians don’t have particularly high fertility rates (though they are not significantly lower than those of non-DICh and Mongoloid Siberian minorities), the primary vehicle through which Russianizationization occurs must happen on account of differential rates of intermarriage with Russians (in such marriages, children typically adopt the dominant Russian culture).

Another blogger, Oleg Lisovsky, has compiled figures on intermarriage for both men and women.

Around 70% of Ukrainians and Belorussians marry Russians, so assimilation there is particularly fast, considering also the barely indistinguishable nature of those cultures.

These figures are considerably lower amongst the Christian Caucasian (Armenians, Georgians) and Finno-Ugric (20%-50%) nationalities, and extremely low amongst the Tyvans and DICh peoples (<5%).

On the basis of this data, Vladimirov also compiled a map of the intermarriage coefficient for Russia’s regions. Unfortunately, the scale is not specified, but one can make out the general pattern:

  • High levels of intermarriage in the regions where there are substantial ethnic minorities amongst large Russian majorities;
  • Moderate levels of intermarriage in regions with near homogenous Russian populations and predominant ethnic minorities;
  • Extremely low levels of intermarriage in DICh (who barely even intermarry amongst themselves).

acer120-map-russia-intermarriage-coefficient

One notes that this applies even to small population groups within DICh, such as the Laks, of whom there are 161,000 in Dagestan and 179,000 in Russia according to the 2010 census. Male Laks marry female Laks 85% of the time and ethnic Russians 5% of the time (my grandfather is a very rare case); female Laks marry male Laks 88% of the time and ethnic Russians a mere 1.2% of the time.

Three are three main lessons to take away from this:

(1) Russia is simply not undergoing population replacement/displacement on the American or West European model. There is, to be sure, considerable… métissage, but it is primarily happening between genetically and psychometrically similar peoples – and in many cases, this is something that has been happening for centuries anyway (e.g. north Russians are basically admixed Slavs and Finno-Ugrics anyway).

(2) The DICh regions are a lost cause in terms of assimilation, but in all fairness, they probably always were. They are very distinct from the rest of Russia, and understandably so, since like Central Asia, they were only annexed in the middle of the 19th century. They are also absurdly ethnocentric in terms of marriage and reproduction.

During the course of the next century, it seems inevitable that Russians will fade away from the other ethnic minority Caucasian republics, such as Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and North Ossetia, as well as Kalmykia and Tyva.

The only places in the North Caucasus where a demographic “struggle” of sorts is occuring with respect to traditional Russian majority regions are Stavropol krai and Astrakhan oblast, but even there, the scale of the problem is decidedly smaller than in America’s borderlands with Mexico’s or Western Europe’s inner cities.

(3) The system of ethno-republics, apart from feeding corrupt regional oligarchies, also seems to act as a break on assimilation. The prime historical example is of course the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which foistered a Ukrainian identity upon Malorussians within its territories – including Novorossiya, where they were essentially just settlers – whereas the Malorussians of the Russian Kuban have almost all became Russians since the 1920s by dint of being in the RSFSR. However, as the demographic statistics above make it clear, the same trends are playing out, to some extent, even within the Russian Federation proper.

This is why most Russian nationalists have tended to dislike federalism and ethnic minority republics, and urge a return to the imperial system of guberniyas.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Demographics, Minorities, Russia 

Who is really the greatest Russian?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Human Achievement, Russia 

Latest poll on the “greatest people of all times and places”:

1989 1994 1999 2003 2008 2012 2017
Stalin 12 20 35 40 36 42 38
Putin 21 32 22 34
Pushkin 25 23 42 39 47 29 34
Lenin 72 34 42 43 34 37 32
Peter the Great 38 41 45 43 37 37 29
Gagarin 15 8 26 33 25 20 20
Tolstoy 13 8 12 12 14 24 12
Zhukov 19 14 20 22 23 15 12
Catherine II 10 10 11 8 11 11
Lermontov 5 5 9 10 9 8 11
Lomonosov 20 13 18 17 17 15 10
Suvorov 17 18 18 16 16 12 10
Mendeleev 13 6 12 13 13 12 10
Napoleon 6 19 19 13 9 13 9
Brezhnev 6 8 12 9 12 8
Einstein 9 5 6 7 7 7 7
Esenin 2 3 5 6 5 7
Kutuzov 10 11 11 10 11 12 7
Newton 6 3 4 6 6 6 7
Gorbachev 10 4 8 6 6 6

Putin’s #2 position is absurd, even if you have a positive opinion of his record, while places #1 and #4 are just depressing.

I explained the causes of modern Russian Stalinophilia in an earlier post:

One would think that given Stalin’s actual record, which was sordid enough, you would not need to “blackwash” him any further, but ideologues will be ideologues, so what happened happened, and next thing you know many people started suspecting that given the false facts and figures being pushed about Stalin – demonstrated so by the newly accessible archival evidence itself – then maybe they were lying about everything else as well, and well maybe Stalin was actually the good guy after all, maligned by his bitter and limp-wristed successors who “sold out” the Glorious Leader.

And thus a huge strand of the Russian “patriotic” opposition to the liberal neocon hegemony of the 1990s, which had decidedly triumphed by the end of Putin’s first term, had in the process also become infested with Stalinophilia – even though it is not really compatible with Russian patriotism, let alone Russian nationalism (which the Communists, including Stalin, ruthlessly persecuted). The tendency of Stalin’s popularity to wax and wane in sync with the state of Russia’s relations with the West – lower when they are good, and higher when they are bad – strongly suggests that the debate over Stalin in Russia has nothing to do with real history. Instead, it is merely one of several tribal identifiers in politics, much like denial of global warming is a tenet of the Red Tribe and blank slatism is a tenet of the Blue Tribe, both of which have everything to do with American-specific politics and nothing to do with science. In Russia’s case, this Stalinist identifier – like the broader patriotic Great Patriotic War ideology onto which it has affixed itself – gets deflated and boosted whenever Russia veers between globalist integrationism and siege mentality, respectively.

Stalinophilia is a joint creation of sovoks and liberals.

The sovoks because many of them are the equivalent of America’s 95 IQ patriotards, and the ethnoliberals because they want to demonize and further dismantle Russia.

On the plus side, at least Lenin is slowly fading from the scene, the traitor and outright Russophobe made into the secular equivalent of a founding prophet in the USSR.

This suggests something encouraging – that it is not sovoks, but vatniks, who are beginning to worship Stalin.

But they are doing so not out of any love for scientific communism and similar crap, but because of their misdirected nationalist instincts.

With the correct changes in propaganda, vatniks will be demanding the toppling of Lenin statues and the restoration of the Russian Empire in no time at all.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Iosef Stalin, Opinion Poll, Russia 

The figures for Russia are from Levada, those for Ukraine are from KMIS.

poll-ukraine-russia-relations-positive-negative

poll-ukraine-russia-relations-ideal

The basic story is that there was a (mutual) collapse in Ukraine-Russia views of the other country around 2014, which has remained steady since.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Opinion Poll, Russia, Ukraine, War in Donbass 

This is a horse I’ve pretty much beaten to death, but still worth pointing out – not many Russians want to leave Russia. And not many Russians ever wanted to leave Russia.

Results of the latest Levada polls:

levada-leave-abroad

levada-how-prepared-to-leave

Incidentally, when I was in Saint-Petersburg, the hotel receptionist said that if anything, there has been a substantial increase in repatriates like myself.

Another account to that effect.

I am not going to claim that there is some great repatriation trend, because I am not a dishonest Western hack who constructs a “sixth wave of emigration” meme on the basis of purely anecdotal evidence.

Still, it’s something to think about it.

Incidentally, according to the OECD’s latest PPP benchmarks (2014), actual Russian household consumption is comparable to the rest of East-Central Europe and the Baltics, and is at 50%+ of the German/French/UK level and 42% of the US one.

gdp-ppp-consumption-russia

The OECD countries & partners, with Russia in red.

gdp-ppp-consumption-russia-progress

Russia has also continued gaining relative to the US through to 2014, despite the Great Recession. It must have fallen somewhat during the 2014-2016 recession and devaluation, but only modestly, since Russia produces most of its own consumer goods.

Rule of thumb for Russia: While wages might be 4x lower than in the developed Western countries, prices are likewise 2x lower, so the differential in living standards is far more modest.

So, no particular reason for Russians to want to leave, considering the administrative barriers they face as a non-Schengen European country.

I suppose that if Russia had freedom of movement with the EU (like Poland, Romania), or was truly destitute (like Ukraine, Moldova), then there would surely be more emigration.

But this is not the case. And, hypocritical though it might be on some level, that’s probably for the best. Russia has already lost enough of its cognitive elites during the 1910s-1930s and the 1990s.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Emigration, Russia 

As some of you are aware, last week I was traveling in Saint-Petersburg.

I went upon the invitation of a local politics club, but decided I stay several days to explore the city. I haven’t been to SPB since 2002, so this doubled as an opportunity to see how the northern capital has changed in the past 15 years.

spb-foggy-canal

City Observations

As with the rest of Russia, the city itself has certainly changed for the better in all the usual respects. More cars, and far newer ones. Roofs appeared much cleaner and shinier from the top of St. Isaac’s Cathedral than in 2002. As in the rest of Russia, virtually everyone who wants Internet access has it (SPB actually has slightly higher Internet penetration than Moscow, for some reason).

That said, whereas I distinctly remember liking Saint-Petersburg more than in the early 2000s, this is no longer the case.

spb-metro-station(1) Moscow is and technologically advanced, e.g. it has free WiFi in the metro for several years now, which SPB and other backwards cities like London and San Francisco have yet to adopt.

(2) I greatly prefer acontinental climate to a cold maritime one.

(3) There is a reason Slavophiles have traditionally viewed Moscow as Russia’s “true” capital. The architecture is more authentically Russian. It also tends to be more human-scale. Central Saint-Petersburg is a place of wide imperial avenues, and the grand pomposity of the buildings and palaces, though initially impressive, gets monotonous after a while (in this respect it is actually reminescent of Washington DC).

This is of course a simplification – there are plenty of oppressive open spaces in Moscow too, and SPB has its fair share of quaint courtyards and interesting corners – but as an architectural ensemble Moscow definitely wins out.

(4) The Moscow metro is far more developed, so distances between stations are shorter. This makes Moscow more walkable, especially since SPB is also intersected by a massive river. Finally, although SPB’s bridges are a nice tourist magnet, they can be a pain in the ass for locals who can be cut off from their homes if they don’t leave the bar in time (not helped by the SPB metro closing one hour earlier than the Moscow metro).

(5) Whereas in 2002 Saint-Petersburgers – at least in my limited, one-week tourist experience – were more civil than Muscovites, Muscovites have improved greatly since then, and there is now no longer any difference.

spb-bookshop One easy way to test civility is how frequently drivers make way for pedestrians on zebra crossings. 15 years ago in Moscow, it was perhaps 10%, and 25% in SPB. Nowadays I’d estimate it’s about 75% in Moscow, about the same as in the US. In SPB, however, it might be closer to 50%. Still, these are all extremely approximate figures, especially for SPB where I only spent 6 days.

I noticed that many Saint-Petersburgers seem to have a sort of inferiority complex, a lingering resentment towards Moscow at being deprived of their capital. Unfortunately, they have a point. I don’t like it and I think the hyper-centralization that accounts for this is very bad for the country, but the fact of the matter is that least 50% of everything interesting and significant taking place in Russia happens in Moscow.

Moscow is the undisputed political (executive, legislative), economic, and scientific center of Russia.

SPB has some modest share of influence in the political-legislative and cultural sphere (though probably not near as much as Moscow), but otherwise, it is ultimately just the largest gorod-millionnik.

That said, as one person I talked to optimistically pointed out, SPB does have a “marginalistic charm” to it, and she continued, “all the most interesting and disruptive phenomena come from the margins.” If there’s one thing that SPB suffers no shortage of relative to Moscow, it is hipsters.

spb-lecture-on-hbd

Politics

I was invited to Saint-Petersburg was to give a lecture to a local right-wing politics club about “HBD and its Role in the Alt Right.”

There is a loosely affiliated network of such clubs through Russia in Moscow, SPB, and the bigger cities. (Vincent Law, whom I had the pleasure of meeting, wrote about the SPB chapter here).

This invitation was perfectly congruent with my wider meta-goal of redpilling Russian nationalists on HBD/IQ-realism, so of course I accepted.

My talk itself covered the basics of HBD/IQ:

  • The largely separate evolution of the world’s three great races since they split ~50,000 years ago.
  • The validity of psychometrics
  • The importance of psychometrics, esp. wrt life outcomes and national differences in GDP per capita and other development metrics
  • The direction of causality – exceptions (Communist legacy; oil windfalls) prove the rule!
  • Why should this be the case?
  • FLynn effect: Will immigrant performance converge?
  • Would HBD-informed prescriptions apply to Russia? (e.g. immigration policy, positive eugenics, genetic augmentation of IQ)

I was very impressed by the quality of the responses and questions. Many people were familiar with the material, and asked pointed and relevant questions, such as the technical details of how national IQs are calculated, the extent to which emotional intelligence is important, and why US Jews cleverer than Israelis.

Clearly young Russian nationalists are informed, intelligent, and intellectually curious, having avoided the ideological skeletons of the boomer nationalist mindset in Russia (e.g. Eurasianism, “geopolitics,” Heidegger, extreme Orthodoxy, and various other obscurantisms). This is incredibly encouraging for the future.

Many interesting and spirited discussions about the Alt Right, Milo, Karelian nationalism, censorship, and many other weird and esoteric topics followed.

The politics club is only one element in SPB’s nationalist ecosystem, which even extends to having their “own” bars with discounts for nationalists. I would shill them but I don’t know if they’d appreciate the publicity.

code-russian-officer The city also hosts the Black Hundreds publishing group, which specializes in republishing Tsarist-era classics as well as modern nationalists authors. I bought two books from each category.

The first was a 1916 edition of Valentin Kulchitsky’s The Code of Honor of the Russian Officer (widely distributed to Russian officers during WW1 because the accelerated wartime training schedule meant that many of them didn’t have time to fully absorb the culture of the General Staff).

The second was Vitaly Fedorov’s (“Africa”) Notes of a Terrorist (in the good sense of the word) – possibly the best war novel from the Donbass to date (an English translation is available on Amazon).

A third major nationalist organization in SPB is the Russian Imperial Movement.

Its nationalism is explicitly based on religion, not ethnicity – you don’t have to be an ethnic Russian to join, but you do have to be an Orthodox Christian. However, they are also considerably more hardcore than the others, having been directly involved in the events in Donbass through their Imperial Legion batallion.

spb-night

Tourism

When not delving deeper into extremism and padding my files at Langley and Lubyanka I did the usual touristy stuff.

Transport/Hotels

spb-sapsan I traveled to SPB via the Sapsan high speed train, which at 250kph takes about 3.5 hours to get there from Moscow.

$75 normal ticket, $100 business class. The latter has far better conditions, and includes a meal, so it’s worth considering.

Alternatively, you can take the overnight train for $25 or $40 (platskart and kupe, respectively), depending on your desired privacy level.

spb-katyusha I stayed at the Katyusha hotel. It’s right next to the Neva River – right past the arch in the photo to the right – and about 200m from the Hermitage. One night there costs a mere $50.

This really brings home the point why PPP-adjustments to GDP per capita are absolutely relevant when gauging living standards. Russian wages might be far lower than in Western Europe, but so are the prices.

Food

spb-brynza In addition to the standard Western fast food chains, such as McDonald’s/KFC, Russia now has many of its own indigenous equivalents. Being a tourist in SPB, unlike in Moscow, I took the opportunity to explore some of them. Teremok is a national chain that features very traditional Russian fare such as common soups (borscht, obroshka, ukha, solyanka, etc.), pelmeni, pancakes, cutlets with buckwheat for prices similar to a MacDonald’s. Even better, though, was the SPB-specific Brynza chain, though it is marginally pricier (right: Cod Leningrad style).

spb-tandoori I last had Indian food half a year ago and really wanted to try my favorite national cuisine again. Fortunately, Saint-Petersburg has an excellent Indian restaurant right in the city center called Tandoor. It compares well even with Indian restaurants in London and the Bay Area. A business lunch of yellow daal, spicy vegetables, and butter chicken costs $10. So do most curries (e.g. the vindaloo on the right). The masala chai is also very good. It is run by Russians, though the cooks are Indians.

Note that traditionally Russia traditionally hasn’t had anything spicier than, I dunno… paprika? So you have to order your Indian food very/extremely spicy to get it moderately spicy by British/American standards.

Museums

Finally visited the Kunstkamera. It is by and large a standard ethnographic museum, the most interesting part of the exhibit being the original Petrine collection.

spb-naval-museum I was very impressed with the Central Naval Museum. It hosts a series of huge halls with thousands of naval paintings, ship models, figureheads, guns, munitions, uniforms, and other naval objects, all exhaustively documented and woven into a comprehensive history of the rise and fall of Russian naval power. Unfortunately, there are few English translations.

Visited the Yusupov Palace. TIL they were Christianized Tatars, descended from one 15th century Khan Yusuf.

spb-petropavlovsk-fortressPetropavlovsk Fortress includes the cathedral where the Russian Tsars since Peter the Great are buried, including Nicholas II and his family, who were interred there in the 1990s. The Russian Orthodox Church objected to burying a person who abdicated the throne inside the main cathedral, so they repose in an adjoining room to the main hall which can be considered a separate chapel.

There are several other separate museums.

spb-petropavlovsk-prison One is the prison with its 69 rooms that held revolutionaries. The tour group leader made a point of how horrific conditions were, though in my experience, that’s part and parcel for historical prison tours everywhere. But to the casual eye the rooms sure look spacious even by the standards of modern US prisons, to say nothing of typical jail conditions a century ago. And the sentences tended to be remarkably lenient considering prisoners were often involved in assassination plots, terrorism, etc., which in many other states would have warranted the death penalty. It was surely much more humane than Guantanamo.

There was a museum of the history of SPB from the early native inhabitants who lived there in their log cabins. One room was famous for having been the scene of the sentencing of the Decembrists, of whom five were put to death. This was cited as an example of Tsarist cruelty and caprice in Soviet history textbooks, but come on… this was ultimately a violent mutiny against the sovereign. The vast majority of the plotters were exiled to Siberia for some period of time, or even pardoned. Even many West European countries at the time would have been far less lenient.

One building that used to host a secret rocketry R&D facility in the early USSR is now a space museum. One thing I was struck by was how many people both interested in and technically capable of developing modern rocket technologies there were in the late Russian Empire (starting with Tsiolkovsky, the concept’s father). It seems inevitable to me that there would have been a strong Russian missile and space program regardless of whether the USSR had appeared or not.

spb-winter-palace-library I visited the Hermitage. I have been there before, but it is so vast you need to spend a few days to properly see all of it anyway. My favorite room there in the original palace section was Nicholas II’s library. Most of the Winter Palace was for all intents and purposes a “museum,” even when it was still the living quarters of the imperial family (the status signalling problem really reached absurd proportions in the Russian Empire, as in ancien regime France). The library looks like a place where you could actually sit down and get some work or reading done over a glass of red wine.

spb-popovPopov’s Central Museum of Communications is one of the oldest science and technology museums in the world. Amongst other exhibits, it hosts Alexander Popov’s original radio set. He actually made his revolutionary discoveries slightly earlier than Guglielmo Marconi, but the Italian became known as the inventor of radio in the West because of his greater interest in and success at commercializing it.

spb-museum-of-democracy I also passed by the Chubais Museum of the Implementation of Democracy in Modern Russia (what a mouthful, even in Russian). As Lazy Glossophiliac commented, “Should have been housed in a 90s-style kiosk store with lots of gaudy advertising all over it.” You had to make an appointment to enter the museum, which I suppose says something about its popularity.

I couldn’t be bothered, having better things to do with my time, such as drinking with the people who will one day kick those squatters out of such a fine building and open a Museum of Autocracy in its stead.

 

Western journalists have this weird habit of making fun of Putin for his yearly marathon phone-ins with the Russian public. It’s populism. It’s all staged.

Well, sure, it’s all that. I can see how a class that writes articles with titles such as “It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses” might be uncomfortable with that. To be fair I find the usual fair – personalistic appeals to the sovereign to fix some road or reign in some tyrannical local bureaucrat to be pretty boring as well.

But still, it’s a nice gesture, and partly explains why he retains such popularity.

putin-brezhnev My impression is that Putin has started to decline as a leader, starting with how he speaks. Though he started his Presidency as a very poor speaker, he evidently got tuition, and became much better at it by the end of his first term. In the past couple of years, however, this has started to reverse. I thought that last year’s disappointing Q&A might have been an exception, but this year’s confirms that it is a trend.

But far more worrying was the content, which failed to articulate any coherent vision for the next few years and revealed an alarming complacency with respect to foreign policy and the other burning social issues of the day.

This was reflected in Putin’s comments on Ukraine, where he has tried to opt for another “mnogokhodovochka” (4D chess). In response to a Russophile from Kiev, asking him why he doesn’t do more to support Russia sympathizers in Ukraine, Putin told him, “We don’t want to give any public support, because we don’t want to harm you and we try not to get involved in internal Ukrainian political affairs.” Meanwhile, hundreds of Russia sympathizers continue rotting in the Maidanist regime’s jails. With friends like these…

Several minutes later, however, he casually mentioned that Viktor Medvedchuk, the godfather of Putin’s daughters and one of the most energetic champions of integration with Russia before Euromaidan, was actually a Ukrainian nationalist. But, he continued, Ukrainian nationalism, according to its 19th century sources such as Grushevsky, Franko, Dragomanov, Chernovol, stood for a federated state, for democratic, and for individual rights; some of them didn’t even consider Crimea to be part of Ukraine (no shit they didn’t – it never was until Khrushchev handed it to the UkSSR in 1954). Maybe so, but does anyone care? Medvedevchuk’s supposed “colleagues” in the OUN promptly clarified he has nothing to do with them. Perhaps having finally realized his “dear partner” Poroshenko wasn’t coming round, Putin has started thinking of allying with the Banderists. The whole episode is just bizarre.

question-ukraine Meanwhile, the one legitimate question about Ukraine – “When you shake Poroshenko’s hand, are you not afraid to dirty yourself with Donbass blood?” – was removed from the screen within seconds.

The one “gotcha” moment he got in was his riposte to Poroshenko’s comments bidding “farewell to unwashed Russia” on getting visa-free travel with the EU, quoting a line from the well-known Russian poet Lermontov. Putin quite skilfully counter-cited Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko, quoting a line on how after winning the liberal struggle, her children are crucifying her worse than the erstwhile Polish oppressors. “I hope that at some point this period of Ukrainian history will come to an end.”

But he then followed it up with a suggestion to Poroshenko that if he truly wanted to be European he should part with his offshore accounts. Not bad, but it would have been more convincing if Putin’s own elites weren’t wrapped up in analogous schemes – indeed, the Panama Papers, which revealed Poroshenko’s offshore accounts, also revealed some $100 million+ in assets connected with Roldugin, an old celloist friend of Putin’s who was his other daughter’s godfather. In last year’s Q&A, Putin had clumsily explained those accounts as having been used to buy rare historical instruments for talented young Russian musicians.

Speaking of anti-corruption investigations: “We all know that unfortunately, the mass media in general and the Internet are also used to spread fake news, in service of the political struggle. What to do, this is life, there is nothing unusual here. But I must always double check it through the opportunities I have, and I have many such opportunities.” Meanwhile, the utterly compromised Medvedev remains PM, Russophile emigres from Ukraine continue getting deported back into the loving embrace of the Maidanists to make more space for Tajiks, and new laws are under consideration by the Duma to ban VPN services and to greatly limit people’s ability to make FOI requests about bureaucrats’ properties to the land registry.

No bold new ideas about social, economic, or foreign policy. There was a vague statement to the effect that a transition to a “new technological order” was needed, but no further details.

gallup-poll-us-russia

Parallel reality so far as relations with the US are concerned (Putin commented that Russia has “many supporters” in the US, no matter that approval of Russia in the US is at near record lows, and that on this very same day that there was a 97/100 bipartisan vote in the Senate to further sanctions against Russia).

The repetition of old tropes. “We need to strengthen the Syrian Armed Forces.” Meanwhile, more than a year after the start of the Russian intervention, the great bulk of the SAA remains militarily useless, with the hard fighting done by Hezbollah, the Iranians, about 20,000 just about competent SAA fomrations, and increasingly, Russian mercenaries in the Wagner Company.

Though the Presidential elections are less than a year away, it is now clear that Putin does not appear to have any any new ideas, plans, or visions for the long-term future apart from hunkering down and perhaps hoping that the state apparatuses in the US and Western Europe continue degrading even faster than in Russia. He is sitting on his 80% approval laurels, his status as the “inevitable” candidate assured.

Although I have to date avoided the comparison, because I had considered it inapplicable, the Brezhnevite critique is now becoming ever more germane.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Russia, Vladimir Putin 

PAPER REVIEW


I don’t know how, but Lynn, Cheng, and Russian psychometricist Grigoriev have managed to find Russian regional results for PISA 2015.

lynn-grigoriev-russia-pisa-2015

Moscow has plummeted in the rankings and is now fourth, whereas Saint-Petersburg is now first.

I have calculated the correlations with the PISA 2009 results, for regions that participated in both surveys, to be a pretty weak r=0.52. As you can see, the samples for each region are pretty small, typically around 100, though relatively more schoolchildren were tested in the capitals: 245 in Saint-Petersburg, and 373 in Moscow.

The Yakut-majority Sakha Republic has improved drastically, by half an S.D., so it is no longer last, but modestly below average (this ties in with Vladimir Shibaev’s recent work in 2017 which shows that Yakut IQ might be similar to Russian, and not drastically lower, as an earlier study from 2015 had indicated). That “honor” now belongs to Dagestan, which remains stuck at a PISA-equivalent IQ in the high 80s.

lynn-grigoriev-correlations

Lynn et al. also did their standard correlation exercises.

Other tests of academic achievement (average Unified State Exam results of those admitted to universities from 2014) and historical literacy (1897 census):

Note in particular that the province of Dagestan has the lowest PISA score (424.1) and the second lowest EQ (84); and also that the city of St. Petersburg has the highest PISA score (524.4), the highest EQ (111) and the highest literacy rate in 1897 (61.6%). The city of Moscow has the fourth highest PISA score (516.4), the second highest EQ (110) and the second highest literacy rate in 1897 (53.1%).

GDP per capita:

Second, the PISA scores were correlated at r = .31 with GDP per capita. The correlation falls just short of statistical significance at p<.05 (r = .32 would be statistically significant).

wealth-iq-russia This is because some Russian regions have resource windfalls amidst low populations, e.g. Khanty-Mansyisk AO, which accounts for half of Russia’s oil output and enjoys a Swiss-like standard of living.

If you only consider “normal” Russian regions, the correlation becomes a much more typical r=0.73 (the graph to the right is based on results from PISA 2009 and PPP-adjusted Gross Regional Products from 2008.

Russian ethnicity:

Third, the PISA scores were significantly correlated at r = .45 (p<.01) with the percentage of the population with Russian ethnicity. This result is confirmed by the multiple regression analysis showing that the percentage of Russian ethnicity was a significant predictor of the PISA scores (β = .36, t = 2.68, p<.01).

Cold winters:

Fourth, the PISA scores were significantly correlated at r = .35 (p<.05) with latitude showing that IQs are higher in the more northerly provinces.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: IQ, Paper Review, Psychometrics, Russia 

The American Interest’s Karina Orlova writes:

A group of young independent filmmakers (Sota Vision) captured a moment that perfectly sums up not just what it was like yesterday in Moscow, but also what it’s like living in Russia these days. This is the reward you get for going out of your way to praise a dictator.

(Original).

His protestations of his “innocence” in the police van went unheeded.

Predictably, this video evokes a gushing flood of Schadenfreude amongst anti-Putinists, while pro-Putinists experience a jittery “there but for the grace of God go I” feeling.

But from a neutral perspective, how exactly does this reflect badly on “teh regime.”

What we see in it is unsanctioned protesters getting treated the same under the law, regardless of their fealty or lack thereof to the national leader.

This is the marker of civilization.

Let’s compare and contrast to Ukraine, the country where Navalnyites won – and what the Western elites want for Russia.

There, anti-war protesters are not only arrested, but jailed, whereas on the rare occasions that much more aggressive Maidanist “activists” are arrested they are let off with apologies soon after.

In fact, in Ukraine, so long as you belong to the appropriate faction, you can even shoot taxi drivers with pneumatic pistols for refusing to chant “Glory to Ukraine” along with you and get off with just house arrest.

This is the marker of barbarism.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Color Revolution, Law, Russia 

The Russia wide protests organized by Navalny on June 12 were a flop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick recap:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The former event was officially sanctioned by the city authorities.

The new one is *not*.

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

This is his version of the story.

There is however an alternate theory.

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

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

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

preobrazhensky-polk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

There have been three significant political protests in Moscow in the past few months, and each in their own way – and in their relation to each other – say a lot about the state of Russia today.

It’s not that great for the Kremlin.

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

moscow-protest-tverskaya-4

“He Is Not Dimon” / Navalny, March 26

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

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

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

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

enough-protest

“Enough” / Khodorkovsky, April 29

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

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

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

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

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

khrushchevki-protests

Credit: George Malets, martin_camera

Anti-Khrushchevki Demolition Protest / Evgenia Vinokurova, May 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

And of course the Western media pretty much ignored them.

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

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

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

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

 
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.


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