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 Russian Reaction Blog / RussiaTeasers

Probably unintentionally, but still.

The video, subtly titled “Hitler 1945/Navalny 2018,” basically argues that if you oppose Medvedev’s corruption and the importation of infinity Moslems into Russia then you are Hitler.

Its current Dislikes to Likes ratio is at around 10.

According to Navalny himself, the man behind the video is Sergey Kiriyenko, the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration.

The kremlin connection is probably true.

First, it obviously has a high production value, and has many of the stylistic features of the My Duck’s Vision studio, known for its goofy hyperbolic rhetoric and CGI overkill, which nobody really uses nowadays apart from the kremlins.

Second, the video has been shown to [edit 4/20: as has just been brought to my attention by Alexey Kovalev, they were actually shown another video, about Navalny's involvement in the Kirovles affair (an alleged corruption scandal for which Navalny had been convicted), not the one about how he is Hitler; in his post on the matter, Navalny had implied otherwise, which serves as a good reminder that what Navalny says should be fact checked as well] students of Vladimir State University, some of whom had allegedly been forced to go there as punishment for participating in the protests against corruption on March 26.

After the video, the head of the regional law school’s department for counter extremism outreach amongst youth, one vibrantly named Alla Byba lectures the disgruntled students for their temerity in asking her that she also show some of Navalny’s videos – for example, on how Dmitry Peskov wears watches worth three times his annual salary – in the interests of academic neutrality.

“You all know there that is an information war against the Russian Federation,” she informs the students, “No wonder that terrorist organizations are intensively recruiting across the Internet.”

So the basic takeaway is that as we well know actual terrorists have no religion or nationality, discussing Medvedev’s corruption and opposing infinity Moslems in Moscow makes you an extremist, a supporter of Adolf Hitler, and a member of the sixth-column ala Dugin.

You can hardly find a better way to inflate Navalny’s otherwise very modest approval ratings and smother away his real failings, such as a lack of knowledge about policy.

Indeed, as Egor Prosvirnin argues, calling Navalny a Russian fascist is perhaps the one thing that can save him – because it is evidently false to just about everyone who is not in the over 50, no Internet connection, sub-90 IQ demographic. But by attacking him on the basis of his supposed nationalism, the kremlins may well actually end up forcing Navalny to (re)adopt Russian nationalism. In the current climate, that could well increase Navalny’s popularity by a factor of of two or three, making him a real political threat to the kremlins.

All of which begs Milyukov’s classic question: Is this treason, or stupidity?

Well, judge for yourselves.

Some biographic data on Kiriyenko from the English Wikipedia (no mention of this in the Russian version, incidentally):

Sergei Kiriyenko’s grandfather, Yakov Israitel, made his name as a devoted communist and member of the Cheka, and Vladimir Lenin awarded him with an inscribed pistol for his good service to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Sergei Kiriyenko, son of a Jewish father, was born in Sukhumi, the capital of the Abkhazian ASSR, and grew up in Sochi, in southern Russia. He adopted Ukrainian surname of his mother.

He was also one of the Gaidar’s “young reformers” responsible for the theft-ridden privatizations of the 1990s, and was Prime Minister during the 1998 default. After that, he spent the next seven years in inconsequential posts, until Putin plucked him out of obscurity to head Rosatom, the state nuclear power behemoth.

There have also been rumors in the press (which he denied) that he attended Scientology seminars in his hometown of Nizhny Novgorod.

Speaking of weird quasi-Masonic associations… Kirienko’s direct boss now is Anton Vaino, a descendant of Estonian communists. On becoming head of the Presidential Administration, the Internet quickly discovered his dissertation about the “nooscope,” a theoretical device that tracks “the collective conscience of mankind” thought a system of “spatial scanners” that monitor “changes in the biosphere.”

Many Russians expressed the hope that Vaino had paid someone to write it, because having an academic fraud in a position of power is par for the course in Russia, and far preferable to him being the deranged madman who wrote many dozens of pages about this pseudoscientific nonsense.

Apart from “treason” and “stupidity,” I suppose there is also a 666D chess explanation, a “mnogokhodovka” so to speak. If the kremlins could get nationalists to hop back aboard the Navalny bandwagon – meme Navalny into becoming a Russian Richard Spencer, as one Twitter user just suggested to me – then perhaps the kremlins could use the opportunity to shut down Russian nationalists along with Navalny himself in a future crackdown (for instance, if it coincides with the surrender of Donbass).

However, I don’t think that’s true, because I don’t think the kremlins are any smarter than Trump.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alexei Navalny, Politics, Russia 

There is a huge amount of misinformation and disinformation about what is and what is not Russian nationalism.

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

sputnik-i-pogrom-big-russia

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

***

Platform: The 3 Principles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

People: Who’s In? Who’s Out?

Russian nationalists do include the following:

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

Russian nationalists do not include the following:

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

***

Putin: Putler or Putlet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

What is to be Done?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

navalny-2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic Development, Not Political Isolation

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

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

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

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

Justice for All, or Impunity for Siloviks

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

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

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

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alexei Navalny, Liberalism, Nationalism, Russia 

margarita-simonyan

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

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

I have two questions in this regard:

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

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

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

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

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

It’s like the CIA/Mossad/Illuminati-financed Takfiri mercenaries, otherwise known as radical Islamists amongst sane people, have embarked on a marketing campaign in favor of a visa regime with Central Asia.

A group of Islamists ambushed a pair of Russian policemen doing a routine vehicle check on a minibus in Astrakhan oblast. Eight men of apparent Kazakh ethnicity, including the driver who participated in the conspiracy, are wanted.

I would note that Kazakhs are some of the most secular Muslims around, not just by global standards, but even by Central Asian ones. They don’t have a reputation for terrorism. Yet here, in a Russian oblast where they make up just 7% of the population according to official statistics – that translates to about 70,000 Kazakhs – it has emerged that there’s not just one “lone wolf” terrorist amongst them, but a cell of at least eight.

Note that this comes the day after the Saint-Petersburg terrorist attack, where the starring role was played by a Kyrgyz national of Uzbek ethnicity with a Russian Federation passport. It also comes several weeks after an attack by North Caucasus militants on a National Guard base, which left six soldiers dead.

A couple of days ago, I was planning to write a data-heavy article about how Navalny doesn’t have any chance. Too unpopular, too much of a Ukrainian nationalist, etc. I’ll still write it, but I will now have to preface it with a cautionary note. Since Navalny is a longtime proponent of visa regime with Central Asia, which contrasts with Putin’s support of Central Asian enrichment, this is something that he can really play up now (if his liberal sponsors allow him to, anyway).

Just consider the recent train of events. In the past month, thanks in large part to Navalny’s efforts, Medvedev’s relative reputation for probity has been destroyed. Now, Putin’s reputation for ending Islamic terrorism is also increasingly under question.

This is all very, very good for Navalny. I still think Navalny’s prospects in this electoral cycle are very slim, but I don’t now exclude the possibility of the Kremlin “clever planning” themselves into a serious crisis. Nothing is beyond those “geniuses.”

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Terrorism 

In an infamous 2008 article, Alexander Dugin makes the distinction between “patriotic corruption” and “comprador corruption,” or “Eurasian corruption” and “Atlanticist corruption.”

Here are the main features of “Eurasian” (patriotic) corruption:

  • Doesn’t damage Russia’s national security;
  • Concentrates the proceeds of corruption on Russian territory, or that of allied or strategically important countries;
  • Doesn’t put the corruptioneers in a state of dependency on Russia’s enemies;
  • Do not try to legitimize themselves through political lobbying and establish themselves as social norms.

And the main features of “Atlanticist” (comprador) corruption:

  • Damages Russia’s national interests;
  • Concentrates the proceeds of corruption outside Russia, in offshore havens and in countries hostile to Russia;
  • Makes the corruptioneer susceptible to blackmail from the governments and intelligence agencies of foreign Powers;
  • Attempts to create and empower lobbying structures, such as NGOs and political parties, that could legitimize the positions of Atlanticist corruptioneers in society.

Now okay, this distinction between “patriotic” and “comprador” corruption is trivially fun to make fun of. It is almost self-parodying. It is easy to ridicule whoever is making this argument, regardless of whether or not he benefits from said corruption. Dugin was endlessly ridiculed for it (even though there are no end of other, far more legitimate ways to make fun of him, such as his opposition to Hawking’s physics). No doubt I will be ridiculed for this post.

But for all that, Dugin is not wrong.

If large-scale corruption has to exist – and we know that for most countries outside North/West Europe, it must – it is doubtless better for corruptioneers to invest in their own society, like the American robber barons did in the 19th century and which the Chinese elite mostly do today, than to stash it away abroad, as was typical for Russia in the “roving bandits” era of the 1990s, when Yeltsin’s “family” was ferrying away assets in London and Switzerland like there was no tomorrow.

And the recent revelations about the network of charitable fronts that sustain Medvedev’s property empire prove that at least Russia’s political elites have embraced “patriotic” corruption.

Consider the following:

1. Of Medvedev’s $1.2 billion empire, a good 90% of investments are in Russia itself. And the 10% that is abroad – the Tuscan villa and vineyard – is in Italy, a country that does not have any particular animus towards Russia, unlike the favorite bolthole of corrupt Russian elites, Londongrad. In the 1990s, these ratios would have likely been the inverse.

2. As “stationary bandits” with some degree of interest in preserving the value of their holdings, the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed. The question of whether or not Medvedev overstepped his station is now on the cards, with the systemic opposition in the Duma, such Fair Russia’s Sergey Mironov, calling on Medvedev to answer the questions raised by Navalny’s investigation.

3. The properties in question do not directly belong to Medvedev, not even to his direct relatives, but to an opaque network of charitable foundations credited with interest free loans by Russian state banks. And since what is given can be withdrawn, and – most critically – not on the whims of Western lawmakers (who in practice only target corrupt Russians who do not serve Western geopolitical interests), but on that of the dozen or so security men around Putin who rule Russia. To be sure, those “silovarchs” like to enjoy la dolce vita themselves, but at least they are not compradors themselves, i.e. they are more loyal to Russian national interests than to foreign ones.

4. “Patriotic” corruption, relative to “comprador” corruption, is closer to how political corruption tends to operate even in Western countries such as the United States. It’s an open secret that the Clinton Foundation has very little to do with charity, and a lot more to do with currying favor with one of America’s most powerful political dynasties. One critical difference, of course, is that it is not American state banks (hence, taxpayers) providing the financing, but private actors, companies, and foreign governments that expect to get some return on their investments. Now on the one hand, personally financing the lavish lifestyle of your elites is more directly insulting. On the other hand, having the likes of George Soros and Saudi Arabia do it for you is perhaps not an altogether superior alternative.

5. To end on an especially whimsical note: Although Navalny in his video criticizes Medvedev for owning Russian vineyards while also pushing for lower excise taxes on wine, one cannot judge him too harshly for it, since it would be a great boon for public health in Russia for alcohol consumption to shift from vodka to wine. To be sure, Medvedev – or rather, the charitable funds who finance the properties and vineyards he occasionally stays at – monetarily benefits from that, but then so does the life expectancy of Russians. Perhaps former Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin, one of Putin’s few confidantes who still enjoy respectability in the West, is personally less corrupt than Medvedev, but he has also gone on record calling for Russians to smoke more to benefit the Treasury; his fiscally hard-headed lack of concern for the social good was one of the reasons why he fell out with, and was eventually sacked by, Medvedev. Which of these two would be the better choice as PM for the average Russian? It is not clear that it would be Kudrin.

Well, that’s my strained defense of Russia’s corrupt thieving elites out of the way. They should pay me for the PR, or something.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Corruption, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia 

moscow-protest-tverskaya-ak

As one of the world’s leading activists against the Putin regime, I had no choice but to show up on Tverskaya Street today, to fight for your freedom and mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I descended into the Metro.

***

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• Category: Ideology • Tags: Color Revolution, Moscow, Russia, The AK 

The basics on Denis Voronenkov: Communist MP. Bombastically patriotic. He led the way on highly needed and necessary legislation, such as a ban on Pokemon Go, and often waxed lyrical about the “patriotic” and “non-materialistic” values instilled on him by his Komsomol education.

This patriotism and lack of materialism expressed itself in the form of a $5 million apartment in the center of Moscow, a small fleet of luxury cars, a celebrity opera singer wife, and the respect of his fellow Kremlin elites. Current head of the SVR Sergey Naryshkin sang at his wedding to Untied Russia deputy Maksakova, which the Duma hailed as its “first interfactional wedding.”

He acquired his riches by selling favors to businessmen in return for promises of official access, and there’s not entirely incredible allegations that he ordered a contract killing (on a businessman who claimed that he had reneged on one of those promises).

However, at some point he crossed the wrong people, and there were rumors that an investigation would be started up when his parliamentary immunity was to run out in December 2016.

What’s a Russian communist patriot who finds himself the subject of criminal proceedings to do?

To flee to the UkSSR, of course, where he is warmly welcomed into the Maidan elites, including accelerated citizenship (in contrast, the Russian useful idiots who went to fight for the Revolution of Dignity and a future for white children have long since been thrown to the winds; many have struggled to even get a residency permit).

There, he goes from fighting Pokemon Go in Russia to calling Russia a latter-day Nazi Germany.

voronenkov-prophecy

In December 2016, soon after settling down in Kiev, he gloated: “First the downed fighter pilot. Now the Russian ambassador. Who’s next?”

Why, you:

voronenko-pays-his-mite

Who did it?

To be sure, Russian special forces are one; it’s not exactly a secret that intelligence services have a special hatred for traitors. Voronenkov was not only a politician, but had once worked in the Federal Drug Control Service, which was once a full-fledged “silovik” institution until it was dissolved and merged into the Interior Ministry in 2016. Not only was he a traitor, but he was also an outspoken one – in his last interview, published just today, he claimed that someone who understood the FSB, like himself, could simply “walk away” from them. That was essentially taunting them to get him.

That said, this was a very sloppy hit by Russian intelligence service standards.

I don’t think Poroshenko & Co. had anything to do with it. He was pretty useless – in the end, he was a lowly Duma deputy, and as such not privy to any of the real decision-making processes – but his chequered history hardly makes a great face as a democratic martyr done in by ROG.

It could also have been a banal falling out with his new “business partners” in Ukraine. Crime has risen since 2014, and the likelihood of such disputes being resolved through guns, not paperwork, is now higher.

That said, there is a good chance he was killed by genuine Ukrainian nationalists. They hate Poroshenko, and they cannot be very happy about the red carpet treatment rolled out for someone who not only supported but helped enable Crimea’s incorporation into Russia.

According to the latest reports, his killer – who has just died in hospital – was an ATO veteran and a member of the National Guard. Now yes, its possible that Russian intelligence services outsourced the assassination. But Occam’s Razor suggests that it was just a case of excessive svidomism.

In which case, just today: Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the hero.

PS. Since this story is such a succinct metaphor for everything wrong with everything – with the Russian elites, the Ukrainian elites, the Western media, and the Ukrainian nationalist yahoos who so conveniently insist on shooting their own country in the foot so regularly – that there will definitely soon be a longer post on this. First, though, a couple of minor technical issues with the blog software need to be fixed.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Assassinations, Elites, Russia, Svidomy, Ukraine 

Immigration statistics from the Ministry of Interior Affairs, 2016.

Total new citizenships: 265,319. (USA: 653,416 people in 2014, so about equal in per capita terms).

Ukraine: 100,696, up 49% from 2015. (Russians becoming Ukrainian citizens: About 2,000 per year).

It is utterly absurd that in per capita terms, there are as many Tajiks (0.27% of their population) getting RF citizenship as Ukrainians (0.24%), and three times as many Armenians (0.74% of their population). There is no humanitarian crisis in Tajikistan or in Armenia, whereas the population of just the LDNR – at war, under Ukrainian blockade – is greater than Armenia’s.

If Putin was truly the Putler of the Western imagination, Russia would be giving away RF passports like confetti in the LDNR. In reality, he is more of a Putlet.

***

TOTAL by country 265,319
Ukraine 100,696
Kazakhstan 37,837
Uzbekistan 23,216
Tajikistan 23,012
Armenia 22,264
Moldova, Republic of 17,397
PERSONS WITHOUT CITIZENSHIP 11,042
Azerbaijan 9,885
Kyrgyzstan 9,316
Belarus 3,582
Georgia 2,623
Turkmenistan 774
Turkey 500
Syrian Arab Republic 334
Afghanistan 300
Vietnam 287
Israel 170
Abkhazia 168
Lithuania 168
Germany 148
Egypt 142
Latvia 139
United States 92
Serbia 89
Bulgaria 84
Italy 71
China 66
South Ossetia 57
Bangladesh 53
Estonia 50
France 49
Greece 44
India 35
Iran, Islamic Republic of 33
Lebanon 33
Poland 31
Tunisia 31
Palestine, The State 30
Nigeria 28
Cuba 26
Morocco 24
Bosnia and Herzegovina 22
Iraq 22
Pakistan 22
Jordan 20
Algeria 17
United Kingdom (United Kingdom) 15
Cameroon 13
Montenegro 11
Australia 10
Yemen 10
Sudan 10
Belgium 9
Canada 9
Austria 8
Hungary 8
Spain 8
Colombia 8
Bolivia, a multinational state 7
Thailand 7
Brazil 6
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 6
Congo 6
Mongolia 6
Romania 6
Sri Lanka 6
South Africa 6
Nepal 5
Netherlands 5
Peru 5
Finland 5
Switzerland 5
Ecuador 5
The Republic of Macedonia 4
Mexico 4
Norway 4
Czech Republic 4
Sweden 4
Benin 3
Ghana 3
Guinea-Bissau 3
Denmark 3
Korea, Republic of 3
Somalia 3
Albania 2
Gambia 2
Zimbabwe 2
Indonesia 2
Cyprus 2
Libya 2
Niger 2
Slovenia 2
Croatia 2
Ethiopia 2
Japan 2
Angola 1
Argentina 1
Bermuda 1
Burundi 1
Dominican Republic 1
Zambia 1
Ireland 1
Comoros 1
North Korea (North Korea) 1
Costa Rica 1
Malawi 1
Mali 1
Myanmar 1
Nicaragua 1
New Zealand 1
United Arab Emirates 1
Portugal 1
Slovakia 1
Sierra Leone 1
Tanzania, United Republic of 1
Togo 1
Uruguay 1
Philippines 1
Chad 1
Chile 1

 

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Immigration, Russia, Ukraine 

Why is corruption so bad in Eastern Europe? And what can be done about it?

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First off, I don’t know to what extent it can be reduced. According to the hbdchick’s theories on the Hajnal Line, ceteris paribus, Southern and Eastern Europe will always be more corrupt than the countries of “core Europe” because they did not undergo its centuries of selection for beyond-kin altruism.

Despite decades of institutional convergence under the aegis of European integration, Italy and Greece remain considerably more corrupt than Germany, Britainn, and Sweden. Poland has improved greatly since the 1990s, but reached an asymptote at around Italy’s level; Romania, at Greece’s. From the outset, this implies that Eastern European countries should keep their ambitions realistic, regardless of the policies that they choose to pursue.

Still, political economic factors do play a large role.

The main concept that I would draw upon is Mancur Olson’s distinction between “roving bandits” and “stationary bandits.”

In unstable polities, the elites can be replaced at any time, often through unpredictable and lawless methods such as coups, or “people power” driven “color revolutions” if the new gang are more pro-Western. The elites know this. As such, they have an interest in maximizing their thievery in the here and now, with corresponding disincentives to large, capital-heavy investments that will only pay in the long-term. Most likely, they will not be around to enjoy the fruits of their labor a decade or two down the line. But a Mayfair apartment and British Virgin Islands cash stash won’t go anywhere.

This describes Ukraine, and Russia in the 1990s.

In polities where the system is more stable, “roving bandits” start to settle down – they become “stationary bandits.” There are relatively greater incentives for long-term investments – if you steal less today, your pie will be greater tomorrow. Although corruption still exists, and may even remain systemic, the more predictable nature of the tariffs levied by “stationary bandits” enables corporations to account for them in their business plans. It’s not even so much the degree of corruption that’s important as its predictability. Furthermore, the bandits at the very top have greater incentives to clamp down on their underlings, since if they get start getting too greedy it will bite into their own profit margins. This in turn can pave the way for the emergence of institutions that can upgrade the war on corruption from manual to semi-autonomous mode.

This describes countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. (China would also fall into this category).

industrialized-transition These ex-Soviet countries, ruled by “stationary bandits,” have been far more successful at economic recovery (and growth) than Ukraine. For all the “Gabon with snow” jokes, Ukraine is still an industrialized country with a well educated population and a respectable average IQ of perhaps 95, with considerable natural resources, access to the sea, and Russian gas subsidies that have totalled approximately $200 billion since independence.

So the Ukrainian economy should be doing MUCH BETTER, given the huge gap between potential and reality (perhaps the biggest gap of any country in the world). But as of 2015, its inflated-adjusted GDP was a mere 60% of the UkSSR’s in 1990 (Russia: 110%; Belarus: 180%), and is now in a neck-and-neck race with Nigeria in terms of Internet penetration.

Telling example: One of the few genuinely bright spots in the Ukrainian economy has been the IT sector. In particular its presence on the video game scene is rather impressive in relative terms – Cossacks, Stalker, Metro 2033.

Why? Because that is what you get when you combine roving bandits with a high IQ population. Few people are willing to build anything substantial like a multi-billion dollar factory. Hence, so far as heavy industry goes, it just continues to coast on the ever depreciating Soviet legacy.

How much capital do you need to launch a middle-sized video game studio? Can’t imagine it’s much more than $100,000. Most of the value is in the brains, and you get some of the best cognitive bang per dollar in the Ukraine. You can sell your game on Steam, and should instability strike, you can just bugger off to someplace warmer and more civilized, like Cyprus or Malta (like 4A games, the creators of Metro 2033, did in 2014).

Incidentally one can see the same thing (if to a significantly smaller extent) in both Russia and Belarus.

How to solve – or at least mitigate – corruption follows naturally from the above observations.

(1) The roving bandits need to be settled down. (Replacing one gang with another under the cover of a color revolution doesn’t do anything – as Ukraine has already proven, TWICE).

In Ukraine’s case, that means it needs to put an end to its never-ending internecine struggles. Broadly speaking, both Novossiya supporters and Ukrainian nationalists have the right idea, even if they are otherwise diametrically opposed. (Nadia Sevchenko represents a curious convergence of these two streams: A Ukrainian nationalist to the core, she has negotiated with LDNR authorities in contravention of official Kiev policy while suggesting that Ukraine needs a period of dictatorship to get itself sorted out).

(2) East Asia furnishes many several examples of non-Hajnal societies that have successfully solved the corruption problem. One approach is greater criminal penalties for corruption (“kill the chicken to scare the monkey,” as the Chinese proverb goes); another is to richly compensate civil servants, so as to reduce the relatice incentive for additional thievery (Singapore government ministers are paid like the CEOs of big corporations, and in tandem with harsh punishments and wealth, this has helped Singapore become one of the world’s least corrupt societies, despite traditional China’s penchant for corruption).

In practice, neither of these is practical for Eastern Europe. European human rights regulations preclude the killing of chickens; and East Europeans themselves are far too populist and demotic to tolerate elitist-technocratic policies like CEO-scale salaries for bureaucrats (with the result that said bureaucrats will unofficially continue to compensate themselves at CEO levels anyway, but with huge markups).

(3) The removal of roving bandits will enable faster economic growth, and greater tax receipts allow you to pay more to develop institutions, while greater per capita wealth leads to money floating about for the development of an indigenous civil society. It also makes e-government, which makes far less demands on face-to-face interactions between citizens and bureaucrats, with all their associated potential for corruption, far more realizable.

(4) To be sure, it can be very frustrating to live in a country that is visibly and strikingly more corrupt than the fairylands of core Europe. It is understandable that people, especially young people without much life experience, want change, and they want it quick. More often than not, the result is a cargo cult approach to combatting corruption, which results in spectacles such as Anti-Corruption Forums to which the participants show up in Mercedes and Lexuses (a most apt metaphor for Euromaidan).

From this perspective, an understanding of the deep gene-cultural underpinnings of corruption might not lead you to forgive everything, but it will at least imbue you with a sense of realism as to what is and what is not possible. A slow, steady convergence over two or three decades to Italy’s or even France’s level of corruption – entirely possible, even likely. A new Sweden overnight through the power of mass lustrations and Lenin statue topplings? Nope.

Going ahead will only set you up for eventual disappointment, but in the meanwhile, you’d have wrecked your own country.

Finally, don’t worry. In the end, corruption just isn’t that important to economic growth! Just compare Chile and China: One by far the cleanest country in South Americat; the other one is far more corrupt, but a standard deviation higher in average IQ. Which of those two is the economic steamroller, and which one has nothing to write home about? Exactly. And corruption tends to diminish with increasing wealth, as the power of institutions and civil society increases. Just don’t smother your economy with regulations and central planning, don’t allow roving bandits to pick the place clean and stymie all long-term development, and the problems should ultimately resolve by itself without any particular further effort on your part.

PS. Daniel Chieh comments: “These days, modern China has moved significantly from executions to pressuring corrupt officials to commit suicide: possibly a return to honor suicides that was the norm in Asia and perhaps part of the entire initiative for Xi’s “return of traditional Chinese virtues.” Honor suicides just doesn’t seem to be a thing in East Europe, that I know of, anyway. Human rights law in Europe in theory wouldn’t stop all methods of “killing the chicken” as there are a number of other “greater criminal punishments” that don’t include capital punishment – which is rarely used these days, to be honest. Mass social shaming, prohibitions on future job-seeking, reduced status opportunities and unfavorable associations that spread even to the family all work just as well.The life of a pariah can be worse than death, imo.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Corruption, Russia, Ukraine 

The final figures for life expectancy and TFR in total and for the regions have been released today.

The Rosstat computations give an estimate of TFR = 1.76 children per woman and LE = 71.9 years for 2016, which are pretty close to my rough estimates a month ago.

The total population is estimated to be 146,804,372 at the end of the year.

Not really much extra to comment on than what I already have in February.

One thing of note is that Crimea has by now been fully integrated into the statistics so we can begin to analyze how its doing after liberation from the yoke of Ukrainian backwardness.

For instance, in terms of disposable income, Crimea remains well behind almost all majority ethnic Russian regions, including neighboring Krasnodar Krai (which became post-Soviet Russia’s main breachfront location). However, it is also converging quickly. Although Russia was in a recession during 2016, with only 0.7% growth in disposable incomes (-5.4% inflation), Crimea and Sevastopol both grew by more than 15% – the fastest rate of increase in Russia.

Ukraine was, of course, also in recession during this period.

The fertility rate in Crimea and Sevastopol has also increased since 2014, which you presumably wouldn’t expect of regions under brutal occupation.

TFR

TFR 2013 2014 2015 2016
Russian Federation 1.707 1.750 1.777 1.762
Central Federal District 1.478 1.514 1.575 1.595
Belgorod Oblast 1.526 1.544 1.561 1.547
Bryansk Oblast 1.534 1.557 1.650 1.612
Vladimir Oblast 1.591 1.643 1.730 1.712
Voronezh Oblast 1.437 1.471 1.517 1.484
Ivanovo Oblast 1.554 1.572 1.629 1.595
Kaluga Oblast 1.644 1.689 1.836 1.785
Kostroma Oblast 1.852 1.866 1.890 1.880
Kursk Oblast 1.674 1.699 1.716 1.643
Lipetsk Oblast 1.601 1.657 1.700 1.687
Moscow Oblast 1.522 1.600 1.675 1.727
Orel Oblast 1.530 1.552 1.603 1.590
Ryazan Oblast 1.552 1.595 1.640 1.703
Smolensk Oblast 1.480 1.528 1.522 1.509
Tambov Oblast 1.423 1.493 1.512 1.503
Tver Oblast 1.639 1.663 1.696 1.709
Tula Oblast 1.424 1.466 1.568 1.547
Yaroslavl Oblast 1.635 1.640 1.695 1.710
Moscow 1.328 1.341 1.406 1.460
North-West Federal District 1.574 1.613 1.657 1.670
Republic of Karelia 1.648 1.744 1.766 1.763
Komi Republic 1.961 2.013 2.002 1.972
Arkhangelsk Oblast 1.803 1.835 1.847 1.833
of which:
_Nenets Autonomous Okrug 2.312 2.423 2.584 2.774
_Arkhangelsk Oblast 1.784 1.812 1.818 1.795
Vologda Oblast 1.852 1.856 1.922 1.897
Kaliningrad Oblast 1.644 1.699 1.745 1.728
Leningrad Oblast 1.227 1.282 1.286 1.318
Murmansk Oblast 1.623 1.649 1.714 1.653
Novgorod Oblast 1.700 1.749 1.776 1.776
Pskov Oblast 1.675 1.695 1.741 1.796
St. Petersburg 1.482 1.522 1.591 1.634
Southern Federal District 1.642 1,711 1 1,735 1 1.719
Republic of Adygea 1.684 1.730 1.724 1.681
Republic of Kalmykia 1.882 1.853 1.831 1.708
Krasnodar Krai 1.825 1.818 1.763
Republic of Crimea 1.724 1.805 1.840 1.829
Astrakhan Oblast 1.911 1.968 1.970 1.938
Volgograd Oblast 1.529 1.571 1.589 1.574
Rostov Oblast 1.522 1.605 1.627 1.596
Sevastopol 1.649 1.821 1.726
North Caucasus Federal District 1.987 2.034 1.979 1.936
Dagestan Republic 2.015 2.077 2.022 1.978
Republic of Ingushetia 2.231 2.278 1.971 1.752
Kabardino-Balkar Republic 1.803 1.831 1.753 1.724
Karachay–Cherkessia 1.673 1.650 1.541 1.518
Republic of North Ossetia – Alania 1.977 2.009 1.930 1.891
Chechen Republic 2.925 2.912 2.799 2.622
Stavropol Krai 1.548 1.617 1.644 1.678
Volga Federal District 1.750 1.789 1.818 1.788
Republic of Bashkortostan 1.887 1.948 1.939 1.860
Republic of Mari El 1.926 1.981 1.993 1.980
Republic of Mordovia 1.366 1.374 1.360 1.403
Republic of Tatarstan 1.832 1.844 1.863 1.855
Udmurt Republic 1.922 1.959 2.006 1.956
Chuvash Republic 1.851 1.878 1.909 1.869
Perm Krai 1.932 1.977 2.018 1.979
Kirov Oblast 1.868 1.885 1.913 1.943
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast 1.561 1.593 1.669 1.649
Orenburg Oblast 2.001 2.027 2.013 1.946
Penza Oblast 1.486 1.529 1.550 1.503
Samara Oblast 1.589 1.647 1.708 1.714
Saratov Oblast 1.536 1.574 1.601 1.550
Ulyanovsk Oblast 1.611 1.673 1.712 1.705
Ural Federal District 1.907 1.960 1.965 1.919
Kurgan Oblast 2.115 2.101 2.123 2.030
Sverdlovsk Oblast 1.871 1.921 1.945 1.911
Tyumen Oblast 2.004 2.073 2.072 2.009
of which:
_Khanty-Mansiysk Ugra-Autonomous Okrug 2.050 2.090 2.073 2.020
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug 2.090 2.189 2.188 2.084
Tyumen Oblast 1.959 2.054 2.064 2.002
Chelyabinsk Oblast 1.802 1.855 1.843 1.809
Siberian Federal District 1.880 1.902 1.902 1.870
Altai Republic 2.815 2.883 2.677 2.634
Republic of Buryatia 2.205 2.260 2.280 2.237
Republic of Tuva 3.424 3.485 3.386 3.345
Republic of Khakassia 2.013 2.007 1.986 1.967
Altai Krai 1.830 1.841 1.811 1.777
Zabaykalsky Krai 2.014 2.078 2.057 1.979
Krasnoyarsk Krai 1.775 1.807 1.837 1.815
Irkutsk Oblast 1.978 1.966 2.012 1.989
Kemerovo Oblast 1.787 1.778 1.726 1.713
Novosibirsk Oblast 1.749 1.765 1.817 1.805
Omsk Oblast 1.867 1.951 1.911 1.808
Tomsk Oblast 1.591 1.593 1.600 1.581
Far Eastern Federal District 1.814 1.869 1.893 1.858
Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) 2.168 2.247 2.191 2.090
Kamchatka Krai 1.773 1.850 1.887 1.890
Primorsky Krai 1.685 1.732 1.761 1.736
Khabarovsk Krai 1.744 1.787 1.854 1.779
Amur Oblast 1.844 1.849 1.838 1.817
Magadan Oblast 1.693 1.659 1.664 1.596
Sakhalin Oblast 1.808 1.962 2.019 2.156
Jewish Autonomous Oblast 1.857 1.948 2.022 1.987
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug 1.906 2.041 2.097 2.112

Life Expectancy

Russian Federation 70.76 70.93 71.39 71.87
Central Federal District 71.93 72.10 72.72 73.07
Belgorod Oblast 72.16 72.25 72.61 72.87
Bryansk Oblast 69.75 69.42 70.36 70.92
Vladimir Oblast 69.13 69.25 69.82 70.28
Voronezh Oblast 70.89 70.82 71.67 72.08
Ivanovo Oblast 69.84 69.88 70.62 70.77
Kaluga Oblast 70.02 69.93 70.73 71.18
Kostroma Oblast 69.86 70.05 70.38 70.87
Kursk Oblast 70.14 70.11 70.80 70.94
Lipetsk Oblast 70.66 70.60 71.07 71.62
Moscow Oblast 70.78 70.94 72.26 72.50
Orel Oblast 70.22 69.88 70.38 70.73
Ryazan Oblast 70.74 70.80 71.46 71.87
Smolensk Oblast 68.90 69.44 69.74 69.98
Tambov Oblast 70.93 71.11 71.67 72.11
Tver Oblast 68.13 68.43 69.10 69.24
Tula Oblast 69.41 69.63 70.06 70.56
Yaroslavl Oblast 70.45 70.64 70.98 71.21
Moscow 76.37 76.70 76.77 77.09
North-West Federal District 71.25 71.42 71.70 72.16
Republic of Karelia 69.19 69.36 69.16 69.78
Komi Republic 69.27 69.05 69.40 69.45
Arkhangelsk Oblast 70.16 70.23 70.71 70.82
of which:
_Nenets Autonomous Okrug 65.76 70.65 71.00 71.08
_Arkhangelsk Oblast 70.27 70.20 70.70 70.80
Vologda Oblast 69.35 69.74 70.40 70.24
Kaliningrad Oblast 70.51 70.28 70.58 71.92
Leningrad Oblast 70.36 70.28 71.23 71.70
Murmansk Oblast 70.46 69.97 70.24 70.94
Novgorod Oblast 67.67 68.41 68.70 69.15
Pskov Oblast 67.82 68.07 68.48 69.25
St. Petersburg 74.22 74.57 74.42 74.90
Southern Federal District 71.76 71,74 1 72,13 1 72.29
Republic of Adygea 71.80 72.01 72.22 72.59
Republic of Kalmykia 71.35 72.03 72.15 73.35
Krasnodar Krai 70.74 70.52 70.74
Republic of Crimea 72.29 72.28 72.53 72.83
Astrakhan Oblast 71.34 70.76 71.36 72.20
Volgograd Oblast 71.42 71.62 71.98 72.49
Rostov Oblast 71.39 71.30 71.90 72.20
Sevastopol 72.28 70.67 71.64
North Caucasus Federal District 73.95 74.11 74.63 75.13
Dagestan Republic 75.63 75.83 76.39 77.23
Republic of Ingushetia 78.84 79.42 80.05 80.82
Kabardino-Balkar Republic 73.71 74.16 74.61 75.12
Karachay–Cherkessia 73.94 73.91 74.44 74.72
Republic of North Ossetia – Alania 73.94 73.82 74.20 75.05
Chechen Republic 73.20 73.06 73.45 74.20
Stavropol Krai 72.75 72.75 73.36 73.40
Volga Federal District 70.06 70.20 70.71 71.39
Republic of Bashkortostan 69.63 69.76 70.08 71.00
Republic of Mari El 69.30 69.42 69.80 70.75
Republic of Mordovia 70.56 71.38 72.06 72.25
Republic of Tatarstan 72.12 72.17 72.81 73.64
Udmurt Republic 69.92 70.03 70.46 70.86
Chuvash Republic 70.79 70.62 71.35 71.52
Perm Krai 68.75 69.04 69.09 69.74
Kirov Oblast 70.26 70.59 71.11 71.71
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast 69.42 69.53 70.17 70.75
Orenburg Oblast 68.90 68.73 69.63 70.57
Penza Oblast 71.54 71.63 72.12 72.53
Samara Oblast 69.40 69.63 70.35 71.08
Saratov Oblast 70.67 70.95 71.40 72.07
Ulyanovsk Oblast 70.50 70.37 70.46 70.97
Ural Federal District 70.06 70.20 70.38 70.82
Kurgan Oblast 68.27 68.75 69.03 69.43
Sverdlovsk Oblast 69.81 69.76 69.83 70.02
Tyumen Oblast 71.35 71.50 71.76 72.33
of which:
_Khanty-Mansiysk Ugra-Autonomous Okrug 72.23 72.27 72.58 73.50
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug 71.23 71.92 71.70 72.13
Tyumen Oblast 70.14 70.32 70.58 71.03
Chelyabinsk Oblast 69.52 69.71 69.90 70.50
Siberian Federal District 68.63 68.85 69.31 69.81
Altai Republic 67.34 67.76 68.44 70.13
Republic of Buryatia 67.67 68.54 69.15 69.61
Republic of Tuva 61.79 61.79 63.13 64.21
Republic of Khakassia 68.57 68.83 68.68 69.33
Altai Krai 69.77 70.01 70.44 70.74
Zabaykalsky Krai 67.11 67.38 67.34 68.33
Krasnoyarsk Krai 69.06 69.23 69.69 70.01
Irkutsk Oblast 66.72 66.87 67.37 68.20
Kemerovo Oblast 67.72 67.80 68.31 68.72
Novosibirsk Oblast 70.19 70.28 70.86 71.20
Omsk Oblast 69.74 70.13 70.41 70.78
Tomsk Oblast 70.33 70.67 71.25 71.66
Far Eastern Federal District 67.81 68.21 68.68 69.22
Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) 69.13 69.81 70.29 70.84
Kamchatka Krai 67.98 68.06 68.56 68.66
Primorsky Krai 68.19 68.74 69.21 69.66
Khabarovsk Krai 67.92 68.01 68.72 69.13
Amur Oblast 66.38 67.00 67.27 68.28
Magadan Oblast 67.12 67.19 68.11 69.00
Sakhalin Oblast 67.70 67.89 67.99 68.66
Jewish Autonomous Oblast 64.94 65.20 65.04 65.88
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug 62.11 62.32 64.16 64.42
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Demographics, Russia 

Ukraine has committed to celebrating diversity at Eurovision 2017.

eurovision-2017-celebrate-diversity

Russia agrees with this noble sentiment. You would be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of diversity than Russia.

This is why Russia is sending wheel-chair bound Yulia Samoylova to sing “Flame is Burning,” a powerful ballad about love and hope.

Now Kiev don’t seem to be very happy about this, they are alleging that she entered Crimea without getting their permission. Very absurd demands. They seem to be under the strange delusion that Crimea belongs to them, or something.

They have even added her name to the Peacekeeper kill list and are threatening to bar her entry to the contest. This is an assertion of ableist privilege, and is absolutely inexcusable for a country that claims to respect European values.

There have also been hysterical accusations that Russia is cynically politicizing this affair, hoping that Ukraine either bars her entry, or that the audience booes her, to score sympathy points. This is complete nonsense. Everybody knows that Eurovision doesn’t and never had a political bone in its body. It has always been a celebration of pure culture and musical talent.

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Eurovision, Russia 

The (excellent) historical journal Arzamas has a quiz, now translated into English, about your political compass location in the context of 1917 Russia.

You can take it here: http://arzamas.academy/materials/1269

My own result, probably unsurprisingly, was Black Hundreds.

political-compass-russia-1917

 
• Category: History • Tags: Russia 

If legal policy towards human biodiversity/race realism/racist hate speech (cross out as per your ideological preferences) ranges from mildly to severely repressive across Europe and Canada, then in Russia it can best be described as schizophrenic.

There is more freedom of association than in Europe or even the US: You can specify “Slavs Only”/”No Caucasians” when renting out your apartment with no consequences, as Muscovites do. It trolls the West by accomodating far right conferences, such as the one in Saint-Petersburg in 2015. Moderate nationalists such as Egor Kholmogorov write op-eds for Komsomolskaya Pravda; even under Trump, I don’t see Steve Sailer penning articles for the NYT anytime soon.

On the other hand, remarkably trivial “offenses” may potentially get you in hot water. The classic case might be the Article 282 case against Konstantin Krylov, which unlike Pussy Riot is of course completely unknown in the West, who called on the Kremlin to “end this strange economic model” (sic), the “model” in question referring to Russian monetary transfers to the backwards Caucasus republics. For this act of fascist extremism he was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, though the verdict was overturned in 2014.

More recently, there appeared what might be a potential contender for sheer absurdity.

I do not know much about Dmitry Bobrov apart from the fact that he appears to be some sort of Russian nationalist. He is currently in trouble for the following propaganda of race hatred and extremism:

Today there has been another hearing in the case against me for the phrase “the great Russian people” and humiliation of West Europeans by the phrase “Western European peoples are currently in the phase of obscuration” (which is an almost identical retelling of Lev Gumilev).

They questioned a specialist who examined the text for extremism. That woman asked the court to remove “outsiders,” who were two girls from the human rights organization “Civil Control,” who decided to attend the hearing as observers. She stated that she is categorically opposed to the public hearing about her participation Article 282 cases, and the MSM and social media writing about it… The court refused her request. As for myself, I have decided to help make her slightly more famous.

Please meet: Rezeda Halyafutdinovna Salahutdinova, former associate professor of the Faculty of Sociology at Saint Petersburg State University. She graduated from the Faculty of “Scientific Communism” at Kazan University. Over many years, she has provided many such expertises against opponents of the regime.

In the Soviet Union, “scientific communism” had a status similar to that of the Womyn’s/African-American/LGBTQX “Studies” courses in the West – everybody knew it was a pseudoscientific scam, but you were still advised not to say that out loud. But in private, achieving perfect scores on your mandatory “scientific communism” course was considered to be a smirch on your academic record by real professors in science and mathematics.

So what we have here is a clear-cut transition from the pseudoscience of “scientific communism” to the pseudoscience of modern sociology. Very logical.

A search of her name confirms that Rezeda Salahutdinova does indeed have a “reputation” in certain corners of Runet for participating in Article 282 cases. “Rezeda Salahutdinova” currently only has eight Google mentions in English. Let us help Rezeda Salahutdinova become a bit more famous in the Anglosphere too. Saint Petersburg State University is hardly a provincial community college, so it would be good to let any foreign collaborators know of her impressive pedigree in punishing thoughtcrime (too bad they’d probably approve, but that’s another matter). You are welcome, Rezeda Salahutdinova.

In particular, she declared that the phrase “white race” just by itself fans the flames of hatred, because “they don’t talk like that in modern science” and that the expression “non-white people” is extremist, since it attacks the national dignity of other peoples.

It is heard to describe this theater of the absurd under the guise of a law court. When she was asked, “What specific racial, national, ethnic, social, or other groups were insulted?”, she replied: “All those groups, that are not identified with whites.”

No, this makes no more sense in Russian than in English.

Let me see if I get this straight: The white race doesn’t exists, but not belonging to it is an insult?

Since Article 282 specifically applies to hatred against specific groups, I tried to force her to clarify herself:

Dmitry Bobkov: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

Rezeda Salahutdinova: “From the point of view of Gobineau’s racist theory, all non whites are inferior…”

DB: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

RS: “In our many-national country it is very important that hatred and enmity not divide peoples of different nationalities…”

DB: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

RS: “Gobineau’s theory states that representatives of the white race participated in the creation of the great civilization of ancient Egypt, however…”

DB: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

RS: “It should be noted that the growth of national consciousness on Russian territory can be observed across all nationalities, and not just ethnic Russians…”

DB: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

RS: “As a representative of modern science, I can confirm that a conceptual analysis of this text speaks to its extremist slant…”

DB: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

The judge speaks up, evidently annoyed. “Could you please answer that specific question?”

RS: : “Taking into account the many-national and multiracial character of the Russian Federation, the danger of such teachings is that peoples living on the territory of this country are subjected to an analysis based on a racial typology…”

DB: “Could you please clarify whether there exists a racial, ethnic, religious, or social group “everyone, who isn’t white”?”

What’s with the Gobineau obsession, anyway? I mean it is The Current Year for crying out loud! She doesn’t appear to have even left the era of Stephen Jay Gould and The Mismeasure of Man.

Anyhow, it would be interesting to know how this case turns out.

It’s encouraging that the judge, at least, appears to be sane. This is fortunate, because cases like Bobrov’s get scant attention at best from Russia’s homegrown HR activists, while Western critics of our glorious Putlerreich (/s) only ever whine that Russia isn’t doing enough against supposed racists.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Freedom of Speech, Russia 

Here is why Russia also needs a BBW (Turkestan edition):

births-russia-vs-central-asia

Number of births: Red = Russia; Green = Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan).

In 1897, there were ten times fewer people in Russian Turkestan than within the modern borders of the Russian Federation.

Today, they constitute 50% of the Russian Federation’s population.

They have produced about as many children in the past thirty years as Russians, especially once you account for the mass emigration of Russians from Central Asia.

Therefore, later in the century, the population of dry, landlocked Central Asia may converge with or even come to surpass that of the Russian Federation.

(The usual disclaimers: No further regatherings of Russian lands, no radical life extension, no real life Fallout, etc.)

Open borders between Russia and Central Asia will probably result in Russia acquiring a permanent underclass of lower-IQ Muslims, and in the worst case, outright transforming it into Russabia (impossible with its current ethnic makeup, but the Turkestan demographic reservoir is an order of magnitude bigger than that of the Muslims in the North Caucasus).

The situation is very redolent of the challenges facing the United States vis-a-vis Central America and Europe vis-a-vis the Middle East and Africa.

One of the things I’m looking forwards to doing here is transmigrating HBD insights to Russian realities. On the plus side, it’s socially easier (no WEIRD “racism” taboos) and intellectually easier (since innovation is harder than copying, even if one does have to coin a lot of terms – e.g., “human biodiversity” itself – that don’t exist in Russian). On the negative side, there’s no First Amendment here, as in the rest of Europe.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Central Asia, Demographics, Russia 

The recently departed Vitaly Churkin was /ourguy/ in every sense of the word.

Not only did he fight the good fight in the UN, it has recently emerged he also blogged the good blog (and commented the good comments) online as imperia-mir.

We can’t be 100% certain that it is him. We have only the last post on that blog, claiming Churkin as its main author, to assert that. However, that blog has been in existence for a long time, and the person behind it has consistently commented like someone who is pretty high up, and in the know about, the inner workings of Russian international politics, so the claim is not incredible.

If this is the case, then the picture that emerges is of a Russian patriot, committed to state service, whose ideas and values are surprisingly unorthodox, original, and interesting, especially by the standards of the gray Russian bureaucractic caste.


aivazovsky-stormy-sea-1868

On Crimea (Mar 11, 2014)

Crimea is not just…

It is not just Cimmeria, of which the man in the street primarily knows only on account of the name of a barbarian played by a future governor of California…

It is not only the land of the ancient Scythians, whose name resounded far beyond the borders of the Empire that adopted them…

It is not only the kingdoms, cities, towns, and polises, with the proud names of Panticapaeum, Kalos Limen, Theodosius, Heracleon. It is not just only just the realm of the ancient – the shipbuilding, the viticulture, the growing of olives, the construction of temples, theaters, stadiums. It is not just Euripedes, and not just the drama Iphigenia in Tauris.

Yes, Odysseys rested in Evpatoria. Yes, the caligae of the Roman vexillationes gathered dust on the Via Militaris. But not only them. “From Scythia to Camelot,” yes, but not only.

It is not only the Sarmats and the Goths, and the Horde, and the Rus. It is not only wars, it is not just the shores bleached gray by eternity, it is not just the vineyards of the Golitsyns, it is not just the Tatars, not just the sieges, not just the splendor of Potemkin, his works, his pains, and the horrific myths dreamt up about his feats. Not just the Russian fleet, not just the union of steel, will, and talent of all Europe, not just the ascent of John Paul Jones, the creator of the US Navy and an admiral of the Russian Navy, and hundreds of others, who are no less ours by law and blood.

It is not only Ivan Aivazovsky and Alexander Grin, it is not just the crimson sails of the Soviet squadrons, it is not just the endless defenses of endless Sevastopol in the name of endless Russia, baptized into the Empire by the will of God at Chersonesus. And it is not even the Kazantip festival.

It is not only the underground submarine base at Balaklava, where the British Light Brigade perished; it is not the sailor hero Koshka; it is not the endless landing troops, polygons, airports, scientific centers, not the space observation stations, not the looted long-range radar stations and the destroyed fields that were once used to test the Lunokhod moon rovers; it is not Levadia, not Yalta, not the 147 bays and 295 wharfs; it is not the sunsets, the auroras, and not even the secluded lakes and islands, where people learned to talk with dolphins.

Taurida is our Avalon.

It is our sword. And is it returning to us.

***

On Putin (Jul 19, 2014)

Today I learned something that has forced me to reevaluate my opinion about Vladimir Putin.

“Forced” – not quite the right word, and “something” – is a euphemism.

I have always voted for him freely (including, dear God, during “Operation Successor”). I have always been critical towards him – from his personnel policy to a certain (in my view) naive and complacent strategy towards our “Western Partners” (TM), a criminally lackadaisical attitude towards homegrown Russophobe extremists, the strange loyalty to an entire array of strange neoliberal economic mantras, the lack of a clear general development strategy in the widest sense of the word, indecisiveness, the art of “thin ambiguity,” the secret service mentality of not explaining things fully – in other words, my criticism is the entire repertoire of a person who criticizes Putin for not being sufficiently Putin (that is, one’s own singular Putin). And I will continue criticizing him, in part because I do not conflate patriotism and the absence of criticism for making mistakes.

My criticism is based on a social heart, a liberal (in the correct, original, and good sense of this word) mind, an anarchic liver, and monarchic (not constitutional) nerves. My soul belongs to God in the Orthodox interpretation (I hope), but I’d like to live in a pantheistic (not in a pagan one! nor in a so-called “secular”) state! I don’t like Stalin, but hate his demonization, and lies about him. I don’t consider the Russian Empire to be better than the USSR, or vice versa – I have no desire to try to compare the incomparable, or to divide up a continuum. I am a conservative, but can’t stand the opponents of progress. I love ancient traditions, but I am all for genetic engineering and other experiments with embryonic cells. I believe that humanity will conquer the stars, but will be unable to master itself. I equally despise all political systems, but consider direct and absolute democracy, which doesn’t exist and never has, to be closest to my own worldview. Today I live in the country, the US, that is closest to this ideal (with the exception, perhaps, of San Marino), and consider that Russia would find this model to be even more natural and useful and effective, than here. When I live in Russia, I forget all this and it’s all irrelevant to me (joke). Abroad, they categorize me as a “Russian nationalist,” even though, if I am a “nationalist” of anything, it is of the (early) Roman Empire.

In short, I am a typical Russian person.

And my attitudes towards Putin are thus homespun, rustic, true with an inevitable correction for an unusually high level of informedness, but nonetheless, still in the style of, “Caesar, don’t forget that you’re bald!”

But now, everything has changed.

If what I have learned is true (and I have no doubts about this, except in the scenario, “The entire world is an illusion, Neo”), then I have been very much mistaken on Putin.

I believed that he was an ordinary man – well, someone with a high intellect, highly developed instincts, etc., a modest requisition on historical greatness, and so on.

But now I doubt all that. When this happened to him, I am not sure – at birth, before birth, at his meeting with Father John Krestyankin, or even when he swam with the dolphins – but it happened.

And verily I speak: When “Zeus lifts up his soul into the starry sky,” all of Olympus will spar for the right to his nerves, for they are the metal to create invulnerable armor for new Achilles – and Hephaestus himself will prostrate himself before his iron will.

Because nothing human is alien to man.

And because after all that I have learned, I no longer fear even Armageddon with this leader.

Everything will be great.

Our trials will be fearsome. Very fearsome.

But we got very lucky with him. Very lucky.

Dixi.

PS. Anticipating the inevitable dull reactions (in the style of “LOL this vatnik found his idol”), I will just quote the aforementioned Father John Krestyankin:

“You know, once upon a time in Russia before the Revolution there was this one attraction: A circus frequently visited the market, and they hadvarious shows. And one show was called, “Live Peter the Great for 20 kopeks.” There was a tent, within which was a giant telescope, and there entered a person who began to look into its tube, to see Peter the Great. The staff said, “Focus it.” He focused it. “Focus it more.” He focused it even more. And when all attempts failed, they asked him, “And? Do you not yet see him.” “No, I don’t.” And then they told him, “Well, who’d have thought! What did you want, anyway – to see the live Peter the Great for just 20 kopeks!” And on this note, the show ended.

Of course, this might be an invented example, but the Father explained it further. He said, “And so we too in this life want to see a living Christ, for 20 rubles or 20 kopeks. No, it doesn’t work like that. We have to strive together, we have to work, we have to live an intense spiritual life, because man reaps what he sows – He who sows parsimoniously, reaps little; he who sows generously, reaps richly.

Commenter: So what is it that you found out?

imperia_mir: I still want to live. I’m not writing this from Russia. There can be many sorts of provocations, and different situations, and more serious than the one with the Boeing. And when they are averted, it is as if they do not exist. And that’s good. Because the mere voicing of some situations – can be a catastrophe.

 

Up until very recently, Russia was viewed more favorably by the Liberals/Left than conservatives in the US.

Many of the conservatives were people who had grown up at the height of the Cold War, saw the letters KGB in Putin’s eyes like McCain, and tended to suffer from a bad case of your brain on Judeo-Christian values.

All things considered, the Liberals/Left were a bit… less unhinged.

russia-friend-or-foe

But in the past year, the situation has cardinally reversed itself.

Now, a more recent NBC News poll confirms this trend:

approval-russia-democrats-vs-republicans

There are several possible reasons for this:

(1) There is the direct influence of Trump himself, who is exceptionally pro-Russian – in the American political context, one is almost tempted to say irrationally (as he himself recognizes: “I know politically it’s probably not good for me“).

(2) I suspect that the blatant Trump Derangement Syndrome of the mainstream media has perhaps made some more introspective conservatives ask just how fair their media has been to Russia all these years. It helps, of course, that Putin Derangement Syndrome is closely associated with TDS, if not approaching outright convergence with it, as Patrick Armstrong suggests:

Since Trump was inaugurated on 20 January, I have noticed that Putin Derangement Syndrome is being pushed aside in the punditry by a crescendo of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Just as Putin has been diagnosed at a distance, so has he: “Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors Of Psychiatry Ask President Obama To Conduct ‘A Full Medical And Neuropsychiatric Evaluation’” and his signature gives cause for concern. “As Trump prepares his kissy face for Putin, a glimpse into the dictator’s soul“. PDS is replete with such remote sensing of Putin’s inner self. The student of PDS will recognise the magazine covers about Trump of which the standout is Der Spiegel’s (no small purveyor of PDS itself) showing Trump decapitating Lady Liberty à la Daesh. Since under-estimating Trump was so successful, why not continue to? Some writer thinks he’s just a puppet of Steve Bannon. But maybe they’re converging: “Manchurian Presidency: Why Angry White America Fell for Putin“. But the most beautiful example of convergence, one that brings everything together is: “The Russian ‘philosopher’ who links Putin, Bannon, Turkey: Alexander Dugin“!

(3) Russia itself has become markedly more conservative since 2012, if more in official rhetoric than reality. Then again, it’s not like young Trumpists are particularly hardcore social conservatives either. Which brings us to the last point:

(4) Most interestingly, and this is a new finding, the NBC poll reveals that there is a YUGE gap in attitudes towards Russia between young and old Republicans – that is, between the New Right/”Alt Right” (e.g. at /r/The_Donald) and the crusty Cold Warriors.

An amazing 73% of 18-29 year old Republicans view Russia as friendly or an ally, whereas almost the exact same number – 69% – view it as unfriendly or an enemy amongst 65+ year old Republicans.

approval-russia-republican-generations

But the crusty Cold Warriors are steadily dying off, and as this happens, we are returning to the more stable and traditional pattern of Western attitudes towards Russia after the abberation of the Soviet period.

For if you take the long historical view it is the Liberals/Left who have historically been far less enamored ofRussia.

Who talked of the “gendarme of Europe” and “prison of peoples” in 19th century political discourse? Socialists, not conservatives. Marx had very little good to say about Russia and Eastern Europe in general, the idea being that the advanced Western nations were the only ones of interest from a Communist revolutionary perspective. (Though he did modify this view somewhat towards the end of his life).

Early Russian Eurasianist philosopher Nikolay Trubetzkoy makes the same point.

In stark contrast to the situation even just a few years ago, the Russophobia/Russophilia spectrum now runs from the “militant cosmopolitanism” of European socialism (which today is homosexualist neocon SJWism of the Kirchick sort), to the outright Russophilia of a large part of the Alt Right and neoreaction.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Politics, Republicans, Russia, Russophobes, USA 

Some of the good guys hope and some of the bad guys fear that it is a prelude to recognition of the LDNR.

Some of the good guys fear and some of the bad guys hope that it is a prelude to the final stage of Putinsliv.

Reality – zero geopolitical significance whatsoever. If there was a serious plan to annex those regions, there would be a mass Russian passport giveaway. In reality, getting a Russian passport is hellishly difficult, even for ethnic Russian refugees in Russia. Astoundingly, there are frequent scandals in which paper-pushing bureaucrats attempt to deport former Donbass militiamen back to Ukraine… and the loving embrace of the SBU. Even the wording of Putin’s ukaz is completely cucked: “Documents handed out to Ukrainian citizens and people without citizenship by organs/organizations that exist in specific regions of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts.

In reality, this is just a modest step humanitarian step in the Donbass, where more and more people are falling into an “undocumented” state due to the difficulty of getting documents from Ukraine. It is the very least that Russia could do for the people who rose in its support and it is shamefully overdue.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Novorossiya, Russia 

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN since 2006, Vitaly Churkin’s finest hour was undoubtedly August 10, when he lambasted Western hypocrisy in supporting Georgian aggression against South Ossetia and the UN-mandated Russian peacekeepers stationed there:

Its military action had begun with tank and heavy artillery attacks on Russian peacekeepers, which had resulted in 12 deaths. The Russian Federation wondered whether the term “ethnic cleansing” could be used to describe Georgia’s actions. What other terms could be used when 30,000 of South Ossetia’s population of 100,000 had become refugees? Could it be described as genocide when 2,000 out of 100,000 people died?

How many civilians had to die before it was described as genocide? he asked. When others were lamenting the death of civilians in Georgia, why weren’t they worried about the attacks on villages in South Ossetia? How could the international community react when, despite all the international agreements — Russian peacekeepers were acting in South Ossetia in accordance with the agreement of 1992, signed by Georgia and South Ossetia -– Georgia directly targeted peacekeepers and civilians? Had Georgia expected peacekeepers to run away as they had in Srebrenica?

Back in 2008, Russia’s soft power instruments were much less developed than today. RT was just getting started up. Churkin’s clear and uncompromising statement of the Russian case amidst the Western propaganda of Russian aggression was a light in the darkness. This event, perhaps even more so than Putin’s Munich speech, marked the final onset of post-Soviet Russia’s disillusionment with the US and its ceaseless lies and betrayals. Putin himself put it very succinctly: “The very scale of this cynicism is astonishing — the attempt to turn white into black, black into white and to adeptly portray victims of aggression as aggressors and place the responsibility for the consequences of the aggression on the victims.

Churkin stoically soldiered on, laying out the Russian case on Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. This was not an unstressful job, considering the boorishness ideologues he had to do battle with (to take just one egregious example out of many, on convening an emergency session of the UN Security Council after the US bombed and killed 80 Syrian soldiers defending Deir ez-Zor, he was flat out informed by Obama’s flunky Samantha Power that she was “not interested” in what he had to say).

It’s possible that it was the stress that did his heart in at the age of 64. He had himself complained about it a few weeks before his death: “The profession of a diplomat has become much more hectic than it used to be in the past. It is stressful. Unfortunately, the world has not become more stable than it used to be.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, UN 

The reason I don’t write much about Russia’s demographics nowadays is that there isn’t much point to it.

Up until the early 2010s, the Western media was brimming with misinformation about the subject – what we now call #fakenews – so refuting it was both profitable and easy. Incredibly easy. You didn’t really have to do anything much more complicated than taking a few minutes to browse through Russia’s national statistics database, but apparently that was beyond the capabilities of most Russia journalists.

However, by now a critical number of Western pundits have apparently acquainted themselves with at least the Wikipedia article on Russia’s demographics. In the longterm, reality wins out, and so with a lag time of about a decade, references to Russia’s “plummeting population” and “sixth wave of emigration” have steadily petered out (the last major holdouts of Russia demographic doomerism was Barack Obama in this 2014 interview with The Economist, and Michael Rubin for Commentary in 2015,).

We can now finally say that the “Dying Bear” meme has fulfilled lived up to its own name.

***

Anyhow, preliminary demographic results for 2016 are in.

Births remained marginally ahead of deaths, both at around 12.9/1,000 people, though the usual ~300,000 annual net immigrants (almost half of them from Ukraine) will ensure that overall population growth remains decidedly positive.

russia-births-deaths-1946-2016

Births decreased by 2.6%. The full impact of the small 1990s cohort is now being felt, so this was always inevitable. Deaths also declined by 1.2%, despite the ongoing aging of the population. This pretty much completes what I termed The Russian Hexagon, the successor to the so-called “Russian Cross” in the early 1990s when the births and deaths graphs intersected; in the past decade, birth and death rates once again converged, but from the opposite direction, forming a sort of hexagon.

russia-tfr-1946-2016

The Total Fertility Rate seems to have stabilized at around 1.75 children per woman (inevitable question: How much without Muslims/ethnic minorities? Approximately 0.1 children less, based on completed fertility data from the 2010 Census).

This makes sense. As I pointed out almost a decade ago, Russian fertility preferences are similar to those of Scandinavians and the Anglosphere (~2.5 children per woman), and higher than that of Visegrad/The Med (~2.1 children) or the Teutonic world (1.7 children), so convergence to at least this level was always on the cards as soon as some semblance of economic stability and predictability was restored.

As I pointed out, this makes Russia’s fertility rates reasonably respectable by European standards; they are only noticeably higher in France, Ireland, the UK, and Sweden.

russia-life-expectancy-1946-2016

Life expectancy is now close to 72 years, which is the highest it has ever been in Russia’s history.

One way of looking at this is that mortality trends in Russia are basically tracking improvements in the ex-Soviet Baltics (and the City of Moscow) with a lag of ten years, so there is good reason to expect this trend will continue.

This is primarily linked to the big reduction in vodka bingeing during the past decade, which depressed Russian life expectancy by about a decade relative to what it “should be” based on its GDP per capita and healthcare system. This “alcoholization” began to soar from around 1965, and peaked in the 1990s and early 2000s. According to calculations by the demographer Alexander Nemtsov, something like a third of Russian mortality around 2005 could be attributed to it.


Blast from the Past

Incidentally, back in 2008, I created a demographic model for Russia, which enabled me to accurately predict a resumption in both total (2010) and natural (2013) population growth to the exact year.

In the scenario where TFR is set to a constant 1.75 children per woman, the “Medium” scenario of mortality improvements (which has best tracked Russia’s life expectancy trends to date), and about 300,000 annual immigrants, it predicted the following:

Medium (TFR=1.75 from 2010)The population grows from 2010, rising from 142mn to 148mn in 2025 and 156mn in 2050. The death rate troughs at 10.8 in 2034, before zooming in to 11.5 by 2050. The birth rate peaks at 13.6 by 2014, before plummeting to 9.7 in 2033, before recovering to 11.9 in 2046 and again falling, although less rapidly than before.

How does this stack up against reality? The birth rate reached a multi-year plateau at 13.3 children per woman during 2012-2015, when the decline in the numbers of women of childbearing age were exactly offset by rising total fertility rates. The mortality rate fell steadily throughout this period, just as predicted, though it is marginally higher as of 2016 (12.9/1,000) than in the Medium variant (12.6/1,000).

Overall, this is pretty close, and suggests that the model is fundamentally sound and thus so are its future population projections.

Of course it has to be adjusted upwards by 2.3 million to take into account Crimea, and any further (re)gatherings of rightful Russian clay.


 

As alcohol abuse fell, so did all of the other components of mortality, especially those most strongly associated with it, i.e. deaths from external causes:

russia-deaths-external-causes-1990-2016

… which includes homicides, suicides, deaths from transport accidents (despite soaring vehicle ownership), and, self-referentially, deaths from alcohol poisoning.

russia-mortality-alcohol-murder-suicide-1990-2016

Part of this reduction was due to cultural change, including the realities of life under capitalism (if you turn up to work drunk, you can be fired, unlike under socialism), part of it was due to economics (more diversity of choice), and part of it was thanks to specific Kremlin policies, such as steady increases in the excise tax on alcohol and restrictions on alcohol advertising.

Finally, the abortion rate continues to quietly decline. The ratio of abortions to births is now down to 40%, down from well more than 100% during the era from the post-Stalin legalization of abortion to the 1990s. This is still about 2-3x higher than in most of Western Europe and the US, but Russia is longer the absolute outlier it once was.

russia-abortion-rate-1957-2016

Just like the trends with fertility and mortality, this too can be considered a return to “demographic normality” after the Soviet aberration.

One important point: Conservative talking points to the contrary, there is no hard evidence that high abortion rates actually decrease fertility. Low abortion rates are good though for general health reasons and (depending on your religious views) for ethical ones but they have very little to do with demographic health per se.

Even though it completely bans abortions, Poland has one of Europe’s lowest fertility rates. For some reason Mark Steyn never did dwell on that…

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Demographics, Russia 
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.