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Westerners have semi-legitimate reasons to like Lenin. Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles). The increasing popular strains of SJW leftism would logically subscribe to the belief that Lenin’s program of national deconstruction (decolonization), struggle against Great Russian chauvinism (white supremacy), and bourgeois parasitism (white privilege) were actually good things in and of themselves.

This shouldn’t be a problem in Russia. The first category of self-haters does exist – somebody like Garry Kasparov comes to mind – but it is electorally negligible. The second category is hardly any more relevant, at least for now. Marginal Trotskyist figures, such as Sergey Biets of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party, and various anarchist collectives, such as Pussy Riot, come to mind. There is an incipient SJW trend emerging amongst the students of the elite Moscow and SPB universities, but based on the American experience, it will be a couple of decades before it leaps into the general population. The KPRF is stronger on immigration than the ruling United Russia pattern, and the Russian Left has been no less firm in its support of the Donbass than mainstream nationalists.

And yet, Russians remain considerably more positive towards Lenin than most Westerners. An April 2017 Levada poll showed 56% positive towards Lenin, versus 22% negative. He incites positive emotions in 44% of Russians, and negative emotions in only 9% of them. Only 14% of Russians support removing Lenin statues, versus 79% opposed – even though 99% of those statues, being mass produced, have no inherent artistic or historical value. Most of the “powerful takes” against my (negative) article on Lenin came from Russians.

Egor Kholmogorov explains the apparent paradox brilliantly in his latest essay (currently in the process of being translates for this website). He points out that modern apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual values, slogans, and programs (e.g. world communism, the unchaining of the working class, the triumph of atheism), but instead appeal to “patriotic, nationalist, conspirological, populist, and even Orthodox” frameworks, all of which were mostly or entirely antithetical to the Communist value system itself. He points out that this has a long history, stretching back to the National Bolsheviks of the 1920s, such as Ustryalov and Kluyev – who, incidentally, were both shot in the late 1930s. (I would point out that this is, of course, hardly the only example. Tens of thousands of Orthodox priests were murdered under both Lenin and Stalin. But that’s all fine, because Stalin allowed them to help crowdfund tanks in 1941. And yet this “reconciliation” between Stalinism and Christianity was the main academic focus of Russia’s current Minister of Education.)

No, there is a more basic reason why Russian patriots/vatniks are driven to engage in Red apologism.

As Kholmogorov points out, in the 1990s, it was a clique of thieves and their professional apologists – many of whom were themselves the literal descendants of nomenklatura bigwigs and NKVD executioners – who took the lead in claiming they had “freed” Russians from Lenin, Communists, and the revolutionary heritage. But since those very same people had also “freed” Russians from their economic and territorial birthrights through criminal privatizations and the Belavezha Accords, all cynically done under the banner of “anticommunism,” a redstalgic counter-reaction was inevitable.

This counter-reaction was merely most visible in the case of Stalin, the best about whom can be said is that he stopped the hysteria around Great Russian chauvinism, while stamping down hard on those non-Russian nationalisms that had gotten too carried with the leeway afforded them in the 1920s (while ironically also moving away from progressive economics: Wage inequality in the USSR peaked under the late Stalin, and fees for the last two years of school were reintroduced in 1940).

Consequently, Stalin was far more palatable as a figurehead of the “resistance” – the name of one of the biggest “patriotic” publishers of authors like Maxim Kalashnikov and Andrey Parshev is literally “The Russian Resistance” (Russkoe Soprotivlenie) – than the internationalist and overtly Russophobic Lenin. Consequently, while the share of Russians claiming Lenin was one of the “greatest persons of all times and places” plummeted from 72% in 1989 to a still cringeworthy 32% by 2017, Stalin’s rating rose from 12% in 1989 to 35% by 1999 – that is, before Putin even came to power – and has stayed at around that level ever since. This was also enabled by the liberal elites directing their most concentrated venom against Stalin, up to and including making up new crimes, as if Stalin’s real record wasn’t sordid enough.

Politically, the liberal-oligarchic faction (The Family/Putin) basically co-opted the redstalgic one (“patriots”/Primakov and the KPRF) in 1999-2000, and the two have been living in an uneasy but surprisingly stable union ever since.

Socially, this resulted in the coalescence of two tribes in Russia, which – borrowing from Scott Alexander – I will call the Blue Tribe and the Red Tribe.

(Reminder that Communism ≈ conservatism in Russia, so the analogy is even more relevant that it might appear at first glance).

The Blue Tribe are the 105 IQ residents of Moscow, the hipsters, the neoliberal reformers, the Echo of Moscow faction that ruled Russia in the 1990s.

The Red Tribe are the 95 IQ residents of Mukhosransk, the vatniks who work in Uralvagonzavod, the budzhetniki, the people who voted for the Communists in the 1990s and now vote for Putin.

Now here’s the thing. Russian liberals – the Blue Tribe – have succeeded in setting the terms of the debate and adoration of Lenin, Communism, the USSR, and especially Stalin is now for all intents and purposes a tribal identifier for the “patriotic” camp, the Red Tribe. In the same way that, say, subscribing to a spectrum of retarded positions (sexual hystrionics, conspicuous religiosity, flag worship, denial of global warming, Israel Firstism, and moar tax cuts for the 1%) has become a tribal identifier for the Red Tribe (or at least its boomer subfaction) in the United States.

The Blue Tribe essentially poisoned the well of the patriotic reaction. This is a very bad, very sad, state of affairs – and it’s not obvious how to get out of here.

Even though sovok worship might be good for triggering Blue Tribe snowflakes – the Russian equivalent of LIBERAL TEARS – it is bad for Russia’s image abroad (excepting, perhaps, in Venezuela and North Korea), it repels intelligent Russians and inducts them into the ranks of the Blue Tribe, so long as it is the only alternative on offer. As Kholmogorov points out, the “canonization of Bolshevism, Leninism, and Stalinism” is not a friend, but an enemy, of Russia’s own future.

The good thing is that the foundations of this narrative are creaky, and can only be sustained by yawning logical fallacies. Here are some typical ones:

russia-empire-stuck-in-time

If not for Lenin/Stalin, time would have literally frozen still and Russia would have remained a Third World cesspool for the rest of the century (variation: Stalin took us from the plow to the atomic bomb). An argument which only someone devoid of any knowledge of economic history or even elementary logic can take seriously. Or a rabid Russophobe who believes that the only way Russians can achieve anything is if they’re prodded to it by a mustachiod Georgian BDSM master.

The Western club only lets its own become wealthy. Japan, South Korea, The Republic of China, the People’s Republic of China (once it started taking the “people’s” part less seriously, that is), Singapore, must all be figments of our collective imagination.

Russia would not have won WW2 against Nazi Germany. Of course it wouldn’t have won (or lost) a war that would have no longer existed.

lenin-was-right

The Tsar/bourgeoisie/aristocracy was oppressing the peasants/serfs (though the serfs were reactionary scum who deserved it anyway). So… the Tsar was good, then? Or bad? I don’t even know.

Lenin offered the people land, bread, peace. I suppose he did, by the standards of the Ministry of Truth:

Civil War is Peace
Prodrazvyorstka is Bread
Collectivization is Land

Okay, here’s another one: “What he’s effectively saying is “for 70 years multiple generations of Soviet people have followed the legacy a traitor, parasite, failure”. All those generations of people were that stupid, apparently. And probably still are. Only A.Karlin is smart. Yeah, right.

Yes, that sort of does hit closer to the truth.

Which is why letting go is hard, and provokes anger…

… as the first stage on the road to acceptance.

In the long-run, the de-sovokization of Russia is inevitable, on the basis that in a free market of ideas, the good arguments eventually tend to win out over bad ones.

This is already happening; as in the United States, where the GOP is known as the stupid party, so in Russia “based” sovoks can’t cognitively compete with the brain fund at the Blue Tribe’s disposal. Once the latter win out, and there is no good reason to think they won’t, there’ll be no more Stalin, but he’ll just be replaced by Soros, and that’s hardly an improvement.

Opinion polls indicate that it is the younger, more educated, wealthier people who are much more skeptical about Lenin. For instance, according to a FOM poll from April 2014, 52% of Russians thought Lenin was a good person, versus only 10% who thought he was bad. However, the percentage thinking he was good falls from 68% amongst the over 60s to 39% amongst the 18-30 age group; from 59% amongst non-college education to 41% amongst the college-educated (36% amongst college-educated youth); 67% amongst the pool to 43% amongst the wealth; and from 64% amongst rural dwellers 39% amongst Muscovites.

But not all hope is lost. One can posit the existence of a third tribe in Russia – let’s call it the Black Tribe – that rejects the truthisms of both the sovok Reds and the pozzed Blues and offers an alternative vision of Russia’s future.

na-korable-polden

And it is up to us, the Black Tribe, to continue patiently, systemically, humorously dismantling the myths and narratives of sovok and liberalism.txt alike before the Poz swallows us all.

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

flat-1488

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

higher-school-of-equality

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

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

moscow-elections-2017-and-bicycles

… the upscale organic food store Azbuka Vkusa…

moscow-elections-2017-and-azbuka-vkusa

… and concentrations of nomenklatura housing as of 1989.

moscow-elections-2017-and-nomenklatura

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

But that’s not all that surprising.

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

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

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

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Communism, Moscow, Society 
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Steve Sailer recently pointed out that millennials are a lot shier about nudity than their parents and grandparents.

There are plenty of cultural explanations – less exposure to the military, more spacious accomodations, millennial whininess, etc. – but I get the impression that, as with Chinese underperformance in football, the inventor of HBD might have needlessly shied away from his own trademark framework.

Three big things to bear in mind:

  • Religiosity is heritable.
  • The religious have been having more surviving kids for more than a century.
  • Religiosity is also correlated with modesty and aversion to nudity.

Just take a look at a map of the world’s nudist resorts – both atheism and Germanic ancestry play roles at least comparable to that of the climate!

sexual-freedom-league-protest-1965

“Sexual Freedom League” protest in Berkeley, 1965. But of greater longterm relevance – what were their completed fertility rates? Berkeley has one of the lowest fertility rates in all California – lower than in crowded, uber-expensive SF. Berkeley student hippies??

In the culture wars of the past half century, many very good – or at least convincing – arguments have been brought in support of LGBT rights, personal sexual autonomy, and even atheism. Those arguments have objectively worked, at least in the sense that all of these positions have gained converts. In the case of homosexuality, we have gone from a situation where almost everyone regarded it as a criminal abnormality to one where a majority now supports gay marriage.

On the other hand, no particularly intelligent or influential voices have been arguing for the social justice virtues of nudity. With no countervailing cultural “push,” attitudes towards nudity are perhaps just going where they logically should, as the Germanic ancestry share of the US population declines, and those who remain become more religious (only genotypically, since Dawkins & Hitchens suppress their expression) with every generation.

As Sailer points out, the life of America’s biggest nudism promoter in sci-fi is rather illustrative:

Heinlein was an example of a socially liberal Old American with a German name who liked nudism. No kids.

Incidentally, this doesn’t appear to be an exclusively American development. Toplessness on French beaches has become rarer in the past decade.

brigitte-bardot

Brigitte Bardot, 1960s. She had one child. The French average is two.

More generally, one frequent observation is that the people at the front of social progressivism today, the SJWs, are puritans, in contrast to the 1960s hippies, who were libertines. Could this be the religious genes making themselves felt, even if in this very distorted form?

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Sex, Society 
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Here is the discussion at this on The Russia Debate.

My friend and DR commentator Alexander Mercouris correctly predicted this outcome – that Serdyukov would be charged, but that it is a complex case that will take a long time and likely avoid more the more serious allegations in favor of those that can be more easily proved in a court of law. So I’ll just quote his analysis:

As people who followed my opinions about this case will know, I have always thought it more likely than not that Serdyukov would eventually face a charge but I have also thought it more likely than not that it would not be a charge that reflected the seriousness of what he had done. I have also always thought and I still think (as does Anatoly Karlin) that this case is very likely to end in a plea bargain.

The reason I have always thought these things is not because I have any real doubt about Serdyukov’s corruption and of his personal involvement in the corrupt schemes that have wracked the Defence Ministry under his watch (see my very first comment on this thread) or because I thought he was being protected by someone (see my second comment) but because personal experience tells me how difficult it is in these cases of high level corruption and embezzlement to secure a conviction. Again I would repeat what I have said previously, which is that the mere fact that Serdyukov’s brother is rich or that Vasilieva has a stash in her multiroom apartment, is not in itself evidence against Serdyukov that can be used in a Court of law. There has to be witness evidence and/or a paper trail directly linking Serdyukov to some or all of these corrupt activities, which the prosecution is in a position to say cannot be interpreted in any way other than as evidence of his guilt. Given that Serdyukov was presumably taking steps to conceal what he was up to, that sort of evidence almost by definition is going to be difficult to find.

It has not helped matters in this case that judging from media reports Serdyukov is being investigated by two rival teams of investigators – one from the Investigative Committee and one from the military Procurator’s Office – who appear much of the time to be in bitter rivalry and disagreement with each other. Conflicts of this sort invariably complicate investigations and can even wreck them completely.

What I would say about this case at the moment is this:

1. It is by no means impossible that what Jose Moreira is saying is true and that this is only the first charge and that more serious charges may follow. I would like to believe that but I have to say based again on personal experience that I would not be personally surprised if the present charge is as good as it gets because it is the best that the prosecution can realistically prove for the reasons I have previously given;

2. If more serious charges are brought against Serdyukov, I again repeat that it is more likely than not that the case will still end in a plea bargain, which makes it unlikely that Serdyukov will receive the sort of punishment people (including me) want him to receive and which he arguably deserves. However I want to say again that the likely reason for this is not because Serdyukov is being protected by someone but because a plea bargain is a cost effective way of securing a conviction in a complex case where because of the difficulties presented by the evidence a conviction cannot otherwise be guaranteed.

3. Even if the best that can be achieved is a conviction for criminal negligence, that is a great deal better than nothing and it is certainly not a joke. Though it only comes with a potential 3 month prison sentence, it is a criminal conviction nonetheless. In addition, though I don’t know this for a fact, there must at least be a strong possibility that if Serdyukov is convicted under this charge a civil claim from the Defence Ministry for compensation for the economic loss he has caused will follow. This would only cover the loss caused by the actual negligence Serdyukov had been convicted for, not the loss caused by the whole Oboronservis scandal and its many permutations. However it would still be a substantial amount of money and probably more than Serdyukov could easily pay.

In summary, I know most people take a much more negative view of the Russian legal system than I do. However my frank opinion is that if this case were happening anywhere in western Europe (including Britain) its conduct and eventual outcome would be little different from what is proving to be the case in Russia whilst based on what I have read in the media about defence procurement practices and management in the US it is perhaps unlikely such a case would be brought there at all.

Another poll shows declining Russian “everyday” corruption:

In the past, I showed that according to polling evidence, the actual level of Russian “everyday” corruption from Putin’s coming to power to 2012 had, in fact, remained roughly steady (many Western commentators argue it has increased).

There is, however, a steady stream of evidence that 2013 is beginning to see a real and marked improvement in these indicators.

(1) First, there was Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer survey which I covered here. Unfortunately, they found the Russia data to be “an outlier when compared with other available data,” and stridently refused to release any figures. But circumstantial evidence points to the outlier being in a positive direction.

In particular, a FOM poll showed that:

Firstly, according to the survey, 79% of Russians are not faced with bribery at all. (This number has grown from 60% in 2008). Only 15% paid bribes. (In 2008 it was 29%).

(PS. That said, I have been unable to find the provenance of the 15% figure, at FOM’s website; though I don’t think the Odnako author would just make it up either. Fedia, could you help please?)

(2) I have since come across VCIOM polling data for corruption, which I had missed in my prior survey of corruption polls. It is translated below:

In the past year, did you need to give money or gifts to people whom you needed to resolve your problems?
2006 г. 2007 г. 2008 г. 2013 г.
Yes, frequently 19 9 20 7
Yes, but these were singular cases 34 25 28 12
No 45 60 47 80
N/A 2 5 6 1

For comparability with the other polls, this shows that the percentage of people saying they’d paid a bribe in the past year going as follows: 2006 – 53%; 2007 – 34%; 2008 – 48%; 2013 – 19%. This suggests a far higher “baseline” level of corruption that that suggested by the other polling organizations (i.e. Levada, FOM, and Transparency), which have answers to this question typically ranging at 15%-30%, but it likewise indicates a very marked improvement now relative to the 2000′s.

One particularly noticeable thing is the change in the structure of corruption. While 14%-16% (of those who had to give bribes in the past year) had their corrupt run-in with the police during 2006-2008, in 2013 it was just 6%. This suggests that the much ballyhooed police reforms had actually worked quite well. (That said, there was no similar improvement with the traffic police). Not quite, see Little Pig’s comment.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Is summarized below for each state (source) – and it shows some very interesting patterns.

us-life-expectancy-by-race

The average life expectancy of Asian-Americans (86.5 years) is 4 years higher than in Japan – the longest-lived big East Asian country. Taiwan and South Korea are at around 80; Hong Kong is at 83; Singapore is at 81. The other East Asian countries aren’t developed yet, so there isn’t much point in comparison.

The LE of Latinos is 82.8, which is 6 years more than in Mexico, 4 years more than in the longest-lived Latin American countries and even a year higher than in Spain (one of the longest-lived European countries). This is despite the fact that obesity rates among Hispanics in the US is very high – higher than those of whites.

On average American whites can expect to live to just 78.9 – the same as in Chile or Denmark (the shortest-lived Western European country). A most curious anomaly, given their higher SES and lower obesity rates relative to Hispanics.

Blacks can expect to live around 74.2 years. This is far higher than in any African country, but the comparison is flawed for obvious reasons. It is however pretty close to the life expectancy in predominantly mulatto Caribbean countries like Jamaica (73 years) or the Bahamas (75 years), countries which are more suitable for comparison.

Native Americans average 76.9 years, though they are spread out all across the spectrum – ranging from 80 in California, to 69 in Montana.

Some questions and issues to ponder:

(1) The influence of diet and lifestyle: This is pretty clear-cut in the case of the Native Americans; the groups with life expectancy at around ~70 are no doubt brought down by those of them who live in alcohol-soaked reservations. This is the same life expectancy in Russia and some other former Soviet countries, where binge drinking of spirits is likewise prevalent. But it is genuinely interesting to consider why Latinos, who are more obese than whites, nonetheless manage to live so consistently longer – both relative to white Americans, and even to Spaniards. Likewise for Asians – although Asian-Americans are inevitably more influenced by American food habits than East Asians in their own countries – which are said to have far healthier national cuisines – they nonetheless manage to live significantly longer than them.

(2) The influence of the US healthcare system: It is frequently slammed and denigrated, but how to explain that the two biggest immigrant groups – Latinos and Asians – live a lot longer than in their countries of origin (including the developed ones)? Conversely, why would white America, if it were a separate country, be at near the very bottom of the life expectancy charts compared to Western European countries?

(3) One rejoinder is that immigrants to the US are better-educated, higher-IQ, and/or richer than the average in their countries of origin. As such, they are expected to have a higher life expectancy anyway. But this is patently not the case regarding Hispanics, and only partially true regarding Asians (Chinese Americans include both low-class indentured laborers who migrated in the 19th century, as well as far more commercially successful recent migrants from the Chinese diaspora of South-East Asia; the Japanese-American community is mostly descended from low-class laboring immigrants from the 19th century).

(4) The r/K selection theory plausibly explains the Black – White – Asian life expectancy sequence, especially in the US where they all share more or less the same cultural and healthcare environment. The case of the Latinos, however, remains rather shrouded; one possibility is that Amerindians (which is what many Hispanic immigrants to the US predominantly are) are more K-selected than whites – they did, after all, branch off from the proto-Mongoloids – and thus naturally have higher life expectancies than whites.

(5) Asian-Americans and Latinos are younger than whites. This does not have a direct effect on life expectancy (unlike on crude mortality), but with a greater ratio of young people to elderly – not to mention stronger family values – it does perhaps mean that elderly Asian-Americans and Latinos get more attention and care from their family members, thus reducing stress/depression levels and enabling them to eke out one or two more years than they would have otherwise.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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A few months late, but worth posting anyway.

racial-tolerance-map-hk-fix (from Washington Post)

The results are based on the latest “wave” of the World Values Survey, a very interesting project that tracks sociological data across countries – and which I will likely post more about in the future.

Interesting observations:

(1) The West in general is the world’s least “racist”* region – regardless of what some ideologues wish to argue. Regarding the US in particular, even many European countries – widely considered to be more “liberal” – would balk at the affirmative action policies in place there.

(2) France is a curious exception, though not perhaps altogether surprising in light of the popularity of the National Front. A far right party enjoying the support of about a third of the population is, indeed, pretty unique for a developed country. Is it something specific about the French? Or have they just had more opportunities to get fed up with multi-culturalism in general?

(3) Rates of consanguineous marriage (and associated clannishness) all correlate closely with rates of “racism.” Compare the map above with the map below of the rate of consanguineous marriage – considering the inherent vagueness of the questions asked in the WVS, the fact that the territories of the former Caliphate, India, and Indonesia are clearly delineated is nothing short of remarkable.

consanguineous-marriage-islam

(4) Pakistan is a big – and surprising? – exception to the above pattern. What’s the deal with that?

(5) That Japan and East-Central Europe (bar Russia) are as non-”racist” as they appear probably isn’t so much an indicator of widespread tolerance there as the simple absence of significant troublesome racial minorities there.

(6) Russia and China seem about right to me.

* Why the apostrophes? Because how, exactly, is this a valid indication of racism? These polls are just people exercising their natural right of freedom of association, if only in oral form. But it’s still a convenient shorthand.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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james-kirchikHe got invited to RT to talk about Bradley Manning and his impending sentence. The gay journalist James Kirchick got invited to argue his viewpoint that Manning wa a traitor who deserved to be put to death. (I wonder what his newfound liberal groupies would make of that?).

Instead, he used his airtime to go off on a tirade about how Russia has criminalized homosexuality (no, it hasn’t – but who cares about facts?) and to recycle all the canards about how RT is a Kremlin mouthpiece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoSIpeTsXbQ

His rant lasted a whole two minutes, before RT’s host – having failed to steer Kirchick back on topic – finally kicked him off the channel. After rudely hijacking the show, the troll even had the gall to complain that RT wouldn’t pay for his taxi ride back.

There are many things one can say of this episode. One can highlight Kirchik’s sheer rudeness, chutzpah, and presumption. One can point out that Kirchick is only preaching to his own crowd here, while doing his utmost to validate the stereotype of the hystrionic homo as far as people who don’t much like homosexuals and need to be persuaded otherwise – that is, the majority of Russians – are concerned. Alternatively, one can note that Nikolai Alexeyev, the leader of Russia’s LGBT movement, basically calls him out as a hypocrite and then pens an article for RT with his own, far more nuanced views on the challenges facing the LGBT community in Russia.

I for one will note that if cutting off someone for incessant trolling makes RT a Kremlin mouthpiece, then…

… what does this make the “free” Western media?

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Battle of the hacks! In response to Alexei Pankin calling him an anti-Semite in The Moscow Times, Oleg Kashin pens a tongue in cheek response telling him to imagine a kitten dying every time he abuses an overworn cliche.

On the Horrors of Anti-Semitism

In which Oleg Kashin gives some advice to the politologists.

The editors asked me to reply to a columnist in the English-language Moscow Times who accused Svobodnaya Pressa of – wow, wow! – anti-Semitism. I don’t even know how to object to this dear fellow – I love the way he holds that pipe in his mouth in his avatar; as for the rest of his remarks, I will only recycle what one of my friends has already noted: The Jewish question in Russia ended when those standard (which is to say, fascist) ads for apartment rentals marked “For Slavs only” started to encompass Jews, together with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians. This was unimaginable even back in 1990 – you know, the era of Pamyat, and all that. Today – be my guest! Even the lumpenproles, ready at take part in some ethnic cleansing at the first opportunity, no longer consider Jews to be foreigners. In reality, it’s stupid to ponder on the differences between Ivan and Abram when Dagestan is in the foreground; those differences are negligible.

If there was any “social thought” whatsoever in the Russian Federation, beyond what we see at Svobodnaya Pressa and at one and a half other sites, there would have long been a flood of books, lectures, exhibitions, and films meditating upon the end of Russian anti-Semitism. But social thought, sucking away on his pipe, prefers to flog 20-year old stereotypes, whose authenticity somewhat resembles Intourist stories about bears and balalaikas.

Every time I have to speak before some foreign audience – well, not even “some” audience, but one that is prepared, and interested in Russian affairs – I am forced to answer questions about the threat of a Communist comeback in my country, about Moscow’s repressive policies towards the Chechen people, and even about the possibility that Russia could try to reconquer the Baltic countries. Patiently answering these questions (“No, ladies and gentlemen, the Communist Party is part of the political system”; “Excuse me, but Mr. Kadyrov himself represses whomsoever he wants”; “If they attack Europe, they will have nowhere to keep their money”), I can see despondency in the eyes of my interlocutors – they do not believe me, because the word of some unknown Russian can’t outweigh the terabytes of nonsense issued by all these veterans of the Valdai Clubs and Pugwash Conferences from both sides of their mutually beloved Iron Curtain.

Though it’s too late to do anything about Alexander Rahr or Nikolai Zlobin, I would however like to give some friendly politological advice to their less famous colleagues, who are easier to recognize by pipe than by name. Friends, next time you’re about to reproduce your typical analytical klyukva – imagine that a little kitten dies somewhere in Russia. Imagine that the kitten dies because he simply can’t bear to watch how credulous English-language readers are fed tales of Russia’s unreadiness for democracy, the popularity of “Ethnic Slurs” among the Russian opposition, and similar bears and balalaikas. Don’t think about about visitor views, reposts, and honorariums – think of the kittens. Maybe this will seem like an unserious argument to you, but it is surely – for all that – a more serious one than what you’re scribbling.

Mazel tov, friends!

(Republished from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
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Or neither. Well, isn’t this a useless post?

I am referring to the Global Corruption Barometer released by Transparency International a couple of weeks ago, which I covered at my other blog. For the most part, there were no surprises; the only really strange figures came from Taiwan, where 36% of people claimed to have paid a bribe in the past year. Otherwise, the results largely cut to popular perceptions and stereotypes of corruption in various countries.

The really bad thing is that this time round there was no bribery incidence data for Russia, not to mention eleven other countries – and China wasn’t included in the survey at all. I investigated this further, and was told that Russia’s results along with those of the eleven other countries didn’t pass Transparency International’s validity and reliability tests.

Enquiring further, I got the following answers from the GCB research team:

(1) Why didn’t Russia’s incidence of bribery data (as well as several other major countries like Brazil, France, and Germany) pass TI’s validity and reliability tests for inclusion?

Now in its 8th edition, we have several years of past data on these questions and have data from other surveys which ask similar questions of people’s experience with bribery. We can therefore use this data to identify where the results for a particular country are volatile over time and across surveys and therefore less reliable as a data point for that country. For 12 countries including Russia, the data gathered in this years GCB for the bribery question can be identified as an outlier when compared with other available data and was therefore excluded from the final report

(2) Would it be possible to get access to Russia’s bribery data anyway, with the caveat that those figures would have a lower degree of reliability and should not therefore be counted as part of Transparency’s official records?

I am afraid not. We take the findings of this survey very seriously as a reflection of people’s views and experiences of corruption. Given the importance of this data and how it can be used to inform the fight against corruption, we will not making available data that does not pass our validity and reliability tests.

Would it be possible for you to at least indicate whether Russia’s outlier this year was above or below the trend? It would at least give me some sense of comparative perspective should Russian polling agencies come out with their own bribery polls this year.

As we do not have confidence in the reliability of the data I can not provide further information on this to you.

Well, I tried. But the results for this year must remain a total blank. You are free to speculate whether there could have been any political motivations to that.

For my part, I will just say that this is a real shame since at this rate the next time we’ll get data for Russia from the GCB – assuming its data passes their validity and reliability filters next time round – will be in 2015.

So for now DR readers will have to be satisfied with a bribery incidence graph that only stretches to 2012. Let us hope that Russian pollsters move in to fill the gap left by the GCB sooner rather later.

UPDATE: Thanks to Fedia Kriukov (for digging up the article) and Moscow Exile (for translating it): A Crisis of Zombification: How Transparency International failed on The Russia Corruption Rating.

Please read it. The author, Andrey Kamenetsky, pretty much conclusively demonstrates that the reason Transparency International didn’t include Russia’s bribery incidence data in their 2013 report was because it was lower than expected.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Livestream in Russian, English.

He’s been found guilty, as expected. The main question is what the sentence will be: Suspended, or a real term. Here is my prediction (which on developments so far might well turn out to be awfully wrong).

Discuss.

UPDATE: Even if he is found guilty and sentenced, he still has the choice of appealing his sentence. This will give him enough time to contest the Moscow elections.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Though I know I missed the train on this news, one point in particular is worth drawing attention to as regard the stabbing of (the half-Tatar) paratrooper Ruslan Morzhanov by a 16-year-old ethnic Chechen, which incited the small town of Pugachev to stage a peaceful mini-revolt against the feds.

The town has seen similar tragedies before. A brutal murder was committed in very similar circumstances in 2010. Twenty four-year-old Chechen Beslan Mudayev fatally stabbed twenty eight-year-old Nikolai Veshnyakov five times during a fight that broke out right in front of Zolotaya Bochka. Locals claim that the Chechen community, consisting of a dozen families in total, has been harassing the local population. According to official statistics, there are about 80 Chechens living in various parts of the Pugachev District.

So. Two murders, committed within the space of 3 years, from a group of 80 people belonging to a “repressed” minority. The town’s population is a mere 41,000 and in such places, a lot of people do know each other.

I would be angry as well. Moreover, I would feel unsafe. If 2.5% of a certain group are murderers, then complaints that many of the rest are thugs in general become all that more credible (at least for minds not dominated by political correctness). The popular demands made by Pugachev residents to expel those local Chechens that are not employed or registered in their city – that is, merely enforcing the law on residence, as opposed to the ethnic cleansing it has been portrayed as – though perhaps quite harsh, is not obviously unreasonable given the horrifying circumstances.

One can have some issues with Navalny, co-signing a petition condemning the federal government’s limp-wristedness on ethnic crime, its opposition to legalizing self-defense isn’t one of them, and its at times heavy-handed response to airings of legitimate ethnic Russian grievances isn’t one of them.

The Western media doesn’t see it that way of course. To left/liberals, the small-town Russian protesters are chauvinist troglodytes – with Putin at times even held responsible for this “xenophobia,” despite the government’s avowed opposition to all expressions of russki nationalism; while the conservatives/neocons salivate over the prospect that the Pugachev Affair is but the prelude to Russia’s disintegration.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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So apparently an Ambassadorship costs $1.8 million per post in the US.

In virtually any other country, even where the situation with corruption is quite dismal, such arrangements would be seen as unquestionably corrupt. And yet the US scores an entirely respectable 73/100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), leagues above say Italy which gets 42/100.

The reason I mention Italy is that I was once discussing the question of corruption in different countries with an Italian. He said that what in the US is known as “political lobbying” would be treated as a criminal activity in Italy, and indeed in most of the rest of Europe. Hence why in the Med countries you get far more cases of corruption in the form of cash in envelopes. In the US that’s against the law, but that’s not such a big deal, because the law – or rather the absence of it – allows for the same thing, just in indirect formats (expensive dinners, contributions, astronomic speaking fees, stock performances superior to those of corporate insiders, etc). But that kind of corruption is “deniable” and hence respectable, whereas the direct kind is crude and distasteful, a defining feature of disorganized Third World countries.

In Italy, regulations against corruption and weaselly dealings in general are stringent. Now because Italians tend to corruption in general, either by nature or nurture, this means that the high incidence of such endlessly knocks against their corruption ratings. In the US, however, the factual “legalization” of much of what passes for corruption in Europe allows it to remain relatively unscathed in such international assessments.

There are many other such examples. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is insanely corrupt if you think rulers siphoning off billions of dollars off the oil budget is fundamentally illegitimate (as is alleged but never evidenced for Russia’s “mafia state” and Putin’s Swiss bank accounts). But it’s all quite legal there, which is why – hard as it is to believe – Saudi Arabia scores higher than not only Russia, but even Italy in the CPI.

So the solution is simple. Just legalize your corruption, and move up to the top in both the World Bank’s Doing Business ratings and soon enough in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Don’t forget to be slavishly pro-American in your foreign policy. Investors will love you for it. Well, maybe not, at least once said investors get to know you a bit better, but at least you’ll get glowing reviews from the Wall Street Journal and Transparency International. That’s how you become a made country in Davos World.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Here it is. Or just skip the graphics and download the data in Excel here.

I can’t say I care much about most of it. Of course most people everything think corruption is “increasing,” because they are a grumpy lot.

What does matter is the number of people who report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. It is as close to objective measurement as you can get in a sphere of life as indefinite and necessarily opaque as “corruption.”

Below is a quick table summarizing the results from the most notable countries (no comment where it’s pretty much “as expected”).

Paid bribe in last year? My comments
Afghanistan 46
Argentina 13
Australia 1 Acquaintance: AUS bureaucracy incompetent, but not dishonest
Brazil n/a Was 4% in last survey
Canada 3
China n/a :( Last survey was 9%, haven’t been included in this year’s GCB at all.
Czech Republic 15
Egypt 36
Estonia 6 One of two “clean” post-Soviet republics
France n/a
Georgia 4 One of two “clean” post-Soviet republics
Greece 22 By far the worst old-EU country; up from 18% in last survey.
Germany n/a
Hungary 12
India 54 “India shining” worse than many African countries. Exactly same as in last survey.
Israel 12
Italy 5 Down from 13% in last survey.
Japan 1 Down from 9% in last survey. This figure much more believable, I daresay.
Kazakhstan 34
Korea (South) 3
Latvia 19 Contrary to propaganda, of the Baltics only Estonia is truly clean
Lithuania 26
Mexico 33
Nigeria 44
Pakistan 34 Cleaner than India! :| Down from 49% in last survey.
Romania 17
Russia n/a Aw shucks… no data. ” (was 26% in last survey)
Sierra Leone 84 The record-holders this year (IIRC Cambodia topped last survey)
South Africa 47 WTF? Thought RSA, though kinda Third World, had a First World administrative structure.
Spain 2
Taiwan 36 WTF!?! Is this a statistical fluke??
Thailand 18
Turkey 21 Down from 33% last survey.
Ukraine 37 Virtually same as in last survey, when it was 34%.
United Kingdom 5 Strange… was 1% in last survey.
United States 7 Was 5% in last survey… and 2-3% in older surveys. Oh-oh…
Venezuela 27 Quite typical for middle-income country, contrary to anti-Bolivarian propaganda.

Summary:

So what’s up with South Africa? It’s corruption increased by an order of magnitude relative to the last GCB. And Taiwan?!? It’s GDP in purchasing power terms has recently soared past Japan’s, but it’s corruption levels are Third World… assuming this isn’t a bizarre statistical fluke.

A pity that there is no data for Russia and a few other key countries (Brazil, China, Germany, France). This will make the update to the Corruption Realities Index incomplete, and will leave a gap in my data series for bribery incidence in Russia. I have written to Transparency to inquire as to whether data for these countries will be forthcoming at some later date.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Faced with the utter failure of their doom-laden projections for Russia’s population future to describe reality – it’s population is now not only growing in absolute terms, but even barring migration its number of births now virtually equals the number of deaths – the more guttural elements of the interwebs are now resorting to another strategy: “But it’s all due to Muslims anyway!”

A bizarre alliance of neocons, Western chauvinists, crazy Russian nationalists, Islamist fanatics, and plain Russophobes have been peddling the imminent prospect of a Muslim-majority Russian Army and a Russabia ruled from the Caucasus Emirates for almost a decade. But one does not have to be a proponent of mass Muslim immigration, or to deny that serious problems of radicalization exist in some Russian Muslim communities, to call out such projections for the fear-mongering BS they really are. Here is a graph that decisively refutes the “Russabia” thesis:

russia-will-become-majority-muslim-not

The percentage of births in Russia’s traditionally Muslim” republics in the North Caucasus (Agygea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Chechnya) and the Volga (Bashkortostan, Tatarstan) is a mere 13%-14% of the total – and shows no signs of increasing at a sustained and rapid rate.

It should furthermore be noted that of the above only Dagestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia have predominantly Muslim population – and their share of total Russian births, at just a little above 5%, are today virtually the same as they were in 2006. This is especially relevant because the vast bulk of Russia’s problems with Islamic fundamentalism and armed opposition to Russian state power are concentrated there.

Only about 50% (give or take) of the populations of the other five republics is Muslim, so if anything – despite the graph being partially balanced out by Muslim immigrants in Moscow and other non-Muslim regions – it substantially overstates the actual degree of Muslim demographic influence. Needless to say, the Orthodox Russians (and ethnic Tatars) who make up half of Tatarstan’s population aren’t going on jihad to restore the Qasim Khanate anytime soon.

It should be stressed that even the figures above will only start coming into effect two decades or so down the line. That is to say, only about 13% of 20-year olds in the 2030′s will have have been born in Muslim republics; the percentage of those belonging to Muslim-majority ethnicities will be even lower, at maybe 9% or 10%. How Muslims are supposed to constitute a majority in the Army with those kinds of figures must remain a mystery.

Finally, the Muslim demographic expansion is self-limiting. A lot of the people who push Russabia (and Eurabia) are apparently under the impression that their typical family has 6 children, which in turn will have 6 children, and so on until they squeeze out everyone else. This is completely and utterly wrong. In Russia, at least, the only Muslim region with a TFR higher than the replacement level rate is Chechnya; as of 2009, it was at 3.38 children per woman, compared to 1.97 in Ingushetia, 1.96 in Dagestan, and far less in all the others – in fact, both Kabardino-Balkaria’s and Tatarstan’s TFR of 1.51 was *less* than the Russian average of 1.54. As such, far from reflecting any innate demographic strength, the current high rates of natural increase seen in Russia’s Muslim republics – or even more specifically, in Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechnya – are due in large part to the youthfulness of those regions’ populations. Young populations have, by definition, few old people (hence low mortality) and many young people (hence high natality). Considering that *all* of Russia’s Muslim regions with the partial exception of Chechnya – which, however, accounts for a mere 1% of its population and 2% of its newborn – are rapidly undergoing demographic transition, this is necessarily a temporary state of affairs.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Izvestia writes:

The Ministry of Education have evaluated the results of the Unified State Exam of 2013 and identified the regions with the highest numbers of graduates who got the full 100 points on the Unified State Exam. Contrary to popular prejudices, the recordholders aren’t the Caucasian republics, but Bryansk oblast, Kalmykia, and Chuvashia.

I wrote half a year ago (highlights are recent):

As we can see above, the most suspicious results are mostly from ethnic Russian oblasts such as Stavropol, Kaluga, Rostov, Perm, and Vladimir, with the two big exceptions being Mari El and Chuvashia… In so doing, yet another major region of likely fraud crops up: Bryansk. This oblast, along with Vladimir, produces as many top USE results as a percentage of its 18 year old population as does the intellectual capital, Moscow. Kalmykia, Kirov, and Lipetsk also join the list of Russian regions with suspiciously good USE results…

Not to mention:

To the contrary, Dagestan – the biggest Caucasian Muslim republic – has very few top scores relative to the number of very bright people we can expect to find there relative to most other Russian regions

Hard to argue with statistics. Also why you should continue reading Da Russophile.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 
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Russia is to spend 1.5 billion rubles building “Centers of Tolerance” to improve inter-ethnic relations in the next few years. Is this a good use of resources? Pyotr Kozlov examines the issue.

The Ministry of Regional Development to Build Centers of Tolerance for 1.5 Billion Rubles

The Ministry of Regional Development plans to start constructing Centers of Tolerance all across Russia from 2014, where anyone can go to learn more about the culture and traditions of Russia’s peoples. These learning centers will appear in 11 regions of the country: Saint-Petersburg, Omsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Irkutsk, and Birobidzhan. According to preliminary calculations, as we were told by the Ministry’s head Igor Slyunyayev, the problem will require about 1.5 billion rubles in financing, with the first centers slated to open by the beginning of 2015.

According to the Slyunyayev, all the sites will be built to one standard design. “The main task is to revive the traditions of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence that have always characterized Russia,” he clarified.

“These Centers will help promote dialog, discuss hard issues, and tell people about how Russians live in Dagestan, Jews in the Far East, or Ukrainians in Tatarstan. We need to talk more about religion, culture, traditions, and to once again return to the roots of things – that we are one people, who have always lived as one family,” the Minister says.

The work of these Centers isn’t only connected with teaching people how to have tolerant relations with other religious confessions. It is about tolerance in the widest sense of the word, clarifies the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) Alexander Boroda, who is involved in discussing the project concept.

It’s planned that the standard Center will consist of two or three rooms, one of which will contain a screen showing example reels of tolerant and intolerant behavior. Apart from that, there will be venues for discussion and interactive voting on the educational material, continues Boroda. Yet another room will be used for exhibits on the discussed topics.

Thanks to the wide spectrum of possibilities they offer, the Centers of Tolerance may become popular among pupils and students, the head of the FJCR believes. In addition, he considers that their work will be synchronized with Departments of Education in the regions. All the Center’s study materials and other content will be available for downloading from the Web.

“Of course this place has to become fashionable, in the best sense of the word. Above all, though the various exhibits and expositions. At least that’s our hope,” Boroda says.

The Head of the Public Chamber’s Committee for Inter-Ethnic Relations Nikolai Svanidze is happy about the Ministry of Regional Development’s initiative, but cautions that it’s still too early to judge the effectiveness of the Centers.

“The whole question here is in the content. Money isn’t an issue. Better to invest in Centers of Tolerance, as opposed to stuffing it into officials’ pockets. The main thing we have to avoid is formalism. How effective will this project be? That’s a valid question. But it will only be possible to determine this after the project starts,” Svanidze notes.

The head of the Duma’s Committee for Nationalities, Gadzhimet Safaraliev, also supports the idea, but believes that the project’s name choice could have been better.

“I don’t like the word tolerance. Maybe we can think a bit more on this and choose something like, for instance, Houses of Friendship, Houses of Nationalities? After all, we live in Russia. Is this to say we are, translating into Russian, building Houses of Tolerance? {Translator: A “house of tolerance” (“дом терпимости”) is, lit., a “maison de tolérance”, that is, a brothel} We’re better off learning to be friends, as opposed to tolerating each other,” the deputy remarked sardonically.

The Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee Kirill Kabanov believes that problems of tolerance aren’t going to be solved by building Centers, but by ideological work with people.

“Whenever discussions of construction sites spring up, bureaucrats suddenly get the desire to make it into their personal project. And we know well how things are built here on the government’s account – we have repeatedly seen this in Sochi, and other places. This problem is ideological, therefore the product too has to be ideological,” he says.

The Ministry of Regional Development began developing plans for Centers of Tolerance after October 2012, when Vladimir Putin issued instructions to develop the federal target program “Strengthening the Unity of the Russian Nation and the Ethnocultural Development of the Peoples of Russia,” which is to run from 2014 to 2018.

Prior to this, the issue of inter-ethnic relations in Russia was raised in one of Vladimir Putin’s pre-elections article, in which he referred to the necessity of creating an organization responsible for “questions on national development, inter-ethnic prosperity, the interactions of ethnic groups.” The Presidential Council on Inter-Ethnic Relations was formed in summer 2012, while by the end of the year a concept for inter-ethnic relations had been developed to the year 2020.

Reader comments

Alexandr Kupriyanov: The morons don’t have anything better to do with the money? Only educational tourism in Russia’s republics could help with this issue, such as student exchanges with families, student assignments on the history of certain republics, etc., whereas these Centers are yet another money laundering operation.

Leutnant von Berg: A brilliant raspil/kickback scheme. Better to build true houses of tolerance, in the original meaning of the word {Translator: Maisons de tolérance, aka brothels}: The people will go there, and there will be a high return on investment. But if we are to speak seriously, a person who is interested in another culture will find the time and means to study it by himself, without any Centers.

Алексей Матанцев: Is it so that Russians themselves could discover explanations for why other RF nationalities behave so badly?

Дарья Костычева: Better to call them houses of tolerance from the get go. It makes more sense that way. And of course there’s nothing better to spend 1.5 rubles billion on. There are no problems in Russia at all, apart from russkie!

(Republished from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
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As Russia develops a Migration Code to deal with recent influxes, one police official testifies that 47% of crimes in Moscow are committed by foreigners.

Interior Ministry: 47% of Crimes in Moscow are Committed by Foreigners

47% of crimes in Moscow are carried out by foreigners, according to the latest statistics. This was announced by at a meeting of a Duma working group by the deputy chief of police – the head of public order of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs in Moscow, Vyacheslav Kozlov.

In his words, 5% of crimes are committed by migrants from the Far Abroad, while the other 42% are committed by those from the Near Abroad. These figures also don’t take into account internal migration.

Kozlov likewise noted that Muscovites themselves commit very few crimes.

“If not for crimes committed by newcomers, Moscow would be the quietest and most peaceful city,” he said at a meeting of a Duma working group on the Migration Code.

He also noted that some 120,000 people gathered at the Moscow Cathedral Mosque to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

“I heard so many drivers complaining and cursing us for the blockage of traffic during the festivities,” he added.

As our correspondent noted, this is the first meeting of the working group on this issue. The director of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky, the chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Vladimir Pligin, and representatives of the research institutes of the Interior Ministry and other research organizations are taking part in the development of the Migration Code.

(Republished from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
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The Russian Spectrum presents the results of Levada, FOM, and VCIOM polls over the past dozen years showing the rapid digitization of Russian society.

The Internet in Russia

The three questions used were all similar: “Do you use the Internet, and if so how frequently?”

russian-internet-penetration-2001-2013

Also in the latest Levada poll: “Do you use the Internet, and if so for what purpose?”

Apr-11 Nov-11 Feb-12 Apr-13
To track the latest news 18 22 24 26
To find out what’s happening here and abroad 9 12 14 16
To find needed information 32 34 39 42
To find/read books 8 9 14 15
To find/watch films 15 17 22 25
To find/listen to music 16 17 20 23
To find/buy goods or services 7 10 12 18
For entertainment 16 18 21 28
For communication 24 25 33 38
Other <1 1 1 1
I don’t use the Internet 54 50 45 41

Translator notes

A person is generally considered to be using the Internet if he uses it once a month or more frequently. In 2013, according to Levada, 48% of Russians used the Internet every day, 10% – several times a week, 2% – two or three times a month, 1% – once a month.

We see from the graph above that in Moscow (and from the data, St.-Petersburg too) reach a plateau at about 70% penetration. That is the penetration level of developed countries generally. Therefore, we can expect to see the pace of Russian Internet penetration to now drop off markedly, as the market reaches saturation.

(Republished from Russian Spectrum by permission of author or representative)
 
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Writing in Novaya Gazeta, Andrei Vladimirovich Kolesnikov argues that the branding of the opinion pollster Levada Center as a “foreign agent” marks Russia’s return to the bad old days of Lysenkoism.

A Sociology of Dvoechniki

Levada Center is being destroyed with Stalinist methods.

Sociological data is dope for the present-day vlast. She looks at sociological reports just like a certain famous fairytale character, and with much the same question: “Who’s the fairest of them all?” But smoothing the wrinkles spreading all over the carcass of the political system requires ever more applications of the tonal cream of court sociology. Meanwhile, real sociology – incorrect, inconvenient – is being exiled. The method for this has been found: Amendments to the law on NGOs, so that they could be exiled as “foreign agents,” involved in “political activities.”

The Levada Center is being destroyed for the second time in its history. Founded at the end of the 1980s under the name of the exceptional sociologist Yuri Levada, this professional sociological organization has already once been demolished once – few now remember that VCIOM is, in fact, the old name of the Levada Center. In 2003, when Yuri Levada was still alive, the hostile takeover was successful, but not fully so – the re-branded sociological service remained the source of the country’s most reliable sociological data. I remember well that press-conference at Izvestia’s media center – Izvestia as it was then {Translator: It was more oppositional then} – I remember Yuri Alexandrovich’s bewilderment, and the sense of surrealism about the whole thing… And now we have the second attempt to destroy it, this time by tagging scientific work with the mark of politics. The Savelovskaya prosecutor’s office took upon itself this difficult mission.

This is unadulterated Stalinism. As far as today’s vlast is concerned, sociology is no different from what state statistics were to the Stalinist vlast. No coincidence that the spirit of the era became encapsulated in the following brilliant aphorism from the economist Stanislav Strumilin: “Better to stand for high growth rates, than sit for low ones” {Translator: To “sit” in Russian can simply mean to go to prison}. The Levada people aren’t sitting yet, but the continued exist of the Levada Center has come under threat; and not only of the Levada Center, but of independent, scientific sociology such as it is…

At the same time, we see the elimination of competition on the market on sociological services: Instead of a “Big Troika” – FOM, VCIOM, and the Levada Center – we are left with just a “Big Deuce.” And with all due respect to their colleagues, it will also be a sociology of dvoechniki. Where are the voices of other professional sociologists in defense of their colleagues, of science, and of honest research? Only crickets chirping. Are they afraid?

Even if the Levada Center somehow survives, it will be easy to bankrupt it via “market” mechanisms: Such agencies mainly live off marketing research, and how many of their clients will continue dealing with an organization branded as a “foreign agent”? They would henceforth go only to Kremlin-certified agencies, which had pledged allegiance to the “correct figures.”

On this account I also have an old anecdote, which I was told by the academic Revold Entov. The unchanging director of the Soviet statistics service Vladimir Starovsky, having passed through all epochs and outlived all leaders, became famous for the following phase addressed to a colleague: “I present you with the Order of Lenin for your ability to give the correct socialist figure.” Maybe it’s just the case that of all today’s surviving Russian sociologists dream of the Order of Lenin? But as is said: Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

Any honest research, any honest civic activism, any honest voluntary movement, any honest science, any honest newspaper or magazine article, is – by the logic of the Savelovskaya prosecutor’s office and of Prosecutor D. D. Minkov, whose names will enter the annals of history in the Saltykov-Shchedrin, if not the Gogolian, sense of the word {Translator: The latter two were famous 19th century Russian satirists} – equivalent to political activity. And if it is paid just a single cent by a foreign fund, then it becomes not only political activity, but hostile to boot. Vladimir Putin was lying when he claimed that the concept of a “foreign agent” carries an exclusively legal meaning, with no allusions to darker times. The semantics here are entire Stalinist, repressive, and propagandistic. According to the Levada Center’s own surveys, our compatriots quickly got the correct bearings: More than half of all Russians support harsh sanctions, up to and including liquidation, as regards NGOs that engage in politics, receive money from abroad, and don’t register as foreign agents.

The vlast is cutting off the very branch on which it sits. It deprives itself of reliable social feedbacks. It destroys studies of the humanities. And it risks being left alone with some kind of “Orthodox sociology.” But so what? “Orthodox sociology for Orthodox Chekists” – sounds about right.

At this rate it won’t be long before we get to the “rootless cosmopolitans,” and the “Weismann-Morganists,” and finally the academician Lysenko to top things off.

Reader comments

Дмитрий Кузьмин: The vlast isn’t cutting off any branch on which it sits. The Levada Center has open statistics, while the Chekist accounts are closed… Why does the alpha crane need people to know even part of the closed statistics. Better make the people into a herd of cattle, who don’t know their past or their present reality – and then, they have no more future!!

александр46 марков: Just register as a foreign agent and continue working! But wait a second, weren’t you saying earlier that you didn’t get any money from Gosdep!?

Сергей Аникин: The foreign agents are trying their utmost to conceal their true faces.

Не Гражданин (replying to above): And what is their “true face,” in your opinion. Do think, that instead of a face, they have a Botox-inflated ass, like our beloved Mr. President?

Previously, “enemies of the people” – now, “foreign agents”; previously, “witches” – now, “blasphemers”… But, at least, yesterday, “militaria” – today, “police,” that is modernizaton Medvedev-style. Modernassization.

That’s the problem with this country – the dominance of cattle, slaves, ready to lick the ass of anybody who comes to power, which itself consists of the same artiodactyla.

Don’t blame the mirror if your mug is skewed!

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

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

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

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