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This is the first of my promised Last Three Posts on DR. It's been a bit more than a year since my last update on Russia's demographic turnaround, and believe it or not, the cause of this was more than just laziness and lack of time on my part. A different question started bugging me:... Read More
I feel the time has come to bid a dignified farewell to this blog that I have lovingly labored on for many a year. Between the dopamine-fueled attractions of 140 character quickfire tweets, and the chronic lack of time for writing the far more detailed posts demanded as part and parcel of writing not one... Read More
As voting gets underway - and by all accounts, it seems to be overwhelmingly heading for the pro-secession choice - it's worthwhile to dispel four common but erroneous beliefs about it. (1) The referendum is unconstitutional. This is true enough, as all of Ukraine would have to vote on it. But there is one big... Read More
After a long break, a new contribution to the Experts Panel: Western journalists have been in the business of dismissing Russian achievements and magnifying Russian failures ever since Putin drove them into a collective derangement syndrome - he even haunts their dreams, as recently revealed by the Guardian's Shaun Walker - so the preemptive besmirching... Read More
Discuss all things Euromaidan here and vote in the poll (tick as many options as you like). My own opinion is "Protests die down as Yanukovych reasserts control," for reasons that I will expound upon in a forthcoming post. But I have made many of the arguments already on my Twitter feed where I, like... Read More
I have no idea what possessed Putin. Did he think that it would spare him Western criticism in the run-up to Sochi? Of course not. Khodorkovsky was on the back-burner. LGBT rights are West's stick du jour to beat up on Russia. Did he think it would improve the legal and investment climate? I sure... Read More
I should have never allowed myself to be talked out of it in the first place. The primary reasons are the same as before: Low activity rates, to the extent that genuine discussions are once again being overtaken by spam in terms of volume. This is in spite of substantially increased security measures since then.... Read More
RIA Novosti, Russia's main state-run news agency, is going to be dissolved. So is Voice of Russia, a publication that I've written for, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta and its Russia Beyond the Headlines project*. They are to be merged into a new organization confusingly called Rossiya Segodnya ("Russia Today"), which is NOT the same as the... Read More
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... Read More
"Imperialist Putin "Steals" Ukraine"... If only all those hysterical newspaper articles were true! In reality, the only thing he stole was Ukraine's credit card debt. He's no idiot, of course, and is in no rush to pay it off. The drama certainly hasn't ended. But a geopolitical pivot on the model of Khmelnitsky's 1654 decision... Read More
Even a few months ago, it looked as if Ukraine had taken a significant step towards Eurasian integration by signing up as an observer to the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. However, in the past month, evidence is emerging that it was but a temporary ploy to appease Russia while in reality speeding... Read More
1. The CEC results Here they are. The turnout was 32%. Sergey Sobyanin – 51.37% Alexei Navalny – 27.24% Ivan Melnikov – 10.69% Sergey Mitrokhin – 3.51% Mikhail Degtyaryov – 2.86% Nikolai Levichev – 2.79% Invalid ballots – 1.53% 2. Pre-elections opinion polls: Navalny's support - among those who indicated a clear preference for one... Read More
A couple of polls to provide the fodder for the subsequent discussions. Feel free to provide an exact figure (to one decimal place) for Navalny's percentage share in the comments and we can have a little competition along the lines of the one we had for the Presidential elections. Background - Sobyanin vs. Navalny in... Read More
As far as I understand, Michael D. Weiss is one of those neocons who loves Guantanamo but has a special soft spot in his heart for those Muslims who happen to be fighting Russia or some other state that the US doesn't like much. When he isn't chumming it up with his jihadist pals in... Read More
More info against the Department of Russia Only Produces Oil and Vodka: Here are some graphs of Russian aerospace manufacturing courtesy of the Reality vs. Myths blog. (2013 figures are projections). Total helicopter construction has now basically converged with the levels of the late RSFSR. Aircraft construction is only halfway there, but its state is... Read More
He 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... Read More
H/t AP for this beauty. It is for 2012. [Click to enlarge]. It speaks for itself so comprehensively that I'm not sure it's worth commenting further on my part here. Let's leave that to the comments section.
Here it is, for those who read Russian. The May data also has emigration data, which is not included in the prelimary estimates - that is here. The main points to take away: Births fell 0.3% and deaths fell 0.5%; as a result, the overall natural decrease has fallen from -57,000 in 2012 to -53,000... Read More
Due to the popular outcry, my prior decision to close down the Russian politics and history forum is now formally reversed. Come on people - let's make it work. Stop spamming each other in email newsletters. Refrain from creating thousands of off-topic comments on blog posts that will get lost in the Internet's recesses as... Read More
The commentator Дарман, who appears to be from Dagestan, argues that Chechens are quite different from the other North Caucasian nationalities. Apparently, minorities in Russia don't like Chechens much more than do ethnic Russians. (Brings to mind that War Nerd quote, "They seem like one of those tribes that are either going to rule the... Read More
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... Read More
Its failure is so stark that I hardly need post a notification on the actual site. To the extent that I visit it nowadays it is mostly just to clean spam, which is just depressing. It has not achieved critical mass, despite the initial incentives on offer, and in my experience if a forum fails... Read More
Earlier today, Navalny received a custodial sentence of five years for the theft of 15 million rubles ($500,000) worth of timber from Kirovles. It is simply not true to say that there was "no case" against Navalny, as the Western and Russian liberal media insists on doing. There is wiretap evidence and witness testimony that... Read More
Livestream in Russian, English. 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... Read More
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. So. Two murders, committed within the... Read More
See data. For real, this time. While it is perhaps a big strange to start thinking of Russia as a high-income economy, it's not so surprising when looking at concrete statistics such as vehicle consumption, Internet penetration, etc. - all of which are now at typical South European and advanced East-Central European levels (even if... Read More
My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel. Hope you like the title. :) The political fragmentation of the Soviet Union was one of the major contributing factors to the "hyper-depression" that afflicted not only Russia but all the other constituent republics in the 1990's. The Soviet economy had been an integrated whole; an aircraft might have... Read More
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... Read More
This June I had the pleasure of once again attending and speaking at the World Russia Forum. The event now happens twice a year, in Washington DC and Moscow, and is intended to draw together Russian and American experts, academics, journalists, and policy-makers in an effort to improve relations between these two nations. An account... Read More
It is now a staple of "common wisdom" to such an extent that there is little point in digging up specific news items. Bound up in red tape and crushed by the weight of state regulations, the argument goes, the Russian economy is doomed to years of renewed Brezhnevite stagnation - with the government increasing... Read More
Izvestia writes: I wrote half a year ago (highlights are recent): 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
My latest for Experts Panel/Voice of Russia: The Panel states, "On future occasions, Russia might well require Washington to cooperate in similar circumstances; and if such is the case, its handling of the Snowden affair could prove decisive as to how Washington chooses to respond." Well, let's imagine this scenario. One fine day, an FSB... Read More
Mark Adomanis thinks Russia should extradite - or at least expel - Edward Snowden because... get this, it's current stance (i.e. leaving him in at Sheremetyevo Airport, an international territory) constitutes "trolling" of the US. This is, to be quite frank, a rather strange argument. Would the US extradite a Russian Snowden? To even ask... Read More
I'm writing this from an Internet café in Seattle, so I'll be brief. (1) Congratulations to SWSPires - the winner of the promised $25 Amazon gift certificate for participating in The Russia Debate during its first month! Incidentally, he was only the sixth member to be drawn by lot from the members pool; it's just... Read More
I will be going on a "working vacation" this Sunday, so I'm publishing my weekly contribution to VoR/US-Russia experts panel early: Okay, let's get one thing clear from the get go: The Russian law requiring NGOs to declare themselves "foreign agents" if they engage in political activities and receive financing from abroad, is not illegitimate.... Read More
Apparently he fled to France after senior "systemic liberal" sources in the government told him he was not safe staying in Russia. So he played it safe. Interpretations about. The return of Stalinism; a new critical phase in the siloviki vs. civiliki clan war; Putin's vindictiveness against a supporter of Khodorkovsky. The only problem, at... Read More
My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel: I think we have to make a distinction here between "soft" soft power and "hard" soft power. The US' "soft" soft power is, of course, overwhelming. By "soft" soft power, I mean its accumulated cultural capital: The popularity of the English language, Hollywood, the Ivy League, Apple and American... Read More
I think the real situation is somewhere in between the Kremlin's position and Mark Adomanis' and the rest of the Western and Russian liberal media's alarmism. So as far as this is concerned, I really do think Gudkov is exaggerating, not to even speak of the inevitable and hysterical comparisons to Stalinism cropping up in... Read More
You've had to wait too long for this. But it is finally here. The Russian Spectrum - translating everything worth translating from the Russian media. I'll keep it brief. (1) We need translators! If you can proficiently translate from Russian into English, I will be very happy to have you on board. First, the bad... Read More
From a Freedom House publication:
Another day, another Internet project. Or more specifically, reviving an old project - the "English Inosmi" concept of translating articles and blog posts from the Russian media for a Western audience. The only problem was that I was perpetually dissatisfied, even if at a subconscious level, with the name: RossPress*. An elementary problem which I... Read More
I submit that the Russia watching community has no shortage of opinionated blogs, mercenary "information projects," and warring factions of "CIA jackals" and "Kremlin bots." What it greatly lacks, however, is a neutral, well-moderated meeting ground where a diversity of voices could engage in free and vigorous debates about all aspects of Russian politics, economics,... Read More
But first, a note about those two articles published here this morning: As I hope many (if not all) of you guessed, it was a scheduling accident. In particular, as regards the piece "Russia’s Economy Is Now Europe’s Largest," this is what I expected to see once the World Bank released its PPP-adjusted GNI figures... Read More
Hard as it is to believe, but in the wake of the Boston Bombings, many Western commentators actively trying to find the roots of the Tsarnaev brothers' rage in Russia's "aggression" or even "genocide" of Chechnya. This is not to deny that Chechens did not have an exceptionally hard time of it in the 1990s.... Read More
Is discussed at the other blog. To add a couple of things that are Russia specific: (1) We now learn that the FBI had interviewed the older brother at the bequest of an unspecific foreign government – almost certainly Russia. Tamerlan had visited it for 6 months in 2011. I wonder if he established links... Read More
Just to confirm that progress on DARK LORD OF THE KREMLIN is in full swing, with about 40% of the first draft done. I am aiming for publication around October. Here are the chapter titles to whet your appetites - as you can see, I spare no tired trope when writing about the Putin kleptocracy.... Read More
If you remember a couple of weeks ago, the Internet was rocked - for a total of about one or two days - by a wave of leaks from the ICIJ about the identities of offshore account holders in the British Virgin Islands. What juicy revelations did we have about the henchmen of the kleptocratic... Read More
The anti-corruption crusader and best hope of the Russian race Navalny will be on trial for embezzlement on April 17th. And it has to be admitted that even many of us who tend to look at the liberal opposition's claims of repression with a healthy degree of skepticism are now "plagued by vague suspicions." It's... Read More
Here is the list of US citizens publicly barred from Russia in response to the US Magnitsky List. Are you familiar with any of them? Individuals alleged to be involved in the use and legalization of torture and indefinite confinement of prisoners - the "Guantanamo list": 1. David Spears Addington - Chief of Staff of... Read More
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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.