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Women are, fundamentally, conformists. That is, they choose the "handshakeworthy" option largely regardless of ideology. In the West that would be the culturally pozzed mainstream, i.e. anything but nationalism or the hard right. This explains the Alt Right's dim views on women in politics, culminating in memes like "thot patrols" and "white sharia" at its... Read More
Today has likewise seen the release of The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index. The US has been downgraded to a "flawed" democracy. The report is subtitled "Revenge of the Deplorables." Will Freedom House follow suit? PS. To be fair, the scores were compiled before Trump's victory. The US has been hovering around the border between... Read More
This will probably be of no surprise to people who follow Russian sentiments, but still worth pointing out that according to the latest polls by Levada - an independent polling agency headed by pro-Western liberals - support for this thing called "Western-style democracy" has never been lower. This is quite a change from 2012, at... Read More
My latest for the US-Russia Experts Panel and VoR. In this latest Panel, Vlad Sobell asks us supposed Russia “experts” whether Freedom House’s “alarmist stance” towards Russia is justified. Well, what do YOU think? I don’t think you need to be an expert to answer this; it’s an elementary issue of common sense and face... Read More
Lost in the furor and liberal butthurt over Depardieu's defection has been a development of far greater import: Russia is going to cardinally change its elections system. According to Putin's directive to the Presidential Administration and the Central Elections Committee, they are to come up with a bill that transforms Russia's current proportional system to... Read More
AP asks: Unfortunately, no, as I'm very busy this week. But some quick impressions: (1) My initial predictions for the elections. We'll see how I do relative to about 70 other people soon enough. [tweet (2) As the results came in, with PoR getting 37% of the vote after a count of 30% of the... Read More
The latest US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel focused on an assessment of Putin's historical legacy, on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Here I try to answer whether history will see Putin as the "founder of a modern and successful Russia", or as a tragic figure who threw away his chance of greatness to the "delusion... Read More
My latest for US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel on whether to view the recent Georgian elections, in which Saakashvili's United National Movement lost a lot of power, as a Kremlin coup or a triumph of democracy. My view that it isn't really either: Two dominant themes prevailed in media coverage of the 2012 Georgian elections (1)... Read More
The latest US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel focuses on whether Russia was correct to expel USAID on the grounds that it interfered in domestic Russian politics to an acceptable degree. Here is my contribution: I have no connection to USAID, or indeed to any American NGO operating in Russia or anywhere else. I do not pretend... Read More
And the protestations of demented democratists be damned. [tweet And even apart from all the HBD stuff, here is the most succinct summary of why democracy is never going to flourish in the Arab world for the foreseeable future. Libya isn't among the countries above, but it is conservative even by Arab standards. Benghazi contributed... Read More
One of the main theses of this blog is that in many respects, Russia is far more similar to the the "West" (and vice versa) than various democratists would have you believe. Case in point (h/t Jon Hellevig): "Mandatory" but "no one was forced to attend." Hmm... how does that work? This episode of Ohio... Read More
I will be jetting off tomorrow to Washington, but before I do - a translation of Edward Lozansky's interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda (Америка ненавидит Россию, которую сама себе придумала). Lozansky, who used to be a Soviet dissident, is the organizer of the World Russia Forum and has many strong, pertinent views on why it's a... Read More
Le Nouvel Observateur recently compiled opinions on Russian democracy from each of the ten French Presidential candidates. While the Left is highly critical of the authoritarian Putin regime, the Right is more favorably disposed to the Russian President-elect. On the eve of the first round of the French Presidential elections, I provide a translation of... Read More
Despite the unremitting hostility of its Russian neighbor, which crescendoed in a military occupation of a chunk of its territories, plucky Georgia's commitment to reform and democratic values will ensure its rapid development into a "booming Western-style economy." Under its charismatic Western-trained President, Saakashvili, it has rooted out corruption, ushered in untold prosperity and freedoms,... Read More
It's all so predictable. In its main piece on the elections, The Economist wrote: Note that the "at least" (my emphasis) part is supposed to give the impression that Putin's result may well have been less than the 50% needed to avoid a second round, thus making him illegitimate. They totally glide over the inconvenient... Read More
Analysis of the election data is now trickling in, so I feel I can now make some real preliminary estimates of the degree of fraud (eventually, I will compile a list of estimates as I did for the 2011 elections). My assessment is that in these elections it was on the order of 3%-4%, which... Read More
Latest results are getting in that Putin got 63.8%. That a second round would be avoided was never really in serious doubt for the past month, nonetheless the election would still be important from several other perspectives, such as the level of falsifications (in particular, in comparison with 2011), and the relative performance of Zhirinovsky,... Read More
Here it is: Reading the Russian election. Please comment at their site, rather than here, if possible.
"Despite it being a sad and fearful prospect, in my opinion a totalitarian reversion for a certain period of time is possible. But the danger lies not in the law enforcement agencies, the power organs, and not even the Army, but in our own mentalities - our people's, our population's, in ourselves. It all seems... Read More
This is the Karlin Freedom Index for 2012, a political classification system I formulated more than a year ago in response to systemic bias on the part of traditional "freedom indices" such as Freedom House and The Economist Democracy Index (hint: they give massive bonus points for neoliberalism and pro-Western foreign policy orientations). The explanation:... Read More
In the years since 9/11, the US has built a mosaic of national security powers that undermine its claim to be the "land of the free." According to this useful summary by Jonathan Turley, these include: Assassination of its own citizens; warrantless searches; use of secret evidence and secret courts; the rise of an unaccountable... Read More
Despite Olga Kryshtanovskaya's disapproval, I thought it would be interesting and useful to compile a comprehensive list of blogger, pundit and "expert" opinions on the extent of fraud in the 2011 Duma elections. Interspersed among these opinions and analyses are results from federal opinion polls and other evidence. In general, it seems we can identify... Read More
In the aftermath of the 2011 Duma elections, the Russian blogosphere was abuzz with allegations of electoral fraud. Many of these were anecdotal or purely rhetorical in nature; some were more concrete, but variegated or ambiguous. A prime example of these were opinion polls and exit polls, which variably supported and contradicted the Kremlin's claims... Read More
Citing evidence revolving around pre-elections opinion polls and exit polls, in my Al Jazeera article on the Russian Duma elections I made the argument that "the aggregate level of falsifications is probably at around five per cent, and almost certainly less than ten per cent" (with the caveat that it was far worse in several... Read More
The long-promised post is out, but not here but at Al Jazeera: Truth and falsifications in Russia. It has also been translated into Russian at Inosmi.ru (Правда и фальсификации в России). In the spirit of democracy, I am adopting Alexander Kireev's poll (kireev) to ask you guys what YOU think about how falsified these elections... Read More
For now I'm just making the data available without commentary. Make of it what you will. Levada (18-21 Nov), VCIOM (19-20 Nov), and ISI (4-10 Nov) predictions of election results based on polls. Election results as of Dec 9th 2011, 16:55 Moscow time, 99.99% counted. VCIOM (62 regions), FOM (80 regions), and ISI (24 regions)... Read More
On reading Western commentary on the upcoming Russian Duma elections, I realized that they can't decide between two narratives: either the popularity of United Russia is sinking faster than Herman Cain's following his sex abuse scandals, thus meaning that it will manipulate the votes to get its desired majority; or Russian elections are complete shams... Read More
As repeatedly noted by Mark Adomanis, the Russian liberals and the Western media have predicted about 10 of the last zero Russian revolutions. Likewise, the "Jasmine Revolution" in China that was the subject of so much talk about a year ago has fizzled out like a wet firework. Meanwhile, the Arab world remains in the... Read More
Now that my initial triumphalism over Putin's return has faded a bit, it's time for a more analytical look. One of the main reasons I thought Medvedev would be the more likely person to be United Russia's Presidential candidate is that Putin was simply unwilling to return. As Daniel Treisman wrote in his book on... Read More
Over the years, I have come across my fair share of liars and incompetents writing about Russia in major Western media outlets. But rarely have I encountered such heights of self-righteous arrogance and clownish, pathetic ignorance as Edward McMillan-Scott displays in his latest screed for The Guardian: "David Cameron must stand up to Putin", where... Read More
The notion that Russian elections are systemically rigged to keep the "party of power" in, well, power is so prevalent and accepted in journalistic, political, and academic discourse in the West that it has little need of supporting documentation. Taking the 2007 Duma elections as an example, they were described as "not fair" by OSCE,... Read More
I have gone on record with the following odds on Russia's next President: Medvedev – 70%, Putin – 25%, Other – 5%. The first betting site to offer odds on the Russian Presidential election has other ideas. As of June 2011, the British online gambling site Stan James is offering the following odds: Putin 4/7,... Read More
Two weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from Kim Zigfeld, she of the infamous La Russophobe, asking me if I was interested in an interview with her. It didn't take long for me to come to the wrong decision! And so commenced our interview. It was a long grind. After ceaseless goings back and... Read More
In a recent editorial, The Guardian complained about the expulsion of their Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding. All the usual Russia tropes were brought up in explanation, including its "shrinking space for a free press." But Harding's "crowning offense", at least according to the Guardian's "guess", was "his association with this paper's story on what the... Read More
I've been meaning to make an in-depth study of the 3 major "freedom indices" - Polity IV (the most objective one), the Economist Democracy Index (fairly arbitrary) & Freedom in the World (a purely ideological project) - for more than 2 years now, but have yet to come round to it. Though it remains on... Read More
This is a reprint of my article for the Sep/Oct 2010 issue of Russian Life magazine. It is a condensed version of Rosstat and Levada are Russophobia’s Bane. Enjoy! There is a Catechism that dominates American discourse on Russia today. Just flip through The Washington Post’s editorials, peruse American political science journals or listen (cringe)... Read More
In the post with A Good Treaty's interview, the commentator peter recommended this book, ВЛАСТЬ-2010: 60 биографий (Power in 2010: 60 biographies) by Vladimir Pribylovsky, as a "useful primer on who's who in the Kremlin". I happen to agree - with many qualifications, which are discussed below - which is why I translated its introductory... Read More
Kicking off the Watching the Russia Watchers interview series at S/O is the promising new blogger A Good Treaty. He is a DC-based foreign policy analyst who prefers a "good treaty with Russia" to only treating with a good Russia: as a foreign policy realist, he is averse to neocon (and neoliberal / liberal interventionist)... Read More
Still no economic collapse. Still no anti-Putin bunt. Still no demographic apocalypse. As the years pass by, Russophobe canard after Russophobe trope is relegated to the dust-heap of history, only to rise back out of its grave, zombie-like, whenever Boris Nemtsov pens a brilliant indictment hysterical screed on the failures of Putinism or when the... Read More
During the past two years, Russian "dissident" liberals Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have produced a frankly maniacal quantity of so-called "Independent Expert Reports" (there are now seven of them) that purport to debunk the "persistent myths imposed by official [Kremlin] propaganda". The authors say that their latest exegesis, melodramatically entitled "Putin. The Results. 10... Read More
I've been accused of being a "Russophile cockroach", an "amoral Putin lackey", and overall bad guy. Guilty as charged! Yes, I do like Russia and don't have much good to say about the Western media's coverage of it. Yes, I don't give much of damn for the moralistic posturing that any vapid idiot Kremlinologist can... Read More
This is a summary of opinion polls conducted by the Levada-Center, Russia's Gallup, since February 2009, and continues on from the first post. Along with the original post Lovely Levada, this series constitutes a unique English-language reference for social trends under late Putinism as expressed by the Russian people themselves, rather than the limousine liberals,... Read More
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.