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Freedom in the World 2018 is out now: "Democracy in Crisis." This makes the deep state neocon goons who run that outfit very sad. My prediction from 2017: Last minute misgivings aside, this has indeed happened. While FH still thinks Civil Rights in the US are at 1/7 (where 1 is best and 7 is... Read More
For what my views are worth - which is very little, especially in China - I am always for freedom of speech. That said, it's worth clarifying that the late Liu Xiaobo was much more a Western nationalist than a genuine humans right activist. "[It would take] 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of... Read More
In the wake of blatantly political voting during Eurovision 2016, which Ukraine's Crimean Tatar representative Jamala won despite losing both the popular and the jury vote, to Russia and Australia respectively, the debate has been dominated by the following two positions: Russia supporters - It was a political song, and as such inadmissable under long-standing... Read More
This is an argument that is doing the rounds on the Internet after Iran's condemnation of the Saudi execution of 47 people (including at least 4 "politicals") to mark the New Year and the ensuing breakdown in Iranian-Saudi diplomatic ties. After all, they say, Iran executes a lot more people than the Saudis.   One... Read More
In the past few days there has been a sort of alt-singularity as Putin and Trump exchanged compliments, as one might think befits mature heads of powerful states (one actual, one potential). Naturally, one of these men has been taking a lot of heat for it from all the empty suit punditry and the Cuck-in-Chief... Read More
In Western popular culture, and to be honest most of the rest of the world, Kazakhstan is most commonly associated with Borat and his putative homeland of slapstick provincial troglodytes. And following Nursultan Nazarbayev's 98% win in the recent elections, and his reaction to it... ... the casual observer might feel that it has some... 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
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
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
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
(1) Just as with Manning, it is beyond dispute that Snowden broke US law. As such, the US government is perfectly entitled to try to apprehend him (on its own soil), request his extradition, and prosecute him. This is quite perpendicular to whether Snowden's leaks were morally "justified" or not. In some sense, they were.... Read More
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 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
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 plans to start constructing Centers of Tolerance all across Russia from 2014, where anyone can go to learn... 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
The Latvian President has signed a law allowing Latvians to have double citizenship with other countries... except Russia. Moscow cries foul and calls on the EU to take action. Maria Efimova has the story. Latvian President Andris Bērziņš signed the law "On Citizenship," adopted by the Sejm on 9 May. This law allows Latvian citizens... Read More
From a Freedom House publication:
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
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
If you ever manage to get a troupe as diverse as Latynina, Mark Adomanis, the Cypriot Communist Party, virtually every financial analyst, Prokhorov, and Putin united in condemning your crass stupidity and cack-handedness, it's probably time to stop and ponder. But it's safe to say that's not what the Troika - the European Commission, European... 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
No matter how you look at it, he is a traitor. He violated the UCMJ. Although he is free to make ethical arguments as to why he leaked Collateral Murder and the US Embassy cables, the US is fully within its rights to prosecute him. I'm quite consistent about this: Treason is a punishable offense,... Read More
It's not just the gopniks who are withering away; so are racist skinheads. According to the SOVA Center - an NGO which is about as anti-Kremlin as it gets, so no point in speculating that it cooks the figures for PR purposes - racist attacks in Russia have plummeted from their peak levels in 2007-2008,... Read More
Here it is in Russian: Вверх-вниз по рейтингу свободы. This translation here is of a longer version at my Russian language blog. A version of it also appears on Voice of Russia: Press freedom - on both sides of the Information Curtain. Thanks to Alexei Pankin (who is a regular at Komsomolskaya) for making it... Read More
Yuri Matsarsky meets up with Egyptian Christians who fled to Russia from the persecution of Islamist extremists. "Late one evening I was walking home after a meeting with friends, when I stopped to have a cigarette at the Domodedovskaya metro station and saw a crowd of people with small children at the entrance. By their... Read More
I am back to writing for the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel, which since my hiatus has found an additional home at Voice of Russia. The latest topic was on whether Russia, China, and the West could find a common approach to the challenges of the Arab Spring. My response is pessimistic, as in my view... Read More
Here is the article, by Nick Cohen. And below are the two comments (one by myself) that were censored. I have corrected a few grammatical points in this post. They were eventually restored, wonder of wonders, but only after two days - and therefore all interest - had passed, and after I had sent an... Read More
I really did think it was getting better there under Joshu Yaffa, certainly it's not typical of him to write such vitriolic but more importantly factually inaccurate articles. Let's hope the world's sleaziest magazine was getting one of their old-timers to file for him that day, instead of representing the start of a new descent... Read More
In the wake of Gérard Depardieu's scandalous "defection" to Russia to escape high French income taxes, liberal Russian journalist Gleb Razdolnov yearns to know what the hell he was thinking. Dear Gérard! You've taken the decision to abandon your homeland, France. We will not talk of the reasons that prompted you to take this step.... Read More
1. For Russian orphans life is much more dangerous in Russia than in America. Let's agree to disregard the hidden subtext which implies that any country ought to give over its orphans to foreign nationals should it be ranked safer for children. Let's first examine if the claim that Russia is 39 times more dangerous... Read More
My latest contribution to the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel this one focusing on whether the West foregoes "incalculable benefits" by continuing the Cold War. Unlike previous Panels, on which I aimed for balance, here I make no apologies at pointing a finger straight to where I believe the blame belongs: I recently began reading Martin... Read More
This post is a continuation of the last, and can otherwise be called "Konstantin von Eggert: A Case Study In Democratic Journalism (part 2)." Alternatively, one might view it as a refutation of claims that the Kremlin controls or censors the Russian media (Eggert's own protestations, hilarious and Orwellian in the context of what follows,... 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
As I reported in my post unveiling US-Russia.org, there are going to be weekly discussion panels moderated by Vlad Sobell. This is the first one I participated in. It is on the topic of US-Russia Relations Against the Backdrop of Word-wide Muslim Protests. Is this a clash of civilizations? Should the US patch up ties... Read More
At least if you take Michael Bohm's arguments in his latest Moscow Times missive on how Russia Is Turning Into Iran to its logical conclusion. Look, I'm not a fan of blasphemy laws. The First Amendment is a wonderful thing and something that makes the US truly great... even exceptional, to an extent. Although it... Read More
Russia is preparing to "nationalize the elites" by forbidding bureaucrats (and their spouses and children) from owning property or bank accounts abroad. (1) This need hardly be said at this point but this does demonstrate that Russia is not the "kleptocracy" it is frequently described as. Why would kleptocrats purposefully make life any harder for... 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
Taisiya Osipova was sentenced to 8 eight years in jail for selling and possessing heroin. This was twice more even than what the prosecution requested. Even if the case was rock solid it would still be wildly disproportionate as she suffers from diabetes. But it's not; to the contrary, there are reasonable suspicions that the... Read More
UK police descend on Assange's embassy refuge. According to the Ecuadorians, their Embassy was threatened with a revocation of its status as Ecuadorian sovereign territory in the case that President Rafael Correa offers Julian Assange political asylum. This would clear the way for PC Plod could go in and fish out Assange. Presumably this is... Read More
From their latest Editorial / anti-Putin rant, via Mercouris. It is not with the ideological rhetoric that I have an issue with; it's The Guardian, after all. Nor am I especially interested in defending Pussy Riot's prosecution (my own views on the matter jive with Kononenko's). I do however have an issue with the The... Read More
Imagine you're a British extraditions judge and you are asked to rule on the following cases. (1) An oligarch exile who came from a country where he might well have ordered contract murders and is now loudly and implacably opposed to its new President who dispossessed him of his political influence. Although the British establishment... Read More
So Assange has fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in scenes reminiscent of what happens to dissidents in truly authoritarian countries. (The parallels keep adding up don't they). Let's recap. His site kept releasing classified documents, from secretive and typically nasty organizations. Too bad that some of them belonged to the Pentagon and the... Read More
I really can't figure what this Economist editorial reeks more of: Hypocrisy, mendacity, or pure delusion? Being anti-Western is "negative", even for daring to oppose Western-backed Islamist crazies who will back-stab their handlers as soon as they're able to. Note how "liberalizing" and "pro-Western" are conflated, because one can't possibly liberalize without kowtowing to Western... 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
One of the most common tropes against Russia is that critical (independent, democratic, etc) journalists there are dying like flies, presumably because of the "culture of impunity" created by Putin or even on his express orders. It is rarely mentioned that the statistical chances of a Russian journalist dying by homicide is an order of... Read More
For all the hype the "March of Millions" was missing a couple of zeros. (In the video above, the left pane shows the march along the Yakimanka on February 4th, where there were about 56,000-80,000 protesters; the right pane shows the "march of millions", in reality about 20,000-30,000, along the same street on May 6th).... Read More
One thing that an observer of Russian politics can't help noticing is the sheer impossibility of appeasing the Russian liberals. Here are two recent exhibits from the Moscow Times. First, coming to the end of his Presidency, Medvedev pardoned some people in a list of political prisoners presented by the non-systemic opposition a few months... Read More
It's one thing if Western journalists and Yukos PR henchmen - if there is indeed any difference - shill for all they're worth about the travails of Khodorkovsky, the former oligarch doing time for fleecing the Russian Treasury to the tune of billions of dollars, charges he sooner boasts about than denies when given the... 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.