There are some pretty strange ideas floating around that Russia is obligated to help Syria/Iran in their decades-long squabbles with Israel, and that Putin is "betraying his people" by not doing so. Well, last time I checked, Putin is President of Russians, not Syrians/Iranians. Indeed, the term "сирийские братушки" ("Syrian brothers") has long been an... Read More
Are you an anti-Semite? Wonder no longer! Take the poll here: Am I an anti-Semite? The SPLC and RationalWiki both seem to think so. But there are also those who believe I am a hasbara shill, or even Jewish myself. Either way, I don't appear to be a particularly enthusiastic philo/anti-Semitic propagandist - of the... Read More
On the eve of the 2016 US elections, I got to talking with a Jew at one of the futurist meetups who was hyperventilating about the prospect of Trump winning. He unironically thought there was a risk of actual deportations of immigrants to concentration camps and pogroms against Jews. Typical Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer, who... Read More
I had been meaning to post about this for a long time. Better late than never, I suppose.The TIMSS and PIRLS are international assessments of academic ability in math, science and literacy that are conducted once every four years. They are similar to the PISA tests, although the latter are less purely academically focused and... 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
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
From what I generally knew of contemporary Eastern European attitudes towards Jews (in two words “not good”) I expected that the Russian public’s attitude towards Israel would be decidely frosty, if not outright hostile... But what seems noteworthy to me is not the downward blip in 2006 but the generally high level of Russian support... Read More
At least according to Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who is hilariously a Sephardi Jew, i.e. closer to Arabs than Europeans. Well, all countries have a right to sovereignty over their own borders, and stemming the inflow of illegal African immigrants is perfectly justifiable in Israel's case. To this end they are ramping up legal... 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
Just in case you thought the correlation between human capital and economic development was an artifice of the post-socialist world, here is a similar graph (R2=0.4273) for all the world's countries that have participated in the Math and Science portions of the PISA or TIMMS (8th grade) international standardized student assessments. The methodology is the... Read More
The Press Freedom Index issues by Reporters Without Borders is a good starting point for assessing journalistic freedoms in global comparative perspective. However, much like all attempts to measure democracy or Transparency International's assessment of corruption perception, their methodology relies on tallying a number of intangibles that cannot be objectively estimated: Censorship, self-censorship, legal framework,... 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
Everything's going badly in Russia. Medvedev's reforms are failing. The economy isn't growing. It is moving from authoritarianism to totalitarianism (in stark contrast to civilized Western countries), and the motto "We cannot live like this any longer!" once again becomes an article of faith in the land - or well, at least among "the blogs... Read More
I was recently interviewed on Middle East geopolitics and the Iran Question by Marat Kunaev, a blogger and translator at InoForum. I would like to thank him for the opportunity to express my views on the topic and providing a possible gateway into the geopolitical commentary on Runet. I'm reprinting the interview from here, with... Read More
The next installment of our Watching the Russia Watchers series at S/O features an interview with Peter Lavelle, the main political analyst at the Russia Today TV network, host of its CrossTalk debate show and Untimely Thoughts blogger. (He also has a Wikipedia page!) Peter is opposed to Western media hegemony, considering it neither fair... Read More
As was inevitable, the commentary on Israel's raid / high seas piracy / legal blockade enforcement / call-it-what-you-will has degenerated into a polarized flame-war between the blind and the deaf, which although very entertaining is also pretty useless*. By far the best analytical article on this issue I've found that really cuts through the partisan... Read More
So given that it's the only game in town, let's start provocative? The only group who behaved rationally are the Israeli commandos and the Americans. And perhaps the Turkish government. The Israeli position on the Gaza blockade is understandable (which is not to say optimal). The Palestinians elected Hamas, a militant group to Israel that... Read More
War is the ultimate crucible where ideas, theories, etc, prove their worth based on outcomes. Russia's brilliant performance in Georgia, documented by uncompromisable UPI military analyst Martin Seiff, demolished the grounds for the pessimism espoused by the likes of Pavel Felgenhauer or Aleksandr Golts regarding Russia's real military strength. The mini-war between Russia and the... Read More
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.