Authoritarianism doesn't always come with bells, whistles and goose-steps. More typically, it develops in a series of interlocking steps - a state of emergency ("war on terror") here, a couple of indefinite detentions and Presidential hit orders there, their eventual legal codification - that while on their own seem justifiable and even innocuous, when taken... Read More
Via Economist: This makes sense to me. While cannabis is well-known in Russia, attitudes towards it are mostly disparaging where not hostile even in relatively enlightened Moscow. The druggies there tend to be more hardcore anyway. It is a large part of the conversation in the UK - see the debates over what classification it... 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
That is, when it happens to show that someone is a mental retard and as such shouldn't be executed for murder. Just the old liberal hamster wheel logic in action. I'm actually quite indifferent to the DP. But I'm not indifferent to using mental retardation as a defense. If anything it is more of a... Read More
User Jennifer Hor writes: My highlights. The death penalty is expensive in America only because it chooses to make it so. I'm not much against that because the US is also clearly rich enough to afford the process. The only problem of course is that it in effect nullifies the deterrent value of the DP.... 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
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
In a recent interview with the opposition Dozhd TV channel - which is, incidentally, available for public viewing in Russia as part of the NTV Plus satellite TV package - for the first time openly declared he wants to be President. He also speculated about the motivations behind the Kirovles fraud case being brought against... Read More
Everybody in the Western media seems to have forgotten Pussy Riot. Well, not forgotten, they still wheel them out every so often as symbols of the repressiveness of the Putin regime - but news of actual developments in the affair have come to a standstill. Which is a pity, because they undermine the commonly accepted... 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
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
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... 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.