Map of the biggest airports in Russia and the ex-USSR by 2017 passenger traffic including transit flights. Source: Seva Bashirov Moscow is clearly a central node, accounting for 89 million passengers in 2017 - up from just 19 million in 2001, near the trough of the post-Soviet collapse. Incidentally, this makes Moscow the world's 13th... Read More
The number of horses in the Russian Empire peaked in in 1913 and was around 35 million in 1916 (the US had about 20 million horses in 1915, and the two countries accounted for half the global equine population). At the time, they were almost all used in agriculture. The Soviet horse population plummeted during... Read More
The Maddison Project is probably the world's most comprehensive source of economic history statistics. Begun by British economist Angus Maddison, it was continued after his death in 2010 by an institution at the University of Groningen. Recently, an update for 2018 has been released. Background paper: It was accompanied by a major introductory article at... Read More
Last week, I wrote about the 10 ways in which life in Russia is better than America. Now it's time for Uncle Sam to have his due. Typical Moscow sleeper suburb. Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America's, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower. Consequently, the standard of living... Read More
It has now been exactly a year since I returned to Russia. One of the questions I get asked the most from Russians and foreigners alike is whether I enjoy living here, or whether I am disappointed. My answer is that it fell within my "range of expectations". I like to think that this is... Read More
I think Czechia might just be the best country in the world. Europe's best gun rights (just further liberalized) But lower homicide rate than UK/France/Germany because no aggressive Third World minorities Social liberalism without the poz and purple-haired SJWs Also most atheist European country But with a higher fertility rate than Holy Poland nonetheless Sane... Read More
Not even a week in Moscow, and I get contacted by a Zvezda TV journalist requesting an interview about life in America and why I returned to Russia. In a deserted billiards room, I began talking about my theory that there is a civility-friendliness spectrum, with Britain on one end of it, Russia on the... Read More
Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,... 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
One of the most reliable indicators of influence is access to cars. They are the standard symbol of affluence and middle-class status the world over. They are also far more understandable at the everyday level than things like the PPP GDP per capita, or the number of burgers your national McWage will buy. Following on... Read More
As I write the book, I create a lot of graphs. Here is one of them. So in manufacturing terms, as far as cars are concerned, the "deindustrialization" era is decidedly over. Of course it's also important to note that in 1985 they were producing this whereas today they are producing this as well as... Read More
One of the most common arguments made to explain why Russians don't finally overthrow the evil Putin in a bloody bunt is that they are brainwashed by the regime's TV propaganda stations. This isn't actually very accurate at all. Russian TV isn't any more propagandistic than in the West, and on some issues, less so;... Read More
Sergey Zhuravlev is a Russian economist who runs a wonky but eminently readable and very useful, interesting blog and writes for Expert (author profile), which I may add is an excellent publication. You have met him previously on my blog as the inventor of a clever - if, in my opinion, flawed - argument that... Read More
In the wake of Putin's article on national security for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, there has been renewed interest in Russia's ambitious military modernization plans for the next decade. I am not a specialist in this (unlike Dmitry Gorenberg and Mark Galeotti, whom I highly recommend), but I do think I can bring much-needed facts and good... Read More
Russia has a long and proud drinking culture; according to the chronicle of its founding, the main reason it chose Christianity over Islam was the latter’s prohibition of booze. Vodka has been distilled there since at least the 12th century. As of the time of writing, it is the world’s largest spirits market by volume... Read More
In terms of new cars, they now are. According to 2011 statistics, Russians bought 17.6 new automobiles per 1000 people. This indicator is still quite a bit below most of Western Europe, such as Germany's 38.5, France's 33.4, Britain's 31.9, Italy's 30.1, and Spain's 20.0. However, it has already overtaken most of East-Central Europe, whose... 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.