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This is one possible interpretation of a recent report in Vedomosti, which analyzed a Russian Ministry of Defense tender for military insurance for the years 2018-2019. Included within was detailed Russian military mortality statistics for the 2012-2016 period, lifting the lid on a veil of secrecy on such matters since 2010. 2005 2012 2013 2014... Read More
I once wrote a long article about a Korean War II. But this one chart tells essentually the same tale. I suspect it will be a harder nut to crack than Iraq in 2003, or even 1991. It is an ultranationalist (not a Communist) regime with a formidable secret police, so you're not going to... Read More
Although militaries are fond of making grandiose announcements about prospective weapons systems that don't end up amounting to much, this is the real idea of the railgun is nothing new. The French thought up the concept almost a century ago, the Germans came up with the first viable designs during WW2, and there was interminable... Read More
Many recent articles and online discussions have been rife with the idea that the reason for Russia's "withdrawal" from Syria (which we now know is really nothing of the sort) was due to its mounting economic problems. In reality that could not be farther from the truth. Here's why: (1) As of March 2016, half... Read More
This is as hardcore cyberpunk as it gets. Target painting via dank memes! (1) Moderate Rebels (TM) make YouTube video that includes their dispositions. (2) Russian journalist Ivan Sidorenko who has good SAA contacts sends a geolocation request to the fine gentlemen of /pol/ (a 4chan "forum"). (3) /pol/ rises up to the task and... Read More
Today a ceasefire has been agreed upon between Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which unlike the unilateral ceasefire declared by Azerbaijan three days ago seems to be holding. This allows us to make some more conclusions observations on what happened. Source: http://caucasus.liveuamap.com/, via Cassad. First, the Azeris have made gains, but their advance was ultimately... Read More
Column of Azeri tanks around the Talis region. Via Cassad. The past two days has seen some of the most intense fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1994 ceasefire that froze the conflict. It was a typical post-Soviet tale: Illogically drawn up borders, stranded Armenians in the historically Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh,... Read More
let's do just that. Here is one of the latest maps via Al-Masdar News. Not only have all of the hills towards the west of Palmyra been brought under firm SAA control, which allowed them to rain down fire on the hapless Islamic State defenders, but according to the latest reports Palmyra Airport has also... Read More
Today came the shock announcement that Putin has ordered the withdrawal of most of the Russian strike force in Syria commencing on March 15, 2016. In contrast to the weeks before the start of the intervention, when multiple observers including Stratfor observed signs of an imminent intervention, this has come as a complete surprise. Many... Read More
Another (possibly abortive) North Korean nuclear test, another round of hyperbolic headlines about how Kim Jong Un is going off his rockers. Admittedly, this is an impression North Korea's state media - perhaps the closest approximation we have to a Real Life troll - is always happy to feed. But hystrionics aside, the reason for... Read More
It is in some ways remarkable that there is still no commonly agreed method on quantifying and ranking national military power. There is one such for economics, for instance. It is called the GDP. You can make somewhat different arguments on relative economic size or living standards based on various ways of measuring GDP -... Read More
They can, just not for Arabs are an extreme case, but really, it applies to virtually all Muslims). Latest case in point: Taliban Fighters Capture Kunduz City as Afghan Forces Retreat No matter how many gazillions of dollars the US pours into training them, no matter how many shiny toys they get from Uncle Sam,... Read More
Source: Wikipedia. Click to enlarge. I admit to not having been following the Syrian Civil War anywhere near as closely the war in the Donbass. But with recent rumors of stepped up Russian involvement now being confirmed by videos - and even talk of China possibly sending troops (crazy, but a year ago you'd have... Read More
In recent days, some Armenians have been up in arms over increases in electricity tariffs by the evil Russian-owned electricity monopoly that will bring them up to... well, a level slightly higher than in Russia and about 2-3x lower than in most EU countries (don't you love comparative context?). Discourse in both Russia and the... Read More
Alternate link.
The Victory Parade on May 9th in Moscow to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 will be accompanied by the display of an impressive amount of new military hardware. The centerpiece will be the Armata combat chassis, which will form the basis not just for what is likely to be... Read More
It might happen this June or later, reports RT citing Israeli media. Obama and Netanyahu are at least discussing the prospect. In previous years I was sure that it would happen eventually, probably before year end 2012. That is because that was the most convenient window between the fielding of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (early... Read More
I always thought it weird China had the smallest arsenal of the world's five NPT nuclear-weapons states. In broad strategic terms, this would make it very vulnerable to the US, especially given the latter's development of ABM technologies, which would potentially give it the choice of an annihilating first strike. In late 2009, China went... 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
Though I originally meant to write my own analysis of what the Wikileaks cables have contributed to our understanding of the 2008 South Ossetia War, I realized that I would essentially be trying to duplicate the excellent efforts of Patrick Armstrong. (See also the New York Times article Embracing Georgia, U.S. Misread Signs of Rifts).... Read More
Another Wikileaks cable - a secret one, not merely confidential - from our Caucasus ethnologist and bestest bud at the State Department, William Burns. Dated October 2007, it describes America's perception of Russia's global arms trade and emphasizes its concerns that many of its partners are "rogue" or "anti-American" states like Syria, Iran and Venezuela.... Read More
This is a reprint of a post from Arctic Progress. This is a TRANSLATION of an article by Jules Dufour published September 7th, 2010 at Mondialisation.ca ("Le Canada: un plan national pour la militarisation de l'Arctique et de ses ressources stratégiques"). In my opinion its a tad too alarmist over the scope of Canada's military... Read More
Every so often there appear claims, not only in the Western press but the Russian one, that (rising but overpopulated) China is destined to fight an (ailing and creaking) Russia for possession of its resources in the Far East*. For reasons that should be obvious, this is almost completely implausible for the next few decades.... Read More
As you may have noticed, posting has slowed down in the past few days, mostly thanks to a combination of (1) Kindle, (2) 中文 and (3) the natural periods of apathy that afflict most non-pro bloggers. I don't really see that changing until the end of the year... 1. Sayonara, Luzhkov. Props to Jesse Heath... Read More
Sorry for not posting on either of my blogs for almost a week now and being slow on responding to the emails. I've been rediscovering the pleasures of old-fashioned book reading after purchasing a Kindle. I'm very happy with it. When faced between the choice of surfing the interwebs or reading a paper book, the... Read More
This is a reprint of a post from Arctic Progress. Back when Iceland tipped over into financial collapse during 2008 and the UK seized Icelandic banks’ assets using anti-terrorist laws as fig cover, Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar stated that Russia could make use of the Keflavik air base in return for a $5bn loan to... Read More
In this installment of my series on future war, I'll be taking a holistic view of ground combat. Unlike the case for naval warfare, which is going to be revolutionized by new weapons platforms - railguns, battle lasers, and submersible arsenal ships - developments on the ground are slated to be more low-key, albeit no... Read More
I enjoyed the egg-throwing scenes from Ukraine's Rada on the ratification of the gas-for-fleet deal with Russia as much as anyone. It also reflected the polarized commentary on the interwebs. The Ukrainian patriot-bloggers get their knickers in a sweaty twist. The academic beigeocrat Alexander Motyl (he of "Why Russia is Really Weak" fame some four... Read More
A few days ago, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates fired a warning shot across the bow of the US Navy, questioning its "need" to maintain 11 carrier strike groups. He justified this on the basis of 1) "the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys", 2) "the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries", and 3) the huge... Read More
The recent sinking of a South Korean (ROK) corvette, with the probable deaths of several dozen sailors, brings to focus the fraught situation on the Korean peninsula. Now the cause of this incident - North Korean (DPRK) torpedo or tragic accident - is not yet clear. Moreover, the two sides have a long history of... Read More
This post is about the future of military technology and war strategy in a world of informatization, resource scarcity, and renewed ideological turbulence. Be forewarned: while some of what I write here corresponds to the conventional wisdom, some is well off the beaten tracks, and some will sound like it's straight out of a sci-fi... Read More
I have long noted Russia's resurgence back into the ranks of the leading Great Powers; I predicted that the global economic crisis will not have a long-term retarding impact on the Russian economy; and within the past year I have bought into Stratfor's idea that the defining narrative now in play in Eurasia is Russia's... 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
I have always been fascinated by nuclear war. Mountain bunkers, missile gaps, MAD, - what is there not to like? So this post will be devoted to the doomsday weapons which continue tantalizing us with visions of post-nuclear nirvana. Because yes, despite the post-Cold War reduction in the Russian and US arsenals (consisting mostly of... Read More
This is the second article of a three-part series about the Iranian Question - that is, the question of how the world is going to deal with the Islamic regime's pursuit of a nuclear bomb, which is likely to be one of the defining processes of global geopolitics in the next five years. The first... Read More
Three interesting stories, all tied with Russia and water. 1. The explosion at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam in Siberia. Though the official Russian version is that it was a blown transformer, the Chechen separatists / terrorists are claiming that it's their work: [...talks about their recent militant attacks in Ingushetia & threatens those who cooperate with... Read More
Rosefielde, Steven – Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower (2004) Category: political economy, Russia, transition, military; Rating: 4/5 Summary: Google books; Introduction This is a book about Russia's past, and its alleged return to the future. Rosefielde outlines his theory that the Soviet Union was a "prodigal superpower", exchanging Spartan living standards for... Read More
This is a list of common Russophobe myths about Russia and its people, and the successor to a March 2008 post on a similar theme. Please be sure to check the supporting notes at the bottom before dismissing this as neo-Soviet propaganda. Also partially available en français & на русском thanks to Alexandre Latsa's translation.... Read More
За нас за вас и за десант и за спецназ! The Red Army was the single greatest contributor to the defeat of Nazi Germany sixty-four years ago, a truly evil empire based on slavery and oppression, and responsible for the genocide of millions of Slav civilians, Jews, Soviet POW's and Roma by gas, bullets and... Read More
It is a pity that foreigners are not privy to the wild and wacky world of LiveJournal, Russia's premier blogging site - many prominent people have accounts there and traditions of opposition and kompromat makes for a lively stream of scandal. One recent case involved Tatyana Korchevnaya, who used to be a prominent member of... Read More
Chinese in Russia number in the hundreds of thousands, so the Far East is not in danger of demographic domination by the Chinese.
One of the staples of alarmist, pessimistic and/or Russophobic (not to mention Sinophobic) commentary on Russian demography* is a reworking of the yellow peril thesis. In their fevered imaginations Chinese supposedly swim across the Amur River in their millions, establish village communes in the taiga and breed prolifically so as to displace ethnic Russians and... Read More
The Western MSM (mainstream media) was abuzz the last few weeks about how Obama's apparent extension of a hand to Russia did not make them willing to unclench their fist, citing the closure of the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan. This was linked to Russia's announcement of 150mn $ in aid and 2bn $ of credit... Read More
The ludicrous claims spouted by Saakashvili continue falling apart as soon as his febrile mind makes them, forcing even the most ardent Cold Warriors to temper their uncompromising narrative of "Russian aggression against the 'fledgling' Georgian democracy". And despite the impressive achievements of Georgian infowar, after many tribulations the truth came out. OCSE monitors confirmed... Read More
Will Russia acquire Keflavik without the need for an amphibious invasion, as in the Clancy-verse? Potentially, they could neutralize the SOSUS (a long unrealized Soviet ambition) and reinforce their position in the Arctic-Atlantic region for just 5bn $. This is compared to the 700bn $+ the US has spent in Iraq to little discernible effect.... Read More
In an interview in Spiegel, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder states the obvious, something that Washington and its British and east European lackies seem to have difficulty grasping. 'Serious Mistakes by the West' Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder discusses the war in the Caucasus, the possibility of Germany serving as an intermediary in the conflict... 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
Russian cartoonist Sergei Elkin believes Saakashvili doesn't have a clue. 3:00 – Attack! 6:00 – Blitzkrieg! 7:00 – Breakfast 12:00 – Victory accomplished! 17:00 – Beg for help
It's official. Wiki even has an article on it (2008 War in South Ossetia). It's quite balanced and always updated, so I recommend reading it over any news source. I admit that I was under the impression that this conflict would yet simmer for a few years, as they already have been, a spectacle of... Read More
Let's start with two excellent new resources I've recently come across. Russia: Other Points of View states its objectives thus: Hmm... Sounds quite similar to Da Russophile, in fact, and makes a substantial part of our News posts redundant. As such I'll be referring to it frequently. The other is the Moscow Defence Brief, an... Read More
For all the noise being made this month about Georgia, about NATO, about Tibet, etc, possibly the most portentous is that it seems Russia hit its oil peak (strictly speaking, its second - the first happened in 1987), well in line with peakist predictions. Production increases via application of new technology, as seen in the... Read More
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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.