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But first, a note about those two articles published here this morning: As I hope many (if not all) of you guessed, it was a scheduling accident. In particular, as regards the piece "Russia’s Economy Is Now Europe’s Largest," this is what I expected to see once the World Bank released its PPP-adjusted GNI figures... Read More
One of the standard memes about Russia's demographic trajectory was the "Russian Cross." While at the literal level it described the shape of the country's birth rate and death rate trajectories, a major reason why it entered the discourse was surely because it also evoked the foreboding of the grave. But this period now appears... Read More
In my previous demography post, I argued that for all intents and purposes, Russia's "demographic crisis" can be reasonably argued to have ended. Population growth is now consistently positive since 2009, and as of last year, the country's natural decrease was a mere 131,000. This is a massive improvement over the 500,000-1,000,000 annual natural decrease... 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
Sometimes a single picture is worth a thousand words. This is one. Though Russia remains a highly dangerous country by developed country standards, it has improved immeasurably in the past decade. Fewer Russians today die from alcohol poisonings, homicides, suicides, and even - despite a near doubling of car ownership rates - transport accidents that... 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
I will have a much longer and detailed post on this in the future, with new projections, but this breaking news (at least as far as it comes with dry demographic statistics) so I can't refrain from writing a preliminary post on the matter. For all intents and purposes, Russia's demographic crisis - the infamous... Read More
It is now increasingly evident that Russia's population has settled on a small but decidedly firm upwards growth trend. I have been vindicated. According to the latest data, in the first eight months of the year births fell by 1.4% (12.5/1000 to 12.3/1000) and deaths fell by 6.2% (from 14.6/1000 to 13.7/1000) relative to the... Read More
One thing that strikes you, as you wander the shops of any Russian city, is the sheer cheapness of booze and cigs. As little as 3 years ago, one could buy a pint-sized bottle of beer or a pack of cigarettes for just $1, while a 0.5l bottle of vodka cost as little as $3.... 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
During the past two years, Russian "dissident" liberals Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have produced a frankly maniacal quantity of so-called "Independent Expert Reports" (there are now seven of them) that purport to debunk the "persistent myths imposed by official [Kremlin] propaganda". The authors say that their latest exegesis, melodramatically entitled "Putin. The Results. 10... Read More
In a recent post, Mark Adomanis pointed out that the Russian economy has done significantly better than many other East European nations during the recent crisis and is now mounting a strong recovery. He also speculated on the effects of the crisis on the demography of badly-affected countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltics,... Read More
So I decide to write about Putin's mistakes to counter my public image as "ein strammer Putin-soldat", and guess what, the first comment I get denounces me as a "completely naive and/or delusional person" for daring to "take “Russia’s corruption trends” seriously" (I suppose it proves the old dictim that you can't please everyone all... Read More
Mark Adomanis, who recently burst into the Russia-watching blogosphere like a fluffy pink grenade, has a series on "Who is the world's worst Russia analyst"? (So far Stephen Blank and Leon Aron are in the running). Personally, I think that Ed Lucas would "win" hands down. However, since he's already been exposed and discredited on... Read More
This post tries to debunk some popular, but misguided, views on demographic trends in today's Russia. These consist of the perception that Russia is in a demographic "death spiral" that dooms it to national decline (Biden, Eberstadt, NIC, CIA, Stratfor, etc). Some extreme pessimists even predict that ethnic Russians - ravaged by AIDS, infertility and... Read More
This is a succinct summary of my views on Russian demography, written about 2 months ago. Through the Looking Glass at Russia's Demography By Anatoly Karlin In 1992, for the first time since the Great Patriotic War, deaths exceeded births, forming the so-called “Russian Cross”. Since then the population fell from 149mn to 142mn souls.... Read More
In this post I look at the (surprisingly good) Russian demographic data for Jan-Mar 2009 and argue in more depth that the economic crisis is unlikely to have a very major negative impact on short-term fertility, or any but a very minor impact on long-term demographic trends. I make some falsifiable predictions, estimating a birth... Read More
Though hard to imagine, the Washington Post - or Pravda on the Potomac, as Eugene Ivanov quite rightly labels it - surpassed even its own sordid standards for Russia coverage, in the form of the latest op-ed from George F. Will in Potemkin Country. Time to go grenade fishing again, I guess. I suppose turning... Read More
Models that predict a Russian AIDS catastrophe rely on simple extrapolation from sub-Saharan Africa transmission patterns inapplicable to Russia and are as such fatally flawed.
Many analysts of an unreasonably gloomy (or Russophobic) bent delight in raising the specter of an AIDS mortality crisis sometime in the next few years, indulging in fantasies of Russia as a dying, blighted wasteland populated by nihilistic, promiscuous druggies. In 2002 Vadim Pokrovsky, well known government anti-AIDS crusader, predicted the number of infected would... Read More
Since the last time I covered Levada's opinion polls was a whopping half a year back, I reckon its time to make an update on what Russians are thinking since then. A comprehensive kind of post, like what I did in Lovely Levada (check it out, if you haven't already!) and hopefully a good resource... Read More
The excellent demographic journal Demoscope has an extensive discussion of fertility trends in Russia. Some of it backs my own views in Demography I - The Russian Cross Reversed? and consequently, the assumptions behind the future demographic projections in Demography III - Faces of the Future. The issue starts off with 2007: Fertility Year, which... Read More
I developed a model on Russia's future demographic development in Matlab. First, I will describe (non-mathematically) the essentials of how it works; then I will present a range of different possible scenarios. Our data is sourced from Rosstat and the Human Mortality Database. Demography is a social science, and as such it is impossible to... Read More
As we covered in the previous instalment, Demographics I: The Russian Cross Reversed?, fertility rates are not abnormally low by European standards and are likely to rise further in the future. The same cannot be said of mortality rates - a 'quiet crisis' that has been a 'catastrophe of historic proportions'. Take life expectancy. As... Read More
The demographic situation in Russia is usually painted in apocalyptic terms. The Russian Cross - the post-Soviet transition into a world of death without new life - will supposedly preclude it from attaining First World living standards and wreck any Great Power, let alone superpower, pretensions. Is Russia Too Sick to Matter and the Sick... Read More
EDIT: Check out the updated Top 50 Russophobe Myths. According to this blog's philosophy, every thesis needs an antithesis. Hence I present the Top 10 Russophobe Myths, in opposition to La Russophobe's Top 10 Russophile Myths. (As well as to celebrate our 2000th visit). 10 MYTH: The barbarous state of Muscovy arose in the sixteenth... Read More
Russian moves to ban tobacco advertising About time, considering that 70% of men and 30% of women smoke in Russia, one of the highest rates in the world, and that 300,000 people die from smoking every year in Russia. India could become largest Kamaz truck maker outside Russia - illustrates the recent phenomenom of how... Read More
Assessing Russia's effective strength has been a problem for observers of the country since its inception. It's a riddle, an enigma and a mystery all wrapped up in one, as Churchill wryly noted long ago, and that's unlikely to change soon. In any case the paradigm has certainly held these past fifteen years since 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.