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Soviet Union

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One of the most memorable anecdotes from Stephen Cohen's Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives is where he recounts a visit by Egor Ligachev, probably the second man after Gorbachev in the late 1980s USSR, to New York, in which he amazed his interlocutors by repeatedly asking who was responsible for organizing the food supply to... Read More
I have long been in the Krivosheev camp, but this sounds like very plausible: *** The casualty estimates of Overmans and Krivosheev are off by significant amounts. On the German side, the first estimate of military losses was produced by Gregory Frumkin of the, editor of the Yearbook of the League of Nations, unlikely to... Read More
Greg Cochran's recent post on the topic reminded me of a post I began writing but then abandoned ages ago (like in 2012). I can't find whatever I wrote (no big loss; there wasn't much) but I did come across this graph I had quickly and messily compiled back then: Population figures are taken from... Read More
From Everyday Life in Moscow during the Stalin Period by Georgy Andreevsky. Whoever penned this was arrested in 1939: Кто кричал «вся власть Советам!», / All you who shouted "All power to the Soviets!", Кто стрелял по юнкерам, / You who fired at the Junkers, Кто по Зимнему при этом / You who bombarded Winter... Read More
Infant mortality in Russia/USSR (thick dark green line), 1900-2016 (via genby). Thin brown line at the bottom represents the US rate. (Bottom most graph represents the US). Six distinct periods: Slow improvement during late Tsarism and 1920s. Stagnation during 1930s. Rapid improvements from 1940-1965 as antibiotics, modern obstetrics, etc. introduced. Near convergence to US by... Read More
Russia harvested 133 million tons of grain in 2017, beating the all-time RSFSR record set in 1978. It has also been consistently harvesting more grain than in the Soviet years since the mid-2010s. Here it is in a wider historical perspective. Grain production in Russia from 1900-2012: Graph via @burckina-faso, a pro-Soviet blogger, so can... Read More
Almost none of Romania's celebrity intellectuals have yet been translated into English (presumably, the fact that most of them - Eminescu, Iorga, Eliade, Cioran, Țuțea - are reactionaries or fascists of some stripe or another played a role in that). Hopefully, this may yet change, at least with respect to Țuțea. This post features a... Read More
Engels writing in 1868: Soviet propaganda map: "Tsarist Russia: Prison of Peoples. The Predatory Ambitions of Tsarist Imperialism." Notably, it is from 1936.
Izvestia (Dec 13, 1941) honors Vlasov amongst eight other heroes of the Battle of Moscow. Anybody who has spent any amount of time questioning the standard Soviet narratives about the first half of the 20th century will invariably be called a Vlasovite at some point. So far as neo-Stalinists are concerned, the turncoat general is... Read More
Some data on this topic. 1. Via Egor Kholmogorov's eponymous article for Komsomolskaya Pravda, source given as "Sovetskaya Rossiya 1992", according to which the RSFSR and Belarus were the only net donors. 2. Orlowski, Lucjan T. - 1995 - Direct transfers between the former Soviet Union central budget and the republics: Past evidence and current... Read More
Russian (blue) and Ukrainian (red) coal production 1990-2017. (Source: genby). Russia coal production has expanded by 6.7% during the seven months of this year, so it should produce at least 430 million tons of coal this year. RSFSR/RF (red) and Russian Empire/USSR (dark red) coal production 1897-2005. This would place it ahead of the all... Read More
Ron Unz writes: The demographic argument with regard to Europe’s Jewish population is obviously an important one, as I mentioned in my article. Basically, before the war, there were millions of Jews living in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, and after the war they’d mostly vanished, so where did they go, except into... Read More
AK: This is a guest post from a friend of mine who... let's just say has spent a lot of time in both Russia and the United States. I can personally vouch for almost of all of these observations. *** Scholars variously assign responsibility for the political demise of the Soviet Union to different world... Read More
Vladimir Voinovich (1986) - Moscow 2042 Rating: 2/5 TLDR: Good perspective on sovok-liberal Russophobia. Vladimir Voinovich died the other day. In the Anglosphere, this only seems to have been noticed by RFERL, where this Serb/Jewish literary dissident worked during his exile from the USSR in the 1980s. Like Solzhenitsyn, Voinovich opposed the Soviet regime -... Read More
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1911): General view of the Church of St. John Chrysostom in Korovniki (from the mill) from the west. It is a curious thing that one of the most important stories of the Russian Civil War doesn't even have an English language entry in Wikipedia. Google results either lead to fleeting mentions in obscure... Read More
One of the quainter, more obscure attractions in Moscow is the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. The post-Stalinist USSR aimed to provide a good material living standard to its people, and technologies were bought from the West towards that end (e.g. the classic Lada was a copy of an Italian Fiat car). Ergo for arcade... Read More
Vladislav Pravdin - GREAT STALIN (1949). It is our joy that during the hard years of the war the Red Army and the Soviet people were led by the wise and experienced leader of the Soviet Union - the GREAT STALIN. And now for something completely different. Instead of snippets from larger works, here’s Egor... Read More
The doubtless success of the “primer” for Kholmogorov’s Solzhenitsyn treatise has compelled both the author and the translator to publish another “juicy bit” from the sprawling work. This part of the article analyzes Solzhenitsyn’s rejection of the Enlightenment that led him to lambast Andrey Sakharov’s project of a gradual “convergence” between Communism and Capitalism, causing... Read More
Every so often you come across Stalinists (and earnest, if misguided, vatniks) claiming that Solzhenitsyn called on the US to nuke the USSR. Here is their "evidence" from a 1975 speech: Problem #1 - Where is the actual call to attack - let alone nuke - the USSR? If you are particularly paranoid, I suppose... Read More
Almost by necessity, all previous Kholmogorov translations have been those of his older texts, with a “lag” between the original and the translation varying between several days and several months. What you see now is a much rarer treat. Kholmogorov has just finished a long and engrossing article on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, clocking in at 16,000... Read More
The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative intellectual Egor Kholmogorov. For the first part, see: Russians in the 2oth Century. Part I: Origins to WWII. Incidentally, while counter-mainstream commenters in the West are hardly well compensated, this is unfortunately doubly true in Russia. If you have enjoyed our translations of him, a... Read More
Great map of the Ephemeral States of the Russian Civil War: The state collapse of the old order temporarily brought all sorts of strange new political formations into existence, as is the universal pattern ("the empire long united must divide"). The Idel Ural Republic. The Republic of North Ingria. Even a "Green Ukraine" in the... 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 latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative intellectual Egor Kholmogorov. This massive opus, which will be published in two parts, is the closest thing there is to a condensed historiosophy of Kholmogorov's. Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus Original: *** The modern Russian nation grew out of the Old Rus people, whose identity had... Read More
Our resident Kholmogorov translator Fluctuarius Argenteus further develops his Russoshoe Theory: Some examples: A - Soviet nationalists/Prokhanov Unz.com columnists: Israel Shamir, Martyanov B - This blog's erstwhile commenter Lazy Glossophiliac Most Russian neo-Stalinists, Eurasianists The Saker (with caveats) The Spencerian Alt Right (esp. Nina Kouprianova) Tankies C - Mainstream Russian nationalists inc. Fluctuarius,
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
So many of what I like to call "powerful takes" in this thread. On second thought, I should have saved my time and energy, and just replied with this:
Number of active churches in the Russian Empire/USSR/post-Soviet space from 1900 to 2000 via the blogger genby. One element of Stalinist propaganda is that he presided over the rebirth of the Russian church. However, one graph is worth thousands of words, and we can immediately see that there was no such thing - there were... Read More
Stalin's granddaughter, Chrese Evans, is a tatted up freak girl living in Portlandia, as "American as apple pie" in the words of her mother. Trotsky's great-grandson, David Axelrod, is a Jewish ultranationalist who emigrated to Israel and has served three jail terms for terrorizing Palestinians. Khrushchev's granddaughter, Nina L. Khrushcheva, lives in the US and... Read More
Pavel Ryzhenko (2008): Umbrella. The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative intellectual Egor Kholmogorov, as promised. In his latest article, published at Vzglyad, Kholmogorov demolishes twelve myths about the Bolshevik revolution, using a recent article by the Russian novelist Zakhar Prilepin as a foil. Why Prilepin? Who is he, anyway? You won't... Read More
There is a general consensus that Stalin was a sadistic tyrant. But the ghost of his predecessor remains "handshakeworthy" on the left hand side of the political spectrum. The SWPLy bobos of Seattle, who would not have been long for the Communist world, erected a statue to him in the city center. The New York... Read More
The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative thinker Egor Kholmogorov. Translated by: Fluctuarius Argenteus; slightly edited by AK. Original: *** It may seem strange that, at the turn of the 21st century, the word “Socialism” is back in the popular political idiom. The final decade of the preceding century seemed to have... Read More
Surviving political repressions in Communist regimes is one of those rare problems that don't seem to be at all g loaded. When someone like spandrell talks of "IQ shredders" he refers to the role of modern cities as fertility vortices for society's best and brightest. But in the 20th century those shredders could be all... Read More
Grigoriev, Andrey & Lynn 2009 Studies of Socioeconomic and Ethnic Differences in Intelligence in the Former Soviet Union in the Early Twentieth Century Abstract: This is essentially a short history of psychometrics in the USSR/Russia. (1) The first measurement of Russian IQ was performed in 1909 by A.M. Schubert, who used the French Binet test... Read More
About two thirds of the USSR's 27 million casualties were civilians - that is, almost 10% of its prewar population. Had those percentages been applied to Nazi Germany, it would lost 8 million people - an order of magnitude than the 400,000 civilians it lost due to Allied strategic bombing, and the 600,000 who died... Read More
Stalin waxing lyrical about the friendship of peoples in April 1941, a famous period of international idyll when there were no other important concerns: ... I want to say a few words about the Tajiks. The Tajiks are a special people. They are not Uzbeks, Kazakhs, or Kyrgiz - they are Tajiks, the most ancient... Read More
It's hard to view Stalin as any sort of Russian national hero considering the demonstrable idiocy of his apologists' arguments. Trying to portray him as such involves descending into a fantasy world in which no country had ever managed to industrialize itself without killing off millions of its most intelligent and productive people or have... Read More
Commentator jimmyriddle finds statistics about the ethnic composition of scientific cadres in the Soviet Union in 1973 via Cassad (the original comes via the blogger Burkino Faso).   Drawing on earlier statistical data, although on a more limited sample of different ethnicities, we have the following sets of correlations: 1926 Census, literacy amongst 50 years... Read More
More info against the Department of Russia Only Produces Oil and Vodka: Here are some graphs of Russian aerospace manufacturing courtesy of the Reality vs. Myths blog. (2013 figures are projections). Total helicopter construction has now basically converged with the levels of the late RSFSR. Aircraft construction is only halfway there, but its state is... Read More
My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel. Hope you like the title. :) The political fragmentation of the Soviet Union was one of the major contributing factors to the "hyper-depression" that afflicted not only Russia but all the other constituent republics in the 1990's. The Soviet economy had been an integrated whole; an aircraft might have... Read More
Hard as it is to believe, but in the wake of the Boston Bombings, many Western commentators actively trying to find the roots of the Tsarnaev brothers' rage in Russia's "aggression" or even "genocide" of Chechnya. This is not to deny that Chechens did not have an exceptionally hard time of it in the 1990s.... Read More
It's no real secret that many Russians have a positive impression of Stalin; it was 49% in February 2013, insignificantly down from 53% in 2003. (This is not a view that I share). There are probably a few big reasons for this: (1) The mistaken notion that without him Russia would have remained in the... 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 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
There's tons of criticism that Russia no longer has a "national idea." The sentiment comes from almost everyone: Nationalists, liberasts, Communists, foreign critics, Russian "experts" with far too much time on their hands, and even some otherwise astute observers. I don't disagree with the thesis, but do ask: Why is that such a bad thing?... Read More
Just to hammer down the myth of Russian impoverishment one more time (with the help of graphs from Sergey Zhuravlev's blog)... In the past few years, in terms of basic necessities (food, clothing, housing) Russia has basically (re)converged to where the Soviet Union left off. Here is a graph of food consumption via Zhuravlev. At... 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
I will be jetting off tomorrow to Washington, but before I do - a translation of Edward Lozansky's interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda (Америка ненавидит Россию, которую сама себе придумала). Lozansky, who used to be a Soviet dissident, is the organizer of the World Russia Forum and has many strong, pertinent views on why it's a... 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
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
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.