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A friend on Facebook said it best: I am personally entirely neutral and indifferent to her. I have British acquaintances who are her fans, as well as those who are very hostile to her. I think both sides overstate her real significance. The coal mines were dead men walking by the 1980's, and any British... Read More
My latest for VoR's Experts Panel. (Incidentally, good to see that site getting revamped, and entering the Web 2.0 era). London has a reputation as a "safe sanctuary" for shady people of means from the ex-USSR and other less-developed places, and I think it's loath to lose it – as it would by extraditing the... Read More
I am back to writing for the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel, which since my hiatus has found an additional home at Voice of Russia. The latest topic was on whether Russia, China, and the West could find a common approach to the challenges of the Arab Spring. My response is pessimistic, as in my view... Read More
Here is data from the Cognitive Abilities Test for UK students in 2009/10 via Ambiguous. Some interesting things to take away here: (1) The sample is very large. Verbal IQ has the highest correlation with academic performance in most subjects, followed by Quantitative IQ, and then Non-Verbal Reasoning (recognizing patterns and such, I imagine). (2)... Read More
UK police descend on Assange's embassy refuge. According to the Ecuadorians, their Embassy was threatened with a revocation of its status as Ecuadorian sovereign territory in the case that President Rafael Correa offers Julian Assange political asylum. This would clear the way for PC Plod could go in and fish out Assange. Presumably this is... Read More
Now that the Olympics are drawing to an end, it's now time for me to weigh in with my HBD / game perspective. (1) What is up with India? Only 5 medals. Record-setting (3 in Beijing, 0-2 in all previous Olympics) but that's still atrocious for a country of 1.2 billion people - even a... 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
So Assange has fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in scenes reminiscent of what happens to dissidents in truly authoritarian countries. (The parallels keep adding up don't they). Let's recap. His site kept releasing classified documents, from secretive and typically nasty organizations. Too bad that some of them belonged to the Pentagon and the... Read More
In my nearly 20 years experience as a Russian living in the West, I have found that almost all my fellows can be reduced to five basic types: 1) The White Russian; 2) The Sovok Jew; 3) The Egghead Emigre; 4) Natasha Gold-Digger; 5) Putin's Expat. My background and qualifications to write on this topic?... Read More
Here's a sampling of recent headlines from the country that loves to lecture others on freedom of speech and rule of law. Racist Tube rant woman Jacqueline Woodhouse jailed: A London Underground passenger has been jailed for 21 weeks after she admitted hurling racist abuse at fellow passengers. - BBC Girl gang who kicked woman... Read More
Apart from direct falsifications, which were extensively discussed here, the other really big criticism of the Russian elections process is that it isn't a level playing field. As said by an OSCE bureaucrat, "The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia." Well wait a second.... Read More
Did you know that elections in Britain and the US are marred by mass fraud? At least that would be the inescapable conclusion if they were to be subjected to the most popular methods to "prove" that Russian elections are rigged in favor of Putin and United Russia. Below I have a translated a delightful... Read More
Once again, a picture that's worth a thousand words, courtesy of Alex Kireev: A map of how Russians abroad voted in the 2012 elections (see below). Quantitatively, they split into three main groupings, each accounting for about a third of the votes from abroad: (1) Residents of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Pridnestrovie; (2) Other republics... 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
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
This is the Karlin Freedom Index for 2012, a political classification system I formulated more than a year ago in response to systemic bias on the part of traditional "freedom indices" such as Freedom House and The Economist Democracy Index (hint: they give massive bonus points for neoliberalism and pro-Western foreign policy orientations). The explanation:... Read More
Courtesy of Evgeny's comment at Mark Adomanis' blog, I found a very interesting piece by Sergey Lukyanenko - the bestselling Russian sci-fi writer best known for his Night Watch series, which was later converted into Russia's first blockbuster film in 2004 - on the recent turmoil in Russian politics. It is a bit dated, from... Read More
In the aftermath of the 2011 Duma elections, the Russian blogosphere was abuzz with allegations of electoral fraud. Many of these were anecdotal or purely rhetorical in nature; some were more concrete, but variegated or ambiguous. A prime example of these were opinion polls and exit polls, which variably supported and contradicted the Kremlin's claims... Read More
Imagine a respected American financial newspaper such as the WSJ writes an article investigating elections fraud in favor of the Democrats. To illustrate the rightness of their point, they include a photo of a ballot for the Republicans that - they allege - wasn't tallied by the dodgy Solyndra machines rolled out for use in... Read More
As readers of this blog know, I have long regarded the return of economic crisis as an inevitability (because the core energy and no-growth predicament facing the Western world wasn't solved in 2008-9 but merely kicked further down the road by increasing debt and printing money). It looks like 2012 will be the crunch year,... Read More
A collection of news stories and my take on them from the past month or so. 1. Bribes are growing quickly in Russia. Their average sizes, that is. It was reported by the MVD that they increased by 5x from a year earlier to $10,000. The usual Russophobe suspects wasted no time declaring this to... Read More
Everything's going badly in Russia. Medvedev's reforms are failing. The economy isn't growing. It is moving from authoritarianism to totalitarianism (in stark contrast to civilized Western countries), and the motto "We cannot live like this any longer!" once again becomes an article of faith in the land - or well, at least among "the blogs... Read More
Over the years, I have come across my fair share of liars and incompetents writing about Russia in major Western media outlets. But rarely have I encountered such heights of self-righteous arrogance and clownish, pathetic ignorance as Edward McMillan-Scott displays in his latest screed for The Guardian: "David Cameron must stand up to Putin", where... Read More
As my series comparing life in Russia, Britain, and the US draws to an end, I rank them based on my own preferences - with the caveat that the perceptions of people of different temperaments, character, and socio-economic status may differ radically. Then I finish off with a brief overview of the main trends in... Read More
In the fourth part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US, I turn my attention to aspects of their politics, including: markets and freedom; media independence; the role of "dissident" voices, billionaires, and corruption; and Internet culture. Some people - perhaps Kremlinologists in particular - will no doubt be surprised by my conclusion... Read More
In this third part of my series on national comparisons between Britain, Russia, and the US, I look at the social institutions and infrastructure that play such a big role in our everyday lives. Why is Russia's life expectancy ten years lower than in the US? What are the most popular university subjects? Where do... Read More
The second part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US focuses on the people themselves. What are their strengths and foibles? How do they vary by class, region, race, and religion? How do they view each other and other countries and peoples? What do they eat, drink, and watch? Where do they travel... Read More
In the first part of my series comparing Russia, Britain and the US, I am going to look at their levels of social freedoms. While political scientists go on about to what extent a country has "democracy" or "rule of law", this ignores that these arcane concepts have practically zero relevance to the everyday lives... Read More
Over at Mark Chapman's indispensable blog, Giuseppe Flavio linked to a fascinating "Comparison USA-Germany" by an academic who was deeply immersed in both cultures. This inspired me to do something similar. My credentials? Having lived for 6 years in Russia, 12 years in the UK, and 5 years in the US (in that order, though... Read More
In a recent editorial, The Guardian complained about the expulsion of their Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding. All the usual Russia tropes were brought up in explanation, including its "shrinking space for a free press." But Harding's "crowning offense", at least according to the Guardian's "guess", was "his association with this paper's story on what the... Read More
Refused residency in Austria and Latvia, we know learn that the disgraced former mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov has been granted an entrance visa to the UK. According to an ITAR-TASS source, it was granted on the basis of "reunifying the family." His daughters have already been transferred to a London university. His wife Baturina... Read More
A thundering takedown of the Financial Times transparently one-sided coverage of the Khodorkovsky affair -and Khodorkovsky says Putin is ‘pitiable’ can also serve as a palimpsest for Western media coverage of this topic in general - from Eric Kraus at Truth and Beauty. BTW, do feel free to add his blog Truth and Beauty to... Read More
This is a headline in a Western newspaper you might be reading in the not-too-distant future. Back in October 8th, ten days after Luzhkov's dismissal from the Moscow mayoralty by Medvedev, I predicted that "within the next 3 months Luzhkov is going to get hit with corruption charges and will either go on trial or... Read More
So news is in that Britain's next government is going to be a Tory-Lib Dem coalition, bringing an end to thirteen years of New Labour dominance. At a time of profound economic uncertainty and the imminent return of Great Power politics, it is pollyannish to believe that any British government could resolve Britain's manifold problems... Read More
On the 70th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, signed on August 23, 1939 (also my birthday!), historians, ideologues and everyone in between inevitably fall into a game of recriminations, revisionism and relativism. The anti-Soviet side maintains that the Pact gave Germany a free hand in the... Read More
Now we've all known for some time that Britain is degenerating into a neoliberal version of East Germany, with its endemic surveillance and database wet dreams, and few things really surprise me any more, but every so often it manages to plumb an even deeper level of insanity. This time the thieving crooks and totalitarian... 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
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
Bertelsmann Stiftung has released Who Rules the World?, a very interesting survey where people from different countries are asked: what are the Great Powers today?, what makes a country a Great Power? and which countries will be Great Powers in 2020? Now the title of Great Power is something that is given to a country,... Read More
President Putin's visit to Bulgaria to bring pipeline deal, NPP contract A new company is being created, in which Russia will own a 51% stake, to build a pipeline to carry Russian oil via the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean, so as to bypass the congested Bosporus. It... 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.