Jan 9, 2020 marks the 12th year since I began blogging about Russia in 2008, before expanding into broader geopolitical topics, HBD, and futurism within that same year.
Here is a graph of my pageviews across my websites during this period.
(I did not plot visits to my personal webpages akarlin.com and akarlin.ru for 2019-20 since they have largely been inactive legacy archives ever since I moved to UR in 2015, with diminishing numbers of pageviews over the years).
Since the sharp upwards spike of 2018, viewership has stalled, though it hides significant quarterly dips and rises, as you can see from this graph broken down by month:
I was highly preoccupied with personal/work-related matters in late 2019, hence the slump in the second half. Conversely, I was able to be much more productive this year, generating a record 381 posts. This should have translated into a record amount of visits and page views given The Unz Review’s expansion over the past few years, my own increasing profile (e.g. Twitter followers have doubled to 8,600 over the past two years, despite repeated purges) and the large amount of big habbenings this year.
But this was not to be. Google took strong exception to this site in mid-2020 and deranked it in Google searches. Google is a near monopolist in the Anglosphere search market, so that made me virtually invisible so far as search engine “discovery” went. Facebook banned us from the entire platform, making it impossible to share unz.com links even in private messages, as well as deleting all past posts and comments containing them. Considering my accurate and timely coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, it is likely that Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg have blood on their hands in so far as their interference meant that fewer people, including potential policy-makers, were denied viewership of these posts.
Anyhow, with Google searches and Facebook accounting for about 30% and 10% of my traffic, respectively, what should have been more than 2 million views this year resulted in only 1.5 million instead:
On a month to month basis, the decline in the second half was partially disguised by general intensified politicization surrounding BLM and the US elections. But unless there are many more powerful habbenings this year, this factor will recede into the background, while the restrictions from Google and Facebook will, presumably, stay on – and may be joined by additional ones from Twitter, which is now on a banning spree against pundits of both Right and Left that are not aligned with the woke neoliberal elite consensus.
As such, I do not expect any gains in viewership in 2021 for a fourth year running, though I don’t really expect significant losses either on account of continued organic growth.
Top Posts in 2020
This year did not really see individual “seminal” longreads along the lines of Katechon Hypothesis and The Geography of the Noosphere, though overall I think I did a good job accurately covering this year’s main developments.
No need for further commentary, since I devoted what is probably my single longest post this year to it.
Bad outcomes. Lucked out with vaccines. Needn’t have been so. Proof of “politics is the mindkiller.”
Curated list here: https://akarlin.com/archive/#CoronavirusCOVID-19
Most #BLM demands are based on lies… toxic lies that constitute long-term threats to the civilizational viability of not just the US but it’s vassal states.
Silver lining is that the US has been giving us ample cause to “socially distance” from them, both in summer and much more recently.
(3) Minsk Maidan
- The Belarus Horseshoe
- Why Belarus Isn’t Ukraine
- Shadow Zmagarists
- Book Korenizatsiya in Ukraine & Belarus
Predicted that Lukashenko would probably stay in power – but that this would not be an unambiguous boon for Russia, since Luka wants to hang onto power (being potato dictator of BSSR is cooler than retirement in Rostov). This has all played out as expected.
However, Russia cannot expect accomodation with the opposition – at least its dominant Tikhanovskaya wing. Their secret program was ultra-zmagarist form the start and I was the first to cover that in English.
- Russia’s Options in Artsakh War II
- Karabakh War 2020: Taking Stock 5 Days In
- The Karabakh War, Now and Then
- Military Lessons of Karabakh War 2020
This graph should be recognizable to regulars by now. God favors the side with the drones, not the one with the democratists. Who would have thought.
(5) Notable Russia posts:
- Russian Demographics in 2020
- “Russia for Russians” To Be Written Into the Constitution – major “peremoga” (victory) for Russian nationalists this year. Putler reads blog!
- US State Department vs. Imperial Russian Terrorists
- Russians Become the State-Forming People
- “Something Went Wrong”: Owning Russian Libs with Facts & Logic
(6) Other posts:
- Meet the New Russiagate, Same as the Old Russiagate
- Chinese GDP in 2050: the Debate
- MAGA Cope, and In Defense of It – major “zrada” (betrayal) for American nationalists this year.
- Raz of Chaz vs. MAGA Viking: Who Did the Techno-Barbarian Aesthetic Better?
(7) Quite a few “rare”/niche obituaries, thanks in part – certainly so in the case of Avdeev, possibly so in the case of Krylov – thanks to Corona-chan.
- Eduard Limonov
- Konstantin Krylov
- Tesak (update: It’s now a near certainty he was killed)
- James Flynn (update: Emil Kirkegaard has created a memorial site for him)
- Vladimir Avdeev
In other news, I also co-authored a couple of psychometrics-related papers:
- Shibaev, V., Grigoriev, A., Valueva, E., & Karlin, A. (2020). Differential Item Functioning on Raven’s SPM+ Amongst Two Convenience Samples of Yakuts and Russians. Psych, 2(1), 44–51.
- Kirkegaard, E. O. W., & Karlin, A. (2020). National Intelligence Is More Important for Explaining Country Well-Being than Time Preference and Other Measured Non-Cognitive Traits. The Mankind Quarterly, 61(2).
You can download them via Sci-Hub. I explain how to use Sci-Hub (and other useful piracy tools) here: https://akarlin.com/piracy-guide/
I will try to blog soon about the second paper.
My classic article, probably my most read one ever – The Idiocy of the Average – was very kindly translated into Russian by Mikhail Lebedev. I also updated my classic Sputnik & Pogrom article on Russian IQ with new PISA data for Ukraine and Belarus, as well as military testing data for Russian regions.
Looking Forwards to 2021
I will start off with an extended organizational note on how to follow me and will finish up with my blogging plans for this year.
(1) FOLLOWING BLOG
- You can follow me directly from The Unz Review front page (though only my three latest posts are displayed), or this archive link.
- Front page of my personal website automatically has new posts: https://akarlin.com/
- I repost most of my posts on Twitter (@akarlin88), the last major social network on which I remain active.
I don’t know how long I will survive on Twitter – after Facebook/Google, and a shadowban this summer, I gave my survival this year even chances. I am perhaps no longer as squarely in Jack’s crosshairs – the current wave of purges are targeting Qanon and the more “agitated” boomercons – but the overall level of censorship is likewise much higher, to the extent that NRx blogger spandrell is predicting that the Western social media sphere will go the way of China’s Weibo (i.e. with politicals purged, it becomes an apolitical platform for celebrities, hobbyists, corporate PR teams, etc).
For reasons I will go into in another post, there is limited utility to “getting on Gab” and the like. So, if it happens, I will likely vanish from Western social media (apart from a small private account on Twitter for observation purposes).
- You can sign up to my mailing list at Substack.
Despite the simplicity of the underlying idea – it’s really just an integrated blogging platform + mailing list + Patreon – Substack has driven a small renaissance in blogging from the second half of the year. So much so, that I will post a much needed update to my “blogroll” in the next few days. I will not be “blogging” there, but I do intend to use it to send (very) occasional important updates for those of you who are interested in keeping tabs on my work without checking in here often.
- Use a blog reader such as Feedly or The Old Reader.
Pretty remarkable that, for all people’s complaints about the toxicity of social media, one of the simplest and most customizable been relegated to the sidelines. I am talking about the humble blog reader, which seems to have gone near extinct when Google nuked its Google Reader in 2013. But plenty of good alternatives exist – personally, I use Feedly, though I know that many people prefer Old Reader. If there are many significant numbers of individual blogs or columnists that you follow, a blog reader is extremely useful. I am happy that Substack is compatible with them.
- My other social media sites:
- As per above, I largely stopped using Facebook after they banned me from posting my own articles.
- My Russian language website is at akarlin.ru
(2) REFERENCE MATERIALS
One issue that people have raised with me is how to best “introduce” me to new followers or access some article of mine deep in the Unz Review archives. This is explained in the sidebar of my blog and individual posts (below this photo of me in Nizhny Novgorod), but since it’s quite deep on any given page, many people understandably don’t notice it.
So I’ll take the opportunity to clarify how to navigate my past work/archives:
- Best/current “intro” to my work can be accessed through my personal website akarlin.com – the front page is pretty intuitive, with hyperlinks to all relevant pages of interest.
- The website also has a pretty comprehensive (and growing) links to my book/film/video game reviews; travel accounts and travel guides; and various other things that I occasionally update.
- While Google has deranked my blog on The Unz Review, it obviously did not do the same to the flattering RationalWiki article about me. Wrt those for whom this is an issue – my response to it is here: https://akarlin.com/ratwiki/
I get an income stream from the very generous Ron Unz, so while I do appreciate reader donations, they are not currently necessary for me to keep writing and keep said writing freely available. This is a privilege, and one that many “public intellectuals” don’t enjoy. Furthermore, I am not poor by Russian standards, and I don’t want to feel like I’m exploiting my readers like some BLM or MAGA grifter. So again, please don’t feel obliged to contribute if you’re struggling yourself. In fact, I’d rather you not.
However, if you are substantially moneyed, and derive enjoyment, satisfaction, intellectual stimulation, or indeed monetary benefits from my blogging – e.g., my forewarnings on the global crash last February, or the advice to not bet on Trump or the Republicans in Georgia – then I do give you license to imagine me tipping a piggy bank towards you:
- Sponsor me on Patreon
- Bitcoin: 17tDufZUEK3DvQh3rY75F3xtVgxj4TzdtB
- Paypal donation
- Yandex Money via Yasobe (for ruble accounts)
This list of donation methods is kept updated on the sidebar, and on this page: https://akarlin.com/donations/
(4) PLANS FOR 2021
I have had an unfortunate habit of overpromising and under fulfilling in previous years, so I am going to tone down on my ambitions this time round, trading caution for completion:
- Finish my long-promised book about Russia.
- Maintain UR blog viewership at 1.5M (this will be an achievement in the context of Google/Facebook censorship cutting traffic by 40% relative to what it would be otherwise, not to mention crimping rate of potential growth).
- Two papers, again (including a repackaging of Katechon Hypothesis into a journal).
- List of essays that I commit to doing:
- The long-promised Great Bifurcation (by January 25).
- The equally long-promised impression of my Poland travels. (Hey, it also took me about a year to get round to writing up Romania).
- Longread on US politics/society.
- Translation of my Russian-language longread on Russian IQ (i.e. what I am most famous for in the Russosphere).