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Belarus

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KMIS poll on Ukrainian attitudes to Lukashenko vs. protesters from: It was carried out on 12-16 September, i.e. after the breakdown of Belorussian-Ukrainian relations following Lukashenko's about turn on extraditing the Russian mercs to Ukraine. Across the Ukraine, 31% support Lukashenko while 45% support the protesters. I would actually probably similar to figures for Belarus... Read More
As the protests become more marginal and zmagar-dominated, they are also drawing an ever increasing mass of Russian Bioleninists. Not very important in the grand scheme of things, but it's amusing to observe. *** The Encounter: The liberal hipster Yuri Dud', who was recently in Poland, also ran into some Based Polish Nationalists there: But... Read More
There have been no important developments since the last Belarus Sitrep. The protests continue to periodically simmer, but they are massively down from their peak several weeks ago. The pro-Russian orientation has become progressively clearer: Chairman of the Standing Commission on International Affairs Andrey Savinykh has openly stated that Belarus' prior "multivector" foreign policy no... Read More
Lukashenko and Putin are meeting today in Sochi to hammer whatever it is they are going to hammer out. I assume that the Kremlin denial that the talks will focus on "mergers" is an obfuscation. There were two valid approaches to Lukashenko's recent problems in Belarus: Non-interference based on sanctity of the (Soviet) state borders,... Read More
I was saying from the beginning that managing Belarus in the next few months will be a delicate balancing game for Russia, consisting as it does of the following components: Weakening Lukashenko, which is happening of its own accord, which strengthens Russian negotiating positions in pushing for reintegration. But preferably not so much that he... Read More
The standard narrative is that the 1920s policy of korenizatsiya - the promotion of "national cultures" over the Russian one across the non-Russian republics of the USSR - was reversed in favor of Russification from the mid-1930s. However, at least so far as the book publications goes, this really seems to have been more of... Read More
So in the past few hours Luka has basically leveled up from Virgin sovok collective farm manager to Chad people's republic warlord. Sure, it's a larp, but it's still cooler than how Yanukovych just... ran away. Or how the USSR croaked, for that matter. Those "hardliners" behind the August coup gave up after just three... Read More
From Gerard Toal and John O’Loughlin in The Washington Post, who have in general done some very useful and objective (at least, quantitative) work on geopolitical attitudes in Russia's Near Abroad over the years. Here is the key observation: While allowances may be made for youngsters drifting towards more conservative positions with age, the divide... Read More
Lukashenko's situation has stabilized - key observation is that siloviks are still not peeling away - while the crowds remain, large and peaceful but leaderless. So we're now at a stalemate. * Overall, I am again increasingly confident (>50%) that Lukashenko will survive as President this year. The pro-regime rallies in places like Gomel have... Read More
This young woman of mixed heritage (Ethiopian father, Belorussian mother) is on the "Coordinating Council" set up by the Belarusian opposition to manage the transition from Lukashenko until new Presidential Elections. "Alana Gebremariam is an activist of the Youth Bloc" according to her bio on the official site. She was at one point arrested for... Read More
There's some people who seem to believe that displaying or posting the white-red-white flag commonly used in Belorussian opposition protests is supposed to "trigger" Russians and/or Russian nationalists, or something. But really, why should even - or especially - Russian nationalists prefer one larp flag - that of the BSSR from 1951-1991... ... over another... Read More
Not really sure about Lukashenko's strategy at this point. In the morning, he was telling booing factory workers that they would have to "kill him" if they wanted new elections. Which is admittedly a very Chad move, if tempting of fate. A few hours later, he was promising elections after a nationwide referendum on a... Read More
Ukrainian svidomy are obsessed with demanding English language speakers say "Kyiv not Kiev" and "Ukraine, not the Ukraine". They even demand that Russians say "в Украине", instead of "на Украине". Amusingly, when even Khodorkovsky of all people - the exiled anti-Putin oligarch who personally traveled and spoke before the crowd at the Euromaidan - suggested... Read More
From the beginning I have stressed that the opposition protesters in Belarus - the masses of people out on the streets because they have issues with electoral fraud, economic stagnation, and/or Lukashenko having overstayed his welcome - are not anti-Russian ideologues. These "zmagars" do exist, and their influence has grown since 2014, thanks in significant... Read More
Despite Westernist hopes that the Lukashenko rally would end like Ceausescu's last one, where the unexpected booing of the masses signaled the end of the regime, there was no such reaction here. Despite claims of many of them being state workers who had been coerced into turning up, there was even some limited enthusiasm. You... Read More
In his domestic rhetoric, Lukashenko is blaming forces from Poland, Holland, Ukraine, and various liberal groups from Russia (Open Russia and Navalny were named) for using "Belorussian children as cannon fodder" to carry out a color revolution. The Belorussian elites remain consolidated for now, but there are now signs that many of them are hedging... Read More
Now to preface this, I have argued extensively that many factors make it unlikely that Belarus institutes a hard anti-Russian zmagarist regime in the event of a successful color revolution against Lukashenko. However, there are also some arguments to that effect which are if not outright false then significantly flawed. Perhaps the biggest one is... Read More
General Strike: Ironically, this wouldn't have happened if Lukashenko had pursued neoliberal reforms. ~90% of the Belarus economy is state-owned. Prediction Market: The only prediction market I'm aware of on whether Lukashenko remains President of Belarus (as of Jan 31, 2020) is on Metaculus, it is now at 60% (down from an initial 75-80% until... Read More
Stunning age differential on Russian view of events in Belarus, according to VCIOM poll. 33% of 60+ y/o's believe Lukashenko's 80% result was fully authentic, vs. just 3% of 18-24% y/o's. General background note: The past couple of years have seen an awning divide in chronological terms. While Putin was actually marginally more popular amongst... Read More
Any Russian policy towards Belarus should take into account the following considerations: Lukashenko is not an ally or a friend. This does not describe a person who has accepted $100 billion worth of Russian oil/gas subsidies over the past decade, to end up doing military exercises with the Brits while denying Russian an airbase it... Read More
Surprising as it is (but not really), but some of the more zealous/lower IQ Putinists and "Western Russophiles" are actually taking Lukashenko's official 80.1% result at face value. I wonder if they stop to reflect what that implies about Putin, who "only" got 76.7% in the 2018 elections, at a time when: His approval rating... Read More
I have said most of what I wanted to say about Belarus in two recent threads, which have since been enriched by many informative comments: The Belarus Horseshoe Why Belarus Isn't Ukraine Hopefully this constitutes a useful background what looks to a pretty dramatic turn in Belorussian politics, as voters head to the polls on... Read More
Night in Novogrudok, Belarus (2017) by Pavel Gamburg. Even though we tend to take it as a given, it isn't exactly obvious why Belarus should be so much more "Russophile" than the Ukraine. The lands of White Russia were "regathered" into the Russian Empire well more than a century after Left-Bank Ukraine (the lands east... Read More
Protest meeting in Minsk on July 30. The images of massive protests coming in from Belarus on the eve of their Presidential elections on August 9, in which Alexander Lukashenko is widely expected to rubber stamp himself another term, have provoked talk of a new color revolution/Maidan. The original social contract offered by Lukashenko since... Read More
Belarus was being used as a transport hub by Wagner - in this case, to Sudan - because Russian airports are currently closed to most international foreign travel, with the Belarus leadership and KGB was appraised of it. The arrest of the 32 Wagner mercenaries and publication of their identities is a very hostile move... Read More
At the outset, I want to set out what this post is NOT about: It is not, per se, either an endorsement or a refutation of "coronapilling" or "coronaskepticism." (Though yes, obviously, I am personally closer to the former position). It is not a judgment on how we should manage the tradeoff between lives and... Read More
I have written about how Svetlana Alexievich, who won the Literature Nobel Prize for her dogged shilling against Putin and Russia, used to write panegyrics to Felix Dzerzhinsky - the ethnic Polish founder of the Soviet secret police - back when she served another set of masters. But now comes this revelation via Radio Freedom's... Read More
A few days ago, I joked on Twitter: Reality is, it is only boomer genocide that isn't a choice. 74% of Americans support a national quarantine, and that even includes 72% of Republicans. In France, there is a near consensus on lockdown at 96%. In Italy it is 94%. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro - the... Read More
Mankind’s IQ is 84-88. Becker May 2018 update. Belorussia has long been a blank spot on the world IQ maps (and when it was not so, its results were based on the average of Ukraine, Russia, and Lithuania's scores). However, in David Becker's latest world IQ update, there finally appeared a concrete estimate of Belorussian... Read More
I don't make any claims to being some kind of hifalutin literatus. To the extent I read any fiction at all it is almost inevitably either sci-fi or fantasy. I am woefully uncultured when it comes to "Big L" Literature, and looking at the postmodernist dreck that seems to dominate the modern scene, I am... Read More
Here it is, for those who read Russian. The May data also has emigration data, which is not included in the prelimary estimates - that is here. The main points to take away: Births fell 0.3% and deaths fell 0.5%; as a result, the overall natural decrease has fallen from -57,000 in 2012 to -53,000... Read More
Two Russian travel writers, Natalia Ko and Nikolay Varsegov, share their experiences in Belarus - very positive ones, for the most part - with readers of Komsomolskaya Pravda. The first surprise on detraining in Minsk: The taxi drivers here don't pester you, shouting, "Where are you going?" No bums can be seen either at or... 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
A few months ago I posted a table and map of Russian IQ's as derived from regional PISA performance. Those figures are based on Jarkko Hautamäki’s slideshow comparing regional PISA performance in Finland and Russia. That material is a bit inadequate because, as had been my custom up that point, I was only making IQ... Read More
And just as the Guardianistas and K.F. & Co. bury their heads ever deeper in the sand, real world statistics show confirm my thesis from the beginning of this year that Russia's demographic crisis has for all intents and purposes come to an end. As of May there was a y-y increase of 17% (!)... 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
The Press Freedom Index issues by Reporters Without Borders is a good starting point for assessing journalistic freedoms in global comparative perspective. However, much like all attempts to measure democracy or Transparency International's assessment of corruption perception, their methodology relies on tallying a number of intangibles that cannot be objectively estimated: Censorship, self-censorship, legal framework,... Read More
In the vein of my recent posts on the myth of Russian emigration, I am now publishing a translation of Уехать в Белоруссию ("Go Off To Belarus") by Maksim Schweiz writing for Rosbalt news agency. It is a joint effort by Nils van der Vegte, who blogs with Joera Mulders at Russia Watchers and is... Read More
In summary, the excess deaths from the once-in-10,000-years heatwave canceled out most of the increase in births, causing the rate of natural decrease to fall by only 7,400 relative to 2009. Adding in the 82,500 drop in net immigration for Jan-Nov 2009, and we can estimate that Russia's population will fall by about 50,000 this... 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
One of the staples of the neocon-Russophobe narrative is that Russia is alone in the world, utterly bereft of friends, left only with the likes of Nicaragua and Nauru to indulge it in its anachronistic "imperial fantasies". Not really. Conflating the West with the world won't change the fact that amongst the peoples of China,... 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
I would like to wish all Sublime Oblivion readers a very happy and successful New Year. One of my major motivations for writing is getting comments and feedback, so please continue - the more you inflate my ego, the more time I will feel compelled to spend on the blog. ;) All in all, 2009... 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
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
The Next 100 Years by George Friedman, published in 2010. Rating: 3/5 George Friedman at Stratfor is one of my favorite analysts on world geopolitics. This is because he tries to look at the world as it is, without the pointless moralizing, neoliberal ideologizing and end-of-history triumphalism that clouds too much American geopolitical thinking. Hence... Read More
America's desire to have Ukraine and Georgia accede to MAP foundered on European opposition from Germany, France and (somewhat surprisingly) the UK, despite Saakashvili's implicit comparison of this to Nazi appeasement. Nonetheless, this is good for NATO as an alliance (as we've covered previously, the European desire for a rapprochement is linked to Russian logistical... 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.