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Warmest January in Moscow
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This January has been Moscow’s warmest by a significant margin since records began, clocking in at stunning +0.1C; in all likelihood, it is the first time it has slipped above zero since at least the Medieval Warm Period. The previous maximum was -1.6C just a bit more than a decade ago, in 2007.

Saint-Petersburg likewise broke its record, registering an average temperature of +1.5C. Its previous highest was -0.5C in 1925.

Anyhow, here it is graphed. The black line represents Moscow’s 5 year moving average.

At least during this year, Moscow’s climate has basically turned East-Central European, and by all indications it will continue through February as well.

Here’s a typical street scene from what should be the snowy depths of winter:

I for one am looking forwards to this becoming the norm over the course of the next few decades. In Soviet times, central planners sent masses of people to remote cities in the Far North and deep Siberia that are economically unviable under market conditions. This continues to impose great costs on the Russian budget and economy to this date, while relocating them all back south is too expensive and impractical. But now we have the prospect of warmer weather coming to them instead. In this sense, global warming is highly fortuitous for Russia.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Climate Change, Moscow, Russia, Tropical Hyperborea 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

    • Replies: @Aedib
  2. hgv says:

    How much do those impractical cities in inhospitable places cost Russia in terms of percentage of GDP?

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  3. LondonBob says:

    Wasn’t it the coldest winter since WWII in 2010/11?

    Been freezing this winter in India, very hot in Australia though. That is the great thing about climate change, it is always changing for reasons we don’t know. London the weather is the same it normally is.

  4. My crocuses have flowered on 28th or 29th of January for the last 20;years. This year it was 29th.

  5. songbird says:

    I’ve puzzled over what Russian cities do with their snow. I mean, is there normally much of a thaw in Moscow? You’d think that it would build up, especially if you plow or shovel it into a pile. Maybe, they set aside more areas for snow dumping? Or have nuclear melters? (good idea, if not)

    Definitely warmer than average January in Boston. I enjoy having mild winters. Helps make up for the bad ones, when you are shoveling concrete, break your shovel through metal fatigue, and don’t have another shovel with a handle long enough to get over the six-foot snowbank.

    BTW, I wonder how practical it would be to build giant mirrors in space, to warm up Russia in winter.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  6. inertial says:

    Moscow is a major urban heat island. And the difference between average temperatures in Moscow and the surrounding area has been growing over the last century (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212095514000108?via%3Dihub)

    Perhaps it’s simply that more wealth in Moscow = more heat. How was the weather in the rest of central Russia?

    • Replies: @songbird
    , @Jaakko Raipala
  7. songbird says:
    @inertial

    Probably quite an increase in air traffic over Moscow, when compared to Soviet times. The water vapor from the engines might have an effect.

    Don’t know if I am remembering correctly, but I think that in Soviet times the only utility that was metered was electricity, not gas. Seems kind of crazy if true, but I suppose there were a lot of limitations on living space, so perhaps it was not a big deal – not much space to heat.

  8. @songbird

    There was a failed attempt to use a space mirror to light Saratov by way of experiment. Light, yes. Heat, no.

    In Saratov, the snow is dumped in the main square.

    • Replies: @songbird
  9. Russia needs to build massive igloos and ice houses in the North.

  10. @inertial

    It’s an extraordinarily warm winter in the Baltic region. Daytime +7 C in Helsinki and we haven’t had snow cover all winter (it has snowed but it has melted almost immediately). Here’s a snow map of the north:

    https://www.nordicweather.net/lumikartta.php?en

    Usually this time of the year snow covers Finland & Baltics & nearby Russia and the Baltic Sea between Finland & Sweden and Finland & Russia & Estonia is frozen. Now there’s almost no sea ice.

    I had a white Christmas by going to the hometown in the inland but even there it has been mostly snowless which is really extraordinary. (The coast is much warmer in the winter than even a little bit to the inland.)

  11. Sane people (not gretinos, using newly minted Spanish word) said that two countries will benefit most by global warming: Russia and Canada.

    • Replies: @216
    , @for-the-record
  12. @LondonBob

    London the weather is the same it normally is.

    You mean, using the phrase of Douglas Adams, “the sky the color of dirty dishcloth”?

  13. @songbird

    but I think that in Soviet times the only utility that was metered was electricity, not gas.

    You think right. Electricity was metered, but for natural gas and water every apartment paid a fixed monthly fee. Overall, the utilities were ridiculously cheap: for a two-bedroom apartment about 10% of the minimum wage (that’s including the electric bill). Never had them that cheap in the States.

    • Replies: @songbird
  14. 216 says: • Website
    @AnonFromTN

    *The Pan-Asian state formerly known as the Dominion of Canada

    • LOL: Dan Hayes
  15. melanf says:

    Saint-Petersburg likewise broke its record, registering an average temperature of +1.5C. Its previous highest was -0.5C in 1925.

    That’s for sure. Here is the Gulf of Finland in January 2020

    – at this time of year, the Bay was always covered with a thick layer of ice so that it was possible to go by car. However, winter 2020 is a weather anomaly. But the winters in St. Petersburg, on average, have significantly warmed this is a fact

    Perhaps the Gulf of Finland will not freeze at all this year-probably for the first time in history

  16. songbird says:
    @Philip Owen

    The Znamya project was certainly an interesting attempt. Though I’m not too sure the idea even makes sense on paper. If I understand it correctly, the mirror would have to be hundreds of kilometers across, and I don’t see how it could be kept in place, with solar wind, and other perturbances. The prototype was originally designed to be a solar sail.

    Still, if it could somehow be pulled off, what you could do with it would be awe-inspiring. It would make one dream of Mars and possibly even Venus.

  17. @hgv

    Karlin is full of bullshit. Those cities are a) profitable and b) actually enjoy natural population growth. (!)

    The problem is that citizens of those cities tend to migrate to warmer cities under market conditions, despite the fact that this kind of migration is a net loss for the Russian state and the Russian people.

  18. There has been no snow in Stockholm except during early December. Typically the most amount of snow comes in mid-Jan to mid-Feb. This is terrible. And yet it has only just begun:

    Climate change denial is an irrational self-own by right-wingers, then again they specialise in that.

    • Agree: Nodwink
    • LOL: Dreadilk
  19. Just to drive home the point.

    Massive temperature rises will follow – and indeed already are in the process of doing so.

    It’s impossible to deny.

    • Replies: @utu
  20. @Thulean Friend

    Summer of 2019 was the coldest summer in Russia in 50 years.

    Somehow the co-called “climate change” only works one way – heat waves are “omg sky literally falling any day now”, cold spells are “meh it’s just weather”.

    Also, Sweden Yes.

    • Replies: @melanf
  21. @Thulean Friend

    Brave man, standing alone against whole Unz.com scientific consensus. True Nordic spirit.

    Watch yourself – next time, you will say that holocaust and moon landings really happened, and Jews in fact do not control the whole world 😉

    • Replies: @Mitleser
  22. utu says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Ice core data clearly show good correlation between T and CO2. The problem is that CO2 is lagging behind T meaning that CO2 can’t be causative of T change. They tried to explain it away by some systematic methodological errors but not everybody buys it. Besides what you see on the graphs are ice ages and nobody explains ice ages by being caused by reduction of CO2. Ice ages are caused by Milankovitch cycles of Earth orbit. Higher CO2 content in interglacial periods is cause by temperatures. Warmer water releases trapped CO2.

  23. melanf says:
    @anonymous coward

    Summer of 2019 was the coldest summer in Russia in 50 years.

    This is not true. This summer was marked by short-term extreme cold (indeed record-breaking) but also temporary extreme heat. Here’s September 2019 my foto

    water Temperature 21, air temperature 25 (this is an abnormal heat for September in St. Petersburg).
    Temporary extreme heat was also in June and August
    But in General, it is easy to make a selection of both warm and cold anomalies. For example, April 30, 2017 St. Petersburg – this has never happened in history before

    But average temperatures have risen, at least in the North-West of Russia where I live

  24. @melanf

    This summer was marked by short-term extreme cold (indeed record-breaking)

    All of June, July and August isn’t ‘short-term’.

    But average temperatures have risen, at least in the North-West of Russia where I live

    Discounting for urban heat and selective bias? No, they haven’t.

    E.g., you claim above that three cold months is ‘short-term’, but a couple warm days is an ‘average trend’.

    I can bet good money you people won’t be crawling out of the woodwork with your graphs when we get -15 in March of this year.

    • Replies: @melanf
  25. @songbird

    I think that in Soviet times the only utility that was metered was electricity, not gas

    Two memories from early 1990s:

    1. When we were setting up Air Ukraine International (later renamed Ukraine International Airlines), we had some ex-Aeroflot pilots doing training in Ireland for a couple of months. We put them up in some apartments in Limerick, and the first month’s utility bill was enormous – they had left the heat on 24 hours a day, and regulated the temperature by opening and shutting the windows. We had to explain to them that there was a cost for this . . .

    2. Visiting an apartment in Lviv, I was struck by the fact that the gas burners in the kitchen were on permanently (at low level) — matches were hard to come by, but gas was “free”.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  26. @utu

    We technically are is a inter glacial within an ice age which began approx 3 million years ago.

    The ice ages are caused by the position of the continents for example the present ice age started around 3 million years ago when the isthmus of Panama formed,the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific stopped mixing and the gulf stream started.

    Glacial and Inter Glacial periods within an ice age are caused by the Milankovitch Cycle of the Earth wobbling on its axis in a predictable manner.

  27. @AnonFromTN

    two countries will benefit most by global warming: Russia and Canada.

    In absolute terms, you’re certainly right, with Russia being by far the greatest beneficiary.

    PER CENT CHANGE GDP PER CAPITA RELATIVE TO A WORLD WITHOUT GLOBAL WARMING, 2099

    Mongolia +1,413
    Finland +516%
    Iceland +513
    Russia +419%
    Norway +249%
    Canada +247%
    Sweden +210%
    Germany +63%
    UK +42%
    France +10%
    Italy -26%
    Japan -35%
    USA -36%
    China -42%
    Australia -53%
    Brazil -83%
    India -92%
    Saudia Arabia -96%

    Source: MIT Technology Review, December 2016

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603158/hotter-days-will-drive-global-inequality/

  28. Mitleser says:
    @another anon

    “Nordic”

    PER CENT CHANGE GDP PER CAPITA RELATIVE TO A WORLD WITHOUT GLOBAL WARMING, 2099

    Sweden +210%

    India -92%

    There has been no snow in Stockholm except during early December. Typically the most amount of snow comes in mid-Jan to mid-Feb. This is terrible.

    – TF

    • LOL: Blinky Bill
  29. melanf says:
    @anonymous coward

    All of June, July and August isn’t ‘short-term’.

    Where is this in Moscow? In St. Petersburg, June, July and August were warm and hot (in the photo, July and this is typical weather)

    with short periods of cold weather ( Here are some stats https://spb-weather.livejournal.com/183513.html). In the South of Russia there was a drought (and accordingly a heat) , etc.

    Discounting for urban heat and selective bias? No, they haven’t.

    district of St. Petersburg where I live

    In average, it is warmer here than now, in comparison with the city center 30 years ago

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  30. Beckow says:
    @for-the-record

    The table is intuitively correct, the big losers are more important than the winners. This is like the post-ice age and moving up north will remake the world.

    If you adjust the table for demography, there are 4-5 billion losers in Africa, India, Middle East, South America, Australia, US and the Mediterranean against 500 million winners in northern Europe, Canada and Russia. The ratio of 10 to 1 will put massive fire into migration.

    No wonder the losers are starting to go ape-shit. If the northern territories don’t let them in they will go extinct or live more miserable lives. The available space is basically Russia and Canada. Kremlin should take names, a list of countries that will be barred from all access; no food, no water. Let’s see if the current Russo-phobia can be checked.

    How could 100+ loser countries in UN and other institutions, including the Olympics, automatically vote with Washington if their well-being is at stake? Russia is already described as a ‘mafia state‘, time to live up to the reputation. How much worse could it get? Is Hollywood going to make another scary movie about the evil Russkies? Is another retard British prof-journo going to write a book on the ‘homo-hating gangster state‘ run by the fiend in Kremlin?

    If you have a reputation for being a heavy-handed gangster, you might as well embrace it. There is no cost. I have never understood why Russia is so nice to all who hate it, or who always side with the Russia-haters when it matters. They need to learn the art of consequence management.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  31. melanf says:

    If you adjust the table for demography, there are 4-5 billion losers in Africa, India, Middle East, South America, Australia, US and the Mediterranean

    In the event of warming, there will be more rain, so that part of the tropical / subtropical territories will benefit

    • Agree: Philip Owen
    • Replies: @for-the-record
  32. @for-the-record

    Correction.

    PER CENT CHANGE GDP PER CAPITA RELATIVE TO A WORLD WITHOUT GLOBAL WARMING, 2099

    Finland +516%
    Iceland +513
    Russia +419%
    Norway +249%
    Sweden +210%
    Germany +63%
    UK +42%
    France +10%
    Italy -26%
    US Canadian Union -33%
    Japan -35%
    China Mongolian Union -38%
    Australia -53%
    Brazil -83%
    India -92%
    Saudia Arabia -96%

    😂😂😂😂😂😂

    • Replies: @AP
  33. neutral says:
    @for-the-record

    Did MIT factor in the huge population growth of blacks? Clearly not, with 4 billion extra blacks by 2099 it more likely that most of those countries will have ceased to exist. It is any ones guess what the world will be like then, but one thing is certain there is no way one can try predict gdp growth from now to then.

  34. @for-the-record

    I bet their entire methodology was rigged to give the answer that white countries, especially Russia, end up huge beneficiaries. Prepare to hear endless propaganda about how climate change means we all have to pay up and accept millions and millions of migrants, regardless of whether any climate change has actually happened.

  35. Sparkon says:

    In this sense, global warming is highly fortuitous for Russia.

    Fortuitous does not mean “fortunate” or anything good, but it’s a common mistake even among native English speakers.

    for·tu·i·tous – /fôrˈto͞oədəs/ – adjective: fortuitous

    happening by accident or chance rather than design.

  36. Sparkon says:
    @utu

    Good comment, but Milankovitch Cycles are far too slow to account for climate change.

    Earth’s orbital cycles are 20,000 years long—or longer. They cannot explain global warming occurring over a single century.

    https://climatefeedback.org/claimreview/earths-orbit-cannot-explain-modern-climate-change/

    In my view, the most likely explanation for climate change is Solar variability as reflected in sunspots.

    Here is the simple trick that works: enjoy the good weather while you have it, and do not fly in helicopters under foggy conditions or poor visibility through hilly terrain.

    • Replies: @james charles
  37. AP says:
    @melanf

    LOL, no matter what the issue, anonymous coward ends up being wrong.

  38. AP says:
    @Blinky Bill

    No, there is plenty of space in Canada and Alaska for much of the American population.

    Alaska alone, currently basically unpopulated, is about 20% the size of the US mainland.

    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  39. @AP

    there is plenty of space in Canada and Alaska for much of the American population.

    That’s the primary point I was trying to make !
    Like Thorfinsson is always “joking” the Canadians just need a little convincing.

  40. @Beckow

    As a matter of fact, that’s coming. Putin belongs to my generation. Apparently, he still has illusions my generation had in the 1980s. So, he is a lot nicer to Western “partners” (this term annoys many Russians no end) than the situation warrants. All those Western morons who say that Putin must go will rue the day he is gone.

    There will be no more Yeltsins – the horrors of the 1990s are alive in memory. If the next leader is 40-50 years old, he comes from the generation that grew up in the 1990s and therefore has no illusions about the West: the people who grew up then saw first-hand Western hypocrisy, duplicity, criminality, naked greed, as well as the catastrophe all this caused in Russia. So, they sincerely hate the guts of the US and all its vassals. Russian policy will become a lot harsher. Most likely, Europe will suffer more than the US, as things are unlikely to get to WWIII (unless the American elites are even dumber than I think; but then the world would come to a fiery end and all issues would be moot), but remain within law-grade economic war, where Europe without an alliance with Russia has the chance of a snowball in Hell. I strongly suspect that the overarching goal of Putin’s maneuvering is to prevent Pax Sinica: China becoming a new hegemon in a unipolar world. He wants the world to be multipolar, with Russia, India, US, and even currently occupied by the US Europe and Japan to be counterbalancing poles. We’ll see how this works.

    In any case, Russian policy after Putin will become more assertive and less accommodating for enemies.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  41. @melanf

    Where is this in Moscow?

    Yes.

    In the South of Russia there was a drought (and accordingly a heat) , etc.

    Well, no. Saratov saw cold and wet weather the likes of which locals have never seen. (In the last 50+ years, at least.)

    And again, you’re trying to squid ink your way out of the argument.

    The point is the massive selection bias on display: unsually warm weather is evidence that the world is literally ending, while unusually cold weather is ignored and memoryholed the next day.

    Clearly science and objectivity is not the goal here.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @james charles
  42. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Where I live, regular records began in 1872. I have lived through the two greatest snowfall records in history, for the area. The last was just 5 years ago. It was called “Snowpocalypse”, since there was no appreciable thaw between storms – that was the year I broke my shovel. I am sure that I shoveled several tons that year – if it happened every year, I’d move to Mexico or something.

    • Replies: @UncommonGround
  43. songbird says:
    @AnonFromTN

    It is funny to think about: nuclear power was supposed to be too cheap to meter, and the USSR probably didn’t have any political constraints on the building of nuclear plants before Chernobyl, but they metered electricity, but didn’t meter water or gas.

    I was originally thinking that it had something to do with cost of meters, but I suppose the real reason was sociopolitical.

    • Replies: @another anon
  44. songbird says:
    @for-the-record

    I expect Saudi Arabia’s oil to run out by that time, so I don’t see how they could have much of a GDP.

    Almost wish I could live to see it, but I suppose what it will probably mean is millions more Arabs heading North, regardless of whether it is warmer or not.

  45. melanf says:
    @anonymous coward

    In the South of Russia there was a drought (and accordingly a heat) , etc.

    Well, no. Saratov saw cold and wet weather the likes of which locals have never seen.

    https://meteoinfo.ru/novosti/16674-2019-god-samyj-teplyj-v-tsentralnoj-rossii-i-moskve

    According to the Express analysis of climatologists of the hydrometeorological center of Russia, according to the average annual temperature in Russia as a whole, 2019, along with 2007 and 2017, was also one of the warmest.
    The average annual air temperature for the year ended 2019 exceeded the norm in any part of Russia. and repeated the record highs of 2007 and 2017. The absolute maximum average annual temperature for the entire period of regular weather observations, i.e. since 1891, was reached in Central Russia and in Moscow. The second highest result in the meteorological chronicle was marked by Siberia and the Northern regions of the Far East, where the largest anomalies of the average annual temperature were formed (+3…+4 ° C or more).
    For six months of the year, average air temperatures in Russia were among the top ten highest values in the meteorological record (March-June, August and October)
    .”

    https://pronedra.ru/leto-v-rossii-v-2019-godu-okazalos-klimaticheski-anomalnym-399102-pid-nn.html
    June 2019 turned out to be the hottest in the history of observations in the Northern hemisphere, scientific Director of the hydrometeorological center of Russia Roman Vilfand told reporters. Moreover, the heat was observed not only in the European part of Russia….
    Russia has set its own records. In Crimea and the North Caucasus, June was the hottest in the history of instrumental observations. The temperature was close to record high in the center of European Russia, in the Russian plain…..
    .”

    etc. etc.

    But if you still want to tell us about the abnormally cold summer of 2019, do not hesitate.

    The point is the massive selection bias on display: unsually warm weather..

    .

    For this reason, instead of selected examples (they can be selected for every taste), Karlin gave a graph of average temperatures for Moscow by year. In St. Petersburg the average temperature has also increased (which is noticeable to me as a resident of St. Petersburg)

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  46. @melanf

    In the event of warming, there will be more rain, so that part of the tropical / subtropical territories will benefit

    That’s far from certain, a lot of these places are projected to become hotter and drier:

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    , @james wilson
  47. LondonBob says:
    @for-the-record

    In other words they are clueless about what drives changes in the climate, it is why there previous forecasts were wrong and it is why we shouldn’t listen to them. Imagine if is as much time was spent analysing the very real existential threat of mass immigration rather than the fact the weather changes.

  48. I love the new warm winters in Central Europe. I can’t understand people who are sad because there is no snow. Without snow and really cold weather everything is so much easier. Of course the new hot summers are hellish.

  49. @songbird

    I have lived through the two greatest snowfall records in history, for the area. The last was just 5 years ago. It was called “Snowpocalypse”

    Yes, this is also the result of global warming. When the differences of temperatures between the north and the south of the north hemisphere were bigger, jet stream was faster or stronger. Because of that it was more stable. Now that the differences are smaller, jet stream is weaker and because of that it’s slower and more irregular, it makes big curves to the south and to the north. This means that it may get much warmer in the high north and much colder more to the south, especially where geography allows this like in North America. There were temperatures in the Artic which were 20° C warmer than normally (I think last year).

    Sparkon says in another commentary:

    In my view, the most likely explanation for climate change is Solar variability as reflected in sunspots.

    No, the explanation is not the Sun. Scientists know that the Sun is nor the cause of climate change.

    I had heard about the warm winter in Russia and seen images of cities without snow. In Germany according to information given in tv the whole winter in the whole country has been much warmer than it would be normally. In some small regions temperatures are between 1° and 2° C warmer, but in most of the country it has been more than 2° or 3° C warmer, in places where it used to be a lot of snow there hasn’t been any snow until now (in Harz for instance). Some time ago people still denied global warming. Now many deny that it is caused by CO2, even though there is no doubt that it’s caused by CO2 and that the consequences are going to be very serious, or even dramatic.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  50. Sparkon says:
    @UncommonGround

    No, the explanation is not the Sun. Scientists know that the Sun is nor [sic] the cause of climate change.

    Some time ago people still denied global warming. Now many deny that it is caused by CO2, even though there is no doubt that it’s caused by CO2 and that the consequences are going to be very serious, or even dramatic.

    Where I live, the difference between nighttime and daytime temperatures can be 40° F, or more.

    The average temperature on the Moon (at the equator and mid latitudes) varies from -298 degrees Fahrenheit (-183 degrees Celsius), at night, to 224 degrees Fahrenheit (106 degrees Celsius) during the day.

    Psst: Of course, the 500° F temperature swing on the Moon is not caused by the Sun, but rather by the Green Cheese effect.

    Get real. Without our Sun, the Earth would be a dark, frozen ball of dirt.

    Climate change on Earth has happened regularly in the past long before man-made CO₂ could have played any role, so your entire argument about CO₂ driving climate change is completely bankrupt and entirely worthless, especially since CO₂ lags behind temperature in the ice core proxies. First it gets warm, then CO₂ levels rise, no doubt because of outgassing from the oceans. Just like your beer or sody pop lose carbonation and go flat as they warm, so too the oceans give off CO₂ as they warm.

    Rising CO₂ levels are an effect of global warming, and not its cause.

  51. @melanf

    Global scale warming occurs most strongly at Northern latitudes. So Russia can warm up as a whole due to increased temperature in Siberia. It can be (was) noticeably cold and wet, at least at times, my the Volga, certainly the Lower Volga. Saratov is a place where +40 is not unheard of. I have looked at the station thermometer showing 42 C.

  52. Beckow says:
    @AnonFromTN

    …the overarching goal of Putin’s maneuvering is to prevent Pax Sinica

    That’s true and that’s what the Western geo-political geniuses are missing. They are narcissistic and everything is about them.

    Regarding assertiveness, I am not sure it is something Russians generally do. Historically they have been mostly reactive. As much as the assorted Western strategists (and Poles) constantly go on about Russian 1,000 year long aggression, there just isn’t much in actual history that supports it. The cases when Russia out of the blue went to war and invaded others are few and far between, and usually on closer inspection turn out to be different than pure acquisitive aggression. What Westerners do is project – they have spent a few hundred years in what can only be called aggression against each other and most of the world, so they project it on Russia and also China. But historically, that hasn’t been the case.

    My thought was much simpler: a normal country will hold others who are hell-bent on hurting it to account. Russia doesn’t. They prance around international scene like a misunderstood and abused first wife, sighting heavily, always explaining themselves, appealing to some non-existent fairness. That’s a road to ruin and it might be deeper in Russia than just this generation’s Western-loving fantasies. We will see.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  53. @melanf

    But in General, it is easy to make a selection of both warm and cold anomalies. For example, April 30, 2017 St. Petersburg – this has never happened in history before.

    Same here. From the photos on my phone, it seems we had a fall of snow on May 9, 2017 (or thereabouts — that’s their time stamp), which must be very rare (more than a month later than normal).

  54. @for-the-record

    We put them up in some apartments in Limerick, and the first month’s utility bill was enormous – they had left the heat on 24 hours a day, and regulated the temperature by opening and shutting the windows. We had to explain to them that there was a cost for this . . .

    To be fair, if money is no object, this is the way to do it. The open windows bring fresh air and, for country folk, a pleasant whiff of the outdoors.

    2. Visiting an apartment in Lviv, I was struck by the fact that the gas burners in the kitchen were on permanently (at low level) — matches were hard to come by, but gas was “free”.

    I haven’t checked, but this might still be true to a degree. When I stayed in Kiev with a friend in the summer of 2018, she boiled water on the stove for showers and the like (hot water was off for the summer, which was then a common practice in Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine; maybe still is).

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  55. @Mitleser

    “Nordic”

    Yes, Thulean Friend is being a little overemotional here. I’ll happily trade Stockholm’s winters (nothing to write home about — mostly slush and gray snow) for a northern Italian climate so long as we aren’t flooded with immigrants. (It’s bad enough as is, but another 100+ million immigrants and that’s basically the end of Europe as we know it.)

  56. phatmaus says:

    How accurate are the old temperature records? Lot’s of people have noticed this line in Pushkin’s famous Evgeniy Onegin –
    В тот год осенняя погода
    Стояла долго на дворе,
    Зимы ждала, ждала природа.
    Снег выпал только в январе
    На третье в ночь. Проснувшись рано,
    В окно увидела Татьяна

    So in the poem, which is set in a contemporary time-period(Early 19thC), the first snow-fall(on an un-specified estate, somewhere near SPB) is on Jan 17th(Gregorian calendar). Pushkin treats this as something moderately un-usual, worthy of one line, but no more than that, so presumably his contemporaries would not have considered it wildly out of place either.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  57. @Swedish Family

    I’ve seen the gas burners left on rather than walk down seven floors for a box of matches. (I seem to recall that the 7th floor is the worst after the ground floor). I went out and bought a piezo electric spark maker.

  58. @phatmaus

    According to my friends in Saratov, the first snow fall is traditionally 19th November and indeed, I have seen it so.

    • Replies: @phatmaus
  59. The AGW hypothesis is compelling, and prudence accords that policy should take this hypothesis into account.

    But it is also not testable or falsifiable. I’m not a big fan of people attributing an unseasonably warm winter in one part of the world as “proof”. Where I live it’s another ordinary winter (also not proof of anything).

    Assuming we do see secular rises in temperature, there will be winners and losers rather than uniformly negative consequences. Some commenters suggest a danger in increased migration, but that’s already happening. It doesn’t matter what “refugees” are ostensibly fleeing, only that they be permitted to settle permanently in Europe because…reasons.

    Thulean Friend is correct that the right should stop self-owning on this issue of course, and an immediate opportunity is to hammer the left on the impact of immigration on emissions.

  60. @Beckow

    You are right, neither Russia nor China is really aggressive, in sharp contrast to Europeans and their spawn, like the Empire. As Malayan PM rightly said, Malaysia was a neighbor of China for millennia, and was never occupied by China. Brits showed up one day and within a few years Malaysia was occupied by Britain. I have recently travelled to Peru and heard from every tour guide there that centuries ago Spanish did in Peru exactly what the Empire is doing everywhere now: stole everything they could and ruined everything they could not steal. In the process killing everyone who was, or even wasn’t, but could have been, in their way. They brought “civilization” exactly the same way the Empire is bringing “democracy”. That appears to be an unbreakable European tradition.

    I agree that Russia is doing too much explaining and appealing to the International law, which the Empire killed long ago by its intervention in former Yugoslavia. I think that’s also a throwback to the 1980s, when the world had two superpowers scared of each other, and therefore there still was international law. I expect all of these niceties to disappear when someone younger than Putin comes to power. Western morons just don’t know what’s in store for them when someone without any illusions gets to the helm in Russia. They will find out in due course, and they won’t like it.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Beckow
    , @Philip Owen
  61. eah says:

    It’s not just Moscow: it has been an unusually warm, snow-free winter across Europe — I think the coldest nights were actually at the end of November where I live.

  62. phatmaus says:
    @Philip Owen

    Yeah, but the question I was asking is: was this the case 200 years ago? As in would the first snow-fall being on Jan 17th be an earth-shattering event or a mild anomaly.
    The source for the temperature graphs doesn’t explain where they get the early data.

  63. @songbird

    It is funny to think about: nuclear power was supposed to be too cheap to meter, and the USSR probably didn’t have any political constraints on the building of nuclear plants before Chernobyl, but they metered electricity, but didn’t meter water or gas.

    I was originally thinking that it had something to do with cost of meters, but I suppose the real reason was sociopolitical.

    Maybe the reason was that the person who “promised” you “power too cheap to meter” was not nuclear physicist, not nuclear engineer, not electrical engineer, but … shoe salesman.

    And because this is unz.com, yes he was part of the (((plan))).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Strauss

    As the ancients said: Fide, sed cui fidas, vide.

    • Replies: @songbird
    , @Dan Hayes
  64. songbird says:
    @another anon

    Despite his apparent flaws, I rather like his plan to settle “refugees” somewhere in Africa.

    • Replies: @another anon
  65. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    I have recently travelled to Peru and heard from every tour guide there that centuries ago Spanish did in Peru exactly what the Empire is doing everywhere now: stole everything they could and ruined everything they could not steal

    From Sovok fairytale-believer to modern anti-Western fairytale believer in one person.

    “Destruction” Spaniards brought to Peru:

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  66. Aedib says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    An interesting article by Michael Kofman on Russian demographics and power.

    https://warontherocks.com/2020/02/russian-demographics-and-power-does-the-kremlin-have-a-long-game/

    It will be interesting for you

    • Replies: @another anon
  67. jeppo says:

    Putin has colluded with the weather gods to ship Russia’s winter to North America. The bastard.

    “While the Prairies are currently experiencing a deep freeze, temperatures are about to get much colder as Arctic air will remain situated across the region through next week. The deep freeze is courtesy of a *cross-polar flow* pulling in some of the chilliest air in the Northern Hemisphere into the region.”

    https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/prairies-record-breaking-cold-possible-as-dangerous-arctic-air-locks-in

  68. @songbird

    Why the “”? At this time, refugees were Jewish, Slavic and Chinese, and were pretty much the real deal.

    He recognized the brutality of governments like Nazi Germany; in 1938, he joined with Hoover and Bernard Baruch in supporting the establishment of a refugee state in Africa as a safe haven for all persecuted people, not just Jews.

    Interesting alternate history. How would Jewish-Slavic-Chinese country in Africa look like?

    • Replies: @songbird
  69. @Aedib

    Do not worry, Mr. Karlin has a plan for that.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/paper-review-artificial-wombs/

    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
  70. Dan Hayes says:
    @another anon

    (((Lewis Strauss))) was an altogether remarkable and patriotic American who distrusted J R Oppenheimer and was instrumental in setting up programs to develop the hydrogen bomb and detect Soviet nuclear explosions.

  71. @AP

    Spaniards stole every item containing gold or silver everywhere they went, from Mexico to the southern tips of Chile and Argentina. They destroyed practically every edifice they found in various places, including many in what now is Peru. Then an earthquake struck, and everything Spaniards built came crashing down, whereas remaining Inca buildings stood. After than Spaniards kept destroying Inca buildings, but left the foundations, and built their own things on these foundations. E.g., the main Catholic church in Cuzco is built on the foundations of an Inca temple, which was deliberately destroyed.

    The only reason Machu Picchu remained is that Spaniards never found it. It was discovered by an American archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911. He proceeded in classical European fashion: took everything he and his team could carry away, leaving only walls and buildings. Artifacts ended up in Yale Peabody Museum. The museum returned a few artifacts stolen from Machu Picchu to Peru in 2010, but kept the bulk. Bingham did not ruin the buildings in Machu Picchu, though, so that’s progress.

    If these are fairy tales, I have a bridge to sell you.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    , @AP
  72. songbird says:
    @another anon

    True enough, but I wonder at what point the word became weaponized? I mean, the Indians that fled Idi Amin were refugees, but, at the same time, it seems bizarre that so many were allowed to settle in Britain, instead of their real home – India.

    How would Jewish-Slavic-Chinese country in Africa look like?

    Even just considering the Soviet POWs, that was a lot of men. Suppose that they were all set up with spinsters, who might have had a few eggs left in them, but would not have otherwise married?

    In South Africa, though, it seems as though Jews from the Eastern Bloc were the backbone of the communist party. Something similar might have happened in this refugee country. With the refugees mostly decamping to go West, in the end.

    But, then again, with so many presumably anti-communists, it might have been more balanced. Certainly would have been interesting to see.

  73. @LondonBob

    It’s been unusually warm in London

    https://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2020/02/03/sixth-warmest-january-in-series-since-1884/

    I have only had to scrape ice off my car three or four times this winter. We went through most of January without a single night of frost.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  74. songbird says:

    If tropical hyperborea doesn’t develop, how practical would it be to genetically alter Russians to thrive in the dropping temps? (And make the Icy North into an economic powerhouse?)

    I think of how some men are hairier and stockier than others. Of the reindeer whose breath does not steam, and of the duck that can stand on ice, and which takes a bath, if he can break it.

    I think of the wolf who has counter-current exchange, and never gets frostbite in his paws or freezing blood in his heart. Of the common wood frog that freezes solid, but that de-thaws and mates in spring. And of the fabled Yeti, who some claim to have seen in the snowy distance.

    Surely, it is an idea worth exploring?

  75. AP says:

    While Inca were not as spectacularly, psychotically bloodthirsty as Aztecs, theirs was a society of brutal slavery, human sacrifice, and low cultural achievement. The Spaniards arrived just after a civil war during which Inca slaughtered each other in huge numbers.

    You wrote: “stole everything they could and ruined everything they could not steal”

    This stuff, built by Spaniards, does not resemble something “ruined”:

    Looks like not all gold was transported out:

    Compare Andean Baroque culture:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andean_Baroque

    Of which King Carlos III of Spain (1716–1788), referring to one of its sculptors in particular, opined: “I am not concerned that Italy has Michelangelo; in my colonies of America I have the master Caspicara”.

    Caspicara was a native Indian from Ecuador. His work:

    To the brutal pre-literate one it replaced:

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/04/mass-child-human-animal-sacrifice-peru-chimu-science/

    Exclusive: Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest

    More than 140 children were ritually killed in a single event in Peru more than 500 years ago. What could possibly have been the reason?

    The skeletal remains of both children and animals show evidence of cuts to the sternum as well as rib dislocations, which suggest that the victims’ chests were cut open and pulled apart, perhaps to facilitate the removal of the heart.

    :::::::

    Yes, the stone-age Inca, living constantly among earthquakes, figured out how to make earthquake-proof buildings. It is still absurd to characterize the Spanish invasion as simply theft and destruction. The grandchildren of illiterate child-sacrificers in their crude stone buildings were literate, were composing complex music, building baroque cathedrals, creating sculptures with beautiful human forms.

    Now contrast Spanish replacements of temples to demons demanding human sacrifice and replacing them with beautiful Baroque churches, to your your Sovok destruction of churches and replacement of them with swimming pools for Sovoks. There – is actual theft and destruction.

    • Agree: Dreadilk
    • Replies: @Dreadilk
    , @AnonFromTN
  76. Znzn says:

    Switzerland, Hokkaido, and Austria would be very ugly without snow.

  77. @for-the-record

    Projected by whom? The same hacks who have missed all their projections. In fact we know that ice-age maximums cause massive drought, especially so all of sub-Saharan Afrika. And, increases in heat are very unevenly distrubuted. The last ace-age maximun average globally was a mere ten degrees lower globally, but twenty and thirty in the plus 40 latitudes. Heat is your fleeting friend, cooling does not support human life.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  78. Znzn says:

    The upshot is that milder European winters may actually make immigrants from the tropics feel more comfortable in Europe, and make more of them come to Europe, I mean Filipinos and Indians have always complained about the harsh Canadian winters.

  79. @LondonBob

    “Wasn’t it the coldest winter since WWII in 2010/11?”

    Seems highly unlikely. 1963 and 1947 must surely have been colder. In 1963 snow stayed for 2 months.

    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/case-studies/severe-winters

    Weep for what we have lost – the railway lines, the tough guys working without gloves, a country full of our people.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  80. @another anon

    Another good use of biotech would be cloning. The problem with hereditary monarchy is that sometimes you get an idiot in the line (as we all know in the former Russian empire, emphasis on former). So when you find a good autocrat just clone him and keep cloning him.

    If Putin was cloned in 2000, the clone would be 30 years old and ready to take over in a decade which seems to match the planned transition time. Imagine the greatness that Russia could reach under a 1000 year Putin dynasty.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
  81. @Jaakko Raipala

    The clone would not have Putin’s upbringing and life experience. He might become a completely different person. He would probably grow to resent his creators as well.

  82. LondonBob says:
    @jimmyriddle

    Cold spell before Christmas, mild over Christmas and a cold spell after the New Year. Slightly milder than usual but makes up for the poor summer.

  83. LondonBob says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    In Moscow, coldest since the German invasion. Was also the year Heathrow shutdown because of snow and I got stuck waiting for a flight back from Domodedovo. So rare to get a White Christmas in London.

    My father told me about the very cold winter when he was young and also the summer heatwave in the seventies.

  84. LondonBob says:

    • Replies: @songbird
  85. Beckow says:
    @james wilson

    …Heat is your fleeting friend, cooling does not support human life.

    Heat only supports survival. Cold on the other hand supports inventing ways to survive in harsher conditions. What we refer to as evolution is only possible under two conditions: environmental stress and frequent bottlenecks that allow for useful mutations to survive and eventually spread.

    In warm climates with large populations evolution doesn’t happen. In colder, more stressful regions it has a chance, although large populations don’t allow for an adaptation to survive today – what happens is that a useful mutation is swamped by the non-mutating numbers. We have probably peaked.

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
  86. Beckow says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Western attack on Yugoslavia and bombing it to smithereens – with the Islamic world cheering on – was the original sin. It set a precedent and destroyed any hope for ‘international law‘ or institutions. Iraq, Libya, etc… followed.

    There is such a thing as a catastrophic error, an error from which it is not possible to recover. I find it amusing how the whole ‘bomb the damn Serbs‘ craziness has been deep-sixed into oblivion, how painful it is for the West to talk about. The infamous ‘it was one off‘ argument by Washington and London, in effect pleading ‘don’t mention Nato’s attack on Serbia’. Unfortunately for the West it doesn’t work that way.

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  87. songbird says:
    @LondonBob

    They say that Greta has applied to trademark her name. Maybe, that means that her five minutes of fame are over.

  88. Dreadilk says:
    @AP

    Then why are you such a faggot on the Ukraine question. Also globalism vs nationalism.

    • Replies: @AP
  89. Svevlad says:

    Yea, rather warm here too. Fruit growers say that if there’s no snow by April the season will catastrophically fail tho, due to low soil moisture.

    Also, be careful what you wish for – Siberia is very continental, it might cause climate to go into the opposite extreme – very very hot

    • Replies: @Znzn
  90. Svevlad says:
    @Beckow

    Yup. Long I have been saying that THAT was the defining moment – the peak of America. And really, it was, everyone thought that it’s over, the end of history, done, we all should jump into giant meat grinder if we don’t want to bow forever to the holy american overlords. Nobody would think this mess we have now would be happening.

    Then, the infamous plane turn occurred. The rest, is history.

    However, this ludicrously stupid move, stems from another stupid move – and since Anglos are set up on a precedent-based jurisprudence and decision making, they fell for their own bait.

    The stupidity? Supporting the Yugoslav “communists” in order for them to try to keep the corpse alive for long enough, so the Serbs don’t take the entire catholic church to Nuremberg, which would immediately send the entire catholic world immediately into the hands of the USSR, seeing that the most important catholic countries (Italy and France) had quite strong socialist parties that could get to government peacefully by elections, and the elimination of their biggest enemy would just prove their claims correct and guarantee their win.

  91. @for-the-record

    PER CENT CHANGE GDP PER CAPITA RELATIVE TO A WORLD WITHOUT GLOBAL WARMING, 2099

    Allowing for the sake of the argument that the numbers are correct, it should be remembered that this is spread over an 80-year period (well a bit more, but a round 80 makes the numbers a bit neater if slightly overstated).

    So looking at the average annual cost for the losers >
    Italy: -0.325%
    Japan: -0.4375%
    USA: -0.45%
    China: -0.525%
    Australia: -0.6625%
    Brazil: -1.0375%
    India: -1.15%
    KSA: -1.2%

    World Bank GDP per capita growth (2018):

    Italy: 1.0%
    Japan: 1.0%
    United States: 2.3%
    China: 6.1%
    Australia: 1.3%
    Brazil: 0.3%
    India: 5.7%
    Saudi Arabia: 0.6%

    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.KD.ZG?view=map

    And here is Theoretical-World’s growth in 2018:

    Italy: 1.325%
    Japan: 1.4375%
    United States: 2.75%
    China: 6.625%
    Australia: 1.9625%
    Brazil: 1.3375%
    India: 6.85%
    Saudi Arabia: 1.8%

    So hardly catastrophic and, from a living standards perspective, it is harder for people to miss what they never had than something they had and then lost.

    There are other valid arguments to moving towards green technology, but from an economic perspective, increasing their per capita productivity will still remain the key to national economic prosperity.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
  92. Znzn says:
    @Svevlad

    Isn’t the taiga poor in terms of soil fertility anyway? Though the longer growing season is nice.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  93. Sparkon says:

    Well, according to current reports, the temperature in Moskva now is -6° C or 21° F, so conditions for now have returned to normal, and there is sneg in the forecast, but the sun is breaking through.

    Perhaps one day Mr. Karlin will have the good fortune to be out and about with his camera when the sun in shining in Russia. Do Russians commonly wear sunglasses on those rare occasions when the sun shines in that part of the world? It’s a very good idea indeed to protect your eyesight from harmful UV radiation — and everything else — by wearing shades, ideally with impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses.

    I see that Illinois in the USA experienced warmer than average December 2019 and January 2020 – 18th warmest December and 17th warmest January. ‘Currently 30° F in Chicago and overcast, with snow in the forecast.

    However, despite the mild winter so far, 2019 was not a good year for farmers in the Land of Lincoln as corn and soybean yields were about 20% below average due to cool, wet conditions early last summer when fields were too wet for farmers to do their planting. I can’t find final harvest numbers for Iowa, but conditions were similar to Illinois last summer, and I suspect harvest numbers will be comparable. Midwestern states Iowa and Illinois are traditionally the two biggest corn and soybean producers in the USA.

  94. @Sparkon

    Falling temperatures usually mean sunny weather. Conversely, snow falls when the air warms. So in winter, snow means warm weather, sun means cold.

    • Replies: @AP
  95. In the West of England the autumn and winter have been so wet that there are thousands of hectares of bare, muddy soil. They planted straight after harvest in August, it stayed dry for a month and everything died, since then it’s been too wet to plant again.

    Must be bad news for dairy farmers too, the beasts are mostly indoors round my way, the fields are too wet for them.

  96. EldnahYm says:
    @Beckow

    What we refer to as evolution is only possible under two conditions: environmental stress and frequent bottlenecks that allow for useful mutations to survive and eventually spread.

    Not even wrong. What we refer to as natural selection operates faster in larger populations all else equal. Genetic drift becomes more prominent the smaller the population. Since both natural selection and genetic drift are part of evolution, this statement is woefully misinformed.

    It’s also wrong that evolution only occurs under environmental stress(unless “stress” is defined in so general a way it could mean almost anything). Since we are not all clones and since mutations and reproduction still occur, evolution is inevitable.

    In warm climates with large populations evolution doesn’t happen.

    So how is it that the warm climates are populated by so many different species? Did they all migrate over from cold climates? Absurd.

    In colder, more stressful regions it has a chance, although large populations don’t allow for an adaptation to survive today – what happens is that a useful mutation is swamped by the non-mutating numbers. We have probably peaked.

    Totally wrong. Large populations are more likely to have beneficial mutations than smaller populations. As to the ability of a mutation to spread in a large population, that is a factor of the strength of selection. The stronger the selective benefit, the quicker it will spread. Even a gene with a relatively small advantage over competitors is perfectly able to spread in a large population, it just takes more time.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  97. AP says:
    @anonymous coward

    Congratulations, you are at least aware of the weather with some accuracy.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  98. AP says:
    @Dreadilk

    Recent Ukraine question = Sovoks who hijacked and ruined Russia marched from Russia into Ukriane and fucked it up. Destroyed countless beautiful churches.

    As for older history – because Ukriane had been part of the Polish civilizational sphere it had been culturally more advanced than Russia, so Russia’s impact on Ukraine has also been negative, as it had been in Poland (other than Warsaw due to its status as the capital, ex-Russian parts of Poland have historically been more backward and less civilized than Galicia, just as in Ukraine). It introduced backwardness and caused a brain drain for generations. The author Gogol was the most famous of the losses for Ukraine.

    Russia’s impact on Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe was thus the opposite of Spain’s positive role in the Americas, though not nearly as extreme in its negative impact as Spain was in its positive influence.

    OTOH Russia played a very positive historical role in civilizing Siberia and Central Asia. It is playing a very positive role in Syria.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  99. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    I replied to you (comment #76).

  100. @AP

    because Ukriane had been part of the Polish civilizational sphere it had been culturally more advanced than Russia

    If that is true, please name Ukrainian writers equivalent to Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov, and Gogol (he wrote in Russian), as well as Ukrainian composers, painters, etc. comparable to what Russia has. The same question applies to Polish culture.

    • Replies: @AP
  101. Sparkon says:
    @AP

    Not really. It was a misleading oversimplification by anonymous coward. Falling temperatures usually mean a cold front is moving in, or the Sun has set.

    Mid-winter thaws are commonly accompanied by sunshine, and mild winters tend to have a lot of sunny days.

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

    — A. Einstein

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  102. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Reread the words “had been.”

    In the 16th-17th centuries Poland (including what is now Ukraine) was more advanced and civilized than was Russia. The Russian literary giants came centuries later.

  103. @AP

    Depends on definition of “advanced and civilized”. Reminds me of a Russian pre-revolutionary joke (when all Russian aristocrats spoke French): people in France are so highly educated – even street sweepers speak French.

    • Replies: @AP
  104. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Well, here are data for numeracy:

    Poland far ahead of Russia prior to 1650. While there is no data for Ukraine before 1700 the trendline places it behind Poland but ahead of Russia. Ukraine maintained its position but basically stagnated during the Hetmanate while Russia caught up and surpassed it. During this time a lot of educated Ukrainians pursued opportunities in Russia, where they had an advantage over the less-educated Muscovites. It was a brain drain for Ukraine. Poland stagnated also after 1700. Loss of Ukraine/”deluge” seems to have really hobbled it.

    Another data point is for printing presses. There were 18 printing presses in Rus lands that were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century – only one in Muscovy.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  105. @Sparkon

    I’m talking about weather in Russia is the winter. Here even little kids know that winter sunshine =winter frost.

  106. melanf says:

    Today, February 5, St. Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland is not frozen yet! There is broken ice floating in the water near the shore, but in the Bay there is water and not ice.

    If the Bay does not freeze, this will completely change the local climate (in the spring, the sun will warm the water, and not reflect off the ice). But it’s already winter on the shore

  107. @utu

    “CO2 didn’t initiate warming from past ice ages but it did amplify the warming. In fact, about 90% of the global warming followed the CO2 increase.”
    https://skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

  108. @Sparkon

    “The sun’s energy has decreased since the 1980s but the Earth keeps warming faster than before.”
    https://skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

  109. @anonymous coward

    “For climate change, there are many scientific organizations that study the climate. These alphabet soup of organizations include NASA, NOAA, JMA, WMO, NSIDC, IPCC, UK Met Office, and others. Click on the names for links to their climate-related sites. There are also climate research organizations associated with universities. These are all legitimate scientific sources.

    If you have to dismiss all of these scientific organizations to reach your opinion, then you are by definition denying the science. If you have to believe that all of these organizations, and all of the climate scientists around the world, and all of the hundred thousand published research papers, and physics, are all somehow part of a global, multigenerational conspiracy to defraud the people, then you are, again, a denier by definition. 

    So if you deny all the above scientific organizations there are a lot of un-scientific web sites out there that pretend to be science. Many of these are run by lobbyists (e.g.., Climate Depot, run by a libertarian political lobbyist, CFACT), or supported by lobbyists (e.g., JoannaNova, WUWT, both of whom have received funding and otherwise substantial support by lobbying organizations like the Heartland Institute), or are actually paid by lobbyists to write Op-Eds and other blog posts that intentionally misrepresent the science.”
    https://thedakepage.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-to-assess-climate-change.html

  110. @james charles

    Appeals to authority are not science. Next.

    P.S. I assure you there are even more serious organizations with even more serious acronyms dedicated to the ‘settled science’ of feminine penises and 56 genders.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
    , @james charles
  111. Beckow says:
    @EldnahYm

    …the ability of a mutation to spread in a large population, that is a factor of the strength of selection. The stronger the selective benefit, the quicker it will spread. Even a gene with a relatively small advantage over competitors is perfectly able to spread in a large population, it just takes more time.

    All else being equal, a mutation spread a lot faster in a smaller population, an ideal situation is for a positive mutation to occur in a genetic bottleneck. In large multi-million groups it becomes very hard – a mutation gets swamped by sheer numbers.

    You omitted my stipulation about ‘large populations’ in warm climates. I was referring to only humans, leave other species out of it. In the past the populations were much smaller, today they are gigantic – the odds of a mutation to survive and spread today in 1-billion India are small. We also know that most positive mutations happened in colder climates – the results speak for themselves.

    Regarding environmental stress, I meant it in a very broad way – an innovation or an adaptation are more likely to be triggered and spread when there is an actual benefit from them. Even if they occur at random. There is not much measurable benefit for traits like self-discipline, planning, problem solving, ability to withstand harsh conditions, etc… in a warm, permissive climate. The part of evolution about physical survival gets dropped or minimized today – but that’s missing the point, if there is no beneficial impact on survival and offspring, a mutation might happen, but gets lost. That’s where we are today. And warm climate people have lived like this since time immemorial.

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
  112. Sparkon says:
    @anonymous coward

    Here even little kids know that winter sunshine =winter frost.

    […]

    Appeals to authority are not science.

    You said it, but despite what you think, little kids are not authorities on the weather.

    The coldest winter nights are often clear, but the warmest winter days are often sunny. Winter sunshine can also bring a thaw (above freezing), even in Russia. It all depends on the prevailing winds.

    By your equation, since Moscow is cold, the sun should be shining there a lot, so don’t forget the Ray-Bans, but here is the rather gray weather summary for January 2020 in Moscow:

    https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/russia/moscow/historic?month=1&year=2020

    As expected, not much sunshine, but the two warmest days were January 17 and January 21, when it was just partly cloudy and it hit 39° F (4° C). I suggest what made the month warm in Moscow was the lack of cold nights. It it did not drop below 21° F (-6° C) the entire month.

    Anyway, the weather in Moscow seems to have returned to normal, currently -3° C, and snowing. Similarly, Chicago -2° C, and snowing. Both Chicago and Moscow have humid continental climate.

  113. @james charles

    Are you trolling? If yes, exceptionally low effort, I give you a 3/10.

    Appeals to authority are not science. Appeals to authority are faith. By definition.

    Also, it’s impossible to be a “science denier” – science is a method and a tool.

  114. @AP

    At some point Islamic world was way ahead of Europe in sciences. Arabic roots of words like algebra and alchemy remain to this day. How relevant is this today?

    Last time I checked, we live in the 21st century.

  115. @james charles

    Let me make two points.

    First, acknowledgement of the fact of rising temperatures does not indicate the cause. The climate all over Earth for millions of years in Mesozoic era was a lot warmer than today, but there were no humans, including gretinos, and no burning of fossil fuels.

    Second, just a thousand years ago the majority opinion was that the Earth is flat and that the Sun rotates around the Earth. Both notions were as wrong then as they are today. Scientific truth is not established by majority vote.

  116. @AnonFromTN

    First, acknowledgement of the fact of rising temperatures does not indicate the cause. The climate all over Earth for millions of years in Mesozoic era was a lot warmer than today, but there were no humans, including gretinos, and no burning of fossil fuels.

    Good you do not want to deny the undeniable.

    Now, what causes the warming?

    It is not CO2, because greenhouse effect is hoax, made up by frog eating freemason Charles Fourier.


    Can you trust this pig face?

    It is not the sun.
    https://skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    It is not the planets.
    https://skepticalscience.com/its-planetary-movements.htm

    It is not volcanism.
    https://skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-ice-age-volcanoes.htm

    What is it?

    What is the completely natural, but mysterious “force W” that began warming the Earth by sheer random coincidence just when we began burning gigatons of fossil fuel?

    Second, just a thousand years ago the majority opinion was that the Earth is flat and that the Sun rotates around the Earth. Both notions were as wrong then as they are today. Scientific truth is not established by majority vote.

    How you know the Earth is round?
    There are many videos on youtube proving that Earth is flat.

    If (((climate physics))) is hoax and all (((climate scientists))) of the world fake their data, how can you be sure that (((geography))) is real?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  117. @AnonFromTN

    The various Malayan sultans sought protection from Siam and the French. They may have been obliged to chose the best of a bad lot but they were hardly conquered.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  118. @Philip Owen

    Then how come Malay peninsula and Sarawak on Borneo became British colonies? The rest of Borneo (Kalimantan) and numerous islands that are now Indonesia became Dutch colony. Indochina became a bunch of French colonies.

    Let’s keep in mind that none of these territories ever was a Chinese colony. A striking difference between Europeans and Chinese, wouldn’t you say?

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  119. EldnahYm says:
    @Beckow

    All else being equal, a mutation spread a lot faster in a smaller population,

    Actually not. Take an extreme case. Let’s say you have a population that for some reason cannot survive and reproduce for the next generation, except in the case of individuals with some particular mutation. So everyone in that generation without that mutation will die without offspring. In that situation, whether the population is one million or one hundred, 100% of the next generation will have the advantageous mutation. There would be zero difference in the speed of the mutation’s spread. In this situation the strength of selection is the only variable that matters, population size is irrelevant.

    Also if we assume the percentage of people with that mutation is the same in both populations, future descendants of the offspring of the larger population will be more fit.

    This type of analysis is also starting from the assumption that you already have a beneficial mutation. If we assume there is a certain probability of a beneficial mutation existing, the larger the population, the greater the chances of them having it.

    an ideal situation is for a positive mutation to occur in a genetic bottleneck.

    A mutation that arises during a bottleneck is more likely to disappear simply due to random occurrences. Maybe a rock falls on the guy who happens to have the beneficial mutation. Also, if the population is small enough, selection is less strong relative to genetic drift.

    The significance of a bottleneck in this context is that it implies genetic isolation. If a particular trait is highly selected in one population, and they mix with a different population not selected for that trait and not having as useful genes for that trait, then the trait becomes less spread in the selected population. That does not mean selection operates more strongly in small populations, the opposite is the case.

    In large multi-million groups it becomes very hard – a mutation gets swamped by sheer numbers.

    “Swamped by sheer numbers” hardly communicates anything. What you are trying to say is the amount of people after one generation who inherit the new mutation will be low. Of course, analyzing evolution from only one generation isn’t very useful, except in some extreme case like I communicated above. And even in that case, you would be wrong as I showed. What matters is whether the mutation increases in frequency in the next generation, not what percentage of the population has the mutation after one generation. You don’t get much happening in only one generation.

    You omitted my stipulation about ‘large populations’ in warm climates. I was referring to only humans, leave other species out of it.

    That’s even worse for you because you are now suggesting humans operate under different rules than other organisms.

    We also know that most positive mutations happened in colder climates – the results speak for themselves.

    We know no such thing. What is a positive mutation in India may not be a positive mutation in Siberia. To speak of “positive mutations” in this way is almost meaningless.

    Regarding environmental stress, I meant it in a very broad way – an innovation or an adaptation are more likely to be triggered and spread when there is an actual benefit from them. Even if they occur at random.

    Mutations happen randomly. Beneficial ones can spread if they are selected for.

    There is not much measurable benefit for traits like self-discipline, planning, problem solving, ability to withstand harsh conditions, etc… in a warm, permissive climate.

    Which you take to mean there is no benefit for any trait. Which is a fallacy, and doesn’t even make logical sense. To even have stable, non-changing traits, you need selection to purge deleterious mutations.

    The part of evolution about physical survival gets dropped or minimized today

    So what. People with different traits still reproduce at a different rate. Therefore certain traits are being selected for. You are deeply confused here. That particular survival traits are not being selected for as much today just means that other traits are being selected for more relative to those survival traits. It does not mean evolution has stopped.

    – but that’s missing the point, if there is no beneficial impact on survival and offspring, a mutation might happen, but gets lost. That’s where we are today. And warm climate people have lived like this since time immemorial.

    For a mutation to be beneficial it must have an impact on survival and offspring. What you are actually saying is that if a mutation isn’t beneficial, it won’t spread. This isn’t even right.

    According to your logic, inheriting genes that make you totally uninterested in the opposite sex but makes no difference to your surviving to 80, will have no difference in your likelihood to have offspring. Also according to you, people in cold climates are more likely to have defensive genes for malaria.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  120. @another anon

    The only hard data climate scientists have is temperature. There are also data on CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, although these are less reliable and more variable. The rest is based on models. The same models that fail to accurately predict local weather tomorrow, let alone a week from now. In science, the models that do not have predictive value are called BS (more polite expressions are used, but the meaning is the same).

    I might have been inclined to believe those predictions, but I remember another fairly recent example. In the 1980s there was a lot of hullabaloo about lowering levels of the Caspian sea. It was explained by the fact that people were taking a lot of the water from Volga river, which is the greatest one bringing water to the Caspian sea. Sounded plausible. There were even suggestions of diverting Siberian rivers to the Caspian sea to avert disaster. However, later, without any change in the scope of Volga water diversion, Caspian sea started rising, and now its level exceeds that in the 1970s. While the alarmists shut up, nobody was able to explain this phenomenon. It’s still a mystery.

    Point is, we know so little that proclaiming cause-and-effect relationship between any human action and weather/climate phenomena is arrogance, stupidity, or both. Granted, coal and oil industries have significant pecuniary interest in denying the role of CO2. However, quite a few powerful groups have pecuniary interests in promoting climate change narrative. Huge amounts of money are involved on both sides. Therefore, from my perspective both narratives are equally suspect.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  121. @Znzn

    Isn’t the taiga poor in terms of soil fertility anyway? Though the longer growing season is nice.

    For now, yes, but temperature plays a heavy role in the fertility of a soil. Broadly put, low temperatures are bad in every way.

  122. @Sparkon

    Well, according to current reports, the temperature in Moskva now is -6° C or 21° F, so conditions for now have returned to normal, and there is sneg in the forecast, but the sun is breaking through.

    Same here. On the very day this post was written, a cold front came our way (from Russia?). No snow so far, but the next precipitation is sure to be snowfall.

    Still, the winter months were shockingly warmer than normal, so if I have to pick sides, I’ll side with Greta Thunberg.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Sparkon
  123. @Swedish Family

    FYI, Spaniards coined a new word for those who side with Greta: gretinos.

  124. @AP

    In the 16th-17th centuries Poland (including what is now Ukraine) was more advanced and civilized than was Russia. The Russian literary giants came centuries later.

    At least in the world of letters, that argument doesn’t hold. This early in European history, there were next to no notable writers from any country. The ones we do remember — a Shakespeare, Cervantes, or Molière — are very much exceptions. By the way, what Nabokov wrote about Russian writers, in his Lectures on Russian Literature, I’m sure also goes for other Eastern European writers at the time:

    “Russian Literature” as a notion, an immediate idea, this notion in the minds of non-Russians is generally limited to the awareness of Russia’s having produced half a dozen great masters of prose between the middle of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. This notion is ampler in the minds of Russian readers since it comprises, in addition to the novelists, a number of untranslatable poets; but even so, the native mind remains focused on the resplendent orb of the nineteenth century. In other words, “Russian literature” is a recent event. It is also a limited event, and the foreigner’s mind tends to regard it as something complete, something finished once and for all. This is mainly due to the bleakness of the typically regional literature produced during the last four decades under the Soviet rule.

    I calculated once that the acknowledged best in the way of Russian fiction and poetry which had been produced since the beginning of the last century runs to about 23,000 pages of ordinary print. It is evident that neither French nor English literature can be so compactly handled. They sprawl over many more centuries; the number of masterpieces is formidable. This brings me to my first point. If we exclude one medieval masterpiece*, the beautifully commodious thing about Russian prose is that it is all contained in the amphora of one round century—with an additional little cream jug provided for whatever surplus may have accumulated since. One century, the nineteenth, had been sufficient for a country with practically no literary tradition of its own to create a literature which in artistic worth, in wide-spread influence, in everything except bulk, equals the glorious output of England or France, although their production of permanent masterpieces had begun so much earlier.

    * Probably referring to The Tale of Igor’s Campaign, written c. 1195

    • Replies: @melanf
  125. @AnonFromTN

    They were self governing.

    The Chinese and Indians arrived with the British as the locals were not strongly motivated by money. Malaya is a long way from China. Vietnam was in between. The Vietnamese regularly fought the Chinese. Meanwhile in Tibet and Xinjiang …

    • Replies: @songbird
  126. songbird says:
    @Philip Owen

    Agree.

    Taiwan was originally a Dutch colony. The native people were headhunters, not Han. They were probably the progenitors of the Polynesians. You can find some of their remnants in the mountains. They make up 2% of the total population. Han make up 95%.

    The Chinese took over the island and killed the Dutch.

    Pragmatic of them, no doubt. But, anyway, reports of the historical pacifism of the Chinese are greatly exaggerated. And, of course, China is geographically larger than the US exactly because the Han, like all others who had the capacity, were expansionary.

    • Agree: LondonBob
  127. @AP

    Yea, all churches devoted to the new gods Spaniards wanted to introduce, instead of the old gods local worshipped before. To leave locals no choice, the old shrines were destroyed.

    Pretty much like the Bolsheviks destroyed Orthodox churches and built their party committees, to ensure the triumph of new gods over old.

    Equally disgusting.

    • Replies: @AP
  128. LondonBob says:
    @AnonFromTN

    No one thought the world was flat. The Ancient Greeks knew it was spherical and the official Church position was that it was spherical.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth

  129. melanf says:
    @Swedish Family

    Russians is generally limited to the awareness of Russia’s having produced half a dozen great masters of prose between the middle of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. … In other words, “Russian literature” is a recent event. It is also a limited event, and the foreigner’s mind tends to regard it as something complete, something finished once and for all. This is mainly due to the bleakness of the typically regional literature produced during the last four decades under the Soviet rule.

    Well, these are only estimates of Nabokov himself. If we keep in mind really readable books (and not dead books from the school curriculum), then prose literature of the Soviet era (but not poetry) completely exceeds the popularity of Russian prose of the 19th century among readers.

    Nabokov himself, by the way, has a popularity close to zero in modern Russia – I can say that he is if not dead, then definitely half-dead author.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill, AnonFromTN
  130. Beckow says:
    @EldnahYm

    …we assume the percentage of people with that mutation is the same in both populations

    That’s the key and your assumption is wrong – the way a mutation works is that it will be by definition a larger percentage in a smaller population. Most of your argument falls apart because it is based on this false assumption.

    …For a mutation to be beneficial it must have an impact on survival and offspring.

    Agree. And I said the same thing: mutations that don’t benefit survival odds and offspring are irrelevant because they have no mechanism to spread and grow. There are probably millions of indifferent mutations that we all carry that are staying at low penetration level and remain stable generation to generation.

    That particular survival traits are not being selected for as much today just means that other traits are being selected for more relative to those survival traits. It does not mean evolution has stopped.

    In effect it does – if there is no or minimal ability to influence future offspring with those traits, and therefore they don’t grow within a large population, what you have can no longer be referred to as evolution.

    You are an aggressive conventional thinker with a propensity to attack those who disagree with you. That might very well be a trait that you have acquired, or inherited. But it would be a stretch to cal it evolution.

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
  131. Sparkon says:
    @Swedish Family

    When it comes to Swedish actresses, I’ll side with Ann Margaret.

    Just think: 15,000 years ago, Sweden was covered with ice, but had no hockey team yet. The first humans didn’t arrive until some 3,000 years later when the ice had disappeared from southern Sweden.

    Now we’ve got the angry teen-age airhead Greta Thunbrerg trying to scold adults about the climate when she has already proven herself incapable of answering even softball questions about climate.

    She’s a child actress and a phony.

    Here is a little secret known by many Americans: If Hollywood is involved in any way, it’s as phony as the proverbial $3 bill.

    And it looks like Stockholm is continuing to enjoy mild weather with some sunshine.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  132. @melanf

    I have read a few of Nabokov’s novels (mostly out of sense of duty). In my opinion, among writers in Russian he is the third tier, at best. Not to compare him with greats, currently living Zakhar Prilepin is a better writer than Nabokov.

    Let me also weigh in on the poetry. Quite a few of 20th century Russian poets were very good. Many poems by Blok, Esenin, Mayakovsky, Pasternak, and Mandelshtam are in the top tier.

    Speaking of greats, not all poems of Pushkin or Lermontov are great, some are pretty mediocre. The best of Tyutchev is no worse than the best of Pushkin or Lermontov.

  133. EldnahYm says:
    @Beckow

    That’s the key and your assumption is wrong – the way a mutation works is that it will be by definition a larger percentage in a smaller population. Most of your argument falls apart because it is based on this false assumption.

    For only two sentences, you have managed to get an awful lot wrong here, but I will only point out two errors. Number 1, my argument was never based on the assumption that a small group and a large group need to have the same percentage of a particular mutation. The very starting paragraph of my post you responded to makes no assumption on that point. Indeed it makes no difference what assumption one makes about percentage of populations with the mutation, because regardless 100% of the next generation will have it in the scenario I outlined. I subsequently made the point that if one assumes the percentage of each population is the same, than we would expect the descends of the larger population to be more fit. This has nothing whatever to do with the rest of my post however.

    A mutation is not by definition a larger percentage in a smaller population. There are many mechanisms that influence the spread of a mutation. You are making assumptions with zero theoretical basis. By all means show me a source where mutations are defined in this way. You might do yourself some good by taking the time to look up the definition of a biological mutation.

    Agree. And I said the same thing: mutations that don’t benefit survival odds and offspring are irrelevant because they have no mechanism to spread and grow.

    Except they do have mechanisms to spread. Genetic drift and genetic linkage would be two obvious ones.

    There are probably millions of indifferent mutations that we all carry that are staying at low penetration level and remain stable generation to generation.

    This doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    In effect it does – if there is no or minimal ability to influence future offspring with those traits, and therefore they don’t grow within a large population, what you have can no longer be referred to as evolution.

    There are other ways to influence the success of having surviving offspring than not dying. I should not have to point this out. The only mechanism needed here are for traits to be heritable, for there to be population variation in the traits, and for there to be a difference in reproductive success between people with differences in the traits.

    Also, you are still failing to grasp the point that trait stability is evolutionary just as much as change(because mutations happen). For things to stay the same, you need a mechanism, namely purging of deleterious mutations that alter this steady state. That is selection.

    You are an aggressive conventional thinker with a propensity to attack those who disagree with you. That might very well be a trait that you have acquired, or inherited. But it would be a stretch to cal it evolution.

    If by “conventional” in this context you mean standard evolutionary theory, you are correct in using that word.

    There is a difference between mere disagreement and being factually wrong. The problem is you lack understanding of basic genetics. Attacking others is often good practice when the other side is particularly incompetent. But I can offer you advice as well: read a Wikipedia article on for example genetic drift or linkage disequilibrium. Try to wrap your head around the concepts. Then apply them to your previous ideas expressed here and figure out why they are wrong. Ignorance is after all curable. Stupidity is not.

    With your final sentence you almost give yourself a way out. One could almost say you’re just using a different definition of evolution. The trouble with this is that you make many other claims about mutations for example that are still wrong.

  134. Beckow says:

    You spend a lot of time misrepresenting what I wrote, on ad hominem attacks, and – a cherry on the cake – your go for Wikipedia.

    You did say that success of a mutation isn’t influenced by the population size. That’s wrong. You did claim that positive mutations that have benefits for offspring appear and survive at the same rate in warm climates as in cold climates. That’s wrong. (If you don’t know that, check out a basic book on civilizations.)

    You regurgitate the same obscure and evasive points to avoid addressing the obvious: based on an indisputable historical record the biggest advances in humans (call it evolution if you wish) happened among smaller, often isolated, groups living in harsher conditions in the north. A lot less happened among larger populations living in warm climates. There is a simple genetic theory that explains that and all your bellyaching has never addressed that.

    You might have a personal reason why you are offended, but that is neither here nor there. My point originally was that with a combination of a relatively benign environment and very large populations beneficial mutations will have a harder time to influence the future of mankind. Yes, things will always change, sometimes even for better, that’s a truism, I am not sure why you keep on restating it, but e.g. we haven’t seen much come out of 1 billion Indian population living in a warm climate. Our future could be billion member populations living in easy circumstances – that will impact evolutionary change. If you don’t see it, well, are you an Indian or a Nigerian by any chance? Or is conformism and a fear of offending so strong that you go ape-shit when someone points out what is rather obvious?

  135. @Sparkon

    When it comes to Swedish actresses, I’ll side with Ann Margaret.

    She was a babe, yeah. That video of her singing “Bye Bye Birdie” might well be the finest recording of Nordic allure* ever put to film. Makes me long for the girls of my young days every time.

    * Slightly mannish, but laid-back, smart, curvy, and very pretty.

  136. @melanf

    Well, these are only estimates of Nabokov himself. If we keep in mind really readable books (and not dead books from the school curriculum), then prose literature of the Soviet era (but not poetry) completely exceeds the popularity of Russian prose of the 19th century among readers.

    I agree. One of Nabokov’s blind spots is that his dislike of the Soviet Union* blinded his eyes to the masterpieces that came from its people (not from the country itself, which was overall more or less diabolic, but the brilliant people who managed to thrive despite the system). Off the top of my head, these Soviet writers (I could mention many more great artists) are still widely read in the West:

    Mikhail Bulgakov
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Vasily Grossman
    Isaac Babel
    Boris Pasternak
    Joseph Brodsky
    Maxim Gorky (dubious politics, but many people still like him)
    Nadezhda Mandelstam
    Osip Mandelstam
    Varlam Shalamov
    Aleksandr Kuprin
    Andrei Platonov
    Mikhail Zoshchenko
    Yevgeny Zamyatin
    Yury Olesha
    Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

    Some non-Soviet Russian writers also merit a mention:

    Nabokov himself (obviously — in the West, he is normally tied only with James Joyce for the best English writer of the 20th century; I much prefer Nabokov)
    Ivan Bunin (an émigré writer, but very Russian and a Nobel laureate)
    Nina Berberova (another émigré writer, but widely read among Russophiles)
    Sasha Sokolov (yet another émigré writer — and a favorite of Nabokov’s, as it happens, although this was about thirty years after he wrote that text I quoted)

    Russian readers would also include (among many others):

    Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
    Alexander Grin
    Eduard Limonov
    Ilya Ehrenburg
    Friedrich Gorenstein
    Iliazd

    Nabokov himself, by the way, has a popularity close to zero in modern Russia – I can say that he is if not dead, then definitely half-dead author.

    Very much doubt this. A young Moscow philologist I know (typical mid-20s Moscow liberal) claims that Nabokov is widely known and that his star is rising; she even once visited his boyhood home in Saint Petersburg. This might not be how the masses see things, sure, but then what average Westerner reads Nabokov?

    * “[…] I certainly hope that under the influence of the West, and especially under that of America, the Soviet police state will gradually wither away. Incidentally, I deplore the attitude of foolish or dishonest people who ridiculously equate Stalin with McCarthy, Auschwitz with the atom bomb, and the ruthless imperialism of the USSR with the earnest and unselfish assistance extended by the USA to nations in distress.” [Nabokov in 1964]

    Do you consider yourself an American?
    Yes, I do. I am as American as April in Arizona. The flora, the fauna, the air of the Western states are my links with Asiatic and Arctic Russia. Of course, I owe too much to the Russian language and landscape to be emotionally involved in, say, American regional literature, or Indian dances, or pumpkin pie on a spiritual plane; but I do feel a suffusion of warm, lighthearted pride when I show my green USA passport at European frontiers. Crude criticism of American affairs offends and distresses me. In home politics I am strongly anti-segregationist. In foreign policy, I am definitely on the government’s side. And when in doubt, I always follow the simple method of choosing that line of conduct which may be the most displeasing to the Reds and the Russells**. [Nabokov in 1966-1967]”

    ** Referring to the socialist British philosopher Bertrand Russell, I’m pretty sure.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @melanf
  137. melanf says:
    @Swedish Family

    Very much doubt this. A young Moscow philologist I know (typical mid-20s Moscow liberal) claims that Nabokov is widely known and that his star is rising; she even once visited his boyhood home in Saint Petersburg.

    In the narrow circles of the humanitarian “intelligentsia” Nabokov is undoubtedly a star, but the average Russian reader does not read Nabokov and will not read. Nabokov is quite widely known – but this is thanks to Hollywood adaptations of Lolita, and the words lolita and nymphet.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  138. melanf says:
    @Swedish Family

    Mikhail Bulgakov
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Vasily Grossman
    Isaac Babel
    Boris Pasternak
    Joseph Brodsky
    Maxim Gorky (dubious politics, but many people still like him)
    Nadezhda Mandelstam
    Osip Mandelstam
    Varlam Shalamov
    Aleksandr Kuprin
    Andrei Platonov
    Mikhail Zoshchenko
    Yevgeny Zamyatin
    Yury Olesha
    Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
    Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
    Alexander Grin
    Eduard Limonov
    Ilya Ehrenburg
    Friedrich Gorenstein
    Iliazd

    From this list, Bulgakov, Mikhail Zoshchenko and the Strugatsky brothers are certainly alive as writers (that is, their books are read by a relatively wide range of readers). Maxim Gorky a talented playwright and short story writer, you might say half-alive. Yuri Olesha is known for one half-forgotten fairy tale for children (the rest of his work is simply forgotten).
    Alexander Grin is remembered for the Soviet adaptation of the story “Scarlet sails”.

    Poetry is a separate world, Limonov is famous as a political radical.
    Poetry is a separate world, Limonov is famous as a political radical, and it is still too early to assess his popularity as a writer. The rest of the authors from the list as writers are hopelessly dead in Russia (perhaps Shalamov will resurrect over time).
    The list of “living” Soviet authors can certainly include Leonid Solovyov (his “Tale of Khoja Nasreddin” is probably the best work of Russian literature), A. N. Tolstoy, probably Eugene Schwartz, Alexander Belyaev, Sergey Snegov and several other authors.

    The trouble with “high” Russian literature is that it was perceived as a semblance of Holy Scripture and was intended to teach rather than entertain. As a result most of this literature is nothing but boring outside of the politicized intelligentsia of its era. To date, Astred Lindgren in Russia is far more popular than L. Tolstoy, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky and Chekhov combined

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
  139. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Yea, all churches devoted to the new gods Spaniards wanted to introduce, instead of the old gods local worshipped before. To leave locals no choice, the old shrines were destroyed.

    Given the fact that the old gods demanded human sacrifice and that the old culture was barbaric and stone age, this was good. Only a Sovok like you, or some degenerate post-modernist leftist, would think otherwise.

    Pretty much like the Bolsheviks destroyed Orthodox churches and built their party committees, to ensure the triumph of new gods over old.

    Equally disgusting.

    So in Sovok-world building this:

    upon the ruins of a crude stone temple devoted to some demon who demands human sacrifice, is “equally disgusting” to Soviets turning this church into a warehouse:

    before blowing it up. Or blowing up this church in St. Petersburg:

    Good to know this about you.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  140. @AP

    The pot calling the kettle black.

    How many people did “civilized” Christians burn to death or forced to drown in their own countries? Numerous alleged “witches” come to mind, although most would know the name of Giordano Bruno, not the names of presumed “witches”. Ever heard of Inquisition? That was the invention of “civilized” Spain.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @AP
  141. @AnonFromTN

    Staying out of this argument, but this obsession about the Inquisition is one of the biggest “fake news” stories ever invented by the Eternal Anglo (comparable to the tripe they wrote about Imperial Russia… or Russia today).

    There’s even a term for it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_legend

    Two orders of magnitude more witches were burned in the territory of modern day Germany than were ever executed thanks to the Inquisition’s efforts (who were mainly concerned with rooting out crypto-Jewish and crypto-Muslim subversives). The Inquisition was actually strongly opposed to witch burning, regarding it as pagan superstition. But it is they who ended up with the most odious reputation.

    • Agree: AP, Mitleser
    • Replies: @melanf
  142. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Inquisition – high estimate of 6,000 total victims over 300 years, most of whom were crypto-Muslims or Jews.

    Aztec human sacrifice – medium estimate of 20,000 victims per year. So 200,000 over 10 years, 2 million over 100 years.

    Incas in Peru, estimates are much lower, probably a few hundred per year. so 10,000s over a century.

    Now compare cultural level of Renaissance Spain to crude Aztec and Inca stone age civilizations.

    For Sovok with Sovok tastes, it’s all equal.

    • Replies: @melanf
  143. melanf says:
    @AP

    Aztec human sacrifice – medium estimate of 20,000 victims per year. So 200,000 over 10 years, 2 million over 100 years.

    Here the same story as with the Inquisition-experts on ancient Mesoamerica unanimously say that the scale of sacrifices in the descriptions of the Spaniards are overstated ( sometimes by several orders of magnitude). But archives where there are exact numbers of human victims do not exist (unlike the Inquisition). In any case, for 150 years of Spanish power, the population of Indians has decreased by about 80% – then the conversation about the Spanish benefactors becomes ridiculous

    • Replies: @AP
  144. melanf says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The Inquisition was actually strongly opposed to witch burning

    It was the Spanish Inquisition that was against burning witches. The Inquisition in other countries actively burned witches

    • Replies: @AP
  145. AP says:
    @melanf

    Here the same story as with the Inquisition-experts on ancient Mesoamerica unanimously say that the scale of sacrifices in the descriptions of the Spaniards are overstated

    Correct. Estimates by Spaniards was as high 100,000 per year. Modern historians estimate about 20,000 per year.

    So again, 2 million over 100 years vs. 6,000 over 300 years. It is obscene to even compare. But to Sovoks, for whom human life is cheap, it doesn’t make a difference I suppose.

    In any case, for 150 years of Spanish power, the population of Indians has decreased by about 80% –

    Now you change the subject. Due to diseases caused by contact with people who had no immunity, not due to violence. This part unfortunately probably would have been inevitable, unless somehow no one managed to find the New World until vaccinations were created.

    • Replies: @melanf
  146. AP says:
    @melanf

    IIRC Italian Inquisition also opposed to witch burning; France and Holy Roman Empire had witch burnings, so overall it was mostly a Protestant thing though not exclusively so.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  147. Sparkon says:
    @AP

    IIRC Italian Inquisition also opposed to witch burning; France and Holy Roman Empire had witch burnings, so overall it was mostly a Protestant thing though not exclusively so.

    No, mostly it was a Roman Catholic thing, primarily but not exclusively in Germany, and led by none other than the poorly named Pope Innocent VIII and his Papal Bull of 1484, Summis desiderantes affectibus:

    Many persons of both sexes, unmindful of their own salvation and straying from the Catholic Faith, have abandoned themselves to devils, incubi and succubi, and by their incantations, spells, conjurations, and other accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offences, have slain infants yet in the mother’s womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the earth… [blah blah blah]… they hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving, [blah blah blah]…the abominations and enormities in question remain unpunished not without open danger to the souls of many and peril of eternal damnation.

    And yes, it was all about the Little Ice Age — and a few other things — being caused by witches.

    Tortured and burned at the stake by the tens of thousands, Germany’s alleged witches have been largely forgotten. But thanks to efforts by a small group of activists, a number of German cities have begun absolving women, men and children who were wrongly accused of causing plagues, storms and bad harvests.

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/burned-for-spoiling-beer-germany-rehabilitates-its-persecuted-witches-a-804288.html

    • Replies: @AP
  148. melanf says:
    @AP

    Correct. Estimates by Spaniards was as high 100,000 per year. Modern historians estimate about 20,000 per year.

    No. Historians say that the number of human sacrifices is repeatedly overestimated by the Spaniards, but the exact number of these sacrifices is impossible to establish (even approximately). If you think that instead of the claimed Spaniards 100,000 sacrifices a year, there were 20,000 sacrifices-fine, then take the number of victims of the Inquisition from the writings of Voltaire and divide by 5. And then compare.

    Due to diseases caused by contact with people

    The Spaniards (despite the prohibitions of the crown) turned the Indians into slaves (or semi-slaves), and since in such conditions the Indians died out by the hundreds of thousands, the Spaniards began to import slaves from Africa who brought to America tropical diseases of the Old World (in addition to European diseases). Because of this fact, the priests of Huītzilppōchtli were much better than the Catholics who sailed from overseas. Note that the Spaniards quickly realized the effect of European diseases on the Indians – this did not stop the Spaniards from further expansion. Well, direct violence was also above the roof.

    • Replies: @AP
  149. AP says:
    @Sparkon

    No, mostly it was a Roman Catholic thing, primarily but not exclusively in Germany, and led by none other than the poorly named Pope Innocent VIII and his Papal Bull of 1484, Summis desiderantes affectibus:

    The Inquisition used due process and investigation, and as a result fewer people were burned as witches than in Protestant countries.

    Here is a list of formal trials and executions:

    https://www.statista.com/chart/19801/people-tried-and-executed-in-witch-trials-in-europe/

    Germany was the leader, but it had both Catholic and Protestant parts and it doesn’t sort them out.
    Second place was mostly Protestant Switzerland. France was far behind in third place.

    Exactly 1 person was tried and executed as a witch in Spain, 60 in Italy. When you compare per capita, relative to population, the Protestant toll becomes even worse.

    The list does not include mob burnings of witches. These mostly happened in Protestant countries.

    The last woman executed for witchcraft in Europe was Anna Göldi, in Switzerland in 1782. She was beheaded. The region of Switzerland she is from is 44% Protestant and 37% Catholic.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Sparkon
  150. melanf says:
    @AP

    Second place was mostly Protestant Switzerland.

    In Switzerland there are more Catholics than Protestants

    • Replies: @AP
  151. AP says:
    @melanf

    No. Historians say that the number of human sacrifices is repeatedly overestimated by the Spaniards, but the exact number of these sacrifices is impossible to establish (even approximately). If you think that instead of the claimed Spaniards 100,000 sacrifices a year, there were 20,000 sacrifices-fine, then take the number of victims of the Inquisition from the writings of Voltaire and divide by 5. And then compare.

    I was wrong – Spaniards estimated as much as 250,000 per year, not 100,000.

    You are also wrong. Just because exact numbers cannot be calculated doe smean that historians are unable to provide estimates. Historians do give estimates. So historian Victor Davis Hanson estimates 20,000 per year. BBC has the same number:

    https://www.historyextra.com/period/ancient-history/how-many-people-did-the-aztecs-sacrifice/

    The Spanish invaders were shocked to find that the Aztecs carried out huge numbers of human sacrifices at their temples.

    The scale of the killings has long been a matter of controversy as the Spanish may have exaggerated the numbers killed to make the Aztecs appear more barbaric.

    Sacrifice was a central focus of religion in Central America. People would often stab themselves with thorns in their tongues, ears or even genitalia to offer the blood to the gods. As for human sacrifice, some victims volunteered for the good of the community or to atone for a sin, but most were prisoners of war or criminals.

    The god Tlaloc, for example, demanded that children have their throats cut, and to please Chicomecoatl, a girl was beheaded. Huitzilopochtli preferred to have the beating hearts of men cut out and placed in front of his statue, while the severed head was put on a rack on the temple walls.

    It is possible that around 20,000 people were sacrificed a year in the Aztec Empire. Special occasions demanded more blood – when a new temple to Huitzilopochtli was dedicated in 1487, an estimated 80,400 people were sacrificed.

    ::::::::::::::

    Aztecs had their empire at full strength for at least 100 years, so 2 million sacrificed people is a realistic estimate. Their “gods” were literally demons. For example their rain god demanded the sacrifice of children. The children had to be crying when killed, so the killing involved torture before their throat was cut. This is what this demon looked like:

    Horrified Spaniards encountering his death-cult can be forgiven for smashing his statues.

    Decadent, post-modern 21st century degenerates should not be forgiven for excusing or minimizing it.

    It is epic-level anti-Catholic, anti-European, anti-Christian bigotry to somehow compare Spaniards to Aztecs. That you argue this highlights the deep and insidious impact that Sovoks had on your culture.

    The Spaniards (despite the prohibitions of the crown) turned the Indians into slaves (or semi-slaves), and since in such conditions the Indians died out by the hundreds of thousands

    Aztecs already practiced semi-slavery. Britanica: “Among the Aztecs of Mexico, slavery generally seems to have been relatively mild. People got into the institution through self-sale and capture and could buy their way out relatively easily. Slaves were often used as porters in the absence of draft animals in Mesoamerica. The fate of other slaves was less pleasant: chattels purchased from the Mayans and others were sacrificed in massive numbers. Some of the sacrifices may have been eaten by the social elite.”

    Spaniards maintained forced labor for awhile but also introduced literacy and some basic rights. Among other things, people were no longer harvested for sacrifice. A peasant Mexico in 1650 had a better life than one in 1500.

    the priests of Huītzilppōchtli were much better than the Catholics who sailed from overseas

    Only a horrible Soviet legacy can lead one to think that priests who removed beating hearts from living people and wore costumes made of human skin were much better than priests who taught people how to read and write, how to compose music, etc.

    Note that the Spaniards quickly realized the effect of European diseases on the Indians – this did not stop the Spaniards from further expansion.

    Diseases spread even to areas where Europeans did not go, for example much of North America was depopulated before settlers arrived. So, expansion had nothing to do with its ongoing death toll. Once contact had been made it was inevitable.

    • Replies: @melanf
  152. AP says:
    @melanf

    Only today. Today nobody is burning witches.

    From wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Switzerland

    Until the 1970s, Protestants made up a majority of the Swiss population, decreasing to about a fourth nowadays. Some traditionally Protestant cantons and cities have today more Catholics than Protestants, due to a steady rise of the unaffiliated population in general combined with Catholic immigration from countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal, who mostly immigrated during the second half of the 20th century, and a less important immigration from Croatia during the last 25 years. 31% of all Catholics are foreign nationals versus 5% of Protestants.

    Earliest data they have is from 1910. Switzerland was 56% Protestant, 43% Catholic at that time.

  153. melanf says:
    @AP

    So historian Victor Davis Hanson estimates 20,000 per year. BBC has the same number:

    This is ridiculous . Historians in the past estimated the number of victims of the Inquisition in the millions. The “estimate” that you give about the Aztecs – the same fictional figures that have no basis.

    Aztecs already practiced semi-slavery.

    Under the Aztecs, the Indians did not die out at a record rate. But under the rule of Catholics-died out

    • Replies: @AP
  154. Sparkon says:
    @AP

    Catholics were burning witches with the Pope’s blessing and prompting. Protestants had no such moral authority. Persecution of witches across the Holy Roman Empire had been taking place already by the 12th and 13th centuries, but what really set off the witch-burning madness, moral authority or not, was the publication in the German city Speyer, along the Rhine, of the Malleus Maleficarum, or ‘Hammer of Witches’ by priest Heinrich Kramer in 1487, just 3 years after Innocent VIII’s Papal Bull.

    The Malleus Maleficarum effectively gave communities a rubber stamp for acts of mass hysteria. All it took was one person with a grudge to set a spark amongst kindling, accusing someone (usually an older woman) of cursing or hexing them.

    https://www.thelocal.de/20140523/history-of-witch-hunts-in-germany

    Statista’s numbers are based on one source. The article in Spiegel gives much higher totals:

    The Oberkirchen trials represent just a small fraction of those that led to the execution of some 25,000 alleged witches between 1500 and 1782 in Germany. The country was a hotbed of persecution, says witch-trial expert Hartmut Hegeler, explaining that some 40 percent of the 60,000 witches who were tortured and killed in Europe during the infamous era were executed in what is now modern Germany.

    The Papal Bull of 1484 should be recognized as a very powerful go-ahead signal from the Pope himself giving his blessing and encouragement to the Catholic witch-burners, while the Malleus Maleficarum was a timely and pragmatic how-to guide for torturers and witch-burners of all denominations.

    More than anything else, even religion, this witch-burning is all about crazy, superstitious, violent human reaction to climate change, which brought bad weather, and to any and all other maladies, real or imagined, including impotence.

    The Golden Rule — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you — has been replaced by the Fool Rule: When things go wrong, blame somebody.

    And the Iron Rule:

    Do unto others before they do unto you.

    • Replies: @AP
  155. AP says:
    @melanf

    Historians in the past estimated the number of victims of the Inquisition in the millions.

    Which ones? Were they as neutral as modern historians?

    The “estimate” that you give about the Aztecs – the same fictional figures that have no basis.

    Estimate is not mine but by modern historians. There is nothing fictional or fantastic about that estimate. Human sacrifice was a central part of their religion.

    Under the Aztecs, the Indians did not die out at a record rate. But under the rule of Catholics-died out

    Due to disease, not killing. We are comparing brutality of each one. Disease isn’t evidence of brutality. Cutting childrens’ throats after torturing them as part of the common religious ritual is.

    • Replies: @melanf
  156. AP says:
    @Sparkon

    what really set off the witch-burning madness, moral authority or not, was the publication in the German city Speyer, along the Rhine, of the Malleus Maleficarum, or ‘Hammer of Witches’ by priest Heinrich Kramer in 1487, just 3 years after Innocent VIII’s Papal Bull.

    https://www.thelocal.de/20140523/history-of-witch-hunts-in-germany

    Statista’s numbers are based on one source. The article in Spiegel gives much higher totals:

    Do you have more detailed sources?

    From the same Spiegel article:

    It goes without saying that this was a deeply flawed work. Even the Inquisition felt the need to publish a statement shortly after the publication of the book, condemning it and stating that it didn’t reflect Church teaching.

    Here is a map of witch persecutions:

    None in Catholic Italy, Spain (other than pocket in Basque country), Ireland, or Poland. Plenty in Catholic France. A lot in both Catholic and Protestant parts of Germany in places where these denominations met, and in parts of Protestant Scotland and England. Plenty in Protestant Scandinavia.

    this witch-burning is all about crazy, superstitious, violent human reaction to climate change, which brought bad weather, and to any and all other maladies, real or imagined, including impotence.

    It was brutal and wrong, and often misapplied, but why do you think it was necessarily crazy? You don’t think there were any witches? Even now gypsies in Moscow might take a strand of hair from a child and demand money from the parents, or they will use the hair to make a curse and give the child cancer. I knew a “witch” in the 90s Urals (neighbor of some in-laws) who made a good living casting and repelling curses. When she died the local elite (politicians and gangsters) came to her funeral, they were customers. You don’t think that in 17th century Germany nobody was doing this stuff and therefore arousing a lot of anger by fed up people?

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  157. melanf says:
    @AP

    The “estimate” that you give about the Aztecs – the same fictional figures that have no basis.

    Estimate is not mine but by modern historians. There is nothing fictional or fantastic about that estimate.

    Since the estimates do not have any database ( the Aztecs did not have archives), these are just fictitious numbers. If these figures are made up by some historian, it doesn’t change anything, they are still made up figures.

    Under the Aztecs, the Indians did not die out at a record rate. But under the rule of Catholics-died out

    Due to disease, not killing.

    The Catholics built such a system that the Indians died out by the millions. But since this system brought income to the crown and the Catholic Church, the Catholics did not want to change this order. They certainly felt sorry for the Indians, but their own income (as well as the purity of the Catholic faith) was more important to them than the existence of the Indians. Because of this, all talk about Catholic benefactors is just hypocrisy.

    • Replies: @AP
  158. Sparkon says:
    @AP

    It was brutal and wrong, and often misapplied, but why do you think it was necessarily crazy? You don’t think there were any witches? Even now gypsies in Moscow might take a strand of hair from a child and demand money from the parents, or they will use the hair to make a curse […] You don’t think that in 17th century Germany nobody was doing this stuff and therefore arousing a lot of anger by fed up people?

    No, I don’t believe in the supernatural, and I don’t think there are any witches. Bitches, yes, crazy people, yes, but real witches consorting with the devil and casting spells, no. However, the Number of Americans who say they are witches is on the rise. There are certainly crazy women who feel empowered by posing as a witch, and even such supposedly level-headed people as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself believed in spirits and fell for the Cottingly Fairies Hoax.

    According to a recent Gallup Poll, 79% of Americans believe in God, while 72% believe in angels. Those believing in heaven – 71%, hell – 64%, and The devil – 61% complete the survey.

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/193271/americans-believe-god.aspx

    According to Pravda:

    The overwhelming majority of Russians believe in the existence of God (73%) and angels (53%). This was the result of a survey carried out by VTsIOM research institute on 1600 Russians in December 2003. 46% believe in the existence of heaven while just 44% believe in the existence of hell and the devil. It turns out that Russians are actually quite skeptical about witches as 45% of Russians do not believe in them.

    https://www.pravdareport.com/news/russia/55141-n/

    Hmm. Does that mean 55% of Russians do believe in witches?

    Back to witch-burning, this from The National Catholic Reporter

    Beyond Halloween: Witches, devils, trials and executions

    From 1450 until 1750 there are probably 100,000 trials maximum. In the 1970s, the number bandied about was 9 million, but we are now down to between 100,000 and 70,000 trials. These were largely civil trials, rather than church trials. There were 30,000 to 50,000 executions over that 300-year period. Recent scholarship is supporting the lower numbers.
    […]
    When the Reformation starts there is a dip, a pause. People are distracted. But by the 1550s-1560s, the number of prosecutions and executions rises again, especially in Germany. Seventy percent of the trials and executions were in Germany. Something like 90 to 95 percent of people executed for witchcraft spoke a dialect of German.

    Also, after the Reformation, it is the secular courts that try witches. And this is when it becomes really brutal. The 1560 to 1660 period, which is when the most brutal accusations are, it is secular courts, with the encouragement of ecclesiastical officials, that are driving it.

    MacKay in Extraordianry Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds devoted one chapter to witch burning, but I don’t think he made any connection with climate change, per se, or the Little Ice Age, but rather just bad weather in general, and in particular, The Tempest, which some crazy old crones claimed they could summon. MacKays says that “thousands upon thousands” of supposed witches were burned at the stake. In my view, it seems unlikely that all the witch-burning was done under official circumstances, or with any legal authority, but whatever the actual number of innocent victims, it remains a long, horrifying chapter in human history, and an apt reminder of just how crazy humans can be.

  159. @melanf

    In the narrow circles of the humanitarian “intelligentsia” Nabokov is undoubtedly a star, but the average Russian reader does not read Nabokov and will not read. Nabokov is quite widely known – but this is thanks to Hollywood adaptations of Lolita, and the words lolita and nymphet.

    What a shame. I’m a Kubrick fan, but the Lolita adaptation is his weakest film outside his earliest, and not a patch on the book, which is famous in part because it’s such pure literature. Much of the action in the book had to be translated into a language fit for film, which is about as hopeless as turning the sensation of a good meal into an opera. My mind goes to Frank Zappa’s famous quote: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

  160. AP says:
    @melanf

    Since the estimates do not have any database ( the Aztecs did not have archives), these are just fictitious numbers

    So in your world all estimates not based on archives are “fiction.” Good to know.

    In the real world, historians estimate that about 20,000 people were sacrificed by the Aztecs every year.

    The Catholics built such a system that the Indians died out by the millions.

    Millions died from exposure to viruses, not from any system. The system brought literacy, basic rights, beautiful architecture and music and replaced a primitive near stone-age system based on human sacrifice.

  161. @melanf

    From this list, Bulgakov, Mikhail Zoshchenko and the Strugatsky brothers are certainly alive as writers (that is, their books are read by a relatively wide range of readers). Maxim Gorky a talented playwright and short story writer, you might say half-alive. Yuri Olesha is known for one half-forgotten fairy tale for children (the rest of his work is simply forgotten).
    Alexander Grin is remembered for the Soviet adaptation of the story “Scarlet sails”.

    I saw that film not long ago. Not bad! I was actually recommended Alexander Grin by a Russian — and not much of a bookish type either — so I assumed he was more widely read. I was also thinking of that Scarlet Sails show you hold in Saint Petersburg every summer, during the White Nights celebrations. Turns out it even has its own Wikipedia page!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Sails_(tradition)

    The rest of the authors from the list as writers are hopelessly dead in Russia (perhaps Shalamov will resurrect over time).

    That’s strange about Shalamov. I thought parts of Kolyma Tales were standard reading in Russian schools?

    The list of “living” Soviet authors can certainly include Leonid Solovyov (his “Tale of Khoja Nasreddin” is probably the best work of Russian literature), A. N. Tolstoy, probably Eugene Schwartz, Alexander Belyaev, Sergey Snegov and several other authors.

    Thanks for tips. Will look them up!

    The trouble with “high” Russian literature is that it was perceived as a semblance of Holy Scripture and was intended to teach rather than entertain. As a result most of this literature is nothing but boring outside of the politicized intelligentsia of its era. To date, Astred Lindgren in Russia is far more popular than L. Tolstoy, Turgenev, Goncharov, Dostoevsky and Chekhov combined

    I find that hard to believe, but that’s perhaps a discussion for another time. Astrid Lindgren is great, though. I was raised on her myself.

    • Replies: @melanf
  162. melanf says:
    @Swedish Family

    That’s strange about Shalamov. I thought parts of Kolyma Tales were standard reading in Russian schools?

    This does not make Shalamov a” living ” writer. Literary works are alive as long as people read them voluntarily, for the sake of pleasure, and not forcibly from fear of the stick of a school teacher.

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