Bernard-Henri Lévy interviews Orban and writes about it in The Atlantic. This reminds me of when Putin allowed Masha Gessen to interview him. I don't really get why they do it. First, ideologues who hate you will not think or say any better of you for your "magnanimity". Indeed, BHL claims he doesn't believe Orban... Read More
In my 2011 series comparing life in the US, Britain, and Russia, I wrote the following about university admissions: Overall, university admissions are probably the most meritocratic in the UK. In Russia, though the system is supposed to be meritocratic, it is skewed by corruption, for it is not unknown for applicants to bribe admissions... Read More
A German writes about Russians in the NYT: Now it's not that he is necessarily wrong. There is surely some genetic component to corruption proclivities, and it is certainly plausible that it is significantly higher in Russia (or Italy) than in North-West Europe. But what is hilarious is that this comes from the employer of... Read More
Untold billions of dollars spent on new football stadiums. Lavish spending on football players. The hiring of some of Europe's most expensive and prestigious coaches. Results? Russia is 45th in the football Elo rankings Russia is 70th in the FIFA rankings The Russian team has never been weaker in its entire history.
Georgia makes basically no sense from an HBD perspective. Georgians aren't very bright, and GDP growth has been unimpressive For all the praise heaped upon Georgia by deregulation advocates and libertarians, its institutional miracle hasn't been accompanied by an economic one; GDP per capita is only about 15% above peak Soviet levels.
When finishing up yesterday's post I realized that Transparency International has finished releasing its final version of the Global Corruption Barometer. By far the most interesting indicator is the percentageof people who report paying a bribe in the past 12 months (more precisely, the percentage of households who paid a bribe when accessing basic services).... Read More
The World Bank Enterprise Surveys are an invaluable source of information on the business climate across both time and space. In particular, its section on corruption does for businesses what Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer does for individuals - it directly asks them whether they are expected to give bribes to bureaucrats to reach understandings... Read More
While I was writing an article about Russian IQ for Sputnik and Pogrom the past few days, I noticed this amazing statistic from the 2010 Census. Percentage of the population with a postgrad degree: 1. Ingushetia: 1.59% 2. Moscow: 1.12% ... 90. Chechnya: 0.32% Ingushetia is Chechnya's quieter, lower T, slyer brother. They are part... Read More
An n=8,200 Ipsos poll from May 5 gave Emmanual Macron 63% to Le Pen's 37%. She needs a miracle. The betting markets are likewise gloomy. Macron is 87% favorites on PredictIt, which is bad but not hopeless for Le Pen. However, the picture becomes much worse for the French nationalists when you lo
Ernst & Young regularly carries out large-scale surveys of corporate employees across a range of countries on issues such as ethics and corruption in the workplace. In the latest Global Fraud Survey (PDF), which took place at the end of 2016, 88% of Ukrainian employees thought that bribery and corrupt practices are widespread in business... Read More
In an infamous 2008 article, Alexander Dugin makes the distinction between "patriotic corruption" and "comprador corruption," or "Eurasian corruption" and "Atlanticist corruption." Here are the main features of "Eurasian" (patriotic) corruption: Doesn't damage Russia's national security; Concentrates the proceeds of corruption on Russian territory, or that of allied or strategically important countries; Doesn't put the... Read More
With a bit less than a year left to Russia's Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle's protest movement against Putin are already coalescing. Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny... Read More
Thomas Theiner, a businessman expat who has lived in Ukraine for the past 5 years, on what "business in Ukraine is really like": Businessmen that had managed to survive Yanukovych's shakedowns are throwing in the towel. The European Choice:
The most well known index of corruption is Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. However, as I have frequently pointed out, it has a lot of problems. The biggest one lies in its very name - perceptions are not necessarily equal to reality, even - or especially - if they come from a narrow class of... Read More
Today a ceasefire has been agreed upon between Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which unlike the unilateral ceasefire declared by Azerbaijan three days ago seems to be holding. This allows us to make some more conclusions observations on what happened.
The front page of The Guardian on the first day of Panama Leaks: This isn't the only curious thing about it. For instance, there is also the observation that it comes on the heels of the tabloid stories that Putin is dating Wendy Deng, a fantastic claim which has been repeated uncritically because
Who would have the temerity to even suggest it? What kind of paid up Kremlin propagandist would even countenance such a possibility? Leonid Bershidsky is who. Bershidsky is a Russian journalist who left Moscow for Berlin a year ago on account of his distaste for Russia's direction under Putin, and where he now agitates for... Read More
Someone stole $1 billion from Moldova. In a series of murky deals last November, the top three banks in Moldova - one of them state-owned - loaned out vast sums of cash to unknown recipients. As the article points out, it is one eighth of Moldova's GDP. It is also: About $350 per citizen. Four... Read More
After a long break, a new contribution to the Experts Panel: Western journalists have been in the business of dismissing Russian achievements and magnifying Russian failures ever since Putin drove them into a collective derangement syndrome - he even haunts their dreams, as recently revealed by the Guardian's Shaun Walker - so the preemptive besmirching... Read More
Here is the discussion at this on The Russia Debate. My friend and DR commentator Alexander Mercouris correctly predicted this outcome - that Serdyukov would be charged, but that it is a complex case that will take a long time and likely avoid more the more serious allegations in favor of those that can be... Read More
It is wrong to glamorize a political hustler with five criminal cases against him, says the National Bolshevik leader - who claims street cred on account of having done real time. Eduard Limonov on why Navalny became a hero of the bourgeoisie. I pay a lot of attention to Navalny. I do. In so far... Read More
Why was there no bribery incidence data for Russia in Transparency International's international survey of 2013? Andrey Kamenetsky at Odnako connects the dots to argue that it was simply because the results were too inconvenient to serve as propaganda. Dear Readers! In July there took place two major crashes in Russia. Both of them were... Read More
Or neither. Well, isn't this a useless post? I am referring to the Global Corruption Barometer released by Transparency International a couple of weeks ago, which I covered at my other blog. For the most part, there were no surprises; the only really strange figures came from Taiwan, where 36% of people claimed to have... Read More
Earlier today, Navalny received a custodial sentence of five years for the theft of 15 million rubles ($500,000) worth of timber from Kirovles. It is simply not true to say that there was "no case" against Navalny, as the Western and Russian liberal media insists on doing. There is wiretap evidence and witness testimony that... Read More
So apparently an Ambassadorship costs $1.8 million per post in the US. In virtually any other country, even where the situation with corruption is quite dismal, such arrangements would be seen as unquestionably corrupt. And yet the US scores an entirely respectable 73/100 in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), leagues above say Italy which... Read More
Here it is. Or just skip the graphics and download the data in Excel here. I can't say I care much about most of it. Of course most people everything think corruption is "increasing," because they are a grumpy lot. What does matter is the number of people who report paying a bribe in the... Read More
Izvestia writes: I wrote half a year ago (highlights are recent): Not to mention: To the contrary, Dagestan – the biggest Caucasian Muslim republic – has very few top scores relative to the number of very bright people we can expect to find there relative to most other Russian
If you remember a couple of weeks ago, the Internet was rocked - for a total of about one or two days - by a wave of leaks from the ICIJ about the identities of offshore account holders in the British Virgin Islands. What juicy revelations did we have about the henchmen of the kleptocratic... Read More
"The Otherness of Self" by Xin Liu, published in 2002. Rating: 1/5. I don’t want to sound overly demanding, but really, unless a writer is the next Kant or Heidegger, he owes it to his readers to make his prose at least minimally engaging. With this book on too many occasions I was under the... Read More
The anti-corruption crusader and best hope of the Russian race Navalny will be on trial for embezzlement on April 17th. And it has to be admitted that even many of us who tend to look at the liberal opposition's claims of repression with a healthy degree of skepticism are now "plagued by vague suspicions." It's... Read More
In a recent interview with the opposition Dozhd TV channel - which is, incidentally, available for public viewing in Russia as part of the NTV Plus satellite TV package - for the first time openly declared he wants to be President. He also speculated about the motivations behind the Kirovles fraud case being brought against... Read More
Anti-corruption efforts have been significantly stepped up in recent months, both in terms of headline making events (e.g. the dismissal of Serdyukov) and the less heralded progress in the introduction of new laws to combat the source. One of these is a ban on Russian bureaucrats holding foreign bank accounts (this represents a watering down... Read More
My latest for VoR's Experts Panel. (Incidentally, good to see that site getting revamped, and entering the Web 2.0 era). London has a reputation as a "safe sanctuary" for shady people of means from the ex-USSR and other less-developed places, and I think it's loath to lose it – as it would by extraditing the... Read More
In one of the recent posts on corruption, commentator AP wrote: Is this true? Seeing as how the Russian state doesn't release Unified State Exam (USE) results by region, probably due to PC considerations, at first this assertion might appear to be unanswerable. However, there is a way to get round the problem. (1) We... Read More
Continuing from my previous post (which focused mostly on trends), this one focuses exclusively on international comparisons as per the results of Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer survey of 2010-11. The graphs represent affirmative answers to the question of whether the respondent had paid a bribe in the past 12 months to each of 9... Read More
One of the books I've been reading lately is Steven Pinker's massive door-stopper The Better Angels of Our Nature. Incidentally, I found it a very interesting read with tons of cool factoids, although it could have done with a third of its text and a tiny fraction of its liberal sanctimonious. But that's for the... Read More
My latest for the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel. Also as usual it appears at Voice of Russia. The version printed here is a slightly longer one: There are already a lot of opinions on the topic of Russian corruption, and I see no pressing need to add more to that morass. I do however think... Read More
Not often that you see Russia in some color other than bloody red on a world map of corruption or institutional quality. But according to the Open Budget Index (2012 results), the Russian budget is actually pretty transparent as far as these things go.
By the usual standards of Guardian reporting on Russia, this one by GQ Russia editor Andrew Ryvkin is... well, about par for the course. Citing a recent PwC report that Russia will overtake Germany to become Europe's biggest economy in 2030, he asks, "Should we believe them?" Well, the PwC is just repeating predictions made... Read More
I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.
One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.
Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.