We are reaching levels of neoliberalism that shouldn't even be possible. In the USSR, getting a "red diploma" in university - the rough equivalent of a American summa cum laude - was contingent on acing the courses on scientific communism and similar crap. Interesting to see neoliberalism.txt developing in a similar direction. Andreas Schleicher, the... Read More
Results of PIRLS 2016 (4th Graders) have just come out (h/t Polish Perspective). The official website is somewhat of a pain to navigate, and there doesn't appear to be any single master report, but fortunately they left their root directory unblocked so you can just look at all the charts and Excel tables here:
The TIMSS 2015 results for math and science are out and the results are pretty predictable. All the data can be conveniently downloaded from here: See also Steve Sailer's post from yesterday. An extension of Heiner Rindermann's observation on the differences between the two major international standardized tests - namely, that PISA is more a... Read More
Recent news of the Japanese government directing its public universities to stop offering social sciences and humanities courses raises some pretty important questions over the future of higher education in the age of fiscal deficits, automation, and e-learning ahead. An entirely predictable debate followed, with skeptical conservatives (and I daresay most Unz readers) saying good... Read More
I had been meaning to post about this for a long time. Better late than never, I suppose.The TIMSS and PIRLS are international assessments of academic ability in math, science and literacy that are conducted once every four years. They are similar to the PISA tests, although the latter are less purely academically focused and... 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
Russia is to spend 1.5 billion rubles building "Centers of Tolerance" to improve inter-ethnic relations in the next few years. Is this a good use of resources? Pyotr Kozlov examines the issue. The Ministry of Regional Development plans to start constructing Centers of Tolerance all across Russia from 2014, where anyone can go to learn... 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
A few months ago I posted a table and map of Russian IQ's as derived from regional PISA performance. Those figures are based on Jarkko Hautamäki’s slideshow comparing regional PISA performance in Finland and Russia. That material is a bit inadequate because, as had been my custom up that point, I was only making IQ... Read More
According to a recent Vzglyad article by Olga Gritsenko titled Universal Stupefaction, no they are not. Here are the cold raw facts: Libraries stock 4% of books published in Ukraine, compared to 18% in Russia and 40% in the US and Canada. The average Ukrainian spends $2.5 on books in one year, compared to $22... Read More
One of the key criticisms of my last post on the tight connections between (educational) human capital and economic performance is that correlation need not imply causation. An alternate (and PC-compliant) explanation is that "you get the education system you could afford, and the level of human capital in the kids is mostly determined by... Read More
Just in case you thought the correlation between human capital and economic development was an artifice of the post-socialist world, here is a similar graph (R2=0.4273) for all the world's countries that have participated in the Math and Science portions of the PISA or TIMMS (8th grade) international standardized student assessments.
Иn the wake of the 2009 recession, declinist rhetoric has come to dominate discussion of Russia's economic prospects. Jim O'Neill, the founder of the BRIC's concept, has his work cut out defending Russia's expulsion from the group in favor of Indonesia, Mexico, or some other random middle-sized country. Journalists in the Western media claim its... Read More
In this third part of my series on national comparisons between Britain, Russia, and the US, I look at the social institutions and infrastructure that play such a big role in our everyday lives. Why is Russia's life expectancy ten years lower than in the US? What are the most popular university subjects? Where do... Read More
In the wake of the economic crisis in which Russia's GDP fell by a stunning 7.9% in 2009, its status as a BRIC economy - with its connotations of promise and progress - was brought into question. After all, isn't it a dying nation with rapidly degrading infrastructure? Isn't it amazingly corrupt? Wouldn't its contempt... Read More
This April, Michael Bohm, editor at the Moscow Times, published the article New Kremlin Dreamers, which questioned Russia's stated intention of becoming an advanced industrial nation by 2020. I wasn't much impressed by its pessimistic assertions - for instance, regarding Russia's hopes of becoming the world's fifth largest economy by 2020, he falls into the... Read More
Ever since the publication of Filippov's (in)famous textbook A History of Russia 1945-2006 in 2007, the state of Russian history teaching drew a fair degree of negative commentary in the West, some of it reasonably lucid, most of it superficial or hysterical. What the latter have in common is that they almost invariably haven't read... Read More
After its long pre-modern stint as Europe's most populated nation, France started transitioning to lower birth rates from the Napoleonic era, about a century in advance of the rest of Europe. On the eve of the First World War, its stagnant population made a stark contrast to German youth and virility. Considering the disparity in... Read More
Though hard to imagine, the Washington Post - or Pravda on the Potomac, as Eugene Ivanov quite rightly labels it - surpassed even its own sordid standards for Russia coverage, in the form of the latest op-ed from George F. Will in Potemkin Country. Time to go grenade fishing again, I guess. I suppose turning... Read More
Since the last time I covered Levada's opinion polls was a whopping half a year back, I reckon its time to make an update on what Russians are thinking since then. A comprehensive kind of post, like what I did in Lovely Levada (check it out, if you haven't already!) and hopefully a good resource... Read More
A while ago I wrote Education as the Elixir of Growth on DR, in which I noted that in most countries the educational profile is closely correlated to their level of productivity. The major exceptions are nations with resource windfalls (inflated productivity) and socialist legacies (deflated productivity). Furthermore, the greater the gap between the 'potential... Read More
For all the noise being made this month about Georgia, about NATO, about Tibet, etc, possibly the most portentous is that it seems Russia hit its oil peak (strictly speaking, its second - the first happened in 1987), well in line with peakist predictions. Production increases via application of new technology, as seen in the... Read More
As we covered in the previous instalment, Demographics I: The Russian Cross Reversed?, fertility rates are not abnormally low by European standards and are likely to rise further in the future. The same cannot be said of mortality rates - a 'quiet crisis' that has been a 'catastrophe of historic proportions'. Take life expectancy. As... Read More
EDIT: Check out the updated Top 50 Russophobe Myths. According to this blog's philosophy, every thesis needs an antithesis. Hence I present the Top 10 Russophobe Myths, in opposition to La Russophobe's Top 10 Russophile Myths. (As well as to celebrate our 2000th visit). 10 MYTH: The barbarous state of Muscovy arose in the sixteenth... Read More
What are the reasons behind the wealth and poverty of nations? Since this question has exercised the minds of thinkers from Adam Smith to David Landes, Jared Diamond and Richard Lynn, I decided to take a look at it myself. I came to the conclusion that while geography, macroeconomic policies, resource windfalls and the microeconomic... Read More
In the first 5 days of its existence, this blog has been priveleged to receive more than more than 200 page views from more than 100 visitors from 18 different countries. We have also been linked to by the Winthrop88 blog and Marginalia (probably the leading English-language blog about Latvia) - of those that we're... Read More
Assessing Russia's effective strength has been a problem for observers of the country since its inception. It's a riddle, an enigma and a mystery all wrapped up in one, as Churchill wryly noted long ago, and that's unlikely to change soon. In any case the paradigm has certainly held these past fifteen years since the... 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.