Russian citizen Oleg Tishchenko to face charges in US for buying fighter jet manuals to use in a flight simulation game DCS World after extradition from Georgia. It appears that Eagle Dynamics has kicked their employee to the dogs, claiming that Tishchenko was acting in a "purely private context and for his own personal interests."... Read More
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.
In the latest news from the ongoing comedy skit that is Ukrainian politics, we learn that Mikheil Saakashvili has been appointed governor of Odessa oblast. Who is Saakashvili? The son of Soviet apparatchiks with ties to the diplomatic service, which was dominated by Georgians in the late USSR, this onetime university dropout enjoyed a great... Read More
Olesya Gerasimenko interviews Konstantin Lebedev, recently convicted of planning riots at the Bolotnaya rally of 6 May, 2012 and given a 2.5 year prison sentence. After his plea bargain and shocking confessions, his former comrades now call him a traitor. Were you pleased with the sentence? I was facing 2-3 years anyhow, so I don’t... Read More
It's no real secret that many Russians have a positive impression of Stalin; it was 49% in February 2013, insignificantly down from 53% in 2003. (This is not a view that I share). There are probably a few big reasons for this: (1) The mistaken notion that without him Russia would have remained in the... 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
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.
My latest for US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel on whether to view the recent Georgian elections, in which Saakashvili's United National Movement lost a lot of power, as a Kremlin coup or a triumph of democracy. My view that it isn't really either: Two dominant themes prevailed in media coverage of the 2012 Georgian elections (1)... Read More
I will be jetting off tomorrow to Washington, but before I do - a translation of Edward Lozansky's interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda (Америка ненавидит Россию, которую сама себе придумала). Lozansky, who used to be a Soviet dissident, is the organizer of the World Russia Forum and has many strong, pertinent views on why it's a... Read More
Now that my initial triumphalism over Putin's return has faded a bit, it's time for a more analytical look. One of the main reasons I thought Medvedev would be the more likely person to be United Russia's Presidential candidate is that Putin was simply unwilling to return. As Daniel Treisman wrote in his book on... Read More
Though I originally meant to write my own analysis of what the Wikileaks cables have contributed to our understanding of the 2008 South Ossetia War, I realized that I would essentially be trying to duplicate the excellent efforts of Patrick Armstrong. (See also the New York Times article Embracing Georgia, U.S. Misread Signs of Rifts).... Read More
One of the staples of the neocon-Russophobe narrative is that Russia is alone in the world, utterly bereft of friends, left only with the likes of Nicaragua and Nauru to indulge it in its anachronistic "imperial fantasies". Not really. Conflating the West with the world won't change the fact that amongst the peoples of China,... Read More
I have long noted Russia's resurgence back into the ranks of the leading Great Powers; I predicted that the global economic crisis will not have a long-term retarding impact on the Russian economy; and within the past year I have bought into Stratfor's idea that the defining narrative now in play in Eurasia is Russia's... Read More
This is a summary of opinion polls conducted by the Levada-Center, Russia's Gallup, since February 2009, and continues on from the first post. Along with the original post Lovely Levada, this series constitutes a unique English-language reference for social trends under late Putinism as expressed by the Russian people themselves, rather than the limousine liberals,... Read More
Three interesting stories, all tied with Russia and water. 1. The explosion at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam in Siberia. Though the official Russian version is that it was a blown transformer, the Chechen separatists / terrorists are claiming that it's their work: [...talks about their recent militant attacks in Ingushetia & threatens those who cooperate with... Read More
This is a list of common Russophobe myths about Russia and its people, and the successor to a March 2008 post on a similar theme. Please be sure to check the supporting notes at the bottom before dismissing this as neo-Soviet propaganda. Also partially available en français & на русском thanks to Alexandre Latsa's translation.... 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
The ludicrous claims spouted by Saakashvili continue falling apart as soon as his febrile mind makes them, forcing even the most ardent Cold Warriors to temper their uncompromising narrative of "Russian aggression against the 'fledgling' Georgian democracy". And despite the impressive achievements of Georgian infowar, after many tribulations the truth came out. OCSE monitors confirmed... Read More
I am being a sarcastic, of course. Ukraine has banned broadcasting of Russian TV channels. Georgia cut access to the .ru domain and banned Russian TV channels (and Euronews!), no doubt to silence any questioning voices over their criminal aggression as opposed to the likes of Fox, CNN or the BBC, which swallowed the psychopathic... Read More
In an interview in Spiegel, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder states the obvious, something that Washington and its British and east European lackies seem to have difficulty grasping. 'Serious Mistakes by the West' Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder discusses the war in the Caucasus, the possibility of Germany serving as an intermediary in the conflict... Read More
Russia: Other Points of View, predictably enough, has had a plethora of "rich" (in the "yeah, that's rich!" sense of the word) materials to condemn the Western's media's tendency to present opinion and sensationalist rhetoric as fact in the service of one point of view (the West's, or more particularly, America's neocon foreign policy elite).... Read More
War is the ultimate crucible where ideas, theories, etc, prove their worth based on outcomes. Russia's brilliant performance in Georgia, documented by uncompromisable UPI military analyst Martin Seiff, demolished the grounds for the pessimism espoused by the likes of Pavel Felgenhauer or Aleksandr Golts regarding Russia's real military strength. The mini-war between Russia and the... Read More
Georgia's glorius leader will surely go down in the annals of history alongside other great men of his calibre like Dubya... Aug 13 (Reuters) - Following are some of the various statements made on Wednesday by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili: TO CBS TELEVISION "In Georgia's far region of South Ossetia... Russian tanks are going through... Read More
Patrick Armstron in Russia Today penned a polemic on the Importance of Chronology. The issues he raises are so important that I will quote it in full. ... On Thursday August 7, 2008, President Saakashvili of Georgia went on TV and addressed his country. There had been outbreaks of shooting in South Ossetia for some... Read More
So let's get this straight - breaking their own ceasefire, Georgia attacked Russian citizens and peacekeepers, and there are grounds to believe they committed war crimes, in violation of the latters' peacekeeping mandate. All Russian military action is aimed at repelling the Georgian military from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which at times involves bombing the... Read More
Russia's representative at the UNSC, Vitaly Churkin, against the dramatic backdrop of Georgia's criminal assault on Ossetia that is implicitly backed by the US and its closest allies, made a great speech lambasting Western hypocrisy, comparable to Putin's bravura performance in Munich. [youtube= Security Council 5953rd Meeting (AM) - SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS THIRD EMERGENCY MEETING... Read More
It's official. Wiki even has an article on it (2008 War in South Ossetia). It's quite balanced and always updated, so I recommend reading it over any news source. I admit that I was under the impression that this conflict would yet simmer for a few years, as they already have been, a spectacle of... Read More
Let's start with two excellent new resources I've recently come across. Russia: Other Points of View states its objectives thus: Hmm... Sounds quite similar to Da Russophile, in fact, and makes a substantial part of our News posts redundant. As such I'll be referring to it frequently. The other is the Moscow Defence Brief, an... 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
Medvedev gives his first foreign media interview (to the Financial Times), in which he charts the bedrock of his presidency. Will continue to pursue primarily Russia's, not the West's, interests. Will work in tandem with Putin, to whom he is neither puppet nor rebel. Will strive to root out "legal nihilism" / proizvol in Russia... Read More
The most important development has been Medvedev's election to the Presidency with 70.2% of the vote. While it has not been squeaky clean (and as such, no different from any other Russian election under either Yeltsin or Putin), the more hystryonic claims of voter intimidation are to be treated with a pinch of salt -... Read More
The Western media has begun to whine about the Russian presidential elections five weeks in advance. Their beef is that Kasyanov was barred from running, ostensibly because above 5% of his required signatures were rigged, but actually to undercut the last independent candidate - Russia's last and only hope of salvation from the 'slippery slope... Read More
Freedom House publishes its 2008 report on Freedom in the World. Russia scored a 6 for Political Rights and and 5 for Civil Rights (1 is best, 7 is worst). According to their figures, Russia is no different from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Brunei, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar and the UAE, and less free than... Read More
Rally against Georgia poll result And time and time again, consistently, there surface allegations of fraud. This is not to say Georgia is a failure at democracy, but that there were serious problems in the conduct of these elections is in no doubt. Georgia protesters give poll icy reception Facing the demonstrators across the river... Read More
Saakashvili wins Georgian elections in first round (January 6th) This normally wouldn't matter much, but bearing in mind the narrowness of Saakashvili's final score (52.21 as of 8 Jan) this can be significant. The perception of the fairness of the vote was important because the Bush administration has cited Saakashvili's government as an example of... 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.