In the modern world, being a victim gives you status points. So "owning" the Holocaust is like a jackpot - the Germans gave the Jews lemons in 1941-45, and then the Jews made lemonade. Unfortunately, not all Jews are partial to sharing the lemonade stand:
In my tradition of rescuing sufficiently fine comments from the relative oblivion that are long comments sections, I am reprinting Thulean Friend's detailed comment on Israel's prospects in the last Open Thread. *** I got into a discussion with Dmitry some time ago about emigration patterns from Israel. His postion was that it was an... Read More
It appears evident that it was the Syrians who took down the Russian Il-20 surveillance plane. Russian MoD claims that Israelis misinformed Russia about the target of their strikes, whose fighters used the hapless Il-20 for cover. This would make it a combination of Arab incompetence and Jewish mendacity. A most stereotypical combination. Now Russia... Read More
There are some pretty strange ideas floating around that Russia is obligated to help Syria/Iran in their decades-long squabbles with Israel, and that Putin is "betraying his people" by not doing so. Well, last time I checked, Putin is President of Russians, not Syrians/Iranians. Indeed, the term "сирийские братушки" ("Syrian brothers") has long been an... Read More
Percentage anti-Semites according to the ADL (i.e. believe in 6+/11 of popular stereotypes about Jews). Fortunately, the ADL has attempted to make at least a minimal attempt at quantification. You qualify as an anti-Semite if you answer Probably
On the eve of the 2016 US elections, I got to talking with a Jew at one of the futurist meetups who was hyperventilating about the prospect of Trump winning. He unironically thought there was a risk of actual deportations of immigrants to concentration camps and pogroms against Jews. Typical Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer, who... 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
Here it is in Russian: Вверх-вниз по рейтингу свободы. This translation here is of a longer version at my Russian language blog. A version of it also appears on Voice of Russia: Press freedom - on both sides of the Information Curtain.
At least if you take Michael Bohm's arguments in his latest Moscow Times missive on how Russia Is Turning Into Iran to its logical conclusion. Look, I'm not a fan of blasphemy laws. The First Amendment is a wonderful thing and something that makes the US truly great... even exceptional, to an extent. Although it... Read More
From what I generally knew of contemporary Eastern European attitudes towards Jews (in two words “not good”) I expected that the Russian public’s attitude towards Israel would be decidely frosty, if not outright hostile... But what seems noteworthy to me is not the downward blip in 2006 but the generally high level of Russian support... Read More
At least according to Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who is hilariously a Sephardi Jew, i.e. closer to Arabs than Europeans. Well, all countries have a right to sovereignty over their own borders, and stemming the inflow of illegal African immigrants is perfectly justifiable in Israel's case. To this end they are ramping up legal... Read More
One of the most common tropes against Russia is that critical (independent, democratic, etc) journalists there are dying like flies, presumably because of the "culture of impunity" created by Putin or even on his express orders. It is rarely mentioned that the statistical chances of a Russian journalist dying by homicide is an order of... 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.
The Press Freedom Index issues by Reporters Without Borders is a good starting point for assessing journalistic freedoms in global comparative perspective. However, much like all attempts to measure democracy or Transparency International's assessment of corruption perception, their methodology relies on tallying a number of intangibles that cannot be objectively estimated: Censorship, self-censorship, legal framework,... Read More
Everything's going badly in Russia. Medvedev's reforms are failing. The economy isn't growing. It is moving from authoritarianism to totalitarianism (in stark contrast to civilized Western countries), and the motto "We cannot live like this any longer!" once again becomes an article of faith in the land - or well, at least among "the blogs... Read More
I was recently interviewed on Middle East geopolitics and the Iran Question by Marat Kunaev, a blogger and translator at InoForum. I would like to thank him for the opportunity to express my views on the topic and providing a possible gateway into the geopolitical commentary on Runet. I'm reprinting the interview from here, with... Read More
As was inevitable, the commentary on Israel's raid / high seas piracy / legal blockade enforcement / call-it-what-you-will has degenerated into a polarized flame-war between the blind and the deaf, which although very entertaining is also pretty useless*. By far the best analytical article on this issue I've found that really cuts through the partisan... Read More
So given that it's the only game in town, let's start provocative? The only group who behaved rationally are the Israeli commandos and the Americans. And perhaps the Turkish government. The Israeli position on the Gaza blockade is understandable (which is not to say optimal). The Palestinians elected Hamas, a militant group to Israel that... 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
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.