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Forgot to blog about it at the time, but latest version of the Maddison Project was released a month ago. In my last post (on the MDP 2018), I noted that many of the results for Russia were very strange: The new figures make a lot more sense, to be frank. USSR/RSFSR-RF GDPcc as %... Read More
The mean wage in Hong Kong not much more than $2,000 per month (a Croatian acquaintance who works there cited the same numbers half a year ago). Its surprising come to think of it, but that means that Muscovites - where salaries are $1,500 per month but multiplied by almost twice - are substantially more... Read More
Recently, the Russian government published its 25.7 trillion ruble ($390 billion) plan for the years 2019-2024 [pdf] - Putin's fourth Presidential term - for socio-economic development. This is a quick summary on the request of a reader. PS. Numbers are given using one USD = 60 rubles conversion. All end dates, unless otherwise indicates, refer... Read More
At least according to "journalist" Lizzy Saxe: However, at least she is not a "former Soviet-American" (was he that triggered by Drumpf?) politics professor in Canada: / Implying that champagne was a luxury good even in the late USSR (to say nothing of Russia today). Though it seems that some people lapped it up. Profile:... Read More
Infant mortality in Russia/USSR (thick dark green line), 1900-2016 (via genby). Thin brown line at the bottom represents the US rate. (Bottom most graph represents the US). Six distinct periods: Slow improvement during late Tsarism and 1920s. Stagnation during 1930s. Rapid improvements from 1940-1965 as antibiotics, modern obstetrics, etc. introduced. Near convergence to US by... Read More
This is the conclusion of recent Higher School of Economics study on researcher salaries in Russia. Here are the details for Jan-Jun 2018: All workers in scientific organizations: 64,000 rubles ($1,000), up 40% y/y Researchers: 86,000 rubles ($1,300), up 70% y/y Academic staff: 94,000 rubles ($1,500), up 100% (!) y/y Average salary of all workers... Read More
Some data on this topic. 1. Via Egor Kholmogorov's eponymous article for Komsomolskaya Pravda, source given as "Sovetskaya Rossiya 1992", according to which the RSFSR and Belarus were the only net donors. 2. Orlowski, Lucjan T. - 1995 - Direct transfers between the former Soviet Union central budget and the republics: Past evidence and current... Read More
Russian (blue) and Ukrainian (red) coal production 1990-2017. (Source: genby). Russia coal production has expanded by 6.7% during the seven months of this year, so it should produce at least 430 million tons of coal this year. RSFSR/RF (red) and Russian Empire/USSR (dark red) coal production 1897-2005. This would place it ahead of the all... Read More
Map of the biggest airports in Russia and the ex-USSR by 2017 passenger traffic including transit flights. Source: Seva Bashirov Moscow is clearly a central node, accounting for 89 million passengers in 2017 - up from just 19 million in 2001, near the trough of the post-Soviet collapse. Incidentally, this makes Moscow the world's 13th... Read More
The number of horses in the Russian Empire peaked in in 1913 and was around 35 million in 1916 (the US had about 20 million horses in 1915, and the two countries accounted for half the global equine population). At the time, they were almost all used in agriculture. The Soviet horse population plummeted during... Read More
The Maddison Project is probably the world's most comprehensive source of economic history statistics. Begun by British economist Angus Maddison, it was continued after his death in 2010 by an institution at the University of Groningen. Recently, an update for 2018 has been released. Background paper: It was accompanied by a major introductory article at... Read More
Last week, I wrote about the 10 ways in which life in Russia is better than America. Now it's time for Uncle Sam to have his due.   Typical Moscow sleeper suburb. Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America's, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower. Consequently, the standard of living... Read More
It has now been exactly a year since I returned to Russia. One of the questions I get asked the most from Russians and foreigners alike is whether I enjoy living here, or whether I am disappointed. My answer is that it fell within my "range of expectations". I like to think that this is... Read More
I think Czechia might just be the best country in the world. Europe's best gun rights (just further liberalized) But lower homicide rate than UK/France/Germany because no aggressive Third World minorities Social liberalism without the poz and purple-haired SJWs Also most atheist European country But with a higher fertility rate than Holy Poland nonetheless Sane... Read More
Not even a week in Moscow, and I get contacted by a Zvezda TV journalist requesting an interview about life in America and why I returned to Russia. In a deserted billiards room, I began talking about my theory that there is a civility-friendliness spectrum, with Britain on one end of it, Russia on the... Read More
Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,... Read More
See data. For real, this time. While it is perhaps a big strange to start thinking of Russia as a high-income economy, it's not so surprising when looking at concrete statistics such as vehicle consumption, Internet penetration, etc. - all of which are now at typical South European and advanced East-Central European levels (even if... Read More
One of the most reliable indicators of influence is access to cars. They are the standard symbol of affluence and middle-class status the world over. They are also far more understandable at the everyday level than things like the PPP GDP per capita, or the number of burgers your national McWage will buy. Following on... Read More
As I write the book, I create a lot of graphs. Here is one of them. So in manufacturing terms, as far as cars are concerned, the "deindustrialization" era is decidedly over. Of course it's also important to note that in 1985 they were producing this whereas today they are producing this as well as... Read More
One of the most common arguments made to explain why Russians don't finally overthrow the evil Putin in a bloody bunt is that they are brainwashed by the regime's TV propaganda stations. This isn't actually very accurate at all. Russian TV isn't any more propagandistic than in the West, and on some issues, less so;... Read More
Sergey Zhuravlev is a Russian economist who runs a wonky but eminently readable and very useful, interesting blog and writes for Expert (author profile), which I may add is an excellent publication. You have met him previously on my blog as the inventor of a clever - if, in my opinion, flawed - argument that... Read More
In the wake of Putin's article on national security for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, there has been renewed interest in Russia's ambitious military modernization plans for the next decade. I am not a specialist in this (unlike Dmitry Gorenberg and Mark Galeotti, whom I highly recommend), but I do think I can bring much-needed facts and good... Read More
Russia has a long and proud drinking culture; according to the chronicle of its founding, the main reason it chose Christianity over Islam was the latter’s prohibition of booze. Vodka has been distilled there since at least the 12th century. As of the time of writing, it is the world’s largest spirits market by volume... Read More
In terms of new cars, they now are. According to 2011 statistics, Russians bought 17.6 new automobiles per 1000 people. This indicator is still quite a bit below most of Western Europe, such as Germany's 38.5, France's 33.4, Britain's 31.9, Italy's 30.1, and Spain's 20.0. However, it has already overtaken most of East-Central Europe, whose... Read More
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

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.