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Soviet Union

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Yesterday, something much more important than Brexit took place. It was the 30 year anniversary of McDonald's opening its first restaurant in the USSR and selling Big Mac Meals for three rubles to massive throngs of famished Soviet citizens.
German_reader looks askance at my theological speculations. Am I serious? Yes, actually, I am. Here are a few ways of interpretating Russian 20th century history: 1. Russians spent 70 years under the rule of a succession of traitors and saboteurs. It turns out that Trotsky and the old Bolsheviks were traitors and foreign agents (1930s),... Read More
One of the most memorable anecdotes from Stephen Cohen's Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives is where he recounts a visit by Egor Ligachev, probably the second man after Gorbachev in the late 1980s USSR, to New York, in which he amazed his interlocutors by repeatedly asking who was responsible for organizing the food supply to... Read More
I have long been in the Krivosheev camp, but this sounds like very plausible: *** The casualty estimates of Overmans and Krivosheev are off by significant amounts. On the German side, the first estimate of military losses was produced by Gregory Frumkin of the, editor of the Yearbook of the League of Nations, unlikely to... Read More
Greg Cochran's recent post on the topic reminded me of a post I began writing but then abandoned ages ago (like in 2012). I can't find whatever I wrote (no big loss; there wasn't much) but I did come across this graph I had quickly and messily compiled back then: As you can see, it... Read More
From Everyday Life in Moscow during the Stalin Period by Georgy Andreevsky. Whoever penned this was arrested in 1939: Кто кричал «вся власть Советам!», / All you who shouted "All power to the Soviets!", Кто стрелял по юнкерам, / You who fired at the Junkers, Кто по Зимнему при этом / You who bombarded Winter... Read More
Russia harvested 133 million tons of grain in 2017, beating the all-time RSFSR record set in 1978. It has also been consistently harvesting more grain than in the Soviet years since the mid-2010s. Graph via @burckina-faso, a pro-Soviet blogger, so can hardly be accused of bias. Code: Red/blue lines = Total production (left scale; millions... Read More
Almost none of Romania's celebrity intellectuals have yet been translated into English (presumably, the fact that most of them - Eminescu, Iorga, Eliade, Cioran, Țuțea - are reactionaries or fascists of some stripe or another played a role in that). Hopefully, this may yet change, at least with respect to Țuțea. This post features a... Read More
Engels writing in 1868: Soviet propaganda map: "Tsarist Russia: Prison of Peoples. The Predatory Ambitions of Tsarist Imperialism." Notably, it is from 1936.
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. Russia, Belarus, and Estonia only net donors, if marginal ones; Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan massively subsidized. Armenia was massively subsidized, but... Read More
RSFSR/RF (red) and Russian Empire/USSR (dark red) coal production 1897-2005. This would place it ahead of the all time peak of RSFSR coal production of 420 million tons, reached in 1988. Some 200 million of this is exported, up from a couple of tens of millions of tons in the late 1990s. This is accompanied... Read More
Ron Unz writes: The demographic argument with regard to Europe’s Jewish population is obviously an important one, as I mentioned in my article. Basically, before the war, there were millions of Jews living in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, and after the war they’d mostly vanished, so where did they go, except into... Read More
Vladimir Voinovich (1986) - Moscow 2042 Rating: 2/5 TLDR: Good perspective on sovok-liberal Russophobia.
Every so often you come across Stalinists (and earnest, if misguided, vatniks) claiming that Solzhenitsyn called on the US to nuke the USSR. Here is their "evidence" from a 1975 speech: Problem #1 - Where is the actual call to attack - let alone nuke - the USSR? If you are particularly paranoid, I suppose... Read More
Great map of the Ephemeral States of the Russian Civil War:
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.
Our resident Kholmogorov translator Fluctuarius Argenteus further develops his Russoshoe Theory: Some examples: A - Soviet nationalists/Prokhanov Unz.com columnists: Israel Shamir, Martyanov B - This blog's erstwhile commenter Lazy Glossophiliac Most Russian neo-Stalinists, Eurasianists The Saker (with caveats) The Spencerian Alt Right (esp. Nina Kouprianova) Tankies C - Mainstream Russian nationalists inc. Fluctuarius,
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
So many of what I like to call "powerful takes" in this thread. On second thought, I should have saved my time and energy, and just replied with this:
Number of active churches in the Russian Empire/USSR/post-Soviet space from 1900 to 2000 via the blogger genby.
Trotsky's great-grandson, David Axelrod, is a Jewish ultranationalist who emigrated to Israel and has served three jail terms for terrorizing Palestinians.
Surviving political repressions in Communist regimes is one of those rare problems that don't seem to be at all g loaded. When someone like spandrell talks of "IQ shredders" he refers to the role of modern cities as fertility vortices for society's best and brightest. But in the 20th century those shredders could be all... Read More
Grigoriev, Andrey & Lynn 2009 Studies of Socioeconomic and Ethnic Differences in Intelligence in the Former Soviet Union in the Early Twentieth Century Abstract: This is essentially a short history of psychometrics in the USSR/Russia. (1) The first measurement of Russian IQ was performed in 1909 by A.M. Schubert, who used the French Binet test... Read More
About two thirds of the USSR's 27 million casualties were civilians - that is, almost 10% of its prewar population. Had those percentages been applied to Nazi Germany, it would lost 8 million people - an order of magnitude than the 400,000 civilians it lost due to Allied strategic bombing, and the 600,000 who died... Read More
Commentator jimmyriddle finds statistics about the ethnic composition of scientific cadres in the Soviet Union in 1973 via Cassad (the original comes via the blogger Burkino Faso).
More info against the Department of Russia Only Produces Oil and Vodka: Here are some graphs of Russian aerospace manufacturing courtesy of the Reality vs. Myths blog. (2013 figures are projections). Aircraft construction is only halfway there, but its state is nonetheless leagues better than it was in the depths of the post-Soviet freefall. As... Read More
My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel. Hope you like the title. :) The political fragmentation of the Soviet Union was one of the major contributing factors to the "hyper-depression" that afflicted not only Russia but all the other constituent republics in the 1990's. The Soviet economy had been an integrated whole; an aircraft might have... Read More
Hard as it is to believe, but in the wake of the Boston Bombings, many Western commentators actively trying to find the roots of the Tsarnaev brothers' rage in Russia's "aggression" or even "genocide" of Chechnya. This is not to deny that Chechens did not have an exceptionally hard time of it in the 1990s.... 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
As I write the book, I create a lot of graphs. Here is one of them.
One of the standard memes about Russia's demographic trajectory was the "Russian Cross." While at the literal level it described the shape of the country's birth rate and death rate trajectories, a major reason why it entered the discourse was surely because it also evoked the foreboding of the grave. This is a momentous landmark... 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.