Archives for April 2011

The Uncertain Future Of Cheap Russian Booze

One thing that strikes you, as you wander the shops of any Russian city, is the sheer cheapness of booze and cigs. As little as 3 years ago, one could buy a pint-sized bottle of beer or a pack of cigarettes for just $1, while a 0.5l bottle of vodka cost as little as $3. Prices have since […]

The Radical Ideologies Of The 21st Century

Though I’ve written a lot on technological, energy, and geopolitical futures, this has largely been to the neglect of ideology. Part of the reason is that making accurate predictions on this topic is far harder, because of the inherent intangibility of belief systems. Nonetheless, it is necessary, because of their overwhelming influence on the historical […]

Poker And Capitalism

“[Poker] exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made [the United States] so great.” Just consider the array of similarities: 1. Though there are rules and etiquette loosely associated with it, otherwise everything goes: in other words, its fundamental nature is profoundly amoral. (This is contrary to the ideologues who claim that capitalism is either […]

The Top 10 Russia Blogs In 2011

So it’s that time of year again… when I update the list of awesomest Russia blogs. But first, let’s have your voice. Let it never be said that S/O doesn’t support democracy! [AK Edit: Regrettably, all opinion polls didn’t survive the transition]

Conclusion: Comparison of USA, UK, Russia

As my series comparing life in Russia, Britain, and the US draws to an end, I rank them based on my own preferences – with the caveat that the perceptions of people of different temperaments, character, and socio-economic status may differ radically. Then I finish off with a brief overview of the main trends in […]

National Comparisons: Politics & Media

In the fourth part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US, I turn my attention to aspects of their politics, including: markets and freedom; media independence; the role of “dissident” voices, billionaires, and corruption; and Internet culture. Some people – perhaps Kremlinologists in particular – will no doubt be surprised by my conclusion […]

National Comparisons: Everyday Life

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 […]

National Comparisons: The People

The second part of my series comparing Russia, Britain, and the US focuses on the people themselves. What are their strengths and foibles? How do they vary by class, region, race, and religion? How do they view each other and other countries and peoples? What do they eat, drink, and watch? Where do they travel […]

National Comparisons: Freedom And Security

In the first part of my series comparing Russia, Britain and the US, I am going to look at their levels of social freedoms. While political scientists go on about to what extent a country has “democracy” or “rule of law”, this ignores that these arcane concepts have practically zero relevance to the everyday lives […]

Introduction: Comparison of USA, UK, Russia

Over at Mark Chapman’s indispensable blog, Giuseppe Flavio linked to a fascinating “Comparison USA-Germany” by an academic who was deeply immersed in both cultures. This inspired me to do something similar. My credentials? Having lived for 6 years in Russia, 12 years in the UK, and 5 years in the US (in that order, though I […]