Archives for March 2013

All The Books I’ve Read, Running Through My Head. This Is Not Enough.

Over the past week I’ve completed one of my most significant projects, though I’m not megalomaniac enough to think it will present much interest to other people. It’s a list of all the books I’ve ever read. Well, not all of them, of course. That’s unrealistic. Since completing it, I’ve remembered a couple more. But […]

Russia Moving Into The Fastlane

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 […]

Book Review: Arthur H. Smith – Chinese Characteristics

Chinese Characteristics by Arthur Henderson Smith, published in 1894. It is available free here. Rating: 5/5. In rich and evocative prose reminiscent of De Tocqueville’s writings on America, Arthur H. Smith lays out what he sees as the core features of the Chinese character and his values. The tone is bold and fearless, making sweeping generalizations and brusque judgments that […]

Russians Produce 7 Cars For Every 10 They Buy

One common trope about the Russian economy is that it has virtually no manufacturing to speak of and lives off “oil rents” that can collapse any day. Whiles there is a small nugget of truth to this assertion, but by and large it is simply false. It is true that a great chunk of Russian […]

Russian Is The Internet’s Second Most Popular Language

In the wake of Russia’s Internet penetration breaking the 50% mark (now – 55%) and overtaking Germany in total number of users last year, we now have news that Russian overtook German as its second most popular language. It is used on 5.9% of all the world’s websites. It is projected that Russia will maintain this […]

On The Cyprus Deal

As a Greek with contacts in Cyprus, his opinion is one of the most valuable ones out there. Here it is: We have now the latest bailout plan and contrary to the spin in parts of the western media it is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the plan we saw last week. What was utterly outrageous about […]

Berezovsky RIP

“I will either return to the Kremlin on a white horse, or in a black limousine to the Mausoleum.” It is customary to say something nice about the recently deceased, so here goes… *ahem.* If not for Berezovsky, Putin probably wouldn’t be President. UPDATE: As expected, the conspiracy theories have inevitably began to crawl out […]

Book Review: Matt Forney – Confessions of an Online Hustler

Confessions of an Online Hustler by Matt Forney, published in 2013. See the Amazon version of this review. Rating: 4/5. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: This book isn’t for the casual reader. Despite the title, it’s not a “life interest” story with a morass of prurient and scandalous details, nor is it […]

The Western Media’s War Against Cyprus And Russia

If you ever manage to get a troupe as diverse as Latynina, Mark Adomanis, the Cypriot Communist Party, virtually every financial analyst, Prokhorov, and Putin united in condemning your crass stupidity and cack-handedness, it’s probably time to stop and ponder. But it’s safe to say that’s not what the Troika – the European Commission, European Central Bank, and IMF […]

The Juche Response To British Lawlessness

My latest for VoR’s Experts Panel. (Incidentally, good to see that site getting revamped, and entering the Web 2.0 era). London has a reputation as a “safe sanctuary” for shady people of means from the ex-USSR and other less-developed places, and I think it’s loath to lose it – as it would by extraditing the […]

The Farewell To Alms Theory – Older Than We Think

I am currently (re)reading The National System of Political Economy by Friedrich List (published in 1841), and this jumped out at me: In no European kingdom is the institution of an aristocracy more judiciously designed than in England for securing to the nobility, in their relation to the Crown and the commonalty, individual independence, dignity, […]

Book Review: Paul Wade – Convict Conditioning

Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade, published in 2010. Also Convict Conditioning 2, a followup published a year later. Rating: 4/5. A couple of months ago, I was walking in a park with my dad. We passed an outdoor gym sort of place and decided, “Why not try out some of the exercises?” It was quite embarrassing […]

A Values Chasm That Can’t Be Bridged… At Least For Now

My latest for VoR and US-Russia.org on Russia’s recent Foreign Policy Concept: The new foreign-policy concept is a long-overdue adjustment to international realities. There can be no meaningful “strategic partnership” between Russia and the US or indeed Russia and the West in general, when their respective core values have diverged from each other so much. Ironically, […]

The Joys Of Cleaning House

The Buddhists say that attachment to material things is the source of much suffering in the world. In the past few days, I have been inclined to agree with them. Now I don’t of course mean to say that being an impoverished wayfarer is any better of a proposition than hoarding. That has tons of its […]

Last Word On Chavez

When I said this post would be “the last post” on the matter, I meant posts written by myself. 🙂 Alexander Mercouris’ was too good to pass up, so it is reprinted here: Any discussion of Chavez must explain why he was (to his detractors) such a terrible man. He was a terrible man because […]

A Few Myths About Chavez’s Venezuela

Okay, I promise this will be the last post on the matter. But some of the tropes that come up time and time again in coverage of Chavez’s legacy, from neocons and faux-leftists alike, just have to be addressed for me to rest easy. Note that this is NOT meant to be comprehensive; just some […]

Kathy Lally Didn’t Get Any Flowers Today. How Sad.

Happy International Women’s Day! Today I had occasion to read one of the most inadvertently hilarious things about Russia in the Western media from Kathy Lally (pictured right) from the Washington Post in which she complains that Russian women get flowers, not power. Citing the opinion of one Russian woman from the “Center for Social and Political […]

Georgians Are The Biggest Stalinists

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 […]

Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s Ambassador In London, Personally Responds To Emails

Not sure you can say that of many national ambassadors! This is what I wrote to this email for expressing condolences on Chavez’s passing: After a heroic battle with cancer, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías has shuffled off this mortal coil, but his dream will endure forever and continue giving hope unto the hearts of men and women all […]

Hugo Chávez Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil, But The Light Of The Bolivarian Revolution He Ignited Will Endure Forever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08cD7-MYaJo We all suspected this would come sooner or later. As it happens, Chavez struggled heroically against his cancer, confounding the intensive Schadenfreude and concerted death wishes of his loathsome detractors month after arduous month. But this is what you can expect to get when you look out for your own countrymen and stand up to […]