The Best of Da Russophile

This page is a structured archive of some of the more significant posts from the Da Russophile blog from 2008-2014.

The material falls into four major sections, which will be covered sequentially below:

You can also explore this blog via:

  • The Archives page, which provides the full list of posts here by chronological order;
  • The sidebar, which contains lists of Categories, Tags, and Authors;
  • The lower header menu, which lists the most popular Categories, as well as a list of Special Series;
  • A search engine, either the one at the top right of the header, or an outside engine like Google;

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Their Thesis: the Western media tells us Russia is in a death spiral,
its economy is one giant oil bubble, suffers from endemic corruption,
inequality and lawlessness and is presided over by a KGB kleptocrat
dead-set on resurrecting the USSR and launching Cold War II.

My Antithesis: Russia is a normal country with a booming non-hydrocarbons
economy underpinned by a well-educated and secular workforce.
The Putin administration has affirmed democratic values, worked to improve
human rights and pursued Russia’s national interests abroad.

Your Synthesis: ?

 

Blog Posts about Russia

This section contains all the better blog posts about Russia on this blog; arranged thematically, they are otherwise organized by chronological order.

Da Russophile, and my blogging career in general, began on January 9, 2008 at the height of the so-called “New Cold War.”

I was incited to it by what I perceived as a yawning discrepancy between Western media rhetoric about Russia, swinging between portraying it as a “weak,” “dying,” and “finished” country and doom-mongering about the fascist Dark Lord Putler’s plans to subjugate Middle-Earth, and its rather mundane and mediocre reality.

As Will Rogers once said, “Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it’s true.” Today, this is truer than ever, a state of affairs enabled by an uninformed public, lazy journalistic cliques, and agenda-driven Russophobes. I decided to tackle the problem at its root, demolishing Western myths about Russia through a focus on translations of Russian language sources, verifiable statistics and opinion polls, and the application of a judicious comparative perspective (otherwise maligned as “whataboutism”).

One of my greatest successes was modeling and correctly predicting Russia’s demographic turnaround as early as 2008, when holding such a position made one a prime candidate for psychiatric institutionalization. I likewise presented a more realistic – or at the very least, data-informed – perspective on Russia’s comparative performance on human rightscorruption, and the economy.

My articles on Russia have appeared at Al Jazeera and many other Western and Russian media outlets.

But for all the epithets hurled at me as a “Russophile cretin,” “neo-Soviet reptile,” “and my personal favorite, “ein strammer Putinsoldat,” in those (majority of) cases where the data tended to portray Russia in a better than expected light, the fact of the matter is that I have never shied from posting material that didn’t work out in Russia’s favor. For instance, I wrote what remains probably the the most comprehensive roundup of statistical evidence of electoral fraud in the 2011 Russian elections in the English language (that post was later cited by that famous Chekist front Freedom House). Despite Da Russophile’s tongue in cheek credo, it was never a PR project for Putin; I take seriously the Guardian’s adage that “comment is free, but facts are sacred,” even if its current incarnation has all but forgotten about that.

I closed down Da Russophile in 2014 to take up blogging under the “Russian Reaction” banner at The Unz Review.

In 2015, I merger Da Russophile’s archives with the current website.

 

KGB 101 (Core Articles)

 

Mafia State (Politics, Democracy, Whataboutism)

 

Dying Bear (Demography)

 

Potemkin Russia (Economy)

 

Nigeria with Snow (Corruption)

 

Democratic Journalists (Kompromat)

 

Hero Dissidents (Liberal Opposition)

 

Crimes of the Regime (Litvinenko, Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot, etc)

 

Neo-Soviet Revanchism (Foreign Policy)

 

Vatnik Galore (2014 Ukraine Crisis)

 

Stalin Worship (History)

 

The Russian Slave Soul (Semi-Mystical Musings)

 

Icons and Cockroaches (Russian Society & Culture)

 

Kremlin Mole (Anti-Kremlin, “Russophobe” Posts)

 

Special Series on Da Russophile

 Occasionally, Da Russophile blog posts were organized into thematic series, which are listed below.

Special Series: List

  • US-Russia.com Expert Panels – Project by Edward Lozansky’s US-Russia.org to solicit weekly articles from Anglophone Russia watchers that were reprinted by Voice of Russia. The project is still ongoing, but I’m not longer part of it.
  • The Kremlin Clans – Beginning with my translation of Vladimir Pribylovsky’s analysis of Russian clan politics as of 2010, this coalesced into an attempt to chart the shifting influence of the various security and oligarchic groups around Putin.
  • Interviews – A series of interviews with some of the leading Russia watchers of the early 2010s such as Kevin Rothrock, Peter Lavelle, and Mark Chapman, as well as two interviews of myself – including one very amusing one with La Russophobe, the onetime enfant terrible of the Russia watching world.
  • National Comparisons – Systematic comparison of life, media, politics, and traditions in Russia, Britain, and the US (hosted at my main blog).
  • Patrick Armstrong’s RF Sitreps – Six of Patrick’s well-know RF sitreps, produced during the short-lived attempt to make Da Russophile into a self-sustained group blog. The great historical bulk of Patrick’s Russia Sitreps are at ROPV, but most new ones will be appearing at Russia Insider.
  • New Year Predictions – I used to do New Year Predictions – and discussions of the outcomes of previous ones – on both Russia and the wider world. Are located at my main blog, but somewhat relevant to Russia.
  • Wikileaks Cables – Discussions of the State Department cables released by Wikileaks in late 2010. Three posts there are relevant to Russia: A Caucasus WeddingRussia Arming The Rest, and Chechnya, A Once And Future War?

 

Russophile Cabal (US-Russia.org Expert Panels)

 

Kremlinological Tea Leaves (The Kremlin Clans)

 

Putin Trolls (Interviews)

 

Whataboutism (National Comparisons)

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Anatoly Karlin’s Writings about Russia Elsewhere

My Russia journalism outside Da Russophile.

 

Mouth of Sauron (My Russia Journalism)

Apart from these, most of my Expert Panel contributions were reprinted by Voice of Russia, and about a dozen of my Russia articles have been published by the major Russian translation website Inosmi.

Blog & social media:

  • AKarlin.com – Anything non-journalistic/academic I write in the future about Russia will appear at my personal website, where I additionally blog about my various other interests such as world history, transhumanism, evolutionary psychology, and psychometrics.
  • Facebook – Follow my updates on Russia. Unless you know me personally or have at least had substantial online communications with me, please Subscribe instead of Friending me (I don’t accept Friend requests from unknown people).
  • @akarlin88 – Follow me on Twitter. I regularly tweet about Russia, geopolitics, history, evolutionary psychology, etc.
  • YouTube – My YouTube channel.

Author profiles at MSM websites:

Individual articles, interviews:

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The Russian Spectrum

I launched The Russian Spectrum in May 2013 with the aim of making translations from the Russian press available to audiences in the West; a kind of English-language Inosmi, if you will.

One of the things I came to realize in my Russia blogging career is that many Western journalists have a structurally skewed outlook on Russia. They hang with English-speaking liberals in Moscow, and come to see the messy and complex realities of Russian politics as a Manichean battle between Darth Putin and Padawan Navalny. And this is what they end up reporting to their Western audiences.

As a result, the opinions of the 60%+ of Russians who support Putin tend to be glossed over, when they are not dismissed as the delusions of “sovok” troglodytes; meanwhile, worldviews that are perpendicular to pro-Western “liberalism” and pro-Kremlin “patriotism,” such as Communist and nationalist currents, might as well not exist as far as the Western media is concerned. The ultimate result is that Western journalists end up portraying Russian politics as a morality fairytale that, on the whole, fails to reflect the true scope, creative flair, and ideological diversity of public Russian debates.

I realized that one of the easiest and most cost effective methods for making these alternate views accessible to Anglophones is to simply translate articles from the Russian media, which is far more diverse and combative than it is generally given credit for. This is where The Russian Spectrum comes in.

I first raised the idea at the World Russia Forum in Washington DC in May 2012, and later expounded upon at at this blog. Soon afterwards, I began The Russian Spectrum, a project aimed at providing a broad and ideologically representative sample of translations from the Russian media and blogosphere into English. This way, Anglophone readers could decide for themselves the true state of the Russian political debate for themselves – not to mention answer the subsidiary question of whether the Russian media really is as “unfree” as in Zimbabwe, as Freedom House claims.

But the ship of idealism foundered upon the shoals of reality. In its conception, the Russian Spectrum was a full-time undertaking, requiring a group of permanent translators to produce a comprehensive daily range of translations. Unsuccessful at securing funding, I eventually had to pull the plug on The Russian Spectrum. All its posts were moved to Da Russophile, of which the best are listed below; at least a sliver of its vision – access to a certain strand of the Russian political debate during the transitory 2012-13 period – can live on.

Voice of Propaganda (Translations from The Russian Spectrum)

Note that infographics and English-language analysis originally produced for The Russian Spectrum is in the sections above.

 

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The Russia Debate forum aimed to provide a central hub for Russia watchers from all over the political spectrum to engage in intelligent and mutually civil discussions about Russia today, its past, and its future prospects.

The Russian Debate continues under the stewardship of Jose Moreira, but has long been inactive.