Demography III – Faces of the Future

I developed a model on Russia’s future demographic development in Matlab. First, I will describe (non-mathematically) the essentials of how it works; then I will present a range of different possible scenarios. Our data is sourced from Rosstat and the Human Mortality Database. Demography is a social science, and as such it is impossible to […]

News 21 July: Expansion amidst Turbulence

Let’s start with two excellent new resources I’ve recently come across. Russia: Other Points of View states its objectives thus: We believe there is need in the public forum for a venue which offers opinions and facts that at times may differ from the prevailing view in western media. Hmm… Sounds quite similar to Da […]

News 2 May: Russia’s Second Oil Peak

For all the noise being made this month about Georgia, about NATO, about Tibet, etc, possibly the most portentous is that it seems Russia hit its oil peak (strictly speaking, its second – the first happened in 1987), well in line with peakist predictions. Production increases via application of new technology, as seen in the […]

Demography II – Out of the Death Spiral

As we covered in the previous instalment, Demographics I: The Russian Cross Reversed?, fertility rates are not abnormally low by European standards and are likely to rise further in the future. The same cannot be said of mortality rates – a ‘quiet crisis‘ that has been a ‘catastrophe of historic proportions’. Take life expectancy. As […]

Demography I – The Russian Cross Reversed?

The demographic situation in Russia is usually painted in apocalyptic terms. The Russian Cross – the post-Soviet transition into a world of death without new life – will supposedly preclude it from attaining First World living standards and wreck any Great Power, let alone superpower, pretensions. Is Russia Too Sick to Matter and the Sick […]

News 7 Apr: NATO Founders, Western Media Deconstructed

America’s desire to have Ukraine and Georgia accede to MAP foundered on European opposition from Germany, France and (somewhat surprisingly) the UK, despite Saakashvili’s implicit comparison of this to Nazi appeasement. Nonetheless, this is good for NATO as an alliance (as we’ve covered previously, the European desire for a rapprochement is linked to Russian logistical […]

More Reflections on Election Fraud

Two weeks ago Illarionov gave an interview on the Echo of Moscow radio station. Covering it in-depth is somewhat of a pointless exercise, what with him comparing 1999-2007 Russia with Nazi Germany in 1932-40 (because of their rapid economic growth and Russia’s supposed loss of the rule of law). Now not only is invoking Godwin’s […]

Lying Liars and their Lies

1. The Myth of Russian Corruption In this blog, I have documented how a) corruption in Russia is similar to the average for middle-income countries and b) it has improved slightly under Putin. This is backed by data from the World Bank’s Governance Indicators, Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer and World Bank statistics on problems […]

Lovely Levada

As long time readers probably know, I’m a bit of a sucker for statistics, and I’ve recently found a site that I’ll no doubt be sucking dry from now on. Levada Center is Russia’s foremost polling company (equivalent to America’s Gallup), and releases a poll or two every workday. However, unfortunately their English language version […]

News 30 March: The Paradoxes of Russophobia

Medvedev gives his first foreign media interview (to the Financial Times), in which he charts the bedrock of his presidency. Will continue to pursue primarily Russia’s, not the West’s, interests. Will work in tandem with Putin, to whom he is neither puppet nor rebel. Will strive to root out “legal nihilism” / proizvol in Russia […]

Russophile Core Articles

This is a (continuously expanding) list of the articles that any serious Russia-watcher has to read if they wish to become acquainted with the Russophile worldview. I have hi-lighted the most important ones. But first, the sources of reality-based, high quality information about Russia. Sublime Oblivion, by yours truly. And now, in no particular order… […]

News 19 Mar: It Takes 2 (or 3) to Tango in Human Rights

The US State Department has released its latest human rights report – as usual, a veritable list of America’s bugbears (North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Eritrea and Sudan are the ‘top ten’). It is true that the majority of the above are pretty odious regimes, with the partial exception of Belarus […]

Education as the Elixir of Growth

What are the reasons behind the wealth and poverty of nations? Since this question has exercised the minds of thinkers from Adam Smith to David Landes, Jared Diamond and Richard Lynn, I decided to take a look at it myself. I came to the conclusion that while geography, macroeconomic policies, resource windfalls and the microeconomic […]

Flotsam and Jetsam: Election Entertainment

Some 47% of Russians watched the pre-election debates between Zyuganov (Communists), Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democrats, i.e. nationalists) and Bogdanov (Democratic). (Medvedev decided against participating). Here’s a scene from when they thought they were off-camera, in which the ever colorful Zhirinovsky shows us how to debate properly.

Annals of Media Madness – The Trouble with the Economist

This is how the Economist celebrates Russia’s presidential election – the Trouble with Russia’s Economy, represented by a bear gorging itself on oil (i.e. invoking the Myth of the Russian Oil Curse, which we have debunked far too many times to count on this blog). Guess we’ll have to do it again. Never mind that […]

News 2 Mar

The most important development has been Medvedev’s election to the Presidency with 70.2% of the vote. While it has not been squeaky clean (and as such, no different from any other Russian election under either Yeltsin or Putin), the more hystryonic claims of voter intimidation are to be treated with a pinch of salt – […]

News 8 Feb

Bertelsmann Stiftung has released Who Rules the World?, a very interesting survey where people from different countries are asked: what are the Great Powers today?, what makes a country a Great Power? and which countries will be Great Powers in 2020? Now the title of Great Power is something that is given to a country, […]

News 31 Jan

The Western media has begun to whine about the Russian presidential elections five weeks in advance. Their beef is that Kasyanov was barred from running, ostensibly because above 5% of his required signatures were rigged, but actually to undercut the last independent candidate – Russia’s last and only hope of salvation from the ‘slippery slope […]

News 25 Jan

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Russia, due to its strong macroeconomic fundamentals and relative isolation from the world economy, will weather the oncoming credit crisis well. In fact, Kudrin (the Finance Minister) suggested ‘Russia and other countries with large gold and currency reserves can…can support the global economy by flexing the financial might […]

Annals of Resurgent Russia – CIA World Factbook 2008

The 2008 version of the CIA World Factbook has been published. While the demographic data has not been updated, new economic estimates have been published for 2007. Firstly, let’s take a look at the basics. Russia’s GDP is now estimated at 2076bn $ in 2007, up from 1723bn $ in 2006. This is not just […]