Archives for July 2018

Emperor Xi Tries to Correct Demographic Course

Global Times: China may reward families with more children next year: demographers.

China may reward families with a second child or more next year to arrest its dropping fertility rate, and the family planning policy will undergo fundamental changes, Chinese demographers said.

Their remarks came after reports that China’s National Health Commission (NHC) is studying the possibility of rewarding families with more children. …

Although not immediately confirmed by the NHC as of press time, demographers interviewed by the Global Times on Thursday said that they believe China may introduce incentives to families the next year, if not sooner, considering the drop in new births.

Demographer He Yafu told the Global Times that the NHC’s study was said to only target families having a second child and not those with three or more children, and it’s very likely that China will officially introduce the policy next year.

It’s funny to see China going from a rigid One Child Policy to Russian/Hungarian-style pro-natalism within the space of no more than four years.

However, such turnarounds aren’t exactly unprecedented in the history of Communist regimes. Mao was a pro-natalist. The One Child Policy was adopted in 1979, three years after the death of the Great Helmsman. (Still, even that reversal was quite tame by the standards of, say, Ceausescu’s Romania).

Anyhow, there’s considerable confusion even over the current level of Chinese TFR.

  1. The Ministry of Health and Family Planning claims that it is around 1.5-1.6 children per woman, and has been so since the mid-1990s. This is the figure that is most often quoted in the media.

  2. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) presents much more pessimistic figures stretching back to at least the turn of the millennium: 1.24 in 2017, 1.29 in 2016, 1.05 in 2015, 1.18 in 2010, 1.33 in 2005, and 1.22 in 2000.

This is a rather huge discrepancy, especially for such a major and central country. (I admit to being amazed that isn’t that much data on this topic, though one would might think it’s far more important than 98% of what the Blue Checkmark pundits blather on about).

FWIW, my personal assessment is that it is the latter, more pessimistic figures that are correct.

Three separate lines of evidence for that:

1. Census data

Guang-zhou, Wang & Chong-hui (2010): New fertility changes and characteristics from the sixth population census in China:

However, does such a low fertility rate present the true picture of the situation in China? In fact, debates regarding China’s fertility level have existed for a long time, especially after the 2000 census, because serious inconsistencies were found between the results of the National Population and Family Planning Commission and the survey results of the National Bureau of Statistics. Specifically, the total fertility rate of the 2000 census was 1.22; however, the National Population and Family Planning Commission as well as the Study of National Population Development Strategy believed the total fertility rate to be about 1.8. The total fertility rates from the surveys of the National Bureau of Statistics and the National Population and Family Planning Commission were between 1.4 and 1.6 thereafter; however, a gap remained between the level of TFR recognized by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and the actual survey results. The 2006 survey results of the National Population and Family Planning Commission was the only exception: This survey found the total fertility rate to be 1.87, which was close to the level consistently recognized by the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Previous studies have found that the fertility level of rural childbearing-age women is consistently higher than that of their urban counterparts due to the dual urban-rural structure of China’s family planning policy and regional differences in the process of fertility transition. The fertility level of childbearing-age women with primary (or below) education levels are higher than that of those with middle school (or higher) education levels. The 2000 census data showed that the total fertility rate of rural childbearing-age women was 1.43, and the total fertility rate of these women with primary (or below) education level was 1.49. Given that the proportion of urban citizens was greater than 45%, we can infer that the total fertility rate of childbearing-age women should be less than 1.43 from the 2000 national census. Furthermore, it was virtually impossible to have a total fertility rate higher than that of rural childbearing-age women (1.49) with primary (or below) education level. In addition, the 2010 census revealed that the total fertility rate of rural childbearing-age women was 1.44; based on these data, we conclude that the fertility rate of childbearing-age women in 2010 should be less than 1.44. Moreover, it was virtually impossible to have a total fertility rate higher than that of rural Chinese childbearing-age women with primary (or below) education levels (1.64 in 2010). In addition, the 2010 census data regarding age structure can be used to indirectly estimate the history of changes in the fertility level of childbearing-age women from 2000-2010. This estimation shows that the fertility rates in 2000, 2005, and 2010 were approximately 1.34, 1.43, and 1.29, respectively. In short, a conservative estimate based on the available data showed that the total fertility rate in 2010 should be less than 1.44, and the chance of it being higher than 1.64 is minimal.

2. Studies consistently show that China has very low desired fertility even by developed world standards.

Basten, Stuart & Quanbao Jiang (2015) – Fertility in China: An uncertain future

As Hou et al. (2014) report, the mean desired number of children in 63 studies of urban fertility preferences in the period 2000–10 was just 1.50 (SD 0.25). The mean in 52 studies in rural areas over the same period was 1.82 (SD 0.36). While a number of caveats should be made about equivalence across studies in these meta-reviews, and about respondent bias (see Basten and Gu 2013, pp. 29–31), these findings appear to be robust. They are consonant with the results of other qualitative studies (e.g., Nie and Wyman 2005) and with data from nationally representative surveys.

Assuming a 50/50 urban-rural split, China’s desired fertility rate would be equal to Germany’s, which is the least breeder-ish country in the EU, along with Austria.


Alber, Jens, Fahey, & Saraceno (2007) – Handbook of Quality of Life in Enlargement Europe. For comparison, current figure for both Russian and American women is around 2.2-2.5 children.

In post-traditionalist societies, there is usually at least a 0.5 child shortfall between actual fertility, and desired fertility. This suggests that we should expect China to have a TFR of around 1.25.

3. Comparison with countries with not too dissimilar demographic profiles.

The Chinese population pyramid should be somewhat similar to Iran: Both countries saw strong demographic expansion prior to the 1980s, then a massive slowdown as the effect of family planning policies kicked in (e.g. Iran was projected to have a population of 122 million in 2025 by the UN in the 1980s; its current population is just 80 million, and is highly unlikely to exceed 100 million during this century).

Current TFR of Iran is around 1.7 children per woman, at a birth rate of 19/100,000. China’s birth rate has been 12/100,000 since the early 2000s. This again makes it consistent with a TFR that is 0.5 children lower than the oft quoted figures.

If this is all true, then China should have really moved from One Child Policy to pro-natalism at least a decade ago, if not two. 

I wonder if the reason it didn’t could have had anything to do with the leadership not getting clear signals that Chinese fertility had already fallen into the doldrums by the turn of the millennium.

As I understand it, the One Child Policy was itself inspired by the neo-Malthusian gloom of those times, adjusted for Western intellectual trends coming a decade late to the Communist world; Paul R. Ehrlich had published his famous(ly wrong) book Population Bomb a decade earlier, in 1968. The CPC may also have been concerned about industrial gains getting eaten by population growth. A more human capital-centered/biorealistic viewpoint on the economy might have helped them escape this trap, and China today might have 1.6 billion people instead of 1.3 billion, and a younger population.

EDIT: Commenter Cicerone has a very good argument why the Ministry of Health and Family Planning figures (TFR = 1.6) are the more accurate ones after all.

The Frito Effect

How do you talk about dysgenic trends in intelligence without coming off as bespectacled old geezer in a tweed suit with a pipe in one hand and a leatherbound copy of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in the other*?

We need something hip, cool.

Everyone knows about the FLynn Effect. I suggest an alliterative counterpart: The Frito Effect, in honor of the hero’s moronic sidekick in the 2006 movie Idiocracy.

I will be using The Frito Effect to describe the awkward mouthful that is “dysgenic trends in intelligence” in all consequent posts. Let’s see if it catches on.

PS. Since I use quite a terms that are rather specific in my writing (e.g. handshakeworthiness, ROG, svidomy, mnogokhodovka, zrada), I have decided to compile a glossary at my main site ( I plan to gradually fill in a few definitions a week, so hopefully I can link to the finished version in a month or two.

  • Not that there’s anything wrong with that whatsoever.

Book Review: Vladimir Voinovich – Moscow 2042

Vladimir Voinovich (1986) – Moscow 2042
Rating: 2/5
TLDR: Good perspective on sovok-liberal Russophobia.
book-moscow-2042Vladimir Voinovich died the other day. In the Anglosphere, this only seems to have been noticed by RFERL, where this Serb/Jewish literary dissident worked during his exile from the USSR in the 1980s.

Like Solzhenitsyn, Voinovich opposed the Soviet regime – but that was approximately where the similarities ended. Solzhenitsyn viewed the USSR as a perversion of the traditional Russia, a carapace that needed to be thrown away for the Russian people to flourish; Voinovich viewed it as a continuation of the traditional Russia, which needed to be deconstructed entirely and replaced by a Western (or what sovoks imagined to be Western) facsimile*. This, incidentally, is the reason that Voinovich was employed by RFERL, while Solzhenitsyn became progressively unhandshakeworthy in Western circles once he revealed that he was not just another Russophobe (see his 1982 letter to Reagan).

Voinovich’s most famous work is Moscow 2042, published in Russian in 1986 and translated into English in 1987. The hero is Vitaly Kartsev, wan emigre dissident who lives in Munich, and who was patently based on Voinovich himself. Kartsev books a time travel holiday to the year 2042 at a travel agent’s, though not before Sim Simych Karnavalov – a fellow dissident writer who is just as patently based on Solzhenitsyn – hands him 36 of his lugubrious tomes (“glybs”) in defense of monarchism and reaction on a computer disk, which he imperiously commands him to propagandize in the future Moscow.

The future USSR has abandoned the idea of world revolution and Socialism in One Country for “Communism in One City.” The head of state is the Genialissimo (a portmanteau of Generalissimus and genius), though in truth he rules in name only, having been confined to a gilded prison on a spaceship. Meanwhile, real power belongs to the gerontocratic bureaucrats and generals of the CPGB (the Communist Party of State Security, i.e. what resulted from the formal merger of the Communist Party and the KGB).

The Moscow Communist Republic is walled off from the outside world by a six-meter barbed wire fence guarded by machine gun outposts. Outside, it is surrounded by three “circles of hostility”: The rest of the USSR, which has since retreated into a subsistence, neo-feudal existence; the rest of the socialist bloc; and the capitalist world. In the world’s first Communist state, everyone lives according to their needs, though some needs are naturally more equal than others – Moscow is itself subdivided into three “circles of Communism” (shortened to “kaki”, which is also slang for “shit”), corresponding to areas of “extra needs,” “ordinary needs,” and “self-sustaining needs.”

Living conditions are extremely bad. Food consists of “primary products” (e.g. ersatz rutabaga, fishmeal), which are given out at “points of Communist distribution by location of work” (shortened to “pukomrasy,” with “puk” meaning “fart” in Russian). Food is distributed in exchange for talons, which can only be obtained in return for handing in “secondary product” – nightsoil, which is now the USSR’s main export, after oil and gas had run out. Yes, there is no shortage of scatological “humor” in this book.

The pathologies of the late Soviet era are maximized for absurdity. Problems are blamed on “cultists, voluntarists, corruptionists, and reformists”. Nomenklatura privileges have been preserved and expanded. There is overweening bureaucracy and censorship. Transport has broken down, and now takes place exclusively via armored personnel carriers. The cult of the Genialissimo is endemic – all of Moscow’s statues have been beheaded and replaced with cheap plastic portraits of the Genialissimo, and people are only allowed to read his manuscripts, speeches, and memoirs.

The Church has been given back all of its privileges in return for replacing God with the Genialissimo. The official ideology is now a “Pentarchy” of “nationality, party, religiosity, vigilance, and state security”, and the sign of the cross has been replaced with the sign of the pentagram. Marx, Engels, Lenin are now saints along with Jesus Christ (who is the world’s first Communist) and the Genialissimo.

But this decrepit totalitarianism hides seething popular resentment. Kartsev’s time traveling visit coincides with a revolution, as adepts of Sim Simych seize power in Moscow – helped along by a turncoat secret police general, Dzerzhin Gavrilovich (who now starts calling himself Druzhina Gavrilovich, and becomes the new regime’s security chief – he explains that people like him are always needed by any regime). Sim himself rides into Moscow on a white horse, and institutes “simoderzhavie” (from samoderzhavie – autocracy). The old “Communite” leaders are executed by crucifixion, or lynched by enraged and primitive mobs. Russia is proclaimed an Empire, “united and undivided” (after the White slogan).

The following edicts are proclaimed by Sim, now named Serafim the First, Emperor and Autocrat of All The Russias:

  • The CPGB is declared illegal, and Russia is proclaimed an absolute monarchy.
  • Communist propaganda is criminalized.
  • The republics are annulled and replaced with gubernias. Territorially it includes the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania.
  • The people are called on to identify the cursed Communists and pluralists, and called on to be alert to any resurgence in the false and evil doctrines of Communism.
  • Commission to investigate Communist crimes.
  • Foreign debts are repudiated.
  • Obligatory Orthodoxy.
  • Renaming all cities and landmarks that carry Communist names.
  • All land and factories go over to the Emperor, who will proceed to give them out to people capable of productivity labor.
  • Passports and other documents given out by the Godless regime are declared null and void, and are replaced by a single residency card.
  • Steam and electric means of transports are to be replaced with animal horsepower.
  • Science is annulled and replaced with three obligatory subjects: God’s Law; Dal’s Dictionary; and His Majesty’s own works, such as “The Big Zone.”
  • Corporal punishment.
  • Mandatory beards for men over forty. Modest dress codes for men and women. Women are forbidden from riding bicycles.
  • The letter ѣ is reintroduced into the Russian alphabet.

So, in other words, this is basically the sovok shitlib’s fever dream – a projection of their own demented delusions and coprophilic complexes on Imperial Russia and Solzhenitsyn. Let’s just leave it at the fact that the Holy Russian Empire bans aircraft, whereas the actual Russian Empire had Europe’s biggest air fleet at the outbreak of World War I.

Unfortunately, this fever dream – promoted by the sovoks themselves – was shared by a sufficiently large number of people when the USSR collapsed, and this led directly to the catastrophes of the 1990s. Any alternatives to the neoliberal orthodoxy and Western cargo cultism could be answered with the refrain, “Well, what do you want, then? A Sim Simych?” And Voinovich played his small part in that self-destruction.

It should therefore come as no surprise that after returning to Russia in 1990, Voinovich has been a consistent champion of anti-Russian causes. He has opposed the Second Chechen War and supported Chechen self-determination, but didn’t have the consistency to also support Russian self-determination in Crimea and the Donbass. He has supported expressions of Western poz such as Pussy Riot (amusingly, his character Kartsev, back in 1982, asks one of Sim’s lackeys in 1982 whether he is a pedo in response to his homosexual-like behavior – it’s amusing to imagine him getting metaphorically crucified for it by SJWs, had he lived in the US). He has been strongly opposed to Putin and expressed a desire that Putin “answer for his crimes.”

* Or in the terminology of Fluctuarius Argenteus’ Double Horseshoe Theory, Solzhenitsyn was in Category C, while Voinovich was Category D. Naturally, Solzhenitsyn was never going to get hired by RFERL.

The Soviet Agents on Facebook


(h/t Hannah Gais)

This is gonna be a black author…


Yep, it’s a black author alright. It’s always a black author.

Haldeman: “Not intellectual enough. Not smart enough… not smart enough to be spies.”

There were still conservative boomer doofuses casually interchanging Soviet/Russian as late as the Iraq War, but I think that finally wound to an end by around 2010. Nowadays, it’s only black affirmative action journalists – the only people dumber than conservative pundits – who still do this.

The Yaroslavl Rebellion: 16 Days of Freedom


Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1911): General view of the Church of St. John Chrysostom in Korovniki (from the mill) from the west.

It is a curious thing that one of the most important stories of the Russian Civil War doesn’t even have an English language entry in Wikipedia. Google results either lead to fleeting mentions in obscure history books, or to general interest articles about the history or tourist attractions of Yaroslavl, a 600,000-population city some 250 km northeast of Moscow, in the heart of the “Golden Ring” cluster of medieval Russian towns.

Which is all pretty strange, because this story has pretty much all the key components of a Hollywood blockbuster: A diverse cast of occasionally bickering but broadly sympathetic characters, who are united in their struggle against a dystopian regime; a people’s uprising against said regime that achieves success against all the odds, thanks in part to a femme fatale who distracts the baddies at the perfect moment; subsequent feelings of elevation soon turning into consternation, as storm clouds gather on the horizon; hope turning to grim despair, as the doomed heroes mount a last stand against the mustering forces of xenos darkness; and the final great betrayal, in which the moral heroism of the defeated transcends into spiritual victory, while the ostensible victors are condemned to pay their mite to cosmic justice.

This is the story of how, one century ago this month, the first of the great Russian uprisings against Bolshevik tyranny was crushed under a barrage of shells and waves of Latvian Riflemen. This is the story of Yaroslavl’s 16 Days of Freedom.

Part I: Revolt Amongst the Ruins

It was July 1918, and the once mighty Russian Empire lay in ruins. The economy had cratered, as the Bolsheviks criminalized private trade and confiscated everything from banks and factories to ordinary people’s windmills, workshops, apartments, and private savings. The first food brigades were being marshalled and sent out to requisition grain from a recalcitrant peasantry at gunpoint. Less than a year ago, there were Russian troops in Austria-Hungarian and Turkish territory, which had come within a hair’s breadth of knocking out two of Russia’s principal enemies out of the Great War; since then, the Bolshevik coup and unilateral demobilization of the Imperial Russian Army had collapsed the Russian front, and resulted in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed between the Bolsheviks and their German sponsors, which deprived Russia of 44% of its population and more than half of its industrial potential. The Japanese had occupied Vladivostok, and even the Chinese had sent more than a thousand troops into Siberia. Sean McMeekin in The Russian Revolution points out that even as Russia’s urban population began to collapse from hunger and cholera, Lenin’s government sat safe in the Moscow Kremlin, guarded by 35,000 Latvian Riflemen, whose salaries were directly paid by the German Embassy.

Unsurprisingly, discontent with the Bolsheviks, who had won less than 25% in the Constituent Assembly elections – the last free elections in Russia for more than 70 years – was at a fever pitch. Trotsky’s request to the Congress of Soviets to have opponents of German occupiers who resisted arrest “shot on the spot” was one of the last straws. On July 6, the Left SR’s mounted a revolt against the Bolsheviks in Moscow, yelling “Down with the Mirbach dictatorship!” and killing the hapless German ambassador. They were quickly put down by General Vatsétis’ Latvian Riflemen, the only Imperial Army unit that the Bolsheviks had not ordered demobilized.

That same day also saw the outbreak of rebellion in the simmering Volga basin north-east of Moscow. Soviet historiography has traditionally labeled it the Yaroslavl Mutiny (мятеж). In reality, as Russian publicist Egor Kholmogorov points out, it was nothing of the sort. A “mutiny”, especially in the Russian language, presupposes that the act of rebellion occurs in relation to a legitimate authority. However, this was a regime which had emerged as the result of the overthrow of the Tsar, an armed coup against the Provisional Government, the rejection of free election results in which they gotten less than a quarter of the vote, the forcible dispersal of the Constituent Assembly, and a treasonous treaty with an enemy Power. Such a regime could not be considered legitimate in any world. Consequently, it can only be known as the Yaroslavl Rebellion (восстание), and this was indeed how it was known during the 1920s, by both Whites and Reds. It was only during the 1930s, when the USSR transitioned into its totalitarian phase and the Communists established an absolute equivalence between themselves and the state, that the Rebellion was downgraded to a “mutiny.”

Part II: The People’s Front

Why Yaroslavl? One factor must have been just random luck. The Moscow and Kazan branches of the conspiracy had been uncovered and purged in May 1918. The persistent failure of White conspiracies was unsurprising in light of the fact that the officers who formed the core of the clandestine cells set up to oppose Bolshevik rule came from a society that had, at least until recently, been based on rule of law, not the rule of secret policemen. They were unaccustomed to the ruthless discipline and dissimulation needed to bring conspiracies to fruition.


Mikhail Davydov (2016): Twenty Years to the Great War. Russian regions by share of peasant households with passbooks (needed for savings accounts).

However, the socioeconomic and cultural particularities of Yaroslavl may have also played a certain role. Yaroslavl gubernia traditionally had the highest literacy rate of any ethnic Russian region apart from Moscow and Saint-Petersburg: 36% vs. 23% for European Russia in the 1897 Census, and 61% vs. 44% for the European part of the RSFSR and BSSR in the 1926 Census. Even today, intellectual ability tests show Yaroslavl oblast to have average IQ scores equal to the two capitals, and higher than any other Russian region. This early development of human capital also made it a decidedly bourgeois region by the time of the Revolution: As of 1913, fully two thirds of peasant families in Yaroslavl gubernia had a passbook (needed to open savings accounts), relative to 10.3% in the Russian Empire as a whole. Finally, in the Constituent Assembly elections of 1917, Yaroslavl voted 38% for the Bolsheviks (versus 43% for the Social Revolutionaries). This was higher than the all-Russian average of 24%, but was still one of the lowest figures in Central Russia – the most pro-Bolshevik region after the Baltics.

This perhaps explains why it wasn’t only the officers, students, and intelligentsia who went over to the rebellion in Yaroslavl, but also “blue collar” classes such as policemen, local peasants, and even the railway workers, 140 of whom joined the Rebellion as soldiers, and fitted out an armored train for the cause. Consequently, the Yaroslavl Rebellion was a true “popular front”, in which the entire city, from merchants and Black Hundreds, to Mensheviks and workers, came together as one against the Bolshevik regime.

This ideological diversity was reflected in the Rebellion’s leadership, which was headed by the Social Revolutionary and former terrorist Boris Savinkov, the head of the Union for the Defense of the Motherland and Freedom (UDMF). After the Civil War, Savinkov would claim the USSR to be a continuation of the Tsarist monarchy in his 1923 book The Black Horseman of the Apocalypse:

I do not care who rules the country – the Lubyanka or the Okhrana, for he who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind… what, exactly, has changed? Only the words… They betrayed Russia on the front, with cigars in their teeth. They defile it now. They defile life, they defile the language, they defile the very name of Russia.

They boast that they remember not their ancestors. For them, the Motherland – is a prejudice. In the name of their own miserable welfare, they sell our inheritance to foreigners – not theirs, but ours. And these bastards rule from Moscow…

These are hardly the words of a hardcore reactionary (though you don’t exactly have to be one to question the equivalence between the Okhrana, which had less than 10,000 agents in the entire Russian Empire in 1900, and the Cheka, which employed 280,000 black leather jacket-clad thugs by the end of 1920). That said, it cannot be denied that Savinkov – like the Social Revolutionaries who refused Fritz Platten’s suggestion to accompany Lenin in his “sealed train” to Russia – was a genuine Russian patriot and lover of liberty.

Boris Savinkov’s political vision was augmented by the military talent of Colonel Alexander Perkhurov, a monarchist, who headed what would become the Yaroslavl Detachment of the Northern Volunteer Army.

He was supported in his role by the following locals in the Rebellion HQ:

  • Ivan Savinov, a Menshevik railway employee, answered for the civic functioning of the city;
  • The Mayor was V. Lopatin, a Cadet engineer;
  • The city board included the merchant Kayukov, the Cadets Sobolev and Gorelov, and the Menshevik Meshkovsky;
  • The Social Revolutionary Mamyrin visited outlying villages to drum up peasant support for the Rebellion;
  • The former governor of the region under the Provisional Government, V. Dyushen, also supported the Rebellion.

Despite this class and ideological heterogeneity amongst the key protagonists of the Rebellion, they shared the fundamental goals of the UDMF, which boiled down to the following major three points:

  • The overthrow of Soviet power;
  • Restoration of lost freedoms, including rule of law and property rights, cancelation of restrictions on movement and trade, and reinstatement of private capital;
  • Denunciation of Brest-Litovsk, and continuation of the war with the German occupiers.

All of these goals were fulfilled, however briefly, in what Russian writer Kirill Kaminets calls Yaroslavl’s “sixteen days of freedom.”

As we shall soon see, even the fact that the Rebellion formally considered itself to be at war with Germany would end up playing an ironic and tragic role.


It would go amiss not to mention the symbols under which the soldiers of the Rebellion fought. Here is what Perkhurov formally prescribed for military units:

Distinctive signs for military units answering to the Union for the Defense of the Motherland and Freedom: Stripes on the left sleeve in the form of a corner from a narrow St. George’s ribbon (chevron).

The same color scheme to be used for flags and banners. They can be adorned with saints specific to the unit in question.

Yes, that’s the very same St. George’s Ribbon that was “rehabilitated” during the Great Patriotic War, and would later come to be synonymous with Victory.

More recently, it also came to be associated with the revolts against the Ukrainian authorities during the “Russian Spring” in 2014, and with Novorossiya supporters in the subsequent War in the Donbass.

Incidentally, Latvia tried to ban St. George’s Ribbon in 2015 – a most supreme irony, considering who crushed Yaroslavl’s dreams and secured Bolshevik power in the precarious early months of its power.

Part III: 16 Days of Freedom

In early July, almost 300 officers were concentrated in Yaroslavl – 200 locals, and 100 guests from Moscow, Kaluga, and Kostroma. On the night of July 6, Perkhurov gathered 105 officers in the Leontiev Cemetery; armed with just twelve revolvers, they proceeded to storm the main weapons dump in the city, which was half a kilometer away. A 30 man police detachment sent to investigate the disturbances defected to the Rebellion, and they were soon followed by the city police (this included its head, Falaleev, who would command a squad in the ensuing battles and die on the front).


The Leontiev Cemetery

Soon after, the insurgents – now numbering in the many hundreds – seized the telegraph, postal office, radio station, and treasury, as well as the local Bolshevik HQ. Although the latter was guarded by 200 Red Guards, most of them were locals who crossed over to the Rebellion. One reason for this smooth takeover was that the local Bolshevik bigwigs were distracted, having been invited to a party in the city center organized by the actress Valentina Barkovskaya, a local celebrity who sympathized with the rebels. Another reason was that ordinary citizens welcomed the rebellion, and the Bolsheviks – who had already managed to make themselves widely hated – were too demoralized to offer up more than token resistance.


Former Yaroslavl governor’s residence, where the Bolsheviks had made their HQ.

The military commissar of the Yaroslavl region, Semyon Nakhimson, and the chairman of the local ispolkom, David Zakheim – were summarily lynched, in the two confirmed cases of execution without trial or jury on the part of the Rebellion. However, it should be pointed out that this lynching, though standard practice for the Reds, was unequivocally condemned by Perkhurov: “We must remember that we are fighting these rapists for the principles of rule of law, for freedom, and for the inviolability of the person.”

The city was under the Rebellion’s control by midday. They published a public proclamation, which began with the following words:

CITIZENS! Bolshevik power in Yaroslavl gubernia has been overthrown. Those who several months ago seized power by means of deceit, and kept control of the genuine will of the people through unheard of violence and mockeries, those who brought the people to starvation and unemployment, who set brother against brother, who divided the contents of the people’s treasury amongst their own pockets – they now sit in prison, and await their retribution.

The prison in question was what Soviet historiography would later term a “death barge”. For a long time, the Soviets claimed that the rebels imprisoned 200 Communists on a barge in the middle of the Volga. Half of them starved to death, while 109 managed to escape when a stray shell cut the barge’s anchor line. However, documents uncovered after the Soviet collapse tell a rather different story. First, only 82 surnames are mentioned. Second, it was Red artillery from the opposite shore that made resupplying the famine-stricken barge an unfeasible endeavour. Perkhurov even ordered a volunteer officer to deliver food to the barge, but his boat was hit by a shell and capsized, and the officer himself was severely wounded. The only accurate part of this Soviet story was that an artillery shell did eventually sever the anchor line, freeing the barge to drift downstream to the Red forces.

In the first heady days of the Rebellion, the town was festooned with an enormous banner, which proclaimed, “Long live free Russia! Down with the Bolsheviks! Long live the Constituent Assembly!” People were called upon to save “our Motherland and our people from shame, slavery, and hunger” in leaflets distributed by the Yaroslavl authorities. On July 8, local self-government was returned, and the laws of the Provisional Government were restored. July 13 saw the formal annulment of all Soviet institutions and Bolshevik decrees.


Source: SelfSimilar/Sputnik & Pogrom. Map of the Yaroslavl Rebellion.

Perkhurov immediately declared a mobilization, though one that was only mandatory for the officers. Despite the lack of mandatory conscription, some 6,000 men would join the Rebellion’s military forces in Yaroslavl, a city of 135,000 people. Around 1,000-2,000 of these troops would be at the front at any one time. They included a battalion of five Garford-Putilov cars, which were armed with 76.2 mm cannons and a couple of 7.62 mm machine guns.

But the celebrations had hardly died down before storm clouds started appearing on the horizon.

The UDMF had planned a series of uprisings throughout Central Russia in early July. These were to form a concentric circle around Moscow, with Yaroslavl serving as a central lynchpin, its railway hub connecting the Urals and Siberia with the Russian North. With many of the Bolsheviks’ crack Latvian Rifle troops having been diverted south to put down the rebellion in the Kuban, the plan was to sap Bolshevik energies and hold out until reinforcements arrived. The French had promised Savinkov and Perkhurov that they would send down an expeditionary force from Arkhangelsk, while the Whites forces then consolidating control over Siberia and the Urals would advance from the east.

But one by one, the planned uprisings flickered out. The cells in Moscow and Kazan had been uncovered and liquidated back in May. The cells in Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov, and Ivanovo-Voznesensk failed to ignite. The most successful uprisings outside Yaroslavl, the ones in Rybinsk (July 8) and Murom (July 8-10), were suppressed within a couple of days, though the defenders of Yaroslavl were late to learn about it because the Bolsheviks managed to intercept the messengers. Meanwhile, it became increasingly clear that aid was not to be forthcoming. The Allies would only disembark in Arkhangelsk in August, while the People’s Army in the east would only capture Kazan in August – far too late to synchronize with the Rebellion in both cases.


Jānis Lencmanis vs. Alexander Perkhurov.

In the meantime, the Reds – having awoken to the seriousness of the crisis – were mustering their forces with a panicked urgency. An Extraordinary HQ for the Liquidation of the Mutiny, headed by Jānis Lencmanis, was formed on July 9. The military operation was to be directed by Anatoly Gekker and Yury Guzarsky. The 7,000 troops that were gathered up to storm the defiant city every bit as “diverse” as their commanders: The 3rd Hungarian International Regiment, the 8th Latvian Rifle Regiment, the 1st Warsaw Revolutionary Regiment (which included a Chinese-Korean brigade), the 2nd Riga Latvian Rifle Brigade, and units of the 1st Riga Latvian Rifle Regiment.

Moreover, the failure of the Murom Rebellion left its massive artillery stockpiles, which the UDMF had counted on capturing, in the hands of the Reds. Controlling the heights above Yaroslavl, no less than ten artillery batteries and three armored trains unleashed their fury on the Rebellion’s lines. Around 80% of Yaroslavl’s buildings were destroyed and untold damage done to the cultural and architectural legacy of this thousand year old Russian city. Even so, the civil authorities continued functioning throughout the revolt, allocating shelter for people whose homes were destroyed and disposing of bodies in the local church cemeteries.

Source: Yaroslavl After a Century. Photos of the city after the Rebellion, compared to today.

Yaroslavl: Scenes of ruin and devastation in 1918 (part 1, 2).

Yaroslavl gained the “honor” of becoming the world’s first ever city to be subjected to a sustained bombardment from airplanes, which dropped 250 kg worth of explosives on the city (superseding Guernica by almost twenty years).

On July 16, the Red commander Yury Guzarsky telegraphed Moscow with an ominous request:

We urgently need 10,000 shells… as well as 500 incendiary shells and 500 chemical shells. I suppose that we will have to raze the city to its foundations.

In the event, only the strong winds and heavy rains that marked the last days of the Rebellion saved Yaroslavl from acquiring another dubious mark of global primacy: The first major city to be subjected to a chemical weapons bombardment.


A. I. Malygin (1930-35): Battle in the Center of Yaroslavl, 1918.


A. I. Malygin (1930-35): Battle in the Outskirts of Yaroslavl, 1918.

Facing an increasingly hopeless situation, the Rebellion decided to split forces. A detachment of 50 men commanded by Perkhurov would attempt to break out, which they accomplished by ferry on the night of July 15-16. Meanwhile, the locals elected to fight on under General Pyotr Karpov, hoping against hope that the revolts in the other cities had succeeded, and that the French would come after all.

But by July 20, the surviving fighters realized that there would be no dawn. Their ammunition was running out, and the end was only days away, at best.

On July 21, the defenders of Yaroslavl surrendered to their enemies: The Germans.

Part IV: Genesis of the Russian Genocide

It just so happened that Yaroslavl was hosting the so-called “German Commission of POWs #4” under Lieutenant Balk. They had been interned at the Theater of Fyodor Volkov for the duration of the Rebellion. This was a reasonable precautionary measure, since the Germans were functionally allied with the Bolsheviks. Consequently, the surviving Whites offered to surrender to the Germans, subsequent to Balk’s promise not to hand them over to the Reds – who were no longer at war with Germany after Brest-Litovsk, and thus had no authority to demand they surrender their prisoners.


Theater of Fyodor Volkov, Yaroslavl.

Balk did not keep his promise. After getting repeatedly harangued by the pugilistic Guzarsky, he gave in after a day and handed over his Russian POWs to the tender mercies of the Bolsheviks.

As the Chairman of the All-Russian Bureau of Military Commissars Konstantin Yurenev had promised a few days earlier:

The White Guard rebellion in Yaroslavl must be ruthlessly suppressed. Shoot the prisoners; nothing can stop or slow down the terrible punishment of the people against the enslavers. Terror against the local bourgeoisie and its lackeys, who yearn for the coming of the French imperialists, must be merciless.

At least in this case, the Bolsheviks were true to their word. The following days saw the first large-scale massacres of the Russian Civil War.

600 White soldiers had died to give Yaroslavl its 16 days of freedom. Soon afterwards, a further 428 were summarily shot, without trial or jury. The victims consisted of local officers, students, and Cadets, as well as the entire 57 person membership of the Rebellion HQ. In total, at least 5,004 people were recorded executed in Yaroslavl gubernia by the Bolsheviks from March-November. This does not include the hundreds of people killed “off the books” in the hours following the city’s capture, nor the hundreds of peasants shot during and after the Rebellion for provisioning aid to the rebels. The population of Yaroslavl fell from 135,000 in 1917 to just 75,000 by autumn 1918. It would take a decade to recover those numbers.


Defensive lines of rebel-held Yaroslavl.

In the larger picture, the Yaroslavl Rebellion failed to achieve its strategic goals: To cement the logistical lynchpin north-east of Moscow that would allow the Entente from the north and the People’s Army from the east to link up. However, by focusing Bolshevik attention closer to home, they did manage to smooth the way for the Whites to capture Ekaterinburg, Simbirsk, and Kazan (the defenders of the latter city, the 5th Zemgale Latvian Rifle Regiment, became the first ever Red unit to be awarded with the Honorable Order of the Red Banner).

These advances alarmed the Bolsheviks, who felt that the tide was going against them in July 1918. It is quite possible that the Yaroslavl Rebellion, occurring as it did in the Russian heartlands, is the critical event that spurred them on to order the murder of the Romanov family on July 16, 1918. In retrospect, this removed one of the last lingering psychological bulwarks against Red Terror. If the Bolsheviks could extrajudicially kill the Tsar, even a former one – now demoted to “simple citizen” Nikolay Romanov – then they could, in principle, kill any citizen. And they increasingly did just that.

In the event, the People’s Army’s gains turned to be fleeting. Kazan was recaptured as early as September 1918, and the Whites in the east would never again advance as far. The Bolsheviks occupied Russia’s demographic core, controlled its industrial center and central communications nodes, and had captured the great bulk of the collapsed empire’s gold, weapons, and ammunition reserves. In the future, there would be further, much larger-scale revolts, such as the Tambov Rebellion, which would be crushed by the Bolsheviks with even greater ruthlessness. But the Bolsheviks would be dealing with them from a position of strength. With Central Russia subsequently secure, and facing no more than symbolic opposition from the Entente – not enough to materially help the Whites, but just enough to smear them as Anglo-French imperialist lackeys – the Bolsheviks’ final victory must have become highly probable even before the final fall of Yaroslavl.


Alexander Perkhurov at his trial in 1922.

The Rebellion’s leaders paid the ultimate price along with their followers. Pyotr Karpov was shot on September 13. Lopatin was shot on September 26. Savinov was shot sometime in 1918. Perkhurov and his fifty good men broke through to the People’s Army in the east, where he fought for the Whites until he was captured by Soviet forces in the frozen taiga of Siberia in 1920. Confined to a concentration camp, he was freed in January 1921 and forced to work as a Red military specialist. It took them five more months to figure out his real identity as the leader of the Yaroslavl Rebellion, after which he was promptly re-imprisoned. After a show trial at the Cheka HQ of Yaroslavl, Perkhurov was shot in July 19, 1922. His remains may well be buried where it all began, at the Leontiev Cemetery.

Boris Savinkov left for Poland in 1920. In October 1921, the Poles expelled him, wishing to restore relations with Moscow after the end of the Polish-Soviet War. He settled in Great Britain, where he wrote his closing thoughts on the Yaroslavl Rebellion in his book The Struggle against the Bolsheviks:

[The Yaroslavl Rebellion] cannot be said to have been successful, but nor was it useless. For the first time ever, not on the Don nor in the Kuban, but in the Russian heartlands, not far from Moscow, the Russian people – without any help from anyone – rose up against the Bolsheviks, and proved that they there were neither prepared to tolerate the disgrace of Brest-Litovsk, nor acquiesce quietly to Bolshevik terror. Our honor was saved.

In the end, Savinkov did not manage to save his own honor. He was lured back to the USSR in August 1924 in a Soviet secret police operation, where he was sentenced to death. But this was later commuted to 10 years in jail, where he enjoyed hotel-level service. During this time, he wrote letters to the leaders of the White emigration, urging them to cease their struggle against the Soviet Union. It is not unreasonable to speculate that there may have been a causal relationship between these two developments. Savinkov committed suicide on May 7, 1925 after jumping out of his hotel window. Although there are suspicions that he was murdered by the secret police, it is perhaps likelier that he was filled with despair at serving a regime that he surely continued to secretly loathe.

The leaders of the Coalition of the Fringes that had broken Yaroslavl and sealed Russia’s 20th century fate also eventually paid their mite to karmic justice. Yury Guzarsky was shot on Trotsky’s orders in 1919 for disobedience. Anatoly Gekker was shot in 1937. Konstantin Yurenev was shot in 1938. Jānis Lencmanis was arrested in 1937 as a member of a “Latvian fascist-terrorist spy organization”, and shot in 1939. The Baltics were occupied by the USSR in 1940.

Part V: The Soviet Story vs. The Western Story


Source: Yury Uryukov. Monument to the Victims of the White Guard mutiny (1958).

For the next 70 years the Soviets only told their “politically correct” side of the story, replete with imperialist lackeys, death barges, and a “White reign of terror” that was only brought to an end by “workers’ detachments.” After the Soviet Union collapsed, this “Soviet Story” lost its ideological monopoly and institutional backing. Consequently, as in many other areas, more and more articles on the Yaroslavl Rebellion have been appearing from a non-Soviet perspective – that is, one where foreign mass murderers are not considered to be morally superior to ordinary Russians doing their best to organize a normal, humane society amidst a maelstrom of chaos and horror. One notable example is The Yaroslavl Rebellion: 16 Days of Freedom by Kirill Kaminets for Sputnik & Pogrom, whose title I borrowed with his permission. There has been a particularly good uptick in publications to mark its centenary this month. A list of some good Russian language articles about the Yaroslavl Rebellion, many of which I drew upon here, is appended at the end.

Nonetheless, much remains to be done. There is still no epic patriotic film about the Yaroslavl Rebellion, even though it has all the elements needed for a blockbuster. In the future Russian National State, many exhibits will be devoted to it in the yet to be built Museum of the Russian Genocide. Still, the path to reconciliation begins with small steps. While Yaroslavl hosts streets named after Chekist “martyrs” such as Nakhimson and Zakheim, it has no streets named in honor of Perkhurov or Falaleev; there has been a monument to the “victims of the White Guard mutiny” since 1958, but almost three decades after the collapse of the USSR, there is still no corresponding monument to the victims of the Red Terror in Yaroslavl, of whom there were three orders of magnitude more.

This “Soviet Story” has its mirror image in the “Western Story,” whose take on the Yaroslavl Rebellion is one of studied silence. As already mentioned, there isn’t even an English language article on Wikipedia, and Google results mainly lead to brief mentions in obscure history books or general interest articles about the city. But this isn’t too surprising, since the Western narrative is grounded on the conception that the USSR was but a continuation of the Russian Empire, based on Great Russian supremacism/chauvinism over the “prison of nations”/”Captive Nations” (plus ça change…). The spectacle of “European” commissars brutally crushing an ethnic Russian uprising of merchants, workers, and nobles in support of freedom and capitalism would automatically lead to all sorts of other, highly inconvenient questions. So of course there are almost zero trends in that direction, and considering the poisonous state of relations between Russia and the West, there is no good reason to expect that to change anytime soon.

In the meantime, we get to observe the incredible spectacle of the people who overwhelmingly voted for the Bolsheviks in the 1917 elections (72% in Latvia vs. 24% in the Russian Empire as a whole), and who then did more than anyone else to secure Communist tyranny in Russia during the first precarious months of its existence, now whining for three decades and counting about getting “occupied” by their own creatures and demanding reparations.

There can be no resolution to this idiot’s limbo until both the Soviet Story and the West Story, both equally fake and pathologically hostile to Russia and Russians, are replaced with the Russian Story – the story of Yaroslavl’s 16 Days of Freedom.


Sputnik & Pogrom16 Days of Freedom by Kirill Kaminets (2014).


Since there are almost no good English language sources on the Yaroslavl Rebellion, this essay is essentially a condensed summary of some the following Russian language articles:

Butina Trutherism

One persistent thing I have noticed in this recent saga is the refusal to believe that there is any civil society in Russia that is even marginally independent of Putler and ROG.

Clarification: While there are genuine pro-“democracy” (pro-LGBT, pro-Ukrainian, etc.) organizations in Russia, which are of course viciously repressed, there are certainly no such movements in support of non-neoliberalism.txt approved causes.

First, because Putler is a fascist, and gun rights are fascist, so of course Russian gun rights activists can’t have any problem with any aspect of the Putlerreich whatsoever.

Second, in Russia “guns are absolutely forbidden,” so there is no way that Putler would tolerate gun rights organizations anyway.

The fact that the two above points are absolutely contradictory is of no apparent concern to this subset of ROG worshippers. The idea that there might be some Russians who might agree with and support Putin on some things, disagree on others, while wanting Russia to raise its score on the Gun Rights Index from the current, relatively restrictive 3.1 to something like Czechia’s 6.4 or America’s 8.0 is completely absurd and can only be advanced by a Putler bot or shill.


Where Do The WEIRDos Come From?

Gargantuan (174 pages) paper with an staggering amount of data about family systems and kinship related institutions by Jonathan Schulz et al. (2018): The Origins of WEIRD Psychology (h/t @pseudoerasmus).

Our approach integrates three insights. The first, drawing on anthropology, reveals that the institutions built around kinship and marriage vary greatly across societies (21–23) and that much of this variation developed as societies scaled up in size and complexity, especially after the origins of food production 12,000 years ago (22, 24–29). In forging the tightly-knit communities needed to defend agricultural fields and pastures, cultural evolution gradually wove together social norms governing marriage, post-marital residence and ingroup identity (descent), leading to a diversity of kin-based institutions, including the organizational forms known as clans, lineages and kindreds (21, 27, 30). The second insight, based on work in psychology, is that people’s motivations, emotions, perceptions, thinking styles and other aspects of cognition are heavily influenced by the social norms, social networks, technologies and linguistic worlds they encounter while growing up (31–38). In particular, with intensive kin-based institutions, people’s psychological processes adapt to the collectivistic demands and the dense social networks that they interweave (39–43). Intensive kinship norms reward greater conformity, obedience, holistic/relational awareness and in-group loyalty but discourage individualism, independence and analytical thinking (41, 44). Since the sociality of intensive kinship is based on people’s interpersonal embeddedness, adapting to these institutions tends to reduce people’s inclinations towards impartiality, universal (non-relational) moral principles and impersonal trust, fairness and cooperation. Finally, based on historical evidence, the third insight suggests that the branch of Western Christianity that eventually evolved into the Roman Catholic Church—hereafter, ‘the Western Church’ or simply ‘the Church’—systematically undermined the intensive kin-based institutions of Europe during the Middle Ages (45–52). The Church’s marriage policies and prohibitions, which we will call the Marriage and Family Program (MFP), meant that by 1500 CE, and likely centuries earlier in some regions, Europe lacked strong kin-based institutions, and was instead dominated by relatively weak, independent and isolated nuclear or stem families (49–51, 53–56). This made people exposed to Western Christendom rather unlike nearly all other populations.

Integrating these insights, we propose that the spread of the Church, specifically through its transformation of kinship and marriage, was a key factor behind a cultural shift towards a WEIRDer psychology in Europe. This shift eventually fostered the creation of new formal institutions, including representative governments, individual rights, commercial law and impersonal markets (17, 57). This theory predicts that (1) societies with less intensive kin-based institutions should have a WEIRDer psychology and (2) historical exposure to the Church’s MFP should predict both less intensive kin-based institutions and, as a consequence, a WEIRDer psychology.

Anyhow, there is zero chance that I am going to read this paper closely now or anytime soon, so for now I am just going to highlight the things that caught my eye there.








All the correlations are as we would expect them to be.



To begin to explain the psychological differences now documented around the globe, we have proposed a two-part theory. First, we hypothesize that, in adapting to the social worlds created by intensive kin-based institutions, human psychology shifts in ways that foster greater conformity, obedience and sensitivity to relational contexts but less individualism, analytic thinking and cooperation with strangers. Second, to account for part of the variation in kinship intensity, we hypothesize that Western Christianity, beginning around 500 CE, gradually implemented a set of policies about marriage and the family—the MFP—that was a critical contributor to the eventual dissolution of the intensive kin-based institutions of Europe. By 1500 CE, this left many regions of Western Europe dominated by independent, monogamous, nuclear families—a peculiar configuration called the European Marriage Pattern (54, 55, 97). This two-part theory implies that the Church, through the MFP, inadvertently contributed to what  psychologists have termed WEIRD psychology.

We tested these hypotheses at three levels of analysis. Across countries, our analyses of 16 variables confirm that populations with less intensive kin-based institutions historically are psychologically WEIRDer today: they are more individualistic and independent but less nepotistic, conformist, obedient and holistically-oriented. Socially, populations with weaker kin-based institutions reveal less in-group loyalty, diminished moral particularism and greater trust, fairness and cooperation with strangers. Then, zooming in on Europe, by tracking the diffusion of the MFP from 550 to 1500 CE, we show that the longer a regional population was exposed to the Church, the higher their measures of individualism-independence and generalized trust and fairness and the lower their measure of conformity-obedience. Then, by tapping remnants of intensive kinship in Western Europe, we demonstrate that greater exposure to the Church is associated with less cousin marriage in the 20th century, which in turn is associated with stronger individualism, less conformity and greater impersonal prosociality. In Italy, we further demonstrate that higher rates of cousin marriage are associated with fewer voluntary blood donations (a public good). Lastly, by linking second-generation immigrants in Europe back to the places where their parents originated, we demonstrate that the influence of both intensive kinship and Church exposure can still be detected psychologically among the adult children of immigrants living in the same European countries.


  1. No, hbd*chick is not acknowledged, though she really should be in what appears to be the most comprehensive overview of this topic to date.

  2. Do they produce a national index of kinship intensity/cousin marriage/etc. anywhere in the paper, or could one at least be easily constructed from the wealth of data they have accumulated? (E.g., something like what JayMan attempted to do, if not very rigorously). It would be good to test if kinship intensity, cousin marriage, family structure, and/or some general “inbreeding index” combining all of these, has any independent effects (in addition to IQ/oil windfalls/Communist legacy) on current levels of GDP per capita/general socioeconomic success.

Open Thread 51


Today is the centenary of the crushing of the Yaroslavl Rebellion against Bolshevik tyranny. I will have a post on that imminently.

Romania travel post is still in the works. Given previous prediction failures that I would publish it “within a week,” I will just settle on saying that it will likely be “sometime soon.”

Some of my colleagues are thinking of how to promote #FreeMariaButina. I wonder if a picket at the US Embassy would be productive (assuming permission from the Mayoralty).

Featured News

Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of RT, says the same thing.

Pretty depressing, if probably inevitable, in the long-term. But there’s one detail that makes it even sadder. I’ll post about it if/when this happens.

It’s likely that the US will want to extradite him. This will result in lengthy legal proceedings, based on the applicability of US laws outside its borders, and his prospects of getting a fair trial in the US. Assange will certainly not be granted bail a second time, so most likely he will spend the next 1-3 years in jail at a minimum.

I suppose the final outcome will depend on the extent to which British courts are still independent. With the Brexit trainwreck, UK politicians could certainly do with polishing their relations with the US.


* RAND: Assessing the Imbalance of Military Power in Europe (2018 update)

Given NATO’s current posture and capability, including European battalions and a rotational U.S. armored brigade combat team, Russia can still achieve a rapid fait accompli in the Baltic states followed by brinksmanship to attempt to freeze the conflict. Nothing about this analysis should suggest that Russian conventional aggression against NATO is likely to take place…

Let’s face it, unless the Washington establishment makes a very unlikely about-turn, the Russia-US confrontation will last for decades and outlive both the Trump and Putin presidencies because it has a simple root.

In 1991, Russians believed they were joining the US-led international order as equal partners and the Americans considered Moscow to be a defeated empire. Meaning, much like Germany in 1945, they expected Russia to fall into line and suck it up, albeit without a Marshall Plan. Washington’s strategy failed because the economy collapsed, Russians lost their thirst for liberalism, and by a stroke of luck, a competent government, blessed with high oil prices, managed to perform an economic resurrection before it was too late.

By 2007, Putin had drawn red lines about NATO expansion in Munich, but the US didn’t listen and now we are where we are. That’s it, in simplistic terms, because unlike the rest of Europe, Russia defines its own national interests, rather than taking instruction from Washington. And that’s just how it is, and it’s unlikely to change, barring some sort of catastrophic fiscal or state collapse.

  • Russia’s holdings of US Treasury Securities falls from $100 billion to just $15 billion within the past three months, which is just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade.


  • Heat wave over Finland during Helsinki summit. Tropical Hyperborea immanentizing?


* Alex Tabarrok: The Misallocation of International Math Talent. (Global-level) argument for open borders?

He handed me a copy of the book he had written about our grandfather called “Generolas Vėtra” (General Storm), the cover of which bore a photo of my grandmother pulling my grandfather closer to her by his neck-tie. It had been published by the Lithuanian Genocide Museum, dedicated to Lithuanians who suffered during World War II, many whom died in Siberia. The museum was created in 1992, shortly after Lithuania’s independence, in response to the Holocaust, to show the world that Lithuanian nationalists had suffered under Communism just as much as Jews had under Nazism. The museum was criticized for appropriating the word genocide wrongly, and earlier this year it changed its name to the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights. Formerly, the museum was the KGB prison where our grandfather died in 1947, and it bears his name, along with many others’, on its gray marble walls.

Mainly posting this insofar as this relates to our debate over whether Museums to X Genocide are useful or not. They seem to have worked very well for the Balts. This Silvia Foti person will receive 1,000x less attention than the Museum itself. Indeed, based on the experience of other Baltic “truth-diggers” like her, it is likely that she will be ostracized in Lithuania, perhaps smeared as a Russian agent of some sort.

  • Comment: Dmitry points out Trump has been financing Israeli settlements since the end of the 1970s (Ivanka was born in 1981).

Science & Culture

[Swedish] women do not respect chastity; they reveal their breasts and lewdly tie their skirts over their clothing.

Powerful Takes

  • Comment: Thorfinnson suggests a Hack’s Law: “As a comment thread grows longer, the probability of a discussion about The Ukraine breaking out approaches 1.

  • FIFA World Cup 2018 endnote: I was 75% accurate in my football predictions. So I don’t know where or how I got my lousy reputation.


  • Handshakeworthy. BTW, as an Echo of Moscow journalist, Karina Orlova’s salary is paid by Gazprom:



  • In which Navalny, who otherwise advocates an economic neoliberalism program (not that there’s anything wrong with that), predictably becomes an anti-Putinist populist on the pensions issue.

Russian MFA Declares War on Guardian Hack Carole Cadwalladr


The Tweet in question. Incidentally, kudos to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this unexpectedly strong show of support. #FreeMariaButina

As I have pointed out, Maria Butina is neither a spy, nor even a Russian agent: US Arrests Russia’s Foremost 2nd Amendment Activist. Unless this is rapidly resolved, hopefully Russia will escalate with symmetrical arrests of (actual) American agents.

PS. In the least surprising biographical revelation ever, Carole Cadwalladr is a Guardian hack who is apparently rather well-known for untangling the hidden webs of ROG behind Brexit:

Brexit, the ministers, the professor and the spy: how Russia pulls strings in UK – by Carole Cadwalladr – Observer/Guardian – Nov 4 2017

But on Brexit, Facebook has said nothing. Not a word. No ads have been scrutinised. Nothing – even though Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council thinktank, asked to testify before the senate intelligence committee last week, says evidence of Russian interference online is now “incontrovertible”. He says: “It is frankly implausible to think that we weren’t targeted too.”

Guardian and Observer scoop three prizes in British Journalism Awards – Guardian – Dec 11 2017

The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr won the technology journalism award for her investigation into Russia’s influence on the Brexit referendum

Facebook says Russian-linked accounts spent just 97 cents on ads over Brexit – Reuters – Dec 14 2017

“We have determined that these accounts associated with the IRA spent a small amount of money ($0.97) on advertisements that delivered to UK audiences during that time,” Facebook said.

“This amount resulted in three advertisements (each of which were also targeted to U.S. audiences and concerned immigration, not the EU referendum) delivering approximately 200 impressions to UK viewers over four days in May 2016.”

Explaining Coptic Success

It has been noted in the HBDsphere that the Christian Arabs sorry N.N. Taleb, I meant Phoenicians, Copts, Maronites, Alawites, etc., have been rather successful relative to their Muslim neighbors.

This is true for economic achievement (e.g. Carlos Slim, Steve Jobs) and for intellectual achievement (e.g. Albert Hourani, Skin In The Game man).


One possibility, initially raised by hbd*chick, (and occasionally developed on this blog), is that they had less cousin marriage.

However, in a recent paper by Mohamed Saleh, it is suggested that poorer Egyptians converted to Islam, to avoid the poll tax on Christians, while the richer ones stayed put as Copts.

Self-selection of converts is an under-studied explanation of inter-religion socioeconomic status (SES) differences. Inspired by this conjecture, I trace the Coptic-Muslim SES gap in Egypt to self-selection-on-SES during Egypt’s conversion from Coptic Christianity to Islam. Selection was driven by a poll tax on non-Muslims, imposed from 641 until 1856, which induced poorer Copts to convert to Islam leading Copts to shrink into a better-off minority. Using novel data sources, I document that high-tax districts in 641–1100 had in 1848–1868 relatively fewer Copts, but greater SES differentials. Group restrictions on apprenticeships and schooling led the initial selection to perpetuate.

The paper convincingly attributes the declining share of the Coptic population to the poll tax on non-Muslims driving conversions, especially amongst the poor (immigration and fertility differentials are ruled out). Indeed, a existence of a socio-economic status gap between Copts and the Muslims is established to more than a millennium ago. Moreover, the Copts’ rate of decline as a share of the population correlated with the size of the poll tax during various periods.


It should be noted that the author rejects genetic differences as a means of explaining the persistence of ability differentials. This is primarily justified by making arguing that SES in medieval Egypt was weakly correlated with ability, and by noting that the possibility of rich Copts marrying poor Copts would result in “regress to the population mean.” I am not sure I buy this. Even if the selection effects were small, they were active in play for more a millennium.