96% of Kuril Islanders Oppose Joining Japan

I have already mentioned that there is virtually zero popular support for handing over the Kurils to Japan, so current hopes (and histrionics) on this topic are almost certainly nothing but hot air.

I wouldn’t even be making this post if not for a new development in this saga – the appearance of concrete numbers on what Kuril Islanders themselves think about getting handed over to a foreign country. The VCIOM poll in question queried 7,695 Kurilers, which represents an amazing 68% of the 11,347 people on the region’s electoral rolls. That poll might as well have been a referendum.

Results: Only 2% of Kurilers think Russia should hand over the islands to Japan, while 96% think it shouldn’t. 2% didn’t answer.

There were also basically zero differences by age group. 96% of 18-24 year olds oppose a handover, which is the same as for the population as a whole. The lowest opposition, by the thinnest of margins, actually came from the 60+ year cohort, where this number was “only” 94%.

For comparison, as per an earlier FOM poll from December 2018, these numbers are 84% for the Far Eastern Federal District, and 77% for Russia as a whole.

As I noted back then, the lowest opposition came from the (70% non-ethnic Russian) North Caucasus Federal District, at only 63%. Since South Russians are strongly patriotic – 83% oppose the handover, almost as many as in the Far East – this implies that this number would be around 50% amongst its mainly Muslim minorities, and conceivably, opinion is evenly divided in Chechnya.

These are all logical, internally consistent numbers. There are very few nations, if any, that like giving away pieces of their territory (especially for dubious fake historical reasons as in the case of the Kurils). Opposition tends to be highest amongst the people to be given away. There are obvious analogies with the Falklands, where British support for the Falklanders was strong, but the islanders themselves were near unanimous in their desire to remain with the United Kingdom. Opposition is stronger than the national average in nearby regions. Meanwhile, opposition is most lukewarm in regions that do not strongly feel themselves to be a part of Russia; namely, the Muslim minorities of the North Caucasus.

One more point. Shallow person Surkov claims that Russian “deep people” are “impenetrable to sociological polls… and other means of direct study and influence.” But here we see the exact opposite. Opinion polls confirming that Russians believe and behave like most other normal countries and peoples would.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. “Only 2% of Kurilers think Russia should hand over the islands to Japan” Let me think,… Pro-West-Liberals.

    What about the fuzz about the Russia-Belarus union?

  2. There are some bad links impeding access to our host AK’s work on Unz … I found this because of AK’s habit of rotating an earlier post to top rank, meaning that I can’t necessarily see all AK’s most recent work, as an article or two may have been pushed down from the three-fold list on the Unz homepage

    AK: I normally keep either an Open Thread or my latest “Effortpost” stickied at the top.

    This is a good link which you can find in some places

    However, the link at AK’s name under ‘Bloggers’ in the right column, and also the link at the bottom of the page, is this non-functional link leading to a ‘We’re sorry That page could not be found’ error.

    At first I thought … wow, deplatformed at whose request? The bad link –


  3. Jaakko Raipala says

    That’s the opinion of post-annexation colonists with zero historical ties to the territory so this is completely meaningless as an argument. Yes, if you take over a territory and populate it with settlers you can have the population prefer your government. That’s the entire point of populating territories with your own settlers.

    Of course, it’s not exactly a part of the historical Japanese ethnic core homeland either, so this is one of those territorial disputes where neither side will really manage to gain sympathizers in the rest of the world with some ethnic tie argument. Both Russia and Japan just wanted to get rid of the Ainu natives and claim it for themselves.

  4. Having unresolved territorial disputes of this nature may be positive.

    Works as a harmless sandbox for politicians who like to plan aggrandizement. Promotes friendly relations with Russia. Serves as a prop for nationalism. Serves as a healthy reminder about how political control is related to demographic control.

  5. After recent Aegis Ashore announcement the point is moot either way.

  6. Abelard Lindsey says

    I was living in Japan when the subject of the Kurils came up. I’ve heard that all of the people who live on these islands are Russians. If so, of course they do not want to become a part of Japan. If I were them, I wouldn’t either.

  7. Me neither. Though, still, in a scenario where it would be decided soley by the inhabitants, Japan could possibly craft an interesting deal.

  8. ROTFL. Of course they oppose rejoining Japan. They are not Japanese.

    But given the pathetic state Japan, it doesn’t deserve to take the islands back. Who needs Pikachu and jungaru feebah on the Kuriles.

  9. Another way is for Japan to pull an India à la how India annexed Sikkim. What I mean is that Japan can buy off the local politicians of the islands and stage a fake election to have the Russians in the islands ‘vote’ to join Japan. After the vote Japan can send in the army to annex the place. If Russia complain Japan can say with a straight face that Japan is actually doing the people there a favor by giving them democracy.

  10. The Kurils belong to Japan along with Karafuto (southern Sakhalin). The Soviets illegally annexed those islands after WWII. They have to give it back.

  11. That’s the opinion of post-annexation colonists with zero historical ties to the territory so this is completely meaningless as an argument. Yes, if you take over a territory and populate it with settlers you can have the population prefer your government. That’s the entire point of populating territories with your own settlers.

    Bingo! One could say that a fairer question would have been what the current population of the Kuril Islands plus the people who were expelled from these islands after the end of WWII and their descendants think about this. I suspect that such a question would have resulted in a much more even split between Russia and Japan.

    Also, as a side note, it’s interesting that, in the case of Belarus, you appear to be advocating annexation first and popular legitimacy later. In other words, even if a majority of Belarusians don’t actually want to unite with Russia, you insist on taking over Belarus anyway and then hoping that the pro-Russian side experiences a massive popularity boost in Belarus to the point that this Russian takeover is legitimized. That’s certainly an interesting approach–though it could have historically been used by enemies of Russia as well. For instance, if Germany would have won WWI, it could have stripped Russia of Belarus even if most Belarusians would have wanted to remain a part of Russia using the logic that even if Belarusians currently don’t support independence, they will eventually if/after it becomes an established fact.

    There are very few nations, if any, that like giving away pieces of their territory (especially for dubious fake historical reasons as in the case of the Kurils).

    True, but there are some exceptions to this rule–France in Algeria and New Caledonia, Britain in Ireland and Scotland, Israel in the Golan Heights and the Arab-majority neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, et cetera.

  12. Israel is in a precarious position because it can’t possibly survive without external support. It is probably in a worse position than the Apartheid government was in South Africa, since they have less natural resources. Still, they’ve managed to hold onto a considerable territory when you include their newer settlements. They still control the majority of Golan. They gave up Sinai, but it was just too big. Hard to play victim, when your country triples in size.

    IMO, Britain did not like giving Ireland up, at all. They are still there, after all. And for quite a while, they wanted all Ireland’s ports to host the British navy, which is a pretty laughable idea of sovereignty.

    Algeria wasn’t really part of France in a practical sense. Oh, the French could have controlled it – but at the very least, they would have had to be less paternalistic and, for instance, not vaccinated or educated the locals. Giving up Algeria was probably the smartest thing France ever did.

  13. OTOH, I would be thrilled to let absolutely anyone have Puerto Rico. I would even be willing to pay them to take it off our hands.

  14. “send in the army”

    And get rekt, lol. Constitution of literally every country will postulate that territorial integrity is inviolate.

  15. On a flight back home on ANA there was a documentary of the Russians and Japanese getting along decently on the islands until the latter’s expulsion by the Soviets. It’s conquered territory, to be sure, and any other claim is dishonest. Of course the Russians there, who have little if no historical memory, wouldn’t want their home put under a foreign jurisdiction…was there even an objective point to be made by the poll, besides politics?
    However, even I’d not want Japanese rule, with its insane taxation and regulations on everything lol. Why not negotiate like Koki Hirota did way back when and let Russia keep the icy wastelands while gaining rights to the resources? Isn’t that the practical purpose anyways?

  16. …or Japanese? Am looking for how many Japanese are left on the Islands, but can’t find any information. Maybe theKurils were cleansed?

    well, one cannot put ethnic cleansing beneath the russians:

  17. Japanese “expert” estimating the numbers of “Ukrainians” by percentage of surnames ending in -chenko, LOL.

    PS. The percentage of Little Russians/Ukrainians in the Far East was around a quarter at its peak during the late 19th-early 20th century.



    Would Vladimir Putin accept the results of a referendum by them “as easily as he did in Crimea?”

    Well, that poll queried 68% of Kurilers, so almost as good as a referendum. I guess Putin “accepts” it.

  18. Roger CLIFTONVILLE-Acton says

    Clearly the Japanese haven’t cottoned on to the western notion of ‘electing a new people’ yet

    2% of people now…flood it with Japanese migrants & im sure 51% could be achieved. It seems Russias immigration policy would even facilitate such a change.

  19. This is a really easy territorial issue to decide on. However, the hard one: What to do about the North Caucasian Federal District?

    I’ve brought this up a few times. Discarding territory is almost unheard of as a voluntary act but in the case of 3, maybe 4, big countries there is a strong argument along the same lines.

    China would want to get rid of the southwest quadrant of Xinjiang and India the Kashmir Valley. Maybe Nigeria can also shed its northeast. In the case of Russia, China, and India it would mean ridding from the union of approximately 7-8 million Muslim minorities who probably couldn’t even be assimilated into the majority in the very long term span of 4 generations. Over the course of 4 or more generations, the Muslim minorities would be a big drain on the central budget of each country. China could pay for a manned mars program for the equivalent cost of annual transfers to the Uighurs. In all 3 cases, the district/province/state is a border area so easy to make a clean break.

    In the case of Russia and China there is even a compelling HBD angle for making the case for imposing independence on those nuisance territories.

    If Steve Sailer can talk about granting Puerto Rico independence, why can’t HBDists of other nationalities also talk about getting rid of a burdensome border area?

  20. What do you mean illegally? Does dropping nukes make it legal to place military bases all over Japan?

  21. Jaakko Raipala says


    Sorry guys but Russia just lost the support of /pol/ and the alt right. Japan needs to take back its lands so that they can protect the anime waifus.

  22. I assume some here have heard about the Hitler manga:

    However probably not many are aware of is new Chinese made anime with Karl Marx as the hero, you will need to enable subtitle for this of course.

  23. The Kuril islands were a bribe paid by uncle Sam to uncle Joe via uncle Truman in order to entice the USSR to attack Japan and help them win WW2 against Japan. All this when they already possessed nuclear weapons. I guess “superpower” in its infancy. The bribe was well earned, Kuril islands belong to Russia. Case closed.

  24. Anarcho-Supremacist says

    LOL ahahahahaha

  25. Anarcho-Supremacist says

    I wounder how many weebs would move to the Kuril’s if Putin announced he was going to transfer them to Japan and all Russians who lived there by the deadline would be given Japanese Citizenship or residency?

  26. You are right, man, Russians are cheap whores who will sell their aes for few dollars. While you, you are the real patriots, who turned your country into a third world colony. As far as you’re lily white aes go – they will soon be ass-imilated into a more acceptable brownish hue – so as to not offend the multicultural sensibilities of your soon to be masters. You stupid retard.

  27. Anarcho-Supremacist says

    Trigger alert. Hahahhsgsgsghshwhsh. Dont take things personally.