Is The Ukrainian Children Learning?

According to a recent Vzglyad article by Olga Gritsenko titled Universal Stupefaction, no they are not. Here are the cold raw facts:

  • Libraries stock 4% of books published in Ukraine, compared to 18% in Russia and 40% in the US and Canada.
  • The average Ukrainian spends $2.5 on books in one year, compared to $22 in Russia.
  • In 2010/11, the average Ukrainian spent just under 3 hours reading newspapers and journals per week, down 25% from 2007/08. The equivalent figure in Russia is 7 hours.
  • In fairness, their universities are rated higher than Russia’s (as well as Poland’s and the Czech Republic’s) by an outfit called Universitas 21.

Obvious counter-objections don’t explain these shortcomings. Russia has a higher Internet penetration, but nonetheless Russians read a lot more books and newspapers. Nor can a nearly tenfold difference in per capita book sales be purely or even mostly a reflection of lower book prices in the Ukraine.

That said, in a sense these statistics aren’t surprising. According to international student assessments, the level of human capital in Ukraine appears to be similar to the lowest ranked ethnic Russian provinces in Russia. This does not bode well for Ukraine’s future economic growth, given the tight interrelationship between human capital and development, and might go some way to explaining the already big – and growing – prosperity gap with its Moskali neighbors.

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. Hello Anatoly,

    Slightly off topic but Pajamas Media had a post on a recent transhumanist conference in Moscow. I doubt the androids are so far along that people would want to command one with thought, even if the commands could be more than simple, much less put their brains into one. Also didn’t know if you’d seen the trailer for the Hollywood-Russian production (filmed in Moscow no less) Branded.

    There was another movie that came out about this theme a few years ago called Surrogates.

    Grist for the futurist mill.

  2. So sad and (to me) so strange. Are Ukrainians so different from Russians? I never thought so before.

    • Well, you understand, Mark, Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? One part of its territory is in Eastern Europe, and the other part, the significant portion, was a gift from Russia.

      • Ukraine is a state, an artificially created one by the Bolsheviks from diverse territories.

        • Not quite. The Bolshevik entity was roughly based on the territories of the Ukrainian National Republic, which was recognized by the Central Powers, the Vatican, Romania, and the Baltic States (as well as by the Bolsheviks themselves). To it was added the territories occupied by Poland, and Crimea. It was no more artificially created than Finland or the Balitcs, although its history was quite different from theirs.

          • It is Ukrainian People’s Republic, Ukrayin’ska Narodna Respublika, a completely unsuccessful project. Everything the UNR was unable to do, comrade Stalin did. Stalin created Ukraine within the confines of the claimed (but not quite controlled) territory of the UNR. He united Western Ukraine with Eastern Ukraine, something the UNR failed miserably to do. He has instituted an unforgiving policy of Ukrainisation.

            So UNR? What’s, who is UNR?

            • By this logic, Stalin also saved Eastern Europe from Nazi slavery.

              So, would you like for Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs, etc. to honor Stalin?

              • Why are you changing the topic, desperate?

              • Answer, rather than avoid, the question please. Do believe that Poles, Czechs, etc,. ought to honor Stalin because the USSR defeated Nazi Germany? Yes or no.

                Arguing about whether Stalin created the Ukrainian state is about as fruitful as arguing about whether or not alien abductions exist, or whehter Ukrainians built the Egyptian pyramids, with a true believer in such ideas.

    • Genetically, Russians and Ukrainians are farther apart than Russians and Poles (yes, I was surprised by that too). I would imagine because of Turkic admixture in Ukraine from all the Tatar raids? (But really, I have no idea). On the other hand, they’re still very close. There’s less genetic distance between them than there is between Germans from different parts of Germany.

      Linguistically, they are pretty close. A Russian can read Ukrainian, and vice versa (though almost all Ukrainians will know Russian). Spoken understanding is, however, far more difficult; they are only partially intelligible – kind of like between Swedish and Norwegian, fro what I’ve heard. Of course a lot of Ukrainians also speak Surzhyk which is completely intelligible to a Russian. Polish and Russian are no longer mutually comprehensible (though they were a millennium ago).

      Politically, well, they range all over from people like K.F. who don’t think Ukraine is even a state, to those who view it as a country that has had a unique national identity since the age of the mammoths (some crazy commentator at La Russophobe, not kidding). Objectively, the Ukrainian national identity is a new one, arising only in the 19th century, but IMO not the less valid for that. Nonetheless, it is also the case that this national identity is closely bound up with Russia’s (revisionism on the part of far western Ukrainians, and the Ukrainian diaspora, regardless) and while a big majority of Ukrainians favors independence they are also not averse to things like the Customs Union. Though as you recall from comments arguments on this very blog some Ukrainians like AP would quibble with this.

      • You do know that I was just quoting The Diving Dwarf of Kremlin, don’t you?

      • I agree with your comments here AK. Ukraine was subject to various empires historically, and this is reflected in regional differences and political outlooks. It is not unique in this – there are large regional differences between parts of Poland ruled by Germany, Austria and Russia. The difference is that parts of Ukraine, unlike parts of Poland (which is mostly ethnically homogenous), retain a huge former “colonial” population. I think I posted this on this blog sometime in the past, but there’ s fascinating stuff by a Yale researcher here tracing Ukrainian electoral patterns to old imperial borders, worth taking the time to read. This one contrasts central Ukraine (Orange, non-Galician territory) and southern Ukraine (Blue) :

        And this one Galicia and Transcarpathia (both are Orange, but the former overwhelmingly so and the latter just barely so):

        • PvMikhail says

          “colonial” population – bad wording, let these expressions to Ukrainian nationalist expatriates

          Russian population is indigenous in Donbass.
          I can’t even understand, that on what basis they decide their nationality in Mariupol, Nikolayev or Odessa. During university, I learned together with guy named Ilya Stanislavovich Krasovskiy, who emigrated from Dimitrovgrad (Donetsk Oblast). I once asked him about his nationality. He said that he is Hungarian. I told him, that the answers can be only Russian and Ukrainian. He couldn’t decide. Finally he said Ukrainian, because his city of birth is in present day Ukraine, despite he couldn’t speak Ukrainian dialect. He spoke pure Russian, so I guess, if the bolsheviks invented an other course for border of Ukrainian SSR, he would say he is Russian.
          Oksana, a girl from Zakarpattiya who taught me the first Russian words, said to me, that some 15-20 years ago Ukrainian or Russian was equal in the people’s mind, nobody talked about ethnic issues, let alone hostility.
          So a Russian in modern day Poland is not the same as a Russian in modern day Ukraine or White Russia. A Russian in Ukraine is more like a German in Austria or Switzerland

          • I did not use the word “colonial” pejoratively but as a factual expression. The Russian population in Ukraine has been there for centuries and in certain regions is nearly indigenous; in this, it can be compared to the centuries-old Afrikaner population in South Africa. (AFAIK Donbass had some Ukrainian villages before industrialization brought in waves of Russian settlers).

            My point was that unlike Poland Ukraine has a large non–“native” (I am using quotation marks because these people have been there for centuries) population that is the same ethnicity as a powerful neighboring country. This is naturally destabilising. But outside Crimea, Donbaa, and the south Ukraine (that is, in Galicia, Volhynia, Transcarpathia, Kiev and Chernihiv regions, comprising about 55% of the country’s population) Ukraine is relatively stable in spite of some historical differences.

          • The entire South Eastern Ukraine was conquered by the Russian Empire, settled by Slavs under its aegis, and only included in a polity called Ukraine by the Bolsheviks upon the creation of that polity by the latter. Hence the Russian speaking population in that area. Yeah, this was a result of Imperialism and colonialism but the victims here are the Ottomans not Ukraine which did not even exist.

            • It depends on region. Zaporizhia (map here: was of course a proto-Ukrainian entity before the Russians came. At the time of the Russian takeover in the late 18th century there were around 150,000 free peasants living there, who were then enserfed.

              • Even your map of the Hetmanate does not include the Black Sea Coast and Donbass. Maybe I should have been more specific about that. As for the Hetmanate, this was not an independent entity, but an autonomous territory ruled by the Russian Tsar.

                Likewise the accusation that Russians introduced serfdom to Ukraine is a classic nationalist trope. The first entity to introduce serfdom to that place was the Rzeczpospolita. Likewise, the Hetmans and the Cossack elite were not always saints in that regard. After all, they were no strangers to slave trade, so why not serfdom?

              • Leos,

                The Hetmanate was independent for about 6 years (between the uprising and Pereyaslav); it was then autonomous.

                I never claimed that Russia introduced serfdom to Ukraine. It introduced serfdom to the Zaporizhian lands. I don’t appreciate your implications about me being a Ukrainian nationalist.

              • I never said you are an Ukrainian nationalist, I don’t know who you are anyway. I just said that you repeat their claims which you can possibly do without being Ukrainian. After all, most of discourse on Ukraine in English is written by highly nationalistic diaspora…

      • @AK

        Are Poles and Germans genetically similar?

        They have around the same average high IQ with Poles being slightly higher, the highest in Europe.

        • PvMikhail says

          Poles the highest? Don’t make me laugh

        • Some Germans cluster close to Poles, others to other Europeans (genetic distances map). They are not a very genetically distinct nation. Poles and Russians on the other hand are barely distinguishable.

          I don’t know where you go the data Poles are the most intelligent in Europe. According to Rindermann, they are the same as Russians (97), somewhat lower than Germans (99), and quite a lot lower than Finns (103). Rindermann’s figures are based on the international student assessments. Richard Lynn has datasets based on other sources but the Poles there are still below the Germans, Brits, and Scandinavians.

      • olivegreen says

        The area sampled in that genetic study was in North-Western Russia, iirc. That would explain the genetic distance from Ukraine. Russians from the South would likely be more similar.

        • Russians are genetically, though not culturally, two distinct groups. The southern group is very similar to Poles and Ukrainians and basically forms one cluster with them. The northern group are strongly Finnic in origin. The dividing line between the two groups is the nothern section of Moscow oblast. An interesting article from a very interesting anthropology blog:

          • Yes, AP, that was the study I was recalling, but did not remember the title of. Another amazing thing in it was that Tatars are genetically indistinguishable from Russians.

            • I think it depends on the Tatars. I’ve known Volga tatars and they are very much like Russians: European facial features, gray eyes, blonde hair. But Crimean tatars are much darker.

      • The area that was once called Ukraine, that is the area along the Dnieper river was setted by various types of people. I would not only blame the Tatar mix on raids. Many Tatars fled the oppression of their Khans and settled there. There is visible Turkic element in Cossack culture. Cossack Mamay, Maydan as a name of a square, prominent Cossaks families with names like Kochubey, the name ‘Cossacks’ itself is Turkic. Add to this peasants, and lower nobility fleeing the oppression of the magnates in Rzeczpospolita and the Russian Tsardom, Circassians fleeing before the armies of Tamerlan, and many more…

        • The influence of non-Slavic groups on Ukraine was genetically minimal, as I’ve posted earlier. Ukrainians, Poles, and southern Russians are genetically about the same:

          Turkish ior Tatar influence on Ukrainian cossacks is probably comparable to Native American and Spanish influence on American-Anglo cowboys: not a lot genetically but more in terms of language or lifestyle.

          (as an aside, Russian culture has inherited much from Mongol or Tatar culture. The word for money, dzengy, shoe, bashmak, etc. are Asian. But the genetic contribution seems to be quite small).

          Leos, I glanced at your blog and noticed that you seem to be an anti-Ukrainian bigot of some sort. Ukraine seems tro be a fixation of yours. Your quotes: “the village patois that we now call Ukrainian was only made into a proper language in late nineteenth and early twentieth century” (as if any other language other than Latin or Church Slavonic is much different.)..people opposed to the new language law are “nationalist orcs”, and frequent usage of the word “Svidomite” (a vulgar and derogatory word used by Russian nationalists to describe Ukrainians who support their native culture. It’s a mixture of the Ukainian word “svidomiy” – conscious or self-aware” and “sodomite.”) , “Ukraine is an ahistorical entity” etc. etc. Given your Czech background (Russian mother, Czech father) and the historical parallels between Czechia and Ukraine I wonder if your considerable anti-Ukrainian passion isn’t all some sort of strange displacement of anti-Czech feelings.

          • Instead of calling me a bigot, why don’t you address my claims. The claim about village patois sounds bad, but reality is not politically correct. The people who oppose the language law are nationalist orcs, what else are they? Ukraine is an ahistorical entity, wanna argue with that?

            By the way, my dad is half German, and my mother has a Ukrainian maiden name. I do not have anti-Czech feelings, much like I do not have anti-Ukrainian feelings. In fact, the person who first brought my attention to the word Svidomite is not Russian, he hails from Western Ukraine, and is as Ukrainian as they come.

            To me this is a synonym of ‘nationalist orcs’. Because for these people, being self aware means that you have to hate Russians, believe in crap like the Trypillian origins of Ukrainian nation, believe that Russians stole the name Rus’ from Ukrainians, and other nonsense. I have no problem with self-aware sensible Ukrainians, and I never use that word in reference to them.

            • So would you claim that the Russian language, the German language, the Czech language, and Finnish language etc. are also “village patois”? If so, then I retract my claim and apologize.

              Do you consider Czechia, SLovakia, Finland, the Latvia, Estonia, Ireland to be ahistrorical entities?

              If someone proposed that Spanish be made an official language to be used in state courts etc. in several US states, I suspect that a large majority of Americans of both parties would oppose this law. Would you consider them all to be “nationalist orcs” (i.e., disgusting, violent and nonhuman). Or is that someting limited to Ukrainians.

              All nations have their mytholgies. The Russian nationalist claim that Kieven Rus was a Russian state is no less silly than some of the Ukrainian nationalist mythology, and most Russians cherish their myth. This does not make them bad people, or idiots, or evil violent nonhuman orcs. It makes them normal people who take their particular national mythology for granted.

              The place where you heard the term “Svidomite” is irrelevant to its vulgarity and offensiveness.

              • You are taking what I wrote out of context. Ukrainian was codified in late nineteenth and early twentieth century, from a village patois largely. I wrote that in response to Yuchchenko’s wild claims if you recall. Indeed, Czech was largely a village tongue as well, but Czechs do not call themselves ancestors of civilisation that often. Almost never in fact, and those who do are so marginal I do not even know about them.

                Estonia, or Slovakia are ahistorical entities too, I do not write about Estonia or Slovakia that often though, so your moral relativism does not work here. There is more to what I said, Ukraine is an artificially created state, and it has properties of such a state. States in Africa are a good example of such entities. There is nothing bad about saying that, it may not sound nice but it is true, and sooner Ukrainians realise this, the better.

                I would call Americans who do not want to have Spanish instituted in some states hypocrites. First they allow hordes of Spanish speakers to immigrate and then they wonder that these people demand language rights? Many of these states in question were once Mexican anyway. California I think already has made Spanish official, and it is only a matter of time before Texas does, the Mexicans are already a majority there. The more Americans try to resist this, the more they will look like nationalist orcs.

                Ukrainian nationalist myths have one nice aspect, they are often directed towards the East, and in a particularly vile way. It does matter where I first learned the word Svidomite at. You are a liar if you say that I use it in reference to anyone who supports native Ukrainian culture, nor do I see many East Ukrainians (Russians mostly don’t know what that is, they do not care about Ukraine) use it in such a way. I use it in reference towards vile Russophobes, to mock them, I do not have consideration for their feelings, not do I feel compelled to have any.

              • Re: “village patois” and “artificially created state”

                This is kind of a pointless debate. ALL living languages – English, French, Czech, what have you – began as “village patois,” and eventually underwent a process of standardization.

                Similarly, ALL states are “artificially created.” They didn’t drop down from the sky in their current form.

                So to say that Ukrainian language was based on a village patois, and that Ukraine is an artificial state, is merely the equivalent of saying that Ukrainian is a language and Ukraine is a country. It’s a point hardly worth making.

              • Indeed Scowspi, but the whole discussion here started with one person taking what I wrote out of context. Indeed, even the language we use to communicate here began as a village patois. However, all this was started by one dishounest individual taking my writing out of context, so we lay the discussion to ice.

              • @ Scowspi

                Yes, that is exactly what I have been trying to say. Since pretty much all living languages originated as common speech by villagers, one is trying to be deliberately insulting by singling out a language as “village patois.” I will note that even in his response, Leos refused to use that term, which he reserves for the Ukainian language, to the Czech language, instead referring it to “village tongue” rather than “village patois.”


                You wrote:

                “It does matter where I first learned the word Svidomite at. You are a liar if you say that I use it in reference to anyone who supports native Ukrainian culture, nor do I see many East Ukrainians (Russians mostly don’t know what that is, they do not care about Ukraine) use it in such a way. I use it in reference towards vile Russophobes, to mock them, I do not have consideration for their feelings, not do I feel compelled to have any.”

                You do realize that this is kind of like someone saying, “I”m not a racist, I only call bad black people niggers, not good ones.”

                Using a word that combines “self-conscious” or “self-aware” (svidomiy) with “sodomite” in reference to self-aware Ukrainians, over and over again, is a good indicator of one’s attiudes towards Ukrainians.

                Re; Language laws, I note that you do not go so far as to call Americans who oppose Spanish as a second state language as vile, nonhuman evil and violent “nationalist orcs,” your description of Ukrainians who oppose Russian as a second state language. You only refer to the those Americans as hypocrites. So according to you, when a Ukrainian opposes Russian being a second state language in certain provinces he is vile, not really human, violent, disgusting, etc. When an American is opposed to having Spanish as a second offiical language in certain US states, he is merely a “hypocrite.”

                Thank you for once again confirming your deep anti-Ukrainian bias, Leos. (btw, Spanish is not an official state language in any US state – not a single one)

                As an aside, I suppose that most Russians would oppose Chinese being made a second state language to be used in schools and courts in the far Eastern provinces. And I’d guess that those Russians would not be referred to as “nationalist orcs”, “vile”, etc. by Leos.

  3. PvMikhail says

    Sad. What a downslide in living standards in just 20 years. This territory was ruined.
    BTW I also don’t think that Ukraine should exist as a separate entity. It is just too fragmented. There is no cultural and political understanding between it’s parts. The people’s apathetic behaviour towards politics and bad experience with revolutions are the forces which hold it together as a country instead of common national identity. You can easily divide it to 2 or more exactly 4 separate parts with all having its own characteristics. This identity crisis only worsens the already bad economic policy and gives chances to irresponsible political forces. Unlike Russia, Ukraine has no serious statesmen and strategists. Only very weak politicians. This is the worst possible situation.

    The Donbass and the Krym has nothing to do with Galitsiya, and Zakarpattiya has few in common with both the aforementioned regions.

    This blog is always has both interesting stuff and quality analysis,

    Greetings from Hungary

    • Guess who worked on Ukraines independence

      Ukraine should be an independent state at least the western region but the problem is it is mearly being used as a regional weapon against Russia hence its rapid de-industrialisation and Oligrachical control especially of transit oil pipelines that was not an issue during the USSR to weaken Russian European economic influence just like Belarus and Georgia.

      • PvMikhail says

        Thank you, I know the geopolitical background of what happening to Ukraine, however I could not express it so shortly.

        I am interested in geopolitics, especially the Russian region.

        • @PvMikhail

          That is a very brief article and only barely scratches the surface in fact nearly all the major events of the post Soviet period and even earlier since 79 with the war on terror and 9/11 is directly linked to our policy of control of the Caspian basin and alternative pipeline route supplies that bypass Russia through Turkey and the Balkans.

          Ever wondered how the 9/11 hijackers were so easily allowed to travel across Europe and the US despite being monitored and flagged by various intelligence services both domestic and foreign?

          What is the 9/11 missing link that apparently no one has actually bothered to read what the pre-9/11 intelligence warnings actually said?

          Something I have been talking and warning about for years to fall on deaf ears including Mr Karlin.

    • While Galicia and Kiev are different politically and culturally these differences are comparable to those between, for example, Krakow and Warsaw in Poland: the people see themselves as one nation and despite their differences have sympathy for each other. While Donbas has nothing in common with Galcia, central Ukraine (Kiev) has served as a bridge between those regions. Yanukovich’s presidency is undermining that, as Kievens have gotten fed up with what they perceive as Donbas gangster rule. A humorous Kieven song about this:

      • PvMikhail says

        No cultural entity is superior to the other. Donbass is not worse than any other region, furthermore it gives the majority of the country’s GDP next to Kiev.

        The problem is, that:
        Yanukovich is a stupid puppet of shadow business, everybody knows that. However the other side, the disastrous orange block was the same if not worse. That’s why I say, that Ukraine has no statesmen who see things in perspective. Demagogue politicians only see until next day or next week, God forbid, until next election. Therefore politicians will solve no problems. Ukraine needs a guiding force, because it seems that the country is helpless alone. Endless arguing about formal or principal topics will not solve this long standing social, economic and – this article suggests – cultural turmoil which was caused by the separation from Russia and the stupid politics afterwards.

        • The Orange block was corrupt and due to infighting not very competent (you are correct that Ukraine has not had statesmen, such as Putin) but the perception, at least in Kiev, is that it was not a bunch of thugs. Donbass contributes much to the country’s GDP because the steel and coal is there. But on nearly every measure other than GDP – birth rate, death rate, HIV rate, abortion rate, etc. – it is near the bottom. Here is a chart of natural population growth in Ukraine:

          And HIV rates:

          In this thesis, is a description of crime rates by region in Ukraine:

          Rates of rape are about the same throughout the country; murder, robbery and drug-related crimes are much more common in the East and least common in the West, with the central part of the country between the two in terms of crime rates.

          The perception or stereotype in Kiev – which may be an exaggeration but which is probably based on some reality – is that Donbass is crime-ridden, uneducated and corrupt and that Yanukovich is a Donbas-like person. Prior to Yanukovich’s coming to power people didn’t mind Donbas that much but now there is more resentment towards it because, in Kievens’ perception, a horde of violent thugs has descended on the capital and they are shaking down local businesses and stealing everything.

          • The west is rural so it is hardly surprising it will not have the same crime profile as the east. Kiev is not the “west” of Ukraine and its perceptions are full of sh*t. As for dismissing the east’s GDP contribution as “just” steel and coal, it would have some merit if western Ukraine was some high tech advanced economy which it is patently not.

            • Lviv has two of Ukraine’s top universities and is becoming a minor outsourcing center. But it lacks much heavy industry. Ukraine’s economy is largely based on the export of steel and this is focused on the East. Anyways, for whatever reason (urban-rural) Donbass is a mess when it comes to everything other than contribution to GDP. With respect to a host of social issues (crime, drug use, birth rate, death rate, HIV rate) it is near the bottom among Ukrainian regions. Kiev’s perceptions may be exaggerations but they are not totally baseless.

              • PvMikhail says

                Stop the propaganda against Donbass. It is pointless.

                Southeastern territories are highly industrialized and urbanized societies. Meanwhile the westernmost part of Ukraine is almost the same conservative peasant society as it was before. Of course, that social phenomenons are different, just like the answers to economic and social collapse.

                Definitely the poorest and most mismanaged place in Ukraine is Zakarpattiya oblast. It’s just awful. Carpatho-Rutheinians and Hungarians live there in incredibly poor conditions.

              • Mikhail,

                I don’t consider facts to be “propaganda.” Zakarpatia is poor, but it is not desperate. It doesn’t have a drug epidemic, crime is relatively low, and it has a positive natural population growth rate (its birth rate of 14.7/1000 in 2012 places it near the top for Europe). A map of natural population growth and decline in Ukraine, by raion:


                Sure, there is no significant industry, so there are no oligarchs but somehow I doubt a peasant from Zakarpatia has a worse life than an unemployed coal miner in Donetsk. Social problems tend to reflect worse lives.

              • Here is a map of urbanization in Ukraine, by raion:


                Compare to natural population growth rate:


                Obviously western Ukraine is quite rural. However, there are rural areas in the Donbas as well (the northeastern part of Luhansk oblast). Those rural areas are doing quite poorly also. So the problem cannot be boiled down to rural vs. urban.

          • Branko Stojanovic says

            Your interpretation of HIV map is ridiculous. It’s the number of registered people with HIV, an according to this map Kiev have less than hundred people with HIV. I guess that this just shows that east have better health care, and i central and western parts of Ukraine people with HIV live unregistered.

            • HIV isn’t just (or even mainly) to do with quality of healthcare, which I doubt is vastly or even at all better in the east than in the west. A lot has to do with the patterns of intravenous drug use in the specific region.

              In Russia, the most HIV positive city is Irkutsk. Not the poorest.. St.-Petersburg is second or third. Obviously, far from the poorest; one of the richest, in fact. The epidemic is virtually non-existent in the poor North Caucasus.

              • Yes. On one of the links I posted:


                (table on page 18) it shows that drug rate is more than double in the east than in the west, with rates in the center higher than in the west but much closer to western rates than to eastern rates.

                I just noticed, in terms of social problems, although overall birth rates are higher in the West than in the East, the rate of births by girls under 18 is more than double in the east than in the west.

              • That makes sense. Teenage single motherhood is one of the best (i.e. measurable) proxies we have for social collapse. Regions characterized by this almost always have worse stats on drug dependency, alcoholism, crime, etc.

            • The rate is per 100,000 population, not total number of people with HIV. I doubt that the capital has worse healthcare than Kherson.

              Disproportionate HIV rates in Donetsk (and in southern Ukraine) is also described here (ignore the authors’ wild predictions for 2014; the actual data is for 2004) :


              And here:


              (rates of other STDs are also higher in the east and south than in the west)

  4. The irony of it all is that Ukrainians who do read prefer Russian books.

    • Sure. There is not nearly as much Ukrainian literature. Ukrainians, even in overwhelmingly Ukrainian-speaking regions such as Galicia, use the Russian language in internet searches too. So?