The Collapse Party Fulfills Its Own Name

I founded the Collapse Party one year ago after coming to the hard realization that industrial civilization is unsustainable and that – barring revolutionary socio-political (e.g. “ecotechnic dictatorship“) or technological (e.g. geoengineering) transformation – it’s catastrophic unraveling by the middle of this century is almost inevitable. As neither of development seems to be in the pipelines, I decided it was time to explicitly thinking about the political dimensions of adapting to a re-localized world, in which resource depletion and climate change make impossible the huge economies of scale and their supporting technologies that we know take for granted.


The immediate inspiration was Dmitry Orlov’s essay The Collapse Party platform, which argued for setting up a mechanism to clean up the mess left behind industrialism and preparing society for the collapse. Orlov was personally pessimistic about the chances of political organizations achieving this, since to some extent the very notion of a “collapse party” is a contradiction in terms. After a year, it turns out that he was right – at least in the short term. I have neither the time nor the means to push this project, nor have I been able to do anything substantial about it apart from the (soon to disappear) site and a Facebook group. Furthermore, on further examination it never would have any good prospects anyway – even apart from the fact that few comprehend the sheer scope of our predicament, such a “pessimistic” view is politically unappealing to the vast majority of people.

This post will archive the Party’s Manifesto, which I do think contains some useful pointers to future action. The longer its recommendations remain the laughing stock of “polite society”, the more violent will be the long-term outcomes as the industrial engine splutters and screeches to a stop – and the more brutal and dictatorial the means that will be required to mitigate and adopt to the new conditions. But as a political project the Collapse Party is quixotic, and in any case there’s no point worrying about things you can’t change. Instead, I would recommend focusing on the great new opportunities of an opening Arctic: getting in early on its coming investment boom, snapping up prime Far North real estate and establishing your family as the future landed aristocracy. For true prophets are despised, but Tsars are feared and respected!

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New Project: Arctic Progress

The Arctic is one of the most ignored regions in commentary about global trends. This is unsurprising. The vastnesses of Hyperborea, a semi-mythical world of curdled seas, boreal lights and eternal sunshine, have always been “outside” history. But the fast pace of global warming in recent years is kick-starting Arctic history, bringing with it the promise and peril of industrial civilization: first energy extraction and shipping, then military bases, and eventually farms and cities.

Identifying the opportunities and risks in these exciting new developments will be the main aim of my new blog project Arctic Progress* (which you can also follow on Facebook).

Don’t worry – I’ll continue posting at S/O on “Eurasia, geopolitics and peak oil” (if not as frequently as before). Furthermore, most of the Russian translations and analytical “core articles” on Arctic Progress will be reprinted here, the first one of which follows below.

Introduction – Why Arctic Progress?

1. The Arctic will become much more important in the near future as the melting of Arctic ice opens up circumpolar shipping routes. They are shorter than the constricted passages through Suez, Panama and Malacca, and far less vulnerable to bottlenecks, piracy and terrorism.

2. The Arctic is a once in a century investment opportunity. As the ice and permafrost retreat, the physical infrastructure of industrial civilization will begin to overspread the region: ports, roads, railways, pipelines, mines, oil rigs, housing, farms, schools, shops and military bases. The four major populated regions encircling the Arctic Ocean – Alaska, Russia, Canada, Scandinavia (ARCS) – are all set for massive economic expansion in the decades ahead.

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The Russia Watchers In Their Own Words…

Over the years, Andy Young of Siberian Light did a series of interviews with top Russian watchers. However, Andy doesn’t have the time for continuing these interviews of late, so we’ve agreed to have me take over for the time being.

You can follow these interviews at Watching the Russia Watchers. They will consist of about 15 questions – most of them standard ones and a few specific to the interviewee. I’m not as nice as Andy, so you can expect the latter to be probing, even combative. I will try to avoid taking any ideological stance: I want to have every interviewee, no matter their beliefs, leaving the stage with fear and trembling. 😉

I intend to conduct one interview every two weeks. If you want to be interviewed, write to me with your contact details. If you’ve already been interviewed by Siberian Light, I’m open for second rounds, but not before finishing with the newcomers.

Best Designed Russia Blogs

Here is a 100% subjective list of the best (and worst) designed blogs in the Russia-watching blogosphere.

My main criteria for a well-designed blog include: ergonomics (fast load, little clutter, efficient search and archives); utility (easy navigation, explanatory information, contact, social network integration) and aesthetics. I will do my best to discount ideological bias.

This is a celebration of the efforts of individual bloggers, or at most small groups of bloggers, and as such I am excluding bigger organizations, or their affiliates, like Russia Today, Other Russia and The Power Vertical. Though they do not have to focus exclusively on Russia, it certainly must figure prominently – this is after all about the Best Designed Russia Blogs. Sorry, Registan. Finally, they must be alive and contain a substantial body of work, which rules out blogs like The Parallax Brief with its minimalist elegance.

That is all. Now clear the catwalk for the beauties…

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Da Russophile, a Year On

As of today, it’s been exactly one year since I started the Da Russophile blog. Although I have been aware of hostile or condescending Western attitudes towards Russia for a long time, reflected in its mass media, I was finally provoked into joining battle by a particularly annoying and dishonest ‘editorial’ on the La Russophobe hate-blog.

This was and remains its motto:

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

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

Your Synthesis: ?

I started off by writing serious ‘core articles’ on Reading Russia Right and Towards a New Russian Century, to demolish some common bearish stereotypes and illustrate how its inherent strengths (natural resources, a well educated population, etc) stood it in good stead for a twenty-first century characterized by economic convergence, technological growth, climate change and resource depletion.

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Dear readers,

(of whom there are 160 now) Unfortunately, we have some pressing commitments at the moment, which will last up to January 27th.

This means that there will be few, if any, posts until then.

Nonetheless, we certainly don’t plan to stop blogging, and here’s a look at some of the topics that are going to come up once we free up some time:

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Welcome to Da Russophile

Da Russophile offers original analysis in our Core Articles and Editorials, records Russia-related News from an eclectic mix of media outlets with commentary and throws in some Flotsam and Jetsam (funny photos, videos or other light relief).

This is a response to what we see as the consistent and almost systematic defamation of Russia in the Western media. Is this because of unpleasant memories of the Soviet Union? A search for new enemies? A barely repressed fear of the East and the barbaric hordes that its vast plains harbor, buried deep within the Western psyche?

Whatever it is, we believe that truth will vanquish lies – no matter how hard liars try to supress, ignore or simulate truth. Hence this blog will go like a burning match into the darkness of fear and ignorance. It might not do much at first, but a match can ignite forests.

Is Russia’s economy nothing more than an oil bubble? No. The economy is driven above all by retail, construction and manufacturing. Is Russia blighted by endemic corruption on a scale comparable to Zaire under Mobutu? No. Russia’s level of corruption is comparable to that of the Czech Republic. Has Putin clamped down on democracy and human rights? Only a negligibly small percentage of Russians would agree.

Do you have a hard time coming to terms with the above claims? Yes? I’m not surprised, given the Western media’s embedded Russophobia. However, they are all well-documented. Consult my Top 10 Russophobe Myths.

Finally about the title. We consider ourselves as the polar opposite to La Russophobe, which is why we’ve called ourselves Da Russophile. La Russophobe hates Russia and Russians, which can be deduced from even a cursory glance at the crude and racist stereotyping that goes on in that blog (she even has the gall to argue Russia should have surrendered to the Nazis, who planned to exterminate 75% of them and helotize the rest). Da Russophile loves Russia and is committed to spreading an objective picture of it in the wider world.

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