Paper Review: Russia Regional PISA Results for 2015


I don’t know how, but Lynn, Cheng, and Russian psychometricist Grigoriev have managed to find Russian regional results for PISA 2015.


Moscow has plummeted in the rankings and is now fourth, whereas Saint-Petersburg is now first.

I have calculated the correlations with the PISA 2009 results, for regions that participated in both surveys, to be a pretty weak r=0.52. As you can see, the samples for each region are pretty small, typically around 100, though relatively more schoolchildren were tested in the capitals: 245 in Saint-Petersburg, and 373 in Moscow.

The Yakut-majority Sakha Republic has improved drastically, by half an S.D., so it is no longer last, but modestly below average (this ties in with Vladimir Shibaev’s recent work in 2017 which shows that Yakut IQ might be similar to Russian, and not drastically lower, as an earlier study from 2015 had indicated). That “honor” now belongs to Dagestan, which remains stuck at a PISA-equivalent IQ in the high 80s.


Lynn et al. also did their standard correlation exercises.

Other tests of academic achievement (average Unified State Exam results of those admitted to universities from 2014) and historical literacy (1897 census):

Note in particular that the province of Dagestan has the lowest PISA score (424.1) and the second lowest EQ (84); and also that the city of St. Petersburg has the highest PISA score (524.4), the highest EQ (111) and the highest literacy rate in 1897 (61.6%). The city of Moscow has the fourth highest PISA score (516.4), the second highest EQ (110) and the second highest literacy rate in 1897 (53.1%).

GDP per capita:

Second, the PISA scores were correlated at r = .31 with GDP per capita. The correlation falls just short of statistical significance at p<.05 (r = .32 would be statistically significant).

wealth-iq-russiaThis is because some Russian regions have resource windfalls amidst low populations, e.g. Khanty-Mansyisk AO, which accounts for half of Russia’s oil output and enjoys a Swiss-like standard of living.

If you only consider “normal” Russian regions, the correlation becomes a much more typical r=0.73 (the graph to the right is based on results from PISA 2009 and PPP-adjusted Gross Regional Products from 2008.

Russian ethnicity:

Third, the PISA scores were significantly correlated at r = .45 (p<.01) with the percentage of the population with Russian ethnicity. This result is confirmed by the multiple regression analysis showing that the percentage of Russian ethnicity was a significant predictor of the PISA scores (β = .36, t = 2.68, p<.01).

Cold winters:

Fourth, the PISA scores were significantly correlated at r = .35 (p<.05) with latitude showing that IQs are higher in the more northerly provinces.

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. RE: Cold Winters

    Not convinced.

    Northern parts of Russia have a much higher percentage of Finnish genetics. Seems likelier, doesn’t it?

    So what descendants of Illyrians — Albanians, Montenegrins, Herzegovinians — are in Slovenia (check their results, you’ll be shocked. They’re white. Seriously.), Dagestanis and Chechens are in Russia? Although Dagestan is supposedly thoroughly ethnically mixed, isn’t it?

    I’ll give you my opinion. In Slovenia, about 15 – 20 percent of genetics is from very-low-IQ Balkan natives, and yet Slovenians have higher scores than most Western and Eastern Slavs. What I’m saying is that 15 or so percent low-IQ populations that Russia has could gradually be brought to Russian levels if eventually people mixed and, as you would say, moved further North. Islam is an issue, though, because these Albanians are annoyingly slow even with good secular education. Maybe start the assimilation with the least religious Tatars?

  2. Anonymous says

    What’s going on with Kamchatka’s anomalous EQ of 86?
    The percentage of Russians in Kamchatka is 85.9%, yet its EQ is similar to Dagestan’s.

  3. I wouldn’t place too much stress on the EQ’s because they measure the average scores of the people who ended up at university.

    I.e., perhaps an unusually high percentage of Kamchatka residents end up going into higher education, driving the average quality down.


    The average scores obtained in the Unified State Examin 2014 by
    persons, accepted to state universities and institutions for tertiary edu-
    cation in the year 2014 were analysed for 79 provinces and regions of
    the Russian Federation and adopted as proxies for average levels of in-
    telligence. There are 83 provinces in the Russian Federation. There are
    no data for four of these because they have no universities or institu-
    tions for tertiary education.

    This indicates that they were measuring regional EQs by the average performance of the students entering regional university. If so this makes it more a measure of the average quality of universities in each region than of regional intelligence.

    Kamchatka is a remote province with 500,000 people so its universities are presumably very third-tier.

  4. genetics is from very-low-IQ Balkan natives

    The ancient Greeks and before them the Minoans had very-low-IQ ?

    Maybe start the assimilation with the least religious Tatars?

    Tatars have the same IQ as Russian

  5. Zenarchy says


    If you check genetic studies, the most autochtonous among MODERN Balkan people are Albanians, Montenegrins, and Herzegovinians. The last time I checked, Albanian average IQ was 78 – lowest in Europe, and Montenegrin 79 -second lowest.

    Greeks faced stronger invasions (and presumably peaceful settlement as well) from Anatolia, so modern Greeks are less Balkan than the 3 populations I mentioned. Ask geneticists if you don’t believe me.

    The 3 populations are descended from shepherds of the shielded mountains of Western Balkans. Montenegrins are also the least Slavic among Slavs. Their R1a is at 7,5 percent (most Slavs 40 – 60 percent). Montenegrins and Albanians are known here to be the most violent among Europeans, especially towards women.

    Personally, I would rather have, say, Iranians in the country than Albanians as I have known many of both and most Albanians are animals.

    This is what Serbs sing to Albanians 🙂

    And ancient Greeks were firmly Indo-European, the home which is either Central Asia, Iran, or NW India/Pakistan. Possibly (but unlikely) Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the main 2 Balkan genetic groups are most dominant – 1 in Albania, and the other one in Herzegovina (forgot the haplogroup names).

  6. And ancient Greeks were firmly Indo-European

    And ancient Greeks were firmly Indo-European. Themselves Hellenes, was the result of mixing of Indo-European tribes with the Minoans

  7. And ancient Greeks were firmly Indo-European

    Predecessors of the Greeks – the Minoans, were not Indo-Europeans. The Minoans created the first civilization in Europe, without which it would be impossible the “Greek miracle”. Themselves Hellenes, was the result of mixing of Indo-European tribes with the Minoans