Why The New Cold War is Here to Stay

Here are three very important graphs for comprehending the ebb and flow of Russia’s relations with the West, and why what some are now calling the New Cold War might well be here to stay.

Russian approval of the United States (green is positive, red is negative):


Russian approval of the EU:


While it’s hard to remember now, there really was an incredible air of optimism about future relations with the US and Europe towards the end of the Soviet Union that, perhaps even more strangely, lasted throughout most of the trials and tribulations and Harvard-supported looting of the country. There was something of a cargo cult in relation to the West, the idea that imitating and appeasing them just right would catapult the country into prosperity and the end of history. Just a few random examples. The term “evroremont,” denoting a quality housing renovation, presumably to European standards. Foreigners being allowed first in line to visit museums and cultural attractions. Women flinging themselves at any American adventurer type regardless of his success and social status (Mark Ames and the eXile are a testament to that).

There were sharp dips now and then, in surprisingly regular increments of five years, corresponding to some imperial action or other. The bombing of Serbia in 1999. The invasion of Iraq in 2003. The South Ossetian War in 2008. Crimea in 2014. Relations steadily cooled as the West began an aggressive expansion of its economic and security infrastructure into what Russia saw as its sphere of influence, in so doing breaking informal commitments made with Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand an inch east. Russia unquestionably became more authoritarian, though the extent of the break with late Yeltsinism in that regard is highly exaggerated, and this was accompanied by an ever shriller campaign of demonization in the Western media that shows no signs of peaking even to this day. Bearing all this in mind, it is perhaps actually surprising that the moving average of Russian opinion of the US and EU declined only modestly between 2000 and 2013, from around 70% for both the EU and the US, to 60% for the EU and 50% for the US. For all the rhetoric about Russians being taken in by anti-Western propaganda, it’s worth noting that US approval of Russia was actually consistently if modestly lower than Russia’s approval of the US.

US approval of Russia:


But there’s a couple of critical differences between previous dips and today that suggest that prior experience is no longer any guide to the future ever since approval ratings of the US and the EU plunged to less than 20% in 2014:

First, while reactions to Serbia, Iraq, and Georgia were short but sharp affairs, lasting but a few months, the recent collapse in relations as gauged by public opinion is already ongoing for more than a year. Nothing remotely similar has occured since the start of scientific polling in Russia. You might think that in a personalistic and relatively closed political system like Russia polls might not count for much, but you would be wrong; if anything, the lack of strong institutions able to act as a social glue makes polling and ratings all the more important, and it is something that the Kremlin pays heed to religiously. This is largely why Putin keeps participating in all these various stunts which range from the impressive (piloting a fighter jet during the Second Chechen War) to the faintly ridiculous (diving and magically finding ancient Greek amphora). The constant negativity seen ever since February 2014 might well be the start of a new normal, which if so might be increasingly difficult to turn around even if the respective political leaderships were to commit to doing so.

Second, and this ties in with the above, the EU has traditionally been seen slightly more positively than the US, and with the partial exception of 2008, we do not see the same sharp bumps and dips. Until 2014… when it became completely undistinguishable from the US. And that shouldn’t be all that surprising, considering the EU’s steady drift from what Russians imagined and dreamed it might be – a greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, as De Gaulle saw it – to an unapologetically Atlanticist entity that accepted partnership with no other integration blocs (such as the Eurasian Union), grew increasingly confident in orchestrating regime changes against governments that didn’t hew to their neoliberal orthodoxy, and worst of all, subsumed integration into Atlanticist security structures (first and foremost, NATO) as an inalienable component of its economic expansion. Now the average Russian wouldn’t think in such terms, of course, but in general, it is probably fair to say that Russians now see both the EU and the US as just two blocs of the same, singularly hostile West.

But the story doesn’t quite end there.

Russian approval of China:


Even as the US and EU plumb new lows, Russian approval of China struck an alltime high of 81% (recall that this is equivalent to their approval of the US in the waning days of the Soviet Union). These feelings are mutual, and Putin is highly respected as a leader in CCP circles and reportedly by Xi Jinping personally. Again, this is not surprising: When one side slaps you with sanctions, while the other comes round with a fat wallet and offers to support the ruble should Russia only ask, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who’d be the more popular guy at the party. All pretty obvious. Except, perhaps, for those neocons who appear to believe with all conviction that the West is absolutely indispensable for Russia, and that Russia will eventually agree to pay any cost to mend relations for the privilege of fighting China for them to the last Russian.

Erdely’s Privilege

I could never take UVAgate seriously.

To be unapologetically blunt, even if it was all literally true, all those lurid accounts of broken glass and so forth… so what? There are about 15,000 homicides in the US every year. Rapes are an order of magnitude higher; around 250,000 per year as of 2011, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Though as no other than Steven Pinker himself pointed out, that is probably on the high side:

Under pressure from activist groups, common definitions of “rape” and “sexual assault” have recently been broadened to include, for example, a man verbally pressuring a woman into sex, and a man getting a woman drunk and having sex with her; even, in some surveys, sex that the woman regrets afterwards.

Why was that story so important anyway? Why does it justify a multi-thousand word account in a leading magazine and not the 249,999 other rapes? The vast majority of which do not, incidentally, take place on college campuses, which are in reality some of the safest places for young women – and for people in general – in the entire world. Sure if it happened it would certainly be bad and the perpetrator(s) should be punished but what purpose does a huge magazine article (as opposed to, say, a police report) actually serve?

Speaking specifically of UVA, there were a grand total of 14 recorded sexual offenses on campus in 2013, which translates to a rate of around 70/100,000 rapes when adjusted for just its 20,000 student body. That is lower than the overall US rate of around 100/100,000 according to the NCVS, even though a campus, which becomes truly striking when you consider their respective demographic profiles and the fact that 75% of all rapists are under the age of 25. Age-adjusted, the rape rate at UVA, and pretty much all other schools for that matter, are probably something like an order of magnitude lower than the US average. This would be very surprising to the typically mentally unbalanced ideologues who rant about campus rape culture, but it would not be surprising to Bell Curve-aware people who understand that places with average IQs of 115+, such as UVA, are simply not all that rapey.


So why was this an issue? There are a few reasonable answers, not mutually exclusive.

First, advancing said narrative was in someone’s or some group’s interests. Second, man bites dog stories are good clickbait (though this is a questionable point, because it presupposes that people have the common sense to know that men don’t usually bite dogs; as Cochran pointed out, we can’t actually take that for granted). Third, colleges are a pretty easy target for the SJWs, as illustrated by this brilliant cartoon from the #shirtgate days.

After all, it’s much safer to rant about “campus rape culture” from an actual campus full of white knights and beta orbiters happy to humor you than from within some inner city ghetto, let alone from some Third World country where there actually is a rape culture.

In any event, what UVAgate and Jackie Coakley’s lies – yes, name and shame, proudly! – did, is inadvertently illustrate what can only be called false rape culture. It is almost as prevalent as real cases of rape – my statistical reasoning can be found here – but it is almost never punished, even though a false rape accusation can ruin lives just as surely as actual rapes.

We see this in action here. The “journalist” who broke this story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, isn’t even getting fired. So far as Western MSM is concerned, it is okay to display epic journalistic malfeasance, slander people and institutions without even bothering to get their side of the story, make life tougher for real victims okay that isn’t actually going to happen, and follow up with a pathetic nonpology when the whole thing comes crashing down. But do something really bad, such as criticize Israel, report on possible Neo-Nazi war crimes in Ukraine, or contribute a few articles to Takimag, and you’re FIRED!

What should we call this? Maybe… privilege?

Yemen, Ukraine, and “Legitimacy”

It has the world’s highest number of guns per unit of GDP, a population fast outgrowing the land’s carrying capacity, is riven by ethnic and religious divisions, and its cities look something like the Counter-Strike map de_dust.

Otherwise, I don’t know much about Yemen.

So I will not wax knowledgeable about it except insofar as the incipient intervention there allows me to make a couple wider points on the hypocrisy of international relations.

The first point was eloquently argued by my friend Alexander Mercouris at Sputnik earlier this morning. I will liberally paraphrase henceforth (I would otherwise quote outright, but I wish to add in some additional details as I go).

President Hadi was elected Yemen’s President in 2012 as the sole candidate with 99.8% of the vote, in what Hillary Clinton said was “another important step forward in their democratic transition process.” But early this year he was unseated and fled to the souther port city of Aden, declaring his overthrow illegal, and since then he has fled on to Saudi Arabia. He has called on the UN to “quickly support the legitimate authorities with any means at their disposal,” and his new hosts were quick on the uptake, assembling an Arab coalition of Sunni states and carrying out airstrikes against the Houthi rebels. They are doing this with logistical and intelligence support from the United States and the United Kingdom, both of which have also unequivocally made clear their views on the situation: The Obama administration refers to President Hadi’s regime as “the legitimate government,” and the UK’s Foreign Office calls him the “legitimate President.”

Now compare and contrast with what happened in Ukraine last year. In 2010, Yanukovych was elected President that was declared free and fair by the West. (How could they not? “Their” side had been ruling the country for the past five years). In March 2014, he was overthrown in a coup that was unconstitutional, went against public opinion, and was enabled by what even the Western MSM is admitting looks more and more like a false flag. He fled to Crimea, and then on to Rostov, from where he called himself the “legitimate” President – drawing smirks not only in Ukraine, but in Russia – and asked Russia to restore him to power. Russia didn’t overtly intervene, its influence being mostly circumscribed to the “military surplus store” that it maintains for the Novorossiya Armed Forces. Certainly nowhere near to the extent of using its air power, which could have depleted most Ukrainian military power in a matter of days. But instead of joining Russia in support of Ukraine’s “legitimate” President, there were sanctions and condemnations.

Why? Well, this goes back to my point about Westernism being a revealed truth, and deviation or opposition it being essentially a religious crime. As Alexander Mercouris puts it:

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov calls this a double standard. He is wrong. As Noam Chomsky (the US political activist who is also a prominent linguist) pointed out long ago what Lavrov calls a double standard is actually a single standard: the United States does not consider itself (or its allies) subject to rules of behaviour that apply to everyone else. The United States is always gravely offended when others say otherwise. The “exceptional country” is not subject to rules. It is lese-majeste when “lesser countries” say it is.

Or consider another precedent. In 2011, there was an exceedingly vicious crackdown on Shi’ite protesters against the Sunni Bahraini monarchy, up to and including the Bahraini security forces arresting and imprisoning medics for exercising the Hippocratic Oath and treating the wounded demonstrators. The Saudis ended up sending in their tanks. Did Obama fulfill his promise, made good in Libya that same year, that “we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.” Of course! The US and Britain sold them weapons throughout the turmoil, so in that sense, they indeed did not merely “stand by.”

One more point. The supposedly Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthis, needless to say, are not exactly friendly with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, whom the US is purportedly at war with. Back when President Saleh was ruling the country before 2012 – the same guy to whom the Houthi rebels now pledge allegiance – a journalist who carried out interviews with Al Qaeda and was suspected of being a bit too friendly with them (human rights organizations disagreed), Abdulelah Haider Shaye, was imprisoned – at the explicit request of the Obama administration, funnily enough.


According to the Wikipedia map, the Houthi insurgency now controls pretty much all of the western part of the country. But in the rest of the country, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups are disturbingly close to parity with the Hadi regime. While neither Hadi nor Saleh and the forces they represent are shining beacons of liberalism, gay rights, and non-nepotistic governance, pretty much every reasonable person will agree that they are “better” than the anti-civilizational fanatics of Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and sundry Islamist militants.

Which is why Saudi Arabia sees fit to concentrate its energies against the force there that has the most potential (by virtue of being strongest) of checking the spread of those Islamist militants. So okay, the Saudis like to play around with these groups, hoping that their boomerangs never end up rebounding on them; and at a basic geopolitical level, they must also be legitimately concerned about getting encircled both from the north (South Iraq) and south (West Yemen) by newfangled Shi’ite states that might ally with Iran.

But at a time when domestic oil production is booming and Saudi Arabia’s influence over OPEC has been diminishing, what dog does the US have in this fight?

Russian Faith in “Western-Style Democracy” Reaches All-Time Low

This will probably be of no surprise to people who follow Russian sentiments, but still worth pointing out that according to the latest polls by Levada – an independent polling agency headed by pro-Western liberals – support for this thing called “Western-style democracy” has never been lower. This is quite a change from 2012, at the height of the post-Soviet protest fervor, when it was neck and neck with the Soviet system and the legitimacy of the current system came close to its local maximum.


Likewise, support for free markets is also near, though not quite at, an all-time low. The catastrophic events of the 1990s, first the epically crooked privatizations, then the 1998 default, disillusioned Russians from “reform” for the foreseeable future.


You don’t really need many Kiselevs when two decades of geopolitical double standards and Cochita Wursts can do the job even better. In the great scheme of things, considering Russians’ enthusiasm for Western democracy and free markets directly after the fall of the USSR, which was still detectable even when Putin first came to power and mooted the possibility of Russia joining NATO (on which he was cold shouldered), this can be interpreted as one of history’s greatest ideological PR fails.

These figures demonstrate that there is more to Russia’s pride and accumulated resentment than the headline 80%+ approval ratings for Putin after Crimea. One consequence is that Russia is more or less “immunized” against coups and color revolutions until at least the next round of elections in 2017-18. Western policymakers might not like this fact or even be unduly interested in it, but reality is.

The Nazi Gap

The Western media is having a field day with this motley gathering of Neo-Nazis and assorted freaks at the grandiosely named International Russian Conservative Forum – none of the more serious alternative right European parties, such as the National Front or Fidesz, bothered turning up, and neither did serious Russian nationalists – and for once they might just have a point.

The operative word being “just.”

Hypocritical as they might try to make Putin out to be with this, it would be wrong to see the March 22 conference as a Russian endorsement, official or informal, of the European far right.

First off, nobody of any consequence in Russian politics turned up, including even the purported organizers of the event, the newly (re)formed Rodina party see commentator bossel’s correction. It was skipped by serious Russian nationalists when they realized that the affair was going to become a total trainwreck populated by Prussian revanchists, the murderous goons of Golden Dawn, and conspiracy theories ranting about “penguin marriage” as the next phase of the homo agenda. Neither did any high-ranking official from the DNR or LNR turn up, despite the event being supposedly held in support of them.

This already puts this in stark contrast to Western politicians, whose politicians not only meet up with assorted Islamists and Neo-Nazis – John McCain is pictured below with Tyagnibok, leader of the Ukrainian fascist Svoboda Party, which used to be the Social-National Party and is exactly what it used to say on the tin:


… but happily supply them with arms and support Presidents who give them formal honors and decorations:

In August, Ukrainian chocolate sultan Petro Poroshenko awarded the leader of the pro-choice knitting club Azov Battalion, Andriy Biletsky, with the Order For Courage.

Biletsky is not only a courageous Wolfsangel-bedazzled freedom fighter, he is also the head of Ukraine’s creatively named Social-National Assembly, which is committed to “punishing severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man.”

Close your eyes and try to imagine the font size 72 Caps Lock New York Times front page screamfest if it was discovered that Vladimir Putin had decorated a brain-dead maniac who has promised “to prepare [Russia] for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race.”

Now change “Vladimir Putin” to “Petro Poroshenko” and “Russia” to “Ukraine” and you will finally understand why we live in an upside down nightmare garbage world where people freak out about a one-day conference of fringe groups in St. Petersburg.

Which all gives a clue as to why Russia allowed the conference to go ahead: “Mr. President, we must now allow a Nazi gap!” Better to have them as your useful idiots instead of the enemy’s; at the very least, they are then less likely to go fight your miners and tractor drivers in the Donbass (/s).

There are a few alternate explanations.

Perhaps the conference was allowed to go ahead because of Russia’s principled regard for freedom of speech, in stark contrast to the hypocritical West. Hah just kidding.

Perhaps – although this is more an addendum to the first explanation – there was just no obvious disadvantage to hosting the conference. If the Western media didn’t have this, it would just think up some other way to besmirch Russia this week or the next; frankly, as long as the current power structures are in place, worrying about Russia’s image in the West is something of a lost cause, and hence maladaptive. Here an earlier example, from Hungary, is instructive. In this supposed Alt Right haven within the EU, an identitarian congress featuring speakers who were on average much more reasonable and intelligent than the wackjobs at the Saint-Petersburg conference, was banned by the ruling party Fidesz. Those people who turned up anyway, including Richard Spencer and a personal friend of mine, were arrested, held overnight, and deported from the country and banned from reentering, Schengen be damned. Predictably enough, the EU and State Department applauded this, since free speech doesn’t extend to you once you leave the Overton window of acceptable discourse under Western neoliberal democracy. If by so doing, however, Fidesz hoped to gain kudos and respectability – or at least non-interference – from the powers that be, they were to be disappointed:

It need hardly be said that in the current geopolitical climate, even the most cringingly venal and submissive Russian “podpindosnik” (transl. “American worshipper”) realizes that sucking up on such matters to Brussels and Washington DC will result in zero rewards or even goodwill.

Perhaps – and personally, I think this is the most likely theory – it was all just a big fuck up, instead of an elaborate geopolitical ploy or troll job on the West. From Egor Prosvirnin, whose nationalism can be thought of as something like a Russian Pegida:

So let’s tally the results: The party Rodina, which the Kremlin is currently trying to revive from suspended animation, tried to organize a 1990s-style event featuring freaks, ziegfags, and marginals, who pretend to be nationalists, in this case – European nationalists. The whole thing tanked, because European nationalists who are gaining in popularity refused the invitation to participate in the Kremlin’s circus, while amongst Russian nationalists all these weird cramps provoked, in the best case, confused bewilderment. I think that as a result, one of the Kremlin’s political technologists will receive a good knock from upper management.

The only ones who benefited from this is the liberal community, which will bring up this dismal event in response to any criticism of the Ukrainian Reich for at least the next year. Maybe it was they themselves who organized it?

Lee Kuan Yew’s Flawed Utopia

The benevolent dictator, much like Communism, seems to be one of those semi-mythical things that seem to be good in theory but rarely if ever pan out in practice. But every so often there occurs an exception. If there was one man who embodied the archetype, it was Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away earlier today at the age of 91. The only other leader in today’s world who even begins to approach his stature is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.

Under Lee’s 50 years of formal and informal rule, Singapore went from being a Third World backwater with no natural resources to a gleaming technopolis and the world’s third major financial hub after London and New York. GDP per capita increased by several orders of magnitude. It refuted the modern idea, or rather dogma, that democracy and individual liberties are indispensable components of economic modernization. A clever foreign policy enabled great relations with both the US and China. Visible corruption is all but non-existent; the story might be apocryphal, but apparently Lee once even went as far as allowing the execution of a friend for stealing from the state. This kind of severe, impartial justice is all but unimaginable under Putin, whose top political elites enjoy literally palatial lifestyles, or even under Xi Jinping, where the anti-corruption campaign is real but has to take into account that some political clans must remain untouchable.

He was famously disdainful of democracy – “with few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries… What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value.” That this might not be taken well by Singapore’s more Americanized youth was of minimal concern to the elder statesman: “It’s irrelevant to me what young Singaporeans think of me. What they think of me after I’m dead and gone in one generation will be determined by researchers who do PhD’s on me.”

As Michael Anissimov’s and [AK: Redacted on request]’s NRx blog More Right points out, “Lee Kuan Yew was the living politician that most exemplified the neoreactionary philosophy.” I would also argue that he is also now the dead politician who most exemplifies neoreaction, right down to his son inheriting the Prime Ministership. On this, they are absolutely correct; it is very much worth pointing out that Singapore’s political culture is defined not only by authoritarianism and clean, effective public service, but by an unapologetic elitism that is quite shocking to Westerners used to politicians who pander to the masses.

Example: Singapore is a small state, a city-state, and space is at a premium. So new cars face exorbitant taxes so that only the superwealthy can afford them. In this sense, it is heavily regulated and unapologetically pro-oligarchic. But that doesn’t preclude Singapore’s ordinary citizens from enjoying one of the best public transport systems on the planet. It is also rated by the World Bank as the world’s easiest country in which to do business, so at least getting rich is perfectly within everyone’s reach – provided he has the requisite ability, of course. Not everyone does, as Lee pointed out with brutal honesty:

If I tell Singaporeans – we are all equal regardless of race, language, religion, culture. Then they will say,”Look, I’m doing poorly. You are responsible.” But I can show that from British times, certain groups have always done poorly, in mathematics and in science. But I’m not God, I can’t change you. But I can encourage you, give you extra help to make you do, say maybe, 20% better.

If you think this hints at a dangerously un-PC worldview, you would be correct. Here are some more quotes that you will not see in the glowing obituaries of him in the mainstream press:

On evolution and human biodiversity:

I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils… I didn’t start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I’ve come to.

Against equality:

There are some flaws in the assumptions made for democracy. It is assumed that all men and women are equal or should be equal. Hence, one-man-one-vote. But is equality realistic? If it is not, to insist on equality must lead to regression.

Contempt for demotism:

I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind – an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. You are not a leader.

On the necessity of pro-eugenic policies:

If you don’t include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society… So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That’s a problem.

On IQ and black people:

The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more… the Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow.

Had he dared express any of these ideas as an American politician, he would have been hounded out of public life by any of the newspapers who now sing his praises. Instead, to the extent racial issues are at all raised, he gets praised for creating a functioning multicultural society, with some of its less “wholesome” aspects, such as a cognitively elitist immigration policy that specifically targetted ethnic Han, getting glossed over. Part of the reason for this is surely the banal fact that he is a non-white foreigner who can says that which is forbidden to others. But an even bigger reason, and one that helps enable the former, is simply success; it is success, not so much cannons, that is the last argument of kings.

But lest you think this is just another neoreactionary ode to Lee Kuan Yew, prepare for disillusionment. Leaving aside the more subjective and ideological factors, such as the restrictions on political and civil liberties, there are at least several spheres in which Singapore’s performance was rather underwhelming.

1) The rise in Singapore’s GDP per capita was no doubt phenomenal, but it was broadly in line with those of the other East Asian tigers. A vast increase in wealth was inevitable even without Lee Kuan Yew, which is not to say that he did not do a lot to help it along. Singapore is now much richer than Taiwan or South Korea, but the latter are proper countries with substantial agricultural hinterlands, and far too populous to specialize as global trading and financial hubs, so the comparison is not necessarily valid. Singapore does not really stand out when compared to other global cities: Its GDP per capita (PPP) in 2014 was $67,000, which is not cardinally higher than that of London, Paris, or Hong Kong, all three of which were at $57,000, and lower than leading American cities such as Boston ($76,000), Seattle ($73,000), San Francisco ($72,000), New York ($70,000).

Moreover, when you adjust for differences in working time – on average, Singaporeans work 2,300 hours a year, relative to 1,800 in the US and as little as 1,400 in most of Western Europe – there develops a very real difference in productivity.  This is especially stark when you consider that it almost tops the international PISA tests, suggesting very high levels of human capital.

But two arguments can be made in mitigation. First off, economic underperformance relative to human capital seems to be common to all of East Asia; for instance, Japan “should be” at least as wealthy as the US or Germany per capita by a simple extrapolation of its national IQ, but instead it is only just as wealthy as Italy. Why? Beyond the scope of this post, but there it is. The other argument is that the above cities, especially major national capitals like Paris and London, draw the cognitive elites of those countries, such that their average IQ and economic potential is well above their national averages and thus perhaps similar to Singapore’s anyway. But leaving aside that Singapore is also a magnet for regional cognitive elites, the GDP per capita and especially the productivity data still indicate that Singapore remains unremarkable or perhaps even subpar in its economic performance.

2) The long grind at work might explain why Singapore’s citizens are apparently the least emotional on the planet, according to a 2012 report by Gallup. Even hardened neoreactionaries, I would imagine, would attach some value to people’s happiness, be it out of paternal beneficence or at least concern for the longterm stability of the state.

3) This isn’t a exactly a failure in my opinion because it’s not like Singapore lacks for people. It’s a very wealthy citystate and will easily find more than enough high quality immigrants to make up any demographic gaps. But it’s nonetheless worth pointing out that Singapore, with a total fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman, hardly lives up to neoreactionary natalist ideals.

4) I certainly do not wish to pretend to be any kind of expert on Singapore, so feel free to correct me here if you consider me seriously misguided on this. But it seems to me that – for its respectable GDP per capita and prodigal level of human capital – Singapore is home to remarkably few scientific and cultural accomplishments. No Nobel Prizes, no Fields Medals, etc. This, of course, might also be a general East Asian thing; the achievements of Japan, Korea, and China in fundamental science are all very modest in comparison to what they “should be” compared to the European IQ-innovation correlation curve. Again, a discussion of this is well beyond the scope of this post. Still, speaking of Singapore specifically, at least Japan, Korea, and China all produce tons of patents per capita for their respective levels of economic development. In contrast, Singapore’s patents per capita is an order of magnitude lower than in Japan and Korea, being lower than in China, and wedged in between Belgium and Russia.

Finally, all societies die sooner or later, but they are remembered for the great art and culture that they produce. A valid counterpoint from the onset is that much of Western culture today is crap – Justin Bieber, 90% of modern art, what passes for “literary” novels. But there are still many flashes of genius and true creativity around. Sci-fi is undergoing its second golden age. Game of Thrones. Abandoning the postmodernist dreck that has infected too much older artistic media, the creative types are flocking to new technology-enabled pastures like video games. I am not aware of any major cultural products from Singapore. Hong Kong, much more liberal and freewheeling than Singapore, became famous for Jackie Chan and action movies.

What’s Singapore’s most recognizable cultural achievement? Is it… Lee Kuan Yew?

Above all, neoreactionaries should bear in mind that their Asian idol couldn’t care less for formal ideologies, most likely including their own. He was, above all, practical. “Does it work? If it works, let’s try it. If it’s fine, let’s continue it. If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one,” as he told the NYT in an interview in 2007.

The Moor Has Done His Duty


Andrey Babitsky was the quintessential Russian democratic journalist.

A correspondent for the US government funded Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe (RFERL) since 1989, his star began to shine at the start of the Second Chechen War in 1999, when he was embedded amongst the rebel fighters in Grozny. He took a harshly anti-Russian line, writing the following about a summarily executed Russian POW:

It must be said that the Chechens don’t cut the throats of [Russian] soldiers because they are sadists inclined to treat them with brutality, but because in this manner they can make the war more visceral and visible to the public opinion, to explain that there really is a war and that war is cruel and terrifying.

He was detained by the Russian military when attempting to leave Grozny in January 2000. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright personally appealed for his release in a visit to Moscow. In an ironic twist, he was freed, but to the Chechens, in exchange for several Russian POWs. His Chechen friends kept him locked up in a cellar until finally releasing him with a forged passport the following month.

Babitsky would continue being a thorn in the feet of Russian security forces thereafter, his biggest coup being an interview for ABC News with Shamil Basayev in 2005, the man who organized the 2002 Nord-Ost Theater Siege, the Beslan school massacre, and numerous other terrorist atrocities before his assassination in 2006. Needless to say, Russia’s siloviki weren’t fond of him either. Apart from the murky events of 2000, he was again temporarily detained in 2004, delaying him from going to North Ossetia to report on the Beslan crisis.

The rest of his reporting appears to have been much in the same general vein. He condemned “Russian aggression” against Georgia in 2008. He railed against Russian state media propaganda. The blog La Russophobe, a now defunct but once one of the most widely read Russia blogs in the Anglosphere, whose content was exactly what it said on the tin, habitually reprinted Babitsky’s scribblings and called him a “hero journalist.” Since 2009, he has been heading RFERL’s “Echo of the Caucasus” section.

Which makes recent revelations that he was fired from RFERL in 2014 rather… interesting.

Why? His troubles with the editors began with an article on his Russian language blog from March 2014. Just its first sentence, really. It has since been deleted, but the Internet remembers:

This is not about Crimea – on this question, I’m fully agreed with Vladimir Putin’s main thesis, that Russia has the absolute right to take the peninsula’s population under its protection. I am aware that a significant number of my colleagues don’t share this viewpoint. After the President’s speech, I am now a supposedly correct, officially approved citizen, while those who are disagree with Russia’s actions in Ukraine have become national traitors.

That’s it. The rest of the essay is his standard spiel about Russia’s never ending descent into authoritarianism and the persecution and denigration of dissidents. He affirms the absolute right to free speech, and expresses great concern for the fate of the 10% of people who disagree with Crimea’s incorporation into Russia when the other 90% so passionately supports it in an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, and demonizing rhetoric.

As it soon turned out, he might as well have been talking about himself.

A week later, Babitsky was removed from his position as chief editor of Echo of the Caucasus, and suspended from work for one month without reimbursement. The decision was condemned by Mario Corti, a former director of RFERL who had also ran into terminal disagreements with the senior American management and resigned in disgust. Although he stressed that he disagreed with Babitsky’s position on Crimea, he notes that the overall article was “harshly critical of Vladimir Putin,” and affirmed that opinion in a commentary is “legitimate journalism” and that his demotion goes counter to RFERL’s standing as a “paragon of free speech.”

Babitsky was reinstated as a journalist following his one month suspension, but was quietly dismissed in September 2014 after a stint as a war correspondent in the Donbass. He left without much fanfare, unlike, say, Liz Wahl, whose theatric resignation from and denunciation of RT live on air was carefully choreographed in advance with neocon waterboy and professional troll James Kirchick. Possibly Babitsky didn’t want to risk his Czech residency permit – RFERL is headquartered in Prague – until his daughter finished school. In any case, it was only a few days ago that we finally got access to the juicy details of his departure when he gave an interview to the Czech daily Lidové noviny (here is a Russian translation).

First off, here is a full annunciation of his views on Crimea, which basically reduces to an absolute but in his case principled stand on questions of self-determination and national sovereignty:

LN: Crimea became important to you in another sense: You were forced to leave RFERL after 25 years of working for them on account of your attitudes towards the annexation?

AB: One of my blog posts contained some words supporting Putin’s decision to incorporate Crimea into Russia. The rest of the content was critical towards Putin and Russia. For instance, I condemned the fact that it has became acceptable in Russia to call those who disagree with the peninsula’s incorporation into Russia – traitors to the Motherland. About Crimea itself and its incorporation into Russia there was just one sentence.

LN: Considering that you worked for an American, government-sponsored radio station, wasn’t it at the very least shortsighted to support Crimea’s annexation?

AB: We worked in Chechnya for many years, and even then I was completely certain – if there is some minority, some part of the population, that considers that its rights are in conflict with their host country’s territorial integrity, then there must be a divorce. This oppressed group, if its interests are harmed, has the full right to an independent existence, according to its own rules. As a journalist I supported this right, both when this concerned Chechens, and today in the case of Crimea, and also the Donbass.

LN: [You were fired] because your opinion on Crimea’s annexation differed from your employer’s?

AB: I have a special relationship with Crimea. We have a house there. My wife is a native of Crimea, and her parents – former military – still live there. We go there every summer. So I know that many Crimeans have always regarded Ukraine as a foreign state. Crimeans never felt at home there. They were annoyed by Ukrainization policies. They had the Ukrainian language forced upon them in place of Russian. Ever since its independence, Kiev has carried out an incorrect national policy towards minorities, first and foremost, in regards to the Russian one. During this time period a lot of insults accrued, and people felt it was injust and feared that in the future things would become even worse.

LN: Worse after the arrival of the new Ukrainian leadership?

AB: Crimeans’ feelings are informed by experience: Once again nobody knows what the hell’s happening in Kiev, and what awaits us. The reaction that followed was, in my view, completely normal and even legal. You see the hand of Putin everywhere, but in Crimea people simply revolted in defense of their rights. Just as, in your opinion, did the residents of Kiev. You, like the rest of my Western colleagues, like to argue that in Kiev people were genuinely fighting for their rights and freedoms, while in Crimea and Donbass it is all a conspiracy behind which stand Putin and the Russian secret services. But this isn’t true. The entire peninsula was overtaken in horror by what awaited it, so the separation was an unequivocal reaction to the threat that Euromaidan represented to Crimeans. Doesn’t Crimea have the same right to rebel against injustice and suppression as the Maidan?

LN: [Every minority might have a right to sovereignty], but surely not with support from big neighbors who use not only propaganda but also real weapons to grab territories. A free referendum is one thing, anything else is an incitement of separatism.

AB: Wait a second. Several weeks back the organization GfK Ukraine, a German sociological company – not Russian – published a telling study, according to which 93% of Crimeans are happy with their incorporation into Russia. 93! I do not view Crimea’s incorporation, unlike several of my Western colleagues, as the resurrection of the USSR. To the contrary, it is but a continuation of that entity’s collapse. It is the Soviet regime that created weird, unnatural, and historically unfounded borders, and divided them up into different oblasts and republics that were wholly artificial. …

This didn’t go over well with his Czech interviewer. Babitsky might be a pro-Western liberal who had spent his entire life struggle for “your freedom and ours”… but how dare he put loyalty towards liberalism in front of loyalty to pro-Westernism?

As the interview goes on, the questions gradually become more loaded and hostile. At first, he attempts to respond reasonably, but eventually gives up.

LN: It’s improbable how you, a person who was nearly killed by Vladimir Putin’s regime, and forced into exile, have today become a supporter of Putin… 

But Putin isn’t Russia! Russia – it is history and rich tradition. Pushkin is Russia. Apart from that, it must be said that Russia today resembles a European country to a much greater extent than does Ukraine. Yes, Russia has its nationalists, but that is a problems of deviants. But in Ukraine, nationalism has become a state doctrine. Nationalism, be it Ukrainian or Georgian, leads to Hitlerian Nazism. Russia is a multinational country, where nationalism doesn’t have a future.

LN: Is there anything at all in Russia that deserves your criticism?

AB: It still has many Soviet aspects. First and foremost, a very difficult situation in respect to free media, with free access to information. Anti-Western sentiments are growing, there is a lot of belief in extreme conspiracy theories, restrictions on civil rights, and so on. But in Ukraine the situation is worse in all respects.

LN: So Crimea, according to you, ran away from those Ukrainian nationalists into the warm embrace of big, good, traditional Russia. Just as if it came from Russian state TV…

AB: Crimea escaped the bloody drama that Donbass didn’t. There were 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers on the peninsula, if some fool in Kiev had given the order, the conversation would have been overtaken by heavy artillery, and Crimea would have been completely destroyed.

LN: Czechs are always drawn to the Sudetenland comparison. Do you also believe that back then the German minority should have battled for its rights?

AB: This was, first of all, an act of external aggression. You didn’t persecute Germans. Or did you also wish to make them Czechs, like Ukrainians were doing in to Russians in Crimea? In Crimea, it was completely different. A big conflict was decades in the making. People were becoming cardinally disillusioned. And as soon as the revolution engulfed Kiev, they started fearing further restrictions on the usage of the Russian language and the promotion of Ukrainian… and not only this. You see, there is also historical experience to consider. My mother was born in Kiev. Seventeen members of our family were killed during the war by Ukrainian nationalists.

LN: I am not the only one with serious doubts that Russians’ rights in Crimea were likewise restricted under the regime of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

AB: Do you trust me as a journalist? If so, think about it – in the past ten years I have been to Crimea thirteen times, I spent every summer there, and it is from this position that I tell you: Go to hell with your doubts.

But interesting as this all is, the Crimea sentence wasn’t what he was fired from RFERL for.

He was fired by a US government funded media outlet for exposing possible Neo-Nazi atrocities.

LN: Fear about the consequences of the Maidan were mostly spread by Russian media. Surely you, as a journalist, know the power of information…

AB: When I was still working at RFERL, I asked the managers to send me to Donbass. I went there and worked as I usually do in a warzone. On September 2, 2014, I filmed the exhumation of four corpses: Two civilians, and two insurgents. According to the locals – not the militias, but ordinary residents of Novosvetlovka – these people had been executed by Ukrainian volunteers from the Aidar batallion. I didn’t provide any commentary on this, just filmed it and sent it to the Moldovan division of RFERL. The video was published online. After this, the nationalists in the Ukrainian division of RFERL became hysterical. There was a big scandal. All this, just because I had published a video, which only recorded what I saw with my own eyes, without any additional commentary.

LN: But sometimes the specific selection of facts, presented without context, can create a cardinally false version of events…

AB: The video was deleted. On September 26, I returned to Prague. I was invited to the office and was told that my position has been removed. RFERL has clearly and definitively become nothing more than an instrument of American propaganda.

Who could have imagined it?

Now don’t get me wrong. RFERL is funded by the US government, so in principle, the US government can dictate how it uses its resources (although ideally, if not in practice, subject to electoral accountability and journalistic ethics). If that involves kicking out journalists whose opinions and reporting overstay their welcome, then so be it. After all, virtually all state-sponsored international media, in some capacity or other, serve the interests of their sponsors: Al Jazeera – Al Jazeera, the BBC, CCTV, France 24, Deutschewelle, and… RT.

But it is primarily the Western media organization that tend to have the chutzpah to deny this and instead claim an altruistic and universal dedication to truth, objectivity, free speech, and fluffy pink rabbits. Maybe it’s just a case of people talking on about that what they don’t have. RT at least is honest enough to admit its blatant pro-Russia biases. As its director Margarita Simonyan put it, “There is no objectivity – only approximations of the truth by as many different voices as possible.” This brutal honesty annoys the Western establishment real bad, because they view their social arrangements and global hegemony as a revealed truth, and anything that even so much as suggests that it may be just one of many truths is equivalent to heresy, and calls upon the rage of the chiliastic monotheist in battle with other faiths. Hence the vilification of RT, and even calls for it to be banned, with several investigations against it already launched by the UK’s Ofcom media watchdog.

RFERL is, in this respect, the quintessential Western MSM outlet. Not only does it supposedly strive for objectivity, but it even has a quotation from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its motto (Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”). That’s even better than The Guardian’s “comment is free”!

But RFERL’s response to concrete questions about its treatment of Andrey Babitsky and their commitment to his freedom of opinion and expression is… a bit more laconic.

Namely, zero, zip, zilch, nada.

I made an inquiry to Brian Whitmore, a blogger at The Power Vertical, RFERL’s Russia blog. No reply, though I had interacted with him on several occasions in the past. Okay, so I’m a Putin lackey, and RFERL is possibly keen to avoid “exploitation by the pro-Kremlin media in Russia.” Why not, then, answer Ben Aris, a journalist who supported the Maidan?

The answer is as simple as it is cynical.

The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go. In the big scheme of things, it is just a minor iteration of what happened to Solzhenitsyn after he rejected neoliberal capitalism, or Gorbachev after he came out in support of Russia’s incorporation of Crimea. It’s either their way, all the way, or the highway.

But don’t mention this, or we’ll hound you out of our mutual agreement societies too, because you’re biased and hate freedom.

The Golden Loaf

It became symbolic of the absurdity of Yanukovych’s kleptocracy when it was seized by the February Revolutionaries at his Mezhigorye residence.


But now, it is nowhere to be found.

“In effect, it was stolen. But by whom? I have a list of objects that weren’t even confiscated. They were shown only on TV. Two months I spent sending requests [to the General Prosecutor], asking whether these objects were registered, and so forth, and we were given answers. Who is going to answer for this?” commented Dmitry Dobrodomov, an MP who took it upon himself to find out the fate of the golden loaf and the other icons, rare coins, automobiles, and other expensive goods found – and since vanished – from Mezhigorye.

And so the golden loaf continues to be symbolic – now, of the utter inability of the Poroshenko regime to stymie corruption, and in a more general sense of the bankruptcy of the Ukrainian nationalist rhetoric that ascribes its – their – corruption to being under Soviet/Russian influence.

That did not, however, stop the Maidan activists from displaying the golden loaf on the commercial excursion trips to Mezhigorye that sprung up after the coup.

“We have long had a clay duplicate of the “golden loaf”… we made many souvenir copies for 200 grivna each. You can buy them,” they told a Russian newspaper.

This, too, is pretty symbolic.

Schrodinger’s Putin

After a week-long absence, the Internet is growing rife with rumors about Putin’s health and whereabouts.

Has he produced a heir with Alina Kabaeva? Is he plotting nuclear war with the West from his bunker at Mount Yamantau? Has he been abducted by aliens? Or is the Mausoleum about to get a new occupant??


Let’s consider the possibilities one by one:

Putin is ill

This is according to an anonymous Kazakh official, following the cancelation of a planned visit to Astana. This is being denied by Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said Putin was “breaking hands” in response to a question about his handshake. Naturally. But it has to be admitted that a week and counting is a long time in politics. Still, everyone gets the flu now and then, and in a highly personalistic power system like Russia’s it might not do well to display the fact. When alpha male chimps become ill, rather than weather challenges from young upstarts while they are relatively incapacitated, they prefer to wander into the forest, come back when they get better, and act as if nothing out of the norm had happened (or they die). It would not do for people to see the Tsar and arbiter of the Kremlin clans coughing, sneezing, and bedridden like some old geezer.

Putin is incapacitated or dead

Perhaps he had a stroke or heart attack. Maybe he’s dead, and Maidanist Ukrainians can jump in glee, like the Prussians did in the correct belief that Elizaveta had died and the war against them would soon end, or the top Nazis in 1945 on the incorrect belief that the death of FDR would presage the unraveling of the Alliance.

Unfortunately for them, this is almost certainly out of the question, and not only because keeping such a development in Russia, which after all is still a largely open information space, is practically unfeasible.

The first reason to treat rumors of Putin’s death from health complications is that he is an extremely healthy physical specimen, a genuine judoka who starts his day with a few laps in the swimming pool and rarely drinks. This alone would make the average Russian male life expectancy of 65 years completely inapplicable to him. Second, he enjoys basically billionaire-level healthcare. Yeltsin, an obese alcoholic who suffered from heart attacks every other year, still managed to eke out 76 years with the help of elite healthcare. Finally, the Putins appear to be an unusually long-lived family in general. His mother, Maria Ivanovna, died at the age of 87, and his father, Vladimir Spiridonovich, at 88. His paternal grandfather, Spiridon Putin, who incidentally happened to be a cook to Lenin and Stalin, died at the age of 86. His other children also tended to die at advanced ages – Anna at 80, and as far as I can establish, Alexander (born in 1920) and Ludmila (born in 1926) were alive at least until 2000, though I’m uncertain about Mikhail (born in 1913). Only one of Spiridon Putin’s children died early, but that was from a German shell or bullet in 1941. Longevity is moderately heritable, and such consistently high lifespans are highly unusual for 20th century Russia. Of course a healthy lifestyle, genetics, and elite healthcare are no absolute guarantee against a premature death, but when virtually all the variables are stacked in your favor, it makes it very unlikely. I may have to eat a bullet on this, but I fully expect Putin’s lifespan to be comparable to Castro’s.

One final reason to treat claims of Putin’s premature demise with skepticism is that this is hardly the first time it’s happened. There is a small minority of Russians who desperately and fervently wish him dead, and are more than happy to provide grist for the rumor mill, and there is a much larger group of Westerners who would be very happy at treat the resulting product as wheat when all the evidence points to it being chaff. There was an analogous case in 2012, when Putin also disappeared for a few days following what was likely a minor back injury during judo practice. That didn’t stop Russian emigre journalist Leonid Bershidsky from upgrading it to spinal cancer, a claim which seems to have been originally posted by a minor Russian oppositionist and soon afterwards actively propagated by the Chechen Islamist terrorist website Kavkaz Center:

Today I learned from a source in the presidential administration, that our alpha dog is not simply sick but he is sick with spine sarcoma (spinal cancer,) and 3 months are left for the life of this guy. The cancer cannot be treated, and there is already a struggle inside the KGB for powerful positions.

A probable successor will actually be the shaman Shoigu (Russia’s new defense minister), and soon there will be a lot of interesting events, in particular, before the next special operation to transfer the throne from one thief to another; half of the of weapons are planned to be confiscated from the population. So, in 2013 there will be fun. We must prevent a new thief from the Putin’s gang to move to the Kremlin.

This has all the usual Kremlinological dreck, which we’ll come to in a sec, but first, a litte aside: The reference to “shaman” is on account of Shoigu’s Buddhism. I did say this is an extremist Islamist website, which openly and proudly celebrates terrorist attacks on Russian soil. But funnily enough, it happens to be hosted without any problems on a Finnish server. One can only imagine the problems, say, Al Qaeda or ISIS would have if they were to try to get hosting in a Western country. It pays for an Islamist terrorist group to have the right sugardaddy.


Anyhow, moving on. Images of tanks and APCs on Red Square… that happened to be several years old. Rumors that the Kremlin was to make an important announcement this weekend, and orders to journalists to remain in Moscow… soon proved a fake. Black helicopters over the Kremlin. Medvedev is now calling the shots. Or Primakov in a liberal palace coup. Or Sergey Ivanov in a hardliner uprising. Or maybe Putin himself is preparing a massive political reorganization, such as firing Medvedev’s Cabinet in favor of Ivanov, the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration.

Problem: Mounting a coup against Putin is hard. No major interest group has beef with him: The non-systemic opposition is impotent, truculent oligarchs have long since been purged or coopted, and the political elites – especially the siloviki, or security personnel – are largely agreed with his domestic and foreign policy course. The civiliki, or liberal technocrats, might not be quite as happy, but they are also divided and frankly don’t have the requisite balls to attempt a coup anyway. Even if they did, they would still have to figure out how to manage a population that at this point in history virtually adulates Putin; at last count, his approval rating was at an astronomical 88%.

And the last, concrete argument against the coup theory is that the events of the past week don’t hew to the standard patterns of historical coup. The hard men at the FSB or the MVD would not be taking so long about it. The Army would be getting involved. Considering that they overwhelmingly sided with Gorbachev in August 1991, when his popularity was already at rock bottom, it is inconceivable that Russia’s apolitical generals would side against Putin. There would almost certainly be blood in the streets. No, the chances of a coup are infinitesimal. Putin is more likely dead from a stroke than under house arrest or something that approximates to it.

Out of all these options, the only more or less remotely feasible one is that Putin is preparing some kind of major new denouement, such as the formation of a new government, or a major change of policy – there are mixed signals, so it could be in either direction – on Ukraine.

The Grozny Gambit

In 1564, getting tired of the aristocracy’s incompetence and venality, Ivan Grozny (mistranslated as “The Terrible”) left his throne for a monastery in disgust. Unable to govern and threatened by the Moscow mob, the boyars begged him to come back. Ivan agreed, but only on condition that they vest him with absolute power. The boyars acceded to his ultimatum. Ivan returned in 1565, and created the infamous oprichnina, with their Nazgul-like black attire and black horses, and pommel-mounted dog heads and brooms to “sniff out and sweep away” treason. The Russian state became centralized as never before, but at the cost of eventual ruin and economic collapse.


Is Putin doing the Grozny Gambit, betting that Russia will become ungovernable in his absence and that the boyars and the people will demand his return on any condition?

Much as this image of Tsar Putin would satiate the hearts and minds of romantics and neoreactionaries… no. Just no. Putin isn’t one for the melodramatic, or the taking of unnecessary risks for gains that he doesn’t even aspire to it in the first place.

Kabaeva love child

Putin’s amorous relationship with rhythmic gymnast and Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva has been the stuff of Kremlin rumors and febrile imaginations for the past seven years. The general story is that Putin and Kabaeva became engaged in 2008, married in 2013, and had a child in Switzerland this February. Though strongly denied by Putin’s spokespeople, the timing of his divorce from his first wife Ludmila, in 2013, is certainly interesting. And a Twitter account, most convincingly named @kabaeva_russia, claimed that she “just had a son” two days ago.

Which doesn’t square with the “Es ist ein Madchen!” soundbyte adopted by the media. Or with why a privacy-conscious Putin would go to Switzerland; it’s not like Russia doesn’t have any elite obstetrics facilities. Or with Kabaeva’s figure a couple of months ago, which doesn’t exaclty look seven months pregnant.


Frankly, the likeliest possibility is that Putin’s team tolerates and even gently promotes these rumors, since virility is generally considered to be a good thing in leaders – better than being sick, at any rate.

Still, Leonid Bershidsky is ON IT, so that must at least count for something.

Schrodinger’s Putin

My bet is still on a particularly nasty flu or maybe a mild-to-moderate health issue, which if so would probably be highly visual, like Botox gone wrong. 88% approval rating or not, he’d still be a laughing stock.

But surely I am not alone in hoping for Putin’s glorious emergence on Red Square soon before the assembled people, a cyborg robot suit in place of torso, Monomakh’s Cap on his head, and a swaddled infant-heir in his arms, proclaiming the foundation of the Imperial Russian Horde.

Either way, we’ll find soon enough. Appointments have been scheduled, prior postponements have to be made good; we are unlikely to be waiting for answers for very much longer.

“Patriarchal” Russia Has The Most Female Business Leaders

That is the latest finding a just-out report from Grant Thornton.


Not that you’d guess it from the hysterical screechings of Western feminists and SJWs about Pussy Riot, quaint traditions like giving women flowers, and snide digs at Russians’ penchant for unapologetic masculinity (which is, incidentally, what really lies behind the psychological complex known as Putin Derangement Syndrome).

The fact that Russian, and indeed most women from the ex-socialist bloc, show that women don’t need Womyn’s Studies departments (there is just one in all of Russia) or legally-mandated quotas (like you have in France and Sweden) must enrage those harpy losers all the more.

This is also why almost nobody in Russia, neither men nor women, care much for feminism. It’s just not an issue. Equity feminism – equality before the law, formal political and civil rights, getting paid the same for the same work, sovereignty over one’s body – had long been achieved in the USSR when similar processes began to get underway in the West. This, as well as the Marxist cocoon that covered it until the 1990s, ironically immunized it against gender feminism, one of the many mutant spawns of the Frankfurt School/Cultural Marxism that aggressively sought to “equalize” the genders by denying basic biological facts attacking traditional feminine virtues while loudly denigrating and even criminalizing broad swathes of traditional masculinity in an elite-supported campaign that continues to this day.

But the joke is ultimately on the SJWs. While they can scream as loud as they want at astrophysicists in loud shirts and juicing dudebro Gamergaters on Twitter, they still ain’t getting promoted by the capitalist big dogs.