Reading on Russia Roundup #11

For this edition of the Reading on Russia Roundup, I will be celebrating Stats Week, since this week saw the release of several

VCIOM press release. A new press release from the VCIOM asks what Russians want from the ideal candidate for State Duma. According to the study, voters want professionalism; willingness to represent the interests of the people, not own; and a focus on change rather than revolution. Read the rest of the report, it’s quite interesting.

Levada Center I. The Levada Center has released electoral ratings of parties participating in the state Duma elections. Among those who answered that they will likely vote in the elections, United Russia is the preferred party (35%). Also see this article on the contours of the future Duma.

Levada Center II. On the friends and enemies of Russia.

Levada Center III. Asks Russians about their feelings regarding the “Immortal Regiment”/Victory Day celebrations.

Demographics. After a long period of silence, Mark Adomanis is back to report that despite the severe economic recession in Russia, its demographics continue to improve. So that’s some good news.

Emigration. The Russian headhunting company Agentstvo Kontakt reported this week that almost one in every six senior Russian managers plans to move to another country within the next two years, while even more – 42 percent – are considering emigration. There are lots of articles talking about this, so I’ll just choose this one. This is not good news. No doubt some analysts will point to this as evidence of Russia’s general s****yness and lack of a future.

And lastly, something that made me chuckle. Like the costumed characters on Times Square, but more stylish (in my opinion).

But the lookalikes live in a tough, competitive environment. Once a feud even came to blows: In the summer of 2012, one of the Stalins noticed that his companion, Lenin, had begun to work for the second Stalin.

Discussing this betrayal over a mug of coffee, the first Stalin generously rewarded the defector by stabbing him three times in the back with his umbrella. Lenin kept his head and went to the police. A few days later, the leaders were reconciled, but law enforcement officers kept them under observation for some time.

source – RBTH article




  1. 1) On “Future Duma” piece by Levada (crossposting Carneigie Center, actually). Levada Center once again proves its handshkability by beginning with:

    “Присоединение Крыма в марте 2014 года полностью изменило общественно-политический климат в России. Всего за несколько недель резко улучшилось отношение ко всем государственным институтам, выросли рейтинги власти, повысился общий оптимизм, путинский режим, терявший свою легитимность, получил второе рождение.”

    Poor persecuted (foreign funded) Russian liberals! They have to reuse stale clichés handed down from their betters in the Free World! “Putin’s Regime”, “losing legitimacy”, my-my!

    And as for their bold claim that “sociologists are usually proven correct in their predictions about Russian Duma’s elections” – well, how about proving that, Levada? Can you?

    Sure, you can!. That’s your own predictions, also 3 months prior to elections.

    Only UR got not 54%, as you predicted, but 49 (off by 5%), KPRF got 19, and not 18% (off by 1%), LDPR – just 11% and not 13% (off by 2%), and Spravedlivaya Rossiya surprised everyone with 13% and not just 6% (off by 7%!). You even were wrong about YABLOCO – they somehow managed to grab 3.43% instead of 1% promised by you. Instead, you predicted 3% for Prokhorov’s Pravoye Delo – which failed to score even 1%. They got 0.6%. o.6%, Karl (c)!

    But, if this is the best you can do, and you insist on calling this kind of stuff “a precise science”, then so can I, bloody gumanitairiy, call myself a statistician and a sociologist!

    “«Единая Россия» – единственная партия, чей рейтинг сильно менялся со времени прошлых выборов. К концу 2013 года он просел ниже 30%, потеряв более десяти процентных пунктов. Общая делигитимация режима сказалась и на поддержке партии власти.”

    Okay, drinking game time! Take a shot every time this or that rukopozhatnik outlet or Media source uses a cliché, like “the total delegetimisation of the regime”. I actually had to remind myself – constatntly – that, no this is not a typical diatribe courtesy of “Meduza” or Novaya Gazeta (or Duetche Welle’s resident kreakl émigrés writing). This is on site of “reputable” polling agency. Instead of, you know, doing you science thingy and sticking to the facts and numbers, they allow themselves to write:

    “Парламентские партии контролируются в той или иной степени из Кремля, поэтому их задача заключается не в том, чтобы соревноваться между собой. Главное для них – попасть в парламент, сохранить статус и получить государственное финансирование.”

    without bothering to prove the point.

    “При этом Григорий Явлинский, Михаил Касьянов, Михаил Ходорковский и Алексей Навальный находятся в числе политиков с самыми высокими антирейтингами среди массового избирателя.”

    On the one hand – quelle surprise! Of course the people don’t like these asshats. But on the other… Navalny and Khodorkovsky – “politicians”?! That’s like a sober Poroshenko. Or Saudi Arabia’s ombudsman on Human Rights. Levada (or Carnegie) – you are supposed to be neutral and impartial, remember?

    “Однако объяснять непопулярность либерально-демократических сил только лишь пропагандой в провластных СМИ было бы неправильно. Например, в столице доступ к независимым СМИ имеют более половины москвичей, но это мало сказывается на популярности «Яблока» или ПАРНАСа.”

    Could it possibly mean that [gasp] Yabloco and Parnas are really shitty parties that are genuinely unpopular?!

    Like a cold shower. Tears my soul asunder. “Дотянулся, проклятый Сталин” (c).


  2. 2) On “Russian emigration”.

    The intro itself is click- bait-y. Let’s start with the obvious – that Kontakt agency are, as it said in the article, is a “headhunting agency”. Not a professional pollster like VCIOM, Levada, Gallup etc.

    Next – how did they arrive to this shocking, shocking number of, and I quote “[a] total of 16 percent of Russian executives… planning to move to another country in the next two years1” (c)?

    That’s how:

    “In May 2016, it interviewed 467 senior managers of Russian and international companies. Expats were not included in the selection.

    “The desire of senior managers to move abroad could really become a trend in the next few years,” said Anastasia Staseva, Agentstvo Kontakt’s director of business development.”

    Ah-ha! So they are talking about the people they polled. But they can’t just extrapolate these results to the whole of Russia – this would be highly unprofessional! Or can they?

    [sees that this is an RBK article]

    But of course they can!

    I’ve been reading this scary “пора валить” articles, promising an enormous exodus of the “best people” from the doomed Titanic of country – Russian Mordor – since 2010. IIRC, Masha Gessen herself contributed much to popularize these pora valit and, thankfully, followed the creed that she preached. But the preachers of doomsayers of this particular cult had one inconvenience. You see, there is a discrepancy between the number of people who simply want and plan to do something, and people who actually do this.

    Witnessing to their dismay, that the prophesied Exodus to the Promised Land of the Free still fails to take off, these pundits and “analytics” invented a new term in the modern Russia watching double speak – “inner emigration”. It’s when the people really, really want to emigrate… but they don’t emigrate.

    Instead, they wake up every morning in bad mood (possibly – due to hangover), rush to check all handshakable news sources and twitter accounts – is the downfall of the Regime coming this week? Crestfallen, they go to their cozy dissident kitchen, to drink tea (from Maydan), smuggled at the great cost for themselves real Spanish jamon and real Italian Parmajano, reading Osip Mandelshtamp or Solzhenitsin, while waiting for fellow dissidents and Resistance Fighters to come. Then, a true orgy of handshakability will erupt – a torrent of complaints about “how everything is Terrible In That Country” (prize – a bottle of Lviv gorylka for the one with the most depressing story), that in the Western Valionor life is a True Paradise, and that, naturally, “its time to GTFO” This Country.

    Or the younger generation of kreakls and hipsters can go to the newest anti-café for co-working, to drink смузи and eat митболы (not plebeian “tefteli”, oh no!), to praise the Invisible Hand of the Market (and Elon Musk – its prophet). They will place high hopes for such a powerful political force as Russian Libertarian Party (total membership: 612) and discuss, how RLP former member Vera Kichanova managed to get away from the depressing Putinist Neo-Soviet Empire v. 2.0. Now Vera is in Kiev.

    The thing is – instead of listening to how people “perceive” thins, or what they might do (or not to do) better to study the real stuff. I’m not alone in this – I was quite surprised when Anatoly Karlin wrote a new post about “perceived corruptive vs real corruption” in different countries.

    We, Russian, are not some Putin-bot hivemind. We love to diss and criticize our government, officials, etc, etc. But if someone thinks that this is IT – that “Regime lacks support” and will fall like a house of cards if some interested parties “push” for a Maydan like situation – they will be disappointed.


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