I went 18% -> 14%. The bombings and the Russian watniks' reactions indicate there is no need for Putin to use nukes. A large-scale conventional bombing is sufficient to please the hawks, even after major humiliations like the Crimea bridge explosion.
There is a highly popular entertainment website in Russia called [Pikabu](https://pikabu.ru/), with about [100M](https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%B1%D1%83) visits per month. Basically, it's a Russian copycat of Reddit. Yesterday, the site's admins posted a quite interesting [report](https://pikabu.ru/story/pikabu_i_botyi_8860371) that might be of relevance. Some highlights:
* the admins detected a massive increase in activity of bots / sock-puppet users
* since January, they've deleted 35K bots
* another large wave of the bots s...
I confidently (85%) predicted this invasion a month ago, never going below 75% during the time. I think the following tricks helped me to better understand the situation:
* Understand the soviet and the Russian culture (I was born in the USSR, so I'm having an unfair advantage here). This helped me avoid the common mind trap of believing that the grave consequences of the invasion will stop Putin
* Know the history of the conflict. Many people still don't know that Russia has been making preparations for this war since 2004. Some people even missed the ...
Although I see the occupation of Ukraine as the most likely scenario, a systematic enumeration of alternatives might be helpful. So far, I've encountered the following hypotheses trying to explain the current military buildup (many of them are mutually compatible):
**A. The current buildup is to occupy more of Ukraine**
A.A. to occupy most / all of it
A.B. to occupy "Novorossiya" (the predominantly Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine)
A.C. to annex Donbas (and prevent Kiyv from doing anything about it)
A.D. to create a land bridge between Crimea and a...
@(alwaysrinse) Contrarily to the public claims by the Russian gov, Ukraine becoming a NATO member would not change much for Russia:
* Russia is already bordering 6 NATO members, 4 of them in Europe
* Latvia (a NATO member) is almost as close to Moscow as Ukraine
* Russia has a nuclear triad, and a hell lot of it. No one is going to invade it with tanks. Thus, the distance to Moscow makes no practical difference anyway
* The talks about the sphere of influence etc are mostly empty air, as Ukraine is already firmly with the West (mostly thanks to Putin a...
In a related Metaculus question, I've [collected](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/9719/date-of-2022-russian-invasion-of-ukraine/#comment-80026) the list of relevant dates.
There are two time periods this year that seem to be especially suitable for a false flag operation and/or invasion.
**The end of February**:
* 2022-02-20 - the Closing Ceremony for the Olympics in China. And at the same day: the [end](https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-60036199) of the joint Belarus-Russian military exercises. The day is Sunday, which implies a somewhat weaken...
Judging by [this](https://www.unian.net/russianworld/chem-bolee-putin-i-kto-ego-lechit-poyavilos-novoe-rassledovanie-novosti-rossii-11768257.html) investigation, Putin might have a thyroid cancer since at least July 2020.
Additionally, the following facts support this hypothesis:
- his new habit of extreme social distancing (e.g. his immune system is weakened because of a chemotherapy)
- some years ago, there were [reports](https://web.archive.org/web/20210420112744/https://www.obozrevatel.com/curious/90354-ego-vampir-pokusal-sotsseti-o-foto-putina-s-...
Updated 74% → 90% after watching the Putin’s meeting with the Security Council.
Some impressions from the meeting:
* Putin sees no point in negotiating with the West regarding Ukraine
* The Security Council sees the pro-West Ukraine as an existential threat to Russia (including the risk of a possible nuclear war because of Crimea)
* Several members of the Council openly support a large-scale invasion (including at least Mariupol)
* Putin shows visible signs of senility. There is a striking difference between this aged Putin and the Putin in his prime (...
> Where/what would Russia attack with TNWs?
Speaking of a show of force, I would speculate that Russia could detonate a nuke over [Novaya Zemlya](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novaya_Zemlya):
- the location is remote enough to avoid harming civilians
- it will remind of the [Tsar Bomba](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba), which was detonated over the same territory
- among the closest countries are Finland and Sweden
The next step in the escalation could be a TNW detonation in the Black Sea, perhaps near the [Snake Island](h...
35->38%. As it turns out, there are now at least *two* high-ranking FSB officers who are publicly criticizing the Putin's failure in Ukraine: [Girkin](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Girkin) and [Gudkov](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gennady_Gudkov). Both are FSB colonels.
Sources: Girkin: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfOT0j8k1Bo), (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=409_ll8lfVc), Gudkov: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFuQnYLYutA).
Additionally, there is GRU colonel Kvachkov who has [expressed](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa5V_USzQ...
Perhaps we could create a tournament or a category about the long-term future of Russia. Some relevant questions:
- [Will one or more recognized Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation break away before 2025?](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/12568/russian-breakup-begins-by-2025/)
- [Will Russia's total territory decrease by at least 20% before 2028?](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/10810/russian-territory-loss-by-2028/)
- [Will Russia annex any part of any Baltic country by 2035?](https://www.metaculus.com/questions/8786/russian-annexation-...
Some data on the approximate size of the forces in the previous military operations led by Putin:
| Title | pro-Russian troops, tsd | Opponent troops, tsd | Victor |
|----------|----------| ----------| ----------|
| War of Dagestan | 17-21 | 2-10 | Russia |
| Second Chechen War | 80 | 22-50 | Russia |
| Russo-Georgian War | 20-70 | 17-25 | Russia |
| Annexation of Crimea | 10-35 | 10-22 | Russia |
| War in Donbas | 34-46 | 60 | debatable |
| Intervention in Syria | 48-63 | 12-130 | Russia |
> Metaculus is not part of this conflict so their request doesn't matter
@(emilowk) Technically true, but ethically questionable. Compare: spreading information about the movement of the Polish defense forces during the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany.
It is clear that the Russian occupation of Ukraine is similarly unjust and immoral (e.g. the [UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_68/262)). It's an authoritarian country trying to occupy a much weaker neighbor for nationalist...
@(cjlemontea) The speed largely depends on the willingness of the candidate to implement the necessary reforms.
Turkey is clearly an outlier, as it's ruled by Erdoğan and his islamist pals for almost the entire period of the candidacy, and some of their reforms are going **against** the EU recommendations. For example, Turkey withdrew from the [Istanbul Convention](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istanbul_Convention), which is a treaty against domestic violence.
On the other hand, Ukraine ratified the Convention, in spite of the internal opposition by...
I did a quick content analysis of the nuclear threats by [Medvedev](https://t.me/medvedev_telegram). In the past year, he posted so many threats (23), it's now possible to do some stats on it.
While Medvedev is a political clown, he's holding a top position in the Russian gov, and there is a possibility that he's re-translating the opinions of the real decision makers on the issue of nukes.
A short summary for each telegram post mentioning nukes (the search term: "ядерн"):
| post's date | Russia will use nukes if…|
| --- | ---- |
| Mar 23 | the W...
This question is useful, but it's not tracking how far we are from AGI.
** 1. ChatGPT may be general enough to be called an AGI **
[This](https://cookup.ai/chatgpt/usecases/) website provides a list of ~300 non-trivial tasks that ChatGPT can do. It's not a formal study of the capabilities, but it provides a good illustration of how general is ChatGPT.
The list is especially impressive if one recalls that ChatGPT hasn't been trained to perform any of the listed tasks. It has been trained to make predictions in its environment (the "environme...
As it turned out, Ukraine and China have a relevant bilateral treaty (2013), signed by Xi Jinping himself:
> “China pledges unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the nuclear-free Ukraine and China further pledges to provide Ukraine nuclear security guarantee when Ukraine encounters an invasion involving nuclear weapons or Ukraine is under threat of a nuclear invasion,” said a joint statement on the pact.
Updated from 85% to 88% after reading the [Putin's essay](https://web.archive.org/web/20220201051730/http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181) (2021.07) on Ukraine.
In the essay, Putin:
* describes the territory of Ukraine as "our historical territory", supporting the claim with a lengthy list of pseudo-historical factoids
* describes the creation of the modern Russian-Ukrainian borders as a series of bad and ill-intended historical decisions
* repeatedly insists that Ukrainians spoke Russian until historically recent times
* repeatedly insis...