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    The Sarmatian Review Data

April 2009

Volume XXIX, No. 2

Hedge funds in 2008

Number of hedge funds worldwide in 2008: about ten thousand.

Amount of capital they controlled: 200 billion dollars.

Percentage of hedge funds operating from London and New York (including its environs): 20 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Difference between hedge funds and other investment funds: hedge funds are said to “enjoy lighter regulation and considerably greater freedom of action than the investment companies that advertise in the financial pages.”

Source: “An Address in Mayfair: Donald MacKenzie on Hedge Funds,” London Review of Books, 4 December 2008.

European economy in 2008 recession

Fall of GNP in select EU countries in the fourth quarter of 2008:
Germany, -2.1 percent (estimated loss for 2009, -3.6 percent);
France, -1.2 percent;
Italy, -1.8 percent;
Holland, -0.9 percent;
UK, -1.5 percent;
Estonia, -9.4 percent;
Czech Republic, -0.6 percent;
Hungary, -1.0 percent (estimated drop in 2009: 3.5-5.0 percent).

Source: Rzeczpospolita, 12 February 2009; BBC News, 13 February 2009.

Poland is doing well in the crisis so far

Increase in Polish GDP in the last quarter of 2008 (year-on-year): 3.1 percent.

Source: Eurostat, as reported by Michał Pawlak in Donosy, no. 4848 (6 March 2009).

Increase in car sales in Poland in February 2009: 13.3 percen in comparison to January 2009; 7.2 percent in comparison to February 2008.

Source: Michał Jankowski in Donosy, no. 4847 (5 March 2009).

Is “New Europe” sovereign?

Percentage of “emerging Europe” bank assets owned by Western European banks: 80 percent.

Source: Peter Attard Montalto in Financial Times, 16 February 2009.

Global crisis and Russia

Russian stock market losses in May and October 2008: 2,487 points and 550 points, respectively (a loss of approximately 80 percent).

Fall in Russian industrial production in November 2008: 8.7 percent in comparison to November 2007, 7.5 percent in comparison with October 2008. Drop in standard of living in November 2008 in comparison to November 2007: 6.2 percent (2.9 percent in comparison to October 2008).

Source: Ekaterina Mereminskaia, “Otlozhennye nadezhdy,” <>, 30 December 2008.

Gazprom and the Russian budget

Gazprom’s contribution to the Russian Federation’s budget in 2008: 20 percent, or 90 billion dollars.

Gazprom's anticipated drop in profits due to the lower price for gas in 2009: 20 billion dollars

Domestic prices for Gazprom gas in comparison to prices EU members pay for Russia gas: 15 to 20 percent of prices paid by Western European consumers.

Source: Daily Telegraph, 7 January 2009.

Economic crisis and the daily press

Newspapers likely to close or go digital in the next eighteen months due to financial problems: Philadelphia Daily News, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald, Detroit News, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun Times, NY Daily News, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Source: Douglas A. McIntyre in Yahoo!News, 9 March 2009 (

2008 changes in the Russian criminal code

Change concerning trials by jury: they are forbidden not only in cases of terrorism, hostage taking, and attempts to overthrow the government (as the earlier code stated), but also in cases of “mass disturbances,” “diversions,” “treason,” and “espionage.”

Date when these changes were voted into law: 12 December 2008.

Source: Kommersant (Russia), 15 December 2008.

Standard of living in Poland under communism

Percentage of workers at the Warsaw Motorcycle Factory in 1957 who ate meat once a week or less: 23 percent.

Average consumption of meat per capita in 1957 and in 1963: 43.9 kg and 45.4 kg, respectively.

Ownership of clothing among workers in 1957: 0.51 wool suit per worker; 1.05 nonwool suit, 0.8 pair of wool trousers, 0.6 wool jacket per person.
Ownership of clothing among the poorest 20 percent of the families questioned: one wool suit per five workers.

Ownership of winter clothing: 0.15 wool overcoat, 0.12 overcoat containing a small percentage of wool, 0.2 wool top coat, and 0.5 top coat made of cloth containing a small percentage of wool.

Increase in real wages between 1960-1963: 4.5 percent.

Percentage of workers who had less than 3 square meters of living space per person: 10 percent.

Percentage of workers who had between 3 and 4 square meters per person: 10 percent; 4 to 5 square meters, 12 percent; 5 to 6 square meters, 13 percent.

Source: Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski, “Open Letter to Members of the University of Warsaw Section of the United Polish Workers' Party,” Revolutionary Marxist Students in Poland speak Out (New York: Merit Publishers, 1968), pp. 23-24, 26

Sources of gas supply in Poland

Russia, 43.5 percent; Poland, 35 percent; Germany, 5.5 percent; Central Asia, 16 percent.

Source: Lena Białkowska in Donosy, no. 4814 (19 January 2009).

Polish demography

Number of persons registered for permanent residency in Poland in 2007: 38,115,967 (18,417,074 males and 19,698,893 females).

Place of residency: 23,254,482 in urban area, 14,861,485 in rural areas.

Number of person over 85 years of age: 395, 074 (104,985 men and 290,089 women).

Source:<>, accessed 26 February 2009.

Comparative population data for select countries in 2008 and 1980

The Russian Federation (RFSSR),140,702,090 (in 1980, 138,760,000).

Czech Republic: 10,220,911 (in 1980, 10,327,000).

Poland, 38,500,696 (in 1980, 35,478,000).

Hungary, 9,830,915 (in 1980, 10,711,000).

United States: 303,824,640 (in 1980, 227,757,000).

Source: Demographic Yearbook 2006; World Factbook 2008.

Catholic population data in 2000 and 2007

Number of Catholic priests in 2000 and 2007: 405,178 and 408,024.

Number of Catholics worldwide in 2000 and 2007: 1,147 billion, or 17.3 of the global population (unchanged).

Source: Vatican Statistical Yearbook, as reported by BBC News, 28 February 2009 (

U.S. veterans, a Polish American, and the National Park Service

Number of homeless U.S. veterans on any given night in 2008: 200,000.

Cases of homelessness among veterans over the course of a year: 400,000.

Estimated percentage of veterans among America's homeless: 23 percent.

Person who tries to raise awareness of this problem: a disabled Vietnam veteran John Miska.

Some of Miska's methods: taking disabled vets to dinner; parading in uniform around the National Mall to hand out Buddy Poppies (carried out in a five-gallon plastic bucket) which are the official memorial flowers of the VFW. Collected donations are turned over to the VFW for support of veterans and their families.

“Reward” he receives from the National Park Service: harrassment and threats of prosecution for accepting donations.

Toward victory: with the help of the Rutheford Institute, Mr. Miska filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the National Park Service.

Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs (for figures), as reported by John W. Whitehead, a constitutional attorney and president of the Rutheford Institute, in The Post Eagle (Clinton, NJ),
14 January 2009.

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