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The Sarmatian Review Index

April 2006

Volume XXVI, No. 2

Corruption in postcommunist countries

Ranking of the Russian Federation in Transparency International, a corruption perception index run by a Berlin-based NGO: 126 (out of 159 countries), or the same as Albania, Niger, and Sierra Leone.

Ranking of other select countries in the same survey: Poland and Croatia, 70; Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, 107; Hungary and Italy, 40; Estonia, 27.

Source: Transparency International website <>, as of 20 October 2005.

Press freedom in postcommunist countries

Ranking of the Russian Federation in Reporters Without Borders’ ranking (a Paris-based NGO) in its fourth annual World Press Freedom index: 139 out of 167 countries, behind Kyrgyzstan (111th), Ukraine (112th), Tadjikistan (113th), and Kazakhstan (119th).

Source: Jonas Bernstein in Russia Reform Monitor, no. 1316 (21 October 2005).

Democracy in America

Reelection rate of U.S. Representatives in 2004 : 394 out of 398, or a 99 percent reelection rate.

Reelection rate of U.S. Senators in 2004: 25 out of 26 incumbents, or a 96 percent reelection rate.

Amount of money Daniel W. Lipinski, incumbent Democrat from Illinois, raised in 2004: $212,619.

Percent of the vote he received: 73 percent.

Amount of money Rahm Emanuel, incumbent Democrat from Illinois (who in 2002 defeated Polish American candidate Nancy Kaszak in Democratic primaries, having then raised $1.9 million) raised in 2004: $1,597,260.

Percent of the vote he received: 76 percent.

Source: Andy Engel and Connie Schultz, “Prostituting the Political Process,” In Focus: A Special Research Study (The Leuthold Group, 2005); Ross Stewart, attorney-at-law’s blog at

Amount of money Senator (D.) William Proxmire (1915-2005, Senate years of service 1957-1989) spent on each of his election campaigns and the source of the funds: several hundred dollars on each consecutive campaign, paid out of pocket (Senator Proxmire did not accept campaign contributions).

Source: Houston Chronicle, 18 December 2005.

Perception of political corruption in the United States

Percentage of Americans who think that corruption is widespread in public service in America: 77 percent.

Amount of money federal lobbyists spent in 2004: 2.1 billion dollars.

Source: Donna Cassata, “Political corruption viewed by most as serious probem,” Houston Chronicle, 9 December 2005.

International graduate students in the United States

Number of international graduate students in 2005: about 225,000, a rise of 1 percent over 2004.

Source: AP, as reported by Houston Chronicle, 7 November 2005.

Social perceptions in Poland concerning the importance of public figures

Rankings of the perception of importance of the Polish public figures deemed “the most important:” John Paul II, 66 percent; former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, 9 percent; President Lech Kaczyński, 5 percent.

Source: Opinion poll conducted by Pentor, as reported by Michał Jankowski in Donosy, no. 4106 (20 December 2005).

Social perceptions of future economic security in Germany

Percentage of Germans who believe that in the future, the comprehensiveness of health insurance and security for the elderly will decrease: 71 percent.

Percentage of Germans who believe that [German] society will become more egoistic: 61 percent.

Percentage of Germans who believe in the Darwinian rule that only the strongest will survive: 53 percent.

Percentage of Germans who believe that in the future there will be more solidarity and unity among people: 14 percent.

Source: Opinion poll conducted by the Allensbach-Institut, as reported by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 21 December 2005.

World trade and telephone capacity over the last half century

Increase in world trade between 1950-2004: between twelve and twenty fold, depending on methods of counting.

Increase in concurrent transatlantic telephone conversations between 1956-2004: from 89 to one million, plus faxes and emails.

Source: J. R. Saul, The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World (Overlook Press, 2005), 21.

Pope John Paul II’s family home, the Holocaust, and the legacy of poverty in Poland

Name of owner of the boarding house in Wadowice from whom the impecunious Wojtyła family rented “rooms” in the 1930s: Yechiel Balamuth, a merchant later killed with his wife and daughters in the Bełżec concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Owner of that house in December 2005: New York psychiatrist Ron Balamuth, said to be the grandson of Yechiel Balamuth.

Source:<>, as of 9 December 2005; <>, as of 9 December 2005.

Amount of money for which the present owner has been willing to sell the house to the Kraków Catholic community: one million dollars.

Reason why the Kraków Curia has not so far purchased that house: they are too poor.

Source: Michał Jankowski in Donosy, 8 December 2005.

Catholic parishes in Poland

Number of Catholic parishes in Poland headed by a head pastor (who usually has at least one assistant pastor to help him in discharging parish duties and distributing the sacraments): 10,000.

Percentage of Catholics in Poland’s population of 38.6 million: 90 percent.

Hence, the average size of parishes: 3,400 persons.

Source: Rzeczpospolita, 19 December 2005; CIA World Factbook 2005 (

The follow-up to communism in Belarus

Population of Belarus in 1993: 10.24 million.

Population of Belarus in November 2005, according to the Ministry of Statistics: 9,762,200, a decline of 38,600 since the beginning of the year.

Number of people who continue to live in Chernobyl-contaminated zones: 1.8 million.

The percentage of dwellers in contaminated zones who have excess radioactivity in their body: 60-70 percent.

Number of childless families: 37 percent.

Number of families with one child only: 23.5 percent.

Percentage of Belarusans’ income spent on food: 50 percent.

Source: David Marples, “Belarus facing several demographic problems,” Eurasia Daily Monitor (Jamestown Foundation), vol. 2, no. 231 (13 December 2005).

Russians under President Putin

Number of people killed in racist attacks in Russia in 2004-2005: 59.

Percentage of Russians seeing the fall of the USSR as “a tragic collapse of a great empire, rather than a liberation from communism” (a quote from pollster Yuri Levada): 66 percent.

Percentage of Russians opposed to immigration to their country: 60 percent.

Source: Jonas Bernstein in Russia Reform Monitor, nos. 1335 and 1338 (23 December 2005 and 11 January 2006).

Russia’s pirating of intellectual property in 2005

Estimated amount of money American companies lost in 2005 because of Russian pirating of films, music, and software : 1.8 billion dollars.

Items pirated most often: business software, with losses of 748 million dollars.

Requirements for WTO membership to which Russia aspires: enforcement of intellectual property rights and curbing of software piracy.

Source: Alex Nicholson (AP), “Russia’s pirating still dire,” Houston Chronicle, 15 February 2006.

Polish dentists in the United Kingdom

Number of Polish dentists who took up job offers in the UK in 2005: 120.

Source: Catherine Simon, “L’elite polonaise fait du baby-sitting a Paris,” Le Monde, 16 February 2006.

Perceptions of the Kaczyński-Marcinkiewicz government and party in January 2006 poll

Percentage of people who said that they would vote for the Law and Justice Party (which won a plurality in the 2005 elections) if the elections were held in January: 44 percent.

Percentage of people who thought that Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz has been doing a good job: 65 percent.

Percentage of people who supported the new government: over 50 percent.

Source: Opinion poll by Ipsos in January 2006, as reported by Rzeczpospolita, 23 January 2006.

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