The charges are often ludicrous, the evidence flimsy, the cases weak, and the media spotlight bright. But the outcome is, nevertheless, rarely in doubt.
From Pussy Riot to the Bolotnaya protesters to Aleksei Navalny, sensational trials with clear political overtones are the trend of the moment in Russia.
What is the Kremlin trying to accomplish with these cases? What messages are they trying to send and to whom? And what are the risks of a backlash?
In the latest edition of the "Power Vertical" podcast, I discussed these issues with the co-hosts: Kremlin-watchers Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows,"
and Sean Guillory, a visiting fellow at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European studies and author of "Sean's Russia Blog."
Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast"
NOTE TO READERS: Apologies for the light posting of late. I was traveling in Georgia recently working on other assignments.