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A president seemed to fade into the background, only to steal the show in the final act. An oligarch passed away, but the system he pioneered lived on. An opposition blogger found his voice and became a political force. Nationalism went mainstream and the culture wars intensified.

New words and phrases entered the political lexicon, sparking often hilarious discussions about what they might mean. Protest acts got more creative -- sometimes painfully so.

And as the year wrapped up, three of Russia's most famous political prisoners finally walked free.

It's certainly been a roller-coaster -- albeit one that's not moving in a clear direction. But on the last Power Vertical Podcast of the year, we'll try to make some sense out of 2013 for you anyway.

Joining me is co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at NYU, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows."


Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or


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