It's long been clear that Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin wants to play hardball with Russia's opposition.
And the announcement this week that anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny will be facing criminal charges that could land him in prison for a decade marked the biggest and most brazen escalation to date in his war on dissent.
But apparently, not all of the Russian elite shares Bastrykin's zeal for a crackdown.
Moreover, in Navalny, the Investigative Committee head has chosen a shrewd, savvy target who is capable of mobilizing public opinion and who has indicated he won't go down without a fight.
In this week's edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I spoke to my regular co-host Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service and veteran Kremlin-watcher Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, about the looming struggle between Bastrykin and Navalny -- and what it portends.
Also on the podcast, Kirill, Mark, and I discussed why the month of August is so prone to dramatic events in Russia.