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Podcast: Russia's Trust Deficit


A resident looks at debris in a house damaged by floods in the town of Krymsk in the Krasnodar region on July 8.

A resident looks at debris in a house damaged by floods in the town of Krymsk in the Krasnodar region on July 8.

It's a scenario we've seen play out time and time again. A humanitarian disaster strikes. The Kremlin is caught flat-footed. Relief efforts founder. Weaknesses in infrastructure, inspection procedures, and oversight are exposed. Promises of reform are made -- and not kept. Public anger mounts and then subsides. Until the next disaster hits.

From the explosion at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant in 2009, to the raging forest fires in the summer of 2010, to the sinking of the "Bulgaria" cruise ship almost exactly a year ago, as well as in many other cases, the script has been almost identical.

And so it was with last weekend's floods in southern Russia. But Russia's latest disaster has exposed something more than just official ineptitude; it starkly illustrates the extent to which public trust between the state and society has all but evaporated.

In the latest edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discuss Russia's trust deficit and its implications with Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Also on the podcast, Kirill and I take stock of the political landscape as Russia enters its traditional summer lull and speculate about what looms in the autumn.


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

Enjoy...

About This Blog

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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