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Military assertiveness abroad and economic stagnation at home.

A leader in power for a decade and a half -- and bolstered by an often cartoonish personality cult.

A political system reduced to a series of empty rituals.

Russia in 2016? Well, sure. But this could also describe the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.

History doesn't repeat itself, but as Mark Twain famously said, it sure does rhyme.

So what, if anything, do the 1970s really teach us about where Russia is going today?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we address this question. Joining me are Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows, and Moscow-based journalist Anna Arutunyan, author of the book The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia's Personality Cult.

Enjoy...

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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