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Fears of sackings, arrests, and purges abound. Talk of fifth columns is pervasive on state media. Rumors swirl that the Soviet-era institution of exit visas may make a comeback. And wary of surveillance, officials are ditching their smartphones for older, less fashionable -- and less traceable -- models.

Meet the new Putinism. It's different from the old Putinism.

We don't really know if Vladimir Putin's imperial adventure in Ukraine was driven by domestic politics, geopolitical concerns, fears about what example a democratic revolution in Ukraine might set in Russia -- or by a perfect storm encompassing all of the above.

We don't know if the Ukraine campaign was planned long ago or was launched ad hoc when the opportunity presented itself. And we don't know what Putin's true intentions are in Ukraine -- or beyond.

But what we do know is that the Ukraine crisis has fundamentally -- and probably decisively -- changed the way Russia is ruled. And in the brave new world Russia is entering, the soft authoritarianism of the old Putinism looks positively quaint -- and almost benignly liberal -- by comparison.

On the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," I discuss the new Putinism and what it portends.

Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at NYU, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows"; Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and author of "Sean's Russia Blog"; and journalist and Kremlin-watcher Ben Judah, author of the book "Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and Out of Love With Vladimir Putin."


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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