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The Daily Vertical: Putin And The Ghosts Of Kremlins Past

  • Brian Whitmore

A man looks at a collage by Andrei Budayev showing President Vladimir Putin and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin shaking hands.

A man looks at a collage by Andrei Budayev showing President Vladimir Putin and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin shaking hands.

The ghosts of all the dead Kremlin leaders -- as well as one who's still alive -- weigh like a nightmare on the brain of the current one. (The views expressed in these commentaries do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.)

Vladimir Putin is haunted by his predecessors.

He's spooked by how one of them came to power, through a revolution in the streets.

He's haunted by another, whose example he could never live up to.

He's afraid of turning into one, who was overthrown in a palace coup, and another who presided over a geriatric ossified regime and a stagnant economy.

He's afraid of turning into another, who inadvertently sparked the disintegration of his country.

The ghosts of all the dead Kremlin leaders -- as well as one that's still alive -- weigh like a nightmare on the brain of the current one.

In a special six-part series, The Daily Vertical took a closer look at Putin and the ghosts of Kremlins past.

Here's a recap:

Leninphobia (read transcript)

Stalin Envy (read transcript)

Khrushchev Fears​ (read transcript)

Brezhnev Schizophrenia (read transcript)

Force Of Light, Force Of Darkness (read transcript)

I'm Not Yeltsin! (read transcript)

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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