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When a Russian leader speaks to a foreign media outlet, it is usually aimed at sending a clear and specific message.

But Vladimir Putin's lengthy, wide-ranging, and often contentious interview with the mass-circulation German tabloid Bild this week was a discombobulated mishmash of conciliatory, unyielding, and sometimes disturbingly over-the-top rhetoric.

Putin apparently wants to reengage the West, but he wants to do so without making any concessions -- or even a change in tone.

On the new Power Vertical Podcast, we unpack Putin's mixed and muddled message to the West and what it portends.

Joining me are co-host 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 foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov, president of the LEFF Group and a columnist for


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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