Sunday, February 14, 2016


Video The Daily Vertical: Lavrov's Cost-Free Reset

The Daily Vertical: Lavrov's Cost-Free Reseti
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January 27, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Why Putin Is Afraid Of Lenin

Talkin' about a revolution.

Brian Whitmore

The first colored revolution was neither rose nor orange -- it was red. 

It didn't originate in Tbilisi or in Kyiv and it wasn't planned in Washington or Brussels. In fact, it started in Vladimir Putin's own hometown.

Nearly a century ago, Russia pretty much invented colored revolutions.

And as the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution approaches -- and approaches with Russia's economy heading into a tailspin -- this uncomfortable historical fact is very much on Putin's mind.

Speaking to pro-Kremlin activists this week in the southern city of Stavropol, the Kremlin leader raised eyebrows by denouncing Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks for executing Tsar Nicholas II along with all his family and servants, killing thousands of priests, and placing a "time bomb" under the Russian state.

Putin's comments expanded on remarks he made in Moscow on January 21, the 92nd anniversary of Lenin's death.

"Letting your rule be guided by ideas is right, but only when these ideas lead to the correct results, not like it did with Vladimir Ilyich. In the end that idea led to the fall of the Soviet Union," he said.

"We did not need a global revolution." 

The Kremlin leader's flurry of anti-Lenin comments is only the most recent example of the regime's skittishness and schizophrenia about how to approach next year's big anniversary. 

They also illustrate palpable fears among the Russian elite that 2017 could turn out to be a revolutionary year.

Putin's Kremlin fears any revolution "regardless of its color or meaning" because "the present-day Russian authorities subconsciously fear an analogous outcome for themselves," political commentator Alina Vitukhnovskaya wrote recently.

We got an early hint of the Kremlin's anxiety a couple months ago.

Instead of marking the 98th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution on November 7, Russia commemorated the 74th anniversary of a parade that marked the 24th anniversary of the revolution. 

Confused? Well that's sort of the point.

Thousands gathered on Red Square for a reenactment of the massive November 7, 1941 military parade that both marked the revolution -- and also sent Russian soldiers off to fight in World War II.

Putin has long used Soviet symbolism and nostalgia to bolster his rule.

But which Soviet past the Kremlin has chosen to glorify speaks volumes about the regime's thinking -- and its fears. 

The idealism and upheaval of 1917 is out. The military discipline of Josef Stalin's Soviet Union is in. Revolution is out. Repression and mobilization are in. Lenin the revolutionary out. Stalin the state builder is in.

As longtime Kremlin-watcher Paul Goble wrote on his blog, Putin took the "revolution" out of the revolution's anniversary.

The move, he added, "reflects both his fear of revolutionary change" as well as "his desire to keep the Soviet inheritance, which he values, as far removed from its revolutionary origins as possible." 

In other words, the last thing Putin's Kremlin wants the Russian people thinking about is revolutions -- lest they get any ideas.

Better, of course, to keep their minds focused on war -- preferably victorious ones.

And just a few months before the Kremlin turned the revolution's anniversary into a celebration of Stalin's victory in World War II, Putin denounced the Bolsheviks for causing Russia to lose World War I.

In 1917, "some were shaking Russia from within, and shook it to the point that Russia as a state collapsed and declared itself defeated," Putin said in August at the Seliger National Youth Forum, a summer camp for pro-Kremlin activists.

The Bolsheviks, he added, were responsible for the "betrayal of the Russian national interests" and "wished to see their fatherland defeated while Russian heroic soldiers and officers shed blood on the fronts of the First World War."

In a recent column in Snob, political commentator Artem Rondaryev noted the paradox facing Putin and his ruling clique as next year's centennial approaches. 

"Love for the USSR is combined in a paradoxical hatred to everything that the revolution which created this very USSR initially brought with it – the avant-garde, feminism, free morality, and social transformation," Rondaryev wrote.


Video The Daily Vertical: The Mask Is Off

The Daily Vertical: The Mask Is Offi
X
January 26, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: The Fear Regime

The Daily Vertical: The Fear Regimei
X
January 25, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Audio The Briefing: Moscow's Disobedient Client

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow in October 2015.

Brian Whitmore

It appears that Russia can't deliver the one and only thing the West wants from it in Syria -- the orderly exit of Bashar al-Assad.

According to a report in the Financial Times, late last year Putin dispatched General Igor Sergun, head of Russia's military intelligence. to Syria to persuade Assad to step aside. And Assad refused.

On the latest Power Vertical Briefing, we take a look at how Moscow's lack of influence over Assad influences efforts to resolve the Syria conflict.

Joining me are RFE/RL Senior Editor Steve Gutterman and Pavel Butorin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian-language television program Current Time.

Enjoy...

The Briefing: Moscow's Disobedient Client
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NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of the Power Vertical blog, and appears every Monday.


Audio Podcast: A Toxic Trail

(Cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovskyi, RFE/RL)

Brian Whitmore

What has long been suspected now has an official imprimatur.

Nine years ago, Russian agents assassinated a U.K. citizen in the heart of London, most likely with the explicit approval of Vladimir Putin.

That was the conclusion of a British inquiry into the death of Russian spy-turned-whistleblower Aleksandr Litvinenko, who was poisoned in London in November 2006 after drinking tea laced with polonium, a rare radioactive isotope.

So what happens now?

On the new Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss the fallout and implications of the Litvinenko investigation.

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 ShadowsKaren Dawisha, director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the University of Miami, Ohio, and author of the highly acclaimed book "Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?"; and journalist Oliver Bullough, author of the book, The Last Man In Russia and the Struggle to Save a Dying Nation.

Also on the Podcast, Mark, Karen, Oliver, and I look at Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's latest antics and what they signify.

Enjoy...

The Power Vertical Podcast: The Toxic Trail.
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.​


Video The Daily Vertical: The Evil Of Banality

The Daily Vertical: The Evil Of Banalityi
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January 22, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video Breaking Bad

Tools of the trade for international assassins. (Cartoon by RFE/RL's Current Time)

Brian Whitmore

In many ways it all began with the assassination of Aleksandr Litvinenko.

Not that Vladimir Putin's Russia was exactly a model global citizen before the November 2006 killing of the former KGB spy who defected to Great Britain.

But when Litvinenko was lethally poisoned after drinking tea laced with polonium in a London hotel in November 2006, it heralded Russia's transformation from being a mere international pain in the ass to being a full-blown outlaw state.

When former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi and his accomplice Dmitry Kovtun killed Litvinenko, most likely with Putin's approval according to an official British investigation, it was the moment when Russia fully went rogue.

It was the point where the Kremlin stopped even pretending to play by international rules. 

It was the point where Moscow's gangster state truly went international.

In fact, at the time he was killed, Litvinenko was preparing to testify in a Spanish investigation into ties between Vladimir Putin's inner circle and Russian organized crime groups operating in Europe.

And after Putin's agents whacked a British citizen on British soil and got away with it, Russia truly started breaking bad.

Months later, in April 2007, came Russia's cyber attacks on Estonia that hit that country's parliament, banks, and government ministries. And the following year, in August 2008, came the invasion of Georgia.

Litvinenko's killing was also a prologue to the more recent litany of bad behavior and law breaking: the little green men and the annexation of Crimea, the hybrid war in the Donbas, and the downing of Flight MH17 by Moscow-backed separatists.

It was a harbinger of Moscow's new fondness for hostage taking, a wave that has seen Estonian law enforcement officer Eston Kohver, Ukrainian Air Force pilot Nadia Savchenko, and Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov kidnapped from their home countries and hauled before show trials in Russia to face ridiculous charges.

It was a prelude to the recent wave of cyberattacks on targets including a French television network, a German steelmaker, the Warsaw stock exchange, The New York Times, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. State Department, and the White House.

The British investigation, which concluded that Litvinenko was probably killed on Putin's personal order, is important because it provides by far the most damning confirmation of a link between the assassination and the Kremlin's inner sanctum.

It gives an official imprimatur to what has long been widely suspected. It reminds us of the utter outrageousness of what happened nearly a decade ago.

There were, of course, signs before Litvinenko's killing that Putin's Russia was headed for the dark side.

A month earlier, investigative journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment building -- on Putin's birthday.

And in 2004, Russia brazenly interfered in Ukraine's presidential election, and is widely suspected of being involved in the poisoning of the eventual winner, Viktor Yushchenko.

There was also the February 2004 assassination of Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in the Qatari capital, Doha.

But the Litvinenko killing -- which was described by a lawyer for the London police as "a nuclear attack on the streets of London" -- crossed a line.

Nine years and two months ago, Putin learned that he could get away with murder -- even of foreign citizens on foreign soil.

And we've been living with the consequences ever since.

WATCH: The Daily Vertical -- It All Began With Litvinenko

The Daily Vertical: It All Began With Litvinenkoi
X
January 21, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: It All Began With Litvinenko

The Daily Vertical: It All Began With Litvinenkoi
X
January 21, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: What Kind Of Peace?

Daily Vertical: What Kind Of Peace?i
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January 20, 2016
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video Ramzan Kadyrov: The Kremlin's Id

The dark side of the Kremlin

Brian Whitmore

Ramzan Kadyrov hasn't gone rogue. Ramzan Kadyrov isn't off message. Ramzan Kadyrov hasn't jumped the shark.

No, the mercurial Chechen leader is playing his role to a tee.

After calling Vladimir Putin's foes "enemies of the people," and after the speaker of his rubber-stamp legislature called liberal media outlets like Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd TV "traitors" and a "fifth column," Kadyrov upped the ante with an article in the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia calling Russia's opposition "jackals" and suggesting they be placed in a psychiatric hospital in Chechnya.

"I promise not to skimp on the injections," Kadyrov wrote. "In cases where one injection is prescribed, we will double the dosage."

Articles like this don't appear in Izvestia by accident.

In many ways, Kadyrov is the Putin regime's collective id. He manifests its basic instinct. Its intrinsic aggression. Its deepest, darkest desires.

And Kadyrov is often a harbinger.

And, if anybody doubts that, they should recall the massive rally Kadyrov held with 20,000 armed and uniformed volunteers in a football stadium in Grozny on December 28, 2014.

At that rally, Kadyrov pledged to defend Putin against all his opponents foreign and domestic.

In a chillingly prescient post on Facebook, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov speculated about what it might mean.

"I can't understand what Putin is expecting when 20,000 of Kadyrov's fighters gather in a stadium in Grozny. Kadyrov said his fighters are ready to defend the regime and execute any order from the Kremlin. I believe this," Nemtsov wrote.

"So where will Kadyrov's 20,000 fighters go? What will be required of them? How should we behave? When will they arrive in Moscow?"

And two months later, on February 27, 2015, we all know what happened: Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow, just blocks from the Kremlin.

The key suspects, of course, were members of the Sever Battalion, a security force Kadyrov controls. 

The fact that Kadyrov's latest antics came with the one-year anniversary of Nemtsov's assassination approaching, has been lost on nobody.

And to make things even creepier, some of the language Kadyrov used at the December 2014 rally and this week's Izvestia article is disturbingly similar.

"And we say to the entire world that we are Vladimir Putin's combat infantry.If we receive an order, we will actually prove that this is so," Kadyrov said in Grozny then.

And in Izvestia this week, he wrote the following: "As a patriot, as Vladimir Putin's infantryman, I will never play around with murderers and traitors to my country."

Kadyrov didn't name names. But his ally, Chechen parliament speaker Magomed Daudov, did in a post on Instagram that appeared shortly before Kadyrov's Izvestia article.

Daudov singled out Igor Kalyapin, head of the Committee to Prevent Torture; Aleksei Veneditkov, editor-in-chief of the Ekho Moskvy radio station; human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov; and opposition activist Ilya Yashin.

And to drive his point home, Daudov posted a photo of a menacing dog straining against a leash. 

"Who writes these posts? Why are they written? Is it the initiative of the Chechen leadership or an order from Moscow? What will happen next? Will anyone get killed?" opposition journalist Oleg Kashin -- himself the victim of a violent attack in November 2010 -- wrote in a recent column in Slon.

With oil prices tanking with no end in sight, the ruble approaching historic lows, and Russia's recession deepening, the regime is clearly worried about civic unrest and threats to their rule. 

And in an effort to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition, it appears they've unchained their id. 

Kadyrov is determined to prove that he is the leader of Putin's "Praetorian Guard or the Oprichnina, who will find and catch every enemy," former television anchor Nikolai Svanidze, a member of the Kremlin's Human Rights Council, told RBK.
 
And, for his part, Putin is pleased that Kadyrov intimidates the opposition and has "neither the desire nor the opportunity" to rein him in.

The only question now is: How far will Kadyrov go?

WATCH: The Daily Vertical -- Kadyrov's Rants Are On Message

The Daily Vertical: Kadyrov's Rants Are On Messagei
X
January 19, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: Kadyrov's Rants Are On Message

The Daily Vertical: Kadyrov's Rants Are On Messagei
X
January 19, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: Back To The '90s

The Daily Vertical: Back To The '90si
X
January 18, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Audio The Briefing: Putin's Pit Bull

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is at it again.

Brian Whitmore

Is Ramzan Kadyrov going rogue? Or is he launching a Kremlin trial balloon by calling for opposition figures to be tried as traitors and enemies of the people?

On the new Power Vertical Briefing, I discuss this issue with Pavel Butorin, editor in chief of RFE/RL's Russian-language television program Current Time.

Also on the Briefing, Pavel and I discuss Russia's deepening economic crisis and the impact the lifting of sanctions on Iran will have.

Enjoy... 

The Briefing: Putin's Pit Bull
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NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of the Power Vertical blog, and appears every Monday.


Audio Podcast: Putin's Muddled Message

Brian Whitmore

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 Slon.ru. 

Enjoy... 

Podcast: Putin's Muddled Message
Podcast: Putin's Muddled Messagei
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.​


Video The Daily Vertical: Austerity, But For Whom?

The Daily Vertical: Austerity, But For Whom?i
X
January 15, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


What Do Tatarstan And Belarus Have In Common?

Alyaksandr Lukashenka (left) and Rustam Minnikhanov -- challenging Moscow from outside and inside

Brian Whitmore

One is a republic inside Russia that is formally ruled by Moscow. One is an independent country on Russia's western frontier that has long been Moscow's client state.

Vladimir Putin's Kremlin is accustomed to getting its way with both of them -- until recently, that is.

If you want a good barometer of how strong the Russian regime truly is at home and abroad, pay close attention to what happens with Tatarstan and in Belarus.

Because despite the consensus that Putin is the master of Russia's political universe and despite the spin and bluster about Moscow's resurrected great-power status, below the radar both Kazan and Minsk have been defying the Kremlin with stunning regularity -- and getting away with it.

In a recent interview with Gazeta.ru, political analyst and former Kremlin insider Gleb Pavlovsky said that 2016 will be a "terminal year" and a "moment of truth" for Putin's model of governance and statecraft.

"Incantations about a great Russia with dwindling resources and an obvious inability to manage what is left are accelerating the crisis. Everything is caving in," Pavlovsky said.

And in this sense Tatarstan and Belarus could be harbingers. 

The Attributes Of Statehood

Tatarstan enjoyed broad autonomy under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin -- autonomy that was curbed significantly by Putin. But now it is trying to win it back. 

Kazan has defied a federal law mandating that it stop calling its chief executive, Rustam Minnikhanov, "president." And it has flouted Kremlin orders to cut ties with Turkey in the wake of Moscow's conflict with Ankara.

Moreover, despite Moscow's protestations about separatism, not only does Tatarstan insist on having a president, it calls its legislature the State Council, has opened de facto consulates abroad, and maintains its own ties with a variety of countries including not only Turkey, but also Iran, Malaysia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.

The trend, and Kazan's refusal to reverse it, is increasingly alarming to the Kremlin and its supporters. 

"Will Tatarstan Do To The Russian Federation What Ukraine Did To The U.S.S.R.?" political commentator Sergei Gupalo asked in a recent article.

Likewise, in a recent interview, the Kazan-based -- but pro-Moscow -- commentator Rais Suleymanov said, "Tatarstan is seeking to maintain as much as possible all the attributes of a state including the title of its head."

"If the revolution or Maidan that so many people are talking about takes place in Russia, if we have a repeat of 1991 in the form of the disintegration of Russia, then Tatarstan will have some all the institutions of a full-blown state and thus will be in a position to go its own free way," Suleymanov added.

In an apparent attempt to lay down a marker and send a message to the Kremlin, in December police in Kazan briefly detained Suleymanov.

It was a pretty bold move given that Suleymanov, who has harshly criticized Tatar authorities for failing to cut off ties with Turkey and accused them of fostering Islamic extremism, is widely believed to have ties to Russia's security services.

Writing on his blog Window on Eurasia, veteran Russia-watcher Paul Goble noted that the move was "an indication that Tatarstan has no intention of backing down either on its demand for the retention of a republic presidency or of breaking relations with Turkey as Moscow has demanded."

A Troublesome Client

And if Tatarstan is exposing the limits of Putin's clout at home, Belarus is flouting Moscow's will to a surprising degree abroad.

Most significantly, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has thus far resisted Moscow's efforts to build a new Russian air base on Belarusian territory, despite intense pressure from the Kremlin.

One of the unexpected consequences of Russia's annexation of Crimea and proxy war in eastern Ukraine has been a chill in relations between Minsk and Moscow and a relative thaw in those between Belarus and the West.

Lukashenka has refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia and even ridiculed Moscow's logic justifying the annexation, saying that Mongolia could just as easily lay claim to large swaths of Russian territory.

He has carved out a neutral stance on the conflict in the Donbas, has said he would never allow Belarusian territory to be used to attack another state, and has made it clear that Belarus isn't interested in being part of Putin's so-called "Russian World."

And even in Moscow's conflict with Turkey, Lukashenka has tried to maintain neutrality, calling on "our Russian and Turkish friends" to settle their dispute peacefully.

Moreover, after winning reelection in October, Lukashenka snubbed Putin by visiting Vietnam and Turkmenistan -- violating a long-standing tradition that his first foreign trip in a new term is to Moscow.

The new chilliness in the relations was evident when Lukashenka and Putin met in Moscow in December. Following the meeting, Putin coolly noted the "closeness" of Minsk's and Moscow's positions on Ukraine and Syria. 

"In the language of diplomacy, phrases like 'the closeness of our positions' is common for countries Russia is friendly with, but not for its closest allies," political analyst Yury Drakakhrust of RFE/RL's Belarus Service wrote in a recent commentary.

"In a meeting between the Russian president and the leader of Brazil or India, it would be natural to note 'close positions.' But with a close ally, it is common to talk about the complete unity of positions, even if they are not in fact very close."

To be sure, Tatarstan will only push so far in its disputes with the Kremlin. And Belarus, which receives significant subsidies from Moscow, is not going to burn its bridges with Russia.

But both appear to be laying the groundwork for life after Putin.


Video The Daily Vertical: The View From Outside

The Daily Vertical: The View From Outsidei
X
January 14, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: A Regime Runs Out Of Ideas

The Daily Vertical: A Regime Runs Out Of Ideasi
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January 13, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
The Daily Vertical: A Regime Runs Out Of Ideas
Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.


Video The Daily Vertical: Putin Was Born In The Wrong Century

The Daily Vertical: Putin Was Born In The Wrong Centuryi
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January 12, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.

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About This Blog

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It covers 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