Saturday, February 13, 2016


Audio Podcast: Russia's Tangled Red Web

From Soviet censors to Internet filters: The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Brian Whitmore

Information, and the ability to spread it, is power.

This is something the Soviet authorities understood when they stopped -- among other things -- mass production of photocopiers back in the 1950s.

And it is something that Vladimir Putin's Kremlin understands today with its efforts to control and police the Internet.

And it is also something understood, as well, by the samizdat-spreading Soviet dissidents of yore and the web-savvy Twitterized foes of Putin today.

The struggle over the control of information is the subject of an important new book, The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators And The New Online Revolutionaries by journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, I discuss the issues raised in the book with Soldatov, who is also co-founder of the investigative website Agentura.ru, and with my 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.

Enjoy... 

The Power Vertical Podcast: Russia's Tangled Red Web
The Power Vertical Podcast: Russia's Tangled Red Webi
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.​


Video The Daily Vertical: From Minsk To Munich: Here We Go Again

The Daily Vertical: From Minsk to Munich -- Here We Go Againi
X
February 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.
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.

A transcript of today's edition of The Daily Vertical can be found here.


Beyond Containment

Containing Russia means more than bolstering Europe's defenses.

Brian Whitmore

You've gotta love it when a Kremlin official gets caught telling the truth.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova this week called a NATO plan to station air, naval, and ground forces in six Eastern European countries -- Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania -- part of a strategy to "contain" Russia.

Well, yeah. That's exactly what it is. And it wouldn't be happening if Russia hadn't annexed Crimea, started a war in the Donbas, and persistently menaced the Baltic states.

In addition to the NATO plan, the United States has quadrupled its budget for European defense to $3.4 billion and plans to send a brigade-sized force of 3,000 soldiers to the continent, including to the Baltic states.

Additionally, Great Britain will deploy five warships to the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltics, and the Mediterranean.

"This is not a thunderstorm that's going to blow over," Reuters quoted an unidentified senior NATO official as saying about the West's standoff with Russia. "This is climate change, and we have to prepare for the long haul."

The planned deployments represent a big step toward addressing vulnerabilities on the alliance's Eastern flank, like the threat of Moscow sending "little green men" to the Baltics to start a hybrid war.

The commander of the U.S. Army Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, has also highlighted the exposure of the Suwalki Gap, a roughly 100-kilometer stretch of the Polish-Lithuanian border wedged between Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad region.

"Capture by hostile forces of Suwalki or bordering Lithuanian territory would cut off the three Baltic states from other NATO countries," Agina Grigas, a fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the book Beyond Crimes: The New Russian Empire, wrote recently. "Analysts have likened Suwalki to the Cold War era's Fulda Gap in Germany where NATO planned and prepared for hypothetical Soviet attacks."

Weaponizing Globalization

But while NATO's moves this week should create a credible deterrent to a kinetic threat from Russia -- a military attack, hybrid or otherwise -- on one of its members, Moscow's broader challenge to the West is nonkinetic. 

It's essentially a civilizational challenge to the Western liberal order.

"Russia is not an ‘existential enemy,’ but it is an antagonist, and its self-declared interests in Europe diverge from those of the vast majority of European states," veteran Kremlin-watcher James Sherr of Chatham House wrote in a recent report.

Sherr noted that "two normative systems" have emerged on the Eurasian land mass, "the first based on rights and rules, the second on connections, clientelism, and the subordination of law to power."

Vladimir Putin's regime, he added, "is applying its tools of influence to circumvent the European normative system and undermine it."

And toward this end, the Kremlin has taken advantage of Russia's integration into the global economy to undermine the West's institutions. 

In effect, it has weaponized globalization. 

The Kremlin has weaponized international finance and business to establish a pro-Moscow lobby abroad.

Likewise, Moscow has weaponized corruption to capture Western elites and make them dependent on Moscow.

By utilizing the "corrupt transnational schemes that flowed seamlessly from Russia into the rest of the former Soviet space -- and oozed beyond it" -- Vladimir Putin's regime has extended its "shadow influence beyond Russia’s borders and developed a natural, ‘captured’ constituency," James Greene wrote in a 2012 report for Chatham House.

The Kremlin has weaponized organized crime to carry out unsavory tasks with plausible deniability for the Kremlin and to provide funds for black ops.

Putin's Russia is "not so much a mafia state as a nationalized mafia," Russian organized crime expert Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and co-host of The Power Vertical Podcast, said in a recent lecture at the Hudson Institute.

Moscow has weaponized the Internet by unleashing an army of trolls to poison discourse in Western media and with a series of brazen cyberattacks on Western targets.

In an effort to undermine unity in the European Union, it has weaponized electoral politics by supporting and financing extremist parties like Marine Le Pen's National Front in France.

And most famously, it has weaponized information in an effort to confuse, distract, and sow doubt among Western news consumers.

It is a comprehensive threat that requires a comprehensive response -- not just from NATO but from Western governments and civil societies as a whole.

"The EU must shoulder as much responsibility for European security as NATO. The defenses needed against potential ‘hybrid’ threats are societal, economic, and administrative, as well as military," Sherr wrote.

"Unless nondefense arms of government (judicial, financial, regulatory) understand the defense and security implications of their responsibilities, they will not be fit for purpose. A free media should not be defenseless in the face of trolling, state-sponsored manipulation and cyberattack. The corporate and financial sectors need reminding that commercial interests are not always the same as national interests."


Video The Daily Vertical: It's More Than Just Cake

The Daily Vertical: It's More Than Just Cakei
X
February 11, 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.

A transcript of today's edition of The Daily Vertical can be found here.


Video The Daily Vertical: Time For A Little Reality Check

The Daily Vertical: Time For A Little Reality Checki
X
February 10, 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.

A transcript of today's edition of The Daily Vertical can be found here.


Video The Daily Vertical: Putin Smells Blood

The Daily Vertical: Putin Smells Bloodi
X
February 09, 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.

A transcript of today's edition of The Daily Vertical can be found here.


Video The Daily Vertical: Will Yakunin Be Putin's Fall Guy?

The Daily Vertical: Will Yakunin Be Putin's Fall Guy?i
X
February 08, 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.

A transcript of today's edition of The Daily Vertical can be found here.


The Briefing: Yakunin's Fall From Grace

Will Vladimir Yakunin be Vladimir Putin's sacrificial lamb?

Brian Whitmore

Reports have surfaced that Vladimir Yakunin, a longtime crony of Vladimir Putin, is being investigated by Russian law enforcement.

Russia's Interior Ministry officials are not confirming the reports, which first appeared on the blog of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. But they are not denying them either.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we try to unpack the issue and look at what it might mean.

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

Also on The Briefing, Steve, Pavel, and I look at the historic meeting scheduled this week between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill.

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Briefing, February 8, 2016
Power Vertical Briefing, February 8, 2016i
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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: The Importance Of Being Ramzan

Welcome to the strange and scary world of Planet Ramzan.

Brian Whitmore

It's pretty much impossible to ignore Ramzan Kadyrov -- and he knows it.

And he's not going anywhere. Whether Kadyrov is Vladimir Putin's loose cannon or his loaded pistol, the rambunctious Chechen leader has become an indispensable part of Russia's political system -- regardless of who is in the Kremlin.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we pay a visit to the strange and scary world of Planet Ramzan and try to unpack the Kadyrov factor.

Joining me are Mark Galeotti, a professor at NYU, an expert on Russia's Security Services, author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows, and author of the book Russia's Wars In Chechnya; and journalist Oliver Bullough, author of the book The Last Man In Russia And The Struggle To Save A Dying Nation and of an in-depth profile of Kadyrov that was recently published in The Guardian.

Also on the Podcast, Mark, Oliver, and I discuss the new leadership in the GRU, Russia's military intelligence service, and what it portends.

Enjoy... 

Podcast: The Importance Of Being Ramzan
Podcast: The Importance Of Being Ramzani
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.​


Video The Daily Vertical: Putin's Bodyguards

The Daily Vertical: Putin's Bodyguardsi
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February 05, 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.


The Tao Of Ramzan

Like a cartoon villain -- except that he's real

Brian Whitmore

He's like a cartoon villain, except that he's real. 

He can be pretty amusing, except when he's terrifying. 

He's a bit of a clown and more than a bit childish, but he's also one of the most powerful men in Russia.

It's pretty much impossible to ignore Ramzan Kadyrov -- and he knows it.

And the rambunctious Chechen strongman seems to be getting more brazen by the day.

Kadyrov was at it again this week, posting a video on Instagram showing opposition figures Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza in the crosshairs of a sniper's rifle.

This comes just weeks after he called Vladimir Putin's foes "enemies of the people" and suggested in an article in Izvestia that they be placed in a psychiatric hospital in Chechnya -- where he promised to double their injections.

And, of course, he's widely believed to be behind the assassinations of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, human rights activist Natalia Estimirova, and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

There is little consensus, but a lot of speculation, about whether Kadyrov's antics indicate that he's jumped the shark or is right on message, whether he's Putin's loose cannon or the Kremlin leader's loaded pistol.

And there is also little consensus about which is worse.

"So, if you’re worried that Ramzan is murdering with impunity and Putin can’t control him, consider the alternative: What if Ramzan is murdering with impunity and Putin does control him?" the British journalist Oliver Bullough, author of the book The Last Man In Russia And The Struggle To Save A Dying Nation, wrote in The Guardian.

Putin's Frankenstein Monster

When Kadyrov began burning down the homes of family members of suspected Islamic militants, which is prohibited by Russian law, Putin appeared to give his protege a rare rebuke.

"In Russia, everyone must obey the existing laws and nobody is considered guilty until this is proved by court," Putin said in his year-end press conference in December 2014, adding that "nobody has the right, including the head of Chechnya, to resort to extrajudicial reprisals."

In the following days, Kadyrov burned down still more homes -- and wasn't reprimanded again.

The incident seemed to suggest that Putin is simply unable -- or unwilling -- to control Kadyrov.

Why?

"I have no idea if it is fear or a man crush," Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and an expert on Russia's security services, said on a recent Power Vertical Podcast.

The Kremlin leader does, indeed, appear to have a lot of affection for Kadyrov and has said he is like a son to him. But he also has reason to fear him.

Putin has essentially made a Faustian pact with Kadyrov. He's given him a license to kill -- and torture -- as many people in Chechnya as he pleases, and has bestowed lavish federal subsidies for him to use as he wishes, as long as the restive republic remains quiet and loyal.

And there is palpable fear in the Kremlin that if Kadyrov is removed, then Chechnya could again descend into chaos.

But over the past year, the bargain is now being put to the test, with Kadyrov taking his act beyond Chechnya to the streets of Moscow.

Putin's Willing Executioner

In the days following Nemtsov's assassination in Moscow, when suspicion -- and evidence -- appeared to be pointing to Kadyrov, Putin was reportedly refusing to speak to the Chechen leader.

"Orkhan Djemal, a journalist with extensive sources inside Chechnya, told me he had heard that for days Putin wouldn’t take Kadyrov’s calls, which caused Kadyrov to panic," Joshua Yaffa wrote in a recent article in The New Yorker.

This was during that bizarre week when Putin disappeared from public view, causing a minor panic in Moscow.

But apparently Putin and Kadyrov managed to kiss and make up. In fact, in the months following Nemtsov's killing, Kadyrov was given so many medals he needed a second chest to wear them all.

And despite the best efforts of investigators to pin the Nemtsov hit on Kadyrov's close associates, they were rebuked.

What this suggests, according to some Kremlin critics, is that Kadyrov hasn't gone rogue at all. Instead, he is Putin's willing executioner -- the leader of a death squad that can eliminate Putin's opponents with impunity, and with plausible deniability for the Kremlin.

Kadyrov, after all, is crazy, right? Nobody, not even Putin, can control him. In this way, Kadyrov is Putin's own personal boogeyman.

In his profile of Kadyrov in The New Yorker, Yaffa quotes Aleksei Venediktov, editor in chief of Echo Moskvy, as saying that for the Kremlin leader, Kadyrov is a way to show that "anytime he wants, like Freddy Krueger, he can put on a clawed glove, a glove covered in spikes, and use it as a weapon." 

The Extortionist

Weeks before Kadyrov started openly threatening the Russian opposition, Putin agreed to turn over ownership of Chechenneftekhimprom, the subsidiary of the state-owned oil giant Rosneft that controls Chechnya's refining infrastructure, to the republic.

But Kadyrov reportedly wants more -- specifically, the construction of a new oil refinery in his Chechnya. 

"It is important to follow the oil," Karen Dawisha, director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the University of Miami, Ohio, and author of the book Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? said on The Power Vertical Podcast.

Moreover, Kadyrov's latest antics come at a time when low oil prices are forcing Russia to dramatically cut its budget -- something that could cause a lot of pain in Chechnya. 

And they could be a not-so-subtle hint that Kadyrov is willing and able to make trouble if his share of the pie is cut.

"Things are bad, they're going to get worse, and there are going to be some very tough choices about where the money is going," Bullough said on the podcast. "And frankly, the only reason Chechnya was pacified was because they gave Kadyrov a blank slate to kill as many people as he wanted and gave him as much money as he wanted. And if suddenly the money isn't available, then we're in uncharted territory."

Of course, Kadyrov the Frankenstein monster, Kadyrov the Kremlin's boogeyman and willing executioner, and Kadyrov the extortionist are not mutually exclusive. 

In fact, he's probably all of the above. 

And, according to Moscow-based political analyst Nikolai Petrov, he may have made himself an indispensable part of Russia's political system -- regardless of who is in the Kremlin.

"Kadyrov has the potential to be a tsar-maker," Petrov told The New Yorker's Yaffa"Not because he has more men at his disposal than, for example, the minister of defense, but because his men -- tens of thousands of them -- will carry out his orders without thinking twice. If the minister of defense tells his troops to storm the Kremlin, he can’t be sure that all of them will actually do it. But Kadyrov can."

NOTE TO READERS: Be sure to tune in to this week's Power Vertical Podcast, where I will further discuss the Kadyrov phenomenon with Mark Galeotti and Oliver Bullough.


Video The Daily Vertical: Don't Mention The Baltic War!

The Daily Vertical: Don't Mention The Baltic War!i
X
February 04, 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: Lies, Damn Lies, And Kremlin Statements

The Daily Vertical: Lies, Damn Lies, And Kremlin Statementsi
X
February 03, 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.


Virtual Stalinism

Putin's willing executioner (cartoon by Sergei Elkin, RFE/RL)

Brian Whitmore

Russian officials seem to have developed an execution fetish of late.

One example, of course, is the disturbing video Ramzan Kadyrov posted on Instagram showing opposition figures Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza in the crosshairs of a sniper's rifle.

Another is the bizarre series of animated clips Vladimir Putin's All-Russian Popular Front posted on their website showing the Kremlin leader personally executing several officials accused of corruption.

One is beheaded with an ax. One is cut in half with a buzz saw. One has his head removed by a crane. One is eaten by piranhas. One is vaporized with a laser gun. And another is eaten by rabid dogs.

Putin is no Josef Stalin -- but apparently he likes to play him on the Internet.

"So welcome to the theatre of tyranny. A style of governance which actively encourages the appearance of being tougher and nastier than it really is, and at the same time enthusiastically telegraphs that it could be tougher and nastier still," Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and expert on Russia's Security Services, wrote recently.

The aim, Galeotti adds, is to make the Kremlin appear "ruthless, unpredictable and downright crazy, so it seems easier to accommodate than challenge it."

Kadyrov's menacing antics and the Popular Front's creepy execution cartoons are the latest illustrations that Putin's regime has indeed fine-tuned the art of creating a virtual Stalinism, a hybrid form of low-intensity terror designed to intimidate and sow fear.

It's a massive psy-op. It sends signals on social media that repression could be on the way -- without really crossing over the line into full-blown tyranny. 

But it passes laws, like the one allowing the security services to open fire on crowds, that indicate that it might just cross that line someday.

And it reinforces this message through a stream of statements from mid-level officials

In an interview this week, for example, Kremlin aide German Klimenko, who advises Putin on the Internet, said Russians should be forced to switch from foreign operating systems like Windows to Russian-made software -- under threat of being shot. "And yes, I am quite serious," he added.

And Igor Kholmanskikh, Putin’s representative to the Urals Federal District, said the Kremlin needs to eliminate Russia's "fifth column" and suggested that opposition leaders should be "flogged in the kitchen."

And sometimes it all goes beyond the virtual and gets very real -- like with the assassination of Boris Nemtsov nearly a year ago. 

Taking out an internationally known former deputy prime minister whom Boris Yeltsin once touted as his potential successor as president suggests that -- just as in Stalin’s Great Terror of the 1930s -- nobody is immune.

And nobody knows who will be next.

And it appears to be working.

In a recent interview with Ekho Moskvy, the respected Russian sociologist Lev Gudkov said that for the first time since the 1980s, "fear dominates society," limiting the ability of many to express their true opinions even to family and close friends.

According to a recent poll by Gudkov's employer, the Levada Center, 26 percent of Russians say they are afraid to express their true opinions to pollsters -- and more than half say they believe others are afraid to express honest opinions.

Russians, Gudkov said, have developed something similar to Stockholm Syndrome, the tendency for hostages to identify with their captors rather than oppose them.

Back in 2012, the venerable human rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva told Reuters that Putin "would probably like to use exclusively Soviet methods, but that's impossible in the 21st century."

It appears that he thinks he has found a virtual equivalent. 


Video The Daily Vertical: It's Weird. It's Creepy. It's Sick.

The Daily Vertical: It's Weird. It's Creepy. It's Sick.i
X
February 02, 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: Russia's Baltic Exiles

The Daily Vertical: Russia's Baltic Exilesi
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February 01, 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: The Ukraine Deadlock

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris in October.

Brian Whitmore

As Western powers push for a final settlement to the conflict in Donbas, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko heads to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

But the diplomacy is hitting the same snag it always has. 

Russia is insisting on its interpretation of the Minsk agreement -- meaning reintegrating the separatist-held areas into Ukraine as autonomous republics with the current leadership in place.

But such an outcome is unacceptable to Kyiv.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we put Poroshenko's Berlin trip into context and look at the state-of-play in the Ukraine diplomacy.

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

Enjoy...

The Briefing: The Ukraine Deadlock
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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: The World According To Moscow

The view from Putinland.

Brian Whitmore

The international community should thank Russia for forcefully seizing Crimea. The United States seeks the dismemberment of Russia so it can take over its natural resources. And European leaders take their orders from Washington.

These are just a few of the comments Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev made this week in an interview with the mass-circulation tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets.

And Patrushev, it is worth noting, is one of Vladimir Putin's closest confidants.

It's tempting to dismiss the nuttier statements of Kremlin officials as disingenuous and largely designed for domestic consumption.

But a recent report by veteran Kremlin-watcher James Sherr of Chatham House suggests that top Russian officials actually believe much of their own hype.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, I'm joined by Sherr and Moscow-based foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov, a columnist at Slon.ru, to discuss how Moscow's world view is driving policy.

Also on the Podcast, James, Vladimir and I look at the current state of play in the diplomacy surrounding the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Enjoy... 

Power Vertical Podcast: The World According To Moscow
Power Vertical Podcast: The World According To Moscowi
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.​


Video The Daily Vertical: Cue That Laugh Track

The Daily Vertical: Cue The Laugh Tracki
X
January 29, 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 Comprehensive Threat

The Daily Vertical: A Comprehensive Threati
X
January 28, 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 Comprehensive Threat
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.

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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