Thursday, May 28, 2015


Rumblings Of Dissent In Russia's West

An anti-Kremlin rally in Kaliningrad in 2010 drew nearly 10,000 people. Is Russia's western exclave again haunting the Kremlin?

Kaliningrad has a history of being something of a harbinger.

Back in February 2010, a protest against a new transportation tax in the region quickly mushroomed into a massive antigovernment rally that drew 10,000 people from across the political spectrum. 

The 2010 uprising in Kaliningrad lasted for months, got increasingly creative, spooked the Kremlin, and led to the resignation of Georgy Boos as the region's governor in August of that year. 

And it proved to be the shape of things to come.

The following year, in December 2011, the largest anti-Kremlin rallies since the breakup of the Soviet Union erupted in Moscow following parliamentary elections widely seen as fraudulent. Those protests marked the most serious challenge yet to Vladimir Putin's rule and sparked a crackdown on dissent that continues to this day.

And now, Russia's western exclave is again haunting the Kremlin.

In elections to the local council in Kaliningrad Oblast's Baltisky district, the ruling United Russia party failed to secure even a single seat. Turnout was 47.7 percent, unusually high for a local council election.

The online newspaper Gazeta.ru called it "a crushing defeat" for the party of power.

Is Kaliningrad again a bellwether for Russia? It's hard to say at this point.

Local elections tend to be referendums on bread-and-butter issues. They are plebiscites on a government's performance on matters close to voters' lives like road maintenance, snow removal, and garbage collection.

The big, emotional, patriotic issues the Kremlin has been using to buttress its support for the past year matter less.

Crimea, it turns out, is a long way from Kaliningrad -- and it can't fix a pothole.

The election result, "showed a lack of confidence in the party, the governor, and by extension, the president," Solomon Ginzburg, a lawmaker in Kaliningrad's regional Duma, told Gazeta.ru.

"I can't say whether that can be extrapolated to the whole region, but the alarm bell has sounded."

And even before the Kaliningrad vote, the wake-up call appears to have sounded in Moscow as well.

Despite Vladimir Putin's stratospheric approval ratings, Kremlin strategists appear duly concerned about a rebellion below the decks as living standards fall.

The authorities, for example, are reportedly considering moving next year's State Duma elections forward from December to September.

The thinking is that turnout will be lower in the warmer weather when many voters will still be at their dachas, lessening the impact of a protest vote. This would make it easier for the authorities to manipulate the result by flooding the polls with state employees.

There has also been a wave of resignations by regional governors, most recently Vasily Bochkarev in Penza and Oleg Betin in Tambov. Previously, the governors of the Irkutsk, Omsk, Kamchatka, and Leningrad regions announced their early resignations.

All, however, are remaining in office as acting governors until elections are held.

This is a tried-and-true tactic to force early elections when incumbents believe it is advantageous to face the voters early -- in this case before the economy further deteriorates. 

So the authorities are clearly nervous. Which might also explain some of the over-the-top Putin worship we've seen lately. 

In a recent article, Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council called the phenomenon a "personality cult" that seeks to mask the regime's failures and illegitimacy behind a wall of smoke and mirrors.

"Not only must the public be rendered unable to think rationally it must be diverted from a genuine consideration of social realities by means of this deliberate infantilization and regression to quasi-magical forms of comprehension of political phenomena," Blank wrote recently in The Interpreter. 

"They are employing what Dostoyevsky’s grand inquisitor called miracle, mystery, and authority. Thus this cult attests to the illegitimacy of the regime and the authorities’ understanding of that fact and need to conceal it."

It also explains the authorities' recent dialing up of their repression of dissent.

This all does not mean that the regime is on the rocks. Far from it, in fact. They've proven quite adept at doing what they need to to to stay in control.

But last weekend's vote in Kaliningrad shows that they are far from invincible.

-- Brian Whitmore


Video The Daily Vertical: A Harbinger In Kaliningrad

The Daily Vertical: A Harbinger In Kaliningradi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
May 27, 2015
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.


Video The Daily Vertical: Federalism For You, But Not For Me

The Daily Vertical: Federalism For You, But Not For Mei
X
May 26, 2015
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: Federalism For You, But Not For Me

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: Death Of A Rebel

The Power Vertical: Death Of A Rebeli
X
May 25, 2015
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.


Audio Briefing: Endgame Diplomacy

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.

This week's Briefing looks at the upcoming diplomacy surrounding the Ukraine crisis and the fallout from the assassination of separatist commander Aleksei Mozgovoi. Joining me is RFE/RL Senior Editor Steve Gutterman.

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Briefing -- May 25, 2015
Power Vertical Briefing -- May 25, 2015i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

 


Audio Podcast: States Within A State

Two republics in the Russian Federation. Both predominantly Muslim. Both seeking to secure maximum autonomy from Moscow. Each using dramatically different tactics.

Tatarstan's leaders have focused on formal institutions. They have opened consulates abroad. They're determined to keep the title of president for the republic's leader. And they are equally determined to defend Tatar language and culture.

Chechnya, under its eccentric strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has shown absolute fealty to Moscow on formal matters. But in practice, Kadyrov has carved out a de facto statelet in the North Caucasus.

He's threatened to have his security forces shoot Russian officers operating in his fiefdom without his permission. He's implicitly endorsed bigamy. And he's essentially privatized the regional branches of the FSB and Interior Ministry.

On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss Grozny's and Kazan's approaches, Moscow's respective reaction to them, and what this tells us about Russia today.

Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the recently published book Russia's Wars In Chechnya; and Rim Gilfanov, director of RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service.

Enjoy...

Podcast: States Within A State
Podcast: States Within A Statei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

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


Video The Daily Vertical: Foreign Agents Against Torture

The Daily Vertical: Foreign Agents Against Torturei
X
May 22, 2015
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.


After Novorossia

A woman rides on the back of a truck holding a pitchfork and a flag of Novorossia last August in Donetsk.

Novorossia died a quiet death this week.

When separatist leader Oleg Tsarev announced the end of the scheme to unite the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine into a single pro-Moscow separatist entity on May 20, it was the latest in a series of signs that the yearlong conflict in the Donbas is lumbering toward some kind of endgame.

In remarks reported by Gazeta.ru, Tsarev, the chairman of the self-styled parliament of Novorossia, said the project was being suspended because it "doesn't fit into" the cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk in February. 

In reality, Novorossia was stillborn from the get-go. Unlike in Donetsk and Luhansk, where pro-Moscow separatism took hold, Russian-speakers in Odesa, Mariupol, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Kharkiv, and elsewhere remained loyal to Kyiv.

But Tsarev's announcement was significant nonetheless. Especially as it coincided with remarks on May 20 by a spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic that efforts to unite it with the Luhansk People's Republic have been suspended indefinitely.

WATCH: Novorossia: A Short-Lived Mirage

Novorossia: A Short-Lived Miragei
X
May 21, 2015
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.

Moreover, in an interview published a day earlier in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the official Russian government newspaper, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the two self-styled republics must be "part of Ukraine." 

Russia had once hoped to partition Ukraine by seizing so-called Novorossia, which stretches from Kharkiv in the northeast to Odesa in the south, which would have given it a land bridge to annexed Crimea.

But having failed at this, Moscow is now seeking to keep the separatist-held enclaves in Donetsk and Luhansk inside Ukraine in order to use them as a fifth column to paralyze Kyiv and keep the country from integrating with the West.

If and how these territories are reintegrated into Ukraine will be the main battleground in the coming phase of the conflict.

The Specter Of Republika Srpska

An oft-cited precedent for what Russia is hoping to achieve in Ukraine can be found in the dysfunctional experience of Bosnia-Herzegovina following its 1992-95 war.

After Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic failed in his bid to carve out a "Greater Serbia" through a proxy war and ethnic cleansing following the breakup of Yugoslavia, he signed the U..S.-sponsored Dayton peace accords.

The peace agreement succeeded in stopping the killing in Bosnia, but it also decentralized the country into two entities -- a Bosniak-Croat federation and Republika Srpska.

The two entities were, in fact, de facto autonomous states within a state with their own presidents, parliaments, and courts. The central government, with its tripartite presidency and ethnically fractured parliament, was largely impotent.

More than two decades after Dayton, Bosnia remains a dysfunctional state. And nearly a decade after Milosevic's death, Serbia continues to use Republika Srpska to paralyze and manipulate the country -- and cripple its efforts to join mainstream Europe.

A Bosnian-style decentralization of Ukraine to the point of dysfunction is clearly on Moscow's agenda and is the ultimate goal of the Kremlin's constant call for "federalization" and regional autonomy.

Just substitute Novorossia for Greater Serbia, Minsk for Dayton, and the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics for Republika Srpska and you have Moscow's formula.

Ukrainian journalist Miroslav Petsa picked up on the perils of a Bosnia scenario for Ukraine during the negotiations in Minsk, tweeting:

The Srpska Krajina Precedent

But Republika Srpska wasn't the only part of Milosevic's plan for a Greater Serbia. And it isn't the only precedent from postconflict Yugoslavia for reintegrating the separatist-held territories of Donbas back into Ukraine.

One infinitely more palatable to Kyiv is the example of Srpska Krajina, the Serbian enclave Milosevic tried to carve out in Croatia.

After four years of war, from 1991-95, the territory was overrun by Croat forces, save a small 2,600-square- kilometer region called Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Syrmia. Under a 1995 peace agreement, it was administered by the United Nations until 1998, when it was reintegrated into Croatia.

Critically, although the peace accord created a number of minority Serbian institutions, the region was not granted any special status or autonomy, as was the case with Republika Srpska in Bosnia.

In 2013, Croatia joined the European Union as its 28th member state.

This is an outcome Moscow is going to desperately seek to avoid and will use all of its leverage to prevent.

The Frozen Option

In order to achieve its desired outcome in Ukraine, Russia is insisting that its interpretation of the Minsk peace agreement be implemented.

According to the agreement, reached in the Belarusian capital in February, Ukraine must carry out constitutional reform and a decentralization of power that grants special status to the rebel-held areas in Donbas.

Russia says this entails a federalization of Ukraine that would, in effect, grant these territories autonomy similar to that enjoyed by Republika Srpska in Bosnia.

For its part, Kyiv -- as well as various Western officials -- say the Minsk cease-fire is being violated by Moscow-backed separatists regularly. Ukraine also insists, and the evidence appears to support, that Russia has not honored provisions in the Minsk agreement requiring it to withdraw troops and weapons from the region.

Moscow is not required to return control of the portion of the Russian-Ukrainian border controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists until Ukraine's constitutional reform process is complete. It is unlikely to do so unless it gets a federalization plan it likes.

And without the border under Kyiv's control, reintegration is impossible.

So with a Srpska Krajina-type outcome unacceptable to Moscow, and a Republika Srpska-style settlement a nonstarter for Kyiv, the diplomatic endgame looks like it is headed for a stalemate.

And this means that there is a strong probability that the conflict will end up frozen, similar to Moldova's Transdniester or Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

-- Brian Whitmore

Tags:Power Vertical blog, Russia, Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine conflict


Video The Daily Vertical: Novorossia -- A Short-Lived Mirage

Novorossia: A Short-Lived Miragei
X
May 21, 2015
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.


Resistance Isn't Futile

"All hail Emperor Putin!"

Authorities in Krasnodar announce that they will monitor a concert by the popular musician Noize MC for extremism after the liberal-minded rapper criticized Russia's policies in Ukraine. 

Local Cossacks in a St. Petersburg suburb unveil a statue depicting Vladimir Putin as a Roman emperor

The State Duma approves legislation criminalizing "undesirable organizations." 

A pro-Kremlin institute unveils a computer program that will trawl social networks in search of chatter about unauthorized protests -- and report it to the authorities.

The latest petty harassment of a socially conscious artist. Yet another cartoonish exaltation of the national leader. And the creation of a couple more blunt instruments to repress dissent.

Just another month in the brave new Russia.

In fact, these signs of the times happen so often these days that you can easily miss them. What would have been shocking a couple years back has now become routine.

And that's exactly the point. The tsunami of Putin-worshipping nationalism and the avalanche of smothering political oppression is designed to overwhelm and send a crystal-clear message: "Resistance Is Futile."

And it's working for now.

"For a short time, during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, Russians like me began to hope that the country had finally become a part of Europe. Now I feel nothing but fear," the liberal Russian economist Yevgeny Gontmakher wrote in a recent commentary in Vedomosti. 

But it's not just people like Gontmakher who are afraid. The current deluge of over-the-top suppression of dissent signifies a regime that is absolutely terrified of its own people.

Putin may be enjoying stratospheric approval ratings now, but Russia's rulers also know they've been running a scam.

They know they've been peddling bread, circuses, and cheap nationalism to the masses as a corrupt elite enriches itself. And as living standards decline and the patriotic euphoria from the Ukraine crisis fades, they know the bubble can burst at any moment.

They know that eventually, people will wake up to the fact that they have been sold a bill of goods.

Writing in Bloomberg, the self-exiled Russian political commentator Leonid Bershidsky described the notion "that Russia should occupy the Soviet Union's onetime prominent place in the world" as "one of the pillars" of Putin's ideological appeal. But "that aspiration," he added, "keeps hitting snags in areas where the Soviet Union excelled," such as sports and science.

"Even as Putin uses propaganda to raise the hopes of revanchist Russians, he's unable to deliver on his promises," Bershidsky wrote.

"He's unable to create Soviet-style showcases meant to demonstrate the nation's power to the world, such as the aerospace industry that sent the first satellite and the first man into space, or the invincible U.S.S.R. ice-hockey machine."

And Bershidsky noted that "failure to repeat Soviet glories" -- highlighted by the recent crash of a Proton-M rocket 10 minutes after takeoff and the Russian national hockey team's crushing defeat and unsportsmanlike behavior in this weekend's world championships -- "hurts Putin more than higher inflation and lower wages."

Noting that "in the 70 years of Soviet communism, Russians endured much worse economic hardship for the sake of living in a proud superpower, Bershidsky wrote that "Putin needs to deliver more world-beating successes for his nostalgia-based strategy to triumph." And his inability to do this, "makes him vulnerable."

And as Gontmakher notes in his commentary in Vedomosti, it isn't just a dearth of glories that makes the Putin system hollow.

"He concentrated all power in his hands and imposed a strict monopoly on political ideas without a clear vision," he wrote. "As a result, we are on a road that has not yet been built. The construction work is being done just a few meters ahead of us."

But despite how disheartened and afraid Gontmakher says he is, he also sees the regime as mortal -- and says liberal Russians need to be prepared for its demise.

"Sooner or later the Putin era will come to an end," he wrote.

"So many times in the history of Russia, the old elite left the Kremlin, taking their ideology with them, and giving the country the chance to start on a new path. When this happens we will need all of civil society's skills and resources. And now is the time to develop them."

The wave of repression isn't the only sign that that Russia's rulers are getting jittery and are fortifying the barricades.

The authorities are considering holding State Duma elections scheduled for December 2016 three months earlier, in September.

According to a report in RBK, the Kremlin has concluded that it makes sense to move the elections forward because "in September, it will still be warm and voter turnout will be low," which "seriously reduces the chances of opposition parties and candidates." 

If a regime with more than 80 percent support is so insecure that it needs to manipulate the dates of parliamentary elections, perhaps resistance isn't so futile after all.

-- Brian Whitmore

Tags:Power Vertical blog, Russian politics, Vladimir Putin


The Daily Vertical: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

The Daily Vertical: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraidi
X
May 20, 2015
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.


Lose The Territory, Win The War

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin during cease-fire talks in Minsk on February 11.

For more than a year, there's been a war in eastern Ukraine that nobody called a war. And for the past three months, there's been a cease-fire there that wasn't a cease-fire.

And now that the agreement reached in Minsk in February that was supposed to end hostilities in the Donbas is all but dead in the water, we seem to be lurching toward some kind of endgame. And it is shaping up to be as strange and counterintuitive as every other aspect of this through-the-looking-glass hybrid conflict.

"Normally, wars are fought over prize territory: winners gain it, losers lose it," Alexander Motyl, a professor at Rutgers University-Newark and expert on post-Soviet affairs wrote recently in Foreign Policy. 

But in this conflict, Motyl added, whoever ends up holding the Russian-controlled territories of the Donbas will actually be the loser.

The region, he noted, is an economic basket case. Its industrial base is devastated. Infrastructure damage is estimated to be $227 million. Gas and water shortages are endemic. Only one-third of the population is receiving regular wages.

Of the estimated 3 million people remaining there, 2 million are either children or pensioners who must be supported by 1 million working-age adults.

Responsibility for rebuilding this mess will be a major financial albatross for either Kyiv or Moscow.

And then there are the politics.

Without the rebel-held areas, Ukraine can get on with reforming its economy and integrating with the West. With them, Kyiv will be saddled with a pro-Moscow fifth column in the east that will paralyze it for the foreseeable future.

So who is losing?

"As the man who owns the enclave and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future," Motyl wrote, "Vladimir Putin is thus the loser. And both Russia and Ukraine know it."

And this explains a lot. It explains, for example, why the Kremlin is suddenly so concerned about Ukraine's territorial integrity.

In a radio interview last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow wanted Ukraine to remain united and accused the authorities in Kyiv of trying to partition their own country. 

Lavrov made his comments in reaction to a call by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for UN peacekeepers in Donbas

It also explains why separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk last week submitted proposals for those territories' long-term status that keep them inside Ukraine -- albeit one that is decentralized to the point of dysfunction.

"At first glance, the separatist documents seem promising. In a sharp break with previous practice, they make no mention of the unrecognized Donetsk and Lugansk 'people's republics,'" Russian political commentator Leonid Bershidsky wrote recently in Bloomberg.

"Instead, the territory is called 'a separate district with a special status.'"

Bershidsky added that the proposals "have Moscow's fingerprints" and "demonstrate a lawyerly cunning that the rough and ready rebels have never exhibited."

This is the context, subtext, and backstory of the flurry of diplomacy we have seen in recent weeks -- from Angela Merkel's visit to Moscow to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's stopover in Sochi to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland shuttling between the Ukrainian and Russian capitals.

The West is desperately trying to salvage a Minsk cease-fire that is long past its sell-by date.

Russia, meanwhile, is trying to force an interpretation of that cease-fire on everybody that results in a Bosnia-style solution that allows Moscow's proxies in eastern Ukraine to keep the country dysfunctional and out of the Western orbit.

Russia could of course still launch a costly and risky military offensive aimed at Mariupol or Kharkiv.

Or, as Bershidsky suggests "he can freeze the situation and proceed to build ties with the rebel-held areas on the model of other frozen conflict zones: Transdnistria in Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia."

But according to Motyl, "time is on Ukraine's side" as "the current stand-off is the best of all possible worlds for Kyiv."

"Winning this 'hybrid' war means losing territory. All Ukraine needs do is keep the separatists boxed in," he wrote.

"Sooner or later, a rational or semi-rational Putin disinclined to start World War III over a piece of crummy real estate will have to accept 'frozen conflict' status or pull another Crimea and annex the territory. Either way, Russia will be stuck with a no-future region that will be a drag on its economy for decades to come."

-- Brian Whitmore


Video The Daily Vertical: The Strange Endgame In Donbas

The Daily Vertical: The Strange Endgame In Donbasi
X
May 19, 2015
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.


The Daily Vertical: Is The Nemtsov Case Being Whitewashed?

The Daily Vertical: Is The Nemtsov Case Being Whitewashed?i
X
May 18, 2015
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.


The Daily Vertical: Who Are The Real Fascists?

The Daily Vertical: Who Are The Real Fascists?i
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
April 30, 2015
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.


Audio Podcast: The Lukashenka Shuffle

Playing a double game

You can call it the Lukashenka shuffle and the authoritarian Belarusian leader has been doing it for years.

First you play the loyal Moscow ally, until you need something -- like lower gas prices, for example. Then, you cozy up to the West to blackmail your Kremlin patrons.

Everybody knew what he was doing and everybody played along with the little two-step.

But something has changed in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Alyaksandr Lukashenka's criticism of Moscow has become more persistent and more pronounced. And his overtures to the West appear more serious and more sincere.

Suddenly, Lukashenka's little dance has become a lot more consequential -- and a lot more dangerous.

On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the Belarusian leader's machinations and their consequences -- both internationally and domestically.

Joining me are Alyaksey Znatkevich of RFE/RL's Belarus Service and Andrew Wilson, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and author of Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship and the recently published Ukraine Crisis: What It Means For the West.

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Podcast: The Lukashenka Shuffle
Power Vertical Podcast: The Lukashenka Shufflei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

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

Tags:Alyaksandr Lukashenka


Video The Daily Vertical: Info Wars Escalate

The Daily Vertical: Russia Plays The Victim Cardi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
April 30, 2015
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.


Video The Daily Vertical: Moscow's Desperate Donbas Endgame

The Daily Vertical: Moscow's Desperate Donbas Endgamei
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
April 29, 2015
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.


Video The Daily Vertical: Bikers Of Mass Distraction

The Daily Vertical: Bikers Of Mass Distractioni
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
April 28, 2015
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.


Video The Daily Vertical: Is Berlin Wavering?

The Daily Vertical: Is Berlin Wavering?i
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
April 27, 2015
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.

 

Latest Podcasts

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