Monday, May 30, 2016


The Power Vertical

The Briefing: The Battle Of Geneva

The diplomatic chess match
The diplomatic chess match
By Brian Whitmore

Over the past six months, Russia has managed to reset and reshape the civil war in Syria. They've saved Bashar al-Assad, frustrating Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the West in the process.

And with peace talks beginning this week in Geneva, Moscow is seeking to secure its gains in the postwar settlement. 

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we look at the diplomatic battle ahead.

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

Also on The Briefing, we discuss this week's meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, which will debate Russia policy. 

The Briefing: The Battle Of Geneva
The Briefing: The Battle Of Genevai
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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.

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by: John from: Los Angeles
March 15, 2016 04:55
Today's News of Putin's "Strategically Withdrawal" from Syria is a bolt from the blue. Who knew both baby and bathwater would be put out the window so abruptly?

What does this cutting and running portend?

1. Russia is actually in deeper Financial trouble than we have been led to believe?

2. The operational pace of the few dozen aircraft that Putin placed in Syria and the long logistical supply line is too much to handle for the Russian military?

3. There's some backroom cloak and dagger in the Halls of the Kremlin and Putin needs to turn his attention inward?

Any of these three questions lead to answers that portend that Putin is not the Leader of a Global Super Power he dreamed he was.

For Putin there will be no Groundhog Day.
In Response

by: Kader from: UK
March 15, 2016 11:35
Brian is saying "Russians have saved Bashar al-Assad, frustrating Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the West in the process..." And what is the alternative to this? If you do not preserve the legitimate government, then you have just one option in given situation: let the armed terrorists to take a full power. We all know that the main terrorist forces in Syria are the Al-Nusra and ISIS. So, yes, we have long ago understood this that Turkey, Saudis, Israel and the United States want exactly this. That's the essence of the problem, that they are all accomplices of international terrorism. And RFE/RL also advocates this position.
In Response

by: John from: Los Angeles
March 16, 2016 00:42
Cut and Run Putin and Assad are the War Criminals who have murdered over 400,000 Syrian children and women who were peacefully sleeping in their own homes. Putin ordered his criminal Air Force to bomb:
Syrian Schools
Syrian Hospitals
Syrain Rescue workers
Syrian Markets filled with peaceful people
Syrian Homes

Now because Putin the coward has run out of money he needs to get his broken down old Air Force home for repairs.

Putin is weak. Putin is pathetic and now anyone will think twice about making Putin their ally or partner. Putin is too feckless to be trusted - unless of course you offer him a fat bribe - By the way he only accepts American dollars.

by: Ken William from: USA
March 15, 2016 11:59
Russia want the same goals as most of us - stability, prosperity, equity and peace. the USA simply want to destroy the world or make it into some version of a post apocalyptic movie. Russia is not buying into the Islam issue as islamification is just a tool to create police states and martial law paving the way to that ever promised one world order. In fact Putin has quite bluntly stated he is ending the Illuminati and the NWO and to everyone's surprise - he is actually doiing it. This is what happens when you get a man who is a genius, a soldier, and a politician all rolled into one. The man is unstoppable. He has unified Russia, pulled it from post USSR to No.1 in the world in 15 years and the guy is loved literally, with his very own calendar and an approval rating over 80%. Show me anyone else in the world with that type of approval rating!

by: Susan from: US
March 15, 2016 12:03
Even if you take the Ukraine this whole thing in Ukraine is a farce. First the American Zionists discovered genetically they have the same DNA as Ukrainians so they decided to found a 2nd Israel in Ukraine and to do so they needed to first overthrow the elected Ukrainian government and murder the Russians in Ukraine, directed by USA and financed by Soros.
In Response

by: Igor Z
March 17, 2016 03:17
Anyone following the events in Ukraine know that the US specifically has done the absolute minimum to asist Ukraine in its struggle to break free from Russia's tether. Canada has done 100x more. So if you want to hate... hate Canada those oppressive warmongers (not!). Take it from me, a Russian speaking Ukrainian, that Yanuk was universally hated. He overthrew himself when he sent Berkut to beat young men and women in the middle of the night. That is the main difference between Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainians don't put up with tyrants. You have to break their will to control them.

by: Igor Z
March 17, 2016 03:10
I'm so incredibly tired of the illuminaty zionist conspiracy theory krap. I hope people grow out of that primitive excuse of a thought process soon. I do suspect it's spread by anti-US organizations sponsored by foreign govs.

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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