Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Power Vertical

The Briefing: The Magician's Successor And The Savchenko Endgame

The conclusion of Nadia Savchenko's trial is one of this week's big stories.
The conclusion of Nadia Savchenko's trial is one of this week's big stories.
By Brian Whitmore

A surprising name is floated to head Russia's electoral commission. The Kremlin cuts defense spending by the largest amount in over a decade. And Russia and Ukraine brace for the conclusion of the trial of Nadia Savchenko.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we look at three developing stories: human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova's potential appointment as head of Russia's Central Electoral Commission to replace Vladimir Churov; the Defense Ministry's announcement that military spending will be cut by 5 percent; and the conclusion of the trial of Ukrainian air force pilot Nadia Savchenko.

Joining me is RFE/RL Senior Editor Steve Gutterman.


The Briefing: The Magician's Successor And The Savchenko Endgame
The Briefing: The Magician's Successor And The Savchenko Endgamei
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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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Comment Sorting
by: elmer
March 07, 2016 15:21
"changing things from the inside"

that has been tried quite a few times in Ukraine, with the same results over and over - nothing

basically, what happens is that the thugs buy out and co-opt people who have decided to sell out - when they go to "change things from the inside," they simply --- disappear

I have to say that it doesn't happen any more in Ukraine, especially since EuroMaidan

One of the main reasons is that during the Orange Revolution, freedom of media/freedom of speech was a huge result.

Unlike in the Russian Federation.

Also, as Prof. Timothy Snyder has pointed out, along with others, the Russian Federation is a centralized oligarchy/kleptocracy.

Ukraine is not, even though there are multiple oligarchs.

Even the "House of Cards" got the centralized oligarchy bit right, on Netflix.

Nadia Savchenko - huge illustration of Putler Khuylo's "brotherly nation" tactics. They are going through the motions, just like in stalinist times - yet another stalinist show trial.

Only there is no confession - just a bunch of thugs in a pretend court willing to do Putler Khuylo and fellow Kremlinoid's bidding.

That "trial" reminds me of the famous court scene in the "Planet of the Apes," where the apes are dressed in fancy robes and necklaces, and Charlton Heston is on trial for being human and being able to speak.

Russia has trained chimps as "judges" in a pretend court, a stalinist show trial "court."

This is supposed to be some kind of "progess" in Russia?

by: Democracy from: Earth
March 07, 2016 17:22
You both talk as if Savchenko can go on without water for days from now when day 4 is critical and day 5 may be the last.

She is already weakened and refuses doctor examinations. So instead of sounding the alarms it feels like, "hmm interesting".
In Response

by: balderdasche from: botwanaland
March 15, 2016 21:03
She started drinking again last Friday. Wouldn't want to die before she's sentenced - not that Putin would allow that.

by: baldurdasche from: botswanaland
March 15, 2016 21:01
So how are those 'rigged' Russian elections, that haven't happened yet, any different from the 'circus of choice' now playing in America? The slate of candidates in the 'Land of Liberty' looks worse than one prepared by the party praesidium back in the days when russia still hasd its 'empire'. With the exception that the praesiduium approached its task, and the electorate, with more consideration than the gaggle of buffoons trooped-out by the one percenters for 'America's choice'.

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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