Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: All The King's Men

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting of leaders of ex-Soviet nations in the Kremlin, Moscow,  on December 19, 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting of leaders of ex-Soviet nations in the Kremlin, Moscow, on December 19, 2012.
Ten men to rule the nation. Dozens of clans fighting for resources. One arbiter to settle disputes.
It has gone by different names, from the collective Putin to Putin's Politburo. But most Kremlin-watchers agree that Russia is not, in fact, governed by formal institutions like the Cabinet of Ministers and the State Duma, but rather, by an informal collective leadership -- with Vladimir Putin as its front man and decider-in-chief.
The respected political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko has been monitoring and analyzing the composition and dynamics of this shadow ruling elite for years. And this week, his Minchenko Consulting Group released the latest update of their series, "Putin's Politburo 2.0."
In the latest edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discussed the state of the "collective Putin" with co-host Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service and special guest Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and author of "Sean's Russia Blog."

Power Vertical Podcast -- All The King's Men
Power Vertical Podcast -- All The King's Meni
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Tags: Vladimir Putin,Russian elite,Power Vertical podcast,Yevgeny Minchenko

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Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: US
January 26, 2013 17:42
apart from brain-dead rednecks who is delusional enough to believe US is governed by a teleprompter-controlled rubber doll called Obama? US is ruled by mafia which is disguising itself under two-faced mask of "democratic" and "republican" "parties".
Anyone outside of that mafia has no chance to win "elections" in US

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In this space, I will regularly comment on events in Russia, repost content and tweets I find interesting and informative, and shamelessly promote myself (and others whose work I like). The traditional Power Vertical Blog remains for larger and more developed items. The Podcast, of course, will continue to appear every Friday. I hope you find the new Power Vertical Feed to be a useful resource and welcome your feedback. More

18:16 December 09, 2014


...and the Russian Orthodox Church is not happy about it.

17:03 December 09, 2014


10:00 December 09, 2014


What to make of French President Francois Hollande's meeting with Vladimir Putin this weekend? The Moscow Times takes a look in a story today:

The weekend meeting between the French and Russian presidents has given France a chance to become "the new Germany" for Russia, which lost its last Western ally after a falling-out with official Berlin, analysts say.

French mediation "is aimed at preventing Russia-EU relations from going to the dogs," said Tatiana Kastueva-Jean of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Paris.

Germany has traditionally been Russia's staunchest defender in Europe. But with Berlin taking a harder line in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, and particularly the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, Paris os trying to fill the void:

Though France has backed EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, it has taken a notably moderate stance toward Moscow.

Hollande was one of the few Western leaders who did not give Putin a hard time at a G20 meeting in Australia's Brisbane last month.

Nor have French authorities pressured French businesses to cut connections to Russia like Germany did, said Sergei Fyodorov of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Hollande's "ostpolitik" is reminiscent of that of his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy: 

There is a recent precedent for Hollande's attempts to play peacemaker with Russia: In 2008, his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy brokered the end to the "five-day war" between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

Right. And we all know how well that turned out. Just ask the Georgians.

Read the whole piece here.

09:47 December 09, 2014


Anna Netrebko's decision to donate 1 million rubles to a theater in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, and her posing with a Novorossia rebel flag, has sparked a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #BoycottAnnaNetrebko.

Here are some choice tweets:

09:31 December 09, 2014


Simon Shuster has a new piece up at Time suggesting he did, based on a draft copy of the speech prepared by the Kremlin leader's speechwriters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently cut out a blistering critique of Ukrainian authorities in a speech to human-rights advocates last week, as he seeks to carve out a peace deal with his country’s neighbor. 

In a draft prepared by Putin’s speechwriters and obtained by TIME, the President was set to accuse Ukrainian authorities of the “mass destruction of their own citizens” during their ongoing conflict with Moscow-backed separatist rebels. But at the last moment, Putin appears to have dropped that line.

Read the whole piece here.


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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