Friday, November 28, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: Asymmetrical Warfare

In many ways, anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny's struggle with the Kremlin has the hallmarks of a classic asymmetrical struggle.
In many ways, anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny's struggle with the Kremlin has the hallmarks of a classic asymmetrical struggle.
One side has the full weight of the Russian state at its disposal -- from politicized courts and law enforcement to broadcast media ready to smear its opponents.
The other has a charismatic leader with a devoted following of new media-savvy supporters who are in tune with the emerging zeitgeist and adept at seizing control of the narrative.
In many ways, anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny's struggle with the Kremlin has the hallmarks of a classic asymmetrical struggle.
In this week's edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discussed Navalny's war with the Kremlin and its political implications with co-host and NYU professor Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia's security services and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows."
Will the authorities succeed in silencing Navalny? Or will they only succeed in boosting his stature?

Power Vertical Podcast: Asymmetrical Warfare
Power Vertical Podcast: Asymmetrical Warfarei
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Tags: Aleksei Navalny,Power Vertical podcast

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Comment Sorting
by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
April 05, 2013 22:45
"Asymmetrical"? What a misguiding wordings used on RFE!
The friendly meeting of Georgians, Azerbaijanis and Turks
RFE named "Pact"! Like pacts of Russia, Prussia and Brits
Betray-divide Europe and sunk it in blood - lying "zhuks"?
"Asymmetry" of what - the Tyranny and critics it smash?

In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 06, 2013 10:02
Konstantin, I am just curious: does the word "assymetry" originally come from the Georgian language :-))??

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 06, 2013 10:01
You, guys, waste so much time promoting this cripple Navalny, it's even charming :-))). Look, this kind of "individuals" can maybe have success somewhere in Detroit or another bankrupt US city, but in Russia (or here in the EU) people are just too conservative to espouse someone as desequilibrado as this guy :-)).
And again, it's just a pity that you so sistematically continue blocking all the postings concerning the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula, as long as what is happening there says tons about numerous failures of the US foreign policy over the last 20 years.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
April 08, 2013 04:13
Its all the same, Eugenio, "failures of the US", instigated,
By Russian proxies and other "1954" pact's conspirators,
Imperial resurrections lure USA act as "Russia infuriated"
With unfinished business. However, why North Koreans?
Is Russia testing depleting USA resources, outstretching?

Another versus of declaring war on Napoleon, by Russia,
Running back - till French would be frozen to "parashas"?
Only this time they smarter, let's burn instead of Moscow
World from Kabul through both Koreas, China and Tokyo,
Letting to believe "Third World" that USA cowards "sosut".

I think North Korea and US must both negotiate in peace,
If they don't want be used by "Imperial resurrectors" pact,
That might have, as alterrior versus, "Maltusiastic" obese
For "Far East", as empires of the "pact" grabbing and act,
Dividing the world, including the USA and Japan's wealth.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 10, 2013 17:23
VIDEO: Life & Death of Boris Berezovsky (RT Documentary) -

The Power Vertical Feed

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

15:34 November 26, 2014


So by now, we've all seen how passengers in Krasnoyarsk had to get out and push their flight out of the snow...

...and we've all seen the snarky Twitter memes this has inspired...

...but have you heard about onboard drunken onboard brawl that grounded a flight in Novosibirsk?

12:41 November 26, 2014


12:33 November 26, 2014


Via The Moscow Times:

A lawmaker on the State Duma's Defense Committee has proposed banning the import of French wines in response to Paris' decision to suspend delivery of the first of two helicopter carriers to Russia.

"Let's ban the sale of French wine in Russia," Deputy Vladimir Bessonov told Russian News Service radio on Tuesday. "Even talking about this can bring about desired results," he said, without specifying what these would be.

France, under pressure from its Western allies to cancel a 1.2 billion euro contract ($1.58 billion) with Russia for Mistral-class warships, said earlier Tuesday that it was suspending delivery of the first of two carriers because of Russia's meddling in eastern Ukraine.


12:21 November 26, 2014
12:20 November 26, 2014


12:18 November 26, 2014


From RFE/RL's News Desk:


By RFE/RL's Russian Service

The editor-in-chief of an independent Russian news website says he will seek political asylum in the United States.

Oleg Potapenko told RFE/RL on November 26 that he has arrived in the United States despite efforts by Russian authorities to prevent him from leaving the country.

Potapenko is editor of, a news site in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk that has reported about the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

On November 12, the openly gay Potapenko and his partner were prevented from boarding a flight from Khabarovsk to Hong Kong after border guards said a page was missing from Potapenko's passport.

Potapenko says the page was cut out by a police officer who requested his passport for a check earlier that day.

He told RFE/RL that he had managed to leave Russia from another city, Vladivostok, on November 16.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Russia's actions in Ukraine are a violation of international law and a threat to peace in Europe.

Speaking bluntly in an address to Germany's parliament on November 26, Merkel said, "Nothing justifies the direct or indirect participation of Russia in the fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk."

She told the Bundestag that Russia's actions have "called the peaceful order in Europe into question and are a violation of international law."

But she suggested there was no swift solution, saying, "Our efforts to overcome this crisis will require patience and staying power."

Germany has become increasingly frustrated over Moscow's refusal to heed Western calls to stop supporting pro-Russian separatists who have seized control of large parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in eastern Ukraine.

Close ties between Russia and Germany have been strained by the Ukraine crisis.

(Based on reporting by Reuters)


Ukraine has leveled fresh charges that Russia is sending military support to pro-Russian separatists in the east.

A foreign ministry spokesman said five columns of heavy equipment were spotted crossing into Ukrainian territory on November 24.

Evhen Perebyinis told journalists on November 25 that a total of 85 vehicles had been detected in the five columns that entered at the Izvaryne border crossing point from Russia.

"The Russian side is continuing to provide the terrorist organizations of the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics with heavy armaments," said Perebynisis.

Separately, the Ukrainian military said one soldier had been killed and five others wounded in the past 24 hours as a shaky cease-fire declared on September 5 continued to come under pressure.

The six-month conflict in the east of Ukraine has left more than 4,300 people dead, according to the United Nations.

(Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters)



Russia has rejected accusations that it is planning to annex Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told RFE/RL’s Current Time program on November 25: “There can be no question about any annexations.”

Georgia and the West have criticized a "strategic partnership" agreement between Russia and Abkhazia signed on November 24.

Tbilisi condemned the pact as an attempt by Moscow to annex the region.

Karasin also said Russia will “continue sparing no effort, nerves, financial expenses” to make sure its neighbors “do not feel endangered.”

"As a large state and a powerful country, Russia is constantly responsible for stability on its borders and everything that is under way along its borders," he added.

Under the "strategic partnership," Russian and Abkhaz forces in the territory will turn into a joint force led by a Russian commander.


19:16 November 21, 2014


On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we use the one-year anniversary of the Euromaidan uprising to look at how it changed both Ukraine and Russia. My guests are Sean Guillory and Alexander Motyl.

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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