Friday, November 28, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: Love Thy Neighbor

Neighborly relations.
Neighborly relations.
It was the U-Turn heard around Eastern Europe.

For months, Ukraine appeared ready to face down pressure from Russia and sign an association agreement and free trade pact with the European Union at its upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius. And polls showed that public opinion -- albeit by a small margin -- as well as much of the country's business elite, supported this course.

And then, at the 11th hour, after President Viktor Yanukovych made a trip to Moscow for closed-door meetings with Vladimir Putin, they flip-flopped, illustrating Moscow's continued sway over its neighbors.

In the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," we discuss Russia's policy toward its neighbors in advance of the EU's Vilnius summit. 

Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows" and special guest Edward Lucas, international editor for "The Economist" and author of the book "Deception: Spies, Lies, and How Russia Deceives the West."

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Podcast -- November 22, 2013
Power Vertical Podcast -- November 22, 2013i
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by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 22, 2013 18:57
I wonder what exactly EU officials are going to do in Vilnius the next week: Belarus has never had an intention of signing anything at all, Armenia declined the idea of an Association with the EU and preferred to join the Russo-Kazakh-Belarus-led Customs Union, and now the Ukraine decided to suspend the process of joining the Association. So, what else is there to discuss in Vilnius? I guess, they will spend some time taking about the tough life of Nadejda Tolokonnikova, as long as there is nothing else they can do...
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
November 23, 2013 00:24
You wouldn't have to wonder if you read up a little on the topic. Look around the internet, go to the EU summit website, read a little more... You'll soon find out the answer to the questions that trouble you so.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 23, 2013 13:46
Aha, I am just so damn curious: some EU guys coming to Vilnius to sign an Association Agreement with the Ukraine and Armenia, whereas the leaderships of the latter two countries have no intentions of signing anything - those who write for the EU summit website will have to be very creative in order to write up an agenda for this kind of "event" :-)).
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 23, 2013 20:10
Eugenio gloats again about new victory of expanding Russia,
That made EU betray Ukraine: "only them or us, the Prussia".
To be sure, he silenced in advance any related comments.
Eugenio destroys speech, while expanding and robbing!
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
November 27, 2013 04:05
Well, be curious then. It's always better to be curious than to be so fully convinced of something that curiosity is no longer even a dreamlike possibility, wouldn't you agree? :-) Where there is curiosity, there is hope of change... Let me wish you a lot of curiosity, now and in the future.
In Response

by: Mike
November 24, 2013 06:16
Lucas and Galeotti with Whitmore moderating is like the above overly twisted piece.

Ditto the venues that Whitmore chooses to promote.

In actuality, Ukraine has chosen a more pragmatic path of not bowing to any pressure. Instead, buying time to review the options it has.


by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 23, 2013 19:59
STOLEN AGAIN DESTINY, FROM UKRAINE AND EUROPA,
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BY RUSSIA AND PRUSSIA, CANNNGLY DIVISIVE DUPA,
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DENYING ACCESS SPEACH ON THE TRADE MATTER.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IS IT ONLY RUSSIA OR EUROPE, "UNION-PRUSSIA"?
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NOW YOU OPEN COMMENTS, AS UKRAINE CRACK?
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Russian folk stories about "Ivan the Stupid" being smart,
Often end-up on a crossroad of three roads. As for West,
Europe, created by Iberian-Caucasians settlements, first,
Was busted by betrayers of Rome and Reme - than arts,
As Roman Empire falling, eaten by Normans and the rest.

Fighting Europe ended in Democratic, but Imperial modes,
Some rise of new revival - only rearm for the larger battles,
As barbarians were opening big mouth again to eat in fold
Prospering again Iberian-Caucasians Civilizations, Europe,
Revolution's Host and restored freedoms in Eastern World.

There are always two entities - the creator and the usurper,
Trying enslave and plagiarize the first, threatening with war.
There are always three roads - divide Europe, for Russians,
As they did once forging and using second empire, Prussia,
One choice for East and Central Europe, to be enslaved hor.

It is only two roads, be a colony of forged as "Union" Prussia,
Or a colony of new "Union" Russia? Only one of two choices?
Why not a third choice - be free and trade with both - Russia
And European Union? In order to prevent it, denying speech,
Russia got silenced me again, blackmailing Ukraine as leech.

They using secret pacts with the barbarians, restore empires,
And Ivan's canning luring, like division of East Europe before,
As Molotov lured Robentroph, as Ivanov lured NATO, saying:
"This part is for me, that part is for you" - dancing with a lure.
Is Germany-Austria owns EU to force Ukraine to the ordeal?


by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 23, 2013 21:07
It looks like for this coming Sunday (24.11) the EU with the support of RFE/RL is planning to organize another "revolution" in the Ukraine with the purpose of finally getting the Ukrainian govt sign a free-trade agreement with the EU. I have just had a look at some Ukrainian web-sites: the RFE/RL is helping them to organize a live transmission of the "revolution" from the Kiev's Maidan. Let's see if you, guys, are going to be any more successful in the Ukraine than you have been in Syria in September :-)).
In Response

by: Asehpe from: the Netherlands
November 27, 2013 04:07
Yes, because it's truly impossible that people in Ukraine might actually want something that you don't agree with. Now that would be too much to believe in, now wouldn't it?

The foreign enemies! The horror! Ah, if only there were no foreigners in this world...
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 27, 2013 09:44
Aha, good luck with this new "revolution" - it will be just as successful as you, guys, trying to remove Bashar from Syria for the last 2,5 years.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 28, 2013 07:03
Eugenio pretend, or indeed do not understand, your meaning.
Netherland as Eastern Europe, fought for Freedom from Nazis,
Before it fought many, like Inquisition, than British encroaching,
As they helped Brits, later Peter with artillery and navy, seeing
Later Russia-Prussia destroying part by part Europe's East.

The natural instinct of Netherland is Prudent Independence,
In East and Central Europe, specially Ukraine that is largest
Country in the region. You simply say that Ukraine has right
To go strait, not to be enslaved-repopulated by the Russians
And by logical parallels, not be enslaved also by the Prussia.

Eugenio trying, as usual, just opposite, weather "CIA plotted"
And "Helena participated", Ukraine forge brake another "wall",
Like Berlin Wall - grabbed by Germany-Austria amalgamated,
Or "KGB, Russia-shtaby, ethnic Russia plotted" another hole
Made by Russia invaders, like Moldova or Georgia, truncated.


by: Jack from: US
November 24, 2013 03:54
the Ukraine decided to avoid fate of NATO minions - being controlled by Washington mafia

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 24, 2013 20:12
Aha, it looks like the Beavuses are getting compeletely desperate and have tried to organize "revoluations" in two countries where pro-US govts have been kicked out of power and replaces by anti-US/EU forces over the last several years:
(a) in Venezuela, a professional US-financed loser Capriles woke up after several months of having no idea what to do about having being defeated in the presidential election last Spring and organized a massive "protest" demonstration: http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2013/11/23/actualidad/1385237530_268803.html
(b) and in Ukraine the traditional politically bankrupt political forces that have misgoverened the country between 2005 and 2010 have tried to repeat the coup d'etat that they had successfully staged back in 2004: http://lb.ua/news/2013/11/24/242552_berkut_titushki_puskayut.html
It looks like however in both cases, those pro-US bacnkrupt losers are just as inpet as their bosses from Washington DC: they are good at making noise, but are completely unable to achieve any of their policy goals :-).
In Response

by: Ivanushka the Fool from: Bear Cave
November 25, 2013 09:08
Comrades Eugenio and Jackgb are right as always although they are left/overs/from the USSR.Nobody,but nobody,man wants those bloody Europeans-all the Ukrainians want is another Holodomor and we all want the soviet-Russian Teddy Bear to take good care of us-as nobody else can-no we must not forget to give EU genio and Jack the Joke extra rations of 100 gramms of vodka and they can also share a tin of selyodka and a Xmass copy of the russian edition of Playboy.Keep up the Rott/en Red Front rebyata-you`re on your right way to the fiery red-hot furnace!!! Ei,ukhnyem!!!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 25, 2013 19:02
Dear Camel, irrespectively of what you might want, just look at what has been happening in and around Syria and Iran the last several months, and this will give you an idea of which way the wind on the intl arena is blowing. The above cited Ukraine and Venezuela are two further example to support this point.
Cheers from Vienna!
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 28, 2013 18:38
Eugenio again, trying sunk us into bubbling about scores
That Russia made against the West, as imperial spheres
Of influence to be created, while "Ivan the Fool" is fooling
Around same approach - like "Common Wealth" restoring
Not "Independent States", but "left-overs" of former USSR,
Be sold to Prussia of Sweden and Polls, or Russian Czars.

by: La Russophobe from: USA
November 25, 2013 13:05
A massive crowd of between 50,000 to 100,000 people poured into the streets of Kiev to protest this decision. Putin and Yanukovich are just playing for time, no rational young person in Ukraine today would want better relations with Russia than with the EU. Europe has so much more to offer that Russia simple pales into invisibility by comparison. Ukraine reject Russia long ago, and there is no turning back.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 25, 2013 19:10
You are saying: "Europe has so much more to offer" :-)). Aha, Europe is offering a lot to its memeber states: 25 % unemployment rate to Greece and Spain, 3 years in a row of shrinking economy to Italy, -8,9 % of GDP "growth" to Cyprus this year, cutting salaries of workers and increasing bonuses of banksters - all of which leads to daily protests AGAINST the EU in most EU member states ever since the outbreak of the crisis in 2008.
You have for sure never heard of those things - no wonder, you get "informed" from the sources close to RFE/RL :-)). Will you even find Europe on the map of the world, La Russ from the USA :-))?
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 27, 2013 04:10
No, laddie. Europe is offering money. Russia, too, by the way, nothing more than that, despite all the "we're one people/orthodox christendom" mumbo-jumbo. It's just that Europe has a lot more money (plus know-how; Russia is still all about mineral resources and weapons).

But you know that. After all, you choose to live in Vienna, not in Moscow...
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 27, 2013 09:43
Anonymous is saying: "Europe is offering money". Europe is offering money??? Really??? What money and why is it that Yanoukovitsch is not taking it???
You know, it's funny to see someone thinking that the EU can offer any money to anyone at all, given that here in the EU they have been cutting spending and closing enterprises ever since the outbreak of the never-ending Euro-crisis in 2008. Someone who - like the EU - is simpy bankrupt can hardly offer anyone any money.
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
December 01, 2013 03:06
Because Putin won't let him, silly. Ask the Armenians...
In Response

by: Mike
November 26, 2013 06:15
In your idiotically sticky dreams perhaps.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 29, 2013 22:36
CIS, including Ukraine, are independent nations!
It is sick to see on all forums, media and press,
Children of Quislings of Russian occupation
Try create Russian colonial empire of serfs,
As children of Quislings of Nazi's invasions
Try old dream, US of Europe, ran by Germ.

Both spitting against river of World History,
But they have armies - telepaths and spies
That pushing Ukraine and CIS, by hysteria
Of crafting rules to repossess - take or die!

Sure, Ukrainian people shouldn't be fooled
By Yanukovich promise - Russia has ways,
Forging rules - enslave-repossess as gulls.
Same is ran by Germs EU - chipping away
By set of rules independence of members...

Ukraine have stay firm, by free trade rules,
It can take its time - but people have know,
Exactly how much the Russia-Prussia gulls
Might snick at their back, absorbing Europe.

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

SIBERIAN AVIATION FOLLIES

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

MIKHAIL ZYGAR OF DOZHD-TV HONORED

12:33 November 26, 2014

NO MISTRAL, NO FRENCH WINE!

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.

MEANWHILE, IN UKRAINE...

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

BAD NEWS AT SBERBANK

12:18 November 26, 2014

MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST ESCAPES RUSSIA, SEEKS ASYLUM IN U.S.

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 Amurburg.ru, 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.

MERKEL SAYS RUSSIA TRAMPLING ON INTERNATIONAL LAW

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 SAYS MORE RUSSIAN MILITARY IN EAST

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 SAYS IT WON'T ANNEX ABKHAZIA, SOUTH OSSETIA

By RFE/RL

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

POWER VERTICAL PODCAST: A YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

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