Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: Perestroika, Putin-Style

Is Putin offering the Russian elite a new deal?
Is Putin offering the Russian elite a new deal?
Is it the winds of change, or just changing political winds?

President Vladimir Putin's campaign to compel Russian officials to repatriate their foreign-held assets represents a major change in the unwritten contract between the Kremlin leader and the broader elite.

Under the old deal, officials were allowed to line their pockets and bend the rules in exchange for unswerving loyalty. But if this is no longer the case, then what is the new deal? And what are its risks?

In the latest edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discuss these issues with co-host Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service and special guest Andras Toth-Czifra, a Brussels-based political-risk consultant and author of the blog "No Yardstick." 

Power Vertical Podcast: Perestroika, Putin-Style
Power Vertical Podcast: Perestroika, Putin-Stylei
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Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

Tags: Vladimir Putin,Russian elite,Power Vertical podcast

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Idrian from: Surrey, BC
March 02, 2013 02:54
It's a good thing the podcast has mentioned Limonov, even if for a short time. Would it be possible for The Power Vertical to either have a blogpost or podcast about the lesser-known figures and organisations of the Russian opposition, especially those who are not on good terms with what is headlined as 'the Russian opposition' like the abovementioned Limonov? (Other Russia, Russian Soc. Mov't, the anarchists etc)
In Response

by: plots in mahabaleshwar from: Pune
March 04, 2013 04:36
Political wind is blowing in russia.
In Response

by: La Russophobe from: USA
March 04, 2013 13:01
Not sure what you mean by not having good relations, but Limonov and Zyuganov were allowed to participate with the so-called opposition from the beginning, and that was it's biggest mistake. Thoughtful analysts realized from that one sign alone that the mainstream opposition leaders were both helplessly weak and hopelessly incompetent, and that there could be no hope that they would actually make any real change in Russia. The best proof of this has been the fact that Udaltsov, yet another hardcore wacko, has risen to a prominent place in the current "opposition" and that even Navalny can be tied to any number of very unsavory nationalist ideals.
In Response

by: Idrian from: Surrey, BC
March 05, 2013 22:19
Limonov did join up with the opposition at the beginning, but left when he realised they won't accept his plan of continuing all the way to Red Square, that's what I've heard from him. He's now in no good terms with them.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 03, 2013 17:12
If there is anything in today's world that reminds me of the Gorbachev's "catastroyka", it is the process of austerity that a number of NATO member states (such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, US or Italy) are going through these days: all these societies have run out of money and have to cut spending severely, which leads to an irreversible societal collapse.

by: Escalator India from: Pune
March 04, 2013 07:24
I feel that President is doing real good work for that we have to praise him.

by: Ben
March 04, 2013 11:51
Western support of the oppozition,Magnitsky list,foreign property,bank accounts of elite are the cause of some measures of the "patriotic" style so the"`s corruption fight" have begun from the dismissal of the disliked by the militaries-Minister.Patriotic reaction on the West influence for the national unity will be the dominat.Successors` intrigue-is the Russian usual carrot.

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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

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