Tuesday, September 30, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: Russia's Autumn Frost

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks to reporters after being interrogated by the Investigative Committee on October 17.
Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks to reporters after being interrogated by the Investigative Committee on October 17.
What to make of the criminal case against Sergei Udaltsov? Is it a harbinger of a broader crackdown against the opposition? A tactical move to neutralize the leftist leader as the Kremlin prepares to enact painful reforms of the social welfare system?  
 
Tune in to the latest edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," where I discuss these issues with my regular co-host, Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service.
 
Also on the podcast, Kirill and I take a look at President Vladimir Putin's increasingly strained relations with the family of a onetime political patron.

 Enjoy...

Power Vertical Podcast: Russia's Big Chill
Power Vertical Podcast: Russia's Big Chilli
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Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

Tags: Vladimir Putin,Russian opposition,Ksenia Sobchak,Anatoly Sobchak,Sergei Udaltsov,Lyudmila Narusova

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Mikhail Zygar, editor in Chief of Dozhd TV, wins International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists

Some reactions to Russia ending the FLEX high school exchange program:

Stanford University Professor Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Ukrainian Social Researcher Irene Fedets

Fulbright Scholar Sergeu Kostyaev

Lena Osipova, OPhD Student at School of International Service, American University

From the always insightful Sean Guillory

"Novorossyia is just a cinematic project to rile up the population anyway. The “heroes” have always been actors in a larger drama, and when this series jumps the shark, its production set will be folded up and the stage will be prepared for a new theatrical work to dazzle the spectator. The cinematography deployed to turn Russia into “war state” is all just the tactics. We shouldn’t so quickly substitute smoke and mirrors for reality. Putin’s real strategy is to hobble Ukraine and humble the West, and on that he’s doing pretty damn well."

As usual, Paul Goble already a lot of great content up at his Window on Eurasia blog. Does that man ever sleep? As I've said before, Window on Eurasia is one of the best resources available in the English language for Russia watchers. The volume of material -- not to mention the quality -- is amazing. Does this guy ever sleep? 

A couple things that immediately caught my eye today:

A post about how Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka is "quietly purging" a "pro-Moscow 'Fifth Column'" in his regime. 

"Concerned that Moscow might engineer a regime change in Belarus as a follow on to its actions in Ukraine, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been purging pro-Russian officials from his regime – but in a very quiet way lest he provoke Moscow as a result."

The piece cited reports in "Nasha Niva" and "Obozrevatel

There's also a piece, citing the web portal "Novy Kaliningrad" that looks at whether Kaliningrad's Muslim community might rebel against Moscow. 

"The 100,000-strong Muslim community of Kaliningrad is running out of options in the Russian legal system to secure land for the construction of a mosque in that Russian exclave and consequently will now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, according to their lawyer Dagir Khasavov.

But meanwhile, continuing opposition by regional officials to a mosque, Irshat Khisamov, head of the Muslim community in the oblast, says, is having “an extremely negative” impact on the members of his community. And many of them believe the governor there wants 'a Maidan like the one in Ukraine.'"

 

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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