Friday, November 28, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: Russia's New Utopianism

Eurasianism, old and new: Aleksandr Dugin, Giorgy Florovsky and Aleksandr Prokhanov.
Eurasianism, old and new: Aleksandr Dugin, Giorgy Florovsky and Aleksandr Prokhanov.

It's been compared to a consensual hallucination and even likened to a collective hit of cocaine. 

It may have been a masterstroke that reset Russia's political agenda and saved Vladimir Putin's regime. Or it may turn out to be a fleeting phenomenon that results in a big national hangover.

It is the return of the Russian messianic idea.

One thing is abundantly clear about the wave of patriotic fervor that has gripped Russia since the annexation of Crimea: After decades in the shadows, those age-old utopian and imperial instincts are back with a vengeance.

In this week's "Power Vertical Podcast," we discuss Eurasianism, Russia's latest messianic ideology. Is it a passing fad? Or a long-term project?

Joining me are Merhat Sharipzhan, a senior correspondent and analyst with RFE/RL's Central Newsroom, and Andreas Umland,a professor at Kyiv Mohyla Academy and a leading expert on Russian nationalism.


Power Vertical Podcast -- June 20, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- June 20, 2014i
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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 20, 2014 18:48
Aha, now - after all sorts of media started talking about an imminent Russian military interverntion in Donetsk and Lugansk (scheduled for 26.06) to liberated the people there from the hated and failed "state" of "Ukraine" - Por seems to have gotten the message and announced a cease-fire for a few. During this week the pro-Russian fighter will amass more combattants and mil. equpement in order to continue making "Ukraine" a "prosperous Europea state" :-)).
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Viyana
June 21, 2014 18:46
Bismilla y Rahman y Rahim :-))!!
Yes, just as I was saying yesterday, the Lugansk People's Republic took advantage of the initiative and retook control over three check-points on the border with the Russian Federation. Additionally, the Central Military District of the Russian Federation has been put in the state of full alert.
It really does sound like someone is about to get a HUGE kick in the ... and I think I even know who this will be :-)).
And at any rate, the winter is only 4-5 months away - and this is gonna be a cold one for some :-)).
Cheers from Viyana!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 23, 2014 18:30
Guys, here is one more proof of that "Ukraine" is rapidly becoming a prosperous civilized "state": according to media reports, the capital Kiew is about to suffer an interruption of hot water supplies to the population (they have to money to pay for it). So, really, it is the way it has to be the case in any civilized prosperous state (where is this guy from Toronto who will remind me that "positive change needs time" :-))?).
Reference on hot water in Kiew:

by: Mamuka
June 22, 2014 23:27
Ahem... I'd like to interrupt all the dezinformatsiya to actually comment on the podcast: it seems like this 'messianism' is based on Russianness (Rosiistvo, if I may invent a word) and perhaps Pravoslavie... so how does that concur with the Eurasian Union with their Slavic brothers in Kazakhstan, or even Tatarstan, or the North Caucasus?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 24, 2014 06:05
VIDEO: Nice life in Kiew these days -

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 25, 2014 12:11
VIDEO: Ukraine crisis: Putin & Fischer press conference in Austria (recorded live feed) -

by: PermReader
July 19, 2014 18:56
The war with Ukraine have made Russian imperial ideas clear,I am sure, even for the CIA and RFERL journalists.Isn`t it strange? -not at all.This strange liberal attitude toward the imperial dreams has the long history of the Eltsin`s young liberals` "liberal empire".The American sympathy to this "empire" which was "liberal" for a while was demonstrated by RFERL and others radios` position toward the orange revolutions.There was the masters of making fun of them like Portnikov, for example. So the big strong slightly imperially inclined Russia was a very convenient partner foe a while till...

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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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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