Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: Springtime For Putin

A woman in Simferopol walks past a mural depicting Russian president Vladimir Putin giving a hand to  Ukranians.
A woman in Simferopol walks past a mural depicting Russian president Vladimir Putin giving a hand to Ukranians.
Vladimir Putin's inner circle is shrinking; the Kremlin's crackdown on dissent and independent media is intensifying; and Russia's economy is bracing for a shock with unpredictable consequences.

The ongoing crisis in Crimea is changing -- perhaps fundamentally -- Russia's domestic political arrangements. In the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we look at how.

Joining me are 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 Kirill Kobrin, editor of the Moscow-based history and sociology magazine "Neprikosnovenny zapas."

Power Vertical Podcast -- March 14, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- March 14, 2014i
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Comment Sorting
by: Weijia from: Exeter
March 14, 2014 21:58
Hi, do you think surkov is for or against the invasion of crimea? I came across this article http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2014/03/02_a_5933301.shtml which said that surkov was supervising Ukraine direction but he was sidelined when the decision was made to annex crimea. So my guess is that surkov was against this idea.

It makes sense if we assume that sechin was supporting the idea of annexation crimea, since sechin is surkov's enemy all the time.

In addition, what do you think about khodorkovsky's role in Ukraine? He was in Kiev from the night of 8th March to 10th March and gave two speeches. He was clearly against the annexation of crimea.
In Response

by: Dimitri from: Tbilisi
March 15, 2014 11:38
I don't know about Surkov, but when Khodorkovski was released from prison he gave an interview where he said that Putin's war against Georgia was justified, and that he himself would go and fight for Russia. Before being released he also thought that the Georgia and Russia war will end up bringing Russia and EU closer. I'm not sure what his motivations were but clearly he was towing the kremlin's line even after his release. Maybe this new incursion into Ukraine changed gave birth to a new reality in his damn mind! Just search for his articles, and interviews for yourself if you think I'm crazy.
In Response

by: J
March 18, 2014 18:21

by: Ray Finch from: Lawrence, KS
March 14, 2014 23:45
I enjoyed the podcast, but just a couple points. After the August 2008 events, the Economist had a cover which depicted a tub of shaking jello and the headline, “The West Responds to Russia.” What’s different this time? Same hot air, same big rhetoric, but other than symbolic sanctions, nothing that will really hurt the Kremlin leadership. Nor should it. If blood spilt is the measure of territory, the Crimea belongs to Russia.

I suspect that Putin has a better understanding of his western counterpart than some of the commentators at RFE. As an American, we like to think that our leadership places principles above politics, but this, I’m afraid, is an illusion. When someone like Senator McCain (who is visiting Kiev this weekend) pronounces about America’s belief in democracy and freedom, frankly, I have to refrain from gagging. Perhaps he should save this homily for Ms. Nuland. Or to those Russians living in the Crimea who want to pay allegiance to Moscow. Alas, McCain will likely change his tune once Putin figures out how to get this venerable senator on his payroll.
In Response

by: Brian Whitmore from: Prague
March 15, 2014 14:48
On the West and sanctions, here's some recommended reading befire you rush to judgement: http://www.rferl.org/content/in-sanctions-showdown-with-west-russia-playing-a-weak-hand/25296840.html
In Response

by: Jack from: US
March 16, 2014 15:49
Senator McCain said he wants American airlines to hire more muslim pilots. But then again, McCain is on Saudi payroll, and Putin can hardly afford to outbid Saudis

by: Phil Hudson from: Kyiv
March 15, 2014 05:07
I have an image if Putin sitting in his 30 Billion USD Sochi Games, watching images of Maidan, seeing the jokes about the construction failures, trying to manage Yanukovich and keeping a fixed smile as he greeted dignatories. To say he must have been seething cannot remotely reflect the depth of his feelings.

This is an animal response. Outsiders were pissing all over his territory. But this is an animal with nuclear. What's the best case? Partitioned Ukraine and return to the Cold War and Putin's comfort zone?
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 15, 2014 21:59
yes ,
best solution is to give to galizian the opportunity to build
in galizia
their own idea of ultranationalist Ukraina

and for the rest of the country
build a Ukraina like it should always be
multietnic and multicultural

by: Tomas from: Australia
March 16, 2014 13:06
You should make a better homework. And your laughing when people are dying is not appropriate, baby,

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 16, 2014 16:15
So, guys, the further the whole thing advances, the more it looks like Ukraine is going to become another Syria for you: Russia has amassed 60.000 troops on the Ukrainian border, whereas dozens of thousands of people in Donetsk, Kharkov and elsewhere in Eastern Ukraine ask the Russian President and the Russian Army for help against the bankrupt gang of losers who took over the govt structures in Kiew.
Let me say what I think will happen in the next few days: the people of Crimea will vote in favor of becoming a part of Russia again, the Russian Duma will accept the Peninsula into the Russian Federation, then the people in Donetsk, Kharkov and Lugansk will feel encouraged and will start fighting for their rights with even more determination.
The Kiew junta will react by shooting at those people and in this situation the Russian Armed Forces will have no choice other than jumping in to guarantee the physical security of the people in those regions.
And the Beavuses and their friends - what will they do? Correct, the same way as it was in Syria: they will stand by, watch the events unravel and talk a lot - that's the only thing they are good at :-)).

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 16, 2014 20:12
Well, guys, in Crimea 93 % of the population vote in favor of accession to Russia, in Syria Bashar has liberated one more strategic town from the US-sponsored losers, and what is the reaction of the "free Europe" and of the US? They will "impose sanctions" :-)). God, on whom? On those people in Crimea who do not want any Europe and who only want to be a part of Russia? On the people of Syria who do not want to live under your terrorist bankrupt rule? Ah, guys, you are simply roaches, nothing else, just Roaches with a capital "R", and I can only pity you, inept dirty losers :-)))...

by: richard from: canada
March 16, 2014 20:32
I can hardly wait until the EU drags the Kleptokrats out on the carpet.....with sanctions.... If no, it is a de facto endorsement of thug capitalism....a stealth takeover of the West by a desperately broken ideology trying to reconcile itself by superimposing its rapacious greed onto the rest of the world......I now understand what Kruschev meant when he said to the West, "We will bury you"

by: PermReader
March 20, 2014 17:21
The unloved historian V.Kliuchevsky wrote in 19 century that the Russians love the country because of it`s strength and greatness.And he does not forgives it `s weakness.So the propaganda during the successfull actions is effective and to the contrary:the failures destroy it.

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

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