Friday, August 22, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: The Crimean Game Changer

Three cities. One crisis.
Three cities. One crisis.
We've been here before.

In the conflicts in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia -- as well as in Moldova's separatist Transdniester region -- in the early 1990s. We were here dramatically, in Russia's August 2008 war with Georgia.

And here we are again today in Crimea. And soon, we may find ourselves in the same place yet again -- in Ukraine's Russophone East.

In the past, these conflicts resulted in Moscow's de facto control of another state's territory.

The stakes are higher this time. But do we have any reason to believe the outcome will be any different?

In the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the effects of the ongoing crisis in Crimea, both domestically in Russia and internationally.

Joining me is 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 7, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- March 7, 2014i
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Tags: Vladimir Putin,Russia-Ukraine relations,Crimean crisis

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Comment Sorting
by: Bohdan from: Canada
March 07, 2014 20:36
There appears to be a technical glitch at 31:56. Could you please fix this?

by: PermReader
March 07, 2014 21:32
"Progressive" mentality of the majority of the Western intellectuals prevented them to understand that the historical imperial role of the Russians and Russia in the forms of tsarist autocracy or the communist dictature can`t be lost without the tragical defeat of the military type.Intellectuals tweet about the advantages and gains of the reasonable Russian politics while the empire deliberatly gather it`s neighbours using friendship, help and even pressure and war.Progressives mast awake .

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 07, 2014 21:34
It is all doing of Russia.
Varaga invaded Eastern Europe and Russia in 9 Century AD.
Russia say that Varaga invaders were in Kiev, so it is Russia.
Varaga Czars two times lied to Mongols, to invade Georgia.
Russia says - making Mongols kill Georgia makes it Russia.
Georgia created Russia since Peter and made agreement
to liberate Caucasus - Russia says all Caucasus is Russia.
Poland and East Europe were invaded also by Varaga.
Russia says Poland and East Europe belong to Russia.

Are you saying it all belong to Russia?
Are you saying Russia must continue expand?
There is no separatists - it is predetermined Russian plots.
All secret forces, "Third Force" meant officially "security".
But Russia lied - they always lie about "security",
detach to it plots of subversion and expand.

Security in Abkhazia? Nazi took over? - No!
They elected Kantaria that razed flag on Reighstag.
Russia invaded and repopulating Abkhazia anywhere.
Security of navy in Crimea? Negotiate with Ukraine.
Why activate Russian spies and Nazis of expansion?
Nazis in Ukraine? No! It was Russians snipers killings.
Will Russia invade anywhere? To repopulate by Russians?
Before WW2 Russians perverted security promise to
Baltics, East Ukrainians, Belorussian and Moldovans
That asked Stalin, into treachery of Russian oppression.
Instead of security USSR lost Eastern Europe as natural
ally during WW2...

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 08, 2014 09:31
The people of Crimea are actually the first and foremost beneficiaries of the coup d'état that the US and Germany carried out in Kiew: the Crimean people never wanted to be part of Ukraine, and now that Ukraine has entered the stage of a state failure, the people of the Crimean Republic have been fast in taking advantage of this situation in order to separate themselves from the bankrupt European Ukraine and to and join Russia that they always wanted to be a part of.
In Response

by: Alex from: Baltimore, USA
March 10, 2014 16:41
Stop lying, Putin apologist. You know nothing and understand even less. 1) There is no such thing as the "Crimean people." There are the native Crimean Tatars, whom your hero Stalin exiled en masse but who survived and returned. There are Russians and Ukrainians who have moved there. There are small Greek, Armenian, and other minorities. The population of Crimea is diverse and factionalized. Learn some facts. 2) The February revolution in Kyiv was a popular revolution. Stop repeating Russian lies that it was a Western coup. The people of Kyiv fought the Berkut for several months in freezing weather and withstood live gunfire - mercenaries would never do that. Ukrainians simply have had enough of Russian-style post-Soviet corruption and authoritarianism. Get a clue and stop your pathetic conspiracy mongering. 3) If the Crimea does join Russia, its people will realize very quickly what a historic mistake they've made. They will be left poor and starved for water, energy, and money in a provincial backwater of a repressive empire with nothing to offer them. Meanwhile, their Ukrainian neighbors will be building a European state. Pretty soon, we'll start to see Crimean refugees fleeing across Perekop. Perhaps you'll help the Russians build a new Berlin Wall there to stop them. That seems like the kind of thing you would do. Eugenio, I do have to commend you on your consistency - you ALWAYS take the side of the anti-Western dictator and oppressor. You must be one damaged human being. Why do you keep living in Vienna if you hate the West so much? Isn't that rank hypocrisy on your part?
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 10, 2014 22:33
:-))) God, how great it is to have all those enlightened individuals from the country of Beavus and Butthead who have elected this intellectual George W Bush as their president FREELY and TWICE and still think that it is someone else that knows "nothing and understands even less" :-))).
(a) Beavus, all the ethnic groups that you describe are exactly the ones that constitute the Crimean people the majority of whom have NEVER wanted to be a part of Ukraine and who will join Russia within weaks;
(b) The February coup - just as I was saying on this site during December, January and February - is the event that will enter in the history of "Ukraine" as the one that unleashed the state failure process. A year from now, all those "revolutionaries" from Maidan will be slaughtering each other the same way as their Syrian and Lybian colleagues are doing today;
(c) The people of Kiew can fight whomever they want, it's just that the Crimean people have NEVER had absolutely nothing to do with Kiew and do not happen to give a damn about what particular Ukrainian gang is running the show in Kiew right now. The Crimean people just want one thing - to be a part of Russia;
(d) The Crimean people WILL join Russia, don't worry about it. If you think they are "about to make a mistake", go to Simferopol and tell them about it - I have seen videos of some smart guys like you (Poroshenko, for example) who went there for the same purpose and had to run away pretty fast - back to "Ukraine". And the Crimean people stayed in their native land - RUSSIA;
(e) The Ukrainians will not be building anything - a year from now they will be in the same situation in which Syria and Lybia find themselves after their respective "revolutions".
Really, Beavus, the best thing that can happen to Ukraine is to be liberated from the German- and US-financed gang by the Russian Army. And that's what is happening in the Crimean Republic right now. And something tells me that it's just the beginning. Fasten your seat-belts, loser :-))).

by: mal e jones from: north wales
March 08, 2014 12:37
I thought that Russia had a deal to stay in Savstopol until 2035,has this deal been rescinded, if not, why is no one making a big deal of this, "Yes Mr Putin, you may stay, no Mr Putin NATO will not get the port, we will share with you.

by: Ray Finch from: Lawrence, KS
March 08, 2014 19:23
Nice report. I spend consider able time monitoring the Russian media (both traditional and social media). When I compare the standard Russian narrative with the average western coverage, it would appear that conflict is inevitable. At some point the harsh rhetoric will lead to actual violence.

Agree that the Kremlin has been operating without a formally approved script, however, the ideological vacuum of Putin’s first two terms has been filled with great power Russian nationalism, and this ideology now informs much of the Kremlin’s decision-making. After annexing Crimea, Putin may become even more dizzy with success.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 08, 2014 22:29
Yes, and by the way, guys, while Jonh Kerry was "threatening" Vladimir Putin over Ukraine, Bashar seems to have scored one more military victory over the inept pro-US losers by taking the city of Zara, "one of two last strongholds for rebels along the Lebanese border leading to the city of Homs". If it goes on like this, the Beavuses will end up losing it all, be it in Ukraine, in Syria, in Venezuela and elswhere.
The source on the takeover of Zara:

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 09, 2014 07:12
They are neither pro-Russian militia nor genuine population,
But pretending to be influx of Russian military and Spetcnaz
with families, which commanded and not very happy with it.

The Devil rule the World and never stop insinuating.
Russian lies, scratched out of their own noses take hold.
Proxies of Russia and their offer in 1954, imperial resurrecting,
Moved West and East, with help of British. Scores of lying-bold.
Are CIS, Georgia and Ukraine:
"strive to the West and EU integration"?

That language invented by Babilon snakes of Russia "shtaby"
Repopulate by Russia-Prussia East Europe and Central Asia.
To avoid travesty Abkhazia Georgians elected Kantaria, "Uvy",
He razed flag on Reighstag - did not stop genocide by Russia.
After genocide-cleanse Abkhazia, it helped CIS and Georgia.

It holt Russia-expand by international community - sabotaged,
By Russia, specially the Third World - still lied too, since 1947.
Stalin under house arrest, good deeds usurped by Russ-brass.
Slowly EU, USA, "NATO for Peace" helped, Russia Aggressed.
At some point Russia, lying, forced new terminology...

I wonder, why last surviving national leaders use it so often?
Why open propaganda door to Russians, Brits and Germans,
With their Imperial resurrection:
"Strive to the West and EU Integration" - Against Russia?
All nations are be free - live in dignity and let others live.
Whose perverted idea is it, breed Russia in their lands?

It will happen that Russia will be behind barbed wire,
As it expands evil and corruption to be "Pomesh'iks".
But why fuel Russia's and their proxy's propaganda?
Why help them invade and repopulate all Euro-Asia?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 10, 2014 23:03
VIDEO: Billboards urge Crimeans to reunite with Russia -

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 11, 2014 17:23
VIDEO: Yanukovich: I'm alive, I'm still president, I'll be back -
In Response

by: Alex from: Baltimore, USA
March 11, 2014 20:15
Eugenio, you are a far-left clown. Your ideology is wack and you don't live in the real world. The things you say are demonstrably untrue. You are lying to yourself and to everyone around you, and you hide behind juvenile insults and ad hominem attacks when confronted with this. On top of everything else, your English is not as good as you think it is.

The real questions here - ones you haven't answered yet - is why do you hate the United States so much? And why do you keep living in a Europe that you clearly despise? Could it be that you are a rank hypocrite who's afraid to leave his cozy Austrian home and his generous social democratic welfare payments? Have the courage of your convictions, move out of your parent's basement, and emigrate to Russia, North Korea, Belarus, Uzbekistan, or some other anti-Western dictatorship and build "real existing socialism" there. Of course, after that, it will be much too late for you to change your clown mind, but at least the rest of us will be spared your toxic postings.

In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 12, 2014 19:14
Hello Alex, you are saying that I am the one who "hides behind juvenile insults", and then you call me a "clown", a "liar", a "hypocrite " etc. So, who is hiding behind insults here :-)?
And the REAL question here is, of course, not about me and why I live here and not elswere.
The REAL question, Alex, is why it is that the US has lost the wars in Afghanistan, in Irak, why it never even dared to attack Syria, inspite of promising to do so on a number of occasions. And one more REAL question is how is it possible that all these NATO policy-"makers" - who have spent months destabilizing Ukraine - appear to have had absolutely no clue that Russia was set to react to it in a determined manner.
And the answer to these questions consists in that all these EU and NATO states are misgoverened by corrupt, incometent and inept oligarchies, represented by such creatures as George W. Bush or Francois Hollande, by such organizations as Fanny Mac or Lehman Brothers.
What can one expect from these guys other than screwing up every time they undertake something? The sooner the people in Europe and in the US get rid of these roaches, the better.
Cheers from Vienna, Alex, and have fun observing how Russia is reincorporating a region with a population of 2.000.000 people without firing a single shot. This is called COMPETENT policy-making. And now look at the democratically elected President of the US: he cannot even activate a web-site related to his health care program...

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