Monday, November 24, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: The Ideologue

Cunning, calculating, ruthless -- and an ideologue to boot.
Cunning, calculating, ruthless -- and an ideologue to boot.
We've seen that he could be ruthless. We've always suspected he was cynical and calculating. And we've always known him to be cunning. But recent years have taught us something new about Vladimir Putin. He appears to be much more ideological than we had suspected.

This has been evident in the Kremlin leader's persistent gay bashing; in his full-throated defense of Russia's "traditional values" and derision of the West's "genderless and infertile" liberalism in his state-of-the-nation speech last year; and in his recent redrafting of history in public comments following the annexation of Crimea.

The new face of Putinism is coming into sharp focus. Is it just a cosmetic makeover to meet the needs of the moment? Or is it the shape of things to come?

On the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," we discuss the newly ideologial Putin. 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 Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and author of "Sean's Russia Blog."

Also on the podcast, Mark, Sean, and I talk about how recent developments have led us to rethink our assumptions about Russia.

Enjoy...
Power Vertical Podcast -- May 23, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- May 23, 2014i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jojnjo from: Dublin
May 23, 2014 20:30
How could anyone believe a word out of Putin's mouth? He says he'll respect Ukraine's election but he has said so much regards Ukraine before, that was all "Mumbo Jumbo".


He also says he'd like to see law & order restored? Does he forget that it was/is his thugs & little green men who have/are causing all the mayhem that has befallen the people of Ukraine. This terrorist Nazi/Stalinist leader is really living up to Prince Charles's description of him & worse.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 24, 2014 18:50
PUTIN SAID:
“RUSSIA CANNOT BE ISOLATED OVER UKRAINE”
I SAY:
“RUSSIA CAN'T CONQUER WITHOUT BEING ISOLATED”
___________________________________________
He says it is “impossible” to isolate Russia from global economy despite Western pressure over crisis in Ukraine.
_________________________________________________
I say it is “impossible” for the West and even most of Humanity let Russia conquer the World part-by-part, starting with Hungary, Checks, Afghanistan, Caucasus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Eastern Europe –

even if Germans and Austrians are promised by Russia part of the loot and British gentlemen wait for outcome, return back to British colonies too -

even if all three enjoying gas pipes staffed into their “How Do You Do?” by Russia -

even if USA, staffed by Russian propaganda “14% of oil reserves” invaded Iraq -

even if USA, staffed by Russian propaganda “Russia killed in Afghanistan 2 millions, let do it too” killed 200 thousands in Iraq -

even if manipulated by Russia 9/11 terrorists and propaganda made USA invade wrong country, Afghanistan, and leaving it for another Russian conquest -

even if Russia planed in advance Russian GRU-Spetcnaz and Adyga influx in Abkhazia, a hundred KGB pseudo-Fascists in Lviv versus pseudo-local “Amurnye lentochki” in Donetsk, KGB-GRU influx in Andijan and Fergana and in all other
former USSR republics and autonomies –

PUTIN, NATO DIDN’T START AND STILL HOLD BACK NATO EXPANSION!
IT IS THE OUTCRY OF NATIONS YOU ATTACK AND DESTROY THAT ASKED UN, EU, USA AND EVENTUALLY SOME NATO HELP TO DEFENDTHEMSELVES FROM RUSSIAN INVADERS, BLOCKADES, CLEANSINGS,
GENOCIDES, REPOPULATION THEIR LANDS AND HOMES BY RUSSIANS!

SHEVARDNADZE STARTED NEGOTIATING WITH USA TO END COLD WAR, RUSSIA PROMISSED BETTER WORLD AND BENEFITTED FROM IT, HELPED BE RICH, EXPANDED AND UPGRADED MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, AND REARMED –

WHILE WEST RUINED BY TERRORIST WARS AND ENERGY BLOCKADES –

WHILE USA FROZE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX –

WHILE WEST IS BLACKMAILED BY RUSSIAN GAS LINES –

WHILE RUSSIA TRY BUILD NEW AXES WITH CHINA AND IRAN IN ENERGY, ECONOMY, ARMS AND SOLIDARITY 0F EXPANSION -

WHILE USA AND WEST INFILTRATED FROM THE TOP TO BOTTOM BY RUSSIANS AND THEIR PROXIES TOTALLY CORRUPTED IT AS PERVERTS AND PLAGIARISTS, TO SUCK BLOOD OF JESUS FROM “MERCHANDIZE” –

WHY NATO WOULD WANT TO EXPAND AND GIVE-UP ITS COMMAND TO POTENTIAL RUSSIAN NOMENCLATURA AND QUISLIONGS AS LAST ACCORD - THEIR OWN UNDOING?

WILL RUSSIA REPENT, RETURN ALL THEY STOLE AND ANNEX, ACCEPT FREE, PROSPEROUS AND STRONG NATIONS AROUND THEIR BORDERS?

Rephrasing an old joke about Boor War:
- “Why you plundering and butchering other nations and repopulating them by Russians?”
- “Because they offending Great Russia and might join block NATO!”
- “Didn’t you plan since 1954-56, again, destroy them and accuse them of defending themselves, lying they want to join NATO?”
- “Why not! We are race of Victors, treasonous “strana rabov strana skotov”!”



by: Ray Finch from: Lawrence, KS
May 23, 2014 21:23
Enjoyed the podcast; much food for thought. Putin, like the rest of us, continues to evolve as a person, and I suspect that after the collapse of the USSR he began to search for an ideology to fill the ideological vacuum. That he settled upon great-power Russian nationalism is not all that surprising after the perceived humiliations of the 1990s. As a bell-weather of this change, consider the career advancement of D. Rogozin, from rabid Russian nationalist to Russia’s representative to NATO to Vice Premier in charge of the defense industry.

Do Putin and his close entourage really believe in Russia’s unique destiny? I doubt it, but I’m not so sure about the younger generation in Russia who are exposed to the 24/7 fire-hose of Kremlin hate speech. Listening to your podcast, I was reminded by a quote from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness:

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea--something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to. . . .”

I’m afraid that Putin and Co. have created an idea before which many young Russians will be willing to make a sacrifice.
In Response

by: Mamuka
May 24, 2014 17:14
@Ray, well thought comment, but I disagree that Putin lost an ideology with the collapse of the Soviet Union. All the communism and banners and slogans and "Slava CPSU" was just window dressing; the actual ideology was, as it is today, totalitarianism. The finances just got shaken up a bit. And now it is time to download the podcast!
In Response

by: Mamuka
May 25, 2014 02:37
I have listened to the podcast and still do not know what this "Putinism" ideology might be other than a sort of generic reactionary nationalism. But the intellectual academics on the podcast may fail to grasp the appeal of the anti-multiculti, anti-identity politics basis of this ideology. It is more than a "small minority" that is uncomfortable, and this is why Putin and several other figures across Europe are finding some success with this kind of reactionary appeal.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 24, 2014 07:45
ELECTION MIGHT CHANGE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.
________________________________________________
IDEOLOGY AND LEGALITY - RUSSIA AND YANUKOVICH:
________________________________________________
Three Century Russian Empire pogromed-plundered Ukraine.
For two decades Leninist Russia cleansed-plundered Ukraine.
For 5 years of WW2 Russia and Germany sucked-up Ukraine.
Since end of WW2 Russia sucked, enslaved in the East and
influx Ukraine - the expropriated budgets and resources of
Ukraine and non-Russian nations were in many trillions.
Well planed in advance by Russia and its Quislings
enslavement increased plunder of independent
nations, annexation by Russian pomesh'iks,
cleansing and repopulating by Russians is
slowed in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine,
in 1992-93 and 2008 in Georgia and now
in Ukraine. Yanukovich was the last drop
of blood. Elected illegally, by OBHS-GRU
of Russia and Soviet Quislings under gun
of energy blockade and sabotage Donetsk
and other Cities intimidating the population
Since Czars, Lenin and "Golodomor" made
him President, who tried maintain balanced
trade with EU and "Custom Union", but lost.
Russia control most of "nomenclatura" since
USSR - RUSSIA WOULDN'T LET LAMB GO
FREE - UKRAINE, BEING STRANGULATED,
WAS ABOUT FALL, HE SIGNED ITS DEATH.
THAT MADE YANUKOVICH ILLEGAL TWICE.
RUSSIA TRIED USE IDEOLOGY - "FASHIST"
WEST THAT RUSSIAN KGB FORGED FROM
HUNDRED BROKEN AMNISTED UPA IN LVIV
PARADING IN UPA HATS - BY KGB ORDERS,
"AMURNYE LENTOCHKI" OF WW2 "HEROES"
AND WORKING PEOPLE. IT CANNOT WORK!
RUSSIA INVADING AGAINST ALL UKRAINIANS,
WW2 HEROES, WORKERS AND THE ELECTION!
________________________________________
LEGALITY OF MAIDAN PROTESTS BY PEOPLE:
________________________
TIRANNY CHANGE IS LEGAL.
CHANGE IN PEACE IS TWICE LEGAL.
CHANGE TO SAVE NATION IS TRICE LEGAL.
TIRANNY THAT KILL AND RUN MAKES CHANGE TOTAL.
SWIFT ELECTION LEAVES NO DOUBT IN ITS LEGALITY.
In Response

by: ion from: ion land
May 24, 2014 14:17
you mad bro?

by: peter from: ottawa
May 24, 2014 14:12
Lenin is dead but not buried.

by: La Russophobe from: USA
May 25, 2014 11:56
"He appears to be much more ideological than we had suspected."

Indeed. But some of us were not surprised at all, and have been saying for years that the claim that Putin was not neo-Soviet because he lacked ideology was totally false. Putin simply concealed certain facts from those who did not want to see so that he could consolidate his malignant rule in an unfettered manner. Only now as he drops his mask do those who were fooled see how wrong they were, yet there are precious few mea culpas from them and even fewer acknowledgements of those who called the tune correctly from the first. This also holds true for those who naively believed that Navalny's opposition push meant something significant. This bodes ill for future analysis, which will likely be fraught with more errors from which Putin will benefit.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 29, 2014 18:01
Guys, what is going on in and around the town of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region? It appears that all the Ukrainian army helicopters have the tendency of falling down on the ground in this area for some reason. Maybe it is due to that there is a particularly potent magnetic field located somewhere in the area, ah? Does anyone have any information on this matter? Please share :-))!!

The Power Vertical Feed

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

19:16 November 21, 2014

POWER VERTICAL PODCAST: A YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

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.

09:14 November 21, 2014
09:11 November 21, 2014

AND AS TENSIONS RISE IN THE BALTICS...

09:09 November 21, 2014

MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

UKRAINE MARKS START OF EUROMAIDAN PROTESTS WITH NEW HOLIDAY
By RFE/RL
Ukrainians are marking a new national holiday on November 21 -- the anniversary of the start of Kyiv’s Euromaidan protests that led to the ouster of the country’s former pro-Kremlin regime.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed decree on November 13 that declared the holiday for annual “Day of Dignity and Freedom” celebrations.
The protests began with a few hundred people who met spontaneously on a vast square in central Kyiv of November 21, 2013 – disappointed by then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of a landmark deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.
After that first night, as the protests quickly swelled to tens of thousands of demonstrators, brutal police efforts to disperse the crowds with batons and teargas backfired.
As the crowds got bigger, the protesters began to call for Yanukovych’s ouster – which came in February 2014 after more than 100 people were killed in clashes with police that failed to end the demonstrations.

BIDEN TO MEET UKRAINIAN LEADERS, ANNOUNCE NONLETHAL U.S. AID
By RFE/RL
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was expected to announce an increase in nonlethal U.S. military assistance to Ukraine on November 21 as he meets in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The talks come on the first anniversary of the start of the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv that toppled Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin regime.
As Biden arrived in Kyiv on the evening of November 20, U.S. officials told reporters that he will announce the delivery of Humvee transport vehicles that are now in the Pentagon’s inventory of excess supplies.
They said Biden also would announce the delivery of previously promised radar units that can detect the location of enemy mortars.
The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not specify a dollar value for the assistance. 
Russia on November 20 warned the United States not to supply weapons to Ukrainian forces.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich cautioned against "a major change in policy of the (U.S.) administration in regard to the conflict" in Ukraine. 
He was commenting on remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama's choice to fill the number two spot at the State Department, Anthony Blinken, who told a congressional hearing on November 19 that lethal assistance "remains on the table. It's something that we're looking at."
The U.S. State Department's Director of Press Relations Jeffrey Rathke on November 20 told reporters that "our position on lethal aid hasn't changed. Nothing is off the table and we continue to believe there's no military solution."
He added, "But, in light of Russia's actions as the nominee mentioned [on November 19] in his testimony, as he indicated, this is something that we should be looking at."
The aid expected to be announced by Biden on November 20 falls short of what the Ukrainian president requested during a visit to Washington in September when he appealed for lethal aid - a request echoed by some U.S. lawmakers in response to what NATO allies say is Russia's movement of tanks and troops into eastern Ukraine.
In September, Washington promised Ukraine $53 million in aid for military gear that includes the mortar detection units, body armor, binoculars, small boats, and other nonlethal equipment for Ukrainian security forces and border guards in the east.
The United States and its European allies have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia for its seizure of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine.
(With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and TASS)

RUSSIAN OLYMPIAN CHARGED WITH SPOUSAL ABUSE IN UNITED STATES
Russian Olympian hockey player Slava Voynov – who plays with the Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey team – has been charged with felony domestic violence against his wife.
Voynov faces one felony count of spouse abuse with a maximum penalty of nine years in prison. If convicted, he also could be deported.
Prosecutors say Voynov “caused his wife to suffer injuries to her eyebrow, check, and neck” during an argument at their home in October.
Voynov has been suspended from the NHL since his arrest early on October 20 at a California hospital where he took his wife for treatment.
Voynov’s attorney, Craig Renetzky, says his client didn’t hit his wife.
Renetzky blames the charges on a misunderstanding between police and Voynov’s wife, who speaks very little English.
Voynov – who played on Russia’s team at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics -- faces arraignment on December 1.
(Based on reporting by AP and Reuters)

NATO: RUSSIAN ACTIVITY IN BALTICS POSES RISK
NATO says Russia's growing military presence in the skies above the Baltic region is unjustified and poses a risk to civil aviation.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Tallinn on November 20 that the aircraft regularly fail to file flight plans or communicate with air controllers and also fly with their transponders off.
Speaking at the Amari air base, he said alliance fighters have intercepted planes more than 100 times in the Baltic region alone so far this year, a threefold increase over 2013. 
He did not say how many of the intercepted aircraft were Russian.
Stoltenberg also said that, overall, NATO aircraft have conducted 400 intercepts to protect the airspace of its European alliance members in 2014 -- an increase of 50 percent over last year.
(Based on reporting by AP and AFP)

 

16:55 November 19, 2014

MORE ON THE SOURCES OF RUSSIAN ANTI-AMERICANISM

Konstantin Eggert has a commentary in "Kommersant" on Russia's anti-Americanism. He opens like this:

"Sometimes I have this feeling that there are only two countries in the world - Russia and the United States. Of course, there is Ukraine, but it either to join us or the Americas. Russian politicians and state television are constantly in search of the 'American hand' in all spheres of our life. In Soviet times, the United States was formally considered to be our number one military and ideological enemy. But even then it didn't occupy such a large space in the minds of the political leadership and citizens. And the paradox is that, on one hand, officials and the media regularly talk about the decline of America as a great power, and on the other declare it to be the source of all evil in the world. This contradiction does not seem to disturb anybody."

And closes like this:

We still have not been able to use the opportunity that we were given with the collapse of the communist regime - to arrange our lives based on liberty and civic virtue. And today, we, as a people, want to go back to the starting point, to beat everyone. And the Soviet Union, with its absence of sausage and freedom, again suddenly seems sweet and dear. But it won't happen. I will put it banally: you can't go into the same river twice.

Read the whole thing here (in Russian, with audio)

15:53 November 19, 2014

UNDERSTANDING THE INFORMATION WAR

MIchael Weiss, editor-in-chief of The Interpreter magazine, appearing on Hromadske TV to talk about Russia's information war.

Michael and Peter Pomarantsev recently co-authored an excellent report "The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money." Both also appeared recently on The Power Vertical Podcast to discuss the report.

15:42 November 19, 2014

WHY IS PUTIN PICKING A FIGHT WITH THE U.S.?

Oleg Kosyrev has a snarky and clever blog post on the subject up on the Ekho Moskvy website. 

1) The United States is the ideal opponent. "It is big and strong and your self-esteem increases when you fight somebody really influential."

2) The United States is not fighting with Russia. "They aren't really interested. They have enough of their own problems and dreams. It's nice to fight somebody who is not fighting you."

3) It is a substitute for the authorities' inability to benefit Russians. "How convenient. Who is to blame for rising food and gas prices? The U.S.A.. Who is to blame for the fact that Russian has political prisoners? The U.S.A. Who is to blame for people demonstrating on the streets? The U.S.A. Who is to blame for the fact that independent international courts denounce the Russian court system? The U.S.A. You can even blame the U.S. for the fact that the light doesn't work in the entrance to your apartment building."

Read it all (in Russian) here.

15:23 November 19, 2014

UKRAINE SAYS MHI7 SHOT DOWN BY RUSSIAN CREW

14:47 November 19, 2014

AFTERNOON NEWS ROUNDUP: THE SEQUEL

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

KYIV, WEST SAY RUSSIA CANNOT BAR UKRAINE FROM NATO

Ukraine says it will not tolerate pressure from any other country over whether or not it seeks to join NATO.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyynis spoke made the remark to reporters in Kyiv on November 19, after the BBC quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying in an interview that Moscow wants "a 100 percent guarantee that no-one would think about Ukraine joining NATO."

Hitting back with a reference to Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Perebyynis said Kyiv would like guarantees that Moscow will not interfere in Ukraine's internal affairs, send in troops, or annex Ukrainian territories. 

The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, told journalists on November 19 that any decision on seeking to join NATO could be made only by the Ukrainian people, not by Russia, Europe, ar the United States.

The Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, Roman Waschuk, made a similar statement on November 19.

(Based on reporting by UNIAN and Interfax)

PUTIN TELLS U.S. ENVOY TIES MUST BE BASED ON EQUALITY

President Vladimir Putin says that Russia is ready for cooperation with the United States as long as Washington treats Moscow as an equal, respect its interests, and refrains from interfering in its affairs.

Putin spoke November 19 at a Kremlin ceremony during which he received the credentials of foreign envoys including John Tefft, the new U.S. Ambassador to Moscow.

Putin said, "We are ready for practical cooperation with our American partners in various fields, based on the principles of respect for each other's interests, equal rights and non-interference in internal matters." 

The remark echoed a formula Putin set out in a foreign policy decree at the start of his third term in 2012.

Tefft, 64, is a career diplomat who previously served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania. 

His posting starts at a time when ties are badly strained over the Ukraine crisis. 

Tefft replaces Michael McFaul, who was ambassador from January 2012 until February 2014. 

(Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS)

RUSSIA SAYS 2010 NUCLEAR ARMS PACT STILL IN RUSSIA'S INTERESTS

By RFE/RL

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has signaled that a landmark nuclear arms treaty with the United States is not in jeopardy despite severe tension over Ukraine.

Speaking to Russian lawmakers on November 19, Lavrov said the 2010 New START treaty "meets our basic strategic interests and, on condition of its observance by the United States, we are interested in its full implementation."

The treaty, one of the main products of President Barack Obama's first-term "reset" of ties with Russia, requires Russia and the United States to have their long-range nuclear arsenals under specific ceilings by 2018.

But Lavrov said the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which President Vladimir Putin suspended in 2007, is "dead" for Moscow. 

NATO has refused to ratify a revised version of the CFE treaty without a full withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova and Georgia.

Latest Podcasts

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