Saturday, October 25, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: The Politics Of The Pussy Riot Verdict

A sticker reading "Free Pussy Riot" on a police vehicle in Moscow.
A sticker reading "Free Pussy Riot" on a police vehicle in Moscow.
Six months after their controversial performance at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, three members of the feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot -- Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova -- received two-year prison sentences.
 
The verdict and sentence came just after the 100-day mark of President Vladimir Putin's third term in the Kremlin and highlights the fact that the Kremlin leader is in no mood to tolerate dissent, despite mounting discontent in society. A new poll, meanwhile, shows Putin's approval rating falling to the lowest level of his presidency.
 
In this edition of the Power Vertical Podcast, I discussed the Pussy Riot verdict and its political implications with my regular co-host, Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Podcast: The Politics Of The Pussy Riot Verdict
Power Vertical Podcast: The Politics Of The Pussy Riot Verdicti
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Tags: Pussy Riot,Power Vertical podcast

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by: Anonymous
August 17, 2012 22:25
Pussy Riot .... how to be a stupid manipulated by occidental media .

Do you want something about to fight ?

Fight for Julian Assange liberty !

this is a real war against the power

for freedom of expression
In Response

by: Patrick from: Austin, TX
August 19, 2012 12:29
What we have is an international war against tyranny and greed. Make no mistake the Republican party of the USA fights for greed and will use tyranny to get its way. The CIA sticks with the Republican agenda no matter who the president is.
In Response

by: Regular Joe from: USA
August 21, 2012 18:40
Nice, pertinent comment, Patrick. Why don't you go occupy a park or something, where you can stand on a box and demand your "fair" share of someone else's productivity: your subsidized (and I'm sure years and years) college education, your subsidized housing, your subsidized health care. Grow up Patrick! Oh, but that would mean getting a job and supporting yourself. Well, maybe Jack and Sergio's employer can hire you to post here? You seem to fit right in.
In Response

by: Even More Regular Joe from: Eugene
August 26, 2012 04:54
Nice job, Regular Joe. The only thing you can think of to say is "you're stealing my money! My hard earned money! Which is mine, mine, mine!" -- even though Patrick above said nothing about it.

By all means, enjoy your well-deserved productivity. And the roads and bridges that you built with your own hands. And the schools, public libraries, and hospitals which you built, each one of them, with your own bare, unaided hands. And the army -- which I'm sure you support -- whose members, after all, you have trained and armed yourself, without any help from anyone.

Yes, you're really a big success, and nobody ever helped you (excpet, perhaps, God, but that doesn't count--you still get to claim it was all you, right?). I hope you enjoy it.

Bye, and thanks for all the fish.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 20, 2012 05:41
I mean, Anonymous, the RFE/RL is getting paid for promoting certain very specific agendas and that's the only reason why they "fight" for such things as these three excessively talanted ladies (who in their turn must have gotten paid from the US embassy or related structures to carry out their "attack" against the "bloody Putin's regime").
And of course, you will never hear these RFE/RL individuals defend Julian Assange: even if they wanted to do so, they would be fired by their bosses from the Capitol Hill and by their generous funders from Saudi Arabia the next day they published even a short note in his defense, you can be damn sure.
In Response

by: john from: canada
August 21, 2012 13:15
Since you compare Assange issue to Pussy Riot issue, at 8:34 minute time in his Ecuador Embassy balcony speech, Assange aligns himself with Pussy Riot, by saying "...on Friday, a Russian band was sentenced to two years in jail for a political performance...":

Assange speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nqv1DSTVv4

FREE PUSSY RIOT!

In Response

by: rick
August 21, 2012 19:45
i am not interested on Assange as person

he can also speak that he is "god"

for me is important what he represent in this moment .



by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
August 21, 2012 03:40
I think the scheme (church-the administration of President-Department of Investigation) of Mr.Kobrin is wrong

The main initiator of girls's prosecution was Putin...either he personally called or ordered his trustees...Gundyaev nothing to do with it.
Then followed the order-find girls and to initiate criminal proceedings..more precisely, to make an administrative violation in a criminal case..
This was a task of prosecutors
All judicial proceedings conducted by Mrs. Yegorovа-Chairman of the Moscow City Court,-her husband was an FSB general аs it is known and FSB via her provides guidance how to try and what prison term to give to people who do not like Putin ..then Egorova instructs district judges such as Syrova and other..

In Response

by: rik
August 21, 2012 12:54
well a Moscovite . . .

I would like to know if in Russia
as it is in Italy
exist "the obligation of prosecution" for the judicial system
when there is an "offense NOTICE"

In Italy we speak about "obbligo dell'azione penale"
simply translate in "obligation for criminal prosecution" .

in other way
we can stay here and talk about many things,
doing pure "detrologia" about "how" and "why"
arrived this judgment

BUT

we can be sure for one thing
"that the offense has really happened"

best

were the guilty to provide us an inescapable evidence of the crime scene
filming it
and were the guilty the perpetrators on media of this inescapable evidence

SO

if crime exist , and it is well known

no doubt that judical system must work !

THEN

we can speak about the measure of punishment

probably exaggerated

and nothing more ,
not about their guilty , not about "who" or "why"
want this judgment
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
August 22, 2012 06:06
Hey rik! Enough to roil water
---------------------------
"...if crime exist , and it is well known
no doubt that judical system must work !..."
----------------------rik
First, they did not commit any crime..No articles in the Russian Criminal Code that can be applied to them.

What did Pussy Riot is called an administrative offense-it is punishable by a fine or community service..
And that it was clear for you-the situation with the law in Russia ..
I report:
Criminal Procedure Code and Criminal Code of the Russian Federation signed by Mr. Putin-completely ignored by Russian judges.
Most Russian judges -are former cops and prosecutors,in other words, criminals and maniacs.
So, it is better for you to make money in Italy, but not in Russia because in Russia, you can be arrested and punished for crooked nose for example (When I was in prison, I saw such cases, and not only-))))
....Girls convicted illegally and there is nothing here to argue....

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

17:49 October 24, 2014

EVENING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

PUTIN ACCUSES UNITED STATES OF 'UNILATERAL DIKTAT'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of escalating conflicts around the world by imposing what he called a "unilateral diktat."

Putin made the remarks in a combative speech to political experts at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Putin said the United States has been "fighting against the results of its own policy" in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

He said risks of serious conflicts involving major countries have risen, as well as risks of arms treaties being violated.

He also dismissed international sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "mistake," saying they aimed at pushing Russia into isolation and would end up "hurting everyone."

We did not start this," he added, referring to rising tensions between Russia and the West.

(Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, TASS)

MERKEL URGES PUTIN TO SOLVE UKRAINIAN GAS DISPUTE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call to push for a quick resolution of the ongoing gas dispute with Ukraine as winter looms.

The call by Merkel to Putin on October 24 comes as representatives of the EU, Russia, and Ukraine are due to meet again next week in EU brokered talks aimed at solving the gas dispute between Kyiv and Moscow.

Merkel also underlined that upcoming elections in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists must respect Ukrainian national law.

Pro-Russian insurgent leaders are boycotting a parliamentary snap poll on October 26 in Ukraine and are holding their own election in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, home to nearly three million people, on the same day instead.

(Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters)

UNHCR SAYS MORE THAN 800,000 DISPLACED IN UKRAINE CONFLICT

By RFE/RL

The United Nations says the conflict in Ukraine has forced more than 800,000 people from their homes.

Around 95 percent of displaced people come from eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been battling pro-Russian separatists.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, told a briefing in Geneva that an estimated 430,000 people were currently displaced within Ukraine -- 170,000 more than at the start of September.

It said at least 387,000 other people have asked for refugee status, temporary asylum, or other forms of residency permits in Russia.

Another 6,600 have applied for asylum in the European Union and 581 in Belarus.

The agency said it was "racing to help some of the most vulnerable displaced people" as winter approaches.

It also said the number of displaced people is expected to rise further due to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.

THREE ALLEGED MILITANTS KILLED IN NORTH CAUCASUS

Three alleged militants have been killed by security forces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region.

Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee says that two suspects were killed in the village of Charoda in Daghestan on October 24 after they refused to leave an apartment and opened fire at police and security troops.

One police officer was wounded.

Also on October 24, police in another North Caucasus region, Kabardino-Balkaria, killed a suspected militant after he refused to identify himself, threw a grenade towards police, and opened fire with a pistol.

A police officer was wounded in that incident.

Violence is common in Russia's North Caucasus region, which includes the restive republics of Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, and Chechnya.

Islamic militants and criminal groups routinely target Russian military personnel and local officials.

(Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS)

MOSCOW LAWYER IN HIGH PROFILE ORGANIZED CRIME CASE KILLED

A lawyer, who represented an alleged victim of the notorious Orekhovo criminal group in Moscow, has been assassinated.

Police in the Russian capital say that Vitaly Moiseyev and his wife were found dead with gunshot wounds in a car near Moscow on October 24.

Moiseyev was representing Sergei Zhurba, an alleged victim of the Orekhovo gang and a key witness in a case against one of the gang's leaders Dmitry Belkin.

Belkin was sentenced to life in prison on October 23 for multiple murders and extortion.

Last month, another of Zhurba's lawyers, Tatyana Akimtseva (eds: a woman), was shot dead by unknown individuals.

The Orekhovo group was one of the most powerful crime gangs of the Moscow region and in Russia in the 1990s. Its members are believed to be responsible for dozens of murders.

(Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax)

17:27 October 24, 2014

LITTLE GREES VOTERS, ANYONE?

17:26 October 24, 2014

SPY VS. SPY

17:00 October 24, 2014
08:29 October 24, 2014

MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP

From RFE/RL's News Desk:

UKRAINIAN PM WARNS OF RUSSIAN DESTABILIZATION OF ELECTIONS

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is warning that Russia could attempt to disrupt Ukraine's parliamentary elections scheduled for October 26.

Yatsenyuk told a meeting of top security officials and election monitors on October 23 that "It is absolutely clear that attempts to destabilize the situation will continue and will be provoked by Russia."

Yatsenyuk said "we are in a state of Russian aggression and we have before us one more challenge -- to hold parliamentary elections."

The prime minister said Ukraine needs the "full mobilization of the entire law-enforcement system to prevent violations of the election process and attempts at terrorist acts during the elections."

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said authorities have ordered some 82,000 policemen on duty for election day.

He said 4,000 members of a special reaction force would be among those maintaining order during polling hours and would be concentrated in "those precincts where there is a risk of some terrorist acts or aggressive actions by some...candidates."

The warning by Yatsenyuk comes on the heels of three violent attacks on parliamentary candidates in the past week.

The latest, against Volodymyr Borysenko, a member of Yatsenyuk's People's Front Party, occurred on October 20 when Borysenko was shot at and had an explosive thrown at him.

He allegedly survived the attack only because he was wearing body armor due to numerous death threats he had recently received.

Elections to the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament, will be held despite continued fighting in the eastern part of the country between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Voting will not take place in 14 districts of eastern Ukraine currently under the control of the separatists.

Those separatist-held areas -- in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions -- are planning on holding their own elections in November.

Additionally, Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in March means the loss of 12 seats from the 450-seat parliament.

Polls show President Petro Poroshenko's party leading with some 30 percent of respondents saying they would cast their vote for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

It that percentage holds on election day it would mean Poroshenko's bloc would have to form a coalition government, likely with nationalist groups who oppose conducting peace talks over fighting in the east.

(Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax)

RUSSIA DENIES ESTONIAN AIRSPACE VIOLATIONS

By RFE/RL

Moscow has denied claims of an incursion by a Russian military plane into Estonia's airspace.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told Interfax news agency on October 23 that the Ilyushin-20 took off from Khrabrovo airfield in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on October 21.

The spokesman said the reconnaissance plane flew "over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea" while on a training flight.

On October 22, Estonia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Tallinn, Yury Merzlakov, after the Estonian military said the Russian plane had entered its air space.

In a statement, NATO said the Ilyushin-20 was first intercepted by Danish jets when it approached Denmark, before flying toward non-NATO member Sweden.

Intercepted by Swedish planes, the alliance said the Ilyushin entered Estonian airspace for “less than one minute” and was escorted out by Portuguese jets.

NATO has stepped up its Baltic air patrols and Moscow has been accused of several recent border violations in the region amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict.

Last month, Estonia accused Russia of abducting one of its police officers on the border.

Russia claims Eston Kohver was seized inside Russia on September 5, while Estonian officials say he was captured at gunpoint in Estonia near the border and taken to Russia.

The European Union and United States have called for the immediate release of the Estonian security official, who is facing espionage charges in Russia.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Navy has been searching for a suspected submarine sighted six days ago some 50 kilometers from the capital, Stockholm, although it said on October 22 it was pulling back some of its ships.

Swedish officials have not linked any particular country to the suspected intrusion and Moscow has denied involvement.

(With reporting by Interfax, TASS, and the BBC)

RUSSIAN COURT POSTPONES RULING ON OIL FIRM BASHNEFT

A Moscow court postponed to next week a ruling on a move to take control of Bashneft, an oil company from tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

The judge said on October 23 that the next hearing will take place on October 30 after the prosecution requested more time to prepare its case.

Prosecutors filed the suit in September to regain state ownership of Bashneft, citing alleged violations in the privatization and subsequent sale of the company to AFK Sistema investment group.

Yevtushenkov, the main shareholder of the conglomerate, is under house arrest on suspicion of money laundering during the firm's acquisition in 2009.

Yevtushenkov, 66, was arrested on September 16.

He is ranked Russia's 15th richest man by U.S. magazine Forbes, with an estimated fortune of $9 billion.

(Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS)

11:11 October 23, 2014

THERE IS NO RUSSIA WITHOUT PUTIN?

According to a report in the pro-Kremlin daily "Izvestia," deputy Kremlin chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi that Western politicians "do not understand the essence of Russia."

"Volodin stated the key thesis about the current state of our country: As long as there is Putin there is Russia. If there is no Putin, there is no Russia," Konstantin Kostin, head of the Foundation for the Development of Civil Society, told "Izvestia."

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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