Saturday, October 25, 2014


The Power Vertical

Podcast: The Restoration

Then and now.
Then and now.
Ninety-one years and five months ago, five men gathered in Moscow and approved a treaty forming a new union. Sixty-nine years later, that union -- the Soviet Union -- dissolved leaving in its wake 15 independent states. And they've stayed independent for more than two decades.

This week, three men gathered in Astana to form another union -- the Eurasian Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the new grouping is designed to foster the free flow of people, goods, capital, and services. But coming in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea, and against the backdrop of Russia's intervention in eastern Ukraine, suspicions abound that it is but another step in the restoration of the old empire.

In the latest Power Vertical Podcast, I discuss these issues with Merkhat Sharipzhan, a senior correspondent and analyst with RFE/RL's Central Newsroom; and Natalya Churikova, senior editor of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and host of the program "European Connect."

Enjoy...
Power Vertical Podcast -- May 30, 2014
Power Vertical Podcast -- May 30, 2014i
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by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 30, 2014 19:44
And in the meantime Ukraine is flourishing: GDP will shrink by 7 % this year (according to the IMF), three regions (Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk) broke away from this European civilizied country and on June 3rd Russia will discontinue supplies of natural gas to Ukraine, which will allow the country to enter the new stage of prosperity and eternal happiness. The people of Ukraine have a really strong reason to thank Victoria Nuland and Frau Merkel :-)).
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 01, 2014 13:55
By the way, guys, here is a topic you might find interesting and write a couple of cheap US propaganda articles on: while Russia keeps supporting the anti-EU separatists in Lugansk and Donetsk, the EU and NATO member state France is going ahead with a long pre-planned sale of the Mistral-type large troop-deployment ships to Russia. Today - Sunday - there was even a demonstration in the French ship-yard of Saint-Nazaire against this sale by allegedly French pro-Ukrainian activists. But the French economy - affected by the last five years of stagnation (typical for a number of countries here in the Euro-zone) - of course cannot allow itself the luxury of picking and choosing its clients: whoever pays money will get the product, and Russia is the country that HAS money (whereas Ukraine is apparently going to COST the EU a lot of money).
Source: http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2014/06/01/manifestation-contre-la-vente-de-mistral-a-la-russie_4429866_3210.html
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
June 02, 2014 01:35
But why should they, my dear friend from the country of what's-his-name, that famous 30's politician? You've got it all laid out for them, in complete oblivion of all Putin is doing to sap the strength of his own people (and Ukraine's). Why, for all I know, you should write the articles yourself, and post them as Archibald Archibaldovich. Why not? If you can't beat them, you have to join them...
In Response

by: La Russophobe from: USA
June 02, 2014 09:49
When a country fights a war against a foreign aggressor to win its freedom, it's logical that this will impose some economic suffering. Russia suffered mightily during World War II.

But what is Russia's excuse now? Russia is mired in recession, the ruble's value is plummeting, inflation is soaring, foreign capital is leaving the country in a tsunami. And Russia isn't fighting any foreign invader as Ukraine is fighting Russia.

In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 02, 2014 22:27
Yes, La Rus..., of course, Russia is "collapsing" - as usual. I am not even mentioning the fact that "Baschar al-Assad's days are numbered and he knows it" :-)).

by: Konstantin from: Loos Angeles
May 30, 2014 20:21
Rephrasing a Russian Poet:
_______________________________________________
Dzerzhinsky's, Lenin's and Serafimovich's drunken "mordas"
Killed 40 Millions, Russians and non-Russians, expand Russia.
Lukashenka and Putin, soften by Kazakh Leader's China deal,
Run into each-other - as it go too far, give Europe to Prussia.
Still, give them an inch - genocidal Russ will expand and kill.
______________________________________________
As they still sucking-up non-Russian nations and nationals
All over the World, even in USA, making us sick and killing
By various services and nurses, killing floors CIA hospitals,
GRU-Spetcnas infection, poison and bestial strangulations,
As my mother killed for vengeance and plagio-blackmailing.
______________________________________________
SOME THINGS IN USSR WERE GOOD (INSPIRATIONS),
SOME BAD (COLLECTIVE MEDIOCRITY), SOME UGLY
(DRESSED AS ROBESPIER'S GILIOTINE RUSSIANS,
EXPANDING THEIR NEW EVIL COLONIAL EMPIRE).

UGLY FORM PROMISSING GOOD WILL END UGLY
(USSR INSTEAD OF COMMON WEALTH OF FREE).
GOOD FORM MIGHT END GOOD, BUT WATCHOUT,
LIFE IS A DYNAMIC COMPETITION AGAINST EVIL
(EXPANDING AND PLOTTING RUSSIA-PRUSSIA)!



by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 30, 2014 22:14
World is not uniform, Putin.
As anything also in life - return to basics.
Life is precious - for individual, or whole nation.
The larger entity and its interests, the more hypocrites.

Ukraine is a big country, but hardly survive Russian pressure
Trying destroy genetically Carpathian-Caucasian Civilization,
Invading with damn lie, Varag master slaves-Slavs treachery.
Half of Russia, Volga, classified "non-Slav Tatars" truncation,
As steps on Tatars in Crimea, and knifing "Hohol na koleni!".

Georgia small country - once Common Wealth of Caucasus,
Russia does everything possible destroy them - part by part,
Invading genocide, cleansing, economy squeeze, "Security"
Propaganda, like "Meliton Kantaria leading NATO to put flag
On Kremlin - destroy Russia". Now Putin use the same "uity".

Security issue can be always discussed, without the race war
That Russia force on the World. By the way, truth much better:
Caucasian Civilization at large stretching like Cross, or Sword.
Eastern pillar or blade go through Turkestan and Central Asia.

Northern pillar go through Russia mixed with Ural-Volga world,
Go through Ukraine mixed with Carpathian world. Why they lie,
Inventing multitude by "Mycop-Urartu-Kurd-Russ" Great-Spies
Hypothesis? Truth with all migration of history did OK in USSR,
Better than ridiculous Varag-Prussak empire own Slavs-serfs!


UKRAINE'S BEST FORMULA - INDEPENDENT, STRONG,
PROSPEROUS COUNTRY - CENTER OF EUROPE WITH
FREE TRADE WEST, EAST, INCLUDING RUSSIAN WING,
RENEGOTIATING OLD FRIENDS AT WESTERN BORDER.

GEORGIA WAS ALMOST EXTERMINATED BY RUSSIANS,
SINCE THE 12-13-th THROUGH THE 18-20-th CENTURIES.
BEST FORMULA - COMMON WEALTH OF ALL CAUCASUS
WITH "IVERIA" TYPE GEORGIA UNITED BY SAKARTVELO
TO PRESERVE GENETICS AND SOULS OF CAUCASIANS.

FROM POIN OF SECURITY, GEORGIANS SINCE KNOWN
HISTORY, SOME 12 MILLENNIUMS - POSITIVE CENTER
OF CAUCASIAN RACE AND HUMAN CIVILIZATION - DID
CONTRIBUTE TO SUCH A SECURITY AND PROGRESS,
EVEN IN LATE USSR- US CONFEDENTIAL MITTINGS IN
GEORGIA WITH THE INTELLECTUALS AND SCIENTISTS.

BECAUSE OF RUSSIAN RACE WARS, NEITHER GEORGIA
CAN AFFORD LIVE WITHOUT EUROPEAN-INTERNATIONAL
HELP, NOR IT THREATENS RUSSIA EVEN IF NATO HELPS
IN SOME DEFENCE AREAS - WHICH WILL CORRESPOND
TO RUSSIA WILL. WILL RUSSIA PULL BACK, OR EXPAND?

by: Mamuka
June 01, 2014 21:19
Our congenial host (who, thankfully, did not laugh at his own "witty" comments as much as in previous podkasti) said "we all knew what Putin was doing in 2008 when he provoked Misha" (and that is of course a paraphrase). Well then why did we not hear this at the time? We all knew that Putin played Misha like a violin and poor Misha obliged almost on cue. Yet the popular image at the time was that somehow Georgia invaded Russia.

Also I think you are correct in your assessement of Nazarbayev as a cunning politician.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 03, 2014 11:43
Commenting on your article "U.S. Base In Kyrgyzstan Officially Closes", I wanted to say that one more country is saying the phrase that became customary to many nations in the world: "Bye bye, gringo shit, go back to Detroit to continue looking for food in the garbage" :-)).

by: peter from: ottawa
June 04, 2014 11:36
Soon, Russia will be surrounded by Nato bases in Norway, Finland, the Baltics, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Aleusian and the Artic . All with missiles, drones, antennas, gaggets, gizmos, sensors add the NSA, CIA and FBI that comes with all these bases, jamming , eavesdropping, spying on a technological backward Russia with no access to western credit, worthless ruble and a lost Soviet ideology. Switch sides Evgeny aka Eugenio before you sink in your morass. Cheers.

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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