Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: Putin And Bolotnaya, One Year Later

The confrontational tone for Vladimir Putin's third term in the Kremlin was set on the eve of his inauguration when police clashed with protesters on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square.

A year after those protests, some 28 people are facing charges of inciting mass unrest, and in some cases, of being involved in dark coup plots hatched by foreign governments.

In the latest edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discuss the Bolotnaya case one year on with co-hosts Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Mark Galeotti of New York University, and Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies.


Power Vertical Podcast: Putin And Bolotnaya, One Year Later
Power Vertical Podcast: Putin And Bolotnaya, One Year Lateri
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Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

Tags: Vladimir Putin,Power Vertical podcast,Bolotnaya case

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Comment Sorting
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 04, 2013 07:26
:-)) Putin, Putin, who was this guy?? Ah, it was the one who suffered a humiliating defeat in the presidential election a year and a half ago and was replaced by such eternal winner as Senator McCain who - after having skillfully defeated the Vietnamese Communists - now became the Emperor of Russia :-))!
You, guys, could also ask Sean Guillory why it is that US military pilots are so inept and cannot even land in Kyrgyzstan without crashing their airplane and killing themselves - is it maybe because they are representatives of a biologically inferior specie of primitive Beavuses :-))??
In Response

by: oliver from: london
May 05, 2013 08:50
no, you are wrong, they could not land because of lack of especific training, and also the US economy defaulting cause its airplanes to mal function, rding the biological species, it is an advanced biological race tht can adapt in many eviroments.

and rega
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 05, 2013 16:40
:-))) Good point, Oliver :-))

by: Ray F. from: Lawrence, KS
May 04, 2013 15:56
Thanks for the informative podcast; lots of interesting insights. From my distant vantage point, it appears that some form of virulent nationalism will fill the ideological vacuum and help to unite the various elements of Russia’s polarized society. The specter of foreign plots is alive and well (and not just among the proles in the hinterlands), and Putin (and some of the elite) may increasingly believe their own anti-western rhetoric. This perverse paranoia has its own logic and could ultimately lead to future conflict. For those who want a taste of this sickness (and can read Russian) see some of the material (particularly the writings of E. Fyodorov) at the National Liberation Front website.

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From the always insightful Sean Guillory

"Novorossyia is just a cinematic project to rile up the population anyway. The “heroes” have always been actors in a larger drama, and when this series jumps the shark, its production set will be folded up and the stage will be prepared for a new theatrical work to dazzle the spectator. The cinematography deployed to turn Russia into “war state” is all just the tactics. We shouldn’t so quickly substitute smoke and mirrors for reality. Putin’s real strategy is to hobble Ukraine and humble the West, and on that he’s doing pretty damn well."

As usual, Paul Goble already a lot of great content up at his Window on Eurasia blog. Does that man ever sleep? As I've said before, Window on Eurasia is one of the best resources available in the English language for Russia watchers. The volume of material -- not to mention the quality -- is amazing. Does this guy ever sleep? 

A couple things that immediately caught my eye today:

A post about how Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka is "quietly purging" a "pro-Moscow 'Fifth Column'" in his regime. 

"Concerned that Moscow might engineer a regime change in Belarus as a follow on to its actions in Ukraine, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been purging pro-Russian officials from his regime – but in a very quiet way lest he provoke Moscow as a result."

The piece cited reports in "Nasha Niva" and "Obozrevatel

There's also a piece, citing the web portal "Novy Kaliningrad" that looks at whether Kaliningrad's Muslim community might rebel against Moscow. 

"The 100,000-strong Muslim community of Kaliningrad is running out of options in the Russian legal system to secure land for the construction of a mosque in that Russian exclave and consequently will now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, according to their lawyer Dagir Khasavov.

But meanwhile, continuing opposition by regional officials to a mosque, Irshat Khisamov, head of the Muslim community in the oblast, says, is having “an extremely negative” impact on the members of his community. And many of them believe the governor there wants 'a Maidan like the one in Ukraine.'"


And now for the most Orwellian quote of the week (so far, that is).

When reputed mob boss Sergei Mikhailov, leader of Moscow's Solntsevo crime group, boasted on his website that Vladimir Putin gave him a watch, it raised eyebrows. RFE/RL's Carl Schreck has the story here.

But what was really eye catching was not just the Kremlin's denial, but the wording of that denial.

"It's fake," Dmitry Peskov told RFE/RL, though he said the Kremlin would not contact Mikhailov about the claim on his website.

"Why would we?" Peskov said. "We haven't [publicly] said anything about this, which means that it didn't happen."



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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