Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Power Vertical

Podcast: Russia's Fake State

A crumbling facade? A guard stands guard at the Kremlin in Moscow.
A crumbling facade? A guard stands guard at the Kremlin in Moscow.
The government seems invisible. The prime minister is publicly ridiculed on a regular basis. The parliament seems to get more outlandish by the day.
In the latest edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discuss the deterioration of Russia's political institutions with regular co-host Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service.
Also on the podcast, Kirill and I discuss a mysterious video attacking Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that appeared on the Internet this week.
Power Vertical Podcast -- Russia's Fake State
Power Vertical Podcast -- Russia's Fake Statei
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Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.

Tags: Russian politics,Power Vertical podcast

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Comment Sorting
by: Alex from: LA
February 01, 2013 19:28
Hahaha, this such great propoganda... Where is a podcast about Turkey and their empty/full state of bs... Or for other countries like GB, France, USA, on their pretenses, or as you say "facade" of state for corporation by the corporation... And the Ruski talking here is Lenin style meddler that wants to see end of current Russian state, Russian need a leader like Putin to fend off the foreign wolves eying their natural resources. Lexical, would you like your kind to get robbed by billionaire westerners like Iran was and many other countries.. Watch Oliver Stone's Untold US History, see the truth that was hidden from public's ears...

by: Eric from: VA
February 01, 2013 20:05
Yet another article predicting the impending demise of the Russian state? When my tax dollars are being spent on articles like this, I sure don't like to pay them!
And I just love how when someone in the Russian press criticizes Medvedev it is a sign of cronyism and a deterioration of political institutions. The opposite would be seen the same way. You guys need to do a better job for the money I'm paying you!

by: Algis from: Vilnius
February 02, 2013 18:28
Somebody who was beaten and robbed by the police and jailed for nothing can really believe the *deterioration of political institutions*. Just come to Russia and try it yourself!

by: john from: canada
February 03, 2013 03:24
Great podcast!

Its a good "book-end" to Leonid Bershidsky's recent article in Bloomberg, "Russia Goes From Fake Democracy to Faux Dictatorship":

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Mikhail Zygar, editor in Chief of Dozhd TV, wins International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists

Some reactions to Russia ending the FLEX high school exchange program:

Stanford University Professor Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Ukrainian Social Researcher Irene Fedets

Fulbright Scholar Sergeu Kostyaev

Lena Osipova, OPhD Student at School of International Service, American University

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.'"


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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