Monday, November 24, 2014


The Power Vertical

The Pros And Cons Of Propaganda

Propaganda works. But only for awhile.
Propaganda works. But only for awhile.
Propaganda works. Or at least it's working for the time being.

In concluding his speech to a joint session of parliament this week, Vladimir Putin claimed that 92 percent of Russians favored the annexation of Crimea.

The number was inflated, but not by much, according to Lev Gudkov, director of the independent Levada Center, Russia's most respected pollster. In a recent interview with Gazeta.ru, Gudkov said his data show that nearly 80 percent of Russians consider Crimea to be part of Russia.

In recent weeks, Westerners have looked on with derision at the over-the-top and clearly inaccurate way the Russian state-controlled media have depicted events in Ukraine: a coup by neo-Nazis that has unleashed a wave of anti-Semitism and reprisals against Russian-speakers, sparking a humanitarian crisis and a surge of refugees escaping the chaos.

Who would believe this stuff, right? I mean, the facts on the ground so obviously run counter to the distorted and outright false picture Kremlin spin masters have so carefully painted.

Well, apparently somebody does.

According to Gudkov, between November 2013, when mass demonstrations in Kyiv started, until late February, when President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed, a clear majority of Russians thought what was happening in Ukraine was an internal affair and Russia should not interfere.

Now, in addition to the 79 percent who view Crimea as part of Russia, some 58 percent favor the deployment of Russian troops

"The campaign that began in the last week of February -- which was unusual in its intensity and aggressive tone -- has drastically changed the public mood," Gudkov said. "The propaganda has stunned people. The public is now in an agitated state with all of their imperial complexes awakened."

So game over, right? Putin's got his mojo back and he's got his people behind him. It's 2007 all over again.

Well, not so fast. The propaganda may be working wonders for the Kremlin now. But according to Gudkov, it will likely prove ephemeral -- and eventually cause a backlash. "After a while, the effect will wear off and a pensive state will set in," he said.

And after the pensiveness, comes the backlash. And the reason for this, Gudkov said, can be found in the very nature of propaganda itself. "Propaganda's effectiveness is directly linked to the subject. It is very difficult to convince people that the authorities consist of competent and decent people.  But it is easy to convince them that Americans torture adopted Russian children because this cannot be verified," he said. 

"Basically, propaganda destroys alternative understanding. It may not quite convince people, but it imposes on them the cynical view that everyone is a bastard, politics is a squabble between interest groups, and nobody should be believed."

And it is here, he added, that the Kremlin may end up being a victim of its own success.

"The Kremlin spin doctors and manipulators do not understand that after a while this will turn against the Russian authorities themselves because imposing such a view of social processes in a country dominated by a paternalist state mind-set cannot but lead to increasingly negative attitudes toward the authorities themselves" he said. 

"This should end with clear analogies or the association of the current Russian authorities with the Yanukovych regime."

Gudkov is not alone in predicting that what looks like a stunning victory for Team Putin will soon turn into an albatross.

Writing in "Nezavisimaya gazeta," Aleksei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center says Putin has changed the game both in his relations with the elite and with society -- and dangers loom on both fronts.

"The president has to know that even in the ruling class many people are 'perplexed' by his Crimean action, and this is contributing to irritation with the leader," Malashenko writes.

He'll still be president for a very long time. But he’ll no longer have a iron-clad rear. As an ex-security service officer, he surely has to sense this. And keeping nationalist intensity at its height for any length of time is very difficult. People will soon be distracted by things like inflation and other issues from which their attention has been temporarily averted."

And how will Putin react when this happens?

In a recent interview with "Nezavisimaya gazeta," political analyst Nikolai Petrov had a chilling prognosis. "There will follow a surge in Putin’s popularity and a consolidation of the legitimacy of the regime. But this surge will be very brief," Petrov said.

"When the price is clarified, we will see that people are not prepared to pay it. Not prepared to take part in a war, not prepared to live under the stiff sanctions of the West, and so forth. And Putin’s task will be in this short time to organize repressive mechanisms. In order, when the public enthusiasm subsides, to preserve the system of control of the country.”

With the ongoing crackdown on independent media -- most recently the television channel Dozhd, which has already been pulled off cable networks, lost its lease -- those repressive mechanisms appear to be already moving into place.

-- Brian Whitmore

NOTE TO READERS: Be sure to listen to the "Power Vertical Podcast" on March 21 when I will discuss the issues raised in this post with co-hosts Sean Guillory and Nina Khrushcheva.

Tags: propaganda,Vladimir Putin,Lev Gudkov

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Danny from: Portland, OR
March 20, 2014 17:15
A Pentagon funded propaganda channel accusing another propaganda channel. That's rich.
In Response

by: Ukrainian, Sasha-K from: Terre Haute, IN
March 23, 2014 15:54
Such cynical view is very fashionable in USA lately, however there is no parallel. Your sloppy post will likely remain on this "Propaganda" channel, while in Russia they disappear people who dare. I suspect this is because Americans are not familiar with the meaning of real propaganda, and you are used to say what is on your mind without fear of repercussions. Russian is propaganda, Radio Liberty offers some very needed informational leverage. If you listen to the programs, there is no apparent American/or Western agenda. On RFERL I never hear praises to Obama, or any American leader or institutions. Views discussed vary from author to author, and specific to the country. Being born in USSR in Kiev, Ukraine, I am grateful for this historically important space for Russian and Ukrainian dissent. Thank you Brian Whitmore, I amazed that you dedicate your time to this often hopeless issues, when you could be enjoying burgers, beer, and football here in America.
In Response

by: Danny from: Portland, OR
March 24, 2014 19:48
Dear Sasha, it seems to me that you fail to recognize the stark similarities between Russia and the US. Both RT and RFE/RL are equally important in exposing corruption but are also equally guilty of exploiting political discontent to their own benefit. Have you not yet figured it out? The global superpowers are playing Risk, and we are their game pieces. For you to take sides is to contribute to the mess, not the truth. I follow RFE/RL and RT for the same reasons, as well as Press TV, i24, NHK, and other international propaganda channels. In the end...that's all any of this really is, and if you fail to understand this then any attempt to reveal the big picture is futile.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 20, 2014 18:03
Russian propaganda controls even USA!
At least few "Public Channels", like KCET doing it directly.
All they invite are Russian proxies or spies that defy common
sense and truth, impudently repeating and justifying crimes
of Russia.
___________________________________________
For instance, today the former ambassador to Russia,
Jack Matlock, and leading and supplementing by lies TV
people almost claimed as legitimate Russia and its deeds.
_____________________________________________
Matlock implied that Russia was always Great Power for
few centuries and all neighbor countries belonged to
Russia anywhere.
IT IS BLUNT LIE!
RUSSIA AS GREAT POWER WAS CREATED BY INITIATIVE
OF GEORGIAN KING AND HIS NEPHEW PETER THE FIRST
AND MANY NEIGHBOR NATIONS, STARTING WITH GEORGIA, LATVIA, HOLLAND, UKRAINE AND SO ON.
NUMBER OF WRITTEN AND ORAL PLEGES WERE MADE
BY RUSSIA NOT ONLY RESPECT NATIONAL INTEGRITY
OF NEIGHBOR NATIONS, BUT HELP RESTORE SUCH
INTEGRITY TO NATIONS INVADED, OR DEVIDED, OR
TO BE COMPOSED FROM RELATIVE NATIONALITIES,
ALSO TO SHEAR WHAT WAS BUILT IN RUSSIA BY HELPING BUILT SUCH INDUSTRIES TOO.
RUSSIA BETRAYED US ALL AFTER POISONING PETER.
RUSSIA BETRAYED US ALL AFTER POISONING STALIN.
READ 1936 CONSTITUTION AND PREABMLE, MATLOCK. ________________________________________________
He implied that Ukraine was put from patches of Russia and half of it genuine Russia.
IT IS A BLUNT LIE!
UKRAINIAN PEOPLE AS SKIFFS AND SARMATS WITH THEIR ANCESTRY IN CARPATS AND CAUCASUS KNOWN
FOR MILLENNIUMS.
RUSSIA BETRAYED UKRAINE AND FOR THREE CENTURIES ENSLAVED, SENT TO DEATH CAMPS AND
REPOPULATED PATCHES OF UKRAINE BY RUSSIANS.
STILL, BEFORE WW2 UKRAINIANS WERE TOTAL MAJORITY, TILL LENINS POGROMS ON LABOURS
AND "NATIONALISTS", 1932 HOLODOMOR BY ETHIC RUSSIAN ARMED KILLERS AND EXODUS OF MILLIONS
OF UKRAINIANS TO THE EAST ALONG WITH THEIR
INDUSTRIES, BEST IN USSR, TO FIGHT WAR AND TO
BUILD ARMS.
AFTER 1947, STALIN ANDER NOUSE ARREST, RUSSIA
REFUSED RETURN UKRAINIANS AND THEIR INDUSTRIES REPLACING THEM BY MILLIONS OF RUSSIANS, CONTINUING REPOPULATE AND PLUNDER UKRAINE.
RETURN UKRAINIANS AND RUSSIANS, SCREAMING "KNEEL UKRAINIANS", BACK HOME,
MATLOCK-PUTIN!
(will continue)

by: Nodir from: Denver, CO
March 21, 2014 04:15
It's quite ironic that it is only the Russian media work is called propaganda, while the Western one is simply an objective information dissemination. As someone living in the United States who watches both Russian and US media outlets, I must admit that the Russian coverage of the events in Urkaine are more measured, balanced, and informative. The Western coverage on the other hand is filled with hysteria, bias, and emotions. I'd say the latter is the real propaganda.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 22, 2014 04:59
Nodir, you playing the old "nature is empirical" trick,
USA and Russia are part of human nature, military brass
and cloak and dagger on both side are about the same.
__________________________________________
USA is also sin, however, adjusting it to Constitution,
UN Charter and law of God, but being manipulated
by lobbies and human greed, used even by Russia,
like making Sadam invade neighbor as precident,
for Russia to invade CIS - when it fail, they used
lobby in USA to kill 200,000 in two days and turn
on USA "Holly War" - USA admitted the truth...
_______________________________________
Russia overturned 1936 Constitution and expand,
and invade neighbor lands and houses - to breed,
using also lobby, to corrupt the greed of the West,
make it bombastic - be hated by rest of the World.

They invading and repopulating our land and lying
about "threat from the West" that helped them pay
WW2 debt, get rich on oil and gas - rearm Russia.
While Russia get rich, while West get pure to help
Russia and CIS, Russia grab our lands in Georgia,
Moldova, Ukraine, Central Asia. Next East Europe.
Is Next Afghanistan, Turkey, Western Europe?
Is next USA and the rest of the World?
In Response

by: jojnjo from: Dublin
March 22, 2014 05:12
So are you in the pay of Putin as well? You mustn't know what "Propaganda" is? Well I'll tell you what it is. It is what Putin does so well, like "Lie, Lie, Lie...Control, Control, Control".

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 21, 2014 04:25
Putin is as much illiterate as are you.
He was in school when Russia already burn history books.
NEW HISTORY BOOK LIES ABOUIT MOST EVIL PEOPLE:

Lie, Attila was hated by Romans and subsequently Germanic imperial leaders for leading Huns (Medians mixed with Hans returning to Caucasus), Caucasians from northern Georgian border and Ukrainian Skiffs and Sarmatians to liberate Ukraine from Invaded Roman bloodsuckers, as they did. (Cousins Emperors propaganda.)

Lie, at the time when Viking-Varaga bloodsuckers unleashed genocide against Russians and Volga tribes, reaching white Tatars, and when Mongols were starving in deserts and mercilessly taxed by China, Tatar king married Genghis Khan with his daughter and trained him and his army.
It saved East from total genocide by Russian Varaga, as Franks, also white Tatars, saved Europe's West from total genocide by Normans. (Russian propaganda)

Overstated, Mao Zedong at first contributed to liberate China, when Stalin offered to China people to pick-up arms of million capitulating Japanese in the east.
It was complicated by ethnic Russians and British starting to play imperialist game to control and partition China, specially after Spring of 1947, when Stalin was put under house arrest, turning into bloody war and crimes on both sides.
Aging Mao was locked by isolation from East and West, because imperial resurrection needed to lie about Stalin and non-Russian nations and was oblivion to see predictable mistakes of surrounding him elite. (Imperial resurrect propaganda.)

Lie, Vlad The Impaler was freedom fighter for liberation of Romania and parts of Hungary and Ukraine. He didn't like any of it - he retaliated of Turks brutalities.
If Turks would take a Romanian town and impale or behead thousands of people, Vlad would take a town populated by Turks and did the same to same numbers of Turks.
It was brutal time, it wasn't Geneva convention then. Austrians were dividing that parts of Europe with Turkey, so they made a deal to kill Vlad and later spread lies about him be a "bloodsucker", with help of offered by
Bulgarians their own believes. (Propaganda of Austrians and Cousins Emperors.)

True, almost.
Hitler was evil, but very much a toy in hands of British Crone Prince and Russian Nicolos Romanov the Third, "Cousins" and Russian enemies of non -Russian people.
They brought Hitler to power, they said to him:
"Enemy of our Germanic Imperial race is Caucasian race and Human Civilization with Caucasian noses and intelligent eyes, Jew-sized by Jews."
They insured his evil path, coordinating pogroms in USSR, giving to him Messershmidt, disarming USSR armies and promising Hitler easy victory.

Evil lie about one of few best men in known history.
What they did with Hitler was only part of Russian evil they pin on Stalin.
Lenin murdered 40 millions, confess of his madness and went to mental clinic.
Stalin since childhood was suffering to liberate the world from the evil, including Nazi Germany conquests.
He was offered position of advisory in Socialist party as only educated and intelligent man.
He agreed only on condition that non-Russian nations are independent part of CIS, free democratic election, abolishment of death penalty and purges and so on...
Russians retaliated by ploting with British and Hitler and starting purges against non-Russians, Jews, Polls, Georgians, Ukrainians and so on...
Only during the War he was a President with limited powers, because Western Allies wouldn't believe lying Russians.
In 1947 Russia put him under house arrest, reversed CIS, murdered him and started to invade non-Russian nations.
LIES ABOUT STALIN IS MUST MENEU BY RUSSIA, BRITAIN, GERMANY AND AUSTRIA - TO RESURRECT COLONIAL EMPIRES AND SLAVERY, PINNING ON STALIN THEIR OWN CRIMES.

by: Ray Finch from: Lawrence, KS
March 21, 2014 14:08
Nice article, but I suspect that you might be underestimating the impact of sustained propaganda. From my perspective, the Kremlin’s campaign to demonize the west (particularly the US) has been going on for the past 3-4 years and has only begun now to bear its rotten fruit. Today, many Russians sincerely believe that the US/west is determined to weaken Russia, and this narrative has served as the backdrop to the protests in Ukraine. I see no signs of this propaganda or the wide acceptance within Russian society slacking off. Indeed, the rhetoric and belief appear to be growing ever stronger. As the economic situation grows worse in Russia, the Kremlin will blame the US/west for this suffering, which will further deepen this dark belief. Given the sophistication of the Kremlin’s PR machine, this anger could very well be channeled ultimately into violence.

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