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The Briefing: Moscow's Disobedient Client

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) greets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow in October 2015.

It appears that Russia can't deliver the one and only thing the West wants from it in Syria -- the orderly exit of Bashar al-Assad.

According to a report in the Financial Times, late last year Putin dispatched General Igor Sergun, head of Russia's military intelligence. to Syria to persuade Assad to step aside. And Assad refused.

On the latest Power Vertical Briefing, we take a look at how Moscow's lack of influence over Assad influences efforts to resolve the Syria conflict.

Joining me are RFE/RL Senior Editor Steve Gutterman and Pavel Butorin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian-language television program Current Time.


The Briefing: Moscow's Disobedient Client
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NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of the Power Vertical blog, and appears every Monday.

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The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on 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


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