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The Briefing: The Western Front

Putin's Pals: France's Marine Le Pen (left) and Austria's Norbert Hofer.

So Europe breathed a sigh of relief with Norbert Hofer losing Austria's presidential election.

But Europe suffered a serious blow when Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi lost a referendum on constitutional reform, opening up the door for the far-left and Euroskeptic Five Star Movement.

Russia didn't create the political crisis in Europe and the West in general. But it is exploiting it.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we look at what the Italian and Austrian results mean for Russia's efforts to divide and weaken Europe.

Joining me is RFE/RL Editor Steve Gutterman.


The Briefing: The Western Front
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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 on Mondays.

About This Blog

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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