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Podcast: A Fictional Federation

Vladimir Putin (left) with Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov (right) in Kazan in 2012
Vladimir Putin (left) with Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov (right) in Kazan in 2012

This week, Russia's official name officially became a fiction.

This week, the Russian Federation ceased to be anything remotely resembling a federation.

This week, a decades-old agreement granting Tatarstan limited autonomy -- including control over its resources, budget, and special status for the Tatar language -- was allowed to expire.

And the Kremlin is showing no signs of reviving it.

One of Russia's most important regions and its largest ethnic minority just got downgraded.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we look at what this means for Tatarstan and for Moscow's relations with Russia's regions.

Joining me are Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations; and Rim Gilfanov, director of RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service.


Power Vertical Podcast: The Fictional Federation
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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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