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Podcast: All Circuses, No Bread

Putin has a direct line to the people. (Cartoon by Sergey Elkin, RFE/RL)

It happens every spring.

In Russia's longest-running reality show, Vladimir Putin plays Vladimir Putin on television -- and pretends to care about the concerns of ordinary Russians.

It's a show that has been running for 14 seasons. But this year's effort was -- to say the least -- more than a bit flat.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we unpack the Putin Show.

Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows; and journalist and playwright Natalia Antonova, former editor of Moscow News and one of the more colorful figures on Russian social media.

Also on the podcast, we look at another Kremlin-sponsored spectacle, the incredibly botched attempt by Russian state television to "expose" opposition leader Aleksei Navalny as an agent of U.S. and British intelligence.


Power Vertical Podcast: All Circuses, No Bread
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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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