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Podcast: Jokes, Pranks, And Videotape -- The New Russian Political Humor

Police detain a man wearing a Vladimir Putin mask during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg.
Police detain a man wearing a Vladimir Putin mask during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg.
The opposition appears to have settled on at least one tactic to deal with the Kremlin's efforts to crack down on dissent. They're making fun of it. And, aided by social media, they're doing so in very public ways -- employing everything from hi-tech public pranks to viral videos to mischievous hashtags.

Once the domain of kitchen table discussions, Russian political humor has gone viral. And the trend is clearly getting under the regime's skin.

There is no doubt that this has all been amusing for journalists, bloggers, and for opposition figures themselves.

But what effect -- if any -- does this new wave of political humor have? In this week's edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discussed the new wave of Russian political humor and what it signifies with my regular co-host, Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Also on the podcast, Kirill and I are joined by Sean Guillory, a historian and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and East European Studies, for a discussion of the decline of ideology. Do the terms "left" and "right" have any meaning in today's Russia?

Power Vertical Podcast: Jokes, Pranks And Videotape -- Russia's New Political Humor
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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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