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An empty ritual and a full-on diplomatic confrontation.

A fake election and a very real international crisis.

Political theater in Moscow and an apparent political assassination attempt in the U.K.

Two stories competed for our attention in recent weeks, as the campaign in Russia lurched toward it's conclusion and the British government accused Moscow of attempting to poison Sergei Skripal, a former double agent.

What do they tell us about where Russia is headed -- both at home and abroad -- after March 18?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we take a look.

Joining me from Moscow is co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague and author of the forthcoming book Vory: Russia's Super Mafia.

Enjoy...

The Power Vertical Podcast: Poisonous Politics
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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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