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Podcast: Putin's Beautiful Launderette

Panama? What Panama? I don't see no Panama.
Panama? What Panama? I don't see no Panama.

It was the biggest journalistic leak in history. It documented the offshore dealings of officials around the world. And its reverberations are being felt from Iceland to China to Argentina.

But while the Panama Papers have taught us a lot about how the rich and powerful hide their money from tax collectors, and have already claimed the scalp of Iceland's prime minister, in Russia they showed us something else entirely.

They've given us a glimpse of how Vladimir Putin's regime plunders and launders state assets. They've highlighted the difference between corruption in the West, where it is a bug in the software, and in Russia, where it isn't a bug, where it isn't even a feature.

No, in Russia corruption is the software -- it's the country's operating system.

On the new Power Vertical Podcast, I discuss this week's bombshell with co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russian organized crime, and author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows; and guest Karen Dawisha, director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the University of Miami, Ohio, and author of the highly acclaimed book Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?

Also on the podcast, Mark, Karen, and I look at Putin's reshuffle of the security services and his newly minted Praetorian Guard.


Power Vertical Podcast: Putin's Beautiful Launderette
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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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