After all the political upheaval of the past six months, it appears after this week's Cabinet and Kremlin appointments that that the same two-dozen or so insiders are still calling the shots behind the scenes in Russia. This cabal goes by various informal monikers: Vladimir Putin's Politburo, the "collective Putin," or "The Team" to name a few.
But during Putin's rule, an increasing number of Kremlin-watchers believe this "collective Putin" has been trying to institutionalize its mastery over the political system, forming what political scientists call a "Deep State" -- a permanent super-elite that decides policy, sets the rules of the political game and the parameters of legitimate debate as well as deciding who is allowed to formally rule.
In this week's edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I spoke with special guest co-host Mark Galeotti, professor of Global Affairs at New York University and the author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows" to discuss the implications of this in a rapidly changing social and political environment.
Listen to or download the podcast below, or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.
Power Vertical Podcast: Russia's 'Deep State'