Another political season gets under way in Russia.
Vladimir Putin kicked off Russia's parliamentary election campaign this week, setting a date for the vote and bidding the outgoing State Duma farewell.
Like all Russian elections under Putin, the outcome, of course, is not in doubt.
But the September 18 election, and the campaign leading up to it, is important nonetheless -- as a legitimization ritual for the regime.
And as Putin learned the hard way five years ago, such legitimization rituals can go horribly wrong.
On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss the upcoming political season and what it portends.
Joining me are Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and host of the SRB Podcast; and Maxim Trudolyubov, a senior fellow at the Kennan Institute in Washington and editor at large of the Russian business daily Vedomosti.
Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.