It's been a wild wild week, even by Russian standards.
It began with agents from the Investigative Committee searching the apartments of leading opposition figures, including anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny, socialite-turned social-activist Ksenia Sobchak, and Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov.
And it wrapped up with a noisy scandal
that saw Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin accused
of challenging a journalist to a duel, having him dragged out to the forest, and threatening to kill him.
And in between, an estimated 60,000 people took to the streets in Moscow, defying an ongoing crackdown and a draconian new law aimed at thwarting public gatherings.
Both sides showed their strengths and weaknesses this week. At the same time, neither side has been able to truly exploit the other's vulnerabilities.
In this week's edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discuss the ongoing standoff between the Kremlin and the opposition with Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.
Also on the podcast, special guest Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows
," helped us put the Bastrykin "forest affair" in context.
Listen to or download the podcast below, or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.