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The Cheka. The GPU. The NKVD. The MGB. The KGB. And the FSB.

The Kremlin's secret police have gone by many names. And this week, they had a birthday.

Throughout the year, Vladimir Putin's regime studiously avoided celebrating dates associated with the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

But the centenary of the founding of the Cheka -- the original Soviet-era secret police -- was another story entirely.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the cult of the Chekist in the Russian imagination, the Kremlin's selective use of history, and the role of the Russian security services going forward.

Joining me are co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and author of the forthcoming book Vory: Russia's Super Mafia; and Andrei Soldatov, co-founder of the investigative website Agentura.ru and co-author of the books The New Nobility: The Restoration Of Russia's Security State And The Enduring Legacy Of The KGB and Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators And The New Online Revolutionaries.

Enjoy...

Podcast: The Secret Policeman's Ball
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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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