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Podcast: The State Of The Empire

Cartoon Of Putin's State-Of-The-Nation Speech
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As Putin talks, the ruble sinks (cartoon by Sergei Elkin)

He accused the West of trying to destroy and dismember Russia. He trumpeted the annexation of Crimea, which he called hallowed ground for Russians. And he said speculators were behind the dramatic decline in the ruble's value -- speculators he pledged to punish.

And over the 75 minutes that Vladimir Putin spoke, the ruble lost more than 1.2 percent of its value.

With the Russia currency tanking, oil prices falling, and the Russian economy reeling, Putin offered no apologies, no retreat, and no plan in his annual state-of-the-nation address -- a speech that can be summarized by three Ds: Defiance, Denial, and Delusion.

But despite the bluster, Putin's luck may be running out as the economic costs of his Ukraine adventure begin to hit home.

In the latest "Power Vertical Podcast," we look at Putin's big speech in the context of Russia's looming recession.


Podcast: The State Of The Empire
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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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