An opposition leader is slain. A president goes AWOL. And his underlings go for each other's throats.
It's been three weeks that shook the Kremlin. And at the center of it all were two pillars of Vladimir Putin's autocratic regime: his beloved FSB and his handpicked Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Veteran Russia-watcher Edward Lucas told Britain's itv news this week that "we're seeing rivets popping inside the Kremlin in a way we haven't seen before."
We are indeed. And they're some very big rivets.
The latest Power Vertical Podcast tries to unpack the ongoing political turmoil gripping the Russian elite since the February 27 assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Joining me is co-host Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on the Russian security services, and author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows.
Also on the podcast, Mark and I examine an old cliche about Russian politics -- that it operates like a mafia state -- and ask whether it is actually appropriate.