The political crisis in Astrakhan intensified this week as opposition candidate Oleg Shein's hunger strike approached the one-month mark and large demonstrations were scheduled for this weekend.
According to official results, United Russia’s Mikhail Stolyarov won the March 4 election with 60 percent of the vote to Shein's 30 percent. But Shein, a member of the center-left A Just Russia, claims to have documentary evidence proving vote fraud and is vowing to continue his hunger strike until he gets a new election.
The Astrakhan crisis has gone national with opposition figures like anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny, Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, and others traveling there to lend support to Shein.
In this week's edition of The Power Vertical podcast, I sat down with Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service, to talk about the implications of the dramatic events in Astrakhan and what they mean for the Kremlin.
Also on the podcast, Kirill and I discuss what kind of regime Vladimir Putin wants to establish in Russia when he returns to the Kremlin.
Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.