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Podcast: Political Theater With A New Script

Vladimir Putin's annual press conference has a lot of familiar elements: the advance hype, the game-show-like atmosphere, and the predictably servile questions.

But this year's event also had something unusual: a crop of journalists who were not in awe of the president and who were unafraid to challenge him with tough questions.

From the lively sparring over Kremlin policy to the unexpected snappy comebacks to Putin's trademark putdowns, it was political theater that reflects how much Russia has changed in the past year.

In the latest edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast," I discuss these issues with co-hosts Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service and NYU professor Mark Galeotti, author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows."

Power Vertical Podcast: Political Theater With A New Script
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NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: "The Power Vertical" will break for two weeks as I take a breather for the holidays. The blog will be back in action on January 7 and the podcast will return on January 11.

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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