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The two most visible opposition figures are trading insults.

The country's most reputable pollster has been muzzled.

The biggest debate appears to be not about whom to vote for, but whether to vote at all.

The authorities are enticing young people to come to the polls by offering a chance to win a free iPhone.

And Vladimir Putin's biggest opponents might just be apathy, indifference and a collective shrug.

On the new Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the odd dynamics of Russia's presidential election.

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 The Vory: Russia's Super Mafia; and Anna Arutunyan, a Moscow-based senior analyst on Russia for the International Crisis Group and author of the book The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia's Power Cult.

Enjoy...

The Power Vertical Podcast: The 'Whatever' Election
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Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.

NOTE TO POWER VERTICALISTAS: I will be in Washington, D.C., next week. There will be no Power Vertical products from January 22-26. The regular schedule resumes on January 29.

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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