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Podcast: Putin's Road To Damascus

A power play or a bargaining chip?
A power play or a bargaining chip?

Is Russia exporting hybrid warfare and frozen conflicts to the Middle East?

Defying the West, Russia puts boots on the ground in Syria in an apparent​ effort to prop up the tottering regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin and its surrogates hint that Vladimir Putin will offer the West a grand bargain when he speaks later this month at the United Nations General Assembly.

With Russia bogged down in a military and diplomatic quagmire in Ukraine, and with its economy reeling from sanctions and low oil prices, Putin has decided it's time to change the subject.

What's the Kremlin's game plan in Syria? Is there a master strategy? Or is this all desperate improvisation?

On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss Putin's Syrian gambit and its ramifications.

Joining me are Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows; Alexander Clarkson, a professor at King's College in London and a frequent commentator on post-Soviet affairs; and Russian foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov, president of the LEFF Group.


Podcast: Putin's Road To Damascus
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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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