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The Morning Vertical, April 25, 2017


So the Kremlin has no reason not to trust Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Kremlin has full faith in the man who is believed to have masterminded the assassinations of journalists, opposition leaders, and human rights activists.

The Kremlin has complete confidence in the man who now stands accused of orchestrating the mass abductions, torture, and executions of gay men in Chechnya.

And the Kremlin stands behind the man who has threatened journalists for reporting these allegations.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "We have no reason to believe that Kadyrov would provide incorrect information of any kind" to Vladimir Putin.

So Putin trusts Kadyrov.

And you can tell a lot about a man from whom he trusts.


French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron's campaign says that it was targeted by Russia-linked hackers.

Denmark's defense minister has criticized Moscow's "aggressive" behavior after a report accused Russian hackers of infiltrating e-mail accounts of the country's Defense Ministry.

The Kremlin says Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to Russia and meet with President Vladimir Putin on April 27.

OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today in Moscow.

A top U.S. Army general has suggested during a visit to Afghanistan by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that Russia is arming Taliban militants.

Russia's track-and-field federation says veteran marathon runner Albina Mayorova has been banned for four years for doping.

A woman who was found shot dead in the northwestern state of Oregon had arrived in the United States last month from Russia and was having a relationship with the man arrested in connection with her death, authorities say.

The OSCE has identified an American paramedic who was killed by a land mine in eastern Ukraine on April 23 while working as an OSCE monitor.

Vladimir Putin has criticized opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, indirectly accusing him of using his anticorruption campaign to gain political prominence.

A Russian court has fined a woman for her teenage daughter's participation in an unsanctioned anticorruption protest on March 26.

A Russian man who was jailed following antigovernment protests held nationwide on March 26 has filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights.

U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed U.S. support for efforts led by Germany and France to negotiate a resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the White House said.


Putin's Performance

The Levada Center has released a new poll on Putin's performance. According to the poll, Putin earns high approval for reforming the armed forces, strengthening Russia's international position, and solving the Chechen problem. His greatest failures are fighting corruption and improving living standards.

Estonia's Spy Catchers

MIchael Weiss has a piece in the Daily Beast on Estonia's success in its counterespionage efforts.

Russia Through Europe's Eyes

The Prague-based European Values think tank has released a new study on how Europe's democracies have reacted to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Emily Tamkin comments on the report on Foreign Policy's The Cable blog.

And Hromadske Television's Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Jakub Janda, head of the European Values think tank's Kremlin Watch program, about Moscow's propaganda efforts in Europe.

Moscow's French Election Fail

In The Moscow Times, foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov explains how the Kremlin got the French election wrong.

Meanwhile, Politico and Motherboard take a look at Russian cyberattacks during the campaign.

The New York Times looks at a report by the cybersecurity firm Trend Micro that detailed the hacking of Emmanuel Macron's campaign.

And in his column for Bloomberg, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky argues that "continental Europe is winning the sanity contest."

Manufacturing A War

Aric Toler, the lead digital forensics researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, and Melinda Haring, editor of the UkraineAlert blog, take a closer look at leaked e-mails that show how the Kremlin manufactured the war in Ukraine.

Passports, Borders, And Terror

In a piece for, Vladimir Frolov looks at the changing nature of terrorism in Russia, with the main threat emanating from Central Asia rather than the North Caucasus.

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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