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The Morning Vertical, April 27, 2016

Your daily roundup:


I don't imagine there is much chance that the Kremlin will abide by the European Court of Human Rights' ruling this week that Russia pay compensation to five opposition protesters jailed between 2006 and 2012. And State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin has already said that observers from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly will not be allowed to monitor this year's parliamentary elections.

It's pretty clear that Moscow is no longer interested in abiding by any of the Council of Europe's rules or adhering to any of the decisions of its court. So one has to wonder: How long will the charade of Russia being a member of the council continue?


Russia's prosecutor-general is accusing the Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector of plotting a coup -- in Russia.

A Russian-run court in the annexed Crimean Peninsula has branded the executive council for the region's Tatar minority an extremist organization and ordered it banned.

The United States is sending F-22 warplanes to Romania.

The incoming NATO commander will review rules of engagement in light of a series of encounters with Russian warplanes.

The OSCE secretary-general and Iran's defense minister are in Moscow to take part in a security conference.

The first launch from Russia's new cosmodrome has been delayed.

The youth leader of the Russian opposition party Parnas has reportedly been kidnapped.

State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin says observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will not be allowed to observe Russia's parliamentary elections in September.

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay $40,000 to arrested protesters.


Donbas Maneuvers

In a piece in Apostrophe, Artyem Dekhtyarenko argues that an OSCE police force in Donbas may actually work to Russia's advantage by helping Moscow to freeze the conflict on its terms.

Also in Apostrophe, Moscow-based political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin argues that Russia is preparing to wash its hands of the Donbas conflict.

The Militarization Of Crimea

Defense Express takes a close look at the degree to which Russia has militarized Crimea since annexing it in 2014.

The Panama Papers Meets The Magnitsky Case

The Organized Crime and Corruption Report Project links cellist Sergei Roldugin with the Magnitsky case.

"Banking records obtained by OCCRP show that cellist Sergei Roldugin, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s old friend, received money from an offshore company at about the same time it was being used to steal money from the Russian government in the notorious Sergei Magnitsky case."

Council On Foreign Relations Event: What To Expect From Putin

The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations held a symposium yesterday featuring Agnia Grigas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the book Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire; Stephen Sestanovich, a senior fellow at CFR; Julianne Smith of the Center for a New American Security; and Nadia Diuk of the National Endowment for Democracy.

You can watch a video of the event here.

The Tatars Under Siege

Writing in The Huffington Post, Rory Finnin of Cambridge University's Committee for Russian and Eastern European Studies looks at the plight of the Crimean Tatars.

Russia, China, And Sanctions

In a recent post on the University of Nottingham's China Policy Institute Blog, Aleksandr Gabuev of the Moscow Carnegie Center asks, Did Western Sanctions Affect Sino-Russian Economic Ties?

The Life And Death Of An Old Bolshevik

Sean Guillory's SRB Podcast this week looks at the life and legacy of Aleksandr Shlyapnikov, a Bolshevik revolutionary who was executed in Josef Stalin's great terror. Sean's guest is LaSalle University historian and Shlyapnikov biographer Barbara Allen.

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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