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The Morning Vertical, April 28, 2017

  • Brian Whitmore

ON MY MIND

Suddenly it looks like Russia is on a losing streak in Europe.

Suddenly it looks like the populist wave that Moscow was cheering on may just be receding.

Suddenly, from Austria to the Netherlands to France, centrist pro-European forces are back on their feet.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we'll take a look at Moscow's attempt to influence the French election and why it appears to have failed. We'll also examine the broader backlash in Europe against Russian political interference.

Joining me will be Cécile Vaissié, a professor of Russian and Soviet studies at Rennes 2 University and author of the book The Kremlin's Networks In France; and Marcel Van Herpen, director of the Cicero Foundation and author of the book Putin's Propaganda Machine: Soft Power And Russian Foreign Policy.

Be sure to tune in later today!

IN THE NEWS

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has called on the Security Council to apply "all pressure" on Russia to use its influence to end the war in Syria and to help ease the worsening humanitarian crisis there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe say they will closely cooperate in an attempt to ease tensions between North Korea and rival nations over Pyongyang's ballistic-missile program.

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was briefly hospitalized after being hit in the face by green dye, the second time he has been targeted with a green liquid in the past five weeks.

Police have searched a Moscow office of Open Russia, an NGO backed by Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky, stepping up pressure on the group two days before street protests it's seeking to organize.

A former chief of the Russian Interior Ministry's Anticorruption and Economic Crimes Directorate, Denis Sugrobov, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison on corruption charges.

The Pentagon inspector-general has launched an investigation into whether former Trump security adviser Michael Flynn accepted money from Russia without the required approval, U.S. House Democrats have said.

French prosecutors are investigating possible irregularities in the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, media report.

Latvia has granted citizenship to Mikhail Baryshnikov, the ballet legend who was born in the Baltic state when it was part of the Soviet Union but later defected to Canada and eventually became a U.S. citizen.

A Russian naval intelligence ship has sunk after a collision with a freighter tore a hole in its hull in the Black Sea off Istanbul, Turkish and Russian authorities say.

Estonia's defense minister says Russia could use use large-scale military exercises to move thousands of troops permanently into Belarus later this year in a warning to NATO.

The Guardian is reporting that French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's campaign has barred Russia's state-funded RT and Sputnik media organizations from his events.

WHAT I'M READING

A Quarter-Century Of U.S.-Russian Relations

Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies recently held a conference on the lessons learned from 25 years of U.S.-Russian relations. Speakers included former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, as well as numerous top scholars. You can read a summary of the panels and watch videos here.

New Report On Information Warfare

The Bratislava-based Center for European and North Atlantic Affairs has issued a new report, Information Warfare -- New Security Challenge for Europe.

Russia's Fake-News Playbook

The Daily Beast has published a transcript of former FBI agent Clint Watts' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Russian active measures.

When Vladimir Met Shinzo

Kommersant has a piece analyzing Putin's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Feeding The Donbas

Meduza has a piece taking a look at the economic assistance Russia provides to the separatist-held areas of the Donbas and how much it costs.

Russia's Nord Stream Win

Foreign Policy has a piece, Another Big Win For Russian Pipeline Politics In Europe, that looks at the deal in which five European energy companies will cover half the bill for the controversial Nord Stream-2 pipeline project.

The Russian Economy

Anders Aslund has a piece for Project Syndicate on "Russia's neo-feudal economy."

And the Economist Espresso has a piece taking a brief look at recent trends in the Russian economy.

The Politics Of Urban Renewal

In Republic.ru, Yevgeny Krasyuk looks at the politics behind Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's controversial program to demolish Khrushchev-era apartment buildings in the Russian capital.

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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