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The Morning Vertical, August 4, 2017


Reset interrupted. Detente derailed. Rapprochement rebuked. Any illusions about a thaw in U.S.-Russian relations were pretty much laid to rest this week.

So what happens now?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we look at relations between Moscow and Washington in the aftermath of new U.S. sanctions and Russia's retaliatory moves. We'll also discuss Russia's upcoming Zapad 2017 military exercises.

Joining me will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague and head of its Center for European Security; former U.S. State Department official Angela Stent, director of Georgetown University's Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies; and Moscow-based foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian Foreign Ministry official and a columnist for

With a lineup like that, it should be a great show. So be sure to tune in later today!


Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will "think about" running for a fourth term as president in the election scheduled for March 2018.

Russia has denounced what it called "destabilizing" comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on his tour of the Western Balkans and said they exposed a Cold War mentality in Washington.

A senior U.S. general in Europe says the U.S. military is keeping a close eye on Moscow's planned military exercises in Russia and Belarus --- exercises that some experts say could involve 100,000 troops.

Resolutions from the UN General Assembly and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region have been presented at the trial of journalist Mykola Semena, who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge.

A Russian court has ordered opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and two of his associates to pay fines for distributing leaflets at an unauthorized rally in Moscow last month.

Campaign workers for Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny say a group called Otryady Putina (Putin's Brigades) attacked Navalny's local headquarters in the city of Krasnodar.

Authorities in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan have demolished houses belonging to the Romany minority, saying they were built illegally.

Russian officials say they will never accept a demand from world anti-doping authorities that they acknowledge that the state oversaw a mass sports doping operation and cover-up.

U.S. President Donald Trump said that Russia did not help him win the 2016 election, speaking as media reports said the Justice Department has convened a grand jury to investigate allegations of Russian efforts to influence the election.

Trump also said that Washington's relations with Moscow have hit a “very dangerous low," blaming lawmakers for the situation.

A Russian man extradited from Finland two years ago on computer-fraud charges has been sentenced to 46 months in a U.S. prison for spreading malicious software and netting millions of dollars for himself.

A Russian activist jailed for pro-Ukraine comments online has started a hunger strike in custody, her mother says.

Russia's Defense Ministry says it has agreed with Syria's opposition to create a new safe zone north of the city of Homs.

Two Ukrainian athletes, including an Olympic bronze medal winner, have received provisional suspensions after being charged with doping offenses, international sports officials say.

The offices of two major independent trade unions in Belarus have been raided and searched by financial police.


Unrest In The Regions

The Petersburg Foundation has released a new report on social unrest in Russia's regions.

Defending Ukraine

Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Carpenter has a piece in Defense One on how to defend Ukraine.

In DefenseNews, Matt Bonder looks at how Russia might respond if the United States arms Ukraine.

Dr. No?

In BuzzFeed, Andrew Ryvkin argues that Vladimir Putin isn't a Bond villain, he just plays one on TV.

Weaponizing LinkedIn

Jeff Stein has a piece in Newsweek about how Russia is using LinkedIn to intimidate critics.

1980s Redux

In The Atlantic, former State Department official Daniel Fried, currently a distinguished fellow at The Atlantic Council, has a piece comparing Russian behavior to the failed Soviet foreign policy of the early 1980s.

The Eternal Regime

In a thought-provoking piece in, journalist and political commentator Semyon Novoprudsky deconstructs what he calls "the syndrome of imaginary eternity," the tendency for Soviet and Russian elites to claim their regimes are eternal.

Will Sanctions Really Cause A Transatlantic Rift?

In, political commentator Yevgeny Krasyuk looks at whether the new U.S. sanctions on Russia will really drive a wedge between Washington and Brussels.

Values Voters

Also in, Maksim Bogachev looks at Orthodox Christian voters and argues that they "are not a faceless mass" that supports the authorities.

NOTE TO READERS: As I will be going on vacation, The Morning Vertical, The Daily Vertical, and all Power Vertical products will not appear from August 7-11. The regular schedule will resume on Monday August 14.

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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