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The Morning Vertical, December 2, 2016


For the past few years, we've been hearing and talking a lot about hybrid war and hybrid tactics. But what exactly is hybrid war? What are its components and weapons?And how can one defend against it?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we unpack the concept of hybrid war in all its confusing and confounding glory.

Joining me will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and author of a new report, Hybrid War Or Gibridnaya Voina? Getting Russia's Nonlinear Military Challenge Right.

Also on the Podcast, Mark and I will unpack Vladimir Putin's state-of-the-nation speech and Russia's newly unveiled foreign-policy doctrine.

So be sure to tune in later today!


Vladimir Putin has endorsed a new foreign-policy doctrine accusing the United States and its allies of undermining "global stability" by trying to "contain" Russia.

In his annual state-of-the-nation address, Putin said that the country was unified like never before and was fully capable of achieving its strategic economic and geopolitical goals.

The FSB claims it has information about an impending cyberattack on Russia's financial infrastructure.

Putin is set to meet with Japan's foreign minister, ahead of an upcoming state visit.

World athletics' governing body has extended the ban on Russia competing in international competition, due to its deep problems with doping.

The head of investigations in Ukraine's Security Service has charged that Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko may have been spying for Russia.

Soccer's world governing body, FIFA, has rejected complaints from environmentalists about the construction of a stadium parking lot for the 2018 World Cup in Kazan, saying the project is not damaging the environment.

Moscow says three Russian sailors have been taken hostage by "bandits" after an attack on a commercial ship off the western coast of Africa during the weekend.

Russia’s space agency says an unmanned cargo ship has disintegrated and burned up in the atmosphere over Siberia shortly after it blasted off with supplies for the International Space Station.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has said the Russian military will have to leave its base in Kyrgyzstan in the future.

A prominent monument commemorating victims of the Soviet gulag system has been vandalized in Russia's Far East.

Russia wants to discuss the idea of setting up four humanitarian corridors to eastern Aleppo to allow in aid and to evacuate the estimated 400 sick and wounded needing treatment, the United Nations says.

The wife of jailed Russian activist Ildar Dadin, who has claimed he was tortured and beaten in prison, says her husband has been confined to his cell.


Russia's New Foreign Policy Blueprint

The full text of Russia's new foreign-policy doctrine, which was approved by Vladimir Putin yesterday, is available online.

Some key bullet points:

  • The policy of the United States and its allies to contain Russia and to exert political and economic pressure on it undermines regional and global stability
  • Russia will not accept attempts by the United States to pressure it and reserves the right to respond strongly to unfriendly actions
  • Russia does not recognize the extraterritorial implementation of U.S. law
  • Russia will oppose attempts by individual countries to revise international law and to interpret it arbitrarily for political reasons
  • Russia is interested in building mutually beneficial relations with the United States given the special responsibility of the two countries for international security
  • Russia has a negative attitude to NATO's enlargement, the process of moving its infrastructure closer to Russia's borders, and the escalation of the alliance's military activity
  • Russia will use new technologies to strengthen the position of Russian media abroad and to protect its information security

Putin's Big Speech

In Intersection magazine, Victoria Poltoratskaya does a nice job unpacking Putin's state-of-the-nation speech. The article is available in English and Russian.

"One can draw several conclusions based on the rhetoric of this year’s presidential address. To begin with, we will not see any loss of strength in the regime’s grip. But neither will we see the preservation of the status quo. A regrouping of forces and structural changes loom ahead of us in the upcoming year. However, there will be no change in the direction of movement," Poltoratskaya writes.

Tweeting 1917

Imagine if there had been social media in 1917. What would the tweets of the Bolshevik Revolution looked like. A new Russian Internet project, spearheaded by former Dozhd-TV editor in chief Mikhail Zygar, seeks to reenact the Russian Revolution through tweets.

The project is available here. Additionally, BBC has a nice writeup here, and Zygar explains the project in an interview with The Village here.

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

In his column for (formerly, opposition journalist Oleg Kashin asks whether the rise of a new generation of bureaucrats will change the Russian elite.

Propaganda About Propaganda?

In a piece in The New Yorker, Adrian Chen looks at the controversy surrounding PropOrNot and the issue of "propaganda about Russian propaganda."

The Oil Price Scam

In his column for Bloomberg, Bershidsky takes a look behind the curtain in the recent OPEC deal to cut oil production.

Learning From China

Andrei Soldatov and Anna Borogan have a piece in (formerly on what Russia is learning from China about controlling the Internet.

The Crimean Question

In a piece in Intersection magazine, Anton Barbashin argues that "the Crimea case is not closed. While "Russia can successfully postpone the resolution of the Crimean question, but it can never put an end to the story," Barbashin writes.

The article is available in English and Russian.

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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