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The Morning Vertical, February 12, 2018


Today marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Minsk II cease-fire.

And as I note on today's Daily Vertical (featured below), the war rages on and the Minsk process has long been written off as dead in the water.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing (also featured below), we take a look at a new round of diplomacy on Ukraine that appears set to begin at the annual Munich Security Forum later this week.

Can Minsk be revived in Munich?

Be sure to check out this week's Power Vertical Briefing!


Searchers at the grim site of a crash that killed all 71 passengers and crew on a flight from Moscow to the Urals are hunting for clues in the scattered wreckage of the aircraft outside the Russian capital.

Difficult conditions mean the search-and-recovery operation at the snow-packed site of the crash could take a week, Russian authorities say.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas arrived in Moscow today for meetings with President Vladimir Putin as he seeks Russia’s support in the face of rising tensions with the United States.

Estonia and Russia have swapped two convicted spies after both men received presidential pardons, Estonian authorities say.

Russia's media regulator has moved to prohibit material related to an investigation by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny that exposed a meeting between a Russian billionaire and a senior government official on a yacht.

A senior Moldovan lawmaker has accused Russia of meddling in his country's domestic politics ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.


In case you missed it, the latest Power Vertical Podcast looks at all the "weird scenes" along Russia's campaign trail -- and what they signify.


The new Power Vertical Briefing looks ahead to the new round of diplomacy on Ukraine -- three years after the Minsk II cease-fire -- that is set to begin during this coming weekend's Munich Security Conference.


Who Is Sergei Prikhodko?

Meduza has a piece looking at the career and role of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, who figured prominently in a video posted last week by opposition leader and anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny.

United Russia's Changing Role

Political commentator Tatiana Stanovaya has a piece in looking at ruling United Russia party's changing role in the Russian political system.

The Real Reason For Sobchak's U.S. Visit

In his column for, foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov opines on the real reason for Ksenia Sobchak's visit to the United States last week.

Putin's Billboard Bodyguards

According to a report by RFE/RL's Russian Service, police have been deployed in Kuzbass and Yakutsk to guard billboards promoting Putin's election campaign.

Rights Role Models

Pavel Chikov, director of the Kazan-based rights group Agora, has an op-ed in The Moscow Times arguing that Russian human rights activists no longer have a role model.

Sergei Chemezov Speaks

The Washington Post's Anton Troianovski interviews Putin crony and Rostek chief Sergei Chemezov.

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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