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The Morning Vertical, February 15, 2018


It appears that Aleksei Navalny has really touched a nerve with the video he released last week targeting Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko and Kremlin-connected oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

According to reports this morning, Internet providers in Russia have begun blocking access to opposition leader and anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny's website following an order from Roskomnadzor, the country's communications regulator.

Russian authorities are also threatening to block YouTube and Instagram for hosting the video.

It's just the latest example of how spooked the Kremlin is by Navalny. (In fact, some Moscow residents say the only way they can get officials to clear the snow in the Russian capital is to write Navalny's name on it.)

He's been barred from the ballot in Russia's so-called presidential election.

But even though he is a noncandidate officially, he is the only person who is actually behaving like a candidate.


Internet providers in Russia have begun blocking access to opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's website following an order from the country's communications regulator, according to social-media posts, news reports, and Navalny himself.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will, "in the near future," issue new sanctions against wealthy Russians in retaliation for Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Human Rights Watch says world soccer's governing body must tackle rights abuses in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya now that the Egyptian national team selected the regional capital, Grozny, as the location for its base camp during this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

A Russian former lawmaker, Ilya Ponomaryov, has testified before a Kyiv court that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

Journalist Ali Feruz, who for months faced the prospect of deportation from Russia to Uzbekistan, is on his way to a third country after court rulings in his favor.

A U.S. judge sentenced a Russian man to 12 years in prison on February 14 for his role in a hacking scheme that prosecutors said caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage through the sale of 160 million stolen credit-card numbers.

The health minister in Russia's Tatarstan region, Adel Vafin, has been removed from his post days after his deputy was found dead in her home while under house arrest on financial-crime charges.

Mikheil Saakashvili has arrived in the Netherlands, his wife's home country, after being expelled from Ukraine into neighboring Poland.

European Union diplomats have decided to extend the EU arms embargo on Belarus by another year but to make an exception for small-caliber sport guns.


New Report: Envisioning A Russia-NATO Conflict

The European Leadership Network has issued a new report: Envisioning A Russia-NATO Conflict: Implications For Deterrence Stability

A To-Do List For NATO

On the website of the Center for European Policy Analysis, veteran Kremlin-watcher Edward Lucas has a to-do list for NATO ahead of the alliance's summit in July.

Revising Defense Lending

Max Bergmann, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, has a piece in War on the Rocks looking at how the United States can help NATO allies in Eastern Europe break their dependence on Russian military equipment.

Europe's Tactical Trap

Daniel Keohane has a piece on the Carnegie Europe website on what he calls "Europe's Geo-Tactical Trap."

More On Russian Mercenaries

In his column for Bloomberg, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky weighs in on reports that up to 200 Russian mercenaries died in U.S. air and artillery strikes in Syria.

Meduza takes a look at the variations in media estimates of the Russian death toll.

And Vedomosti has an editorial by Pavel Aptekar and Mariya Zheleznova criticizing the Kremlin's reluctance to admit the presence of Russian mercenaries in Syria.

After The Daghestan Purge

Novaya Gazeta has a report arguing that the purge in Daghestan is likely to spread to federal ministries.

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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