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The Morning Vertical, January 15, 2017


Sergei Lavrov's annual press conference is a perennial rite signaling the end of the long holiday season. It is also an opportunity for the Kremlin to send out diplomatic signals to the rest of the world.

So what did we learn today from this annual January ritual?

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we take a closer look at some of the highlights, what message the Kremlin was trying to send, and what it portends for the coming year.

Be sure to tune in!


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of trying to undermine the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying Trump’s statements could lead to the cancellation of the deal.

Russia has deployed a new unit armed with the advanced S-400 air-defense system in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Russian media are reporting.

Public demonstrations and other similar activities are banned over more than half of the territory of Russia's third-largest city, Novosibirsk, rights activists say.

Russian authorities say a teacher and two teenage boys have been seriously injured in what investigators say was a knife fight at a high school in the city of Perm.

The Argentinian Navy says that Russian search specialists will return to the area where a submarine went missing in the South Atlantic on November 15 with 44 crew members aboard.

The Russian military says it has killed militants it holds responsible for an attack on its air base in Syria.

A court in Moscow has refused to grant early release to the leader of a group believed to be behind the hacking of high-profile Internet accounts, including the Twitter account of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Russian soccer club Spartak Moscow has been accused of racism after tweeting a message in which it appeared to refer to its own players as "chocolates."

Dozens of people have been stricken with salmonella after eating at a cafe in the capital of Russia's Far Eastern region of Buryatia.


What did we learn from Sergei Lavrov's annual press conference? Listen to the new Power Vertical Briefing.


The Communist 'Religion'

In his column for, opposition journalist and political commentator Oleg Kashin explains why Vladimir Putin's remarks that communism was similar to Christianity were not really shocking.

Putin's Fear Of Opponents

Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza has a piece in The Washington Post asking why Putin is so afraid of competition.

Stalin For President?

Moskovsky Komsomolets has a piece looking at the still-rising popularity of Josef Stalin during Russia's election season.

Internet Controls

In an interview with the official Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin called for tighter controls on the Internet.

Kaspersky Suspicions

The Wall Street Journal has a piece looking at mounting suspicions among U.S. law enforcement officials that Kaspersky Labs played a role in Russia's hacking of the United States.

The Oligarch List

Bloomberg has a report on how the Russian elite is bracing for a U.S. list of "oligarchs" close to the Putin regime and who could be subject to sanctions.

Truckers And The Kremlin

Novaya Gazeta has an interview with Andrey Bazhutin, the leader of Russia's trucker's union, on tensions with the elite.

The Plight Of Independent Trade Unions

An editorial in Vedomosti looks at the pressure the authorities are bringing to bear on independent trade unions.

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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