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The Morning Vertical, January 20, 2017


The Ukrainians and Georgians fear it. The Baltics are worried about it. The Europeans are concerned. And in the Kremlin, they seem to be rubbing their hands in glee.

The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States today appears to many to mark the start of a new detente between Russia and the United States and the end of the liberal post-Cold War international order.

Many also believe it heralds the realization of Vladimir Putin's dream of a Yalta-like division of the world into spheres of influence.

But does it?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we'll look ahead to U.S.-Russian relations in the age of Trump. Joining me will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior policy fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and author of the blog In Moscow's Shadows; Moscow-based foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian Foreign Ministry official, a columnist for, and president of the LEFF Group; and veteran Kremlin-watcher Donald Jensen, a former State Department official, a fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in the Nitze School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

It's an all-star lineup and should be a great show. So be sure to tune in...


U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are reportedly "examining intercepted communications and financial transactions" as part of an inquiry into possible links between Russian officials and at least three associates of President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office today.

Spanish officials said an alleged Russian hacker sought by the United States on hacking allegations has been jailed while a decision is made on whether to extradite him.

The Russian Constitutional Court has declared that Moscow has no obligation to comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling that it pay nearly 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) to shareholders of the defunct oil company Yukos.

Russian authorities warned that they could retaliate against U.S.-based media and social networks if state-backed Russian channel RT's access to social networks is restricted, a threat that came amid what the network called a "war" targeting its digital reach.

Amnesty International has urged Russia not to adopt legislation decriminalizing some forms of assault in the family home, calling it a "sickening attempt to trivialize domestic violence" that would undermine already weak protections against abuse.

The United States says the last remaining Russian citizen being held in the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been released.

The government of NATO-member Slovenia has proposed sending 50 soldiers to Latvia as part of a NATO effort to boost the alliance's presence in the Baltic states.


The Senate's Russia Investigation

Politico's Austin Wright and Martin Matishak go behind the scenes and looks at the political wrangling surrounding the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.

The Looming Battle Over Sanctions

In a piece on the Brookings Institution website, former U.S. State Department official Steven Pifer takes a look at Congress, Russia, And Sanctions.

The Trump-Russia File

In The Russia Files blog, Maxim Trudolyubov, a senior fellow at the Kennan Institute, looks ahead to the Trump-Putin relationship.

According to a report in Bloomberg, "Russia fears that Trump won’t be such a great deal after all."

And in a piece for the Washington Monthly, Tinker. Tailor. Mogul. Spy., former State Department official James Bruno dissects the declassified U.S. intelligence report on Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Notes From The Information Wars

The EU Disinformation Review has a brief report out on the "means, goals and consequences of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign."

And another on how a recent poll illustrates how well Russian propaganda is working at home.

On The War On The Rocks blog, meanwhile, Matt Armstrong, a former member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors and a former executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, looks at past, present, and future wars for international public opinion.

Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be 'Siloviki'

In, Yevgeny Karasyuk explains why more than half of Russians want their children to work as "siloviki," for the military or in the security services.

Health-Care Reform?

According to a report in, the Kremlin is building an exclusive hospital for Putin and his entourage

German Defense Spending

Deutsche Welle is reporting that Germany is planning to increase defense spending by almost 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in 2017. That would bring German defense spending to 37 billion euros, or 1.22 percent of GDP. Berlin is also demanding a clear agenda from the United States.

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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