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ON MY MIND

We've got the aftermath of nationwide protests. And we've got the anticipation of new sanctions.

This weekend, thousands of Russians heeded opposition leader Aleksei Navalny's call for nationwide protests against a presidential election they are calling a sham.

And as Russians return to work this week, the U.S. Treasury is set to release a list of the most politically connected Russian oligarchs, who could be subject to new sanctions.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing (featured below), we look at the aftermath of the protests and the anticipation of the list.

So be sure to tune in!

IN THE NEWS

At least 350 people, including opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, were detained across Russia as they rallied in support of an election boycott on January 28.

The United States and Poland on January 27 took a common stand against a planned gas pipeline linking Russia to Germany, saying it is politicizing energy and undermining attempts to make Europe less dependent on Russian resources.

A Moscow cinema that screened a satirical movie about Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in defiance of an official ban has announced that it will stop showing the film after a raid by police.

U.S. suggestions on deploying a UN mission in war-ravaged eastern Ukraine look quite feasible and Russia will study them carefully, Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov was quoted as saying by Russian media after meeting with his American counterpart, Kurt Volker.

Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow today for talks expected to include the Syrian conflict and Iran’s presence in the country.

Yury Dmitriyev, a Russian historian and activist who is being tried on child pornography charges his supporters say are politically motivated, has been released from pretrial custody, Russian media reported.

Two influential Republican senators have urged U.S. President Donald Trump to avoid public comments about the special counsel’s probe into potential contacts with Russia during his 2016 campaign.

The FBI has released dozens of pages from its investigation into the death of Mikhail Lesin, files that largely corroborate earlier police and other reports about the circumstances behind the former Russian press minister's 2015 death.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has scored a landslide first-round reelection victory, an apparent vote of confidence for his delicate balancing of managing ties with neighbor Russia and the West.

Pope Francis has visited a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic basilica in Rome, paying tribute to Catholics who perished in Ukraine because of their faith during the time of Soviet rule.

Russia-friendly incumbent Milos Zeman has been reelected president of the Czech Republic for a second five-year term after winning a closely fought, often divisive, election.

NEW POWER VERTICAL BRIEFING

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we look at the aftermath of this weekend's protests and Aleksei Navalny's ongoing quest for an election boycott. We also discuss the U.S. Treasury Department's anticipated release of a list of the most politically connected Russian oligarchs, who could be subject to sanctions.

WHAT I'M READING

Russia And The Czech Election

Anastasia Kirilenko has a piece in The Insider looking at Czech President Milos Zeman's ties to the Kremlin.

And in his column for Raam Op Rusland, Mark Galeotti of the Institute for International Relations in Prague looks at the reelection of Zeman and what it shows about the "limits and opportunities" of Moscow's meddling.

Sharp Power Vs. Soft Power

In Foreign Affairs, Joseph Nye looks at how "sharp power" threatens "soft power."

Restructuring The Siloviki?

Ilya Rozhdestvensky has a piece in Novoya Vremya-New Times looking at a possible reorganization of the Russian security services after the presidential election.

Protests And The Putin System

In his column for Republic.ru, political commentator and opposition journalist Oleg Kashin looks at how opposition protests are becoming an inexorable part of the Putin system.

The Dossier And The Kremlin's Playbook

In The Wall Street Journal, former CIA official Daniel Hoffman argues that the tactics outlined in the so-called "Steele Dossier" fit the Kremlin's playbook.

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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