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The Morning Vertical, March 13, 2017


This week marks the centenary of a revolution the Kremlin would prefer to ignore -- the February Revolution that culminated in the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 15.

Vladimir Putin's regime is clearly struggling with how to commemorate 1917.

They've considered making it about reconciliation, reaching out to descendants of the Whites, who fought against Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks.

They've toyed with using the anniversary to teach society a lesson in the dangers of revolution, suggesting that the events of 1917 were a Western plot.

And, as we discuss on today's Power Vertical Briefing, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has now weighed in, calling for the body of Vladimir Lenin to be removed from its mausoleum on Red Square and buried.

The anniversary of the revolutions of 1917 is upon us.

This week marks the centenary of the beginning of a democratic experiment that lasted just eight months.

And November will mark the centenary of an autocratic experiment that lasted for more than seven decades.

And the Kremlin's vaunted spin masters seem to have no idea how to spin this.


The European Union is expected to extend sanctions against dozens of individuals and entities over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.

A Russian blogger charged with hooliganism and inciting religious hatred for allegedly playing Pokemon Go in a Russian Orthodox church went on trial in the city of Yekaterinburg today.

Oksana Sevastidi, a Russian woman convicted of high treason for a text message she sent a friend in Georgia during the 2008 war, has been released from prison, her lawyer says.

The Kremlin's main spokesman has said Moscow is frustrated with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration and a lack of progress in improving relations.

The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has called for Vladimir Lenin's body to be buried and for monuments to him to be destroyed.

The Serbian defense chief says he expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to soon approve delivery of six MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia.

Georgia says legislative elections held by Russia-backed separatists who control the breakaway Abkhazia region were illegal.

Belarusian police have detained a group of opposition leaders and at least three journalists during the latest in a series of charged protests over a controversial government-backed unemployment tax.

Russia has chosen Yulia Samoilova to represent the country at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, an event some Russian pop stars and lawmakers wanted to boycott.


In case you missed it, the latest Power Vertical Podcast, Not Quite The Comintern, looked at the recent agreements that the ruling United Russia party signed with Austria's Freedom Party and Italy's Northern League -- and what they say about Moscow's strategy in Europe.


On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we look at the centennial of the February 1917 Revolution and calls from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to bury the body of Vladimir Lenin.


Putin Vs. Merkel

The New York Times has a reported piece looking at the longstanding rivalry between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Putin's Little Hacker Helper

The New York Times profiles the notorious Russian hacker Yevgeny Bogachev. Is he a thief? A Russian asset? Or both?

The Kremlin's Thinking

In an insightful post on his Facebook page, Valery Solovei, a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, explains the Kremlin's current thinking on foreign affairs.

Moscow's Ukrainian Gas Oligarch

On his blog Between Europe And Russia, Taras Kuzio, a senior research associate at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, looks at the role of Ukrainian gas oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who is set to be extradited to the United States from Austria.

Kuzio also recently published a new book, Putin's War Against Ukraine: Revolution, Nationalism, And Crime.

Finland Against Hybrid War

Finnish politician and foreign affairs analyst Petri Makela has a post on his blog on countering hybrid war, Finnish style.

The Politics Of Eurovision

In his column for, opposition journalist Oleg Kashin looks at Russia's reasons for choosing Yulia Samoilova to represent the country at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv.

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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