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The Morning Vertical, March 23, 2018


We witnessed something last weekend.

It may not have been an election, at least in the way we understand that word.

But we seem to have witnessed a watershed moment.

Because March 18 appears to have been about more than going through the motions of securing a fourth term for Vladimir Putin.

It appears to mark the end of an era in which Russia went through the tedious motions of pretending it is a democracy -- managed, sovereign, or otherwise -- and the dawn of something else.

So what happens next?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the fallout from Putin's reelection in Russia and beyond.

Joining from Moscow will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague and author of the book Vory: Russia's Super Mafia.

So be sure to tune in later today!


Vladimir Putin has thanked voters for their "unprecedented support" and urged the country to put political differences aside in the name of progress, addressing the country moments after election officials formally declared him the winner of the March 18 presidential election.

EU leaders say they have agreed to recall their envoy to Moscow and may take other measures after concluding that it is "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England.

A British court has opened an inquest to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov, who was found at his home in London earlier this month.

Putin's spokesman has said that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's comparison of Russia's hosting of the World Cup with the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany was "disgusting" and "unacceptable."

The Kremlin says a breakthrough is still remote in Russia-U.S. relations despite talk about a possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

The parents of Anton Yelchin, a Russian-born actor known for his role in Star Trek films, said on March 22 they reached a settlement with the makers of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV that crushed and killed their son in 2016.

Ukrainian security officers have detained Nadia Savchenko, a lawmaker and former captive of Russia who is accused of plotting to blow the roof off the parliament building in a "terrorist" attack.


Succession In Russia And China

Yale University historian Timothy Snyder, author of the books Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler And Stalin and Black Earth: The Holocaust As History And Warning, has an op-ed in The Washington Post looking at the issue of succession in Russia and China.

Putinomics 4.0

On the Carnegie Moscow website, political commentator Konstantin Gaaze looks at the economics of Putin's fourth term.

Baltic Economics

In, Yevgeny Karasyuk compares the Russian economy to those of the Baltic states.

Russia's Nuclear Strategy

Bruno Tertrais. deputy director of the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique in Paris, has a piece looking at Russia's nuclear strategy that argues that its real danger is political rather than military.

The Volokolamsk Protests

In his column for, opposition journalist and political commentator Oleg Kashin looks at the protests in Volokolamsk, where residents fought with government officials after dozens of children were hospitalized after apparently breathing toxic gas leaked from a landfill.

Vory: The Trailers

My co-host on The Power Vertical Podcast, Mark Galeotti, has released a series of entertaining promo trailers for his forthcoming book Vory: Russia's Super Mafia. You can watch them on YouTube here, here, here, here, and here.

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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