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The Morning Vertical, March 26, 2018


I am using the On My MInd section of The Daily Vertical today to make an announcement.

Basically, I have some bad news and some good news.

As many Power Vertical followers may know by now, I have accepted a new position as a senior fellow and director of the Russia program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C., where I begin on April 1.

This week will, therefore, be my last at RFE/RL, where I am privileged to have worked for 11 years. The bad news, of course, is that this week will also be the last week that Power Vertical products (Power Vertical blog, Power Vertical Podcast, Daily Vertical, Morning Vertical) will appear in their current form.

And now for some good news. The Power Vertical will continue, albeit in a new form and under a new flag.

Thanks to RFE/RL's generosity, I will retain the Power Vertical brand name and take it with me to CEPA. There are currently plans to revive the blog, the Daily Vertical-style videos (albeit with less frequency), and the weekly podcast as CEPA products. I will also keep the Power Vertical Twitter feed (@PowerVertical) and Facebook fan page.

I will be providing details about the timing of all this on Facebook and on Twitter in the coming weeks.


At least 64 people are dead after a fire raced through a busy shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, prompting panicked visitors to jump from windows as flames and smoke filled parts of the building.

U.S. President Donald Trump could be on the verge of expelling at least 20 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, U.S. and international media are reporting.

Dozens of people have been arrested in Belarus as opposition activists attempted to hold an unsanctioned rally in the capital, Minsk.

A plan to place a 4-meter bronze monument to honor Soviet World War II aviators in a local park has been rejected by officials in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

About 1,000 people have protested again in Volokolamsk, some 100 kilometers west of Moscow, demanding the closure of a landfill that has been leaking toxic gas that harmed dozens of children this week.

Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Yevtukhov has said Russia will challenge stiff new tariffs that the United States imposed this week on aluminum and steel imports before the World Trade Organization.

A Soyuz capsule carrying two U.S. astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut has docked with the International Space Station.


In case you missed it, the latest Power Vertical Podcast looks ahead to Russia during Putin's fourth term.


Farewell To A Friend And Colleague

I'm deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and colleague Ruslan Gelischanow, one of the most colorful, passionate, and interesting people I have ever had the honor of knowing. Rest in peace, Ruslan. You'll be sorely missed.

Hearts And Minds

In Novaya Gazeta, Vladimir Pastukhov writes that Putin has won the battle for Russia's "collective unconscious."

Lessons From A Fire

In his column for, opposition journalist and political commentator Oleg Kashin weighs in on this weekend's fire at a shopping mall in Siberia and what it says about the "low cost of life" in Russia.

Excerpt From The Vory: Russia's Super Mafia

The Guardian has published an excerpt from The Vory: Russia's Super Mafia, the new book by Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations in Prague and longtime co-host of The Power Vertical Podcast.

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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