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The Morning Vertical, November 14, 2017


Dmitry Muratov has accomplished mission impossible.

As editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta for the past 22 years, he has guided one of Russia's only independent media outlets through the hazardous terrain of Vladimir Putin's rule.

From its fearless reporting during the war in Chechnya to its exposés of corruption in Putin's inner circle to its investigative reports on Ramzan Kadyrov's brutal suppression of homosexuals, the newspaper has been a beacon for human rights activists and a must-read for Russia-watchers for decades.

When much of the Russian media was in denial about Moscow's complicity in the downing of Flight MH17 back in the summer of 2014, Muratov's Novaya Gazeta ran the bold headline -- in Dutch and Russian -- that read: "Forgive Us, Netherlands."

All of this was, of course, not without costs. Six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed during Muratov's tenure -- including internationally renowned investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was assassinated in Moscow in October 2006.

In announcing his retirement yesterday, Muratov said that "22 years is too much." And a colleague simply added that "Dmitry Andreyevich is tired."

Muratov has certainly earned a peaceful retirement. But his stewardship of one of Russia's most important newspapers will be sorely missed.


Human Rights Watch says authorities in Russian-occupied Crimea have "intensified persecution" of Crimean Tatars for their opposition to Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region in 2014.

After talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, U.S. and Russian envoys say their countries have "different concepts for how to make peace" but will continue to work to achieve that goal.

A Belarusian court has sentenced a Russian Orthodox priest to 5 1/2 years in prison on attempted pimping and human trafficking charges.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reaffirmed his country's interest in purchasing a missile defense system from Russia despite concern about the deal among Ankara's NATO allies.

Russia's efforts to sow discord in the West will not succeed, and they already are prompting Western allies to work together to counter Moscow's meddling, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

Dmitry Muratov, the longtime editor of Russia's respected Novaya Gazeta newspaper will step down from his post this week.

Russia's state-funded RT television network has registered in the United States under a decades-old law intended to limit foreign governments from spreading propaganda in the country.

The European Union has launched public consultations on "fake news" and online disinformation, and will also set up a group of experts in an effort to map out an EU strategy for tackling these threats by the spring of 2018.

The world's earliest evidence of grape winemaking has been detected in 8,000-year-old pottery jars unearthed in Georgia, making the tradition almost 1,000 years older than previously thought, researchers said.


Parsing The Trump-Putin Meeting

On the Kennan Institute's The Russia File blog, Maksim Trudolyubov looks at how the Russian media covered the brief informal meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump on the sidelines of the the APEC summit in Vietnam.

In Rosbalt, Ivan Preobrazhensky offers his take on the reasons why the two president's failed to have a full-fledged meeting.

And in Raam Op Rusland, Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations in Prague uses the Trump-Putin meeting as a point of departure to explain the incoherence in the relationship between Moscow and Washington.

Business And Life In Annexed Crimea

Novaya Gazeta has a piece looking at how the redistribution of assets in Crimea since the Russian annexation is affecting business and resulting in a wave of bankruptcies.

And on the Carnegie Europe website, Gwendolyn Sasse, director of the Berlin-based Center for East European and International Studies, looks at public opinion in Crimea.

1917 In Russia And Belarus

In Novaya Gazeta, commentator and opposition politician Leonid Gozman assesses how the Kremlin avoided marking the centenary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

And in The Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor, Grigory Ioffe looks at how Belarus marked the centenary of the revolution.

Yavlinsky On Sanctions

In Vedomosti, economist and Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky assesses the impact of Western sanctions on Russia.

Trolling With A Cause

In his column for Bloomberg, Russian political commentator Leonid Bershidsky argues that "Putin's trolling of the West is not just a tactic" -- but a long term strategy.

German Lessons For Russia

In a piece for Intersection magazine, economist and political commentator Vladislav Inozemtsev looks at "German lessons for the Russian world." He argues that "contemporary Germany's decentralized politics, and its treatment of German speakers beyond its borders, should be a model for Russia. Instead, Russia seems to be following the dangerous and flawed path of 1930s Germany." The piece is available in both English and Russian.

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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