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The Morning Vertical, November 15, 2017


Dmitry Medvedev is taking issue with the European Union's efforts to enforce its own laws on its own territory.

The Russian prime minister claims that the EU's attempts to regulate the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline are aimed at complicating its implementation and forcing Moscow to abandon it.

Medvedev's remarks were in response to regulations proposed last week by the European Commission requiring all major gas pipelines entering EU territory to comply with the bloc's rules on transparency, accessibility, and efficiency.

The fact that the Russian prime minister is making an issue of the fact that the EU wants pipelines on EU territory to comply with EU rules speaks volumes about the gap between Russia and the West on the primacy of the rule of law.

And the fact that this is even controversial speaks volumes about what Russian energy companies have been able to get away with in the past.


The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, has unanimously approved legislation that would authorize the government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as "foreign agents."

And a senior lawmaker says that foreign-funded media outlets that refuse to register as foreign agents under legislation will be ejected from the country.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin has again failed to appear in court to testify in the corruption trial of former Economics Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev.

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.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the European Union's attempts to regulate the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project appear to be aimed at complicating its implementation or forcing Moscow to abandon it.

Russian authorities say a 4-year-old girl is the only survivor of a plane crash in the country's Far East.

About 15 percent of U.S. government agencies have detected Kaspersky Lab's software on their systems in a review prompted by concerns that the Russian antivirus firm is vulnerable to the Kremlin's influence, a security official has told Congress.

United States lawmakers pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the top U.S. law enforcement official, on his recollection of interactions between President Donald Trump's election campaign and Russian officials.

Sessions, meanwhile, says he may soon appoint a special counsel to investigate an Obama-era deal in which a Russian company bought a Canadian firm that owned about 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies.

Dozens of activists across Russia's region of Bashkortostan demonstrated at various sites on November 14, demanding that mandatory Bashkir language classes be continued in schools.

Romania has expelled a pro-Russian Serbian nationalist and banned him from entering the NATO country for 15 years after he allegedly attempted to obtain classified information on military installations and infrastructure, the SRI intelligence service said.

Ukrainian investigators have opened a criminal probe into suspected extortion by members of a sister anticorruption body.


The Ulyukayev Trial

In her column for, Tatiana Stanovaya weighs in on the corruption trial of former Economics Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev and its political undertones.

Veteran Russian journalist Mikhail Osokin has a piece in Sobesednik suggesting that the Ulyukayev trial is connected to conflicts between Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and businessmen close to Vladimir Putin, including Boris and Arkady Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko.

And The Bell has released recordings of conversations between Ulyukayev and Sechin.

Is Russia Shifting Gears In Ukraine?

Moscow-based foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov has a piece in looking at Russia's changing tactics in Ukraine.

Record Bankruptcies

According to a report in RBK, corporate bankruptcies in Russia are near a record high.

Good News, Please!

Reuters is reporting that the Kremlin has issued instructions to Russian companies to deliver good-news stories to the media in advance of next year's presidential election.

And former Kremlin aide Gleb Pavlovsky called the initiative "an idiotic practice."

More Powers For The National Guard?

Yekaterina Vinokurova has a report in Znak claiming that the National Guard is about to be granted additional powers, including the fight against extremism and covert operations.

Russia, Brexit, And Twitter

The Guardian has a report based on research from the University of Edinburgh claiming that Russia used hundreds of fake Twitter accounts to sow discord in the United Kingdom over Brexit.

Fake Evidence?

Bellingcat has a report showing how the Russian Defense Ministry published images from a computer game on social media to "prove" that the United States is colluding with Islamic State.

Shining Light On Active Measures

Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly of the Alliance for Securing Democracy have a piece in War On The Rocks looking at Russia's active measures and influence operations in the West.

NOTE TO POWER VERTICALISTAS: I will be speaking at a conference in Vilnius on November 16-17. No Power Vertical products will appear on those days.

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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