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The Morning Vertical, November 27, 2017


Perhaps he is trying to assure that subsidies continue to flow to Chechnya. Perhaps he is angling for a new job in Moscow. Perhaps it is an attempt to force law enforcement to back off in investigations of human rights abuses.

When Ramzan Kadyrov says he is thinking about resigning, it is usually a pretty clear sign that he wants something from the Kremlin.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing (featured below), we look at Kadyrov's unexpected remarks on Russian state television about his possible resignation -- remarks that appeared to catch the Kremlin off guard.

So what is Kadyrov up to? Be sure to give a listen.


The Kremlin says Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's Chechnya region, will remain at his post despite comments he made during the weekend about the possibility of standing down.

Poland's Institute of National Remembrance says a Polish historian has been expelled from Russia without explanation by Russia's Federal Security Service.

The European Union has criticized legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin that empowers Russia’s government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as "foreign agents" and impose sanctions against them.

Russian, U.S., and British teams are aiding the 14-nation search for a missing Argentine Navy submarine, 11 days after the vessel lost contact following an explosion.

World athletics' governing body has maintained Russia's ban from international track and field competitions, saying the country has not done enough to tackle doping.

A four-man Russian team has won a World Cup bobsleigh race, easing the country’s disappointment a bit after another bobsleigh competitor was stripped of two gold medals he won at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and banned from competition for life.

Police in Kyiv have detained more than 60 people at an alleged gathering of organized crime bosses in the Ukrainian capital.

Igor Plotnitsky, the separatist leader in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region, has resigned amid a fierce power struggle among the Russia-backed separatists that has unfolded over the last several days.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on Russia to recognize the famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as genocide, "or at least repent for it."


On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, Court Politics, we look at the corruption trial of former Economics Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev and what it reveals about clan battles inside the Russian elite.


And on the new Power Vertical Briefing, we discuss what might be behind Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's remarks that he would like to resign.


The Economic Bite

Vedomosti has a piece looking at the ways in which Russians are trying to earn extra income due to falling living standards.

In, Sergey Belyakov looks at the decline in real wages and the increase in poverty.

And Nezavisimaya Gazeta has a story about how, as incomes decline, many Russian smokers have taken to growing their own tobacco.

Another 'Liberal' Candidate?

According to a report on Vedomosti, the Kremlin is considering recruiting a figure from the business community to compete against Putin in next year's elections.

Putin And Populism

Julia Gurganus of the Carnegie Center for International Peace looks at "Putin's Populism Trap."

And in his column for Bloomberg, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky argues that the patriotic fervor Putin has unleashed is now turning against him.

The Sobyanin-Kudrin Debate

In his column for, opposition journalist and political commentator Oleg Kashin looks at the recent public debate between Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and former finance minister Aleksei Kudrin and speculates on what it tells us about the state of the Russian elite.

Can Moscow Win The Peace In Syria?

BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus asks: Can Russia win the peace in Syria?

Baltic Militias

The Atlantic has a piece looking at the Baltic militias that are preparing for war with Russia.

All Power To The Soviets?

In Bloomberg, Leonid Ragozin looks at Moscow's newly elected municipal councils, where liberal candidates had a strong showing in September's local elections.

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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