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The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2016


All hybrid wars are not created equally.

As Mark Galeotti points out in a report featured below, some -- like the one Russia has been waging on Ukraine -- are designed to go kinetic.

They are preparing the ground for a shooting war. But other hybrid wars -- like the one Russia has been waging on the West -- are not.

They are intended to remain in the political sphere, undermining the West's institutions through corruption, disinformation, and support for extremist parties.

Russia is enjoying a string of successes in its non-kinetic hybrid war against the West.

And it will continue to do so until the West comes up with a robust policy to contain the assault.


Reuters is reporting that former Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev privately argued to colleagues in government that the state should give up control over oil giant Rosneft, before he was arrested two weeks ago.

The International Monetary Fund said the Russian economy should continue to contract this year, with gross domestic product dropping 0.6 percent, but says it will begin recovering in 2017.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to allow humanitarian relief supplies to reach civilians in rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo.

A court in St. Petersburg has jailed a member of the banned Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir.

CIA director John Brennan has issued warnings over the dangers of scrapping the Iran nuclear deal, as well as trusting what he called "Russian promises."

A new poll shows the number of Russians supporting better ties with the West has significantly increased since the middle of 2015.

Talks in Minsk on resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine have ended with the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany all saying no new breakthroughs were made.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry says Russia has between 5,000 and 7,500 regular military troops inside Ukrainian territory, not counting the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Russia said it has had no response from Ukraine regarding its request that Kyiv cancel a planned missile test over the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

The huge structure that will prevent further leaks of radiation from Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been moved into its final position.


New Report: Understanding Hybrid War

Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, has just published a new report: ‘Hybrid War Or Gibridnaya Voina? Getting Russia’s Non-Linear Military Challenge Right

A Franco-Russian Axis?

Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, on how Francois Fillon would change France's approach to Russia -- and how this will play in Europe.

The Chinese Wall And The Red Web

Andrei Soldatov and Anna Borogan in The Guardian on how Russia is incorporating China's Internet firewall.

Putin Looks Inward

Writing on The Jamestown Foundation's website, Pavel Baev argues that Putin will use the current foreign policy pause during the U.S. presidential transition to "tinker with domestic corruption."

The Mechanics Of Propaganda

In his column for Bloomberg, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky explains how Russian propaganda really works in the West.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Writing in The Atlantic , Linda Kinstler takes a look at Central and Eastern Europe "between Putin and Trump."

Russia And Japan

Sijbren de Jong of the Hague Center for Strategic Studies has a piece in EUobserver looking ahead to Putin's visit to Tokyo next month and the prospects for rapprochement between Russia and Japan.

Russian Humor

Kevin Rothrock has a piece in Global Voices on how satire -- albeit neutered -- is returning to Russian television.

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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