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The Morning Vertical, September 1, 2017


Hacking and leaking. Front groups and cutouts. Fellow travelers and useful idiots. Counterfeiting and forgeries. Intimidation and assassinations. Troll farms and dramaturgy. Fake news, slick disinformation, and crude propaganda.

Active measures -- активные мероприятия -- have been part of the Kremlin's foreign policy toolkit for decades, if not centuries.

And they've been at the forefront of our attention in recent years.

But how does the Vladimir Putin's regime control all this chaos? How does the Kremlin manage its political war with the West?

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we'll take an in-depth look and discuss a new report on the subject..

Joining me will be my co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and author of a recently published report for the European Council on Foreign Relations -- Controlling Chaos: How Russia Manages Its Political War In Europe; and Andrei Soldatov, co-founder of the investigative website and co-author of the book Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators And The New Online Revolutionaries, which has just been reissued with a new chapter covering Russia's hacking campaign against the West, which we'll also discuss on the podcast.

With a lineup like that, it promises to be a great show. So be sure to tune in later today!


The United States has ordered the closure of Russia’s consulate in San Francisco, escalating a diplomatic tit-for-tat that followed Moscow's order for a sharp cut in U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia.

The Association Agreement strengthening ties between Ukraine and the European Union entered into force today, marking an end to four years of political drama surrounding the accord.

A court in Kazan, the capital of Russia's Tatarstan region, has sentenced local activist Danis Safargali to three years in prison for inciting hatred on the Internet, inflicting bodily harm, and hooliganism -- charges which rights groups say are fabricated.

The Russian Federal Security Service says it has detained two people who were planning to carry out terror attacks in Moscow.

The studio of Russian director Aleksei Uchitel, who has been under pressure from conservative activists for his film highlighting the romantic youth of Tsar Nicholas II, has reportedly been attacked.

Andrei Bubeyev, a Russian man who was recently released from prison after serving time for reposting an article advocating the return of Crimea to Ukraine has reportedly left Russia.

University lecturer Yury Ganus has been appointed head of Russia's drug-testing agency RUSADA, the Russian Olympic Committee said.

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator has expressed concern that Britain might not honor long-term EU loans to Ukraine after it leaves the 28-member union.

Authorities in Belarus have said that a Ukrainian teenager whose disappearance has triggered claims of a Russia-orchestrated kidnapping entered the country a week earlier but that they have no record of his departure.


In my latest Power Vertical blog post, Lame Duck Putinism, I look at how Russian pundits are speculating about, and the Russian elite is preparing for, life after Putin.


Being Good In Bad Times

In his column for, opposition journalist Oleg Kashin looks at a the dilemma Putin's passive opponents face: How do you remain on the side of the good when the authorities are bad.

Reviving The Intermarium

Kostiantyn Fedorenko and Andreas Umland of the Kyiv-based Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation have a piece in War On The Rocks on reviving the idea of an Intermarium security coalition in Central and Eastern Europe.

The FSB And Migrant Radicalism

In OpenDemocracy, Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations in Prague looks at the FSB's belated efforts to combat the growing threat of Islamist terrorism from Central Asia.

Russia's Political War In Europe

And be sure to keep an eye on the European Council on Foreign Relations website, which today will publish Galeotti's new report Controlling Chaos: How Russia Manages Its Political War In Europe, which we will discuss on today's Power Vertical Podcast.

The Russophobia Slur

In Novaya Gazeta, Artyom Troitsky argues that Russia's efforts to brand its critics as "Russophobic" are falling flat.

(See also my look at The Russophobia Weapon on The Power Vertical blog back in May)

Book Review: Russia And The Western Far Right

Paul Jackson, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton, reviews Anton Shekhovtsov's book Russia And The Western Far Right: Tango Noir for Searchlight magazine.

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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