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The Morning Vertical, March 29, 2018


So, this is good-bye. Sort of.

After 11 terrific years for which I am deeply grateful to my wonderful colleagues, this is my last day at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Below, you will find my final Daily Vertical video.

Tomorrow, my last Power Vertical Podcast -- a special farewell edition that Mark Galeotti and I really enjoyed recording -- will be posted online.

And this, of course, is my last Morning Vertical newsletter.

In addition to providing you with the news from Russia and its environs and my analysis and opinions on that news, I have also tried to give you a daily sampling of writings on Russia that I have found useful and informative.

I hope you have found this product useful.

And as I have noted, The Power Vertical will continue under the flag of my new employer, The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).

There are currently plans to launch a blog, a Daily Vertical-style video blog, and a podcast -- so watch the Power Vertical's Twitter feed and Facebook fan page, as well as the CEPA website, for more details on this.

Those subscribing to the Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes should be advised that due to technical reasons, it will be moving to a new iTunes location and my (still) current and future employers are working to make this transition smooth.

Details will be provided on the existing iTunes feed. So once the new feed is available, please update your subscriptions accordingly (as I really value my subscribers).

Currently, there are not plans to create a new Morning Vertical-style newsletter -- but that could change.

So this is not really a good-bye. For now, I'll just borrow my favorite line from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and say, "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

Thanks for sticking with me all these years, and see you soon!


The niece of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal says he and his daughter Yulia have only a slim chance of surviving a nerve- agent attack in England that became a major international incident.

British police said they believe former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter likely first came into contact with a military-grade nerve agent at their front door.

A top campaign official for U.S. President Donald Trump had repeated communications during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race with a business associate the FBI believes had ties to Russian intelligence, a court filing says.

Vladimir Putin is ready to hold a meeting with Trump despite the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from the United States in response to the poisoning of a former spy in Britain, Putin's spokesman says.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of trying to bar Russian wrestlers from an upcoming competition, in a move it says makes the United States unfit to host such international sports events.

Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May in a phone call discussed the need to "dismantle" spying networks and prevent other illegal activities by Russia in their two countries, the White House says.

The son of the man who invented one of the world’s most well-known firearms, the AK-47 assault rifle, has died at the age of 75.

Two men have died in Altai Krai after the Siberian region was hit by severe flooding triggered by melting snow.

The head of a regional office of one of Russia's biggest human rights group has been beaten up in an attack condemned by Amnesty International and that the group, Memorial, said was linked to his work.

Amphibious armored-personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, off-road transport trucks, tanker trucks, and trailers were among some 200 objects that have been seized by Ukrainian police after being offered for sale online.


Ukrainians In The Russian Far East

Kazan-based demographer Renat Temirgaleyev has a new report in the journal Demograficheskoye Obozreniye looking at ethnic Ukrainians in Russia's Far East. According to the study, they are ageing, they speak Russian, and they are retaining their ethnic identity. (h/t to Paul Goble for flagging this important study)

Disaster Mismanagement

Mikhail Pozharsky has a piece in looking at reasons for the state's culpability in tragedies like the shopping mall fire in Kemerovo.

The New 'Axis Of Evil'

In his column for The Washington Post, Josh Rogin looks incoming U.S. national security adviser John Bolton's views on Russia.

A Step Too Far?

Writing in The Atlantic, Mark Galeotti of the Institute of International Relations in Prague argues that with the Skripal poisoning, Russia has finally gone too far.

The U.S. Shake-Up Through Moscow's Eyes

Former U.S. State Department official Donald Jensen has a piece on the website of the Center for European Policy Analysis looking at Moscow's reaction to the recent shakeup of the U.S. national security team.

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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