Sunday’s protests sent a message to the Putin elite that “not only the intelligentsia but the broad strata of its subjects in all parts of the country have lost respect for it,” Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin says.


In his most recent Daily Vertical podcast, the RFE/RL’s Brian Whitmore talks about last weekend’s protests in Russia. The fact that urban dwellers, mostly young, were willing to take on police forces trying to seize the one man that probably worries the Kremlin the most, Alexey Navalny, cannot be lost on Vladimir Putin. The question now is how the regime will react.


Zeman’s visit to the Trump White House is another big win for the Kremlin. Russian propaganda will surely spin their favorite story of Russia-friendly President Trump meeting with another Russia-friendly EU leader to get on board the Russian vision for Ukraine.

Russia's beautiful launderette

March 24, 2017


In this Daily Vertical, Brian Whitmore suggests that the assassination of former Russian State Duma MP Denis Voronenkov in the center of downtown Kyiv was far from unique. Whitmore points to other similar events that seem to have become the Kremlin’s modus operandi in dealing with those who choose to publicly disagree with the current Kremlin line.

Leonid Grach: “…Moscow is playing a long game and that it is putting in place in various parts of the former Soviet space people and institutions that it can use if and when it chooses to subvert or annex part of them.”

In this Daily Vertical, Brian Whitmore points out the central theme of Russia’s foreign policy, i.e. what its neighbors think is important means nothing – what Russia thinks is all that matters. It is this singular arrogance – as embodied so well in Vladimir Putin – that will see our children – and grandchildren – embroiled in turmoil.



Yakovenko: The Anschluss “has made Russia a world outcast, inserted into the brains of Russians the psychology of a besieged fortress and forced them to be glad of sanctions and unity around the leader.”


<Aleksandr Yakovenko


Vladimir Putin didn’t appear at any of these festivities, an unusual absence given his earlier talk about the “sacred” meaning of Crimea for Russia and Russians


Ash: “Not sure that Moscow actually wants to add the cost of maintaining DPR and LPR, alongside the now long list of annexed and disputed territories including Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Trans-Dniestr. Formal annexation of DPR/LPR would also further diminish Russian leverage in the rest of Ukraine which I tend to think was the primary reason for Russian intervention in the first place.”


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