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The Power Vertical Podcast by Brian Whitmore

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The Power Vertical Podcast by Brian Whitmore

The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center

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The Power Vertical Podcast by Brian Whitmore covers 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. Brian Whitmore is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Eurasia Center and Russia and Eurasia Specialist and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies at The University of Texas at Arlington.
 
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show series
 
As Russia continues to mount tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, Vladimir Putin says he is seeking a binding commitment from the United States that Ukraine will never become a NATO member. Sounds a lot like blackmail to be sure. And it is also a nonstarter. And if trouble on one front wasn't enough, Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced …
 
It's all got a feeling of deja vu. Russia is again massing troops and moving ballistic missile systems near Ukraine's border and is accusing Kyiv of violating the terms of a ceasefire agreement in the Donbas region.In a bellicose speech last week, Vladimir Putin accused the United States and its NATO allies of "aggravating the situation by supplyin…
 
We now live in a world where a Belarusian dictator can hijack a European commercial aircraft, torture his political opponents, and orchestrate a migrant crisis on his neighbors' borders -- and suffer no meaningful consequences.We've long lived in a world where an autocratic Kremlin leader can get away with assassinating his opponents with nerve age…
 
It has been described as a “gas station masquerading as a country,” as a nation that has "nuclear weapons...oil wells and nothing else,” and as a mere “regional power.” Despite the fact that Vladimir Putin's regime has pulled off the first territorial annexation in Europe since World War II, successfully intervened in Syria to save the regime of Ba…
 
The long struggle over the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline appears to be entering its endgame. Is this controversial and highly politicized energy project a done deal? Or can the pipeline, which many fear will lead to corruption, cronyism, and deeper European dependence on Russian energy, still be stopped? And if it can't, what can be done in th…
 
The recently published Pandora Papers has exposed how politicians and public officials use offshore tax havens to hide their wealth and evade taxes. It's not just a moral dilemma. It's a security threat largely of the West's own making that allows autocratic leaders like Vladimir Putin to establish vectors of malign influence.On The Power Vertical …
 
Vladimir Putin's Kremlin is militarizing Belarus and turning Alyaksandr Lukashenka's autocratic regime into a force multiplier in his ongoing war against the West. Russia's arms buildup in the Western exclave of Kaliningrad continues apace and -- together with the militarization of Belarus -- threatens the security of NATO allies in the Baltic stat…
 
All is not quiet on the Ukrainian front. Vladimir Putin's regime has stepped up efforts to give Russian passports to Ukrainians living in separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. Moscow is also reportedly planning to spend $12 billion in occupied separatist enclaves in Donetsk and Luhansk. And Russia's ally, Belarus, is moving military h…
 
A rigged vote secures a super-majority for the ruling United Russia party setting the stage for the next phase of the ongoing political drama in Moscow.Last week's so-called election to the State Duma was a dress rehearsal for Vladimir Putin's next political project - securing his continued rule until 2036. And this project is unfolding amid the ba…
 
The atmosphere in the runup to Russia's so-called elections this weekend is so restrictive that for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the OSCE has decided not to send observers.The main independent Russian election observer has been declared a foreign agent. Opposition candidates, many facing arrest and imprisonment, are fleeing…
 
A coordinated and comprehensive attack targeting virtually all segments of Russia’s civil society, including journalists, lawyers, activists and opposition politicians. An equally coordinated and comprehensive campaign to encourage prominent opposition figures to go into exile. A deeply unpopular ruling party with sinking poll numbers with election…
 
They've been called a pretext for mischief against the Baltics and Poland and a means for Russia to increase its military footprint in Belarus.They've been called Kremlin saber-rattling, a message to the West, and a very expensive and noisy psyop. And they've been called routine military exercises that are nothing more than business as usual.But wh…
 
Three decades ago, a new European state representing an old European nation appeared on the scene. Thirty years ago in the rubble of the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian people finally achieved their dream of independence, sovereignty, and statehood. And a generation after achieving this goal, today Ukrainians are still fighting to mainta…
 
A rigged election is followed by unprecedented street protests as a civil society comes of age. A brutal crackdown on dissent by an increasingly desperate dictator. A brazen act of air piracy and kidnapping. Allegations of death squads. And successive waves of Western sanctions.From August 2020 to August 2021 everything changed in Belarus as Alyaks…
 
From strategic corruption to disinformation to support for extremist political movements, Vladimir Putin 's Kremlin has deployed many weapons in its ongoing war on Western democracy. This week's Power Vertical Podcast previews a soon-to-be-released report from the Free Russia Foundation looking at one front in that war - the United States. Host Bri…
 
Independent media outlets and civic groups are shutting down after being designated "foreign agents" or "undesirable organizations." Russia's media regulator, Roskomnadzor, has blocked 49 websites linked to Aleksei Navalny as the imprisoned opposition leader's associates are arrested or flee the country. And the FSB has published a list of 61 topic…
 
Vladimir Putin is obsessed with Ukraine.Back in 2008, he famously told then US President George W. Bush that it was not even a real country.In a press conference following his summit with current US President Joe Biden, Putin became visibly animated - indeed almost unhinged - when talking about Ukraine.And this week, Putin published an essay on the…
 
Battleships, warplanes, brinkmanship, and geopolitics on the high seas. What actually happened when Britain's HMS Defender sailed from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to the Georgian port of Batumi? How did what appears to have been a routine mission to assert navigation rights in the Black Sea escalate into a military and diplomatic incident between …
 
The debate over Russia policy in the West is, unfortunately, not always grounded in reality. All too often, it is instead based on myths and misconceptions that have been spread by disinformation campaigns and perpetuated by whataboutism. As a result, Western policy toward Russia is often driven by wishful thinking on the part of many well-meaning …
 
Western sanctions against Belarus finally appear to be targeting Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s enablers in Russia.When the United States, the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom announced a new round of sanctions against the Minsk regime this week, one name in particular stood out: Russian businessman Mikhail Gutseriyev, the largest single for…
 
It had the vibe of a Cold War-era summit and it came at the lowest point in U.S.-Russian relations in decades. When U.S. President Joe Biden met Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Russia's cyberattacks, election interference, human rights abuses, and aggression against its neighbors were all on the agenda. Both leaders laid down their so-call…
 
There won't be any reset buttons. There won't be any grand bargains. And U.S. President Joe Biden probably won't be looking into Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin's eyes and getting a sense of his soul.But the stakes will nevertheless be high when the U.S. and Russian presidents meet in Geneva next week. On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, host Bria…
 
Serious questions remain about whether the authoritarian regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka acted alone in hijacking Ryanair Flight 4978 and kidnapping Belarusian dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega. Did Lukashenka get a stealthy assist from Vladimir Putin's Russia in commandeering a commercial airliner trave…
 
It was always going to be a difficult needle to thread.The Biden administration clearly views Russia's Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipeline as a geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and that of Ukraine and eastern flank NATO allies like Poland and the Baltic states.But in Germany, the main destination of the pipeline, the proj…
 
Should the United States and its allies consider broadening its approach to sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka's authoritarian regime in Belarus to include its Russian enablers in Vladimir Putin's Kremlin? Should the West instead look at imposing sanctions on the Putin-Lukashenka Axis of Autocrats?On this week's Power Vertical Podcast, host Br…
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical, Ilya Zaslavskiy and Josh Rudolph join host Brian Whitmore to discuss how to sanction a problem like Russia and look at the latest round of sanctions levied against Russia by the Biden administration.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical, Jamie Fly and Kiryl Sukhotksi join host Brian Whitmore to discuss the Kremlin’s campaign against the U.S. broadcaster, what this tells us about the state of Russia's domestic politics, and the escalating conflict between Moscow and the West.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical, Terrell Jermaine Starr joins host Brian Whitmore to discuss his take on Navalny's civic activism and Navalny's nationalist and xenophobic past. He'll also talk about his forthcoming memoir about his time in the former Soviet Union.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical, Michael Kofman joins host Brian Whitmore to discuss how Russia is modernizing its military infrastructure and expanding its force structure in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad - which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania and what it means.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical, Maria Snegovaya and Vladimir Ashurkov join host Brian Whitmore to talk about if Navalny's power horizontal can continue to challenge Vladimir Putin's power vertical and the effectiveness of Western sanctions against Putin's regime.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical Podcast, Ilya Zaslavskiy and Casey Michel join host Brian Whitmore to talk about the whispering campaigns online about Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime's ability to manipulate Western institutions.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this edition of The Power Vertical Podcast, Paul Massaro, policy advisor to the Helsinki Commission, and Josh Rudolph, fellow for Malign Finance at Alliance for Securing Democracy, join host Brian Whitmore to discuss how the United States and its allies can forge a grand strategy to combat the malign influence of Russian kleptocracy.…
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical Podcast, Maria Snegovaya, nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Franak Viačorka, Belarusian journalist and advisor to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, comment on the solidarity among protestors in Russia and Belarus as each nation battles government corruption and political oppression.…
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical Podcast, host Brian Whitmore is joined by Maria Snegovaya, nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, and Konstantin Eggert, columnist on Russian Affairs for Deutsche Welle, to discuss Alexei Navalny's decision to return to Russia just five months after surviving an assassination attempt by th…
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical Podcast, John Sipher, 28-year CIA veteran, and David Venable, a former intelligence officer for the U.S. National Security Agency, join host Brian Whitmore to discuss the aftermath of Russia’s SolarWinds hack.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk and Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center Melinda Haring join host Brian Whitmore to discuss Ukraine's struggle to tame its oligarchs and fully establish the rule of law.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the CIA's National Clandestine Service and Clint Watts, former FBI special agent, join host Brian Whitmore to discuss tactics of the Kremlin's political war on truth, facts, and Western institutions.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
In this episode of The Power Vertical Podcast host Brian Whitmore discusses the weird rumors of Putin's ill health, the State Duma's vote to grant former presidents immunity and seats in the Federation Council, and the Kremlin's erratic decision-making with guests Ilya Ponomarev and Ilya Zaslavskiy.By The Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies and Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center
 
Authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China have spent more than $300 million interfering in democratic processes over the past decade. In this episode Josh Rudolph, Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, takes us behind the scenes of these covert financial attacks and sheds light on the Kremlin's influence all over th…
 
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