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March 8, 2024

Power Vertical Podcast: All the dictator’s men

By Atlantic Council

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 challenged much of the common Western understanding of Russia. How can the world better understand Russia? What are the steps forward for Western policy? The Eurasia Center’s new “Russia Tomorrow” series seeks to reevaluate conceptions of Russia today and better prepare for its future tomorrow.

In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, where institutions are weak and the rule of law nonexistent, all politics are essentially court politics.

All political power is wielded by a group of individuals with access to the Kremlin leader.

And all relevant political struggles are the result of the rivalries and clan battles within this small elite circle.

So what is the state of the Putin court today? How has it been influenced by Russia’s war on Ukraine? By Russia’s upcoming fake presidential election? And what do dramatic events like the killing of mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and opposition leader Alexey Navalny show us about these bulldogs fighting under the carpet?

On the Power Vertical Podcast this week, host Brian Whitmore speaks with Mikhail Zygar, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and author of the books All The Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin and War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. Zygar is also the author of the Atlantic Council report “All the Autocrat’s Men.”

About the Podcast

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’s Eurasia Center and Russia and Eurasia Specialist and Assistant Professor of Practice at the Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Further reading

The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting policies that strengthen stability, democratic values, and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe in the West to the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia in the East.

Related Experts: Mikhail Zygar and Brian Whitmore

Image: Honor guards are seen waiting to open doors before Russia - China talks in a narrow format at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 21, 2023. Sputnik/Pavel Byrkin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION