Power Vertical Podcast Ep. 40

At the time, it looked like just the latest bit of craziness from an increasingly erratic Kremlin. On the morning of August 9, 1999, Boris Yeltsin fired his prime minister Sergei Stepashin and picked FSB chief Vladimir Putin to head what would be his fifth government in 17 months. A week later, on August 16, the State Duma ratified Yeltsin’s choice.

At the time, a joke making the rounds in Moscow noted that Yeltsin had swapped one 40-something security service officer from St. Petersburg for another 40-something security service officer from St. Petersburg.

It may have looked like madness. But it turned out to be the beginning of an era that has already spanned two decades and has had profound implications for Russia and the world.

The Putin era turns 20 this week. So let’s take a look at where it’s been and where it’s going.

Joining Brian Whitmore on the 40th episode of the Power Vertical podcast are CEPA’s Donald N. Jensen and special guest Ilya Zaslavskiy, Head of Research at the Free Russia Foundation.

Audio Clips: “A visit to the bike show ‘Night Wolves'” via Kremlin.ru. 

Photo: “A visit to the bike show ‘Night Wolves'” via Kremlin.ru under CC BY 4.0. 

WP Post Author

Brian Whitmore

Brian Whitmore is Director of the Russia Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Before joining CEPA he was Senior Russia Analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He also worked as a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe in Moscow and Prague; as a graduate instructor in the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina; and as a visiting lecturer in the History Faculty at Mechnikov National University in Odessa, Ukraine and the International Relations Faculty at St. Petersburg State University.

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August 16, 2019

The Power Vertical is a CEPA podcast covering the Kremlin for Kremlin watchers. All opinions are those of the guests and do not necessarily represent the position or views of the institutions they represent or the Center for European Policy Analysis.