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In Moscow's Shadows

Russia, behind the headlines as well as in the shadows. This podcast is the audio counterpart to Mark Galeotti's blog of the same name, a place where "one of the most informed and provocative voices on modern Russia", can talk about Russia historical and (more often) contemporary, discuss new books and research, and sometimes talk to other Russia-watchers. It will come out at least once a month, but if you'd like to try and make sure it comes out more often, support my work, or want to ask questions or suggest topics for me to cover, do please contribute to my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows

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In Moscow's Shadows 48: What can you learn from Tula? On Russian provincial life and politics, Governor Dyumin, and busses

A trip to Tula, 200km south of Moscow, provides a chance to mix a little history and travelogue with some thoughts about what the city reveals about the nature of provincial life, regional politics and the state economy versus the market economy. In the second half, I look at Tula's governor Alexei Dyumin, a former bodyguard to Putin and for some still a potential successor. How much do governors matter?The travel blog I mention is Travels in Deepest Muscovy, which will later feature a photo-essay or two in Tula.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

46mins

24 Oct 2021

Rank #1

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In Moscow's Shadows 47: Postcards from Moscow

Just back to Russia, my first trip since February 2020, and for this podcast I try something different - a random collection of impressions, mainly recorded on the street (so apologies for the often poor sound quality). Normal podcasting will resume shortly!You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

36mins

17 Oct 2021

Rank #2

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In Moscow's Shadows 46: New 'Foreign Agent' restrictions and 'Hybrid Warfare'

Two quite big topics this episode. First of all, the restrictive new rules on 'Foreign Agent' status that, if applied, would make it almost impossible to discuss military, security and even space topics. They are as much about drawing sharper lines - are you with us or against us - as encouraging self-censorship.Then, after the break, some rumination on 'hybrid war' - why it's not that helpful a term, and why, when we talk about Russia, there is no one notion of 'hybrid war' but three.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

43mins

2 Oct 2021

Rank #3

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In Moscow's Shadows 45: Pretty much everything but the election: Lavrov's corruption, Team Navalny's strategy, Zapad-2021, Stories That Didn't Bark, and Shoigu's future

I confess at this stage I couldn't think of much to say about the Russian elections that wasn't obvious, or hadn't been said, so instead I recorded a 'magazine' episode covering a range of other topics:Team Navalny's latest video (here), this time on the corruption of Foreign Minister Lavrov, and why the opposition needs a new big ideaThe Zapad-2021 exercises and their political significance (coverage by Mike Kofman here and Konrad Muzyka here)Three stories that went under-reported in Russia: on AUKUS, on Putin's health (my Spectator piece is here) and Sputnik VRumours that Sergei Shoigu is being sent to Siberia - in a good way.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

42mins

19 Sep 2021

Rank #4

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In Moscow's Shadows 44: As above, so below - a prison riot in Kamchatka and a society looking to a sanitised past for hope

A shorter episode that looks at a vicious criminal's end in a prison riot in Kamchatka, and after talking a little about prison realities in Russia, considers some possible lessons for Russia as a whole.I mention the vexed issue of police numbers, something I discuss here and here.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

29mins

6 Sep 2021

Rank #5

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In Moscow's Shadows 43: Poklonskaya, Ethnic Rumbles and Naryshkin's Claims to be Putin's Mate

Sometimes it's worth digging into what look like less important stories, to see what lessons the offer about the big picture developments, so I tackle three - who's likely to be the next ambassador to Cape Verde, why airfare hikes contribute to street violence, and why Naryshkin is now claiming to be a long-time mate of Putin's - and see what I can make of them.For those figures I threw out, the proportions of staff of different Presidential Administration departments estimated to be current or former security officers are:63% Security Council (SB) Secretariat 28% Foreign Policy Directorate (UVneshP)19% Expert Directorate (UE)71% Directorate for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (UMKSZS),62% Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation (UPS) For the share of one-to-one or one-to-few meetings with the President in 2019:1% Kostyukov (GRU)5% Zolotov (National Guard(5% Kolokoltsev (MVD)11% Naryshkin17% Bortnikov (FSB)23% Shoigu (MoD)29% Patrushev9% OtherYou can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

50mins

29 Aug 2021

Rank #6

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In Moscow's Shadows 42: Moscow's Afghan Worries, and the Trouble with Predictions

There may be a little schadenfreude as America abandons Afghanistan and the Taliban sweep into Kabul, but Moscow is worried, above all about the country's three traditions exports: terror, refugees and opium.The fate of the Afghan regime - and the way the 1991 August Coup caught the West by surprise - are also reminders of the problems in trying to predict the future...especially when it comes to Russia.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

39mins

21 Aug 2021

Rank #7

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In Moscow's Shadows 41: The Communist Party Embattled...And Occultism and Russian Politics

Having long relied on it as a stalwart of the ‘systemic opposition’, the Kremlin now seems to be treating the Communist Party (KPRF) as if it were a real opposition party. Might this push it into real opposition? I build off a recent piece I wrote in the Moscow Times. The previous podcast I mentioned is here.And in the second half, I indulge myself musing about occultism in Russian politics, from the search for Shambhala to 'red battle magician.' But is occultism perhaps really the best lens to understand it, after all?You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

34mins

4 Aug 2021

Rank #8

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In Moscow's Shadows 40: 'Mishustinism' and 'Kozakisation' - the adventures of technocrats in Moscow and the Donbas

Is PM Mikhail Mishustin thinking long-term? His vision for Russia seems to be technocratic, maybe even techno-authoritarian, but it is interesting - and maybe implicitly subversive.In the second half, I look at Russian-Ukrainian relations over the Donbas, public lunacy and private pragmatism. There's all kinds of silliness - including a case Moscow is taking to the European Court of Human Rights - but maybe the very tone actually reflects the resigned pragmatism new Donbas 'curator' Dmitry Kozak is bringing to freezing the conflict.The Fabian Burkhardt article I mention is here, and my previous podcast on Putin's Ukrainian article is here.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

42mins

27 Jul 2021

Rank #9

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In Moscow's Shadows 39: Putin's latest article on Ukraine and his attempt to place himself on the right side of history

Another short, single-segment episode, this time looking at 'On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,' Putin's latest venture into the role of amateur historian (available in English here). Equal parts history, polemic and paranoia, it says more about VVP's state of mind than anything else, in my opinion.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 

19mins

13 Jul 2021

Rank #10