With talk of political change in the air, Vladimir Putin heads to Kazakhstan today on the first leg of a trip that will also take him to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
On today's Power Vertical Briefing, we look at Putin's efforts to protect Russia's interests in a region where it increasingly is forced to compete with a resurgent China.
Joining me is RFE/RL's News Editor Steve Gutterman.
Also on The Briefing, Steve and I discuss the second anniversary of Boris Nemtsov's assassination and the state of the Minsk peace process for Ukraine as the contact group prepares to meet this week.
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