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Past Event

Paul Starobin: The Fight for a Better Russia

Russia’s future lies outside of Russia.

That’s the verdict offered by Paul Starobin, a veteran analyst of Russia. Since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, some 1 million Russians have fled the country and gone into exile. Motivated by opposition to the war, by guilt for their country’s deeds, by personal hatred for the czar-like Putin, and by a vision of a better Russia shorn of autocracy, the exiles have mounted an organized resistance to Putin’s rule.

Starobin says that the resistance includes followers of the imprisoned Putin opponent Alexi Navalny, dissident Russian Orthodox priests, and journalists feeding Russians back home the kind of coverage that is censored by Kremlin-controlled media. Most aggressively, some exiles are actively aiding the Ukrainian fight against Russia’s armed forces in hopes of hastening Russia’s defeat and Putin’s demise.

Starobin traveled to places like Armenia and Georgia to meet with exiles and had conversations with prominent figures throughout Europe and America, as he took measure of this rebellion—and its potential to fix a nation plagued by revanchist imperial dreams.

He reported his findings in his new book Putin’s Exiles, and he’ll tell you what he found and what might be coming next for Russia. Join us for a special online-only program that goes beyond pro-Putin propaganda and the tightly controlled narrative inside the country, and looks outside its borders to the diaspora of Russian exiles, who are imagining and fighting for the future of their country.


Photo by Nargiza Yuldasheva.

February 12, 2024

Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California
United States

Image - Paul Starobin

Paul Starobin

Former Moscow Bureau Chief, Businessweek; Author, Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia

Image - Quentin Hardy

In Conversation with Quentin Hardy

Head of Editorial, Google Cloud