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Masha Gessen

Staff writer for The New Yorker

Born in the Soviet Union Gessen, who uses they/them pronouns, emigrated with their family to the United States where they spent their adolescence before returning to post-Soviet Russia. In Moscow they worked as a science journalist for the popular science publication Vokrug Sveta and was an activist in the LGBTI community. Owing to their defence of freedom of expression and of LGBTI groups in Russia, they became one of the most visible faces of the opposition to Putin, which eventually led to their return to the United States in 2013. Since 2017, they have been a staff writer for The New Yorker, and since 2020 they have been teaching Writing at Bard College in New York. They also write for The New York Times and The New York Review of Books as well as publishing several books, notable amongst which are The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, 2012 (in Spanish El hombre sin rostro. El sorprendente ascenso de Vladimir Putin, Debate, 2012); The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, 2017 (in Spanish, El futuro es historia. Rusia y el regreso del totalitarismo, Turner, 2018), winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in the United States, in which they draw attention to the democratic degeneration of Putin’s Russian government; and Surviving Autocracy, 2020 (in Spanish, Sobrevivir a la autocracia, Turner, 2020), in which Gessen’s account of the workings of totalitarianism was revealing after Donald Trump came to occupy the White House in 2016.

Update: 31 August 2022



Has participated in

Masha Gessen and Carolin Emcke

New Fascisms

Masha Gessen

Imagination and Democracy