Many hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled their ever-more authoritarian country since the start of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, joining a global exile community that had already been growing for years. They include leaders of the political opposition, civil society and media who have long opposed the Kremlin, are natural allies against Russia’s war in Ukraine, and a key hope for reestablishing any future free and open Russian society.
Opposition leader Vladimir Milov, political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann and former Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Aleksashenko discuss the situation and challenges facing the political opposition in exile. The second in a series of discussions hosted by the Institute of Current World Affairs, American Purpose and US Institute of Peace.
ICWA Executive Director Gregory Feifer moderated the conversation.
Sergey Aleksashenko is the former Russian Deputy Finance Minister and former Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank, and former scholar in the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Economic Policy Program. He was the director of Macroeconomic Studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and has served as managing director of Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office. The author of numerous articles on Russia’s economy, he is also the author of Battle for the Ruble and currently serves on the board of Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and the Free Russia Foundation.
Vladimir Milov is a Russian opposition politician, publicist, economist and energy expert. He is the former Russian Deputy Energy Minister, adviser to the Energy Minister, and head of strategy department at the Federal Energy Commission. He is the author of major energy reform concepts, including the concept of market restructuring and unbundling of Gazprom, which was banned from implementation by President Vladimir Putin. He is currently Vice President for International Advocacy at the Free Russia Foundation.
Ekaterina Schulmann is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center in Berlin. She is a political scientist specializing in the decision-making and bureaucratic behavior of modern authoritarian regimes with particular emphasis on Russia. She teaches political science as an associate professor at the Maqsut Narikbayev KAZGUU University in Astana, Kazakhstan. She is one of the most closely-followed online sources of insight and analysis for Russian-speaking audiences on the internet, and has hosted Status, a popular weekly online program, since 2017.
Gregory Feifer is executive director of the Institute of Current World Affairs. A journalist who lived in Russian for almost 10 years, he is a former NPR Moscow correspondent and author of Russians: The People Behind the Power. He has written for The New York Times, Foreign Affairs and The Washington Post, among other outlets, and is currently working on a book about the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.
Russian scholars in exile
Thursday, November 16, 10 a.m.
How are Russian academics abroad trying to keep teaching, researching and preserving Russia’s intellectual capital for future generations?
What are the plausible scenarios for a post-authoritarian Russia? What are the main challenges facing institutional and social reform, including decolonialization, the understanding of history and Russian identity, interests of minority regions? What roles should the US and other Western countries be playing, what lessons learned from the post-Soviet 1990s?
How do they deal with the assigning of collective guilt? How can Western countries tap their human capital in the battle for liberal democracy?
Top photo: Rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma, July 27, 2019 (Ilya Varlamov, Wikimedia Commons)