Many hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled their increasingly authoritarian country since the start of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, joining a global exile community. 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.

Experts Sergei Guriev, Mikhail Zygar, Natalia Arno and Jorgan Andrews discussed plausible scenarios for a post-Putinist Russia, including the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Miriam Lanskoy moderated the conversation. This was the final in a series of conversations about Russian exiles sponsored by the Institute of Current World Affairs, American Purpose and US Institute of Peace.


Sergei Guriev is Provost and Professor of Economics at Sciences Po Paris University. He previously ran the New Economic School in Moscow. A Research Fellow and Leader of the Research and Policy Network on Populism at the Center for Economic Policy Research in London, he has served as Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is co-author of Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century.

Natalia Arno is President and founder of the Free Russia Foundation, which conducts training and fellowship programs for the next generation of Eurasia leaders; provides post-relocation, legal and psychological assistance to activists persecuted by the Russian and Belarusian governments; and informs Western policymakers in support of an effective Russia and Eurasia strategy. A prominent advocate of democracy, human rights and freedom, she previously worked for the International Republican Institute’s Russia office.

Mikhail Zygar is a leading independent journalist who worked for Newsweek Russia and the business daily Kommersant before becoming founding editor-in-chief of the TV news channel Dozhd. He is the author of All the Kremlin’s Men and most recently, War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. Based in Berlin, he won the International Press Freedom Award in 2014.

Jorgan Andrews is a State Department Fellow at USIP. Previously, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, where he oversaw justice sector assistance programs throughout Europe and Asia. He has also served on the National Security Council and overseas in Russia, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia.


Miriam Lanskoy is Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy. She earned her PhD in international affairs from Boston University and has fourteen years of experience in political analysis and democracy promotion in post-Soviet Eurasia. She has published articles in Journal of Democracy, SAIS Review, and The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs and co-authored The Chechen Struggle: Independence Won and Lost with former Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov.

Previous panels

Video: Russia’s new exiles: an overview

How do they deal with the assigning of collective guilt? How can Western countries tap their human capital in the battle for liberal democracy?

Video: Political opposition in exile

Who are they, what are they doing, planning, main challenges? Political activity inside vs. outside Russia, constituencies inside Russia.

Video: Russian scholars in exile

November 16 – How are Russian academics abroad trying to keep teaching, researching and preserving Russia’s intellectual capital for future generations?