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Studying Russia from afar

34 minutes

Given current events in Russia and Ukraine, much of today’s expertise about Russia is again created remotely. It simply isn’t safe for many journalists and researchers to be in the country today due mainly to the militarized censorship of speech related to the invasion of Ukraine. So, what happens when Russia experts are forced to work outside of Russia? When access to audiences, writers, and source material narrows so suddenly, how does our grasp of Russia change?

To explore these issues, The Naked Pravda turned to Olga Irisova, a German Chancellor fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the editor-in-chief of the analytical platform Riddle, which the Russian authorities recently banned as an “undesirable organization.”

Timestamps for this episode:

  • (4:12) What is Riddle?
  • (7:25) How has the war in Ukraine and “undesirable” status affected Riddle’s work?
  • (14:30) Has Riddle faced any pressure from Westerners?
  • (20:37) The current state of Russia expertise
  • (25:16) Are there major differences between the Russia expertise generated by Russians and foreigners?
  • (29:40) What makes a good essay?

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Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Kevin Rothrock

Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

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