"The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia" with Masha Gessen

WED, OCT 4, 2017 (51:15)

In Masha Gessen’s latest book, The Future Is History, follow the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. In this talk filmed at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Alexandra Vacroux, Executive Director at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, talks with Gessen about Russia’s history, identity narrative, and the current political climate. (Image: book cover)

+ BIO: Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is a Russian and American journalist, author, and activist who writes in both Russian and English and has built a career in journalism in Russia and the United States. Gessen identifies as a lesbian and has written extensively on LGBT rights and help founded the Pink Triangle Campaign in Moscow. She has been described as “Russia’s leading LGBT rights activist.” Gessen voluntarily left Russia in 2013 when tightening anti-gay and lesbian policies threatened her family.

+ BIO: Alexandra Vacroux

Alexandra Vacroux is Executive Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.

Her scholarly work addresses many Russian and Eurasian policy issues and she teaches popular courses on the comparative politics of Eurasia and post-Soviet conflict. As Director of Graduate Studies for the Davis Center’s MA program in regional studies, she has mentored dozens of Harvard’s best and brightest students and regional experts. Alexandra lived in Moscow from 1992 to 2004. While there she held a number of positions, including consultant for the Russian Privatization Agency; partner and head of sales at the Brunswick Warburg investment bank; and active member of the board of United Way Moscow. While completing her dissertation on corruption in Russian pharmaceutical markets she was affiliated with the Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), a Russian think tank associated with the New Economic School.

Prior to joining the Davis Center in 2010 lived in Washington, DC, where she was a Scholar at the Kennan Institute, part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Alexandra received a Dean’s Distinction Award from Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and was given the Alumni Award from the Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) Program at Tufts. As a commentator, she has been praised as “refreshing,” “straightforward,” and “quick and to the point.” She has appeared on NPR, CNN, Fox News Radio, China Central TV, Hromadske TV (Ukraine), and speaks regularly at community forums at home and abroad. She holds a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University.

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