Power Vertical Podcast Ep. 47

Some fled Russia to escape war or repression. Some left to seek a better life in the West. Some were expelled against their will. And some went abroad to carry out a mission for the Kremlin.

Some have actively opposed the Kremlin. Some have been its agents. And some just try to keep their heads down and stay out of the way.

Centuries of repression—from the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union to Vladimir Putin’s regime today—have left Russia with the world’s third-largest diaspora.

They form a surreal landscape of subterfuge and shifting loyalties. And monitoring, co-opting, using, and sometimes killing them has long been a preoccupation of the Russian security services.

Joining Brian Whitmore on the Power Vertical podcast to take a closer look at Russian emigres and why the Russian state has been so obsessed with them are Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, co-founders of the investigative website Agentura.ru and co-authors of the new book The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia’s Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad.


Audio Clip: “U.S. Policy Toward Russia” hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee via C-SPAN.

Photo: “The Red Square, Moscow” by Leon Yaakov under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

WP Post Author

Brian Whitmore

Brian Whitmore is Director of the Russia Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Before joining CEPA he was Senior Russia Analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He also worked as a foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe in Moscow and Prague; as a graduate instructor in the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina; and as a visiting lecturer in the History Faculty at Mechnikov National University in Odessa, Ukraine and the International Relations Faculty at St. Petersburg State University.

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October 18, 2019

The Power Vertical is a CEPA podcast covering the Kremlin for Kremlin watchers. All opinions are those of the guests and do not necessarily represent the position or views of the institutions they represent or the Center for European Policy Analysis.