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Spring Speaker Event: Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen
Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
Walker Ames Room -- Kane Hall

The Department of Political Science and the Political Economy Forum are pleased to sponsor Masha Gessen, who will be speaking in Kane Hall on April 28th as part of the Graduate School’s Public Lecture Series. This event will be both in-person and live broadcast. The department is also planning to have an in-person reception prior to the event. Tickets for the department event are free but limited. Please click on the registration link (below) to learn more. Tickets are also available through the UW Public Lectures ($5 in person)

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and author. Gessen is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College (NY), the author of eleven books, a staff writer at the New Yorker, and a contributor to numerous publications.

Gessen emigrated to the US from Russia as a teenager via the US Refugee Resettlement Program, and then returned to Russia as a journalist in 1991 with a special interest in LGBT rights. In 2013 Gessen left Russia and returned to the U.S. out of concern that their adopted son might be taken from them.

Masha Gessen has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, whom Gessen met in 2012. However, their most recent book, Surviving Autocracy (2020), argues that every country – including an established democracy such as the United States - is vulnerable to the consolidation of power in the hands of one person. Autocrats do not have to resort to explicit terror, as recent developments in countries like Hungary demonstrate.  They can thrive through corruption and through people’s reluctance to speak out and desire to just go about their daily lives.

The topic of Masha Gessen’s talk is yet to be announced.

If you are just interested in the lecture (in person or virtual) and not the Political Science reception, please go to

RSVP for the Political Science reception at