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Masha Gessen On Speaking Out In Putin's Russia

OPB | March 12, 2014 12:30 p.m. | Updated: March 12, 2014 5:24 p.m.

Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen

Svenya Generalova / Riverhead Books

Masha Gessen has long been a critic of Vladimir Putin’s government, but it wasn’t until recently that she felt threatened enough to leave Russia. The journalist — author of  The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin — is in a long-term relationship with her girlfriend, with whom she has three kids. When Russia passed anti-gay laws in recent months Gessen realized that her custody of her children could be at risk, and chose to leave the country.

Gessen has spent the last two years researching what can happen when you break some of Russia’s more draconian laws. Her new book Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot examines the lives of several members of the art collective as they serve time in Russia’s prison system.

We’ll talk with Gessen about Pussy Riot, Putin, hope, and hopelessness in modern Russia.

Masha Gessen will speak at Powell’s downtown on Tuesday, March 11 at 7:30. The event is co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Oregon.

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