by Sasha Sederovich

Masha Gessen Takes on Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency of Russia for the third time last March. The next day, journalist Masha Gessen posted a powerfully revealing entry on her weekly New York Times blog about the difficulties Russia’s protest movement would face were it to succeed in ending Putin’s now 12-year reign. Gessen commented on the fear that nationalism may be the most potent force to emerge in the absence of a strong civil society, a vacuum created by Putin’s own systematic destruction of fledging democratic institutions. Already, certain liberal values and non-mainstream identities are shunned by those in the anti-Putin protests who fear that they will discredit the movement. Gessen wrote, “Our revolution has not yet won and fellow organizers have already on occasion asked me to keep my lesbian, Jewish, and American-passported self off the front pages.”

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