Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia

Anne Garrels

Anne Garrels, author of Putin Country: A journey into the real Russia and long-time foreign correspondent for NPR, will discuss her experiences as a journalist covering the region of Moscow and Chelyabinsk.

More than twenty years ago, the NPR correspondent Anne Garrels first visited Chelyabinsk, a gritty military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow. The longtime home of the Soviet nuclear program, the Chelyabinsk region contained beautiful lakes, shuttered factories, mysterious closed cities, and some of the most polluted places on earth. Garrels’s goal was to chart the aftershocks of the U.S.S.R.’s collapse by traveling to Russia’s heartland.  The result was her book Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia.  In the aftermath of the Soviet Union, what is Russia?  What kind of pride and cohesion can it offer?  Why does Putin command the loyalty of so many Russians, even those who decry the abuses of power they regularly encounter?  In her lecture, Garrels will discuss her perceptions of, and her experiences in, "the real Russia."

Anne Garrels has worked as a correspondent for the State Department and for various news organizations, including NPR.  She has covered conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Baghdad, where she reported live during the 2003 war.  She is the author of Naked in Baghdad (2003) and, most recently, Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia (2016).  Garrels won a Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) in 2003.  In 2004 she was awarded the George Polk Award for Radio Reporting for her coverage of the war in Iraq.  Her book Putin Country was short listed for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize.