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 and perceptions as a journalist covering the region of Moscow and Chelyabinsk.

More than twenty years ago, 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 aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union by focusing on this provincial region.  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?  Garrels' regular visits to this region since 1993 provide a unique understanding of what Russians have experienced and what they think about themselves, their country and their world.

Anne Garrels has worked as a correspondent for the State Department and for various news organizations, including NPR.  She has reported from around the globe, covering conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afganistan, Pakistan and Iraq, 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.  Garrels is on the board of The Committee to Protect Journalists and was a long-time board member of Oxfam America.  Her book Putin Country was short listed for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize.