February 24, 2024

Archive Event Highlight

Book Night: ‘The Red Hotel’ and ‘Putin’s Exiles’

RSVP Now >>

The OPC is bringing together two authors whose new books detail Russia’s repressive tactics in two different eras – and how some Russians rebel against them.

Alan Philps, a former Moscow correspondent for Reuters and the Daily Telegraph, wrote The Red Hotel: Moscow 1941, the Metropole Hotel, and the Untold Story of Stalin’s Propaganda War. Paul Starobin, former Moscow bureau chief of Businessweek and a frequent reporter on Russia, is the author of Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia.

The Red Hotel is available for purchase here.

Putin’s Exiles is available for purchase here.

The Red Hotel explores the gilded cage of the Metropol Hotel from 1941 to 1945, where English and American journalists in Moscow covered the Eastern Front of WWII. To turn these reporters into Kremlin mouthpieces, Philps details how Stalin imposed the most draconian controls – unbending censorship, no visits to the battlefront, and a ban on contact with ordinary citizens. But they enjoyed lavish supplies of caviar and had their choice of young women to employ as translators and share their beds. While some of the translators turned Western journalists into robotic conveyors of Kremlin propaganda, others were secret dissidents who whispered to reporters the reality of Soviet life and were punished with sentences in the Gulag.

The struggle to cover Russia accurately continues to this day. Putin has cracked down on anyone opposing the invasion of Ukraine in person, on social media, or in the press. The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovitch is in prison in Siberia. And since Putin invaded Ukraine, some one million Russians have fled the country and gone into exile. Motivated by opposition to the war, by guilt for their country’s deeds, by personal hatred for Putin, and by a vision of a better Russia, Starobin describes how the exiles have mounted an organized resistance to Putin’s rule. Many of them are young, tech-savvy Russians in revolt against their parents’ generation, which kept Putin in power. Others are journalists, dissidents, and Orthodox priests. Others are actively providing military assistance to Ukraine, from a distance.

Moderating the discussion are: Beth Knobel, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, a former Moscow Bureau Chief for CBS News and a governor of the OPC; and Patricia Kranz, executive director of the OPC and a former Moscow bureau chief for Businessweek.