May 23, 2024

Archive Event Highlight

VIDEO: Book Night – ‘The Red Hotel’ And ‘Putin’s Exiles’



On Feb. 29, 2024, the OPC hosted a book night with two authors whose books detail Russia’s repressive tactics in two different eras. Click the window above to watch a playlist of clips from the program.

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.

During the program, Philps and Starobin each talk about the origins of their book idea and how they conducted their research.

Philps discussed key sources who had close relationships to the Metropole Hotel, some of his lucky breaks, what life was like for correspondents during the hotel’s heyday, and the challenges of reporting on a place with such tight restrictions, censorship, and pressure to repeat Soviet propaganda.

Starobin talked about the value of interviewing exiles from authoritarian regimes, his reporting in Armenia and Georgia, the work of what he called the “information resistance,” whose independent reporting is broadcast into Russia, and the effects of Alexei Navalny’s assassination on those who resist Putin’s regime.

Starobin and Philps answer questions from the audience, including one about the accuracy of the portrayal of the hotel in the film “Mr. Jones.” Starobin answers questions about exiles’ use of technology to attack Russian drones, and about contemporary apologists for the Russian regime.

Moderating the discussion was: 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.

The Red Hotel is available for purchase here:

Putin’s Exiles is available for purchase here.