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Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?

National Endowment for Democracy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

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Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?



 Peter Pomerantsev

Journalist, Producer, Author

Vladimir V. Kara-Murza
Member, Federal Council, Republican Party of Russia–People’s Freedom Party


Christopher Walker

Executive Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies

 Introductory Remarks

Carl Gershman

President, National Endowment for Democracy

Pavel Khodorkovsky

President, Institute of Modern Russia



Christian Caryl

Editor, Democracy Lab
Senior Fellow, Legatum Institute


With his third (de facto fourth) term well underway, Vladimir Putin continues to use the language and institutions of democratic capitalism to consolidate his power. The panel will discuss how Russia’s democratic façade has masked the construction of a new authoritarian model. The appearance of democratic institutions, including pseudo-elections, some elements of media freedom, and a quasi-market economy, has helped subdue external criticism, while Russia’s hard-edged influence in its region and in global affairs remains strong. Christian Caryl will moderate a conversation on how this new authoritarianism works inside Russia, what it means for relationships with the West, and how it will affect what Russia’s leadership views as its “near abroad.”

The discussion will be based on “Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?” by Peter Pomerantsev. This is the first in a series of studies commissioned jointly by the Legatum Institute and the Institute of Modern Russia to analyze the challenges of transition in the former Soviet Union.



Peter Pomerantsev is a British TV producer, author, and journalist. For many years, he sold British programs to the Russian TV industry. His articles have been published in the Daily Beast, OpenDemocracy, and the London Review of Books.

Vladimir V. Kara-Murza is a member of the federal council of the Republican Party of Russia–People’s Freedom Party. He was a candidate for the Russian parliament in 2003, and has served as the campaign chairman for presidential candidate Vladimir Bukovsky (2007–08) and as an advisor to Duma opposition leader Boris Nemtsov (2000–03). He is a senior policy advisor at the Institute of Modern Russia and a member of the Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition.

Christopher Walker is executive director of the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, a leading center for the analysis of the theory and practice of democratic development. Prior to joining the NED in July 2012, Walker was vice president for strategy and analysis at Freedom House. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Journal of Democracy, and a range of other publications.

Carl Gershman has been president of the National Endowment for Democracy since its founding in 1984. He presides over the Endowment’s grants program in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America, and has overseen the creation of NED’s signature programs and publications. 

Pavel Khodorkovsky founded the Institute of Modern Russia (IMR) in 2010 to continue the work his father Mikhail Khodorkovsky began through the Open Russia Foundation. IMR is committed to strengthening respect for human rights, the rule of law, and civil society in Russia, and to promoting a principles-based approach to U.S.-Russia relations and Russia's integration into the community of democracies.

Christian Carylis editor of Democracy Lab, a Legatum Institute website published in partnership with Foreign Policy magazine. Democracy Lab follows global transitions from authoritarianism to democracy. Caryl worked for a year as Washington bureau chief of RFE/RL, and from 2000 to 2009 he was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek, running the magazine's bureaus in Moscow and Tokyo.


Have questions about Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?? Contact National Endowment for Democracy

When & Where

National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F Street Northwest
Washington, D.C., DC 20004

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

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