Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia

Written by Paul Starobin

Since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of 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 the Czar-like Putin, and by a vision of a better Russia, shorn of autocracy, the exiles have mounted an organized resistance to Putin’s rule.

The resistance includes followers of the imprisoned Putin opponent Alexi Navalny, dissident Russian Orthodox priests, and journalists feeding Russians back home the kind of coverage that Kremlin-controlled media censors. Most aggressively, some exiles are actively aiding the Ukrainian fight against Russia’s armed forces in hopes of hastening Russia’s defeat and Putin’s demise.

Paul Starobin, a veteran analyst of Russia, travels to places like Armenia and Georgia to meet with exiles and has conversations with prominent figures throughout Europe and America, as he takes measure of this rebellion—and its potential to fix a nation plagued by revanchist imperial dreams.

Putin’s Exiles is an indispensable work for anyone trying to understand Russia today—to go beyond Putin’s propaganda and the tightly controlled narrative inside the country, and look outside its borders to the diaspora of Russian exiles, who are imagining and fighting for the future of their country.