Putin’s Exiles

Putin’s Exiles
Their Fight for a Better Russia

The future of Russia lies outside the country

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 Tsar-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 Putin opponent Alexei 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.

Based on travels to exile communities in Armenia and Georgia, as well as extensive interviews with exiles living in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States, Paul Starobin, a veteran analyst of Russia, takes the 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.

Read CGR Director Nicholas Lemann’s Letter to the Reader

Putin’s Exiles
  • ISBN: 9798987053607
  • Price: $17.00
  • E-book ISBN: 9798987053614
  • On Sale: January 30, 2024
  • Pages: 126


“Mr. Starobin’s engaging reportage showcases the ingenuity of [the Russian] dissidents.” Wall Street Journal

“Starobin’s hands-on examination of Russia’s exile community is a remarkable story of brave people looking to the future.” Kirkus Reviews

“Incisive.... Offers captivating insights into a community in crisis.” Publishers Weekly

“Paul Starobin’s richly reported and shrewdly argued essay poses a provocative question: Could the more than a million Russians who have left Russia since Putin launched his war on Ukraine be a factor in the downfall of Putin’s imperial autocracy? Starobin examines the disparate motives of this new diaspora and, without overstating the case, concludes that ‘the exiles are an actor and possibly an author of the outcome.’” —Bill Keller, former Moscow correspondent and executive editor of the New York Times

“This short volume is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of Russia, Ukraine and the cascading consequences of Putin’s aggression for the wider world. Starobin has crafted an efficient, highly readable field guide to the interlocking ambitions, relationships, and origins of Russia’s new exiles, reflecting careful research into both individual stories and broader context. Those whose lives and work intersect with Putin’s Exiles will come back again and again to mine this book's rich veins of profile and dialogue.” —Matthew Rojansky, President and CEO of The U.S. Russia Foundation

“Paul Starobin offers a timely snapshot of the mass exodus of Russians seeking to avoid complicity in Russia’s war in Ukraine. His narrative is action packed and artfully contextualized within the arc of Russian and Soviet history, and its fast pacing reflects the speed with which his protagonists left Russia. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the myriad motivations of exiled Russians and their ardent desires to shape their country’s future.” —Fiona Hill, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former senior director for European and Russian affairs on the US National Security Council


Listen to Paul Starobin talk about Putin’s Exiles on his podcast “America and Beyond”

The Distant Revolution: Russia’s Growing Exiles Challenge Putin’s Rule — WhoWhatWhy podcast

Will Putin ever die? — Keen On podcast

Putin's Exiles: Talking with author Paul Starobin — The San Francisco Experience podcast

Paul Starobin explores Russian resistance in Putin's Exiles — WYPR’s Midday

Paul Starobin on the Russian Exiles — American Purpose’s Bookstack podcast

About the author

Paul Starobin
© Nargiza Yuldasheva

Paul Starobin, a former Moscow bureau chief for Businessweek and former contributing editor of The Atlantic, has been writing about Russia and Russians for more than a quarter century. He is the author of three books, including After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age, and Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860 and the Mania for War. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.