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December 4: The Closing of the Russian Mind
Protesters at the March for Free Internet in central Moscow on July 23, 2023. Via RFE/RL.

December 4: The Closing of the Russian Mind

American Purpose

During his first years in power, Vladimir Putin allowed a measure of autonomy for the arts and culture. In those days Putin was trying to create a different kind of dictatorship. Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, cultural space in the Russian Federation has been closing rapidly. On December 4, 2023 American Purpose, RFE/RL, and the Institute of Current World Affairs came together for a discussion on writers and cultural figures in exile, and how others struggle to protect the arts against state power at home.


  • Greg Feifer, executive director, Institute of Current World Affairs
  • Linor Goralik, Russian-born Israeli author, poet and artist
  • Rim Gilfanov, director, RFE/RLTatar-Bashkir Service
  • Salome Asatiani, journalist and podcast host, RFE/RL Georgian service

The program was moderated by Jeffrey Gedmin, RFE/RL acting president and American Purpose co-founder. 

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