In the run-up to the 2016 election, Masha Gessen stood out from other journalists with their ability to convey the ominous significance of Donald Trump’s speech and behaviour, unprecedented in a national candidate. Within forty-eight hours of his victory, their essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” had gone viral, and Gessen’s coverage of his norm-smashing presidency became essential reading for a citizenry struggling to wrap their heads around the unimaginable. Thanks to the special perspective that is the legacy of a Soviet childhood and two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, Gessen has a sixth sense for signs of autocracy — and the unique cross-cultural fluency to delineate its emergence to Americans.
Surviving Autocracy provides an indispensable overview of the calamitous trajectory of the past few years, highlighting the corrosion of the media, the judiciary, and the cultural norms we hoped would save us. Gessen talks about surviving autocracy and strengthening our societies. They are in conversation with Festival of Ideas director Andrew Kelly.
This is part of our Future of Democracy series which is taking place all year and will culminate in a constitutional convention, currently scheduled for November 2020.
Surviving Autocracy is published by Granta. Buy a copy from our bookseller partner Waterstones.
Thanks to Granta for supporting this event.