Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
Book cover, Between Two Fires

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S250

Joshua Yaffa, Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker, presents his first book, Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia (Tim Duggan Books, January 2020), in conversation with Professor Timothy Colton.

About the Book

"In this rich and novelistic tour of contemporary Russia, journalist Joshua Yaffa introduces readers to some of the country’s most remarkable figures—from politicians and entrepreneurs to artists and historians—who have built their careers and constructed their identities in the shadow of the Putin system. Torn between their own ambitions and the omnipresent demands of the state, each walks an individual path of compromise. Some muster cunning and cynicism to extract all manner of benefits and privileges from those in power. Others, finding themselves to be less adept, are left broken and demoralized. What binds them together is the tangled web of dilemmas and contradictions they face.

"Between Two Fires chronicles the lives of a number of strivers who understand that their dreams are best—or only—realized through varying degrees of cooperation with the Russian government. With sensitivity and depth, Yaffa profiles the director of the country’s main television channel, an Orthodox priest at war with the church hierarchy, a Chechen humanitarian who turns a blind eye to persecutions, and many others. The result is an intimate and probing portrait of a nation that is much discussed yet little understood. By showing how citizens shape their lives around the demands of a capricious and frequently repressive state—as often by choice as under threat of force—Yaffa offers urgent lessons about the true nature of modern authoritarianism."

via Penguin Random House

Speaker(s)

Joshua Yaffa, Journalist and Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker

Moderator: Timothy Colton, Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies, Harvard University

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.

Accessibility

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or daviscenter@fas.harvard.edu in advance of your participation or visit.

Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.