Natasha Rogoff: Muppets in Moscow

Book Talk
Event Format
via Zoom

Natasha Lance Rogoff, in conversation with Alexandra Vacroux, presents her new book, Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022). 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the timing appeared perfect to bring Sesame Street to millions of children living in the former Soviet Union. With the Muppets envisioned as ideal ambassadors of Western values, no one anticipated just how challenging and dangerous this would prove to be. In Muppets in Moscow, Natasha Lance Rogoff brings this gripping tale to life. Lance Rogoff, a young American television producer fluent in Russian, was chosen to lead a crew of American and Russian artists, producers, educators, writers, and puppeteers to create the Russian adaptation. During the production, against the backdrop of bombings and the assassination of her Russian broadcast partners, Lance Rogoff and the team remained determined to bring laughter, learning, and a new way of seeing the world to children in Russia. Muppets in Moscow skillfully explores the post-Soviet societal tensions that continue to thwart the Russian people’s efforts to create a better future for their country. More than just a story of a children’s show, this book provides a valuable perspective of Russia’s people, their culture, and their complicated relationship with the West that remains relevant even today.

Muppets in Moscow is now available in bookstores and on Amazon.

In a sparkling memoir of the era and the enterprise, ‘Muppets in Moscow’, Natasha Lance Rogoff (as she is now) re-creates the frantic and vertiginous efforts to launch ‘Ulitsa Sezam’ against what turned out to be tremendous headwinds”

—Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2022

 “The ‘unexpected crazy true story’ of Ulitsa Sezam (Sesame Street in Russian) is told by Natasha Lance Rogoff in a highly entertaining and readable new book, Muppets in Moscow, which recounts a litany of cultural clashes, wild west-style assassinations and dashed hopes about the post-communist era.”

—The Guardian, October 18, 2022

"In this thrilling debut, television producer and filmmaker Rogoff recounts her mission to bring Sesame Street to Russian audiences.... The resulting tale is one of perseverance and creativity that illuminates how even the most disparate cultures and perspectives can find common ground." 

— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Remote video URL


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 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.