What does Russia really want? American speculation on Russia’s actions – what it has or hasn’t done, what it might do – is a major political topic; the guesswork is deafening. Is Russia as cohesive a force as we think? To what degree have their threats to US democracy been successful? Julia Ioffe – author of the illuminating Atlantic cover story “What Putin Really Wants” and the forthcoming book Russia Girl – has emerged as the premier voice to access Russia’s intentions, and what they mean for America. A gifted speaker, Ioffe unpacks this defining geopolitical drama with piercing clarity, showing us how we got here, and what lies ahead.
“Julia Ioffe is an indefatigable reporter, a gifted analyst, and an elegant writer.”— Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
Julia Ioffe, contributing writer at The Atlantic and a former Russian correspondent for The New Yorker, is a leading authority on Russian-US relations, showing us precisely what is at stake. Ioffe’s area of expertise, built on years of in-depth reporting in Russia for publications that include The New Republic, acknowledges Russia’s threat against American democracy, while placing emphasis on the way the media, right and left, can both over- and-underestimate Russia’s strategic coherence and capabilities. Ioffe’s talks provide a clear-eyed view of the situation, showing us that Russia is a non-partisan issue that every American, whether Democrat or Republican, must think hard about, regardless of political affiliation.
Born in Moscow, Ioffe’s family moved to America when she was seven years old. As a speaker, she conveys Russian-American relations from both sides with clarity and insight. In her talks, as in her Atlantic cover story “What Putin Really Wants,” Ioffe provides colorful, character-rich discussions of Russia’s socio-political structure, its tempestuous historical relationship with America, and how Russia will effect US politics (and policy) moving forward. As she writes in her story, “In the same way that Russians overestimate America, seeing it as an all-powerful orchestrator of global political developments, Americans project their own fears onto Russia, a country that is a paradox of deftness, might, and profound weakness—unshakably steady, yet somehow always teetering on the verge of collapse. Like America, it is hostage to its peculiar history, tormented by its ghosts.”
A graduate of Princeton University and a participant in Columbia Journalism School’s Knight Foundation Case Studies Initiative, Julia Ioffe won a Fulbright Scholarship to return to Russia in 2009, where she worked as the Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker magazine as well as Foreign Policy. In 2012, she became a senior editor for The New Republic in Washington D.C. before moving to The Atlantic to cover politics and world affairs in 2017.