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Sun Jul 26, 2020, 02:25 PM

'Surviving Autocracy' author Masha Gessen on Trump's casual racism,

how his incompetence prevents accountability, and the institutions that failed us

Masha Gessen is a staff writer for New Yorker and the author of 11 books, including the National Book Award-winner "The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia," and the newly-published tome about the Trump presidency, "Surviving Autocracy."

Born in the Soviet Union, Gessen's family emigrated to the US in 1981. As an adult, Gessen returned to Russia in the early 1990s, where they made their name as a science journalist and a groundbreaking activist for LGBTQ rights.

In 2013, Russian authorities made the rollback of LGBTQ rights part of their nationalistic agenda, banning what they called "homosexual propaganda" and even threatening to take their children away. It was around that time that Gessen moved with their family back to the US.

One of the world's foremost chroniclers of Vladimir Putin and Russia's slide into autocracy, Gessen has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, a Nieman Fellowship, and the Hitchens Prize for demonstrating "a commitment to free expression and inquiry,‭ ‬a range and depth of intellect,‭ ‬and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence."

Gessen spoke with Business Insider's Columnist Anthony L. Fisher via Skype for a wide-ranging conversation about Trump's similarities and dissimilarities to Putin, how he's inured the American public to his crass racism, why Russiagate conspiracy theories were unhelpful, and why the myth of American institutions will not save us.



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