Masha Gessen on the Ins and Outs of Russia (Ep. 73 — Live)

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On Russia proper

On Putin

The mass protests in Russia that we saw in 2011, 2012 were partly a function of prosperity. People lived well enough that they had the luxury of demanding good governance. When you’re constantly worried about your survival, you do not actually engage proactively in politics.

On misconceptions of Russia

There’s no shame in being miserable in Russia. There’s, in fact, a lot of validation. Read a Russian novel. You’ll find it all in there. We really are connoisseurs of depression.

On things under- and overrated

I felt really, really awful taking estrogen. I thought, “Hell, let me go in the other direction.” I started taking testosterone, and I’m having a lot more fun on testosterone than I did on estrogen.

On the Masha Gessen production function




A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. For new episodes, visit

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