Bio

Keith Gessen is a Title VIII Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute. He is a novelist, editor, translator, and journalist whose work has focused primarily on the reverberations of the Soviet collapse throughout the post-Soviet space. He is the co-translator and editor of Kirill Medvedev's It's No Good (n+1/Ugly Duckling Presse) and the author of the novel, A Terrible Country, about Russia. His writings have also appeared in the London Review of Books, n+1, and the New Yorker. He now teaches journalism at Columbia University.

Project Summary

Gessen's work with the Kennan Institute examines American specialists who've worked on Russia policy inside the U.S. Government since 1991. He is interested in their intellectual backgrounds, the collision of their ideas with the apparatus of American foreign policy, and the impact of a few policy entrepreneurs on overall American policy in the aftermath of the Cold War. Gessen hopes to narrate the history of the post-Cold War period from the perspective of the American heights, but also to describe the more general process through which American policy is formed - where ideas come from, what pressures they face, how they change, how they are implemented, and with what results.