The decade of the 1990s was the only decade in Russia’s history, when the country did not have political exiles. When Putin came to power 20 years ago, he immediately reintroduced political emigration. Already in 2000, he forced the first group of his opponents to leave the country and never has stopped since then. Once out of Russia, the exiles start presenting a challenge to the Kremlin, and the Kremlin takes this challenge very seriously. But it has also created the concept of Russky Mir or Russian World – the worldwide community of Russian-speaking people whose identity is connected with Russian history and culture.
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan are Russian journalists, co-founders of agentura.ru and authors of The Red Web and The New Nobility. Their latest publication The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia’s Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad was published by Public Affairs in October 2019. Both are recurrent Visting Fellows at the IWM.