Next year in Moscow.
A podcast about Russia’s future

Arkady Ostrovsky travels across Europe and the Middle East speaking to free-thinking Russians who left when the shelling of Ukraine began in 2022 in this eight-part series. For them the war meant the future of Russia itself was now in doubt. Now they have to rebuild their lives and their hopes for Russia from exile. Can they get their country back? Their stories help solve the mystery of why this senseless war began — and how it might end.


1. This Damn Year

For Russians opposed to Vladimir Putin, everything changed the moment they awoke to news of the invasion of Ukraine a year ago. They felt a range of emotions: pain, fury and shame. And they had to figure out what to do next. 

The Economist’s Arkady Ostrovsky has been speaking to them, because their stories help solve the mystery of why this senseless war began – and how it might end.

2. A Beautiful Life

A decade ago Russia's middle class was larger and richer than it had ever been. “Russians are OK” was the title of a popular YouTube channel. But Vladimir Putin’s return to power sparked unprecedented protests as two very different visions of Russia vied for dominance. 

3. Baggage

In one sense, the war did not really begin in 2022. It did not even begin in Ukraine. It started the first time Vladimir Putin invaded one of Russia’s neighbours and got away with it. That was 15 years ago, in Georgia. And in the same place Joseph Stalin, author of the Soviet empire’s darkest chapter, was born. 

4. Hostages

Chulpan Khamatova is one of Russia's best-loved actors. Once courted by Vladimir Putin, she now lives in exile in Latvia. Her work and fame brought access to the key protagonists in Russia’s recent past. It’s a unique vantage point to contemplate the nature of evil⁠⁠—and its antidote.

5. Through the Forest

When the full scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, anti-war Russians began quoting the work of the great novelist Leo Tolstoy. Grigory Sverdlin has been fighting back, as Tolstoy prescribed, with acts of empathy and kindness—from helping homeless people to aiding Russians dodge the draft. 

6. Remote Work

Soon after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin imposed strict media laws that criminalised any reporting of the truth. Independent journalists working abroad are providing an alternative to the powerful narrative that is broadcast 24/7 on state television. Can emigrés still have an impact on the silent majority inside Russia?

7. The Runway

Maria Eismont, a defence lawyer, has remained in Russia. Her clients include high-profile opposition figures who have received long sentences for spreading “fake news” about the war in Ukraine. Facing long odds and great personal risk, she guides the Kremlin’s enemies through their day in court. Why has she chosen to stay and do this work?

8. Arrivals

Sooner or later, Vladimir Putin’s most formidable opponents end up in jail. Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s wealth and power made him a target. He was arrested in 2003 after making a risky return to Russia. When opposition leader Alexei Navalny flew back to Moscow in 2021 he never made it through passport control. But for him, prison is not the story’s end, it’s where a new Russia begins. 

9. Life and fate

A year on from our last episode, Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, is dead. Hope for the “beautiful Russia of the future” he imagined from his prison cell in Siberia is all but extinguished. How are the Russians who oppose Vladimir Putin’s war enduring these dark times? 

The Intelligence Podcast 


What’s the point of Russia’s election if we know Vladimir Putin will win?

Even after two years of war in Ukraine, there are reasons for positivity

We once spoke of Navalny’s message; now we speak of his legacy


The Intelligence: Navalny’s peril deepens 


A figure of speeches: Volodymyr Zelensky in his own words

No rest for the weary: meeting Ukraine’s high command 

Falling tsar? Russians eye life after Putin 

Misplaced Truss? Britain’s ruling party meets (AO: Russia conscripts)

Iron Curtain call: Mikhail Gorbachev 

Vlad the in-jailer: Alexei Navalny sentenced 

War stories: the view from Russia 


Back to the USSR: Russia and Ukraine

Georgia undermined: protests and a hunger strike

Putin’s defiers: repression in Russia

Potemkin polls: Russia’s elections

Bear necessities: learning to handle Russia

From out of thin air: Belarus dissidents' fates

Extremist prejudice: rebranding Navalny

Alexei Navalny’s condition is worsening in prison

Vlad tidings: demonstrations across Russia