Luncheon Speaker’s Biography January 28, 2019
Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies
COFFE’s January speaker is journalist Gregory Feifer whose book, Russians: The Power Behind the People (Twelve, 2014), “explores the seeming paradoxes of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people and what it is in their history, desires, and conception of themselves that makes them baffling to the West.”
A former NPR Moscow correspondent who reported from Russia for almost a decade, he witnessed the coup d’état attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. During the country’s resurgence under Vladimir Putin, he observed the effects of its vast new oil wealth on an increasingly nationalistic society, as well as, Moscow’s rekindling of a new Cold War-style opposition to the West. He has also reported from Ukraine and many other former Soviet republics. Later, as a senior correspondent at Radio Free Europe in Prague, Feifer investigated Russian influence in Europe, including the Kremlin’s use of Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, as an instrument of foreign policy.
Before joining NPR in 2005, Feifer lived in Paris and New York and has written for numerous outlets, including The New Republic, The Washington Post, and World Policy Journal. Feifer is the author of The Great Gamble, a history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and co-author of Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer, The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, with former KGB colonel, Victor Cherkashin.
He is the son of a Russian mother and American father, George Feifer, one of the few Western journalists to really dig under the surface of Soviet life during the Cold War. Educated at Harvard, he is an associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies. He is currently working on a book about the assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. He also serves as executive director of the Institute of Current World Affairs, which awards fellowships to young men and women allowing them to travel outside of the US and gain an in-depth understanding of chosen topic areas.