For many years, Masha Gessen has been one of the most respected political analysts in the US.
Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, they have spoken about the unique position that they find themselves in - exiled from Russia due to their sexuality, travelling to Ukraine to report on the war. Gessen has focused on the impact that the war has had on the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine, incorporating both the personal and the political into their work.
A dual US-Russian citizen – Gessen is an incisive analyst of Putin’s regime and a multi award winning author. Their book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, won a National Book Award in the US, among many other accolades. Other works, including The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, examine both the main protagonist at the centre of the war in Ukraine, and both the networks of support and resistance that have developed around him.
For this year’s Hubert Butler Lecture, Gessen considers how Putin came to wage war in Ukraine, and how much further he might go.
The Hubert Butler Annual Lecture was established by the Festival in 2007 to honour the Kilkenny writer, historian and broadcaster whose remarkable consistency of vision and clarity of mind made him unique among 20th-century essayists.