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LMC 2022

Stay or Go? The Captive Mind in Russia and Belarus

The Clash, Should I Stay, or Should I Go? [1982]

In their pursuit of control at home and abroad, the leaders of Russia and Belarus have pushed their states and societies towards crises of identity. They have tried to secure their place in the sun but have found themselves leading countries with uncertain roles and precarious futures. A newly knitted iron curtain has fallen, making it hard for outsiders to evaluate the processes and temperature of their societies. But it is already clear that entire socially important groups have exiled themselves from Russia and Belarus.


Roman Dobrokhotov

Editor-in-Chief of The Insider

Masha Gessen

Staff Writer, The New Yorker

Artyom Shraibman
Artyom Shraibman

Political Analyst and Founder of Sense Analytics

Andrei Soldatov

Editor of


Anton Barbashin

Co-founder and an Editorial Director at Riddle Russia

  • How are state identity, collective identity, and self-identity formed in a dictatorship?
  • How does the state manipulate populations and how are its messages received?
  • What is the role of propaganda and the cultivation of revanchism?
  • How successful have Russia and Belarus been in their strategic communication about the war—internally and externally?
  • How much can change at home be led by people in exile?

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