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David Satter

Former Senior Fellow

David Satter is a former senior fellow at Hudson Institute. A former Moscow correspondent, Satter a long time observer of Russia and the former Soviet Union. He is also a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Satter was born in Chicago in 1947 and graduated from the University of Chicago and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a B.Litt degree in political philosophy. He worked for four years as a police reporter for the Chicago Tribune and, in 1976, he was named Moscow correspondent of the London Financial Times. He worked in Moscow for six years, from 1976 to 1982, during which time he sought out Soviet citizens with the intention of preserving their accounts of the Soviet totalitarian system for posterity.

After completing his term in Moscow, Satter became a special correspondent on Soviet affairs for The Wall Street Journal, contributing to the paper’s editorial page. In 1990, he was named a Thornton Hooper fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and then a senior fellow at the Institute. From 2003 to 2008, he was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. In 2008, he was also a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He teaches a course on contemporary Russian history at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced Academic Programs.

Satter has written three books about Russia: Russia: It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past (Yale, 2011); Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union (Knopf, 1996; paperback, Yale 2001); and Darkness at Dawn: the Rise of the Russian Criminal State (Yale 2003). His books have been translated into Russian, Estonian, Latvian, Czech, Portuguese and Vietnamese. His first book, Age of Delirium, has been made into a documentary film in a U.S. – Latvian – Russian joint production.

Satter has testified frequently on Russian affairs before Congressional committees. He has written extensively for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. His articles and op-ed pieces have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The National Interest, National Review, National Review Online,, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, The New York Sun, The New York Review of Books, Reader’s Digest and The Washington Times. He is frequently interviewed in both Russian and English by Radio Liberty, the Voice of America and the BBC Russian Service and has appeared on CNN, CNN International, BBC World, the Charlie Rose Show, Al Jazeera, France 24, Fox News, C-Span and ORT and RTR, the state run Russian television networks.

Featured Research

When Russian Democracy Died

David Satter

Boris Yeltsin abolished the Parliament 25 years ago. That helped pave the way for Putin’s dictatorship...

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"Who Is Mr. Putin?"

"Who Is Mr. Putin?" U.S. and English-Language Film Premiere

Ukraine: Crisis for Central Europe and the Transatlantic Alliance

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Media Coverage

David Satter is quoted by Svoboda on the first two years of the Trump administration

David Satter quoted in Kiev Post on the St. Petersburg terrorist attacks

Hannah Thoburn and David Satter interviewed on NPR on U.S.-Russian Relations

David Satter interviewed on WNPR on Russia’s role in American democracy

David Satter’s book, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep reviewed in National Review

David Satter quoted in Huffington Post on the lack of sympathy in Russia for political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mike Rogers and David Satter quoted in Daily Beast on Russia’s approach to terrorism and radicalization

David Satter interviewed on PBS’s Frontline documentary on Putin

David Satter quoted in Huffington Post on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

David Satter interviewed on Radio Liberty (Russia) on the explosions in Russia 15 years ago

David Satter quoted in Voice of America on the possible Russian invasion of Ukraine