In 1939, Winston Churchill coined a phrase that has enthralled Russia watchers ever since. “Russia,” he said, “is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Our founding of Riddle represents not only a recognition of Russia’s complexity, but also a resolution to seek out answers. After all, riddles have solutions; mysteries can be explained; and the enigma code was ultimately decrypted. By bringing together a diverse community of experts, we aim to provide independent, balanced analysis on Russia without fear or favour. While many in our community are experienced international Russia watchers, we also provide a platform for a new generation of analysts from all corners of Russia studies, and to run it in both English and Russian.

For all pitches and inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us here: Riddle@ridl.io

RIDDLE Editorial board


Anton Barbashin

Editorial Director at Riddle
Editorial director at Riddle, political analyst. 2015-2018 – Managing editor at Intersection. 2014-2018 – Analyst at Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding. Specialist in International Relations, Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management. Visiting Expert at Kennan Institute in 2017. Tweets at @ABarbashin

Fabian Burkhardt

Political scientist, SWP Berlin
Political scientist, PhD. 2015-2018 – member of the Editorial Board, Intersection. Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP Berlin). Associate fellow, International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development, National Research University "Higher School of Economics," Moscow, and Research Center for East European Studies, University of Bremen. Member of the Editorial Board, Riddle. Tweets at @fa_burkhardt

Olga Irisova

Editor-in-Chief at Riddle
Editor-in-Chief at Riddle, political analyst. Galina Starovoitova Fellow on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at Kennan Institute (2019). 2015-2018 – Senior Editor at Intersection, Analyst at Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding. Alumni of Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe. Tweets at @IrisovaOlga

Richard Martyn-Hemphill

Editor of the English edition of Riddle
Editor of the English edition of Riddle. 2017-2018 – Editor of the English edition of Intersection. From 2014 to 2016, Martyn-Hemphill was the editor-in-chief of The Baltic Times. His reporting has appeared in The Moscow Times, The Kyiv Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The New York Times, The International New York Times, The Irish Times, The Boston Globe, Prospect Magazine, Politico Europe. Tweets at @richardmhemp

Damir Marusic

Executive editor at The American Interest
Executive Editor at The American Interest, a publication started in 2005 by Francis Fukuyama, Josef Joffe, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Eliot Cohen. Damir holds an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a BA in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. Tweets at @dmarusic

Artem Torchinsky

Financial analyst
Financial analyst. Anchor, "Money" talkshow at TV Rain channel. MSc in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (2002) and a Master’s in Finance from the New Economic School (2013). Tweets at @tema57

Maxim Trudolyubov

Editor at Inliberty, editor-in-chief at The Russia File
Editor at Inliberty, editor-in-chief at the Russiafile. Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. 2003-2015 – editorial page editor, Vedomosti. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of 2013. Tweets at: @russiafiles

Olesya Zakharova

Political scientist
Political scientist. 2015-2016 - Researcher in a Research Link between the Higher School of Economics, Moscow and the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen. 2013 – Visiting researcher at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna.



Maxim Edwards

British freelance journalist, former commissioning editor of oDR (2015-2018) and former assistant editor at OCCRP (2018). His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Haaretz, Politico Europe, and other publications. Twitter: @MaximEdwards

Natalia Mamul

Freelance interpreter and translator. She holds an MA in English, and is working on her PhD in Sociology.

Danuta Przepiórkowska

Certified translator & interpreter, sociologist. Currently working on her PhD on research methodology. Member of the European Social Survey team in Poland.


photo leafstedt

Ellen Leafstedt

Master's student in Russian & East European Studies at Oxford University and graduate of Durham University. Also interned at the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia and the American Enterprise Institute. Tweets @ellenleafy

Advisory Board


John Lloyd

Founding member and senior research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, author of a number of books, founder of Financial Times Magazine.

Elena Nemirovskaya

Co-founder and director of the Moscow School of Civic Education (formerly MSPS), a Chevalier of the Order of the British Empire, laureate of the Hiroshima Foundation Awards for Peace and Culture for the essential contribution to the development of cultural dialogue, understanding and peacemaking throughout the world.

Yuri Senokosov

Co-founder and head of the publishing program of the Moscow School of Civic Education (formerly MSPS), specialist in the history of philosophy and philosophy of history, the editor-in-chief of the journal “Obschaya Tetrad’”.

Michael Sohlman

Chair of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Member of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation 1992-2011
Marlene Laruelle 2017bw

Marlene Laruelle

Associate Director and research professor at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University, Co-Director of PONARS (Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia), and Director of GW's Central Asia Program.

Stefan Meister

Head of the Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
dh photo 2014_cr

Dr. Daniel S. Hamilton

Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Professor and Director of the Program “Europe, the United States and World Order” at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

James Sherr

James Sherr is Senior Fellow of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute/ICDS and Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme of Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs).