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

Editorial Board

Anton Barbashin

Editorial Director at Riddle

Editorial director at Riddle, political analyst. PGR at University of Glasgow

2015-2018 – Managing editor at Intersection. 2014-2018 – Analyst at Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding.   

Tweets at @ABarbashin

Fabian Burkhardt

Research Associate, IOS Regensburg

Research Associate, IOS Regensburg. Member of the Editorial Board, Riddle. 2015-2018 – member of the Editorial Board, Intersection. Political scientist, PhD. Research Associate at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), Regensburg. Editor, Russland-Analysen. Non-resident 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.
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

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.

Kirill Shamiev

Political scientist

Junior Research Fellow at Center for Comparative Governance Studies, HSE. Public Policy PhD candidate, Central European University.

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



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.

Alexander Naumov

Intern and translator. 

B.A. graduate from George Mason University (Virginia, USA), majored in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Politics.


Julie Ricarova

Intern at Riddle.

First year MA student in Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki.

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

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)

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).