About Riddle

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.

  • 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.

  • Olga Irisova Editor-in-Chief at Riddle

    Editor-in-Chief at Riddle, political analyst. German chancellor fellow at Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2021−2022). 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 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).

  • Michael Kofman Military expert

    Director of the Russia Studies Program at the CNA Corporation and a Senior Adjunct Fellow, CNAS


  • Natalia Mamul Freelance interpreter and translator

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

  • Ksenia Polouektova-Krimer Translator

    PhD, historian, lecturer and translator whose research focuses on the history and memory of the Shoah.

  • Danuta Przepiórkowska Certified translator & interpreter, sociologist

    Currently working on her PhD on research methodology. Member of the European Social Survey team in Poland.

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

  • Stefan Meister

    Head of International Order and Democracy Program 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).