Russia Direct

About us

Russia Direct is a website that experts and senior decision makers rely on to debate and understand Russia's relationship with the world and the US in particular. Founded in 2013, Russia Direct features original reporting as well as fresh writing from a wide variety of experts from both Russia and around the world who deliver insight often missing from today's media landscape. Every day, Russia Direct gives our growing and very influential audience unique intelligence on the people, trends, issues and challenges that are driving the global conversation about Russia.

In addition to daily content on its website, Russia Direct also offers exclusive benefits to subscribers such as weekly newsletters, monthly memos and quarterly reports.


The goal of the project is to improve multilateral relations at interpersonal, inter-agency and intergovernmental levels. At Russia Direct, we are creating a vibrant platform for the world's leading experts on Russia so monologues become full-fledged dialogue between Russia and other countries.

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Editor's note: What is Russia Direct all about?

How we are funded

Russia Direct as well as Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH) is funded by advertising and sponsorship sales as well as financial support from Russia's leading daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.


A Russia Direct subscription gives you free access to exclusively published content. Read more about all the benefits available for subscribers.

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  • Ekaterina Zabrovskaya

    Ekaterina Zabrovskaya is the Editor-in-Chief of Russia Direct and is an experienced journalist and editor with an extensive background covering Russian domestic politics and foreign-affairs for Russia’s leading news agency RIA Novosti, and for Russia Beyond the Headlines. Prior to her appointment as the editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, she worked as Deputy Chief Editor for Foreign Affairs at Russia Beyond the Headlines where, among other duties, she produced RBTH supplements to the The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Ekaterina graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, with a BA in Journalism and earned her Master’s degree in Political Science from Miami University, U.S.A., as a Fulbright scholar. She is passionate about journalism and international relations, and is inspired to improve mutual understanding between the two countries.

  • Pavel Koshkin

    Pavel Koshkin is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Russia Direct and a contributing writer to Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH). He is an experienced journalist in both Russian domestic and foreign policy issues. Before his appointment as the deputy editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, Koshkin served as an English-language web editor and staff writer for RBTH. He is an alumnus of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). In 2011-2012, he participated in the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum (SURF). SURF brings together leading Russian and U.S. pundits with enthusiastic students who want to improve bilateral relations between the countries. As part of the program, Koshkin and his American colleagues did research on the ways the United States and Russia respond to international money laundering. A graduate of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Koshkin has contributed to a number of Russian and foreign media outlets, including Russia Profile, Kommersant and the Moscow bureau of the BBC. In addition to his work at Russia Direct, he is currently working toward a Ph.D. in international journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University. His dissertation will focus on the ways American columnists covered U.S-China and U.S.-Russian relations between 2008 and 2013.

  • Ksenia Zubacheva

    Ksenia Zubacheva is an Editor at Russia Direct. Prior to joining Russia Beyond The Headlines, she spent a year and a half at the University of Bristol working on her postgraduate dissertation on BRICS and their role in the development of the Russian economy. In addition to this research, she participated in the Model NATO Youth Summit (MoNYS’2013) as a member of Bristol University’s delegation and represented Norway in the Political and Partnerships Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Oriental and African Studies from the Institute of Practical Oriental Studies (Moscow) and also has experience working as a radio editor for the South Asian Department of Voice of Russia.

  • Alexey Khlebnikov

    Alexey Khlebnikov is the Senior Editor of Russia Direct and an experienced international relations researcher with a focus on the Middle East and Russian foreign policy. Alexey graduated with both a BA and MA in International Relations from Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod. As part of his Master’s and Ph.D. studies, he has made several research trips, including Syria (Aleppo University, Damascus University), Israel (Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Hungary (Central European University). Alexey also has governmental experience, which he gained while working for the Office of the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy in the Volga Federal district. He has been published on international relations topics in academic journals and media sources in both Russia and Israel. Before joining the Russia Direct team, he received his Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in the United States as an Edmund S. Muskie Scholar. Currently he is working towards his Ph.D. in international relations at Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod.

  • Dominic Basulto

    Dominic Basulto is the U.S. editor of Russia Direct. He has extensive experience in digital media including a regular blog with The Washington Post and a daily blog on Winter Olympics host city Sochi. In addition to publishing the first-ever iPad travel guide to Sochi, Dominic has lived in the House of Writers in Moscow, taught finance at Moscow's first MBA program, published a weekly column for a Russian newspaper and completed a certificate program in Russian language from Moscow State University. He has an undergraduate degree in Politics and Russian Studies from Princeton and an MBA in emerging markets from Yale.

  • Eugene Abov

    Eugene Abov is the Deputy Director general of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta Publishing House, Publisher of the company’s international media project “Russia Beyond the Headlines” and Director of the Russia Direct project. A native of Moscow and a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) he has spent his career in Russian media management working for such organizations as Moskovskiye Novosti, ProfMedia and NewsCorp. Since 1998, Abov has been Vice President of the Guild of Press Publishers (GIPP); and since 2001 – Vice President of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). He is a two-time winner of the Media Manager of the Year award (in 2001 and 2008).

  • Julia Golikova

    Julia Golikova is the Deputy Publisher, Commercial and Foreign Partnership Director of Russia Beyond The Headlines and Director for Development of Russia Direct. She is responsible for business relations and strategic partnerships with major world media titles such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, Le Figaro, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Gulf News, South China Morning Post, managing the directorate budget, developing and executing revenue growth strategies, identifying new commercial activities and leaving no options for loopholes through which new business or profit could escape.
    Before joining the launch of Russia Beyond the Headlines in 2007, Julia has more than 7 years of professional experience in communications and business development in oil and gaz companies and wine retail business responsible for bringing new brands to the Russian market.

  • Olga Ivanova

    Olga Ivanova is the Deputy Publisher, New Media Project Director of Russia Beyond The Headlines and Project Director of Russia Direct. She is responsible for business strategy, developing and executing paid content strategy and sales, online audience development and overall mobile and application strategy development. Olga has more than 9 years of media management, communications and marketing experience in the United States and Russia. As a journalist and editor, she wrote for The Washington Post, Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia Beyond The Headlines, "Journalist" magazine and major Siberian media. Prior to joining the Russia Direct and RBTH, Olga spent three years at The World Bank, working for the External Communications department. She also worked for various media outlets and digital agencies, serving as a consultant to a number of Russian media companies. Olga is a Muskie Scholar for Journalism and Mass Communications and has a MS in Media Arts and Technology from Duquesne University. She also holds a BA in Journalism and BA in Linguistics magna cum laude degrees from Baikal State University of Economics and Law and from Irkutsk State Linguistic University. She has a fascination with media business, all things digital, learning foreign languages and cultures, traveling the world, and is a level one yoga instructor.

  • Ksenia Smertina

    Ksenia Smertina is an Deputy Project Director for Russia Direct, and a PIR-Center expert on the European security issues and Russian diplomacy. She has extensive experience working for Russian think-tanks dealing with international relations, and regional and domestic politics (PIR-Center, ISEPS, CIRP). Holds MA degrees from St-Petersburg State University (School of International Relations) and Central European University (Department of International Relations and European Studies). Currently she is working toward her PhD at Moscow State Institute of International Affairs.

  • Maria Shashaeva

    Maria Shashaeva is a Project Digital Director of Russia Direct. She has almost 10 years experience in all types of Russian media. She started working in TV production and then moved to the magazine industry. As the media environment changed, so did she, and she began working in digital publishing in various positions, supporting and developing online products. Maria has graduated Moscow Technical Communications and Informatics University to get a technical bachelor's degree with honors and also studied in NYFA for a Producer's degree.

  • Antonina Osipova

    Antonina Osipova is a Marketing Specialist for Russia Direct and Special Projects Manager at Russia Beyond the Headlines. Antonina's role is developing and implementing strategic communications and media relations campaigns and overall marketing strategy for Russia Direct, media outreach management, events planning and organization. Antonina is also responsible for ad trafficking, including the launch, delivery and reporting of the campaigns. Additionally, she manages print advertising creative and coordinates marketing efforts to identify potential new subscribers, both digital and in print. Antonina has experience in social entrepreneurship, media marketing and event management in international companies in Finland and Russia. Before joining Russia Direct and RBTH, Antonina worked as a Media marketing specialist, account and research manager at Sanoma Independent Media. She has also worked at the media holding company «Dojd`», where she was responsible for improving the overall brand positioning and promotion efforts of the company's products. Antonina graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, with a MA degree in Social Psychology and earned her certificate in Business Coaching from Moscow City University of Psychology and Education. She is passionate about the social psychology of international relations, and country branding and is inspired to improve how the world sees brand "Russia".

  • Ekaterina Olkhova

    Ekaterina Olkhova is a Digital Marketing Manager for both Russia Direct and Russia Beyond the Headlines. Among Katya's responsibilities are the duties to control the dispatch of weekly newsletters, timely monthly and quarterly reports' email announcements, readers' feedback on the team's work. She has experience in mass media, her previous jobs being at Snob Project and Hello! magazine.

  • Nadezhda Suetina

    Nadezhda Suetina is the market research manager of Russia Beyond the Headlines and Russia Direct. As the research manager of Russia Direct, she is responsible for audience analytics and evaluating the effectiveness of the project and its marketing and communication strategy. Nadezhda has more than three years of experience in the field of market and media research specializes in analytics of advertising and corporate communications. She holds a Master’s degree in sociology from Lomonosov Moscow State University.

  • Maria Kleymenova

    Kleymenova Maria is Director on PR and communications at RBTH. She is dealing with project promotion at Russian market, GR and corporate image of the company. Has extensive experience in PR management. Maria graduated from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and also was studding marketing at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien.

  • Elena Potapova

    Elena Potapova is the multimedia editor of Russia Direct. She is a multimedia journalist with more than five years of experience in international media. Her reporting has appeared at L'Ouest-France (France), the Miami Herald (United States) and Russia Beyond the Headlines (Russia). Elena also created and ran a seminar called "Hypertext and Multimedia" at Lomonosov Moscow State University to teach new media skills to journalism students. Elena is also the Executive Multimedia Editor for Russia Beyond The Headlines where she creates and edits video, photo and audio content.


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