Mikhail Zygar is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker, and the founding editor-in-chief of Russia’s only independent news television channel, Dozhd (TVRain).

Under Zygar’s leadership, Dozhd provided an alternative to Kremlin-controlled federal television channels by focusing on news content and giving a platform to opposition voices. The channel’s coverage of politically sensitive issues, like the Moscow street protests in 2011 and 2012 as well as the conflict in Ukraine, has been dramatically different from the official coverage by Russia’s national television stations. In 2014, Zygar received the CPJ International Press Freedom Award.

Zygar’s bestseller All the Kremlin’s Men (2015) is based on an unprecedented series of interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, presenting a radically different view of power and politics in Russia. Time named it “one of nine books to understand Russia.” His book The Empire Must Die (2017) portrays the years leading up to the Russian revolution and the vivid drama of Russia’s brief and exotic experiment with civil society before it was swept away by the Communist Revolution. It was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. His latest book, War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, was published in 2023 and was featured on the New Yorker’s list of the best books of the year.

In February 2022, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Zygar authored a petition against the invasion cosigned by Russia’s most prominent writers, artists, and scholars. In March 2022, he organized the only interview of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the independent Russian media. He has also started his own Substack, where he writes regularly.

In 2023, Zygar moved to New York. He’s now a press freedom fellow at the City University of New York’s Craig Newmark School of Journalism and is a visiting professor at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Zygar is openly gay and is married to African-Russian journalist Jean Michel Shcherbak.