Anne Applebaum

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Anne Applebaum
Anne Elizabeth Applebaum.jpg
Applebaum in 2013
Anne Elizabeth Applebaum[1]

(1964-07-25) July 25, 1964 (age 55)[2]
ResidenceWarsaw, Poland
NationalityAmerican and Polish
EducationSidwell Friends School
Alma materYale University
London School of Economics
OccupationJournalist and author
Known forWritings on former Soviet Union and its satellite countries
Websitewww.anneapplebaum.com Edit this at Wikidata

Anne Elizabeth Applebaum (born July 25, 1964) is an American journalist and historian. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize, she has written extensively about Marxism-Leninism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe. She is a visiting Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, where she runs Arena, a project on propaganda and disinformation.

She has edited at The Economist and The Spectator, and was a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post (2002–06).[4]

Early life[edit]

Applebaum was born in Washington, D.C. Her parents are Harvey M. Applebaum, a partner in the Covington and Burling law firm, and Elizabeth (Bloom) Applebaum, of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Applebaum has stated that she was brought up in a "very reformed" Jewish family.[5] Her ancestors came to America from what is now Belarus.[6] She graduated from the Sidwell Friends School (1982). She earned a BA (summa cum laude) in history and literature at Yale University[7] (1986), where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As a Marshall Scholar at the London School of Economics she earned a master's degree in international relations (1987).[8] She studied at St Antony's College, Oxford, before moving to Warsaw, Poland, in 1988 as a correspondent for The Economist.[9]

Journalism and literary career[edit]

From 1988, Applebaum wrote about the collapse of communism from Warsaw. Working for The Economist and The Independent, she provided front-page and cover stories of important social and political transitions in Central and Eastern Europe, both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In 1994 she published her first book, Between East and West, a travelogue describing the rise of nationalism in the Western republics of the Soviet Union. The book was awarded an Adolph Bentinck Prize in 1996.

Applebaum worked briefly as the Africa editor of The Economist in 1992. In 1993, she left the paper and became the foreign editor and then the deputy editor at The Spectator, where she wrote about British and international politics, writing cover stories from Brussels, Moscow, Washington and Milan as well as London. She also wrote regular columns for both The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph in London. In 1996 and 1997 Applebaum wrote exclusively about Britain, and in particular the victory of Tony Blair's Labour Party, as the political columnist for London's Evening Standard newspaper.

Applebaum returned to Poland in 1998, where she continued to write for the Sunday Telegraph and other newspapers. In 2001 she did a major interview with prime minister Tony Blair.[10] She also began doing historical research for her book Gulag: A History (2003) on the Soviet concentration camp system, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.[11][12][13] It was also nominated for a National Book Award, for the LA Times book award and for the National Book Critics Circle Award.[14] It was eventually translated into more than 25 languages.

From 2001 to 2005, Applebaum lived in Washington where she was a member of The Washington Post editorial board.[15] She wrote about a wide range of US policy issues, including healthcare, social security and education. She also began writing a column for The Washington Post, which continues to the present. Applebaum was also briefly an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank.[16] Returning to Europe in 2005, Applebaum was a George Herbert Walker Bush/Axel Springer Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, in 2006.[17]

Her second history book, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944–56, was published in 2012 by Doubleday in the US and Allen Lane in the UK; it was nominated for a National Book Award, shortlisted for the 2013 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award[18] and won the Cundill Prize for Historical Literature as well as the Duke of Westminster Medal.

From 2011 to 2016, she created and ran the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute, an international think tank and educational charity based in London. Among other projects, she ran a two-year program examining the relationship between democracy and growth in Brazil, India and South Africa,[19] created the Future of Syria[20] and Future of Iran projects[21] on future institutional change in those two countries, and commissioned a series of papers on corruption in Georgia,[22] Moldova[23] and Ukraine.[24]

Together with Foreign Policy magazine she created Democracy Lab, a website focusing on countries in transition to, or away from, democracy[25] and which has since become Democracy Post[26] at The Washington Post. She also ran Beyond Propaganda,[27] a program examining 21st century propaganda and disinformation. Started in 2014, the program anticipated later debates about "fake news". In 2016, she left Legatum because of its stance on Brexit following the appointment of Euroskeptic Philippa Stroud as CEO[28] and joined the London School of Economics as a Professor of Practice at the Institute for Global Affairs. At the LSE she runs Arena, a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda.[29]

2014 Crimean crisis[edit]

On February 21, 2014, Applebaum wrote in The Daily Telegraph, documenting the breakdown in law and order in Ukraine over the previous fortnight. She concluded that it "is not a war, or even a conflict which either side can win with weapons. It will have to be solved through negotiations, elections, political debate; by civic organisations, political parties and political leaders, both charismatic and otherwise; with the participation of other European states and Ukraine's other neighbors".[30]

Applebaum has been a vocal critic of Western conduct regarding the 2014 Crimean crisis. In an article in The Washington Post on March 5, she maintained that the US and its allies should not continue to enable "the existence of a corrupt Russian regime that is destabilizing Europe", noting that the actions of President Vladimir Putin had violated "a series of international treaties".[31] On March 7, in another Telegraph article, discussing an information war, Applebaum argued that "a robust campaign to tell the truth about Crimea is needed to counter Moscow's lies".[32] At the end of August she asked whether Ukraine should prepare for "total war" with Russia and whether central Europeans should join them.[33]

Views and opinions[edit]

In October 2002, Applebaum wrote that Americans "should be prepared" for a war with Iraq. She also wrote that "Although I dislike the modern tendency to compare every mad dictator to Hitler, in this narrow sense, the comparison to Saddam might be apt. Are you sure Saddam would not risk the destruction of his country, if he thought, for some reason, that he or his regime was in danger? Do you want to wait and find out?"[34]

In 2004, Applebaum wrote that "President Bush's declaration of opposition to Palestinians' "right of return" to Israel is realistic... Nor, finally, is this solution necessarily illegal, even by the narrow terms of international law. Israel occupies Gaza and the West Bank, after all, as a result of the 1967 war, which Israel did not start".[35]


In March 2016, six months before the election of President Donald Trump, she wrote a column asking, "Is this the end of the West as we know it?", which argued that "we are two or three bad elections away from the end of NATO, the end of the European Union and maybe the end of the liberal world order".[36] Considered unduly gloomy at the time, the column inspired the Swiss magazine Tagesanzeiger and the German magazine Der Spiegel to interview Applebaum in December 2016[37][38] and January 2017. She argued very early on that the movement had an international dimension, that populist groups in Europe share "ideas and ideology, friends and founders", and that, unlike Burkean conservatives, they seek to "overthrow the institutions of the present to bring back things that existed in the past—or that they believe existed in the past—by force."[39] Applebaum has underlined the danger of a new "Nationalist International," a union of xenophobic, nationalist parties such as Law and Justice in Poland, the Northern League in Italy, and the Freedom Party in Austria.[40]


Applebaum has been writing about Russia since the early 1990s. In 2000, she described the links between the then-new president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, with the former Soviet leader Yuri Andropov and the old KGB.[41] In 2008, she began speaking about "Putinism" as an anti-democratic ideology, though most at the time still considered the Russian president to be a pro-Western pragmatist.[42] Applebaum has also focused on Russia's failure to come to terms with the legacy of the USSR and of Stalin, both in her Gulag book and in other writing and speeches.[43] In 2014, she asked whether “the most important story of the past twenty years might not, in fact, have been the failure of democracy, but the rise of a new form of Russian authoritarianism."[44] She has described the "myth of Russian humiliation" and argued that NATO and EU expansion have been a "phenomenal success".[45] In July 2016, before the US election, she was one of the first American journalists to write about the significance of Russia's ties to Donald Trump[46] and to point out that Russian support for Trump was part of a wider Russian political campaign designed to destabilize the West.[47] She has also written that a summer spent as a student in Leningrad, Soviet Union in 1985 has helped shape her views.[48]

Central Europe[edit]

Applebaum has written extensively about the history of central and eastern Europe, Poland in particular. In the conclusion to her book Iron Curtain, Applebaum argued that the reconstruction of civil society was the most important and most difficult challenge for the post-communist states of central Europe; in another essay, she argued that the modern authoritarian obsession with civil society repression dates back to Lenin.[49] More broadly, she has written essays on the Polish film-maker Andrzej Wajda,[50] on the dual Nazi-Soviet occupation of central Europe,[51] and on why it is inaccurate to define “Eastern Europe” as a single entity.[52]

Disinformation, propaganda and fake news[edit]

In 2014, Applebaum and Peter Pomerantsev launched Beyond Propaganda, a program examining disinformation and propaganda, at the Legatum Institute.[53] Applebaum wrote that a 2014 Russian smear campaign aimed at her, first taught her the techniques of modern Russian propaganda. That campaign was promoted by Wikileaks.[54] Applebaum argued in 2015 that Facebook should take responsibility for spreading false stories and help "undo the terrible damage done by Facebook and other forms of social media to democratic debate and civilized discussion all over the world."[55]


Applebaum is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[56] She is on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy and Renew Democracy Initiative.[57][58] She was a member of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting's International Board of Directors.[59] She is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) where she co-leads a major initiative aimed at countering Russian disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).[60] She is on the editorial board for The American Interest[61] and the Journal of Democracy.[62]

Personal life[edit]

In 1992 Applebaum married Radosław Sikorski, who would later serve as Poland's Defence Minister, Foreign Minister, and Marshal of the Sejm. They have two sons, Aleksander and Tomasz.[63] She became a Polish citizen in 2013.[64] She speaks Polish and Russian in addition to English.[65] Applebaum endorsed Hillary Clinton's campaign for president in July 2016 on the grounds that Trump is "a man who appears bent on destroying the alliances that preserve international peace and American power."[66]

Awards and honors[edit]

Lectures and podcasts[edit]

  • 2008 American Academy in Berlin lecture: Putinism, the Ideology[80]
  • 2012–2013 Applebaum held the Phillip Roman chair at the London School of Economics and gave four major lectures on the history and contemporary politics of eastern Europe and Russia[81]
  • 2015 Munk debates[82]
  • 2016 Intelligence Squared[83]
  • Sam Harris: The Russian Connection[84]
  • Jay Nordlinger: Putin and the Present Danger[85]
  • 2017 Georgetown School of Foreign Service Commencement Speech[86]


  • Applebaum, Anne (1994). Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe. Pantheon Books.
  • Gulag: A History, Doubleday, 2003, 677 pages, ISBN 0-7679-0056-1; paperback, Bantam Dell, 2004, 736 pages, ISBN 1-4000-3409-4
  • Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956, Allen Lane, 2012, 614 pages, ISBN 978-0-713-99868-9 / Doubleday ISBN 978-0-385-51569-6
  • Gulag Voices : An Anthology, Yale University Press, 2011, 224 pages, ISBN 9780300177831; hardback
  • From a Polish Country House Kitchen, Chronicle Books, 2012, 288 pages, ISBN 1-452-11055-7; hardback
  • Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, Penguin Randomhouse, 2017[87][88]
  • — (November 6, 2017). "100 years later, Bolshevism is back. And we should be worried". The Washington Post.
  • — (October 2018). "A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come". The Atlantic.

Critical studies and reviews of Applebaum's work[edit]


  1. ^ "Weddings: Anne Applebaum, Radek Sikorski". The New York Times. June 28, 1992.
  2. ^ Petrone, Justine. "Interview with Anne Applebaum". City Paper. Baltic News Ltd. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "Anne Applebaum". Contemporary Authors Online (updated November 30, 2005. ed.). Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale. 2008 [2006]. H1000119613. Archived from the original on January 12, 2001. Retrieved 2009-04-14. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center.
  4. ^ "Anne Applebaum". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  5. ^ Levyyesterday, Gideon (2013-01-04). "Through a (communist) looking glass, then and now". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  6. ^ ""Беларусі трэба нацыяналізм". Ляўрэатка "Пулітцэра" пра радзіму прадзедаў і выхад з тупіку гісторыі". svaboda.org (in Belarusian). Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  7. ^ "Anne Applebaum — internationales literaturfestival berlin". Literaturfestival.com (in German). Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  8. ^ "Anne E. Applebaum to Wed in June". The New York Times. December 8, 1991. Retrieved 2008-04-23. ... is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
  9. ^ "Anne Applebaum". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  10. ^ "Telegraph".
  11. ^ "From concentration camps to cotton". Idaho Mountain express and guide. Express publishing inc. March 25, 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  12. ^ "'The Known World' Wins Pulitzer Prize for Fiction". The New York Times. April 5, 2004.
  13. ^ "The 2004 Pulitzer Prize Winners General Nonfiction". Archived from the original on October 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  14. ^ Award Winning Books, Random House website
  15. ^ "Anne Applebaum". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  16. ^ Leonard, Brooke (May 8, 2008). "Turning Abkhazia into a War". National Interest. New York City. Archived from the original on January 13, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
  17. ^ "Participants of the International Bertelsmann Forum 2006". bertelsmann-stiftung.de. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  18. ^ "2013 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award - PEN America". Pen.org. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  19. ^ "Democracy Works". www.li.com. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
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  27. ^ "Beyond Propaganda". www.li.com. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  28. ^ "Londoner's Diary: Love's Legatum Lost in battle over Brexit". Evening Standard. 2016-12-08. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  29. ^ "Professors in Practice - People - Institute of Global Affairs - Home". www.lse.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  30. ^ "The pictures from Kiev don't tell the whole story". The Daily Telegraph. February 21, 2014.
  31. ^ "Russia's Western enablers". The Washington Post. March 5, 2014.
  32. ^ "Russia's information warriors are on the march – we must respond". The Daily Telegraph. March 7, 2014.
  33. ^ Applebaum, Anne (August 29, 2014). "War in Europe". Slate. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  34. ^ Applebaum, Anne (October 1, 2002). "You Can't Assume a Nut Will Act Rationally". Slate. Columbia.edu.
  35. ^ "This gamble by Sharon is at least based on reality". The Daily Telegraph. 18 April 2004.
  36. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2016-03-04). "Is this the end of the West as we know it?". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  37. ^ Cassidy, Alan; Loser, Philipp (2016-12-27). "'Ähnlich wie in den 1930er-Jahren'". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). ISSN 1422-9994. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  38. ^ "Historian Anne Applebaum on Trump: 'Protest Is Insufficient'". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  39. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2016-11-04). "Trump is a threat to the West as we know it, even if he loses". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  40. ^ "The anti-Europeans have a plan for crippling the European Union". The Washington Post. January 15, 2019.
  41. ^ "Secret Agent Man". Weekly Standard. 2000-04-10. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  42. ^ "American Academy".[dead link]
  43. ^ "The Gulag: what we know now and why it matters". www.lse.ac.uk. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  44. ^ Applebaum, Anne. "How He and His Cronies Stole Russia". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  45. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2014-10-17). "The myth of Russian humiliation". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  46. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2016-07-21). "How a Trump presidency could destabilize Europe". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  47. ^ Applebaum, Anne; Lucas, Edward (2016-05-06). "The danger of Russian disinformation". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  48. ^ "Russia and the Great Forgetting - Commentary Magazine". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  49. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2015-10-19). "The Leninist Roots of Civil Society Repression". Journal of Democracy. 26 (4): 21–27. doi:10.1353/jod.2015.0068. ISSN 1086-3214.
  50. ^ Applebaum, Anne. "A Movie That Matters". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  51. ^ Applebaum, Anne. "The Worst of the Madness". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  52. ^ "Does Eastern Europe still exist?". Prospect Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  53. ^ "Beyond Propaganda". www.li.com. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  54. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2016-12-20). "I was a victim of a Russian smear campaign. I understand the power of fake news". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  55. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2015-12-10). "Mark Zuckerberg should spend $45 billion on undoing Facebook's damage to democracies". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  56. ^ "Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations". Cfr.org. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  57. ^ "Board of Directors – NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY". Ned.org. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  58. ^ Boot, Max (April 25, 2018). "The political center is fighting back". The Washington Post.
  59. ^ url=https://iwpr.net/about
  60. ^ url=http://cepa.org/anne-aplebaum
  61. ^ "The American Interest". The American Interest. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  62. ^ "Editorial Board and Staff". Journal of Democracy. 2016-11-29. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  63. ^ "Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. April 23, 2008. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-23. Radosław Sikorski is married to journalist and writer Anne Applebaum, who won the 2004 Pulitzer prize for her book "Gulag: A History". They have two sons: Aleksander and Tomasz.
  64. ^ "Anne Applebaum. Żona Radosława Sikorskiego to dziś jedna z najbardziej wpływowych Polek". Times of Polska. 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-08-31. Anne Applebaum jest już pełnoprawną Polką.
  65. ^ Long, Karen R. (November 10, 2012). "Anne Applebaum's new investigative history, 'Iron Curtain,' is essential reading". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  66. ^ Applebaum, Anne (July 28, 2016). "Why we need a President Clinton". The Washington Post.
  67. ^ "2003 National Book Awards Winners and Finalists, The National Book Foundation". Nationalbook.org. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
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  69. ^ Agnieszka Kazimierczuk. "Applebaum otrzymała "Gwiazdę Millenium Litwy" - Literatura". Rp.pl. Archived from the original on March 28, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
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  71. ^ "National Book Award Finalists Announced Today". Library Journal. October 10, 2012. Archived from the original on December 6, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  72. ^ Press Release (21 November 2013). "Ann Applebaum wins 2013 Cundill Prize". McGill University. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  73. ^ Royal United Services Institute (5 December 2013). "Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature 2013". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  74. ^ "Commencement Speakers Present Varied Experiences". 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  75. ^ "Anne Applebaum receives an Honorary Doctorate at NaUKMA". Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America. 2017-12-16. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  76. ^ Press Release: Anne Applebaum's Red Famine Wins the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize, CISION, March 13, 2018. Accessed September 14, 2018.
  77. ^ "Anne Applebaum uhonorowana prestiżową nagrodą im. Fritza Sterna". 2018-10-03.
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  82. ^ "Munk Debates - The West vs. Russia". www.munkdebates.com. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  83. ^ "Trump: An American Tragedy? : Intelligence Squared". www.intelligencesquared.com. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  84. ^ Harris, Sam. "The Russia Connection". Retrieved 2017-04-20.
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  87. ^ Red Famine by Anne Applebaum | PenguinRandomHouse.com.
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External links[edit]