I’m Ilya Lozovsky, a writer and editor currently based in Europe. In my day job, I work for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a network of investigative journalists that exposes crime and corruption around the world.
I love my job, but I sometimes want to write stories that don’t fit there. So this is the place for me to follow my interests wherever they lead me.
The stories I’m interested in mostly have to do with the problems of liberal democracy: where it came from, where it’s going, how it’s working or not working, and how to make it work better for everyone. I’d make a joke about being cursed to live in interesting times, but all times are interesting times.
I was born in Moscow. And though I moved to the United States as a child, the motherland will always be with me. Many of my stories, though not all of them, will have to do with Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and other nearby countries.
Needless to say, it’s not a hopeful time for liberal democracy in the region. But I’m an optimist to the end — I hate cynicism more than anything. There are stories worth telling about Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Uzbeks, and everyone else who haven’t given up the struggle.
That’s where the name of this newsletter, ‘A Sip of Freedom,’ comes from. It’s the title of a play, and a historical novel, written by my favorite Soviet poet and singer-songwriter, Bulat Okudzhava. It’s about the fate of the Decembrists — a movement of relatively liberal aristocrats who tried to overthrow Russian Tsarism in favor of a more democratic order.
They didn’t succeed, and for the most part, liberal ideas have had trouble finding purchase in Eurasia, to put it mildly. But my dream is that someday, everyone from Minsk to Bishkek will taste more than just sips.
I’ll write about other parts of the world, too, including the United States, my home. There are lessons to be learned and warnings to be heeded for Americans, too. Those of us who want democracy are fighting for the same thing, no matter where we live.
Those are some of the things that move me. If they sounds interesting, I invite you to subscribe.
I can also be found on Twitter.
And if you’re interested in these topics, I suggest you also visit OCCRP, my employer, because our investigations into crime and corruption expose some of the main reasons democracy has not, yet, arisen in most of Eurasia. (Western financial and political elites also bears a large share of the blame, and we cover that with relish. For more, subscribe to the OCCRP newsletter.)