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Muppets in Moscow: The Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia

An extraordinary story, set against the backdrop of bombings, assassinations and a military takeover

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Western culture began to spread throughout Russia and the former Soviet states like never before. One of the ambassadors of so-called Western values at the time which sparked controversy in Russia was the popular American children’s programme Sesame Street.

Between 1993 and 1997 Natasha Lance Rogoff, award-winning television producer and filmmaker, was the executive producer of Ulitsa Sezam, the Russian adaptation of Sesame Street. In January 2023 she came to Intelligence Squared to tell the extraordinary story of her determination to bring entertainment and democratic values to Russian children amid a backdrop of bombings, assassinations and a military takeover of the Sesame Street production office. Drawing on her new book Muppets in Moscow, she shared her unique perspective of Russia’s people, their culture and their complicated relationship with the West. Her insights are hugely relevant for anyone who wants to understand Russian society today.


Speakers

Speakers

Natasha Lance Rogoff

Award-winning television producer, filmmaker, and journalist


Award-winning television producer, filmmaker, and journalist who has produced television news and documentaries in Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union for CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS. She executive produced Ulitsa Sezam, the Russian adaptation of Sesame Street, between 1993 and 1997 and also made Plaza Sesamo in Mexico. In addition to her television work, Lance Rogoff has reported on Soviet underground culture as a documentary director and magazine and newspaper writer for major international media outlets. Today Lance Rogoff creates current affairs videos and is the CEO and founder of an ed-tech company. She is an associate fellow at Harvard University and is the author of Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia.   
Chair

Carl Miller

Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the think tank Demos


Research Director and co-founder of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the think tank Demos. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a Commissioner of Newham’s Democracy and Civic Participation Commission. He presents the BBC's flagship technology programme 'Click' and is author of The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab.