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.