Masha Gessen at the 6 Moscow International Book Festival, 2011
13 January 1967 |
Moscow, Soviet Union
Born was born into an Ashkenazi Jewish family in Moscow. In 1981 Gessen moved with her family to the United States.. She returned in 1991 to Moscow. She holds both Russian and US citizenship. Her brothers are Keith Gessen, Daniel Gessen and Philip Gessen.
She has written on LGBT rights and Russian affairs. She writes in both Russian and English, and has contributed to The New Republic, New Statesman, Granta, Slate and Vanity Fair, and US News & World Report.
She was dismissed from her position as the chief editor of Russia's oldest magazine, Vokrug Sveta on 1 September 2012 after she refused to send a reporter to cover a Russian Geographic Society event featuring President Putin, claiming that it had become a mouthpiece of Putin's government.
In September 2012, Gessen was appointed as director of the Russian Service for Radio Liberty, a US government funded broadcaster based in Prague.  Shortly after her appointment was announced and a few days after Gessen met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, more than 40 members of Radio Liberty's staff were fired. Radio Liberty also lost its Russian broadcasting license several weeks after Gessen took over. Gessen's role in both of these events is unclear but has caused controversy.
As of August 2013 she plans on moving to New York to avoid legislation in Russia that bans "homosexual propaganda". 
Gessen has two children: a boy Vova and a girl Yolka; both are US citizens. Vova was born in 1997 in Russia and was adopted by her from an orphanage in Kaliningrad. Yolka was born to her in the US in 2001. In 2004 she was married in the US to Svetlana Generalova, a Russian citizen who was also involved in the LGBT movement in Moscow.
- Masha Gessen (1993). The Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men in the Russian Republic. International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Comm. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-884955-13-6.
- Masha Gessen, ed. (1995). Half a Revolution: Contemporary Fiction by Russian Women. Cleis Press. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-57344-006-6.
- Masha Gessen (1997). Dead Again: The Russian Intelligentsia after Communism. Verso. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-85984-147-1.
- Masha Gessen (2004). Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace. Dial Press Trade Paperback. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-385-33605-5.
- Masha Gessen (2008). Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-15-101362-3. (a New York Times Notable Book of the year)
- Masha Gessen (2009). Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-15-101406-4. (about Grigori Perelman)
- Masha Gessen (2012). The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Riverhead Hardcover. p. 304. ISBN 978-1-59448-842-9.
- Joanna Smith Rakoff. Talking with Masha Gessen. Newsday, 2 January 2005.
- Biography of Maria Hessen. (Russian)
- Stephen Romei (18 May 2012). "Putin the elected dictator is doomed, biographer claims". The Australian. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Amos, Howard (10 September 2012). "Vladimir Putin,Animals (News),Endangered species (Environment),Wildlife (Environment),World news,Conservation (Environment),Environment,Russia (News),Europe (News),Birds (environment)". The Guardian (London).
- Gessen, Masha (10 September 2012). "Flying Putin, Fired Editor". The New York Times.
- "Radio Liberty Hires Gessen". The Moscow Times. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Cohen, Ariel; Helle Dale (December 13, 2012). "How to Save Radio Liberty". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Семья Генераловых (участники ОСВВП), «Эхо Москвы», 09.06.2002. (Russian)
- "Vladimir Putin: The Grey Cardinal of Russia", Vanity Fair, October 2008.
- "The Wrath of Putin" re: Russian prime minister's relationship with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vanity Fair, April 2012.
- "A Call from the Kremlin" re: face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, The New York Times, September 2012.
- "Putin Biography Chronicles Rise Of A 'Street Thug'", interview with Dave Davies on Fresh Air, 1 March 2012.