Julia Ioffe

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Julia Ioffe
NationalityUnited States
Alma materPrinceton University

Julia Ioffe (English: /ˈjɒfi/; Russian: Юлия Иоффе) is a Russian-born American journalist who covers national security and foreign policy topics for GQ. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New Republic, Politico, and The Atlantic. Ioffe has appeared on television programs on MSNBC, CNN, and other news channels as a Russia expert.[1][2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Ioffe was born in Moscow, to a Russian Jewish family. When she was 7, her family emigrated to the United States. They settled in Columbia, Maryland.[5][6] Ioffe attended Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School where she graduated in 2001. She later attended Princeton University where she majored in history with a focus on Soviet history and Russian literature and graduated magna cum laude in 2005.[7]

While at Princeton, Ioffe was vice-president of the Princeton Israel Public Affairs Committee. In a college newspaper column published in 2003, she wrote in support of Israel's “methods of defense against terrorism”, including the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier. According to Ioffe, the barrier was “necessary for Israel to protect its citizens” against an outburst of attacks by Palestinian suicide bombers, which was rapidly growing from 5 attacks in 2000 to 40 and 47 in 2001 and 2002 respectively.[8]


Ioffe began her career as a fact-checker for The New Yorker in 2005. She also worked for the Columbia Journalism School's Knight Case Studies Initiative, writing case studies on complex journalistic issues arising in newsrooms, both in America and abroad.[9] Over the next decade, she contributed articles to The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes, GQ, The New Republic, Politico, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post Highline, and The Atlantic. Ioffe spent three years in Moscow, from 2009 to 2012, working as a correspondent for The New Yorker and Foreign Policy. In 2012, she returned to the U.S. and became a senior editor for The New Republic in Washington, D.C.[10][11] From 2016 to 2019, she worked as a contributing writer at Politico Magazine, as a national security, foreign policy, and politics correspondent for The Atlantic, and as a political reporter for GQ.

In March 2018, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, announced a book deal with Ioffe. The book, Russia Girl, is slated for publication in 2020.[12]

The New Yorker and Foreign Policy[edit]

In 2009, Ioffe won a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Russia.[13] There, she also became the Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker and Foreign Policy.

From 2011 to 2012, Russian politics experienced a period of massive political unrest, including the largest political protests in the post-Soviet era. Ioffe was reporting on these events. She was the first Western journalist to write a comprehensive profile of Alexey Navalny, then a lawyer and anti-corruption activist. The profile was published in the April 4, 2011 issue of The New Yorker.[14] The profile was a finalist for the Livingston Award.[15] In the next year, Navalny would become the de facto leader of the Russian opposition and major political rival to Vladimir Putin.

Ioffe covered protests, as well as the political maneuvering surrounding Putin's return to the presidency, in her influential column “Kremlinology 2012,” which was published in Foreign Policy.[16]

In February 2012, she continued profiling major Russian politicians for The New Yorker with an article about Mikhail Prokhorov, then the third richest man in Russia who contested the 2012 presidential elections. “Are Putin and Prokhorov running for President against or with each other?” Ioffe asked in the profile.[17] Later, it became known that Prokhorov's candidacy had been inspired by the Kremlin to artificially make the elections look more competitive.[18][19][20]

During the most violent protest, which took place on May 6, 2012, the day before Putin's inauguration, Ioffe took what became an iconic photo of a small boy on a bicycle with training wheels, facing a row of Russian riot police. The image instantly went viral and became one of the symbols of Putin's crackdown on democratic protestors.[21]

The New Republic[edit]

At the New Republic, Ioffe wrote about American politics, including about a brewing civil war within the Republican Party.[22] Her 2013 profile of Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul[23] was a finalist for the Livingston Award.[24] She also covered the protests in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.[25] and President Barack Obama's decision not to retaliate against President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons on Syrian rebels.[26]

In 2013, Ioffe wrote about contracting whooping cough, although she had been vaccinated against the disease in childhood.[27] She blamed the anti-vaxxer community for her illness. The New Republic announced that this was the publication's most read article of 2013.

Ioffe continued writing about Russia, including about the 2013 anti-gay laws[28] and the Kremlin's ban on American adoptions of Russian children.[29] In the winter of 2013, Ioffe visited Moscow to document what happened to the opposition after the 2012 crackdown. Among others, she interviewed Alexey Navalny, future presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, and members of Pussy Riot. Her article, “The Loneliness of Vladimir Putin,” appeared on the cover of The New Republic in February 2014.[30]

Sochi Olympics, Crimea and Eastern Ukraine[edit]

While covering the 2014 Sochi Olympics for The New Republic,[31][32][33] Ioffe traveled to Ukraine, where pro-Western protestors had toppled the Moscow-friendly president.[34][35][36] She was one of the first Western observers to predict that Russia would invade Eastern Ukraine after its annexation of Crimea.[37] In the spring of 2014, she traveled to Eastern Ukraine to cover the war in Donbass.[38][39][40]

In December 2014, Ioffe was one of the many staff members at The New Republic to resign in protest against owner Chris Hughes's planned changes at the magazine.[41][42] The following month, she joined The New York Times Magazine as a contributor.[43]


In May 2016, Ioffe became a contributing writer at Politico.[44] For the website, she has profiled President Donald Trump’s advisors Stephen Miller,[45] and Carter Page, the latter an investor in Russia and the energy sector.[46]

In December 2016, Ioffe posted a tweet that included obscenely-worded speculation about president-elect Donald Trump being involved in a sexual relationship with his daughter Ivanka. Politico fired her within hours, and she deleted the tweet.[47][48]

The Atlantic[edit]

The Atlantic announced on December 6 that it was hiring Ioffe to cover national security, foreign policy, and politics, with editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg describing her as "an indefatigable reporter, a gifted analyst, and an elegant writer". Ioffe joined The Atlantic in early 2017.[49]

She wrote about The Atlantic obtaining a 10-month correspondence between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks, which played a pivotal role in the presidential campaign and is suspected of being an agent of Kremlin intelligence. Ioffe wrote that “though Trump Jr. mostly ignored the frequent messages from WikiLeaks, he at times appears to have acted on its requests… and shared that information with Donald Trump’s senior campaign officials”.[50]

Ioffe gained access to the entire e-mail correspondence between Trump's campaign chief Paul Manafort and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with strong ties to the Kremlin. According to the piece: “Manafort (who is in the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the possibility of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign) attempted to leverage his leadership role in the Trump campaign to curry favor with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin”.[51]

In January 2018, The Atlantic published a cover story written by Ioffe entitled “What Putin Really Wants”. In this article, she described Putin's “manipulative genius” as regularly overestimated in the U.S. since the Russian president “is just a gambler who won big”.[52]

Coverage of Russia[edit]

Ioffe often appears on national and cable channels as a Russia expert. Since 2013, she has been a guest of Morning Joe, All In with Chris Hayes, Hardball, The Maddow Show and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on MSBNC, The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Opposition, on Comedy Central.[53][54]

Frontline PBS documentary "Putin’s Revenge"[edit]

In 2017, Ioffe appeared in Frontline PBS documentary "Putin’s Revenge" which was later nominated for an Emmy in two categories: "Best Documentary" and "Outstanding Writing".[55] The documentary was heavily based on an interview with Ioffe. Later, when all the interviews were published on Frontline's YouTube channel, Ioffe's became the most popular and amassed more than two million views.[56]

'Mansplaining Russia' argument with Lawrence O'Donnell[edit]

On August 7, 2013, Ioffe was involved in an argument with Lawrence O'Donnell over Putin's control of Russian media.[57] Ioffe alleged that, instead of letting her answer his questions, O’Donnell “interrupted and harangued and mansplained” her.

The next day, Ioffe responded with a post on The New Republic's website, "Dear Lawrence O'Donnell, Don't Mansplain to Me About Russia", in which she stated that she had spent several years reporting from Russia, was a native speaker, and had been invited and introduced as an expert on Russia. "What bothers me is that, look: your producers take the time to find experts to come on the show, answer your questions, and, hopefully, clarify the issue at hand".[58]

The post quickly drew national attention and started a wide discussion about several aspects of the interaction between television and online media. Joe Coscarelli of New York magazine wrote that "[Ioffe’s] simple, bullet-pointed list of arguments would never be allowed on cable television because they reveal an ability to think outside a black or white, good or bad, America or Russia dichotomy".[59] Philip Bump of The Atlantic assumed that it's "impossible to win a TV Argument in an Internet World", that "the power distinction between host and guest became flexible… (because) they interact both on-air and off" and "nearly any writing online could similarly rise to national attention" like Ioffe's.[60]


In April 2016, Ioffe published a profile of Melania Trump for GQ magazine that revealed Melania Trump had a half-brother with whom the family was not in contact. Slate magazine characterized the profile as "generally positive" of Trump.[61] Melania Trump, however, wrote in a Facebook post, "There are numerous inaccuracies in this article [...] My parents are private citizens and should not be subject to Ms. Ioffe's unfair scrutiny."[62] Ioffe responded to CBS News saying, "I think she's understandably upset that some dirty laundry came out, but I did my job."[63] Ioffe's profile was praised by Slate and Erik Wemple,[61][62] while Fox News writer Howard Kurtz said it had a "condescending tone".[64] Maxim magazine said that it "smacked of politically-motivated contempt for Donald Trump masked as a 'probing' look at his glamorous wife".[65] Following the article's publication, Ioffe received numerous anti-Semitic and threatening messages.[62][66] In an interview, Melania Trump said that Ioffe "provoked" the anti-Semitic abuse she later received with her article.[67]

In December 2016, Ioffe tweeted the following about President Donald J. Trump and his daughter Ivanka: "Either Trump is fucking his daughter or he's shirking nepotism laws. Which is worse?"[68] The tweet included a link to a publication in The Hill[69] about President-Elect Trump's apparent plans to assign the East Wing of the White House, traditionally the First Lady's domain, to his eldest daughter Ivanka. Ioffe, who was employed at Politico at the time, was immediately fired for the comment. The Atlantic, which had recently hired Ioffe for a position to start a few weeks later, issued a statement addressing Ioffe's comments, saying, "We're confident that when she joins The Atlantic next month she will adhere to our standards".[70] After deleting the tweet from her page, Ioffe tweeted multiple apologies[71][72] including the following: "It was a tasteless, offensive tweet that I regret and have deleted. I am truly and deeply sorry. It won't happen again."[72]

On October 29, 2018, in a discussion over President Donald Trump's rhetoric in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Ioffe appeared on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper commenting that "this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did" pointing to a 60% rise in antisemitism attacks during 2017. The comment received pushback from fellow panelists David Urban and Mona Charen. Ioffe later apologized for the comment during the broadcast and on Twitter calling her comments "hyperbole".[73][74] In a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham, Trump called Ioffe "some kind of a sick woman".[74][75]

In November 2019, Ioffe accused the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Twitter of being a Russian troll after noticing one of its stories about Hunter Biden used a symbol that she identified as a "Russian quotation mark". After her mistake was pointed out to her, Ioffe deleted her tweets and tweeted an apology.[76]


  • Ioffe, Julia (2010). "The Moscow bombings don't matter". In Stein, Richard Joseph (ed.). Russia. New York: H. W. Wilson.
  • — (April 4, 2011). "Net impact". Online Chronicles. The New Yorker. Vol. 87 no. 7. pp. 26–32.[77]
  • — (April 16, 2012). "The Borscht Belt". Annals of Gastronomy. The New Yorker. Vol. 88 no. 9. pp. 56–63.[78]
  • — (January 12, 2015). "Remote control : can an exiled oligarch persuade Russia that Putin must go?". Profiles. The New Yorker. Vol. 90 no. 43. pp. 48–57..[79]
  • — (January 2018). "What Putin really wants". The Atlantic.
  • — (March 2018). "'Humorless politicians are the most dangerous'". Dispatches. Interview. The Atlantic. 321 (2): 18–21.[80]


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External links[edit]