Alena Popova

Russian digital and women's rights activist

Region(s): Europe
Country of focus: Russia
Based in Washington D.C.


Current Occupation: Russian digital and women's rights activist
Organization/Institution: Ethics & Technology
Language: Russian, English


Vladimir Putin’s Russia turns on abortion Financial Times Nov 21, 2023

A man convicted in the 2006 killing of a Russian journalist wins a pardon after serving in Ukraine AP Nov 16, 2023

How to Exploit Russia’s Addiction to Western Technology Foreign Affairs Nov 3, 2023

‘You need to vote’: Russian opposition encourages participation in next month’s regional election The World Aug 25, 2023

Russian women fear return of murderers freed to fight for Wagner The Guardian Aug 19, 2023

Cracking Down on Dissent, Russia Seeds a Surveillance Supply Chain New York Times Jul 3, 2023

Poutine a peur des femmes Marie Claire Jun 11, 2023

Russia’s anti-feminism law Woman’s Hour Radio 4 BBC Apr 24, 2023

Are feminists next on Vladimir Putin’s list? Politico Apr 14, 2023

Inside Safe City, Moscow’s AI Surveillance Dystopia WIRED Feb 6, 2023

Russian Search Giant Yandex Struggles to Survive Bandwidth Nov 14, 2022

Russia Exports Digital Surveillance Despite Sanctions Bandwidth Aug 26, 2022

The Kremlin’s data-driven propaganda machine is just getting started Oped The Hill Jul 11, 2022

Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian Women and the Anti-War Movement New Security Beat Apr 13, 2022

Ukraine and Russia have both weaponized facial recognition — in very different ways Business Insider Mar 21, 2022

Human Rights Watch submission on Russia to the UN Human Rights Committee Feb 15, 2022

Russia rejects calls for domestic violence overhaul France24 Dec 16, 2021

Russian feminist runs for Duma to take on domestic violence Associated Press Sept 15, 2021

‘We Are Not Revolutionaries’: Russia’s Last Liberal Party Operates Under No Illusions Moscow Times July 6, 2021

Russia Lifts Soviet-Era Rules On What Jobs Women Can Do NPR Mar 24, 2021

Branded Foreign Agents, Russia’s Domestic Violence Groups Fear for the Future Moscow Times Mar 11, 2021

Russia struggles to awaken from its domestic abuse nightmare  The Sunday Times Mar 7, 2021

Face for sale: Leaks and lawsuits blight Russia facial recognition  Reuters Nov 9, 2020

Russian advocates against domestic violence branded ‘enemies of the family’ CBC News Feb 25, 2020

Three sisters’ case highlights domestic violence problem in Russia

Russian activists call for domestic violence bill with painted bruises and cuts


Alena Popova (@alenapopova) is a social and political activist and the Director of Ethics & Technology , a think tank based in Moscow.  She was labelled a foreign agent by the Putin regime in 2022 and left the country.  She was appointed Galina Starovoitova fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington in 2022. She specializes in researching the impact of emerging technologies on autocratic and democratic governance models.

She is an advocate for digital rights and the use of technology for public good. Her organization’s areas of expertise include surveillance, personal data and autonomous weapons. Her Russian-language Twitter feed is @alyonapopova.

Alena is a recognized women’s rights activist and social media influencer, best known for her “I didn’t want to die” digital campaign against domestic violence. She has  coordinated a push for passage of the first anti-domestic violence law in Russia. She has been a candidate in elections for the Russia State Duma and City of Moscow legislature.

Alena holds a law degree from Kutafin Moscow State Law University and a journalism degree from Lomonosov Moscow State University.