As we prepare for a Trump Presidency that may resemble that of his admired counterpart Vladimir Putin, PEN America turned for advice to seven Russian authors and journalists who have been forced to fight for their independence. We asked: What are your rules for writers to survive in an autocracy? 

Oleg Kashin, journalist and author, Fardwor, Russia!: A Fantastical Tale of Life Under Putin

Since 2012, I have been unable to hold a permanent job in the Russian media. I became a freelancer, collaborating with 5-6 publications at a time, both in Russia and abroad. This has allowed me not to fear for my livelihood, and ensures I will still have the opportunity to write even if one of these publications cuts me off.

Besides that, my own social media audience, which I have built over the last 15 years, is of great significance to me. These people read my articles through links from my accounts, and it doesn’t matter to them which website publishes my work. It could be some small site with a tiny readership.

I also try to actively maintain all my social media accounts, in order to reduce the risk of one of my accounts on these sites being closed or hacked—if I lose Twitter, Facebook will remain, and vice versa.

In any case, the important rule is to rely on yourself, and not be bound to one single platform, so that you do not become dependent on it.