Fiona Hill: Fortitude

Fiona Hill: Fortitude

By Chuck Rosenberg, NBC News

Fiona Hill is the former Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council.  A highly respected scholar on Russian history and culture, Fiona was born and raised in the industrial northeast of England.  She comes from a long line of coal miners – uncles, cousins – families, like hers, that persistently struggled with poverty.  Fiona’s father, Alfred, joined his own brother in the coal mines at the age of 14.  Her mother, June, who still lives in Bishop Auckland – was a midwife.  And though money was always tight, Fiona grew up in a loving and supportive family that strongly embraced both her desire to go to college and, ultimately, to emigrate to the United States – a place her father loved and admired and always hoped one day might be his own home.

Guided by a series of dedicated mentors and teachers, Fiona graduated from the University of Saint Andrew’s in Scotland, and then earned her Ph.D. at Harvard.  Along the way, she studied Russian history and culture and became fluent in its language.

Fiona became a naturalized American citizen in 2002 – a country that gave her opportunities that she would not have enjoyed in the UK, where the fact that she grew up poor and with a distinct working-class accent, she believes, would likely have held her back.

She served at the highest levels within the US government, on both the National Intelligence Council under Presidents Bush and Obama and, ultimately, on the National Security Council under President Trump.  Fiona is deeply respected for her expertise on Russia and Eurasia and widely admired for her honesty, courage, intellect, and fortitude.

Fiona testified in the 2019 House impeachment hearings of President Trump, and you can find a link to her written testimony here.

Fiona is also the author or co-author of three books about Russia and Vladimir Putin:

·    The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, with Clifford Gaddy (2003)

·    Energy Empire: Oil, Gas and Russia's Revival (2004)

·    Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, with Clifford Gaddy (2015).

Fiona shares with host Chuck Rosenberg reflections on her extraordinary public service career and her work at the highest levels of the National Security Council.  If you have thoughtful feedback on this episode or others, please email us at

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