Showing Archived Posts

Putin to Russia: Will You Still Love Me When I am 72?

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 6:23 pm (UTC+0)

It’s the year 2024. President Vladimir Putin is now 72. His sandy hair has thinned. But those icy cold blue eyes still transfix. This nightmarish vision had many Russian democrats tossing and turning in bed Saturday night. With the daylight, they woke up. Then, they remembered: it was not a bad dream, their nightmare was […]

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Russia Keeps Backing Losers in the Arab Spring

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 6:31 pm (UTC+0)

Russia backed Tunisia’s president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, until he fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14, ending 23 years in power. In early February, as demonstrators massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, President Dmitry Medvedev telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a show of support. On Feb. 11, President Mubarak resigned, ending 30 years […]

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Moscow Traffic Tales: Life on Wheels

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 7:11 pm (UTC+0)
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With the end of summer holidays and the twilight of the dacha season, Moscow’s roads are filling up again on the weekends. Here are two tales from the traffic front: On Saturday afternoon, Alyona, a 28-year-old economist friend, was crossing a wide avenue by Universitet Metro station, near the Moscow State Circus. There was not […]

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Modern Architecture Shakes up Ancient Georgia

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 3:02 pm (UTC+0)
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In the 11th century, David IV, a medieval king, forged a unified state of Georgia. To this day, he is revered by Georgians as “David the Builder.” Almost 1,000 years later, Georgia’s newly elected leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, took his oath of inauguration at the tomb of David the Builder. Since then, President Saakashvili has had […]

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Russia Air Travel: Safe Class and Crash Class

Posted September 12th, 2011 at 3:36 pm (UTC+0)

  Above: Members of Yaroslavl’s Lokomotiv ice-hockey KHL team pose for a pre-season photo on August 21. Three weeks later, most of the men in this picture were killed when their Soviet-designed Yak-42 crashed into a Volga River embankment near Yaroslavl.  (REUTERS: KHL Handout)   Most nations have two classes of air travel: economy class […]

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Russia-Libya: Love Match for the History Books

Posted September 9th, 2011 at 7:45 am (UTC+0)

Some readers have complained that Russia Watch recently has been all about Libya, which has nothing to do with Russia. They are right. Once a big player in Libya, Moscow will now be a bit player in Libya. In 1969, the Soviet Union took a quick shine to Moammar Gadhafi, extending diplomatic recognition only three […]

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Libya: The Price of Freedom

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 6:22 pm (UTC+0)

Arm chair generals watching Libya from afar ask: why are the rebels dragging their feet in attacking Sirte? The birthplace of Moammar Gadhafi, this Mediterranean seaport is the last holdout of Gadhafi loyalists on the coast between Tunisia and Egypt. Gadhafi lavished public works spending on his hometown, building an assembly hall where he proposed […]

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In Tripoli, Gadhafi’s Bad Hair Day

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 3:15 pm (UTC+0)

For decades, it has been considered improper in polite society to say that Moammar Gadhafi was crazy. In one Wikileaks memo, an American diplomat described Libya’s leader as… ‘mercurial.” There were, of course, hundreds of newspaper cartoons the world over. But generally, the public fiction among grownups in the West was to assert the leader […]

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Libya’s Dog Barks, the Caravan Passes

Posted September 5th, 2011 at 5:01 pm (UTC+0)
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In an audio message carried by Syria’s al-Rai TV, Moammar Gadhafi addressed Libyans Thursday night threatening “a long fight” that would see their nation “engulfed in flames.” Libya’s fugitive leader vowed: “The Libyan people cannot kneel, cannot surrender. We are not women.” The next day, my taxi rounded a city corner, and I suddenly found […]

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James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. With The New York Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, Canada and Japan/Koreas. He studied Russian in college during the Brezhnev years, first visited Moscow as a reporter during the final months of Gorbachev, and then came back for reporting forays during the Yeltsin and early Putin years. In 2006, he moved to Moscow to report for Bloomberg. He joined VOA in Moscow in 2010. Follow Jim on Twitter @VOA_Moscow.



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