Showing Archived Posts

‘Voters, I Shrunk the Nation’ – A Slogan for Russia’s Elections?

Posted October 31st, 2011 at 6:25 am (UTC+0)

My Russia Watch on the plight of Tajik migrant workers in Russia earned me grumpy emails, many from Russian nationalists. This Friday, November 4, is National Unity Day in Russia, the annual holiday that nationalists celebrate as their own. So, in honor of Unity Day, I devote this column to you, Russian Nationalists. Right-thinking guys […]

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China, India, Iran and Pakistan Crowd Russia in Today’s Great Game in Central Asia

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 9:10 pm (UTC+0)

When I was in Dushanbe, India’s defense minister just happened to be in the neighborhood, and popped in for a visit. After the traditional bread and honey welcome ceremony at the airport, he met behind closed doors with Tajikistan’s defense minister and discussed future uses of Ayni. This former Soviet airbase was re-commissioned last month […]

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Russia Frets About a “Libya Scenario” for Syria

Posted October 20th, 2011 at 8:09 pm (UTC+0)

Images of Libyans celebrating the death of Moammar Gadhafi are leaving Russian officials cold. And it’s more than a pre-winter chill. President Dmitry Medvedev and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte heard the news from reporters Thursday afternoon when they emerged from a bilateral meeting. “It’s great,” said the Dutch leader. “We had nothing to do […]

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Russian Killings of Tajik Migrant Workers — Now at a Level with American Lynchings in the 1930s?

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 2:55 pm (UTC+0)

The Tajik Air jet was still taxiing to a stop at Dushanbe’s airport, but the men on board were already in the aisles, smiles on their faces, happy to be home. Home alive that is. I did not know if below my feet on the plane was any “Cargo 200” – Soviet slang for bodies […]

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Yulia Tymoshenko: Ukraine’s Faded Evita?

Posted October 13th, 2011 at 6:12 am (UTC+0)

In the musical, the Evita Peron character sings to Argentines: “I will return, and I will be millions.” In Kyiv this week, Evita’s Ukrainian version, Yulia Tymoshenko, could have lamented: “I will return, and I will be thousands.” Newspaper editorial writers waxed indignant over the guilty verdict and seven year jail sentence handed down against […]

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Color Comes to Moscow

Posted October 7th, 2011 at 3:20 pm (UTC+0)

Anya’s pumpkin orange tights got me thinking. Moscow is a far more colorful place than when I first visited, in September, 1991, in the dying days of the Soviet era. For the recent opening of the Moscow Art Biennale, Anya, an art critic, wore orange tights. For second night, she wore electric yellow. For the […]

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Pasha Putin Takes a Cue from Central Asia’s Sultans

Posted October 4th, 2011 at 3:20 pm (UTC+0)

“Sultanism” is an invented word that keeps popping in comments about Vladimir Putin’s decision to stretch his rule over Russia for as long a quarter century. After failing to build a dominant political party, analysts say, Putin is taking the Central Asian route: ruling through a personality cult. In the eternal East-West, push-pull over Russia, […]

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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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