Is Russia’s Putin a Secret Fan of Mitt Romney?

Posted October 24th, 2012 at 4:05 pm (UTC+0)

Toughness or flexibility with Russia’s President Putin? Russia has popped up in the U.S. presidential race. Here Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate. Photo: Reuters/Jim Young

The conventional wisdom is that the Kremlin would like to see Barack Obama back in the White House next year.

Just last month, President Putin told RT, the state-owned TV channel, that Obama was “a genuine person” who “really wants to change much for the better.”

But these platitudes fail to cover up the big picture.

To shore up his internal support, Putin has inflicted on Russians the kind of anti-American campaign not seen here since the Soviet era. With “foreign agents,” and “treason” the flavors of the political season, today’s Kremlin might be better off without an “Amerikanski partnyor” in the White House.

For Russia’s leaders, the Obama Administration has proved annoyingly adept at ignoring the growing stream of accusations that now come from official Moscow.

When Mitt Romney told CNN that Russia is the “No. 1 geostrategic foe of the United States,” I thought I could hear the cats purring in the Kremlin.

Yesss! Instead of being treated like an oversized Serbia with nukes, we finally get some respect! With Romney, we will be back to being eyeball to eyeball with the Americans!

On Monday night, in the Obama-Romney foreign policy debate, Obama mocked Romney for promoting Russia to “No.1 foe.” He said: “And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Romney shot back: “I have two clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin, and I’m certainly not going say to him, I’ll give you more flexibility after the election. After the election he’ll get more backbone.”

Not best buddies. After standing up President Obama at the G-8 Summit in May at Camp David, President Putin showed up late for a quick meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 in June in Mexico (photo), then scheduled the APEC in Vladivostok at the time of the Democratic Convention in September, ensuring that the American President would be a no show. Photo: AP/Carolyn Kaster

High fives in front of the big screen in Kremlin!

You see, Putin needs a “safe” enemy – one without a long land border with Russia, like you know who. The way he sees it, Americans are currently obsessed with China, bear no deep animosity to Russia, and, anyhow, have a hard time keeping two enemies in their heads at the same time.

So, for the Kremlin, Romney would play the useful role of the un-reconstructed Cold Warrior determined to subvert the divinely ordained state of autocratic rule in Russia.

But, equally important, Putin is embarking on a massive $770 billion, 10-year rearmament program for Russia’s armed forces.

Even for oil-rich Russia, this is no small sum. There is fierce competition for this budget money, notably from Russia’s swelling population of pensioners.

Last fall, Alexei Kudrin, Putin’s respected Finance Minister of 11 years, quit over this military spending plan. As recently as last week, he was criticizing the armaments spending program as wasteful. Kudrin estimates that Russia’s ballooning annual pension shortfall will hit $42 billion this year – 43 times the level of 2005.

To keep the military shopping list intact, Putin needs an external threat. And what better “enemy” than one that resonates with the Cold War era generation of pensioners?

“Despite the fact that Mr. Romney considers Russia enemy number one, if he is elected president of the U.S., certainly we, including me, will work with him as an elected head of state,” Putin said last month in Sochi.

“I am actually very grateful to him for formulating his position so clearly and freely,” Putin continued. “He has again confirmed the correctness of our position on missile defense problems.”

A few days later, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters: “If Romney wins, we may have to enlarge the defense budget.”

But, on the other hand, Putin appreciates Obama as “a genuine person.”

And the winner gets to try his magic on Vladimir. Romney and Obama cross verbal swords at last Monday’s Foreign Policy debate, the last debate before the Nov. 6 presidential election. Photo/AP Charlie Neibergall

James Brooke
James Brooke is the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. A lifelong journalist, he covered West Africa, Brazil, the American Rocky Mountain States, Canada, and Japan/Korea for The New York Times. A resident of Moscow since 2006, he was first Bloomberg bureau chief for the region. In 2010, he joined VOA. In addition to writing Russia Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR.

20 responses to “Is Russia’s Putin a Secret Fan of Mitt Romney?”

  1. nolan says:

    To say that Vladimir Putin a Secret Mitt Romney Fan is asinine!

    It’s pretty clear the kind of man Putin thinks Romney is based on this quote alone: “If Romney wins, we may have to enlarge the defense budget.”
    He goes on to say: “He has again confirmed the correctness of our position on missile defense problems.” Translated; if Romeny is elected, Putin won’t reduce the amount of missiles that are pointed at the US and our allies due to his mistrust towards Romney and lesser chance of peace with a Romney administration.

    When it boils down to it, Mitt Romney validates to Russia their huge arsenal of missiles.

    This election is a no-brainer. But I’ve said that before. I now know to respect corporate power and influence…

  2. Carl Loeber says:

    The disgraceful outcome of “head in the sand” foreign policy .. President Obama does nothing about Hitler in Damascus killing and maiming 100,000 .. a real coward for you .. he could have sent his flying robots after Hitler 527 days ago when he started shooting protesters ..

  3. sam says:

    America needs the talk of terrorism to increase defense spending, fill up coffers of defense contractors, put its young and fittest in harms way and squeeze the 98% of unretired and retired Americans of their money. Russia just needs to talk about USA to increase its defesce budget and reward the cold war retirees.

  4. We don’t know where Romney is coming from, but we know more about it than where Obama is coming from after four years and serious unanswered questions. “Fool me twice, shame on me…”

  5. Gennady says:

    To Nolan
    You are wrong in your comment. Nobody said that Mr. Putin was Mitt Romney’s fan. In order to start polemics, it was just questioned. You didn’t notice more “elephants” in the article.

    1. Putin and his cronies have inflicted on Russians an anti-American campaign without any reason. Both countries are great (the USA by technology and economy, Russia by its resources and size) and have common values, they never fought each other in the highly competitive world. Even in deep Russian provinces common people revere American technology genius. Why shouldn’t the USA and Russia enjoy each other to mutual benefit?
    2. Mitt Romney’s rhetoric stirs up Putin’s chauvinistic dreams of Great Russia when it is justifiably treated as oversized Serbia with nukes.
    3. For Mr. Putin Mitt Romney is determined to subvert his “divinely ordained” state of self-proclaimed autocratic rule in Russia.
    4. Mtt Romney helps Mr. Putin to justify his huge rearmament program for the Russians brainwashed by Putin’s propaganda machine. But in here we watch when the cause and the consequences are confused for his convenience. For those who watched previous Russian headlines, should have remembered that Mr. Putin has embarked on his rearmament program long before Mitt Romney appeared in headlines.
    5.The last century all Russia’s rulers needed an external enemy/foe as a reason to drain national resources, to impoverish population, to cling to power till death, to terminate/assassinate all capable and bright people, to ruthlessly suppress civil discontent for the mismanaged economy. Mr. Putin is no exception. Russia rapidly dies out under Mr. Putin’s rule. His regime has failed to solve the sharp demographic, educational, healthcare, scientific and technological crisis.

  6. Mike Young says:

    I can not speak for Putin’s thoughts, but I believe that if it would benefit the Russian people, President Putin would honer Mr. Romney , President Putin loves his country / culture and he adores citizens and does what best for his people and the economy of the country.

    I’m born raised American, I have home in Russia and have few friends that are close to Mr Putin. I could shake Mr Putin hand if I wanted to, I just do not want to be in the light.

    I believe President Putin would be better president then Mr Obama for the USA, Mr Putin has more honest, shows strength, integrity, transparency and does not tell lot bull. Mr. Putin has much better understanding of economics, is very Christen, very conservative, Yes he would make a better US president. Obama.. he would have turned our economy already by going after banking, securities regulation affecting the derivatives markets..

    Mr Putin is smart to ask George Sorros to leave Russia because of his distortion, dishonest abuse of media..effecting truth in the news. Yes, I do not always agree with all Mr. Putin choices, but all in all Mr Putin has helped turned around the economy of Russian and transformation it, he is a great president and human being.

    Now when it comes to Syria Conflict, let Russia take care of it. The USA should support our Allies (Turkey) and try to be mediator, but that’s it.. The USA should stay clear we do not need spend money, that we do not have and frustrate Russia. Russian and Arab states are experts in that region, for their safety it would be best..for them to deal with Syria.

    Mr. Putin loves Israel, just like the USA, their just is two different approach to solving the Iran Nuke problems… I believe that at some point, Russia and the USA will have to set a firm dead line for inspection of the Iran nuclear program. Mr. Putin does not want any crazies / terrorist walking into Moscow with a dirty bomb, no more, than we want dirty bomb in one US or Allies ports. I walked the streets of Moscow where there are many many christian churches in one city block.. so they have our same values freedom of speech and Religion as the USA in general.

    Yes, Russia made a mistake helping Iran with their Nuclear power plants. I believe they are having second thoughts. USA gave Pakistan Nukes…. USA make errors.. also.

    I believe that we need a president with lot back bone to deal with Iran and the world… but we need help…. it takes team work Obama is dictator… Romney he is arbitrator and liberator… who would you rather work with..? Obama does just what he wants and lies… can not be trusted? I would not.

    Yes, I think that Mr. Putin and Mr. Romney can become friends and should as soon as possible, Iran issue is very important to both countries and the Middle East.

    Also, Russia could become a great trading partner for US products… as they get less than 1% of their imports from the USA… Why? Canada exports to Russia 2% of Russia imports. Why? Whats the deal, Canada attact Russia in WW!!

    I do not think are Obama has any understanding trade deals or the value small business that make them happen, no wonder we are have economically out of balance.

    You do not dictate to Russia, you help them solve their problems, and liberate Russia from their problems.

    Russia is selling USA natural gas that comes out of Sakhalin Island (eastern Russia) to heat the homes in West coast, we could import more oil & more gas sell Russia more products. But we must treat the Russians with back bone, to earn their respect and honer, but we must honer them as they are great country, that has been through a lot of hardship the last 800 years.. and never attacked us…

    We can work with them…. truly…. Russia is a great country with highly educated population with great family values….

    Russia friendship is very very very valuable to the USA… and we should treat it that way. Mr Romney can do that, by his deep nature and his love.

    Mr Romney needs to walk the street of Russia… and meet the people.

    Mr. Putin and Mr Romney need to talk have a private talk positive talk soon as not heat up some political backbone.

    I believe if Putin and Romney talk like trade deal like building trans -Russian – USA – Canada Railroad.. and Iran agenda in it could help both of economies, trade and create jobs in both counties.

    Start the relationship on Positive agenda.

    I love both counties…..

    • timofei says:

      to Michael Young (aka: Misha Youngov):

      Were you really born in the USA? Or are you impersonating somone born in the USA. At least learn to blog like the person you are trying to portray.

      Everyone knows about the overt control over media in Russia. Most people know about the Kremlin’s blogosphere troops, but it seems that a decision has not been made to determine if this should be covert or overt.

    • rcd1 says:

      This sounds like a good piece of writing for a tool of propoganda. You certainly do not appear to be America in any way or form and I wonder just who do you think you are fooling? Certainly not real Americans? Your points made make no sense and are certainly not backed by reality or facts and exposes you for what you are… a fake!
      Good piece of propaganda though!

  7. Gennady says:

    To Mike Young

    You are unbelievable in distorting picture in Russia.
    Nobody has asked you (I’m unsure about the FSB) to show the wide world how blind and naïve you are in praising the unpopular ruler (at least in both Russian capitals) to the sky.
    I personally don’t trust your single word as you have vested commercial interest in Russia. And you exactly know that without FSB backing nobody will succeed in Putin’s Russia.
    You stated that Mr.Putin loves Russia. How can it be true if he permanently suspended all articles of Russia’s Constitution dealing with guaranteeing basic human rights including the right of choosing their leaders?
    How does he love his people if they rapidly die out, healthcare is mediaeval, health education is nonexistent, general and university education is beyond repair?
    What is great in his treatment of the stagnant one-sided economy, lost industrial might, backward science and technology?
    How can you praise Syria’s bloodbath?
    You saw many churches in Moscow, don’t you? But you didn’t bother to look inside them as they are empty. Just 5- 10% Russians attend them. You have no clue that the only purpose for the frantic building of churches all over Russia is to prolong Mr Putin’s undemocratic stay in power for ever.

    • Mike Young says:

      Dear Gennady,
      Thank you responding to my thoughts…as I believe that your family is of Russian heritage.
      Sorry, I write about Russia’s Geopolitical issues with foggy rose colored glasses, just understand when I’m playing ice hockey in Russia, I would not want to get ping in head with a ice hockey puck by Mr. Putin or one of is teammates Ha Ha… as I am guest in Russia.
      My first time I was in Russia Federation was when Yeltsin was about the end his presidency. From the perception of the USA distorted news I thought of Yeltsin as drunk and week president. As I became more educated walking the exploring the streets of Russia and see for what was, Yeltsin was a great first president, who focus appointing people that were pro-democracy in his administration, that made it for 8 years. Cool I believe that was great accomplishment, to transform Russia from a Communist thought process to capitalistic concept and to do it peacefully, (not a revolt and lot of blood on the street).
      As American my Russian hero at the time for many years was Mikhail Gorbachev, because he ended the cold war which was driving Russia and the USA off a fiscal Clift. Why did Mikhail Gorbachev make the choice to you through perestroika? You know? Who was his advisors? Why? (I think i know)

      As an American I can make this statement. (I bow to no Man or no God), unless they have a gun to my head. (My President works for me) the tax payer, I fear him not…. Only his ignorance …
      You talked about all the church’s tourist sight in the first circle of Moscow,. Very un-fair example of Russian thought process; I have seen many active Christen churches in Russia and would say that more than ½ the population, has some form of Christian values. I was raised a Catholic, went to Catholic school, but I do not believe what the bible says, as it written over 100’s years and 40+ different authors. I believe in the values that Christianity teaches you, I do not believe in hookies- pokes in the bible. I could write for a lifetime of great advice that from bibles teaches you though.
      I believe that Mr. Putin building putting churches all over Russia is good thing if properly implemented. In America the Christian organization help, the feed poor, give hope, shape values, educate, find people jobs and places to stay, help medically handy cap and many other great things. So this can be wonderful, as I believe that is not the responsibility of the US government to provide this kind of stuff US Citizens, that is your personal responsibility or the public… not government. Christian values which our constitutions base upon is very important tool,. Putin knows this. Yes, I understand that the Mafia in Russia also helps with the poor and elderly, again I do not think is job of the government, as capitalistic way of life.
      When I walk the streets of Russia, I try to teach my young Russian friends not walk by the poor or elderly, cripple on the streets, without giving them money, invite to my home or their home to feed them.

      Russia evolving different than USA, the US government supposed to have set aside trillions of dollars for Medicare and Social Security, but both the USA and Russia finance a cold war with our Elderly retirement. I do feel the elderly pain… both USA and Russian have put our elderly at risk. This is very sad, they worked so very hard and are so fragile.

      Here’s what scares me…
      1. My US president . Obama who has very Marxist background, socialist agenda… not his fault he just reflects it, he thinks government should provide everything and everyone is equal, but we are all different… Life always evolving,. Everyone should be treated fair as possible, but you should not steal from the rich to give to the poor. Or the rich will move to another country take their investment to other countries. I have several friends, that purchase homes all over the world, why? With homes so cheap in the USA, foreigners would be zooming in to purchase beautiful in the homes, they never been so inexpensive.

      Of course I hope that Romney get ride of the US Patriotic act which I believe kills foreign investments.
      Obama may fundamental understanding capitalism, but he want to change the face the USA, I do not. I’m a capitalist which gives me and the people that the work, work smart, every opportunity to build the American dream.
      2. Obama… being law professor you would thing he would understand how much a true American values………… our first Amendments rights. He does not understand the very core constructional rights of US citizens prize. I’m very very very angry with our president for imprisoning someone for make some stupid video, . Their many anti religious video on the internet made in the USA… I love them… keeps us in balance as us citizens… not the video…. The first amended… take that way the first Amendment from Americans and there will be blood in the streets. President Obama should be impeached.
      3. Obama lies to the American people and congress to hide his choice to let a US ambassador die, three other good American hero’s because he weak pussy, and did to get re-elected…. He should be impeached..
      4. I believe that Obama’s CIA, along with the Brits and the Arabs are moving weapons into the rebels of Syria’s. If the wrong people come in power (such as the Muslim brother hood) they kill all the Christian in Syria. It be few years until Iran deal settles, then they will go after Moscow. I do not think that help US and Russian Relationship. This where Gov-Romney can come help correct problem and work with Moscow, before the problem gets out of hand.
      5. Obama, let million plus illegal immigrants in country and grave them Amnesty for Hispanic votes when the US Senate and the US congress said no to the dream act. Obama should be impeached.

      I do not think that that Putin really wants to have Obama as the US president, because everywhere I go in Russia everyone has USD 100 dollar bills hid homes because they do not trust the Ruble. I bet that there is 100’s of billions of US dollar all over Russia of a reserve currency. Obama is de-valuating the US dollar very quickly.. taking away our capitalistic value , making USA more like Europe which is failing. This breaks the very fundamental of our Constitution freedom that so many good American died for. The Devaluation of the US Dollar just undervaluation your reserve currency. If I was a Russian and Obama happens to get reelected I would dump all my US dollars and by gold, Like the China has been doing in large quantities.
      Romney will slow this government spending down, try to balance United States budget try to strengthen dollar, which very important to Russia.
      Now my only hope is that Putin and Romney talk about defense spending, which creates jobs . Consider maybe not spending so much money defense….. and more on development of trade between the two countries..
      Starting with a bridge and high-speed raised train system between Alaska and Russia …. Then grows into something… greater… Think of the trade…. Abraham Lincoln did just that, building the train system and made America great…. The land is already set aside for the bridge in Alaska and in Russia.
      Who helped President Lincoln with civil war… The Czar of Russia who sent his fleets into San Francisco and New York.
      Thank you, Russian people.

      One other very urgent thing that Putin and Gov-Romnie should talk about is the protection of Nuclear Power plants from solar flares.

      Protection of the Nuclear power plants form Solar Flairs… it is the most likely way that the human race will die off in the near future. It is can be solved with few large investments at each nuclear power plant,
      1. Setting aside least 1 year fuel on site for backup generators for cooling.
      2. Coating electrical circuits at nuclear plant with special Solar protective coating.

      Good night, I got to get some sleep.

      I do love both countries.

  8. Adevarul says:

    TRUTH about the MSM (main sewer media):

    Obama has taken the Hollywad route again with Jay Leno because it allows him to spin with no debate. Most of America knows this.

    I’m sure Jay didn’t bring up the e-mails that prove the WH knew about the source of our Libya ambassador’s murder 2 HOURS after it happened then they all LIED to America and the world for days afterward. Probably because they also refused the security that was requested before the murder.

    Oh, and the MSM (main sewer media) has predictably buried this shocking NEWS on TV and the internet quickly….to bring us stories about Jay Leno and endless headlines, opinions and lies that they hope will re-define Romney.

  9. Natalia says:

    Mr. Putin and Mr. Romney are definitely great figures of our time. It’s not their personal fault that the world today needs the deepest participation of two biggest empires (Russia and USA) in the new geopolitical game, because if you are the ambitious ruler of big empire, you always have to rule the world and it’s historically goes at expense of some internal resources, incl. people. It’s just a matter of time and we will see how the world would be changed under new rulers’ supervision. I would be happy to live through such a wonderful time of new geopolitical development. God, bless us all.

  10. ФСБ says:

    Наталья а ты соображаешь однако. Молодец

  11. Gennady says:

    To ФСБ

    You proudly called yourself “FSB” by Russian letters and helped the world to change their opinion about the FSB. Previous common understanding was that the FSB employed highly intelligent people.
    1. But you have demonstrated lack of school knowledge of the Russian language. How can the FSB employ such unsophisticated people, as you are, openly exposing their illiteracy?
    2. Your approval of “Natalia’s’ openly provocative comment also shows your disregard of law and order and lack of logic as it’s disconnected with the subject of the blog. The comments look as a cock and bull tale, as clotted nonsense, it’s neither where the elder is, nor in Kiev where uncle lives.

    • Ratibor says:

      это не фсбэшник, у них работы хватает, сейчас русскоязычные сайты бурлят. в Москве почти каждый день щепетильные инциденты дают о себе знать, и русские используют интернет как единственный островок свободы слова. но это может прекратится , кремль обещал подтянуть гайки. между прочим кремль на английском пишется почти как гремлин ))) так оно и есть именно они там и окопались.

      fsbeshnik not have enough of them, now Russian-language sites are boiling. in Moscow almost every day scrupulous incidents do not come, and the Russian use of the Internet as the only island of freedom of speech. but it can stop the Kremlin has promised to tighten the nut. the way the Kremlin in English written almost gremlin))) so it is exactly they are there and the trench.

  12. Ratibor says:

    want to know the opinion of Russian policy in Putin’s Russia? he is engaged in personal enrichment, Russia and the Russians are the least of his concern, his account with a foreign bank, and it depends on the bankers, as they say they will .
    Did you know that the Stabilization Fund of Russia is in U.S. securities? and he said that there is no conflict, is a fiction, and only applies to the mercy of Russia from the United States, the statistics on the economy, social services, and the high level of corruption in Russia through the roof, putting it on a par with the most backward countries in the world .the world belongs to the corporation and there is no room for humanity. important but only profit, and that the corporation is you will soon be clear. and all have been decided for us. so good luck to you in your judgments. Now you have choices and you enthusiastically watch who will win? Republicans or Democrats? both are in the same yoke, won only your oligarchs.

  13. Richard says:

    Interesting how a satirical article can stimulate such strong words from (so obviously) fake personas.. It is well overdue time that the “global economy” came under global control.. Elected by global population.. Putin and Romney are both empire builders in a world where expansion is no longer possible as there is nowhere left to expand to.. The biggest threat to world stability is now the economic divide between poor and rich.. The time is rapidly coming when there will be an international uprising similar to what happened in Russia a century ago.. The wealth needs to be more evenly distributed or this is inevitable.. I’m just glad it won’t be in my lifetime.. I’m immensely sorry for our children though..

  14. mdin.j says:

    Between the two countries are the world’s major powers, the Security Council permanent members. However, two of the country’s political and economic history, culture, religion, etc. have great similarities and differences. Political elections, particularly prominent. China 5000 years long feudal society, has not experienced a truly capitalist society, Confucius and Mencius prevalent in China. “Jun-Jun, Chen Chen ‘” three cardinal guides and the five permanent members of lingering in the minds of the people door. Communist China is known as the 80 million party members and followers, the essentially feudal ideology leaching similar with religious overtones style of so-called “political parties.” Sun Yat-sen Why defeated Yuan Shikai, lies in the unruly nature of feudalism, earth-rooted, coupled with the philosophy of the West, converge Datong, communist utopia. Now reform and opening up, is a replica of the Westernization Movement, mainly economic and other aspects of the change. The transformation of the political system, is minimal. The party, the army, dollars, pen, Gestapo, large state-owned enterprises, tens of millions of the hazy believers, enough. So-called Congress, the National People’s Congress is only a had extravagant stage show, political show, show of democracy and free show better performing burlesque. General director of the head writer planner course, is the behind-the-scenes of various political figures. This is where the characteristics of the Chinese political and mysteries. Economic czar, oligarchs, and change come and go, still no big novelty. Not proficient in the Chinese political insider and Communist political insider, Europe and the United States tend to be Chinese play, the wonderful world of the game. Semi-feudal and semi-colonial country it would really be able to become a world leader and economic engine it? Ridiculous extreme. As for the personal characteristics of the Chinese Communist Party leaders, foundation, factions, originated and personal charm, political leanings, etc., will not be extraordinary, outgoing and took office, too before behind the scenes, in full swing, the rights of the will. Political reform and change will not have a drastic move. Otherwise, it is to get burned, and self-defeating. Tiny reform, of course, will certainly have to be carried out, otherwise, a variety of difficult to cope with the pressure. the dr. fracces France Political Science.Paris.

  15. David Kruse says:

    It is funny to read some of the comments that you folks print! The trolls who are putting “their” thoughts on this subject have obviously been instructed by their bosses to follow and post these replies. To be honest, I have no problem with them making fools of themselves as it exsposes the level of BS that the powers that be are willing to resort to to stay on “top”. I have only one question of them, What happens when your time passes and you are dead? If you belive in the afterlife, then the God(of your choosing) puishes you for deciet. If you are atheiest, then it is for nothing, anyway. Have fun with your replys, as I have a good laugh reading them! Thanx!





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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