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.

All posts by James Brooke

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

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

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

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)
2 comments

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Russia Frets About a “Libya Scenario” for Syria

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

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

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)
9 comments

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Yulia Tymoshenko: Ukraine’s Faded Evita?

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

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Color Comes to Moscow

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

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)
5 comments

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

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

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)
13 comments

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Moscow Traffic Tales: Life on Wheels

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 7:11 pm (UTC+0)
1 comment

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 […]

Posted in Uncategorized

About

About

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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