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

Russian Conservatives See ‘Foreign Agents’ and ‘Treason’ Behind Social Change

Posted December 11th, 2012 at 6:12 am (UTC+0)

Ashley, an American friend, and I were walking on a bridge over the Moscow River to the “Inostranii Agent” or “Foreign Agent” party. To dress the part, I wore my trench coat. Our destination: Red October, the rambling red brick industrial space that has morphed in recent years from Soviet chocolate factory to hipster hangout. […]

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Russia’s Winter Transport: From the Troika to Rubber Tires

Posted December 3rd, 2012 at 9:46 pm (UTC+0)

It snowed in Russia last week. (Yawn. What else is new?) But Russia no longer is Dr. Zhivago country, a rural place where troika sleighs slide smoothly across white, wintry landscapes. Modern Russians have a deep, passionate, often unrequited, love affair with rubber tires. Last weekend, on the highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg, the […]

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Back to the Future: 2012 US-Russia Relations Echo 1832

Posted November 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC+0)
1 comment

The U.S. Ambassador labored to get Congress to ratify a trade treaty that would grant “favored nation” status to Russia. Washington’s leading newspaper harshly criticized Russia for human rights violations. Russia’s secret police were reading all the Ambassador’s mail. The Czar was convinced that Washington was fomenting democracy rebellions inside his empire. Sound like last […]

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Reset the Reset: Can Russia’s Putin Make Deals With Obama II?

Posted November 12th, 2012 at 8:42 pm (UTC+0)

The reset jet no longer flies to Moscow. In March of 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton, then a brand new secretary of state, jointly pushed a “reset” button, signaling an end to the acrimony of the George W. Bush years. In that same month, United Airlines inaugurated direct jet service between […]

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New Kremlin Headache: Democracy is Alive in Ukraine and Georgia

Posted November 3rd, 2012 at 12:09 pm (UTC+0)

Vladimir Putin is suffering back pains and is cancelling foreign trips and his annual November press conference marathon. He may also be suffering from a foreign policy migraine: multi-party democracy is alive and well in the most unexpected of places: Russia’s neighboring southern republics — Georgia and Ukraine. The key to democracy is decision by […]

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

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

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 […]

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After 20 Years of US Aid, Russia Goes Solo on Controlling Loose Nukes

Posted October 18th, 2012 at 5:03 pm (UTC+0)

The day that Russia’s government decided last week to end its participation in the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, a huge, mushroom-shaped cloud rose high in the air over Orenburg. In this case, the dust was kicked up by massive, accidental blasts of conventional weapons, largely stores of Soviet-era artillery shells. To avoid the real […]

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Charm Alert! Georgia Welcomes Russian Tourists!

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 9:17 pm (UTC+0)

Nervousness was in the air the other afternoon when my S7 Airbus, packed with Russian tourists, touched down at Tbilisi’s international airport. The tourists walked down a sparkling glass corridor to a terminal that Russian bombs narrowly missed four years earlier during the war with Georgia. They meekly lined up in the no-visa line at […]

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Is Ivanishvili a Trojan Horse for Russia’s Return to Georgia?

Posted October 3rd, 2012 at 8:17 pm (UTC+0)

In the run-up to Georgia’s parliamentary vote, supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili derided their opponent, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, as “a Kremlin project.” Activists for Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition were even chased out of one village housing refugees from the 2008 war, shouts of “Russians” ringing in their ears. These Georgians say: follow the money. Not […]

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Making the Kremlin Queasy: Massive American Aid Has Helped Russians Three Times in the Last Century

Posted September 25th, 2012 at 7:28 pm (UTC+0)

As American officials struggle to meet an Oct. 1 deadline for closing the 20-year-old USAID office in Moscow, it is worth looking at America’s other great 20th century aid program to Russians. In a corner of Public School 1262 in Moscow, there is a one-room, privately run museum, the Museum of the Allies and Lend-Lease. […]

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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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