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

‘Russia’s Tibet’ Opens to the Outside World

Posted September 18th, 2012 at 9:09 am (UTC+0)

Word of the killings of four American diplomats in Libya took 24 hours to reach me last week. That was fitting as I was contemplating the silence of cedar forests, the grace of wild horses cantering through alpine meadows, and the beauty of glacier-fed rivers cutting through the rugged mountains of Russia’s remote Altai Republic. […]

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Vlad in Vlad: Forging Russia’s First Hot City on the Pacific Rim

Posted September 11th, 2012 at 6:24 am (UTC+0)

The upside about an enlightened dictator is the enlightenment part. Five years ago, Vladimir Putin took a hard look at Vladivostok, the faraway city founded in 1860 by Czar Alexander II as Russia’s main port on the Pacific. In 2007, President Putin evidently decided that in the era of Asian tigers, Vladivostok was the Pacific […]

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Putin’s Palaces, Yachts, Cars and Watches: An Opposition Guide to Russia’s Rich and Famous

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 12:55 am (UTC+0)

“I have worked like a galley slave throughout these eight years, morning till night.” Vladimir Putin summing up his first two terms as president to Russian and foreign Press. Feb. 2008. It’s a nice image for voters at election time. But below decks on the Sirius, a 54-meter yacht, Russia’s president is not chained to […]

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From Lance Armstrong to Russian Arctic Oil: From Accountability to Impunity

Posted August 28th, 2012 at 1:40 pm (UTC+0)

There is a golden thread that links Lance Armstrong, the disgraced American cyclist, to the Greenpeace climbers clambering about the Russian oil well rig in the Arctic. That thread is called accountability. In recent days, Greenpeace protesters briefly occupied Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, Russia’s first offshore exploration rig in the Arctic. Greenpeace opposes all oil exploration […]

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Kremlin x Pussy Riot: Girls Win!

Posted August 19th, 2012 at 3:38 pm (UTC+0)

“Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?” – Alexander Pope, 1735 This summer, Vladimir Putin tried to break three of Moscow’s butterflies on the creaking, iron wheel of Russia’s court system. On Friday, the three Pussy Riot girls were sentenced to two years in jail for singing the wrong song in church. Stalin’s show trials […]

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Russia Wins Gold for Yachts, Palaces and Penthouses

Posted August 13th, 2012 at 6:39 am (UTC+0)

With London’s Summer Olympics over, the spotlight and the torch now shift to Russia, host of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Before the torch starts moving from London, Russians are grumbling about their showing in the summer Olympic tally. Third place, with 24 gold and a total of 82 medals was not bad. Russians naturally […]

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Got A Date With Vladimir, the Tardy? Bring a Good Book

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 6:07 am (UTC+0)

I On a sun splashed hillside overlooking the Black Sea, the President of Ukraine and half of his cabinet gathered July 12 for a summit meeting with Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. The site was Livadia Palace, the Czarist-era estate that was the setting for the 1945 Yalta Conference, the meeting where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin […]

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Russia’s Political Summer Olympics: Putin x Pussy Riot

Posted August 1st, 2012 at 5:48 am (UTC+0)

In Moscow’s Political Summer Olympics, President Putin is on track this week to win the gold in a demanding event: Making Martyrs for the Opposition. After Putin’s election in March and his inauguration in May, protest crowds dwindled and a feeling of hopelessness settled over Russia’s democratic movement. But now, the biggest chants at rallies […]

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Linguistic Future: Ukrainians Who Do Not Speak Russian?

Posted July 26th, 2012 at 11:19 am (UTC+0)

LVIV — It’s a sunny summer evening here in Lviv, the café and cobblestones capital of Western Ukraine. But a steady stream of young couples are ducking down a secret archway. They rap once at a solid wooden door, then stand back. The door opens half way to reveal a man in forest green uniform, […]

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Why Does the Kremlin Defend the Suspects in the Magnitsky Case?

Posted July 20th, 2012 at 7:41 am (UTC+0)
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Many countries have mafias. I’ve reported on gangsters in Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. I’ve spent time mulling the human landscapes in Sicily and in the United States. In those countries, if credible, outside investigators produce an exhaustive report alleging the theft of nearly $1 billion in government money and the murders of five people, the […]

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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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