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

Moscow’s Friday the Thirteenth: Just a Mid-Summer Horror Movie?

Posted July 15th, 2012 at 6:11 am (UTC+0)

While many Russians were relaxing at the dacha or lolling on beaches overseas, back home in Moscow the air conditioning was humming around the clock in the Duma building.   After eight weeks of hard work, the parliamentary session ended on Friday — Friday the13th. Indeed, as regards to political freedom, the Duma session looks […]

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Summer Travelers: Your Cell Phone Could be a Financial Hand Grenade!

Posted July 11th, 2012 at 5:41 am (UTC+0)

If you travel overseas this summer, you may board the plane carrying a financial hand grenade in your pocket – your cell phone. Airport security will not detect its explosive power. But you will, when you get home and see your mobile phone bill. On May 2, I flew from Moscow to New York for […]

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Moscow: Turning Europe’s Largest City into Eurasia’s World Class City

Posted July 3rd, 2012 at 6:01 am (UTC+0)

Moscow is easily at its best in the summer – lots of green, less traffic, stylish clothes, plenty of energy, and constant cultural stimulation Last week, I attended a Moscow News round table on how to make Moscow a global city. Judging by my Sunday, Moscow is already there. The afternoon started with Canada Day […]

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Putin The Permissive and Russian Football Hooligans

Posted June 26th, 2012 at 6:09 pm (UTC+0)

The world may indeed be flat. Several thousand Russians recently traveled to the western edge of their country – and fell off. They fell into a largely invisible history chasm that cuts Russia from its Western and Southern neighbors. This mental moat is on full display at Euro 2012, the once every four years European […]

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The Putin Pendulum: Anti-White House – Pro American Investment

Posted June 21st, 2012 at 8:33 pm (UTC+0)

On Monday in Mexico, Vladimir Putin and Barrack Obama appeared together before the press. The Russian President leaned diagonally away from the American President, as if Mr. Obama had a contagious disease. At a press conference the next day, Mr. Putin belittled American Treasury bonds as untrustworthy, derided US-Russian trade as “peanuts,” and then threatened […]

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Putin Fails to Scare Moscow’s Middle Class

Posted June 15th, 2012 at 10:05 am (UTC+0)

The young protester handing out fake “Go Straight to Jail” tickets just didn’t get it. In advance of Tuesday’s protest demonstrations, President Putin signed into law a bill raising individual fines for illegal protest 100-fold. On the eve of the protest, his police raided the homes and apartments of the best known opposition leaders. At […]

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Move Russia’s Capital from Moscow to Siberia?

Posted May 6th, 2012 at 12:47 pm (UTC+0)

Sergei Shoigu, the newly appointed governor of the Moscow Region, recently proposed that Russia move its capital to Siberia. Shoigu, a native of the Buddhist majority republic of Tuva, just north Mongolia, may have been playing to his home audience. The idea was immediately squelched, and the Moscow regional assembly dutifully approved Shoigu’s appointment to […]

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Join Russia and USA by Rail Tunnels under the Bering Strait?

Posted April 28th, 2012 at 11:18 am (UTC+0)

Russia’s Urals oil has been over $100 a barrel for a year now. The country’s budgets are balanced. Debt is low. Savings are piling up. Russians are getting their pre-recession mojo back. On the consumer end, sales of foreign cars made in Russia jumped 90 percent during the first quarter of 2012 over last year. […]

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Kremlin to Viktor Bout: Game Not Over

Posted April 25th, 2012 at 5:16 pm (UTC+0)

As Viktor Bout starts his 25-year jail sentence in the United States, the question on the minds of movie goers worldwide is: will the convicted Russian arms merchant take a visit from Nicolas Cage? In the 2005 Hollywood movie, Lord of War, the American actor played a Ukrainian-American arms dealer who made his fortune selling […]

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Kremlin TV Channel to US: No Reset

Posted April 21st, 2012 at 9:41 am (UTC+0)

One generation ago, I reached the level in Russian language studies at Yale University where the next course looming in my face was: “Soviet Newspapers.” Faced with spending winter afternoons in a windowless basement classroom with CIA wannabes as we parsed Pravda and Izvestia, I ran away to Rio (literally). For today’s junior Kremlinologists, there […]

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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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