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

Putin to NATO: Yankees, Please Stay in Afghanistan

Posted April 14th, 2012 at 7:29 am (UTC+0)

God bless the American soldiers in Afghanistan. This message of good cheer came from an unexpected corner this week: Russia Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, addressing the entire Duma in Moscow. First, he set the deputies up by denouncing NATO as “a relic of the Cold War.” Applause, applause. Then, before the clapping could fade, he […]

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Russia Has the Wheels; Now it Needs the Roads

Posted April 10th, 2012 at 8:23 pm (UTC+0)

This year, for the first time, Russia is expected to top Germany as Europe’s largest car market. With car purchases increasing by 20 percent in Russia this year, the Center of Automotive Management predicts that Russians will buy 3.2 million vehicles during 2012, slightly more than Germany. So how are Russia’s roads? According to the […]

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Stalin: A History Gap Divides Russia From Its Neighbors

Posted April 5th, 2012 at 6:05 pm (UTC+0)

In Moscow, adults are snapping up school notebooks for children. Why? The cover has a heroic image of Stalin. The Stalin notebook is part of a “Great Names of Russia” series. On one level, it is depressing that many Russians do not seem to know that “Stalin,” was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a Georgian. (Please […]

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Putin and Romney: Back to the Cold War?

Posted April 2nd, 2012 at 7:34 pm (UTC+0)

Americans living in Moscow are suffering from mental whiplash. During Russia’s recent presidential election, we enjoyed the moral high ground. Our politicians, we thought smugly, would never stoop to reviving the Cold War to wake up their conservative bases. But, in a city where snow fell on April Fool’s Day, it’s dangerous to walk with […]

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Russia x US on Missile Defense: A Phony Problem Needs a Phony Solution?

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 7:08 pm (UTC+0)

It used to be that journalists had a monopoly on blunt talk about U.S.-Russian relations. Since we are not diplomats, we don’t have to be diplomatic. Then missile defense flared this week as the burning issue between Washington and Moscow. On Monday, an open microphone in Seoul caught U.S. President Barack Obama asking Russia’s President […]

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Afghanistan: Pass the $1 billion a week baton to Russia?

Posted March 23rd, 2012 at 6:47 am (UTC+0)

In early September 2002, one year after American troops entered Afghanistan, I reported newspaper stories from Kandahar, the main city of the Pashto-speaking southern part of Afghanistan. I drove in from Quetta, Pakistan, and stayed 10 days at the “best” hotel on Kandahar’s main street. For one report, I spent a morning walking the street […]

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Moscow Grrl Band Sets Kremlin’s Teeth on Edge

Posted March 19th, 2012 at 9:16 pm (UTC+0)

Just when politics here were starting to look boring again, along comes an outrageous girl band to rattle Russia. With their day glo balaclavas, bright tights and summer dresses on the white snow, the angry girls call themselves Pussy Riot. They’re starting to make President Vladimir Putin look like Dwight Eisenhower. He was the American […]

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Mission Impossible: Send Russia’s Elections Chief to Alaska?

Posted March 13th, 2012 at 8:50 pm (UTC+0)

Vladimir Churov, head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission, has been busy in Moscow. The day after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s presidential electoral victory, the elections supervisor said that no other nation in the world could have “a more open, fair, transparent presidential campaign.” Previously, Churov, a former Putin aide in St. Petersburg, was best known […]

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Russia’s Democratic Opposition and Putin’s Silent Majority

Posted March 7th, 2012 at 3:37 pm (UTC+0)

Russia’s democratic opposition now has to deal with the elephant in the living room: Russia’s silent majority elected Vladimir Putin President on Sunday. This week in Moscow, there is a post mortem round of press conferences. The European observer group correctly called the election process heavily skewed toward the official candidate. Golos, the vote monitoring […]

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Two Russias Will Collide in Sunday’s Presidential Election

Posted February 29th, 2012 at 6:52 am (UTC+0)

In the last week, I covered two big political rallies in Moscow: the first, a staged mass meeting for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Luzhniki, Russia’s largest stadium; the second, a hastily organized event, where opposition supporters held hands in a 16-kilometer human chain around the Kremlin. On display were two radically different Russias. Next […]

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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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