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

Prokhorov Melts Hearts in Russia’s Political Winter

Posted February 22nd, 2012 at 7:00 pm (UTC+0)
4 comments

Evelina Zakamskaya had a new bob in her hair. She leaned forward in her chair. Her eyes shone brightly. Her lips glistened. Her white teeth flashed in the night. She hung on every word. She tittered at every attempted joke by her TV interview guest, Mikhail Prokhorov. Russia’s tall, lean, bad boy bachelor billionaire is […]

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Ghosts of Revolution Serve as Political Brakes in Russia

Posted February 18th, 2012 at 1:02 pm (UTC+0)
4 comments

YEKATINERINBURG – In the gray twilight of a winter afternoon, the black and white photographs appear before the church walls like ghosts. These ghosts may well inoculate Russia against revolution this spring, when political passions may rise with the temperatures. The ghosts are Czar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, their son, Alexei, and their four […]

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Russia: Revolution of the Well-fed, Well-dressed and Well-informed

Posted February 13th, 2012 at 10:45 am (UTC+0)
5 comments

At 8pm Friday night, I decided to close up shop in VOA’s Moscow office and fly to Odessa, Ukraine, for the weekend. Moscow’s weekend forecast was -30C, my trip to Central Asia had been cancelled, and the Black Sea sounded like a good mid-winter break. I did not have an airline ticket, but I knew […]

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Russia’s Generation Gap: Аста Ла Виста, беби!

Posted February 7th, 2012 at 9:16 pm (UTC+0)
3 comments

Their backs to the massive Lenin statue on October Square, the Anarchists were spoiling for a fight. Dressed in black, the young men and women jumped up and down, straining at their rope lines, and chanting again and again: “Аста Ла Виста, беби!Аста Ла Виста, беби!” I asked a middle aged man who was detouring […]

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Russia in Syria in 2012 — Echoes of Britain in Suez in 1956?

Posted February 2nd, 2012 at 5:33 am (UTC+0)
20 comments

Is Russia living its Suez moment? In October, 1956, France, Britain and Israel attacked Egypt in an attempt to reverse President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. The United States and the Soviet Union strong armed the three attacking nations into pulling back. Today, that conflict is widely seen as the bitter, historical […]

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WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and Kremlin TV: Anti-Westernism Makes for Bizarre Bedfellows

Posted January 27th, 2012 at 10:30 pm (UTC+0)
9 comments

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks transparency advocate and leaker of about 115,000 confidential U.S. government emails, has found a new home: a talk show on RT, or Russia Today, the English language TV channel funded by the Kremlin. Shortly after WikiLeaks released the American classified documents in 2010, Assange announced his next step: publishing confidential Russian […]

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Russia and Iran: Uneasy Neighbors — Since the 16th Century

Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 6:03 am (UTC+0)
11 comments

Countries without natural borders are like amoebas. Over centuries, they expand and contract, expand and contract. As the Western world wonders why Russia has such a nuanced policy toward Iran’s nuclear program, it is important to skip back over four centuries of history. Under Ivan the Terrible, Russia defeated the Tatars and Russia started to […]

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Behind Russia’s Protests: Artistic Ferment

Posted January 16th, 2012 at 7:50 pm (UTC+0)
4 comments

PERM, Russia – On one wall, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin happily brandishes a pistol, as his arch-nemesis, Mikhail Khordokovsky, smiles enigmatically from behind prison bars. Nearby, identical Putin heads are superimposed on rows of neighborhood boys in a group photo. “Motherland” is the theme of the art show at the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, […]

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Can Russia’s Democracy Movement Lift the Weight of History?

Posted January 12th, 2012 at 4:07 pm (UTC+0)
9 comments

My sons and I are in St. Petersburg, walking across Palace Square toward the green and white baroque façade of the Winter Palace, now the Hermitage Museum. In my mind’s eye, I see images from Dr. Zhivago recreating in film that snowy Sunday of January 22, 1905. Tens of thousands of protesters are converging on […]

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Are International Astronauts Playing Russian Rocket Roulette?

Posted January 6th, 2012 at 9:36 pm (UTC+0)
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On January 15, Russia’s military space forces say, about 30 pieces of the Russia’s Mars probe are expected to crash back to earth, reminders of Russia’s latest botched rocket venture. In 2011, Russia recorded six failed launches. Last August 18, a Proton rocket put a telecommunications satellite in the wrong orbit, rendering it useless. A […]

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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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