Showing Archived Posts

Russia’s Choice: Power Balancer or China’s Canada?

Posted August 10th, 2013 at 7:04 pm (UTC+0)
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The reset between the Kremlin and the White House is dead. Now, the question in Moscow is: what will replace it? With the cancellation of President Obama’s visit here next month, it is unlikely that the president of the United States will devote much of his second term to dealing with President Putin. The White […]

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Is Russia Turning Protestant?

Posted July 30th, 2013 at 9:32 pm (UTC+0)

RIO DE JANEIRO — In 1990, an American anthropologist wrote a controversial book: “Is Latin America Turning Protestant?” Two decades later, that same provocative question can be asked of Russia. Who will win: The Church of the Golden Domes? Or the Church of the Catacombs? Before I grapple with Russia, let’s look at what is […]

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Why Should Obama Visit Russia for a Putin Summit?

Posted July 19th, 2013 at 3:57 am (UTC+0)

Why is Barack Obama planning to be in Moscow in early September for a two-day summit with Vladimir Putin? Mystery to me. Thursday’s conviction and sentencing Alexei Navalny make the Putin government increasingly look like a South American military dictatorship from the 1970s. And you can be sure that American presidents, especially Democratic ones, did […]

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Snowden and Russia’s Whistleblowers

Posted July 14th, 2013 at 6:18 am (UTC+0)

“These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my […]

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For Russia’s Kremlin, Snowden Goes from Trophy to Liability

Posted July 4th, 2013 at 7:05 am (UTC+0)

The Latin Americans came and left in their presidential jets. But Edward Snowden stayed behind. For the Kremlin, a propaganda coup is quickly becoming hot potato. For over 10 days, the fugitive American intelligence agency leaker has been marooned in legal limbo, living invisibly somewhere in the “transit” area of a busy Moscow international airport. […]

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Welcome to Moscow’s Transit Lounge, Mr. Snowden

Posted June 26th, 2013 at 8:27 pm (UTC+0)

Uncle Volodya went to Finland this week and told three fairy tales. — Gays have equal rights in Russia. — Russia’s new Foreign Agent law, which is killing Russian non-governmental groups, is just a copy of a 1937 American law with a similar name. — Russia’s intelligence agencies have not questioned Edward Snowden, the fugitive […]

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Kremlin Crosses Russia’s Sunni Muslims by Joining Syria’s Shia Alliance

Posted June 19th, 2013 at 8:45 pm (UTC+0)
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Vladimir Putin got out of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland without any broken china on the floor. In the lead up, Syria’s civil war loomed like a polarizing issue capable of turning the meeting into seven against one. But Putin checked his aggressive instincts. The Russian leader knew he will host the next G-8, […]

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Setting the Pace for Russia, Moscow Tames Its Excesses

Posted June 10th, 2013 at 9:34 pm (UTC+0)
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Last week, an American friend of mine received two mysterious white envelopes in the mail. On opening them, he found that each contained a black and white photo of his car, each taken secretly, in the middle of the night. Below each photo was printed: his name, his employer and his home address. No, this […]

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Dagestan: Russia’s Wild But Beguiling Southern Frontier

Posted May 22nd, 2013 at 10:36 pm (UTC+0)
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Journalists love superlatives, and Russia’s southernmost republic, Dagestan, obliges. Of Russia’s 83 regions, Dagestan last year recorded the highest level of political violence — 53 bombings and 405 dead. Last year, Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months in Dagestan. Last month, world attention swiveled to Dagestan when Tsarnaev emerged as the lead suspect in the Boston […]

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Russia Promotes Safe Olympics, Downplays Caucasus Link

Posted May 13th, 2013 at 6:22 pm (UTC+0)

Why was British Prime Minister David Cameron helicoptering around the Caucasus Mountains recently with Russian President Vladimir Putin? Ostensibly Putin, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, was repaying Cameron a favor. Last summer, when Putin was cheering on Russian judo athletes at the London Summer Olympics, the British leader and Olympics host, stopped by for […]

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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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