Showing Archived Posts

Behind Putin’s Smile for Kerry

Posted May 8th, 2013 at 4:07 pm (UTC+0)

When Vladimir Putin smiles, take notice. A Russian friend once commented to me that one thing she like about her president is that he does not smile in public. On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin spent much of the day displaying on TV the thin-lipped sneer he adopts when playing the Good Czar berating the Bad Boyars. […]

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After Boston’s Bombs, Russia’s World Class Sports Events Face Big Security Challenges

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 9:46 pm (UTC+0)
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Back in the sunny days before the Boston Marathon bombings, Vladimir Putin, an avid sportsman, decided that the best way to showcase his new Russia would be to host world class sporting events. Now, his sports policy is about to bear fruit as the world media prepares to cover Russia’s five-year marathon of sporting events. […]

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Boston’s Bombs Will Echo Around the World

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 6:01 pm (UTC+0)

Many Russians watch with quiet satisfaction as the American saga unfolds about the two Chechen brothers turned Boston Marathon bombers. Russians, who have long been targets of Chechen terror attacks, now see Americans walking a kilometer in their shoes. The minor difference is that Boston’s Chechens, the Tsarnaev brothers, apparently were driven not by separatist […]

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Russia Searches for ‘Foreign Agents’ at Home, Disguises its Information War Abroad

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 6:00 am (UTC+0)

Russia’s government is busy rooting out “foreign agents.” So far police agents have “inspected” 700 non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, looking for traces of foreign funding. Police say there are 7,000 more to inspect this year. At best, “inspections” mean demanding copies of cartons of files. At worst, it means carting off computers, and, in two […]

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Russia Loses Cyprus

Posted March 31st, 2013 at 6:06 am (UTC+0)

Russia suffered a major defeat last week. And no one noticed. But the setback was so striking that President Vladimir Putin picked up the phone at 4 am on Thursday and ordered a surprise drill of 30 Russian Navy ships in the Black Sea. The political goal was to flood Russian TV news with images […]

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Azeri Wolves in Iranian Sheep’s Clothing?

Posted March 14th, 2013 at 8:18 pm (UTC+0)

On the surface, it looks like a win-win. Iran faces political population bomb: a young, growing and urbanized population that wants food – cheap and traditional. Iran’s population has doubled in the last 40 years, hitting 75 million people today. Half of all Iranians are under 35 years of age, and 71 percent live in […]

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Russian Adoption: American Mom Vs. Russian Politicians

Posted February 25th, 2013 at 11:58 pm (UTC+0)

Russian politicians have made political hay this week out of the recent unexplained death in Texas of Max Shatto, a three-year-old boy adopted in Russia. First, Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, issued a statement declaring: “Urgent! In the state of Texas, an adoptive mother killed a three-year-old Russian child.” The facts that the […]

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Washington – Kremlin: Why Be Nice?

Posted February 4th, 2013 at 8:35 am (UTC+0)

At a round table discussion in Moscow the other evening, two of my American reporter colleagues argued that the United States needs Russia more than Russia needs United States. At the risk of sounding rude, I am afraid my friends may be suffering from a mild case of…err…localitis. Here is a reality check: — Population: […]

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Obama II Downgrades Relations With Russia’s Kremlin?

Posted January 27th, 2013 at 6:17 am (UTC+0)

Scenes from three weeks of watching US-Russia relations in New York, Washington and Moscow:  Kate, an old high school classmate, tracks me down to ask it if will be safe for her to take her 17-year-old adopted Russian daughter back to Russia for a visit this summer  Ruslan, a 22-year-old adoptee of half-Russian, […]

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The March of Moscow’s Silent Majority?

Posted January 16th, 2013 at 10:13 am (UTC+0)

During my two-week vacation in the United States, American friends again and again looked at me intently, and then asked: How do Russians see the new ban on Americans adopting Russian children? During the last three months of 2012, the Kremlin read out a steady drumroll of American and international organizations or programs expelled from […]

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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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