Showing Archived Posts

A Kremlin Christmas Carol: Russia’s Scrooge Against The Orphans?

Posted December 22nd, 2012 at 1:11 pm (UTC+0)

A light snow covers Moscow, subzero temperatures provide bright sunshine and Jingle Bells wafts through malls filled with happy shoppers. And, befitting, the holiday season, Russian politicians and American parents are acting out a real life version of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic, “A Christmas Carol.” But this is no high school play. This is…geopolitics! Guess […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Russian Conservatives See ‘Foreign Agents’ and ‘Treason’ Behind Social Change

Posted December 11th, 2012 at 6:12 am (UTC+0)

Ashley, an American friend, and I were walking on a bridge over the Moscow River to the “Inostranii Agent” or “Foreign Agent” party. To dress the part, I wore my trench coat. Our destination: Red October, the rambling red brick industrial space that has morphed in recent years from Soviet chocolate factory to hipster hangout. […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Russia’s Winter Transport: From the Troika to Rubber Tires

Posted December 3rd, 2012 at 9:46 pm (UTC+0)

It snowed in Russia last week. (Yawn. What else is new?) But Russia no longer is Dr. Zhivago country, a rural place where troika sleighs slide smoothly across white, wintry landscapes. Modern Russians have a deep, passionate, often unrequited, love affair with rubber tires. Last weekend, on the highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg, the […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Back to the Future: 2012 US-Russia Relations Echo 1832

Posted November 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC+0)
1 comment

The U.S. Ambassador labored to get Congress to ratify a trade treaty that would grant “favored nation” status to Russia. Washington’s leading newspaper harshly criticized Russia for human rights violations. Russia’s secret police were reading all the Ambassador’s mail. The Czar was convinced that Washington was fomenting democracy rebellions inside his empire. Sound like last […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Judge a regime by its heroes: Moscow — 1962, Moscow 2012

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 9:08 pm (UTC+0)

For Moscow of 1962 – it was Yuri Gagarin. With his wide, easy grin, Gagarin was an internationally renowned poster boy for Soviet science – first man in space! – and for Soviet health care – great teeth! From East to West, from First World to Third, the Soviet regime put forward Gagarin as a […]

Reset the Reset: Can Russia’s Putin Make Deals With Obama II?

Posted November 12th, 2012 at 8:42 pm (UTC+0)

The reset jet no longer flies to Moscow. In March of 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton, then a brand new secretary of state, jointly pushed a “reset” button, signaling an end to the acrimony of the George W. Bush years. In that same month, United Airlines inaugurated direct jet service between […]

Posted in Uncategorized

New Kremlin Headache: Democracy is Alive in Ukraine and Georgia

Posted November 3rd, 2012 at 12:09 pm (UTC+0)

Vladimir Putin is suffering back pains and is cancelling foreign trips and his annual November press conference marathon. He may also be suffering from a foreign policy migraine: multi-party democracy is alive and well in the most unexpected of places: Russia’s neighboring southern republics — Georgia and Ukraine. The key to democracy is decision by […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Is Russia’s Putin a Secret Fan of Mitt Romney?

Posted October 24th, 2012 at 4:05 pm (UTC+0)

The conventional wisdom is that the Kremlin would like to see Barack Obama back in the White House next year. Just last month, President Putin told RT, the state-owned TV channel, that Obama was “a genuine person” who “really wants to change much for the better.” But these platitudes fail to cover up the big […]

Posted in Uncategorized

After 20 Years of US Aid, Russia Goes Solo on Controlling Loose Nukes

Posted October 18th, 2012 at 5:03 pm (UTC+0)

The day that Russia’s government decided last week to end its participation in the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, a huge, mushroom-shaped cloud rose high in the air over Orenburg. In this case, the dust was kicked up by massive, accidental blasts of conventional weapons, largely stores of Soviet-era artillery shells. To avoid the real […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Charm Alert! Georgia Welcomes Russian Tourists!

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 9:17 pm (UTC+0)

Nervousness was in the air the other afternoon when my S7 Airbus, packed with Russian tourists, touched down at Tbilisi’s international airport. The tourists walked down a sparkling glass corridor to a terminal that Russian bombs narrowly missed four years earlier during the war with Georgia. They meekly lined up in the no-visa line at […]

Posted in Uncategorized



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.



February 2024
« Mar