Showing Archived Posts

Is Ivanishvili a Trojan Horse for Russia’s Return to Georgia?

Posted October 3rd, 2012 at 8:17 pm (UTC+0)

In the run-up to Georgia’s parliamentary vote, supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili derided their opponent, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, as “a Kremlin project.” Activists for Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition were even chased out of one village housing refugees from the 2008 war, shouts of “Russians” ringing in their ears. These Georgians say: follow the money. Not […]

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Making the Kremlin Queasy: Massive American Aid Has Helped Russians Three Times in the Last Century

Posted September 25th, 2012 at 7:28 pm (UTC+0)

As American officials struggle to meet an Oct. 1 deadline for closing the 20-year-old USAID office in Moscow, it is worth looking at America’s other great 20th century aid program to Russians. In a corner of Public School 1262 in Moscow, there is a one-room, privately run museum, the Museum of the Allies and Lend-Lease. […]

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‘Russia’s Tibet’ Opens to the Outside World

Posted September 18th, 2012 at 9:09 am (UTC+0)

Word of the killings of four American diplomats in Libya took 24 hours to reach me last week. That was fitting as I was contemplating the silence of cedar forests, the grace of wild horses cantering through alpine meadows, and the beauty of glacier-fed rivers cutting through the rugged mountains of Russia’s remote Altai Republic. […]

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Vlad in Vlad: Forging Russia’s First Hot City on the Pacific Rim

Posted September 11th, 2012 at 6:24 am (UTC+0)

The upside about an enlightened dictator is the enlightenment part. Five years ago, Vladimir Putin took a hard look at Vladivostok, the faraway city founded in 1860 by Czar Alexander II as Russia’s main port on the Pacific. In 2007, President Putin evidently decided that in the era of Asian tigers, Vladivostok was the Pacific […]

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Putin’s Palaces, Yachts, Cars and Watches: An Opposition Guide to Russia’s Rich and Famous

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 12:55 am (UTC+0)

“I have worked like a galley slave throughout these eight years, morning till night.” Vladimir Putin summing up his first two terms as president to Russian and foreign Press. Feb. 2008. It’s a nice image for voters at election time. But below decks on the Sirius, a 54-meter yacht, Russia’s president is not chained to […]

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From Lance Armstrong to Russian Arctic Oil: From Accountability to Impunity

Posted August 28th, 2012 at 1:40 pm (UTC+0)

There is a golden thread that links Lance Armstrong, the disgraced American cyclist, to the Greenpeace climbers clambering about the Russian oil well rig in the Arctic. That thread is called accountability. In recent days, Greenpeace protesters briefly occupied Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, Russia’s first offshore exploration rig in the Arctic. Greenpeace opposes all oil exploration […]

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Kremlin x Pussy Riot: Girls Win!

Posted August 19th, 2012 at 3:38 pm (UTC+0)

“Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?” – Alexander Pope, 1735 This summer, Vladimir Putin tried to break three of Moscow’s butterflies on the creaking, iron wheel of Russia’s court system. On Friday, the three Pussy Riot girls were sentenced to two years in jail for singing the wrong song in church. Stalin’s show trials […]

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Russia Wins Gold for Yachts, Palaces and Penthouses

Posted August 13th, 2012 at 6:39 am (UTC+0)

With London’s Summer Olympics over, the spotlight and the torch now shift to Russia, host of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Before the torch starts moving from London, Russians are grumbling about their showing in the summer Olympic tally. Third place, with 24 gold and a total of 82 medals was not bad. Russians naturally […]

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Got A Date With Vladimir, the Tardy? Bring a Good Book

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 6:07 am (UTC+0)

I On a sun splashed hillside overlooking the Black Sea, the President of Ukraine and half of his cabinet gathered July 12 for a summit meeting with Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. The site was Livadia Palace, the Czarist-era estate that was the setting for the 1945 Yalta Conference, the meeting where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin […]

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Russia’s Political Summer Olympics: Putin x Pussy Riot

Posted August 1st, 2012 at 5:48 am (UTC+0)

In Moscow’s Political Summer Olympics, President Putin is on track this week to win the gold in a demanding event: Making Martyrs for the Opposition. After Putin’s election in March and his inauguration in May, protest crowds dwindled and a feeling of hopelessness settled over Russia’s democratic movement. But now, the biggest chants at rallies […]

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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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