1. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul spoke to Fresh Air about the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s increasingly authoritarian regime. In the interview he explains what he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin wants from Ukraine: 

"First of all, I don’t know. Second, I don’t believe anybody who will tell you that they do know. My best guess is that he himself doesn’t know, and let me explain that: I think that this was not some master plan that Putin’s been plotting for decades — annex Crimea and go in to take Novorossiya. In fact, I’ve been digging through old Putin speeches. I’ve never seen him devote a speech to the necessity of reuniting Crimea with Russia. That came only recently.
This phrase “Novorossiya,” New Russia, which is [used] to describe these eastern Ukrainian regions — I think he used that for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. So that actually gives me hope, because that means it’s not some grand plan, master design that he feels he is now empowered to execute, but that this is more contingent. He’s making it up as he goes and he’s calculating about the cost of direct military intervention and then occupation in Ukraine. And Putin is a smart person. He’s not doing it a vacuum, and he, I think and I hope, he knows how costly that would be.”



image via BBC View in High-Res

    Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul spoke to Fresh Air about the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s increasingly authoritarian regime. In the interview he explains what he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin wants from Ukraine: 

    "First of all, I don’t know. Second, I don’t believe anybody who will tell you that they do know. My best guess is that he himself doesn’t know, and let me explain that: I think that this was not some master plan that Putin’s been plotting for decades — annex Crimea and go in to take Novorossiya. In fact, I’ve been digging through old Putin speeches. I’ve never seen him devote a speech to the necessity of reuniting Crimea with Russia. That came only recently.

    This phrase “Novorossiya,” New Russia, which is [used] to describe these eastern Ukrainian regions — I think he used that for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. So that actually gives me hope, because that means it’s not some grand plan, master design that he feels he is now empowered to execute, but that this is more contingent. He’s making it up as he goes and he’s calculating about the cost of direct military intervention and then occupation in Ukraine. And Putin is a smart person. He’s not doing it a vacuum, and he, I think and I hope, he knows how costly that would be.”

    image via BBC

  2. russia

    ukraine

    vladimir putin

    interview

    crimea

    michael mcfaul

  1. Kimberly Marten speaks with Terry Gross about the goals of President Vladimir Putin —- 

"Putin is primarily focused on his domestic audience, not the international audience…He cares about the small group of elites that are in various circles of power in the Kremlin and immediately surrounding the Kremlin. And by his recent actions, he has shown that he no longer cares about the economic internationalists among the elites — the people who were pushing for Russia to join the World Trade Organization, the people who recognize that Russia’s economy is in stagnation and that the only way to get it out of stagnation is to diversify beyond its petroleum dependence and to really become a player in the international economy.
Putin has chosen, instead, to throw in his lot with ethnic nationalists, who are associated both with conservative elements in the Russian Orthodox Church and with the former KGB.”



Photo of President Putin signing a bill making Crimea and the city of Sevastopol part of Russia via Sergei Chirikov/Pool/EPA/Landov

View in High-Res

    Kimberly Marten speaks with Terry Gross about the goals of President Vladimir Putin —- 

    "Putin is primarily focused on his domestic audience, not the international audience…He cares about the small group of elites that are in various circles of power in the Kremlin and immediately surrounding the Kremlin. And by his recent actions, he has shown that he no longer cares about the economic internationalists among the elites — the people who were pushing for Russia to join the World Trade Organization, the people who recognize that Russia’s economy is in stagnation and that the only way to get it out of stagnation is to diversify beyond its petroleum dependence and to really become a player in the international economy.

    Putin has chosen, instead, to throw in his lot with ethnic nationalists, who are associated both with conservative elements in the Russian Orthodox Church and with the former KGB.”

    Photo of President Putin signing a bill making Crimea and the city of Sevastopol part of Russia via Sergei Chirikov/Pool/EPA/Landov

  2. Crimea

    Russia

    Fresh Air

    Kimberly Marten

    Vladimir Putin

  1. Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. She and her partner and children left for New York following the anti-gay laws that affect LGBT families. Today on Fresh Air she discusses consequences of these laws:

What [the anti-gay propaganda law] means is that any portrayal of LGBT people, LGBT relationships and LGBT families is now illegal in Russia if it’s accessible to minors, which of course is a problem for LGBT families because we are ourselves examples of LGBT families and are by definition accessible to minors who live in our own homes.
So the natural consequence of these laws is a campaign against LGBT parents which began with the second law, … which is a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples or single people from countries where same-sex marriage is legal. … It’s not just new adoptions, it can be used retroactively to annul adoptions that have already taken place.

… It’s Putin’s effort to shore up his constituency around this very vague but very potent idea of traditional values — the Russian family, the orthodox religion — and against the West. Nobody represents the alien West in Russia better than LGBT people do.

Part of the reason for that is because there was never any conversation about sex and sexual orientation in Russia. While the Western world was having the sexual revolution, we were having the Soviet Union. So this is really the first time that issues of sexuality, as absurd as that sounds, have been brought up in the public arena in Russia.


image via the huffinton post View in High-Res

    Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. She and her partner and children left for New York following the anti-gay laws that affect LGBT families. Today on Fresh Air she discusses consequences of these laws:

    What [the anti-gay propaganda law] means is that any portrayal of LGBT people, LGBT relationships and LGBT families is now illegal in Russia if it’s accessible to minors, which of course is a problem for LGBT families because we are ourselves examples of LGBT families and are by definition accessible to minors who live in our own homes.

    So the natural consequence of these laws is a campaign against LGBT parents which began with the second law, … which is a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples or single people from countries where same-sex marriage is legal. … It’s not just new adoptions, it can be used retroactively to annul adoptions that have already taken place.

    … It’s Putin’s effort to shore up his constituency around this very vague but very potent idea of traditional values — the Russian family, the orthodox religion — and against the West. Nobody represents the alien West in Russia better than LGBT people do.

    Part of the reason for that is because there was never any conversation about sex and sexual orientation in Russia. While the Western world was having the sexual revolution, we were having the Soviet Union. So this is really the first time that issues of sexuality, as absurd as that sounds, have been brought up in the public arena in Russia.

    image via the huffinton post

  2. fresh air

    masha gessen

    lgbt

    russia

    putin

    anti-gay laws

  1. I had fur coats and fur hats and [they] smelled of various woodland animal-type smells. The teachers would take me aside and say, “Look, you can’t be this furry. You can’t dress in these furs. Children won’t play with you if you have that much fur on.” … Basically what I was told in school every day was where we came from was wrong and where we were now was right. … It’s a lot for a sensitive 7-year-old to be told that everything he loved and believed in has to be replaced with something else.

    — Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure, speaks to Fresh Air about adjusting to life in America after leaving the Soviet Union when he was 7.

  2. fresh air

    gary shteyngart

    little failure

    russia

    soviet union

  1. Tomorrow we discuss Russia's anti-gay laws with Russian journalist Masha Gessen. She just emigrated to New York with her partner and their children to escape those laws.
 We’ll also talk about Pussy Riot, the subject of Gessen’s new book. She just interviewed the two members who were recently released from prison through Putin’s pre-Olympics amnesty.   


image of Pussy Riot (Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova) via Atlantic View in High-Res

    Tomorrow we discuss Russia's anti-gay laws with Russian journalist Masha Gessen. She just emigrated to New York with her partner and their children to escape those laws.

     We’ll also talk about Pussy Riot, the subject of Gessen’s new book. She just interviewed the two members who were recently released from prison through Putin’s pre-Olympics amnesty.  

    image of Pussy Riot (Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova) via Atlantic

  2. russia

    anti-gay laws

    pussy riot

    vladimir putin

    sochi olympics

    masha gessen

  1. In case you missed it, check out the SNL Weekend Update with Kate McKinnon as tennis legend Billie Jean King. King was a pioneer for women’s athletics, the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, and is openly gay.  President Obama selected King for the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as part of his response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay propaganda law. 
Dave Davies spoke to King this year about women’s athletics, winning “The Battle of the Sexes,” and being outed as gay by her assistant. View in High-Res

    In case you missed it, check out the SNL Weekend Update with Kate McKinnon as tennis legend Billie Jean King. King was a pioneer for women’s athletics, the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, and is openly gay.  President Obama selected King for the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as part of his response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay propaganda law.

    Dave Davies spoke to King this year about women’s athletics, winning “The Battle of the Sexes,” and being outed as gay by her assistant.

  2. fresh air

    billie jean king

    tennis

    saturday night live

    kate mckinnon

    gay

    gay rights

    russia

    sochi olympics

  1. World War two was fought on its soil. There was the blockade. Every single person was touched by the war in some way. Everybody had a lot of people in their family that fought that died. It’s very different having war on your soil rather than sending troops to some remote place where the people don’t really feel it. There are people walking around with an arm missing a leg missing. It was just real visible wounds and stories of survival, stories of heroism, stories of destruction – that all the kids grew up with it all the time.

    — Regina Spektor, On Growing Up in Russia, Feeling Like WWII Just Happened

  2. Regina Spektor

    Russia

    Fresh Air

    WWII

  1. Our audience is not Putin. Our audience is everybody else and largely it’s the police and the military, who will eventually – maybe it will happen March 5th – maybe it will happen later, but eventually when Putin feels threatened enough, he will consider using force. And my greatest hope is that by that time, neither the police nor the military will be willing to use force against people who are protesting this regime.

    — Masha Gessen, a journalist and organizer of the protests sweeping across Russia.

  2. russia

    vladimir putin

    masha gessen

  1. Putin has created a system in which people who run afoul of the government and know that they are living with a constant threat to their lives. At this point we are living in a situation where physical attacks on critics of the government and even murders are expected.

    — Over the years, Putin has created an image of himself as a “street thug” and has made systematic efforts to dismantle the country’s democracy and independent media, says journalist Masha Gessen. 

  2. vladimir putin

    russia

    masha gessen

  1. Posted on 1 March, 2012

    41 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from khodorkovsky

    khodorkovsky:

Vladimir Putin speaks at his presidential inauguration in May 2000, watched by the man he replaced, Boris Yeltsin.

Media suppression, corruption and the murder of critics and political rivals have marked the regime of Vladimir Putin, who is running for his third term as President in Russia’s election next week. Despite mass demonstrations, he’s expected to win. On today’s Fresh Air, Russian journalist Masha Gessen explains how Putin systemically stifled independent journalism — and his critics — over the past 12 years.

    khodorkovsky:

    Vladimir Putin speaks at his presidential inauguration in May 2000, watched by the man he replaced, Boris Yeltsin.

    Media suppression, corruption and the murder of critics and political rivals have marked the regime of Vladimir Putin, who is running for his third term as President in Russia’s election next week. Despite mass demonstrations, he’s expected to win. On today’s Fresh Air, Russian journalist Masha Gessen explains how Putin systemically stifled independent journalism — and his critics — over the past 12 years.

  2. masha gessen

    vladimir putin

    russia

  1. nprradiopictures:

Tamara Ostrovskaya (right) and her sister-in-law, Albina Ostrosvskaya, stand on the platform at Yaroslavsky Station. Tamara is embarking on a three day trip to Krasnoyarsk, in central Siberia. (David Gilkey/NPR)
NPR journalists, including photographer, David Gilkey, traveled the full length of the Trans-Siberian Railroad through seven time zones and across thousands of miles from Russia’s capital, Moscow, to the port city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean.
Check out Part 1 of the three part series. 
-Becky 
View in High-Res

    nprradiopictures:

    Tamara Ostrovskaya (right) and her sister-in-law, Albina Ostrosvskaya, stand on the platform at Yaroslavsky Station. Tamara is embarking on a three day trip to Krasnoyarsk, in central Siberia. (David Gilkey/NPR)

    NPR journalists, including photographer, David Gilkey, traveled the full length of the Trans-Siberian Railroad through seven time zones and across thousands of miles from Russia’s capital, Moscow, to the port city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean.

    Check out Part 1 of the three part series. 

    -Becky 

  2. russia

    photography

  1. A fascinating story about a Russian cosmonaut up in space, crying because he knew he was never coming home (photo of the speech prepared just-in-case something happened to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had they been marooned or killed.) View in High-Res

    A fascinating story about a Russian cosmonaut up in space, crying because he knew he was never coming home (photo of the speech prepared just-in-case something happened to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had they been marooned or killed.)

  2. space

    Vladimir Kamarov

    yuri gagarin

    russia

    nasa

    starman

  1. Maybe They Could Hold the Next Season of Jersey Shore Here: While a team of Russian scientists were drilling ice core samples from  their Vostok base in Antarctica, new satellite imagery revealed the  outline of a lake the size of New Jersey buried two miles underneath the  ice.  Scientists have been drilling through the ice and are now just  100 feet away from breaking into the third largest lake on the planet. View in High-Res

    Maybe They Could Hold the Next Season of Jersey Shore Here: While a team of Russian scientists were drilling ice core samples from their Vostok base in Antarctica, new satellite imagery revealed the outline of a lake the size of New Jersey buried two miles underneath the ice. Scientists have been drilling through the ice and are now just 100 feet away from breaking into the third largest lake on the planet.

  2. antarctica

    russia

    vostok

    lake the size of new jersey