Covering Putin’s First 100 Days


© Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2012 (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin).

By Gregory Woolston

Noting its wonderful title, I jumped at the opportunity to attend James Bettner Brooke’s “Covering Putin’s First 100 Days: From Romney’s Top Foe To Pussy Riot” at the Robert A. Jones ’59 House on Thursday evening. Brooke is the Russia/former Soviet Union bureau chief for Voice of America (VOA), where he blogs at Russia Watch. His lecture caught the attention of both aspiring journalists and students of Russian Studies, as he intertwined the topics of media and modern Russia through an in-depth exploration of his blog. With regard to the former, Brooke explained VOA’s significance for English speakers within Russia, many of whom turn to its articles, photographic essays and videos as an alternative to other English news sources, such as Russia Today. With regard to the latter, he elaborated on recent events within the country, ranging from President Vladimir Putin’s framing of the United States as an enemy and the recent eviction of USAID, to last month’s conviction of Pussy Riot and the accompanying protests.

It appears the situation will only grow more interesting with time, as Russian relations develop with China (and sour with the United States), borderland populations grow, the population of ethnic Russians declines and a “faster” generation matures. As I’m sure many in attendance would agree, Brooke’s blog is certainly worth following for the latest updates from Moscow.