russia

Jedimentat44 via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/auAnDK

A simple Google image search reveals countless images of a shirtless Vladimir Putin, riding horseback, fishing, and brandishing weapons. On today’s show: how the Russian leader uses machismo and gender stereotypes to build political legitimacy.

Then, among the most popular New Year resolutions, getting in shape ranks close to the top, but less than 10% of weight-loss resolutions last. A philosopher shares his take on how we should think about exercise, in order to maintain a regimen.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Kelly Ayotte in Portsmouth
Cheryl Senter / NHPR

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is calling for tougher action against Russia for annexing Crimea.   

hegtor / Flickr Creative Commons

In Ukraine, tensions are growing. More forces are massing around the Crimean peninsula of the country, threats of war keep getting louder and allies of both countries are figuring out how to react if war begins. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in New Hampshire, residents with direct ties to the country worry and wait.  A Nashua engineer born in the eastern city of Kharkiv, an area with close ties to Russia, keeps in touch with his parents and other residents living in Ukraine.

Kelly Ayotte in Portsmouth
Cheryl Senter / NHPR

With Ukraine still torn between pro-European and pro-Russian factions, New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is calling on the Obama Administration to take a strong stand against Russia.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Ayotte said the so-called “Reset Policy” with President Vladimir Putin had failed.  She pointed out the country’s siding with the Assad regime in Syria, harboring NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and alleged violation of a decades-old nuclear arms treaty.

Johnny9s via flickr Creative Commons

While Russia celebrated its history and artistry at the spectacular opening to the Sochi games, protestors of Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws were being carted off to jail. Today on Word of Mouth, a writer travels to Russia to learn about life for gay people trapped in the iron closet. 

Also today, India’s luge champ, Mexico’s royal mariachi ski racer and a few other unlikely heroes to watch for at Sochi. Plus, the book awards chosen by critics who read everything. Listen to the full show here, and scroll down for links and more.

fernandocabo / Flickr Creative Commons

The Cold War might be over but the two former enemies are hardly on warm terms. Sore points for the U.S. include Russia’s shielding of NSA-leaker Edward Snowden, its anti-gay laws, and its support for the Syrian regime. But Putin-led Russia has its own complaints against the West, and seeks greater respect on the world stage. Now, These geopolitical dramas form the backdrop to the Sochi Olympics, considered a chance for Russia to boost its global reputation.

GUESTS:

Is Sochi Safe?

Jan 21, 2014
©Thomas Dworzak National Geographic

While landing the 2014 Winter Olympic games was a crowning political achievement for Russian President Vladimir Putin, preparations for the Sochi games have not been so triumphant. With just three weeks until opening ceremonies, security officials are actively chasing down members of a terrorist group that has publicly threatened to disrupt the games. The seaside resort town of Sochi and neighboring sites of Olympic events have a long history of anti-government friction. Only a day’s drive from Chechnya, the region borders recently disputed territory with Georgia and was the site of an alleged genocide perpetrated by Russian Tsars in the 19th century. Our guest is writer Brett Forrest, he examined the landscape and geopolitics of the upcoming 2014 games in the January issue of National Geographic magazine.

Wikicommons

Imagine this: a family of six, living for more than 40 years in an isolated tiny cabin on the vast Siberian Taiga. If this were the 19th century, it might not be so far-fetched. But, it was 1978 when four geologists prospecting for iron discovered the Lykovs. Patriarch Karp Lykov and his wife, Akulina, fled the Soviet purges of the 1930s and headed for the forest where they raised their children, completely unaware of WWII, the moon landing, the cold war, or the advent of television.

poniblog / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. ties with Russia have always been complicated, but recently they have heated up even more. Disputes over how to approach the war in Syria, Russia’s protection of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, as well as the recent tug of war over Ukraine have all contributed to this tension. We’re examining this fraught relationship and how it’s changed. 

GUESTS:

Joshua Weinstein via POV Docs

The dream of “being discovered” is on parade at a casting call in Novosibirsk, one of several Siberian cities that supply the pre-adolescent, doe-eyed, “Russian look” models most desired by the Japanese fashion market. Ashley Arbaugh scours rural beauty pageants for girls, typically poor, mostly looking for a way out, and sends them off to Tokyo. That journey, marked by deceit and exploitation, is the subject of “Girl Model”, a documentary feature by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin. Together, David and Ashley have produced, directed and edited seven documentary feature films. Their latest, “Girl Model,” makes its broadcast premiere on PBS’s acclaimed POV series on Sunday.

Leo Reynods via Flickr Creative Commons

Our niftiest and spiffiest content, all in one great show. This week, a look at the shifting human condition. Holocaust survivors being turned into holograms, a Russian "Swiss Family Robinson" that missed most of the 20th Century, corporate anthropologists, transplant "tourism," the nasty effect of internet comments, and a former professor pens a memoir about being stalked by an ex- student online.

Generation Putin

Mar 3, 2013

It's been over 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Young people in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia are facing unemployment, democratic pressure, and the legacy of repression, while being influenced by the West, punk music, and the Pussy Riot trials. PRX sent a reporting team from the Seattle Globalist to explore the tensions in these countries, described by The Atlantic as 'uneasily suspended' between two political eras. Join host Brooke Gladstone for Generation Putin, an in-depth look at the millennial generation in the post-Soviet states.

This week NHPR's newsroom has played host to two journalists visiting the United States to see what our elections look like and to report on them to audiences back home.

One of them, Paul Filippov, is program director for a radio station in Catherinesburg, Russia, a city in the Ural Mountains. He talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about his impressions of the election and political media coverage.

Romney, GOP Pounce On Obama's Russia Comment

Mar 27, 2012

President Obama went to South Korea to talk about nuclear security, only to find that the presidential campaign followed him there.

Obama is now facing sharp criticism from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other GOP figures following comments he made Monday, in seeming confidence, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

As reporters gathered for a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Obama leaned over to his Russian counterpart. Without realizing a microphone was open, he said:

Russia was once the world leader in space exploration, but its space program has suffered a string of costly and embarrassing mishaps over the past year.

NASA says Russia is still a trustworthy partner, but critics say the once-proud program is corrupt and mismanaged — good at producing excuses, but not results.

The Memorial Space Museum in Moscow showcases the achievements of the Soviet Union's space program.

Every May, Russia displays its military might in a parade on Victory Day, commemorating the surrender of the Nazis to the Soviet Union in World War II.

The marching men and rolling tanks put on an impressive show, but Russia's military, and especially its defense industry, has fallen on hard times.

"The industry, much like other parts of the economy, hasn't seen proper investment for over a decade, if not more," says Lilit Gevorgyan, a Russia analyst for the defense industry consultant IHS Jane's.

The Kalashnikov assault rifle, or AK-47, is one of the most dangerous and widely used weapons in the world. For more than 60 years, nations, rebels, gangsters and child soldiers have wielded the gun.

And now, Russian officials say it's outdated. As part of a $700 billion army modernization program, the country has announced a redesign of the rifle.

New York Times foreign correspondent C.J. Chivers — author of The Gun, a book about the Kalashnikov — tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the updates are mostly cosmetic.

NPR's Michele Kelemen is a former employee of Voice of America.

Russian anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny has been the victim of many dirty tricks by pro-Kremlin media.

But when the U.S. government-funded Voice of America published an online interview that had him criticizing other Russian opposition figures, Navalny quickly tweeted that the interview was a fake.

"It seems the VOA has gone nuts," he wrote to his Twitter followers.

In just a few weeks, most of the United States will shift back to daylight saving time — and Americans will lose an hour of sleep but gain an extra hour of light in the evening.

That won't be happening in Russia, though, where President Dmitry Medvedev has put the country on permanent summer time.

Medvedev's decree, issued last fall, means that it doesn't get light in Moscow now until around 9 a.m. Back in January, it was dark until 10 in the morning.

This has become an issue in Russia's presidential election next month.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnyuk/3240916291/>Sunny UK </a>via Flickr Creative Commons)

Jessica Golloher, Word of Mouth's eyes and ears in Moscow, reports on the scads of Russians signing up for alternative medicine.