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The Russia Guy

Author: Kevin Rothrock

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In this podcast, translator and news aggregator Kevin Rothrock talks to movers and shakers in Russia-focused journalism and academia. Interviews deal with views on trending news stories, the overarching themes of “Russia watching,” and the ins and outs of life as a professional in this field. Help him pay for Buzzsprout and recording equipment by supporting him at Patreon.
114 Episodes
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Today's guest is Jack Stubbs, the European cybersecurity correspondent at the news agency Reuters and previously a correspondent in Russia and Ukraine. About a week ago, on October 1, 2020, Jack authored an exclusive story at Reuters, titled “Russian Operation Masqueraded as Right-Wing News Site to Target U.S. Voters,” about people connected to the infamous Internet Research Agency — that troll factory founded by Evgeny Prigozhin — running a fake news outlet designed to target right-wing voters with inflammatory political messaging ahead of this year’s U.S. presidential election. According to sources familiar with an FBI probe, this is the right-wing version of a nearly identical project that targeted American leftists called Peace Data. Follow Jack Stubbs on Twitter here and read his work at Reuters here.Music and audio for "The Russia Guy":Alexandr Kuzminyh, CC BY license, "TOP 12 CARTOONS ON THE GUITAR (SOVIET CARTOONS)"Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Thinking Music by Kevin MacLeod / Link / LicenseThe Bandit by Kevin MacLeod / Link / LicenseSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
E115: Ben Aris

E115: Ben Aris

2020-10-0733:41

Today's guest is Ben Aris, the editor-in-chief of bne IntelliNews, a media outlet he pioneered that reports on business news and data from emerging markets. Ben spent many years as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Europe, and he’s been covering Russia since 1993, with stints in the Baltics and Central Asia. He co-founded bne and is a former Moscow bureau chief for The Daily Telegraph and was a contributing editor at The Banker and Euromoney for a decade.Follow Ben Aris on Twitter here.Music and audio for "The Russia Guy":Alexandr Kuzminyh, CC BY license, "TOP 12 CARTOONS ON THE GUITAR (SOVIET CARTOONS)"Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
E114: Bryan MacDonald

E114: Bryan MacDonald

2020-09-1952:37

Bryan MacDonald, the head of the online Russia desk at the English-language edition of Russia Today, or RT, joins “The Russia Guy” to discuss his career in journalism and his views on Alexey Navalny, Western reporting, and Russian politics.Follow him on Twitter here.Music and audio for "The Russia Guy":Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
E113: Anna Arutunyan

E113: Anna Arutunyan

2020-09-0736:02

Today’s guest is Anna Arutunyan, a Russian-American analyst and writer and the author of “The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult” (2014) and “The Media in Russia” (2009) and the co-author of “Freedom, Repression, and Private Property in Russia” (2013). Her work has been published all over the place, and one of her most recent articles was released on August 5 in the magazine Foreign Affairs, titled “There Is No Russian Plot Against America.” Follow Anna on Twitter here!Music and audio for "The Russia Guy":Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Thinking Music by Kevin MacLeod / Link / LicenseThe Bandit by Kevin MacLeod / Link / LicenseSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
E112: Tara Reade

E112: Tara Reade

2020-08-2533:39

Today's guest is Tara Reade, the former staff assistant in Joe Biden’s Senate office, who earlier this year accused Biden of sexually assaulting her back in 1993 when she was in her late 20s. Ms. Reade has faced significant criticism not just for her allegations against Joe Biden, but also for her past statements about Russia and Vladimir Putin, which some commentators seem to believe constitute “possible Russia connections” in line with the collusion theory that Donald Trump conspired with Moscow to defeat Hillary Clinton. Ms. Reade has been asked about her views on Russia before, but not in much detail. That changes here.For more reading about Tara Reade's allegations against Joe Biden, see the following sources:Megyn Kelly: The MK Interview: Tara ReadeCurrent Affairs: "Tara Reade Tells Her Story" (Katie Halper's interview)Democracy Now! “It Shattered My Life”: Former Joe Biden Staffer Tara Reade Says He Sexually Assaulted Her in 1993Business Insider: A former neighbor of Joe Biden's accuser Tara Reade has come forward to corroborate her sexual-assault account, saying Reade discussed the allegations in detail in the mid-1990sNew York Times: "Tara Reade's Tumultuous Journey to the 2020 Campaign"Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today's guest is Rob Lee, a doctoral student in the Department of War Studies at King's College London, a former Alfa Fellow, and an ex-Marine. Rob joins "The Russia Guy" to talk about the 33 Russian nationals arrested in Belarus on July 29, 2020. Officials in Minsk say the men are mercenaries from the “Wagner” private military company (PMC) who planned to incite riots ahead of the presidential election. Russian diplomats have identified the suspects as private security guards who were merely passing through Belarus.Follow Rob's excellent monitoring work on Twitter here.Music and audio for "The Russia Guy":Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today's show welcomes back Wilson Center Disinformation Fellow Nina Jankowicz, who first appeared on this podcast way back in December 2017. She's back now to discuss her new book, How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict, which "takes the reader on a journey through five Western governments' responses to Russian information warfare tactics" (Estonia, Georgia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine) and "shows what is at stake: the future of civil discourse and democracy, and the value of truth itself."Order the book here from the publisher or at Amazon, and follow Nina on Twitter here.Music and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today’s show looks at the case against Khabarovsk Governor Sergey Furgal, whom federal agents arrested on Thursday, July 9, and promptly flew him to Moscow where he was arraigned on charges that he organized violence (including several contract killings) against business rivals in 2004 and 2005.Today's guest is András Tóth-Czifra, a political analyst based in New York and the author of the No Yardstick blog, where he’s written for almost 10 years about Russian politics, often focusing on the country’s more remote regions.Music and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Thinking Music by Kevin MacLeod / Link / LicenseSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
A freelance journalist in Moscow with bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, Foreign Policy, The Nation, Politico, and more, guest Alec Luhn discusses reporting Russia’s Arctic and journalism about environmentalism more broadly. How do you sell Western readers on these themes? What does it take to get to remote areas where the climate crisis is most destructive? Listen and find out.Follow Alec Luhn on Twitter here.Music and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today's guest is Yuval Weber, the Kennan Institute Associate Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies. He was also the inaugural Daniel Morgan Graduate School-Kennan Institute fellow and previously taught at Harvard University as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government. Dr. Weber is working on a book now that asks why pro-market economic reform efforts in Russia follow similar trajectories even among very different types of government like monarchy, communism, and “sovereign democracy.”Check out his DMGS bio here and follow him on Twitter here.Music and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14Олег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки”The Bandit by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4483-the-banditLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/Thinking Music by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4522-thinking-musicLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
On today’s show, “The Russia Guy” welcomes Michael Schwirtz, a journalist from The New York Times staff who just won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. The award was granted for “a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” The newspaper's winning work includes six articles and two documentary videos published in 2019. Now an investigative reporter with The New York Times, Michael has been with the newspaper for 14 years, having started in the Moscow bureau and then working at the Metro Desk, first covering the New York City Policy Department, then as part of Metro's investigative team, reporting about brutality and corruption in the New York State prison system and at Rikers Island in New York City. The four winning works that Michael authored or co-authored are the following:“Russia Ordered a Killing That Made No Sense. Then the Assassin Started Talking.””Top Secret Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe, Security Officials Say”* “How Russia Meddles Abroad for Profit: Cash, Trolls and a Cult Leader”* “How a Poisoning in Bulgaria Exposed Russian Assassins in Europe”You can read them all here:https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/staff-new-york-timesFollow Michael Schwirtz on Twitter here:https://twitter.com/mschwirtzSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
E105: Miriam Elder

E105: Miriam Elder

2020-04-1923:43

Today’s guest is Miriam Elder, a political reporter at BuzzFeed, where until recently she worked for many years as the world editor. Before that, she was the Russia correspondent for The Guardian, and her work has been featured in many other publications, including The Financial Times, The Atlantic, The Moscow Times, and more. Miriam is also the first Western journalist who reported extensively on Pussy Riot. She was kind enough to come on this podcast and answer some questions about life in Moscow, life as an editor, and the ups and downs of writing about Russia.Follow Miriam Elder on Twitter:https://twitter.com/MiriamElderFollow Miriam's reported at BuzzFeed:https://www.buzzfeednews.com/author/miriamelderSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQModern Jazz Samba by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4063-modern-jazz-sambaLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today’s guest is Brian O’Toole, a senior fellow in the Global Business and Economics Program at the Atlantic Council. Brian previously worked at the U.S. Treasury Department from 2009 to 2017, becoming a senior adviser to the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As a senior adviser, Brian helped manage the implementation of all OFAC-administered economic and financial sanctions programs, and provided strategic direction of the internal management of the agency. He additionally played a central role in designing the U.S. sanctions regime in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and negotiating the multilateral sanctions imposed by the European Union and G7 in coordination with the United States.Brian came on “The Russia Guy” to discuss the recent shipment of Russian medical supplies to New York City and the geopolitical scandal that erupted as a result.Brian O’Toole at the Atlantic Council:https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/expert/brian-o-toole/“A Mystery Wrapped In An Enigma Inside A Russian Coronavirus Aid Shipment To The U.S.,” By Mike Eckel:https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-coronavirus-aid-shipment-u-s-mystery-sanctions-propaganda/30529019.htmlSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQWalking Along by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4603-walking-alongLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/The Bandit by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4483-the-banditLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
E103: Jill Dougherty

E103: Jill Dougherty

2020-03-2934:51

Today’s guest is Jill Dougherty, a Russia expert who worked as a journalist at CNN for 30 years before shifting to work in academia. At CNN, she served as a White House correspondent, a foreign affairs correspondent covering the U.S. State Department, as a U.S. affairs editor, a managing editor for CNN Asia/Pacific, and for almost a decade as Moscow Bureau chief. Jill was kind enough to come on this podcast to discuss her many years in this field, how she’s seen it change and evolve over time, and what she makes of Russia’s past, present, and future. She also explained her new podcast for the Wilson Center, “KennanX.” Jill Dougherty on Twitter:https://twitter.com/jillrussiaThe KennanX podcast:https://www.wilsoncenter.org/collection/kennanx-podcastSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQThinking Music by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4522-thinking-musicLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/The Bandit by Kevin MacLeodLink: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4483-the-banditLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today’s guest is the man behind one of the longest-running, best Russia blogs ever written. If you’ve even a fleeting interest in Russia’s military, you’ve probably read the Russian Defense Policy blog at least once, and on today’s episode of The Russia Guy, you can finally hear from the author, who asked to remain anonymous, which is how he’s always maintained his blog, of course. How do you sustain a blog for more than a decade? Where do you go for information to maintain expertise on an issue like Russian defense policy? Is open-source intelligence the future? This and more in the interview.The blog:https://russiandefpolicy.blog/ Follow Russian Defense Policy on Twitter:https://twitter.com/russiandefpolicSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today's guest is New York Times Moscow correspondent Anton Troianovski, the author of the March 6, 2020, article, “As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity,” which addresses previously unreported archival documents uncovered in Yaroslavl, where Sanders traveled in 1988 in a combination of civic diplomacy and his own honeymoon. The story has been provocative among many Sanders’s supporters, so here's Troianovski explaining why he wrote it.The article itself:https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/world/europe/bernie-sanders-soviet-russia.html“Excerpts from the Sanders Files in a Russian Archive”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/world/europe/sanders-russia-excerpts-archive.htmlSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
On The Russia Guy’s 100th episode, today's guest is Julia Ioffe, now a correspondent at GQ Magazine, a former Moscow-based reporter, a prominent public figure in both academic settings and cable news, and the author of an upcoming book about Russia. In the interview you’re about to hear, Julia talks about the steps that led her to journalism, the differences of working with official sources in Moscow and Washington, D.C., what it’s like to have a personal connection to the news, and the highs and lows of life as a writer.Follow Julia on Twitter:https://twitter.com/juliaioffeRead her stories at GQ:https://www.gq.com/contributor/julia-ioffeSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today's guest is Oliver Carroll, the Moscow correspondent for the British newspaper “The Independent.” Ollie has lived in and reported from Moscow and Kyiv for more than a decade, he’s back in the Russian capital now, and he was kind enough to come on this podcast to discuss the latest political shakeup in the Russian government and the constitutional amendments, as well as his long career reporting from Russia, Ukraine, and the war-torn Donbas.Follow Ollie on Twitter:https://twitter.com/olliecarrollRead his work at The Independent:https://www.independent.co.uk/author/oliver-carrollSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today’s guest is Elizaveta Fokht, a journalist the BBC’s Russian-language service, who's also reported for Russian news outlets like Dozhd and RBK. Earlier this month, she and her colleague, Andrey Zakharov, wrote a spectacular story about a new media holding company called “Patriot,” which unites several websites with connections to Evgeny Prigozhin, the Russian catering magnate (who also dabbles in media, mercenaries, and God knows what else).Read their report (in Russian) here:https://www.bbc.com/russian/features-50632900Read an English-language summary at Meduza here:https://meduza.io/en/feature/2019/12/04/why-so-negativeFollow Elizaveta on Twitter here:https://twitter.com/lizafohtSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
Today's guest is Lincoln Pigman, a Master’s graduate student at Oxford University and a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Center. He’s written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other outlets, usually about Russian cyberspace. About a year ago, he wrote an article in the Journal of Cyber Policy, titled “Russia’s Vision of Cyberspace: A Danger to Regime Security, Public Safety, and Societal Norms and Cohesion.”Follow Lincoln on Twitter here:https://twitter.com/lincolnpigmanSupport this very podcast here:www.patreon.com/kevinrothrockMusic and audio:Ну погоди, episode 14, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncHd3sxpEbo&t=7sОлег Анофриев, Бременские музыканты, “Говорят, мы бяки-буки,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-3wC7gkMDQSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/kevinrothrock)
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