Corey Flintoff

Corey Flintoff is NPR's international correspondent based in Moscow. His journalism career has taken him to more than 50 countries, most recently to cover the civil war in Libya, the revolution in Egypt and the war in Afghanistan.

After joining NPR in 1990, Flintoff worked for many years as a newscaster during All Things Considered. In 2005, he became part of the NPR team covering the Iraq War, where he embedded with U.S. military units fighting insurgents and hunting roadside bombs.

Flintoff's reporting from Iraq includes stories on sectarian killings, government corruption, the Christian refugee crisis and the destruction of Iraq's southern marshes. In 2010, he traveled to Haiti to report on the massive earthquake its aftermath. Two years before, he reported on his stint on a French warship chasing pirates off the coast of Somalia.

One of Flintoff's favorite side jobs at NPR is standing in for Carl Kasell during those rare times when the venerable scorekeeper takes a break from Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Before NPR, Flintoff served as the executive producer and host of Alaska News Nightly, a daily news magazine produced by the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage. His coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was recognized with the 1989 Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award.

In 1977, Flintoff got his start in public radio working at at KYUK-AM/TV, in Bethel, Alaska. KYUK is a bilingual English-Yup'ik Eskimo station and Flintoff learned just enough Yup'ik to announce the station identification. He wrote and produced a number of television documentaries about Alaskan life, including "They Never Asked Our Fathers" and "Eyes of the Spirit," which have aired on PBS and are now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

He tried his hand at commercial herring fishing, dog-mushing, fiction writing and other pursuits, but failed to break out of the radio business.

Flintoff has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's degree from the University of Chicago, both in English literature. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Drexel University.

Moscow may be projecting a tough image abroad, but Russia is facing severe internal problems, including worrying trends that suggest the world's biggest country could run short of people.

That's not what you might assume, judging by the number of babies in buggies and strollers in any large Russian city. At a neighborhood park in St. Petersburg full of young families with children and toddlers, it looks like this country is in the midst of a baby boom.

Police in Russia have arrested a dissident performance artist for setting fire to some doors at Russia's top security agency.

Images from the protest show Pyotr Pavlensky standing in front of two monumental wooden doors, their panels outlined in flame. The 31-year-old artist is a cadaverous figure, wearing a dark hoodie and holding a gasoline can.

The nightly news on Russia's state-run television is full of the whine of jet engines as warplanes launch sorties from a dusty airfield in Syria. Russia has just over 30 fixed-wing combat planes in Syria. The Ministry of Defense says these planes are flying dozens of missions every day.

Russia's bombing campaign in Syria has entered its third week, and military officials are claiming daily successes in striking what they say are "terrorist targets."

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday, amid a controversial bombing campaign in Syria, a weakening economy and tensions with the U.S. and its Western allies. The Russian leader made a point of taking it all in stride — including adulation from his fans.

He occupied an even more prominent place than usual on Russian state television on Wednesday. Putin was shown receiving a briefing on the Russian military operation in Syria, including the news that Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired more than two dozen rockets at targets in Syria.

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Russia has been displaying its military might lately, with war games and weapons shows. Even though his country is the midst of a recession, President Vladimir Putin is pushing ahead with a costly plan to modernize the military.

Top U.S. and NATO officials have identified Russia's war-making potential as a greater threat than Islamist terrorism, but is the hype justified?

There's a quote that's often attributed to Winston Churchill: "Russia is never as strong as you fear or as weak as you hope."

Russian tabloids and TV channels had a field day this week with newly released pictures of President Vladimir Putin working out at a gym with his prime minister.

In one of several high-profile cases that have drawn international criticism, a Russian military court has sentenced a Ukrainian film director to 20 years in prison for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea.

The cases have provoked protests from human rights groups and Western governments, including the United States.

Given Russia's cyber skills, it's not surprising that a Russian entrepreneur, Eugene Kaspersky, runs one of the world's leading companies offering protection from malware and online crime.

But with the current tensions between Russia and the West, Kaspersky's ties to the Russian government have raised questions.

There's a line in the 2007 movie Die Hard 4: Live Free Or Die, when in the midst of a wave of cyberterrorism, the villain warns "you have no idea who you're dealing with."

There has been a spate of suicides among cancer patients in Russia and family members say their loved ones took their own lives because of unbearable pain, the result of government rules that make it hard to get painkilling drugs.

A new Russian law aims to make the process more humane, but patient advocates say it doesn't go far enough.

There's a support hotline for cancer patients called Project Co-operate, where volunteers offer advice and information to callers from all across Russia.

Oleg Konstantinov, the editor of a news website called Dumskaya in Ukraine's port city of Odessa, pulls up a map on a computer screen in his small, crowded newsroom. It's dotted with red, yellow, orange and green fire-burst icons, indicating where 34 bombings have taken place in the city over the past year or so.

Fighting surged again this week in eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling separatist militias and their Russian allies.

NATO is responding by sending troops and equipment to eastern Europe, and it's also giving defensive training to Ukraine's beleaguered army.

First, you need to know how bad things were for the Ukrainian army when separatist militias and their Russian allies began the fight in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

Miroslav Gai volunteered for the army last winter.

When Mikheil Saakashvili was the flamboyant, provocative president of Georgia, he made an international name for himself with his willingness to take on Russia, his much larger neighbor to the north.

Saakashvili led his tiny country, a former Soviet republic, in the brief war with Russia in 2008, which Georgia quickly lost. Saakashvili, who was also known as an economic reformer, served two terms as president but left Georgia after his party suffered a crushing defeat in parliamentary elections.

Moscow this year is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its subway system — the Moscow Metro — a crowning achievement of the Soviet Union's unprecedented forced industrialization in the 1930s.

One of the world's biggest and busiest subways today, it has dark connections to the repressions of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Victory Day, which commemorates the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, is the biggest annual celebration in Russia. And Saturday's event, marking the 70th anniversary, will be among the largest ever held.

The centerpiece will be a giant military parade just outside the Kremlin walls in Red Square, where more than 16,000 troops will pass in review before President Vladimir Putin, VIPs and foreign leaders.

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General Motors announced last week that it's closing its auto plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Volkswagen says it will lay off workers and reduce shifts at a plant in central Russia.

The latest auto industry troubles highlight a dismal picture for foreign investment in Russia, which could see a 35 percent drop in sales this year.

Seven years ago, GM was looking at a bright future in the Russian market. Cars sales were taking off and would eventually grow at a rate of more than 10 percent a year.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists has died down after a cease-fire agreement last month, but there are stretches of the front line where shooting has never really stopped.

Near the village of Pisky, for instance, you can hear the dull thud of incoming mortar rounds, coming in sporadic waves.

Pisky is on the Ukrainian government side of the front line, but it's not far from the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk.

The shelling is more than a mile from a militia camp set up in what used to be a small hotel and cafe.

Ukraine faces a trio of crises — war, bankruptcy, and now, the threat that its people may have the heat turned off for the rest of winter.

Russia is once again threatening to cut off shipments of natural gas to Ukraine — and hinting that fuel supplies to Europe could be disrupted as well.

Energy ministers from Russia and Ukraine are holding emergency talks in Brussels mediated by the European Union.

It's an issue for the entire continent. About 40 percent of EU gas imports come from Russia, and half of that is delivered by pipelines that cross Ukraine.

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A year ago, clashes killed scores of anti-government protesters in Ukraine and the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled the country.

Over the weekend, thousands of people turned out in Kiev's central square, known as the Maidan, to mark the anniversary.

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In the Soviet days, when Communist leaders periodically tried to rewrite history, the country's historians had a favorite joke: anyone can predict the future, they would say — what's hard is predicting the past.

The Soviet Union may now be history, but Russian lawmakers are busy trying to create their own version of the past.

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As war rages in eastern Ukraine, European Union foreign ministers are preparing to meet Thursday to consider drastic new sanctions against Russia.

The EU and the United States say Moscow's troops and weapons are directly involved in an offensive by anti-government militias in Ukraine's eastern provinces.

The offensive is the latest phase in a war that has racked the region since last April — and it's grinding hard on the civilians who are caught in the middle.

In times of turmoil, Russians turn to their great writers for inspiration.

One of those writers is Mikhail Bulgakov, who died 75 years ago. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin liked some of Bulgakov's work, but he considered most of it too dangerous to publish. A museum in Moscow shows that the work is just as relevant as ever.

One is a pioneering fighter pilot, another is a decorated intelligence agent and the third is a celebrated film director. Right now, all three are sitting in Russian jails.

The cases are not directly related, but all three are citizens of neighboring countries in conflict with Russia. Two are from Ukraine, arrested after Russia's annexation of Crimea and the war with Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern provinces. The third is from the Baltic nation of Estonia.

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Even as tensions have grown between the United States and Russia, both countries have worked with an autocratic leader who rules a strategic nation in Central Asia.

The country is Uzbekistan, and the leader is Islam Karimov, the 76-year-old former Communist Party boss who has been president since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Despite a long record of human rights violations, Uzbekistan has been a key partner for the United States during the Afghan War.