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.

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.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

Last spring, eastern Ukraine was a struggling, rust-belt region of mines and metal works. Now it's a battle zone where armies face off with heavy weapons, and where nearly 5,000 people have died.

In Russia, one man claims to have touched off the conflagration, and he says he's proud of what he did. His name is Igor Girkin, and he has a knack for turning up in tumultuous places.

In this instance, Girkin made his appearance in April of last year, shortly after Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after months of street protests.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The conflict over Russia's role in Ukraine is spilling over into many aspects of Russian life, including its music scene. Some of the country's most popular musicians have taken stands against the annexation of Crimea and Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

And those who oppose Russian involvement have been facing a backlash from the authorities.

The veteran band Televizor is a case in point.

Dasha Daunis is a lively 15-year-old who loves animals. She talks with her mother, Anastasia, about a recent trip to the circus, where they saw her favorite, bears.

Dasha was born with Down syndrome, and Anastasia says the doctors at the hospital told her that her baby would never thrive.

"Everyone was saying, the most reasonable decision is to abandon the child, because it's a cross you'll have to bear all your life," she recalls. "This child will never even understand that you are its father and mother. And your friends and your family will turn away from you."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's been six weeks since Moscow slapped a ban on foods imported from the United States, the European Union and other countries that sanctioned Russia for its involvement in Ukraine. The implications of that move are just beginning to be felt.

Many of the Russian capital's trendiest restaurants have been hit hard because they get most of their ingredients from Europe. So they've had to scramble to find replacements.

Russia and its tiny neighbor, Estonia, are embroiled in a spy controversy worthy of a John le Carré novel.

Estonia says Russian agents kidnapped one of its intelligence officials in a cross-border raid. Russia says the man was caught spying on its territory.

Ukraine and the West, including the United States, insist that the Russian army has been fighting in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Russia just as vehemently denies.

But reports from Russia now acknowledge that Russian soldiers are part of the battle — though they are claimed to be volunteers, on leave from their army jobs.

Critics say the Russian military is ordering soldiers into the fight, and covering up the deaths of those who are killed, in an unacknowledged war on foreign soil.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pages