Lucian Kim

Lucian Kim is NPR's international correspondent based in Moscow. He has been reporting on Europe and the former Soviet Union for the past two decades.

Before joining NPR in 2016, Kim was based in Berlin, where he was a regular contributor to Slate and Reuters. As one of the first foreign correspondents in Crimea when Russian troops arrived, Kim covered the 2014 Ukraine conflict for news organizations such as BuzzFeed and Newsweek.

Kim first moved to Moscow in 2003, becoming the business editor and a columnist for the Moscow Times. He later covered energy giant Gazprom and the Russian government for Bloomberg News.

Kim started his career in 1996 after receiving a Fulbright grant for young journalists in Berlin. There he worked as a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the Boston Globe, reporting from central Europe, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

He has twice been the alternate for the Council on Foreign Relations' Edward R. Murrow Fellowship.

Kim was born and raised in Charleston, Illinois. He earned a bachelor's degree in geography and foreign languages from Clark University, studied journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated with a master's degree in nationalism studies from Central European University in Budapest.

Updated at 6 a.m. ET Saturday

In Belarus, a 37-year-old political novice is giving Europe's longest-serving leader a run for his money.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is challenging Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, 65, in an unexpectedly contentious election set for Aug. 9.

An English translator and mother of two, Tikhanovskaya decided to run after her husband, a popular blogger, was jailed in May.

Artyom Mozgov, 20, is among the thousands of people who have been protesting for two weeks in the Russian city of Khabarovsk, seven time zones east of Moscow on the Chinese border.

"People go out every day without any kind of organization," Mozgov, a political activist, told NPR. "I'm really happy that people from my region have finally taken responsibility for their lives, understand what's happening in our country and go out and protest."

"Fake." "Nonsense." "Lies."

The Kremlin reacted the same way the White House did to news reports that U.S. intelligence had allegedly found Russia offered bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.

A newly unveiled World War II monument towered behind Vladimir Putin as the Russian president made a final pitch for a July 1 vote on a raft of constitutional changes that include a ban on same-sex marriage and an affirmation of Russians' faith in God.

"We are not just voting for amendments," Putin said on state TV on Tuesday. "We are voting for the country in which we want to live, with modern education and health care, reliable social protections and an effective government accountable to the public."

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Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, declared a state of emergency in a remote Arctic region of Russia. In that region, 20,000 tons of diesel fuel spilled into a river two weeks ago. Here's NPR's Lucian Kim.

The city of Moscow, the epicenter of Russia's coronavirus pandemic, is lifting lockdown restrictions as the Kremlin prepares for a massive military parade on Red Square and a national referendum that will seal President Vladimir Putin's political future.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a staunch Putin loyalist, all but declared victory over COVID-19 on the city's news channel Monday. Moscow's lockdown rules will gradually be lifted over the coming two weeks, he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after a giant diesel fuel spill in a remote Arctic region 1,800 miles from Moscow.

After the accident Friday at a power plant owned by Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia's largest mining companies, Putin skewered officials for their sluggish response.

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Nataliya Gumenyuk grew up in a small town outside of Kyiv during the first hungry years after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Like many Ukrainians of her generation, she was raised on Hollywood movies — but also the American credo of positive social change.

Today Gumenyuk, 36, is a prominent Ukrainian journalist, who co-founded Hromadske, a noncommercial, nongovernmental public broadcaster, during street protests that rocked Kyiv six years ago.

Ruslan Parshutin was just a teenager, but he still remembers New Year's Eve 20 years ago.

Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first president, flickered on TV screens, speaking slowly and deliberately. Eight years of political and economic turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union had taken its toll on him. Yeltsin announced his resignation and handed over power to his energetic 47-year-old prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

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On New Year's Eve 20 years ago, Russia's president at the time, Boris Yeltsin, went on national TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BORIS YELTSIN: (Non-English language spoken).

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Russia's war with Ukraine paused over the weekend. The two countries exchanged prisoners from a conflict that has lasted almost six years. NPR's Lucian Kim is in Moscow. Hey there, Lucian.

LUCIAN KIM, BYLINE: Good morning.

When he was still commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges displayed a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag on his black backpack. The ribbon was a gift from an elderly woman who gave it to him during a joint military exercise in Ukraine.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made his latest address to the nation this week in the gym, then posted it on Facebook.

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Last summer, just days before former special prosecutor Robert Mueller publicly warned that the Kremlin would continue its interference in U.S. elections, Russian state television aired a 30-minute special report titled "Ukrainian Interference."

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny sits on a beige couch in his Moscow apartment, clasps his hands and closes his eyes.

"I want to get into the prosecutor's apartment," he says over and over, as blue smoke rises from the floor. There's a loud "zing" — and suddenly Navalny finds himself more than 1,000 miles away, sitting on the couch of a rental vacation home overlooking the picturesque coast of Montenegro.

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Updated 5:37 p.m. ET

A Russian court has sentenced a man to six years in prison. His crime? Being a practicing Jehovah's Witness.

Sergei Klimov was sentenced Tuesday in the Siberian college town of Tomsk. He is one of a number of Jehovah's Witnesses to be convicted in the two years since Russia's Supreme Court banned the religious group as an extremist organization.

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When President Trump held his first meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the United Nations last month, one offhand remark by the U.S. president stood out to many Ukrainians.

Burisma Group, the Ukrainian energy company where former Vice President Joe Biden's son once served on the board of directors, keeps a low profile. Although the company advertises itself as one of Ukraine's largest private natural gas producers, it is almost impossible to find.

On its website, Burisma lists an address in Cyprus, and in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, the company's offices are ensconced inside a nondescript, five-story business center in a residential neighborhood.

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On Aug. 1, Yegor Zhukov posted his last YouTube video, making an impassioned appeal to support anti-government protesters caught up in the wheels of Russia's criminal justice system. Wearing a dark blue button-down shirt, the 21-year-old Moscow political science student leaned into the camera and urged Russians not to be cowed into silence.

"Russia will eventually be free," he said. "But we may not live to see it if we let fear win."

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All right. In Russia, there were big protests over the summer in opposition to the Putin government, and the government responded by cracking down. Amnesty International called it an unprecedented attack on freedom of assembly and free speech.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Lyubov Sobol looks frail after ending a monthlong hunger strike. The unexpected protagonist of equally unexpected anti-government demonstrations in the Russian capital this summer, she speaks softly and chooses her words deliberately.

"My daughter is 5 years old," she says in an interview with NPR. "I want her to live in a country where human rights and freedoms are respected, where the courts are independent, and where there is a free press. I want her to live in this country. I don't want to move away."

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