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.

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Europe
1:50 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

'Just For Fun,' Lively Song And Dance In Kiev Metro Station

Ukrainians sing and dance in a subway in downtown Kiev in 2009. It has been a tradition for 20 years.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 5:17 pm

The best thing about traveling is that some experiences just crop up spontaneously.

Take a recent Saturday evening in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

It's chilly, and people hurry past on their way to clubs and restaurants, their coat collars turned up against the wind.

Young women clatter up the steps from the Teatralna metro station, oblivious to the sound that wafts up behind them — the sound of people singing.

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Parallels
12:19 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

In Russia's Vast Far East, Timber Thieves Thrive

The Chinese border town of Suifenhe is a port of entry for almost all of the hardwood coming from the Russian Far East. Russia is the world's largest exporter of timber, but illegal logging is a growing problem.
Courtesty of EIA

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 8:11 am

Forests cover about half of Russia's land mass, an environmental resource that President Vladimir Putin calls "the powerful green lungs of the planet."

But Putin himself acknowledges that Russia, the world's biggest exporter of logs, is having its timber stolen at an unprecedented rate.

The demand for high-value timber is fueling organized crime, government corruption and illegal logging in the Russian Far East. The hardwood cut in the endless forests often ends up as flooring and furniture in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

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Europe
4:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Russia Charges Greenpeace Activists With Piracy

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Russian prosecutors have filed charges of piracy against 14 people who were aboard a Greenpeace boat during a protest last month in the Russian Arctic. Under Russian law, piracy is punishable by as much as 15 years in prison. Greenpeace says it was peacefully protesting the dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic and that the Russian government is violating international law.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow.

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Environment
5:28 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Forum Discusses Arctic Oil And Gas Searches

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On the first Monday of the rest of your life, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Climate change is melting ice in the Arctic. And that is opening up the top of the world to drilling, shipping traffic, and also concerns about the environment. Earlier this month, Greenpeace activists were arrested trying to board an oil platform that's owned by Russia's state gas company.

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Parallels
5:09 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

The U.S. Has More Guns, But Russia Has More Murders

A worker at the Grand Okhota sportsman gun shop in Moscow on April 23.
Karpov Sergei ITAR-TASS /Landov

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 5:39 pm

The U.S. and Russia have been taking lots of jabs at each other.

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized President Obama's plan for a military strike in Syria, and the Russian leader then denounced American "exceptionalism" in a biting op-ed in The New York Times.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., fired back Thursday with his own op-ed in the Russian paper Pravda, entitled, "Russia Deserves Better Than Putin."

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The Two-Way
4:26 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Greenpeace Vessel Is Boarded By Russian Coast Guard

Greenpeace's ship the "Arctic Sunrise" in 2005.
Samuel Aranda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 3:14 am

Greenpeace reports that its vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, has been boarded by the Russian Coast Guard after a protest against oil and gas drilling in the Russian Arctic.

The crew of the vessel tweeted throughout the drama. A tweet by Greenpeace HQ indicated that everyone was safe but that the crew was not "in control of the ship at this point."

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World
5:44 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

What's Driving Russia's Tactical Change On Syria?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to avoid a strike by the U.S.
Michael Klimentyev/Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 7:14 pm

For months, Russia has been playing a defensive game on Syria, blocking U.N. resolutions that could have led to the ouster of its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Russia is now on the offense, running with a plan that could avert U.S.-led strikes against Syria by having Syria place its chemical weapons under international control.

So why the change in tactics?

There are several different strands in Russian thinking on the issue.

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Europe
4:57 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Loser In Moscow Mayoral Election The One That's Made News

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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Business
5:36 am
Fri September 6, 2013

G-20 Fears An End To Fed's Quantitative Easing

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 12:40 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Leaders of the world's largest economies complete their summit in St. Petersburg, Russia today.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports this meeting has been marked by a growing divide between the most highly developed nations and emerging economies.

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Parallels
1:51 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Migrants Flock To Russia, But Receive A Cool Welcome

Migrant workers follow a police officer during a raid by Russian immigration authorities at a construction site in Moscow, in 2012.
Karpov Sergei ITAR-Tass/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:26 am

Russia's immigration issues would be familiar to Americans: Millions of impoverished migrants have come and found low-wage jobs. Some are in Russia illegally and are exploited by their employers. And a growing number of Russians fear this influx of migrants, many of whom are Muslim, is changing the face of the country.

At 3:30 on a recent morning, the train from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, pulls into Moscow after a four-day journey. The passengers hauling their bags out onto the damp, ill-lit platform are mostly men. Russian police eye the new arrivals with suspicion.

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Parallels
5:58 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Anti-Gay Riot In Tblisi Tests Balance Between Church, State

Anti-gay protesters try to attack a bus with gay activists who are being taken away from a pro-gay-rights rally by police for their own protection in Tblisi, Georgia, on May 17. Thousands of anti-gay protesters, including Orthodox priests, occupied a central street in Georgia's capital.
Shakh Aivazov AP

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 8:06 pm

While gay rights have been gaining ground in the West, they've been facing a strong backlash in many countries of the former Soviet Union.

Russia recently passed a law that makes it a crime to give information about "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors.

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News
6:16 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Public Opinion May Give Russia An Edge In Snowden Case

Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena is representing NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said Russia has three months to consider his request for temporary asylum.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Sat July 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps insisting that he doesn't want the case of a fugitive American intelligence contractor to harm relations between Russia and the United States.

But Edward Snowden remains an irritant, stuck in diplomatic limbo in the transit area of a Moscow airport.

A Putin spokesman said Friday that the issue is being discussed by the Russian federal security service — the FSB — and the FBI, but it may be that Snowden has become a problem that can only be solved at the top of the two governments.

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News
7:54 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Russia Conducts Record Military Exercises

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Today, Russia is wrapping up its biggest military maneuver since the Soviet era, an exercise that's designed to test its military readiness on land, sea and in the air. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that it may also be an effort to show Russia's Far Eastern neighbors that it is still a force to be reckoned with.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Russian President Vladimir Putin watched part of the war games this week at a firing range in southern Siberia.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Europe
5:52 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Russian Opposition Leader Convicted Amid Controversy

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:00 am

A Russian court has convicted one of the country's most prominent opposition leaders of embezzlement. Alexei Navalny faces a sentence of five years in prison in a controversial case that he says was trumped up to derail his political career. Navalny was instrumental in organizing mass protests against the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Salt
5:18 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

The Secret To Georgian Grilled Meats? Grapevines And Lots Of Wine

Shashlik cooks on a hot grill. Kakheti, the easternmost province in the Republic of Georgia, is known for meats grilled over grapevines, which burn quickly, leaving a heap of finger-sized coals.
Nick Grabowski via Flickr

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 3:27 pm

Tucked between Russia and Turkey, the Republic of Georgia is renowned for great food: cheese dishes, pickles, breads and stews. This is a cuisine that you should not miss.

And on summer evenings in the capital, Tbilisi, the air is fragrant with the smells of one of Georgian cookery's highlights: grilled meat, or shashlik.

You can find good shashlik at restaurants with white tablecloths, but the very best in all Tbilisi is said to be at a roadside stop called Mtsvadi Tsalamze. It's an unassuming place with rows of wooden picnic tables in an open yard.

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Environment
5:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Environmentalists Warn Olympic Games Will Harm Sochi

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:19 am

Russia is preparing for the 2014 Winter Games — turning a sleepy valley in the Northern Caucasus Mountains into an Olympic village, with brand-new facilities for every Alpine sport. Officials say it will be a world-class destination for winter-sports enthusiasts long after the Games are over. Environmentalists say it's an ecological disaster in the making.

Shots - Health News
3:44 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

'Sputnik' Orbits A Russian City, Finding And Healing Tuberculosis

Nurse Marina Bogdanova, with Sputnik, gives medications to Sergei Gaptenko, who is close to finishing treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Konstantin Salomatin for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 8:33 am

Russia is confronting one of its most serious public health threats since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The threat is tuberculosis, but with a dangerous twist: Strains of the bacteria are widely circulating that are resistant to ordinary anti-TB drugs, and far harder to cure.

In parts of Siberia, nearly 30 percent of all tuberculosis cases aren't treatable by two of the most potent medications, the World Health Organization reported last year.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Treating The 'Body And Soul' In A Russian TB Prison

An inmate practices for the yearly talent show in the prison's concert hall. Such cultural activities are part of the hospital's treatment, which combines correction with education, medical and psychological therapy.
Konstantin Salomatin/for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:41 am

Igor Davydenko is rail-thin with dark circles under his eyes. He has a haunted look, reinforced by black prison overalls with reflective tape on the shoulders and cuffs.

Davydenko could be labeled as a loser in many ways. The 31-year-old is a drug addict, serving time for robbery and assault. He's serving his third stretch in a Siberian prison.

But Davydenko is about to become a winner in at least one way. If all goes well, he will soon be declared cured of one of the deadliest forms of tuberculosis.

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Parallels
4:52 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Despite Critics, Russia Promises A Grand Olympic Spectacle

As Sochi, Russia, prepares to host the 2014 Olympic Games, workers walk past piles of dirt at the construction site of Fisht Stadium and Olympic Park on May 20.
Artur Lebedev ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 10:04 am

As Russia prepares to host the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, it faces a number of challenges: The weather is mild for winter sports; residents are complaining about being displaced; and the project is costing a huge amount of money.

Yet the Black Sea resort town, a favorite of President Vladimir Putin, is bustling with construction cranes. Workers are racing to complete high-rise hotels and state-of-the-art venues for figure skating, speedskating and hockey.

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Parallels
6:07 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Russian Lawmakers: Don't Criticize Soviet Actions In WWII

A column of Russia's T-90 tanks rumbles over the cobblestones in Moscow's Red Square on May 9 during the country's Victory Day parade celebrating the anniversary of its costly victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

World War II remains a monumental event in the collective Russian mind. It's known as the "Great Patriotic War," and Russians believe no one made greater sacrifices than the Soviet Union when it came to defeating Nazi Germany.

The end of the war is celebrated with a huge military parade in Moscow's Red Square on May 9, commemorating the millions of men and women, military and civilian, who died during the struggle.

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Parallels
6:32 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Gerard Depardieu To Star In Two Chechnya-Based Films

French actor Gerard Depardieu (right) chats with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov shortly after his arrival in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, on Feb. 24.
Musa Sadulayev AP

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:20 pm

Actor Gerard Depardieu is reportedly set to begin filming a new thriller with British actress-model Elizabeth Hurley, to be set in Moscow and Grozny, the capital of the Russian republic of Chechnya.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
3:18 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Investigating The Boston Bombing ... In Southern Russia

Investigators work at the site of a bombing in the Dagestan capital, Makhachkala, last year. The blasts near a police post killed at least 15 people. The southern Russian republic has seen persistent violence.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:59 pm

The search for the motivations of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers stretches from New England to Central Asia, but a lot of attention has been focused on Dagestan.

The mostly Muslim republic is located in the southernmost part of Russia, and it's been the battleground in a low-level insurgency that takes lives nearly every day.

One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, traveled to Dagestan twice in recent years, and investigators want to know whether that experience led him toward a radical and violent form of Islam.

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Asia
6:37 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Suspects' Chechen Roots Draws Eyes In Russia

In this image taken from a cellphone video, the father of the Boston bombing suspects, Anzor Tsarnaev, talks to the media about his sons, in his home in Makhachkala, the Dagestani capital, on Friday.
AP

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 2:09 pm

The Boston Marathon bombing suspects are ethnic Chechens with links to the volatile North Caucasus region of Russia. Moscow's reaction to that fact appears to be as complex as the region's turbulent history.

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Europe
4:42 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Retaliating Against U.S., Russia Bars 18 Americans

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 1:28 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tensions have been increasing between the United States and Russia, and things unraveled even more over the weekend. Russia named 18 Americans who will be barred from entering Russia because of an alleged involvement in human rights violations. Here's NPR's Corey Flintoff.

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Europe
4:58 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Emigre Artist Sculpted Exquisite Gems Of Russian Folk Life

Bosom Pals, an iconic sculpture by Russian artist Vasily Konovalenko.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:20 pm

A team of American researchers is on a treasure hunt for jewels — of both artistic and historic value.

This month, researchers from Denver were in Russia to document the work of Vasily Konovalenko, a former ballet set designer turned sculptor, who created scenes from Russian folk life in semiprecious stones.

In the 1980s, Konovalenko emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union in search of artistic freedom. Now, his legacy is divided between the U.S. and Russia.

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Europe
5:29 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ex-Diplomats: U.S.-Russian Relations Not As Dire As They Seem

Former U.S. and Russian diplomats gather at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Tuesday. From left: former Russian or Soviet ambassadors to the U.S. Vladimir Lukin, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Viktor Komplektov; Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of USA and Canada; and former U.S. ambassadors to Russia James Collins, Jack Matlock, Thomas Pickering and John Beyrle.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:11 am

Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.

But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.

Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Once Championed By Putin, Medvedev Falls Precipitously Out Of Favor

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, heads a State Council session alongside Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last year. Increasing political attacks on Medvedev have accompanied Putin's suspicions about his erstwhile partner's ambitions.
Yekaterina Shtukina AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appears increasingly isolated from the centers of power surrounding President Vladimir Putin.

Analysts say Medvedev is the target of a campaign to wreck his reputation and drive him from office. It's a risky situation for the former president, who was once regarded as Putin's partner.

The attacks have come from many directions. One of the harshest was an anonymous, documentary-style film that was posted on the Internet in January.

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Europe
1:32 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

In Crackdown, Some Russian Groups Labeled As 'Foreign Agents'

The chief of Amnesty International Russia, Sergei Nikitin, at his Moscow office on March 25, after Russian prosecutors and tax police carried out a search. The group is one of many that have been searched under a new law that critics say is being used to stifle dissent.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:55 pm

Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.

This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.

The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit

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Europe
3:25 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Rubles For Minutes, Not Mochas, At Russian Cafe Chain

Tsiferblat, or Clockface Cafe, in Moscow draws a young crowd, from students to entrepreneurs. The cafe provides Wi-Fi, printers, books and art supplies. Drinks, snacks, atmosphere and the space are free. All customers pay for is time.
Courtesy Of Diana Derby

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:04 pm

Cafe life has taken hold in modern Russia. From Starbucks to local chains such as Kofe Khaus and Schokoladnitsia, there are lots of places to hang out, see and be seen.

It's a striking change in a country where, in Soviet times, the best an ordinary comrade could expect was a mug of tea in a workers canteen.

The world over, the basic contract between cafe and customer is this: You buy a drink or a snack, and you get to use the premises for as long as it takes to consume it.

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Europe
5:09 am
Sun December 30, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Russian Crown Jewels

This necklace appears in the 1922 album at the USGS library, but not in the 1925 book on the Russian crown jewels.
www.usgs.gov

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 2:49 am

The story of the missing Russian crown jewels begins, as so many great adventures do, in a library.

In this case, it was the U.S. Geological Survey Library in Reston, Va.

Richard Huffine, the director, was looking through the library's rare-book collection when he came upon an oversized volume.

"And there's no markings on the outside, there's no spine label or anything like that," he says. "This one caught our eye, and we pulled it aside to take a further look at it."

Researcher Jenna Nolt was one of those who took a look.

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