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.

The United States and Russia haven't been cooperating much in these days of heightened tensions, but the U.S. Embassy in Moscow this week returned 28 valuable historical documents to Russia.

They were stolen from Russian collections and archives during the turbulent 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet collapse. The documents were believed to be stolen by Russian insiders and then made their way to U.S. dealers and auction houses.

U.S. and Russian officials met at the American ambassador's residence to exchange friendly words and speeches of thanks.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says last month was the warmest January on record. That sets off alarm bells for climate scientists, but for the average person living in a northern climate, it might not sound so bad.

That's what many people are saying these days in Russia, where the expected icy winter has failed to materialize this year – to widespread joy. Of course, any climate scientist will tell you that an unusually warm month — or even a whole warm winter — doesn't mean much. It's the long-term trend that counts.

In Soviet times, it was common for government critics to be branded as "traitors" and "enemies of the people." That sort of rhetoric largely faded away after the Soviet Union fell a quarter-century ago.

But now, it's returned — and much of it is coming from Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya.

Kadyrov likes to portray himself as an action hero from the rugged Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia.

Tuesday was an important holiday in the Russian Orthodox Church: Epiphany, which celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

Russian believers mark the event by re-enacting that baptism in ponds and rivers, and since Russia is far north of the Jordan, that means plunging into freezing water through holes cut in the ice.

Big cities like Moscow often set up elaborate stations where people can take the plunge, but people in other cities go for the do-it-yourself approach.

Russians became enthusiastic travelers after the Soviet Union broke up, and two of their most cherished winter getaways were the sunny resorts of Egypt and Turkey.

But those countries are now off-limits, and Russia's sagging economy and sinking currency are also keeping many at home.

Protests are rare in today's Russia, but there's one expression of discontent that's not going away.

For weeks now, long-distance truck drivers have been protesting against a new system of fees for using the highways. They say the fees will bankrupt them and drive up prices for Russian consumers.

What makes this protest significant is that it's not coming from the Russian middle class or liberal intellectuals. It's coming from people who are part of President Putin's working-class base.

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Russian investigators have opened the tomb of 19th century Czar Alexander III in search of evidence that may help confirm the remains of his grandchildren, who were executed shortly after the Russian Revolution.

Alexander III, who went by the title "Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias," died in 1894. His reign was conservative and repressive, and may have spurred the discontent that eventually engulfed his son, Czar Nicholas II, in revolution.

"The grave's a fine and private place," but (with our apologies to English poet Andrew Marvell) not when it's in cyberspace.

The city of Moscow says it is extending free Wi-Fi to cemeteries. It's part of a campaign to make Internet access available in public spaces throughout the city.

The service has already earned the sobriquet "Die-Fi."

Russia seems to be building up its military force in Syria, especially after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane along the Turkish-Syrian border late last month.

In his State of the Nation speech on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin warned the Russian people that the fight could be a long one.

The organization that combats drug use in world sports has officially declared that Russia's anti-doping agency doesn't comply with international rules. It's another blow to Russian track and field stars, who already face a provisional ban — which Russia says it won't contest — for alleged doping violations that could keep them from competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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.

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