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.

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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.

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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.

The last thing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did before flying to New York this week was sign his country's first law on presidential impeachment.

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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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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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Disgust fills Mikhail Mulenkov's voice when he talks about politics. But life became so tough in his town in central Russia, he says, that he was "forced" to run for city council last year. Much to his surprise, he won a seat.

"This wasn't my success, it was a protest by the people," says Mulenkov, 37, who works in a building management company in Pereslavl-Zalessky. "People here hate the government because of the pension reform, because it's cold in their homes during the winter and because garbage is being dumped here and even more landfills are planned."

On a recent Sunday morning at 11 o'clock, a dozen people, mostly elderly, gathered in front of an elegant apartment building on a sun-dappled street in central Moscow.

Ksenia Polunina stepped up to remember her father Sergei Polunin, a scientist who was hauled from the building, her childhood home, on a February night in 1938 — and then shot by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's secret police.

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