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Articles by Matthew Bodner
Game On: Russia's Cyber Athletes Have Asian Rivals in Their Sights
In a dimly lit hotel room, a pack of 20-year-olds in sweatsuits stare into computer screens lining the wall. But this is much more than your average college...
Russia's Oil Bargain With Iran Has Political Overtones
When the news broke that Russia, the world’s largest oil producer, had brokered a deal to import oil from Iran, observers looked for ulterior motives...
Housing Demolition Protests in Moscow Are Spiralling
Authorities may soon struggle to quell protests against a controversial housing demolition program in Moscow
Arts and life
Moscow Mayor Declares Overwhelming Support, But Protests Suggest Otherwise
If you happened to find yourself in the State Duma on Tuesday, June 6, you might be forgiven for thinking Russia had finally found something more popular...
Hot Air, Cold War: How Russia Spooks Its Arctic Neighbors
Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic has polar countries on edge. But don’t worry — bullets aren’t flying yet.
U.S.-Russia Photo Scandal Highlights Mutually Assured Ineptitude
Russia's desire to brag about improving relations actually damaged those same ties.
Soviet Retro-Cool: A French Aristocrat's Crusade to Save Russian Fashion
French aristocrat Jacques von Polier wants to make Russia cool again.
A Foreigner’s Guide to Surviving Victory Day
Victory Day can be hard for a foreigner, especially when it comes to discussion matters of World War II history with Russians. This year, we've got you...
Keeping Afloat: Russia Worries Over Appreciating Ruble
Vladimir Putin says the government is watching the creeping appreciation of the ruble closely, but has ruled out the possibility of returning to a fixed...
Where Old Spooks Are Sent to Retire: Russia’s Institute of Strategic Studies
U.S. intelligence officials think they found the smoking gun behind Russia's alleged 2016 election interference. The reality is much more benign.
Russian TV to Trump: It’s Over. We’re With Kim Jong-un Now
State TV has executed an abrupt U-turn on Trump, and is now embracing North Korea. But it is too early to equate media posturing with official policy.
Russia’s Glare Turns to Home-Grown Threats
For a time, Russian authorities could claim to have managed the threat of domestic terrorism. But the St. Petersburg metro bombing on April 3 showed that...
Dear America, Russia Wants You to Know Its Bombs Are Bigger
The mother of all bombs goes head to head against the father.
12 Takeaways From Tillerson’s Moscow Visit
The expectations for Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow were high. Some hoped it would provide evidence that U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration...
Moscow Meets the New Boss
When U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson landed in Moscow on Tuesday, he was greeted with a raging trash dump fire. It was a fitting metaphor for the...
'Russia Is No Place for Dreamers:' Meet the Rocket Entrepreneurs Battling Bureaucracy to Conquer Space
Russian rocket scientists with a bold vision of the future struggle against bureaucratic red-tape and a conservative investment climate to build Russia's...
Karma: Russian Patriotic Space Film Bullies Competition, Flops Opening Weekend
The producers of The First Time successfully prevented the release of a domestic competitor, but failed to slow The Fast and The Furious 8. In the end...
Why Russia Tore Up the Syria Airspace Safety Agreement
In response to President Donald Trump's massive cruise missile strike on an airbase in Syria, Russia has suspended airspace safety cooperation with Washington...
Revealed: The Name and Face of the St. Petersburg Subway Bomber
Russia's Investigative Committee has confirmed the identity of the man behind Monday's fatal terror attack in St. Petersburg.
Russian Spies Were in Touch With Trump Advisor Carter Page (And They Didn't Think Much of Him)
A hard link between a Trump advisor and Russian spies finally uncovered. But it is hardly the most impactful thing Russian spies appear to have been working...
Defects Found in Almost Every Russian Proton Rocket Engine
Russia has 71 rocket engines stockpiled for its Proton space rockets. Almost all of them have been found to be defective.
Death of a Rocketman: Who Was Vladimir Evdokimov?
The death of a former space agency chief in a pre-trial detention cell may have been a contract killing, investigators say.
Russia’s Defense Budget — Down, But Not Out
Reports that Russia will cut 25 percent of its 2017 defense budget give the impression that Moscow has given up on military rearmament. That's not the...
Libya: Russia’s New Frontline
Western observers are concerned Moscow is preparing another regional power-play
How I Accidentally Destroyed $30M Worth of Russian Military Hardware
A Moscow Times reporter sat down in a full-immersion Sukhoi fighter jet simulator. It didn't exactly go well.
Corruption Hampers Russian Arctic Militarization Dreams
Russia's militarization of the Arctic is a hot topic in Transatlantic policymaking circles these days. But the Western narrative appears to have outpaced...
Consummate Diplomat or Intelligence Mastermind: The Russian at the Heart of Trump Scandals
Allegations that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington have thrust the usually camera-shy...
The Secrets of Russia’s Propaganda War, Revealed
Russia has a new military propaganda force to wage information war. An unauthorized reprint of a military intelligence handbook gives insight into what...
Russia Riled by Trump's 'Disturbing' Nuclear Weapons Comments
Russian lawmakers lash out at Trump's comments on expanding the US nuclear arsenal.
Trump’s New National Security Adviser Is No Friend of Russia’s
Moscow knows little about General McMaster, but isn’t particularly happy with what it does know
Russians Learn to Love the Army
For the third straight year in a row, the majority of Russians support conscription
All Eyes On Munich As Russia Feels Out New U.S. Administration
10 years after Putin's controversial speech at the Munich Security Conference, Russia is playing it cool. No major Russian initiatives are expected this...
Russia’s Alleged Nuclear Missile Treaty Violation: Serious But Not Clear-Cut
Arms control compliance is a messy business. The Moscow Times explains the latest allegations that Russia has violated a landmark nuclear disarmament treaty...
Russia’s Syrian Naval Deployment: The Unofficial Post-Action Report
The Syria deployment gave the Russian navy much-needed practice in operating its Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. But it also exposed serious flaws in the ship's...
Better Call Chet: How a Guyanese Lawyer Became Jamaica's Man in Moscow
After 20 years without diplomatic representation in Russia, the Jamaican Foreign Ministry has appointed a native of Guyana as their Honorary Consul in...
Russia Set to Send 'Bull Terrier’ Ambassador to Washington
Russia appears to be falling back on Soviet-era policy of disarmament as the focal point for relations with the U.S.
Moscow’s $170-Million Syrian Cruise
The Russian military has spent about $168 million to deploy its only aircraft carrier to Syria. Was it worth it?
American Business Lobby In Moscow Sees Sympathetic Ally In President Trump
In December, a Trump surrogate was dispatched to talk with U.S. firms in Russia. The topic on everyone's minds: the damage caused by sanctions. But neither...
Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That's Not Going to Be Easy
Now that Donald Trump is in office, he will find lifting sanctions imposed on Russia is harder than it looked during the campaign.
Spy Games: How The Spectre of Surveillance Impacts Moscow’s Foreigners
High-profile allegations of Russian surveillance have Moscow’s foreign population asking themselves: am I being watched? Some are. But perceptions often...
The Voyage Home: What Russia's Withdrawal Means for Syria
Even with its naval battlegroup headed for home, Russia is not withdrawing from Syria. It is merely changing posture.
How Russia Became a Hacking Superpower
Moscow has finally got the geopolitical respect it demanded for years, but only after spooking Washington.
European University, Under Fire, Receives Temporary Reprieve From Closure
After authorities last year revoked European University in St. Petersburg's license, classes were halted and students feared the future. While the university...
NATO Pivots to Europe
As Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Brussels for his last NATO summit, the Western alliance signed a landmark agreement with the European Union as...
Russia Falls Behind U.S. and China In Annual Space Launches
The Soviet space program, at its height, could launch around 100 rockets per year - a feat that dwarfed all other competitors. In 2016, Russia has fallen...
Russia Emerges as Winner in Arms Race Between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Four days of fighting in April reminded the world that Nagorno-Karabakh remains a serious flashpoint. But efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict have...
Can Russia's Profound Anti-Americanism Be Overcome?
Judging by the euphoria that gripped Russia in the wake of Donald Trump's unexpected victory, one might be forgiven for thinking it had somehow played...
A Short-Lived Honeymoon: Russia Curbs Its Enthusiasm For Trump Presidency
Given Russia's well-documented affinity for the American president-elect, the celebration should be going strong only a day later. But it appears the honeymoon...
What Trump's Unexpected Victory Means For U.S.-Russia Relations
Donald Trump is the next president of the United States. He will be a president unlike any Russia has ever faced. The Moscow Times breaks down how relations...
In Arms Trade, China Is Taking Advantage of Russia's Desperation
Three years ago, Russia's cutting-edge aviation technology was a jealously guarded secret. Today, Moscow's aeronautical knowhow has become a competitive...
Putin’s Great White Fleet
Putin's attempt to channel Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet moment fell flat. The press may have mocked the smoke billowing from Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov...
The Final Countdown: Russia and Europe To Land On Mars
On Wednesday afternoon at 17:42 Moscow time, the European and Russian space agencies will attempt a harrowing Mars landing as part of their cooperative...
Russia Mulls Military Contracts for Mercenaries
The Russian military may begin recruiting soldiers for short, special, one-off military tasks around the globe.
Russian Scientists Throw Wet Blanket on U.S. Talk of Mars Colonization
Such a voyage will not be technologically possible for another 40 to 50 years, according to Igor Mitrofanov, the head of nuclear planetology at RAS's Institute...
Attack on Daughter of Kadyrov Critic Underscores Putin's Chechen Problem
Despite documented attacks on political opponents and unsympathetic journalists, Moscow has relied on Kadyrov to keep Chechnya under firm control. In recent...
Russia's S7 Takes a Giant Leap Into Space
Russia's largest private airline is entering the space race.
Ukrainian MMA Fighter Challenges ‘Chechen Lion’ Over Child-Bout Dispute
The stars are aligning for a brouhaha of epic proportions in the former Soviet Union. What began as a rhetorical spat between Russian mixed martial arts...
Jeff Monson: Moscow's American Muscle
Jeff Monson, a 45-year-old American mixed martial arts champion, denies that Russia invaded eastern Ukraine. Buff, bald, and covered in tattoos, he says...
Open-Source Activists Vindicated After Latest MH17 Report Blames Russia
It has been almost a year since the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) concluded a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile was responsible for the downing of Malaysia...
Ahead of Dutch MH17 Report, Russia Blames Ukraine (Again)
Just two days before the release of a new Dutch report on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine two years ago, the Russian...
No End In Sight for Russia's Baltic Tit-for-Tat
Over the past two years, the Russian military and the Western NATO military alliance have watched each other along the dividing lines of Eastern Europe...
Winner Takes All: United Russia Secures a Duma Super-Majority
The final result was overwhelming: United Russia took 343 out of the State Duma’s 450 seats, gaining a constitutional super-majority. Russia’s friendly...
Elections 2016: An Overwelming Victory for the Kremlin
With over 40 percent of the ballots counted, the outcome of Russia's 2016 Parliamentary elections is completely clear: President Vladimir Putin came out...
Can Vladimir Putin Bring Peace to the Middle East?
Part of asserting yourself as a great power is doing the things great powers do. And it is this line of thinking that informs much of Moscow’s foreign...
Political Arena: Russia's Costly Football World Cup Preparations
What St. Petersburg really needs are not schools and hospitals, but a new football stadium. Or such was the message sent to the city’s residents.
Made in China: How Russia Is Teaching Beijing to Play Hockey
With Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, China is rushing to develop a competitive national hockey team. But China is not a hockey nation. In a sign...
How a Diamond Heist and Russian Gun Smuggling Lead to Donald Trump
Under normal circumstances, this might be an easy swap: thirteen of yours for just two of ours. But Russia is going for the top of the list: infamous international...
Upping the Ante: Putin Dismisses Diplomacy After Alleged Ukrainian Incursion
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev on Wednesday of organizing a terrorist attack in Crimea, the southern Ukrainian region that Russia annexed...
Largely Unnoticed, Full-Scale War May Be Returning to Ukraine
July was the deadliest month in the Donbass for over a year.
Aleppo’s Last Stand
As Russian-backed regime troops encircle rebel forces in eastern Aleppo, a humanitarian catastrophe looms. Supplies are unlikely to last more than three...
What Russia's U.S. Experts Say About The 2016 Election
With the U.S. presidential election in its final stretch, The Moscow Times decided to poll some of Russia's top U.S. experts with a view to get the...
Putin and Erdogan: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
Just a few months ago, the situation between Russia and Turkey looked frightening enough. Now the two countries have gone from almost declaring war on...
Who Is Russia Secretly Supplying With MiGs?
After years languishing behind competitors at home and abroad, Russia's iconic MiG aircraft manufacturer has been thrown a lifeline. The company is now...
What Russia's New Draconian Data Laws Mean for Users
Despite the scores of dire warnings from leading Russian Internet and technology figures about the technological impracticality of the laws, Putin signed...
Chaos in Russia's Baltic Fleet
On June 29, the Russian Defense Ministry announced it was purging the entire senior and mid-level command of the Baltic Fleet. It was a dramatic move that...
Eastern Promises: Putin's Slow Pivot to China
As the Western world reeled from Brexit fallout, President Vladimir Putin flew to China to meet his counterpart, Xi Jinping. The goal, as ever, was to...
Changing of the Guard: NATO Brings In Army General to Deter Russia
Curtis Scaparrotti, a U.S. Army General, is no stranger to tension. For the past three years, he has been the Pentagon's senior officer on the Korean...
The Devil in the Details: Bellingcat Report Links Russian Buk to MH17 Crash
A new report by Bellingcat has presented new claims about the anti-aircraft missile launcher supposedly responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines...
Russia Braces Itself as Syrian Cease-fire Falters
Not two months have passed since President Vladimir Putin declared mission accomplished in Syria, and again the war-ravaged nation is on the brink...
Russians, Their Guns And the State
U.S. gun enthusiasts live in constant fear of the federal government confiscating their weapons. For Russian gun owners, such a fear may be about to become...
NATO and Russia Reaffirm Mutual Loathing
The first Russia-NATO Council meeting since relations were ruptured two years ago by Russia's actions in Ukraine produced only recriminations.
Russia vs. Elon Musk: U.S. Startup Threatens Moscow's Role in Space
Over the past decade, tech billionaire Elon Musk has been fond of telling people that he wants to die on Mars.
How Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Could Spark Major International Crisis
Springtime in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is predictable enough. As sure as the plane trees begin to flower, skirmishes break out between...
Little Green Men: A Look at the Official Soviet X-Files Investigation
It was 4:05 a.m. on Sept. 20, 1977. Something serious was happening over the skies of Petrozavodsk in northwest Russia.
Putin the Liberator: The Retaking of Palmyra
Two weeks after Putin declared the "majority" of Russia's goals in Syria have been accomplished, Moscow and Assad turned their attention to dislodging...
Russia Arming Up in Disputed Kuril Islands
The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday decided it will begin deploying new military hardware to the Kuril Islands — a disputed territory that the Soviet...
Grounded: Economic Crisis Hobbles Russian Space Program
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tried to put a positive spin on it, but the numbers were hard to ignore. Just two years ago, Russia's 10-year space...
Black Sea Rising: Rebirth of a Russian Fleet
From a military point of view, Russia's operation to annex Crimea was an exceptionally clean affair, and gave an opportunity to demonstrate the fruits...
Iran Seeks Russian Fire Power
After decades of isolation from the international arms market, Iran is gearing up for a military shopping spree. It has turned to Russia to help even...
Russia Sends Medvedev to Munich Seeking Sanctions Relief
Russia's official delegation will be led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev — the message seems to be that Russia is ready to talk about sanctions relief...
Putin vs. Erdogan — This Time It's Personal
Another airspace violation raises the spectre of conflict between Russia and Turkey.
Inside Russia's Would-Be Foreign Legion
Four years ago, 18-year-old Vitaly Danilenko was conscripted into the Russian military after his family returned to Siberia from Alaska.
Russia Pushing for An Endgame in Ukraine
The appearance of Vladislav Surkov at a meeting with Victoria Nuland has sparked speculation that Moscow and Washington are approaching an endgame...
Putin's Pivot: Out of Ukraine, Into Syria
Russia's war plan worked better than envisioned. But it has yet to achieve the main goal: End Western sanctions.
No End in Sight for Russia's Syria Escapade
Moscow is increasing military support for Assad regime. The military has deployed new aircraft and is reportedly moving into two unused Syrian airbases...
UN Approves Russia-led Proposal To Limit Militarization of Space
The UN General Assembly has approved a Russian-led resolution calling for nations to refrain from being the first to deploy weapons into outer space, in...
U.S.-Russian Relations on the High Frontier
Born in competition during the Cold War, today the U.S. and Russian space agencies preside together over the largest peacetime project in human history...
Downing of Russian Sukhoi Bomber Was Predictable
The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber on Tuesday marks the first serious clash between Russian forces and an external coalition involved in Syria's civil...
Putin Instructs Roscosmos To Defend Russia's Position in Space Market
President Vladimir Putin has instructed space industry officials to take measures to ensure Russia remains a major player in the commercial space launch...
Images of Russian Nuclear Kamikaze Submarine Leaked in State TV Broadcast
Something strange popped up on Russian state television on Tuesday: a Russian military document depicting plans for a robotic submarine packed with radioactive...