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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.

As the news broke in November that Joe Biden had won enough states to be declared president-elect, congratulations poured in from world leaders. Russian President Vladimir Putin was conspicuously absent from the list of well-wishers — and waited for more than a month, until the Electoral College vote last week, before congratulating him.

When President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office next month, he will immediately be faced with the task of saving the last arms control treaty between the United States and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered mass immunization against COVID-19 as Russia races to reverse a surge in coronavirus cases and be the first in the world to distribute its vaccine widely.

Putin issued the order in a videoconference with officials, just hours after health authorities in Britain approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine.

On Sunday afternoon, President Trump tweeted his congratulations to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan for agreeing to a cease-fire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. "Many lives will be saved," Trump wrote.

The U.S.-brokered truce — the third attempt by outside powers to end hostilities that erupted a month ago — went into effect at 8 a.m. local time on Monday. But it wasn't long before the two sides were accusing each other of violating it.

The president of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan resigned Thursday, after 10 days of unrest sparked by disputed parliamentary elections.

As protesters closed in on his residence, Sooronbay Jeenbekov abruptly stepped down, saying nothing was dearer to him than the life of each of his compatriots.

As world powers call for peace and the warring parties pledge to fulfill "historic" missions, ordinary people are suffering the most as fighting flared this week in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Russia's southern border. The territory, located in Azerbaijan, is claimed by both Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

A simmering conflict on Russia's volatile southern border is threatening to escalate into an all-out war, with the potential of drawing in NATO ally Turkey.

Fighting continued for a second day in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, claimed by Armenians as well as by Azerbaijanis. Dozens of service members on both sides have been reported killed in a flare-up of violence that began Sunday morning.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the unlikely challenger to Belarus' five-term president, takes issue with being called an opposition leader.

"OK, first of all, if you don't mind, would you please not call us 'opposition'? Because we are not the opposition anymore, we are the majority," she told NPR in an interview from her exile in Lithuania.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko appears to be regaining the upper hand after mass demonstrations against his reelection in an Aug. 9 vote criticized as neither free nor fair by the U.S. and the European Union.

For opposition supporters, a sense of dread is replacing the euphoria of some of the largest protests in Belarus since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

As he faces the biggest domestic challenge to his 26-year rule, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is looking for external enemies to blame — and foreign friends who can help.

Belarus' scattered and improvised opposition is regaining its footing after five-term President Alexander Lukashenko unleashed his security forces on protesters during four nights of unprecedented violence.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the main opposition candidate in Sunday's election, resurfaced on social media Friday after the authorities pressured her to leave for neighboring Lithuania earlier this week. Tikhanovskaya, a political novice, ran against Lukashenko after her husband was denied registration as a candidate and jailed.

On Thursday, thousands of women, many dressed in white and carrying flowers, turned out in the streets across Belarus for a second day of protests. They're reacting to a violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations triggered by a weekend election widely viewed as fraudulent.

Security forces have repeatedly clashed with protesters in recent nights, using batons, stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets. Belarusian authorities said they have arrested some 7,000 people.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the main opposition candidate in Sunday's presidential election in Belarus, is refusing to accept the landslide victory declared by the five-term incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko.

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."

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."

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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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