Articles by Jonathan Earle


Jonathan Earle joined The Moscow Times in May 2010 and has been a news reporter — covering politics, society, and sports — since January 2012. He graduated from Williams College with a degree in Russian studies in 2009. You can contact him at j.earle@imedia.ru or follow him on Twitter at @jearlemsk.


FLEX Students Return Energized and Inspired for Change

For Ivan Chesnokov's 18th birthday, his mother and stepfather redecorated his room in floor-to-ceiling posters of a fluttering American flag and the Manhattan skyline. On the wall, they hung a clock whose design was inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the California rock band.

U.S. and Russia Sign New Anti-Proliferation Deal

Russia and the United States have a signed a bilateral agreement for protecting, controlling, and accounting for nuclear materials, continuing important aspects of a now-defunct program that was seen as a cornerstone of post-Soviet cooperation between the former foes.

Prokhorov to Skip Mayoral Election

Citing problems with transferring his foreign assets to Russia, billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov announced Thursday that he would not run for mayor of Moscow, removing perhaps the strongest potential opponent to acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin from the September vote.

Anti-Gay Propaganda Bill Passed in 436-0 Vote

The State Duma has unanimously passed a bill introducing stiff fines for portraying homosexuality in a positive light to children, a move LGBT activists called a major blow to gay rights in Russia and especially the country's gay teens, who are particularly vulnerable to harassment.

News of Putins' Divorce Met With Shrugs

Ordinary Russians reacted with a mix of compassion, skepticism and indifference to Thursday's announcement that President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila would divorce after 29 years of marriage, the first time a Russian leader has dissolved his marriage in over three centuries.

Thousands Evacuated After Metro Tunnel Fire

Thousands of passengers were evacuated from two metro stations in downtown Moscow during rush hour on Wednesday morning after an electrical fire sent smoke pouring into the stations, forcing a partial shutdown of one metro line and leaving riders scrambling to their destination.

Sobyanin Calls for Early Mayoral Vote

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin will ask President Vladimir Putin to declare early mayoral elections, the first in Moscow since 2003, in a move analysts said would help ensure Sobyanin's election in September amid a worsening political climate for the mayor.

U.S. Congressmen Meet With FSB About Boston Bombing

They say there is no one thing that could've been done to stop the Boston bombing.

Guriyev Exit Renews Brain Drain Fears

Reports that prominent, liberal economist Sergei Guriyev has fled to France under pressure from investigators appeared to send shockwaves through Russia's Western-leaning elite this week, renewing fears of a brain drain amid an "invisible" wave of emigration.

Top Investigator Alleges Pro-Pedophilia Lobby

The existence of a powerful pro-pedophilia lobby within the government explains why adults who sexually abuse children tend to receive light sentences or escape justice altogether, Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin said Tuesday.

Foreigners Helping to Secure Olympics

A senior Border Guards Service official on Monday moved to calm fears about security at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, telling reporters that his agency was studying best practices from foreign governments.

Surkov Replaced by Trusty Technocrat

The veteran foreign policy advisor will be in charge of organizing a government that has repeatedly been accused of poor work recently.

European Rights Watchdog to Expand in Russia

The Council of Europe, the continent's oldest human rights organization, has announced an agreement to upgrade its Russian office, a sign that Russia takes the 47-member group seriously, a spokesman said, at a time when the Kremlin routinely rejects outside criticism of its rights record.

Pakistan Roots Seen in Moscow Terror Plot

Suspected militants targeted this week in a deadly raid outside Moscow as they purportedly plotted an attack on the city received training in the troublesome border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Kremlin Faces Barbs From All Sides on Human Rights

Russia is facing a renewed barrage of international criticism, led by the European Union, over its human rights record in connection with an ongoing clampdown on non-governmental organizations and a State Duma proposal to ban so-called "homosexual propaganda."

Orphan Abuse Case Prompts Call for Public Oversight

An online video that appeared to show teenage girls savagely beating younger pupils at a remote Siberian boarding school for orphans has sparked a criminal investigation and calls for public oversight over the government's opaque and widely criticized orphanage system.

Russia Downplays U.S. Spy Scandal

Senior Russian officials on Wednesday downplayed the capture and release of an alleged U.S. spy, suggesting that while the incident won't help already battered relations, it also won't derail cooperation on international issues, including a newly launched effort to end Syria's civil war.

'We Haven't Forgotten You,' U.S. Parents Tell Russian Orphans

"We miss your smile every day, and we want you to know that we haven't forgotten about you," a group of Americans have written in an open letter to the Russian children they met but were hastily barred from adopting.

FSB Detains U.S. Diplomat for 'Spying' (Photos)

The Federal Security Service said Tuesday that it had detained a CIA agent as he tried to recruit a member of Russia's secret services, dealing a fresh blow to already strained U.S.-Russian relations.

Netanyahu in Russia for Urgent Syria Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to urge President Vladimir Putin to nix planned deliveries of sophisticated ground-to-air missile systems to the government of war-torn Syria during a meeting in Russia on Tuesday.

Kremlin Gifted Obama a State-Made DVD About His Life

A U.S. accounting of the gifts presented to U.S. leaders shows that Russians tend toward more traditional and modest offerings compared with some world leaders.

More Ballet Trouble: Ex-Ballerina Volochkova Robbed

Robbers stole two safes and attacked the domestic help at the home of former Bolshoi ballerina Anastasia Volochkova in northern Moscow. Her young daughter was at home at the time.

More Questions Than Answers in Psych Ward Fire

President Vladimir Putin called Friday morning's deadly blaze at a Moscow region psychiatric hospital a "major tragedy" and ordered government ministries and the region's governor to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, which killed 38.

In Marathon Show, Putin Pledges to Stay the Course

The president says that despite sluggish growth and reliance on natural resources, basic economic policies will not change.

NGOs: Crackdown on Civil Society 'Unprecedented'

Since Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency in May, civil society has been the target of a government crackdown whose scale and severity is unprecedented in post-Soviet Russia, two leading international human rights organizations said Wednesday.

Lavrov Chastises West Over Syria Weapons

Russia has accused Britain and France of throwing a political wrench in the wheels of a proposal to send United Nations inspectors to investigate the use of chemical weapons in war-torn Syria, which President Barack Obama has said would be a "game changer" and hinted could draw intervention.

Boston Bombing Seen as U.S.-Russian Intelligence Failure

Revelations that Moscow alerted Washington in early 2011 to suspicious behavior by one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, but did not provide additional information when asked, has raised questions about the effectiveness of bilateral counterterrorism cooperation.

Skolkovo Executive Linked to Payments to Opposition Lawmaker

Investigators have accused a top manager at the government's flagship Skolkovo Foundation of making $750,000 in improper payments to a State Duma deputy with close links to the street protest movement.

Chechen Brothers Linked to Boston Bombings

U.S. authorities have linked two ethnic Chechen brothers to the Boston bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170 this week, U.S. media reported.

New Charge Makes Five Against Navalny

A day after opposition leader Alexei Navalny's landmark embezzlement trial kicked off in Kirov, investigators slapped the Kremlin foe with yet another criminal charge — his fifth — accusing him and his brother of defrauding a state-owned company of 3.8 million rubles ($120,000) in 2008.