Corey Flintoff

Corey Flintoff is a correspondent with the Foreign Desk. His career has taken him to more than 45 countries.

Since 2005, Flintoff has been part of the NPR team covering the Iraq War. He has embedded with U.S. military units fighting insurgents and hunting roadside bombs. His stories from Iraq have dealt with sectarian killings, government corruption, the Christian refugee crisis, and the destruction of Iraq's southern marshes.

In 2008, Flintoff sailed on a French warship to cover the hunt for pirates off the coast of Somalia, and in 2009 he visited the mountains of Haiti, reporting on efforts to restore the country's devastated forests.

Flintoff joined NPR as a newscaster in 1990. For years, he was a part of NPR listeners' homeward commutes, reporting the latest news at the start of each hour of All Things Considered. He referred to newscasting as "news haiku" — distilling the day's complex events into short, straightforward stories that give listeners a fair grasp of what's going on in the world at any given time. Flintoff has also been heard as a reporter for NPR's newsmagazines, as a fill-in host, and as Carl Kasell's understudy on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. He performs in radio dramas and travels frequently to speak on behalf of NPR member stations.

Flintoff is part of NPR's "Alaska Mafia," which includes Peter Kenyon, Elizabeth Arnold, and other top reporters who got their start with the Alaska Public Radio Network. He was APRN's executive producer for seven years, hosting the evening newsmagazine Alaska News Nightly. He also freelanced for NPR, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Monitor Radio and the Associated Press. Flintoff won a 1989 Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award for his coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Prior to APRN, Flintoff worked as a reporter and news director for KYUK-AM/TV in Bethel, Alaska, and KSKA-FM in Anchorage. 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.

Flintoff's first radio experience was at a bilingual English-Yup'ik Eskimo station in Bethel, Alaska, where he learned enough Yup'ik to announce the station identification. He tried 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 University of California at Berkeley and a master's from the University of Chicago, both in English Literature.

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12:08pm

Sat February 22, 2014
Europe

Russia's Cossacks Ride Back From History As 'Patriots'

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Cossacks, who formed a feared military force in czarist times, start their 2012 ceremonial march from Moscow to Paris in memory of soldiers killed during the war against Napoleon in 1812.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

The contrast couldn't have been greater: the protest band Pussy Riot in colorful ski masks and mini dresses, attempting to film a segment for a new video on Sochi's waterfront; and Cossacks in traditional uniform with black sheepskin hats and riding boots, patrolling Sochi streets as part of security for the Olympics.

The Cossacks, trying to enforce a government ban on protests, knocked band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to the ground, lashed her with a horse whip, and roughed up other musicians.

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1:33pm

Thu February 20, 2014
Europe

Sochi Was Once A Vacation Spot Fit For A Dictator

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:02 pm

A wax sculpture of Stalin sits behind the desk he used at the dacha. From the time he first began to visit the villa, Stalin was signing death warrants for his rivals — and living in fear of retribution.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Long before it became an Olympic host city, Sochi was a favorite getaway for one of history's most ruthless dictators: Josef Stalin.

The Soviet leader had a villa built in the hills overlooking the Black Sea, and he visited it during some of the most tumultuous years of his reign.

The villa, known as Stalin's dacha, or summer house, was built in 1934, and he used it until the end of World War II in 1945. No Soviet or Russian leader after Stalin is known to have visited it.

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5:26am

Sun February 16, 2014
The Edge

'Sports Chaplains' Bring The Gospel To Olympic Village

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:43 pm

International Sports Chaplain Myrna Gregory (right) uses a souvenir pin to tell a gospel story to a Russian volunteer at the Sochi Olympic Park.
Sergei Sotnikov NPR

There are probably fewer American fans in Sochi than at previous Winter Games, partly because of concerns about security, and partly because of the time and expense it takes to get to the Russian resort town on the Black Sea.

But Americans are represented there, with gusto, by a group of evangelical Christians who call themselves the International Sports Chaplains. Members of the group have been going to the Olympic Games since 1988.

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5:17pm

Mon January 27, 2014
Europe

In Ukraine, Protesters Declare Corruption The Problem

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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5:06pm

Fri January 24, 2014
Europe

From Kiev To The Country At Large, Ukraine Protests May Spread

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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3:35am

Fri January 24, 2014
Parallels

Russians Fear A Sochi Legacy Of 'Black Widows,' Not Gold Medals

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:51 pm

Shoppers at a department store in Sochi, Russia, pass an information banner with photos of suspected terrorists wanted by police. The color photo shows Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of an insurgent. Police say she has been spotted in recent days in central Sochi.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Two weeks before the Winter Olympics, Russian security forces are reportedly searching for potential suicide bombers, at least one of whom may already be in the host city of Sochi.

The suspects are thought to be linked to Islamist militants who are fighting to throw off Russian control and create a fundamentalist Muslim state in Russia's North Caucasus Mountains.

Police have been circulating leaflets at hotels in Sochi, warning about women who may be part of a terrorist plot.

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5:37pm

Mon January 20, 2014
Europe

As Protests Renew In Ukraine, Fears Of Violence Return

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to Ukraine where the crisis is intensifying. Today, there were more clashes between protesters and police in the capital city, Kiev. This after a massive protest turned violent yesterday, when more than 100,000 people turned out to denounce a new law that limits public protests. The protests have shaken Ukraine for two months, as the opposition claims President Viktor Yanukovych is turning increasingly autocratic and aligning his country with Russia.

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3:03am

Wed January 15, 2014
World

Russia Aims To Implement The Tightest Security In Olympic History

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:55 am

Police officers with dogs walk along a street in Sochi, Russia, on Jan. 6. The presence of security personnel has ramped up recently ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Kyodo /Landov

With less than a month to go before the Winter Games, Russian officials are putting the finishing touches on what they say will be the tightest Olympic security in history.

After a spate of deadly terrorist attacks in the region, the authorities are deploying high-tech surveillance equipment and tens of thousands of troops in Sochi, the host city on the Black Sea.

Sochi is unique among the cities hosting the Winter Games because it has the mild climate of a seaside resort, but it's less than an hour away from the snow-capped mountains of the North Caucasus.

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4:13pm

Tue December 31, 2013
Parallels

In Russia, A Soviet-Era Movie To Ring In The New Year

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:19 pm

Zhenya drinks heavily with his friends at a Russian bathhouse in The Irony of Fate, a Soviet-era film that Russians still watch on New Year's Day.
Via Mosfilm

Every year on New Year's Eve, at least one TV channel in Russia will show The Irony of Fate, a three-hour movie that was made for TV in 1975.

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6:56am

Wed December 11, 2013
World

Police Move In As Protests Continue In Kiev

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Thousands of riot police jostled with protestors in Ukraine overnight. The protestors want their country to sign a trade deal with the European Union. The elected president of the country does not. At issue here is whether their nation tilts a little more toward Western Europe or toward neighboring Russia. NPR's Corey Flintoff is on the line with us from the scene of these protests. And Corey, what's happening now?

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7:35am

Sat November 23, 2013
Parallels

Once Victims Of Stalin, Ukraine's Tatars Reassert Themselves

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

A Crimean Tatar man cries at a mass rally held in Simfropol, Ukraine, on May 18, 2004, the 60th anniversary of the deportation of Tatars from Crimea.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

In 1944, on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the entire population of Tatars on the Crimean Peninsula was rounded up and sent to the deserts of Soviet Central Asia.

Nearly 70 years after that wartime atrocity, the Tatar population is still working to reassert itself in its homeland.

Mullah Ziyatdin, 82, was just 12 when he and his family were rousted in the middle of the night, ordered to gather a few belongings and shoved into freight cars for a nightmarish three-week journey. The freight-car doors were opened every few days.

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5:03pm

Tue November 12, 2013
Parallels

Ukraine, A Chocolate Factory And The Fate Of A Woman

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:41 pm

Individually wrapped chocolate-covered hazelnut sweets move along a conveyor belt on the production line at the Roshen Confectionary Corp. factory in Kiev, Ukraine. A Russian ban on Ukraine's chocolate comes at a time when the nation is considering aligning itself with the European Union.
Joseph Sywenkyj Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's been more than two decades since the former Soviet Union broke apart, and to the dismay of Russia, many of the 15 former Soviet republics have spun away from Moscow's orbit.

Now Ukraine — with 46 million people — has a chance to say goodbye to its Soviet past and align itself both economically and culturally with the European Union.

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4:24pm

Wed October 2, 2013
Europe

Russia Charges Greenpeace Activists With Piracy

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Russian prosecutors have filed charges of piracy against 14 people who were aboard a Greenpeace boat during a protest last month in the Russian Arctic. Under Russian law, piracy is punishable by as much as 15 years in prison. Greenpeace says it was peacefully protesting the dangers of oil drilling in the Arctic and that the Russian government is violating international law.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow.

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5:28am

Mon September 30, 2013
Environment

Forum Discusses Arctic Oil And Gas Searches

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:52 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On the first Monday of the rest of your life, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Climate change is melting ice in the Arctic. And that is opening up the top of the world to drilling, shipping traffic, and also concerns about the environment. Earlier this month, Greenpeace activists were arrested trying to board an oil platform that's owned by Russia's state gas company.

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5:09pm

Sat September 21, 2013
Parallels

The U.S. Has More Guns, But Russia Has More Murders

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 5:39 pm

A worker at the Grand Okhota sportsman gun shop in Moscow on April 23.
Karpov Sergei ITAR-TASS /Landov

The U.S. and Russia have been taking lots of jabs at each other.

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized President Obama's plan for a military strike in Syria, and the Russian leader then denounced American "exceptionalism" in a biting op-ed in The New York Times.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., fired back Thursday with his own op-ed in the Russian paper Pravda, entitled, "Russia Deserves Better Than Putin."

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4:22pm

Thu September 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Greenpeace Vessel Is Boarded By Russian Coast Guard

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 3:14 am

Greenpeace's ship the "Arctic Sunrise" in 2005.
Samuel Aranda AFP/Getty Images

Greenpeace reports that its vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, has been boarded by the Russian Coast Guard after a protest against oil and gas drilling in the Russian Arctic.

The crew of the vessel tweeted throughout the drama. A tweet by Greenpeace HQ indicated that everyone was safe but that the crew was not "in control of the ship at this point."

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5:36pm

Wed September 11, 2013
World

What's Driving Russia's Tactical Change On Syria?

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 7:14 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to avoid a strike by the U.S.
Michael Klimentyev/Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

For months, Russia has been playing a defensive game on Syria, blocking U.N. resolutions that could have led to the ouster of its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Russia is now on the offense, running with a plan that could avert U.S.-led strikes against Syria by having Syria place its chemical weapons under international control.

So why the change in tactics?

There are several different strands in Russian thinking on the issue.

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4:57pm

Mon September 9, 2013
Europe

Loser In Moscow Mayoral Election The One That's Made News

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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4:31am

Thu August 8, 2013
Europe

Former Soviet Republic's Democratic Transition Questioned

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It was five years ago that the U.S. was chastising Russia over its invasion of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Russian tanks had moved across the border after Georgian forces tried to re-take a separatist region, a region which Russia backed. There is still tensions between the countries, but last year Georgian voters elected a new prime minister who pledged to improve ties with Moscow.

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1:51pm

Wed August 7, 2013
Parallels

Migrants Flock To Russia, But Receive A Cool Welcome

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:26 am

Migrant workers follow a police officer during a raid by Russian immigration authorities at a construction site in Moscow, in 2012.
Karpov Sergei ITAR-Tass/Landov

Russia's immigration issues would be familiar to Americans: Millions of impoverished migrants have come and found low-wage jobs. Some are in Russia illegally and are exploited by their employers. And a growing number of Russians fear this influx of migrants, many of whom are Muslim, is changing the face of the country.

At 3:30 on a recent morning, the train from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, pulls into Moscow after a four-day journey. The passengers hauling their bags out onto the damp, ill-lit platform are mostly men. Russian police eye the new arrivals with suspicion.

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5:32pm

Tue July 30, 2013
Parallels

Anti-Gay Riot In Tblisi Tests Balance Between Church, State

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 8:06 pm

Anti-gay protesters try to attack a bus with gay activists who are being taken away from a pro-gay-rights rally by police for their own protection in Tblisi, Georgia, on May 17. Thousands of anti-gay protesters, including Orthodox priests, occupied a central street in Georgia's capital.
Shakh Aivazov AP

While gay rights have been gaining ground in the West, they've been facing a strong backlash in many countries of the former Soviet Union.

Russia recently passed a law that makes it a crime to give information about "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors.

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6:16am

Sat July 27, 2013
News

Public Opinion May Give Russia An Edge In Snowden Case

Originally published on Sat July 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena is representing NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said Russia has three months to consider his request for temporary asylum.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps insisting that he doesn't want the case of a fugitive American intelligence contractor to harm relations between Russia and the United States.

But Edward Snowden remains an irritant, stuck in diplomatic limbo in the transit area of a Moscow airport.

A Putin spokesman said Friday that the issue is being discussed by the Russian federal security service — the FSB — and the FBI, but it may be that Snowden has become a problem that can only be solved at the top of the two governments.

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7:54am

Sat July 20, 2013
News

Russia Conducts Record Military Exercises

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Today, Russia is wrapping up its biggest military maneuver since the Soviet era, an exercise that's designed to test its military readiness on land, sea and in the air. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that it may also be an effort to show Russia's Far Eastern neighbors that it is still a force to be reckoned with.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Russian President Vladimir Putin watched part of the war games this week at a firing range in southern Siberia.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Foreign language spoken)

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6:00am

Fri July 19, 2013
Europe

Russian Opposition Leader Convicted Amid Controversy

A Russian court has convicted one of the country's most prominent opposition leaders of embezzlement. Alexei Navalny faces a sentence of five years in prison in a controversial case that he says was trumped up to derail his political career. Navalny was instrumental in organizing mass protests against the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

5:18pm

Mon July 15, 2013
The Salt

The Secret To Georgian Grilled Meats? Grapevines And Lots Of Wine

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 3:27 pm

Shashlik cooks on a hot grill. Kakheti, the easternmost province in the Republic of Georgia, is known for meats grilled over grapevines, which burn quickly, leaving a heap of finger-sized coals.
Nick Grabowski via Flickr

Tucked between Russia and Turkey, the Republic of Georgia is renowned for great food: cheese dishes, pickles, breads and stews. This is a cuisine that you should not miss.

And on summer evenings in the capital, Tbilisi, the air is fragrant with the smells of one of Georgian cookery's highlights: grilled meat, or shashlik.

You can find good shashlik at restaurants with white tablecloths, but the very best in all Tbilisi is said to be at a roadside stop called Mtsvadi Tsalamze. It's an unassuming place with rows of wooden picnic tables in an open yard.

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5:13am

Fri July 12, 2013
Environment

Environmentalists Warn Olympic Games Will Harm Sochi

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:19 am

Russia is preparing for the 2014 Winter Games — turning a sleepy valley in the Northern Caucasus Mountains into an Olympic village, with brand-new facilities for every Alpine sport. Officials say it will be a world-class destination for winter-sports enthusiasts long after the Games are over. Environmentalists say it's an ecological disaster in the making.

3:44pm

Tue July 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

'Sputnik' Orbits A Russian City, Finding And Healing Tuberculosis

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 8:33 am

Nurse Marina Bogdanova, with Sputnik, gives medications to Sergei Gaptenko, who is close to finishing treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Konstantin Salomatin for NPR

Russia is confronting one of its most serious public health threats since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The threat is tuberculosis, but with a dangerous twist: Strains of the bacteria are widely circulating that are resistant to ordinary anti-TB drugs, and far harder to cure.

In parts of Siberia, nearly 30 percent of all tuberculosis cases aren't treatable by two of the most potent medications, the World Health Organization reported last year.

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3:37am

Tue July 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

Treating The 'Body And Soul' In A Russian TB Prison

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:41 am

An inmate practices for the yearly talent show in the prison's concert hall. Such cultural activities are part of the hospital's treatment, which combines correction with education, medical and psychological therapy.
Konstantin Salomatin/for NPR

Igor Davydenko is rail-thin with dark circles under his eyes. He has a haunted look, reinforced by black prison overalls with reflective tape on the shoulders and cuffs.

Davydenko could be labeled as a loser in many ways. The 31-year-old is a drug addict, serving time for robbery and assault. He's serving his third stretch in a Siberian prison.

But Davydenko is about to become a winner in at least one way. If all goes well, he will soon be declared cured of one of the deadliest forms of tuberculosis.

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4:52pm

Tue June 11, 2013
Parallels

Despite Critics, Russia Promises A Grand Olympic Spectacle

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 10:04 am

As Sochi, Russia, prepares to host the 2014 Olympic Games, workers walk past piles of dirt at the construction site of Fisht Stadium and Olympic Park on May 20.
Artur Lebedev ITAR-TASS/Landov

As Russia prepares to host the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, it faces a number of challenges: The weather is mild for winter sports; residents are complaining about being displaced; and the project is costing a huge amount of money.

Yet the Black Sea resort town, a favorite of President Vladimir Putin, is bustling with construction cranes. Workers are racing to complete high-rise hotels and state-of-the-art venues for figure skating, speedskating and hockey.

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6:07am

Sun May 19, 2013
Parallels

Russian Lawmakers: Don't Criticize Soviet Actions In WWII

A column of Russia's T-90 tanks rumbles over the cobblestones in Moscow's Red Square on May 9 during the country's Victory Day parade celebrating the anniversary of its costly victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

World War II remains a monumental event in the collective Russian mind. It's known as the "Great Patriotic War," and Russians believe no one made greater sacrifices than the Soviet Union when it came to defeating Nazi Germany.

The end of the war is celebrated with a huge military parade in Moscow's Red Square on May 9, commemorating the millions of men and women, military and civilian, who died during the struggle.

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