David Greene

David Greene is a correspondent for NPR News and lays claim to the network's coldest assignment: Moscow.

Greene jumped to NPR's foreign desk recently, after 5 years on the national desk. He took a brief break in between to study intensive Russian at Moscow State University. In January 2010, he returned to reporting. From Moscow, he'll be covering the entire region: Ukraine and the Baltics, east to Siberia.

Greene's voice became familiar to NPR listeners from his four years covering the White House. To report on former President George W. Bush's second term, Greene spent hours in NPR's spacious booth in the basement of the West Wing (it's about the size of your average broom closet). He also spent time trekking across five continents, reporting on White House visits to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Rwanda, Uruguay – and, of course, Crawford, Texas.

During the days following Hurricane Katrina, Greene was aboard Air Force One when President Bush flew low over the Gulf Coast and caught his first glimpse of the storm's destruction. On the ground in New Orleans, Greene brought listeners a moving interview with the late Ethel Williams, a then-74-year-old flood victim who got an unexpected visit from the president.

Greene was an integral part of NPR's coverage of the historic 2008 election, covering Hillary Clinton's campaign from start to finish, and also focusing on how racial attitudes were playing into voters' decisions. The White House Correspondents Association took special note of Greene's report on a speech by then-candidate Barack Obama, addressing the nation's racial divide. Greene was given the association's 2008 Merriman Smith award for deadline coverage of the presidency.

After President Obama took office, Greene kept one eye trained on the White House and the other eye on the road. He spent three months driving across America – with a recorder, camera and lots of caffeine – to learn how the recession was touching Americans during President Obama's first 100 days in office. The series was called "100 Days: On the Road in Troubled Times."

Greene has also enjoyed guest hosting some of our news programs, including Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. He was in the host's chair when news broke that President Obama had nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Greene was in the same chair when comedienne Kathy Griffin yelled at him: "I don't even have the real host today?" she asked. "I got the new guy filling in? Oh, this is so typical."

Before joining NPR in 2005, Greene spent nearly seven years as a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun. He covered the White House during the Bush administration's first term, and wrote about an array of other topics for the paper: Why Oklahomans love the sport of cockfighting, why two Amish men in Pennsylvania were caught trafficking methamphetamine and how one woman brought Christmas back to a small town in Maryland.

Before graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1998 with a degree in government, Greene worked as the senior editor on the Harvard Crimson. In 2004, he was named co-volunteer of the year for Coaching for College, a Washington, D.C., program offering tutoring to inner-city youth.



Tue September 20, 2011

Afghanistan's Former President Rabbani Assassinated

Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the Afghan Peace Council and former president of Afghanistan, was killed in a bombing in the nation's capital.


Mon September 19, 2011

Obama To Propose Deficit Reduction Plan

President Obama today releases his plan to bring down the federal deficit. The proposal will include new taxes, Medicare reductions and savings from troop withdrawals.


Tue September 13, 2011

Insurgents Fire On U.S. Embassy In Afghan Capital

Insurgents appear to have launched a coordinated attack in the heart of Afghanistan's capital city. Rocket propelled grenades and assault weapons could be heard across Kabul — targeting the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters.


Mon September 12, 2011

Politics In The News

David Greene talks to NPR's Cokie Roberts about the week in politics.


Tue August 30, 2011
Crime In The City

Moscow, In A Time Of Fear

Remembering Russia's Dark Past: Tom Rob Smith's crime novels follow Soviet security agent Leo Demidov through 1950s Moscow, when Josef Stalin ruled the Kremlin and simply associating with the wrong people could land you in jail.
And all that Malarkey via Flickr

The novels of Tom Rob Smith are set mostly in the Soviet Union of the 1950s, a time and a place where oppression was palpable and any wrong move could get a person sent to a prison thousands of miles away.

Smith's first thriller, Child 44, was the story of a Soviet security agent whose job was to spy on fellow citizens. While many authors are virtual tour guides in the places where they set their novels, Smith had actually only been to Moscow once before — in 1997, on a high school trip.

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Mon August 29, 2011
Around the Nation

Not A Monster Storm, But Irene Still Packed A Punch

Hurricane Irene destroyed houses, flooded cities and caused billions of dollars of damage. But the destruction was less than expected because Irene turned out to be less powerful than forecasters predicted.


Mon August 29, 2011
Around the Nation

Washed Out Bridges Strand Vermont's Small Towns

Vermont became an unexpected casualty of Hurricane Irene. The storm dropped up to seven inches of rain Sunday — flooding streams and sending rivers crashing over their banks. In the state highway system alone, 12 bridges were washed out.


Thu August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns, Steve Cook Becomes Apple's CEO

Apple CEO Steve Jobs stepped down Wednesday, in a poignant letter to his board. Jobs has been battling cancer for some years. He will continue as chairman of the board.


Tue August 23, 2011

NCAA Tunes In On Longhorn Network

TV money is changing the college sports landscape. Lured by bigger and bigger paydays, many conferences and some individual teams, are starting their own television networks. The University of Texas has launched the Longhorn Network.


Mon August 22, 2011

Libyan Rebels Set On Ousting Gadhafi

Most of the Libyan capital Tripoli is controlled by rebels. The rebels, however, are not in control of Moammar Gadhafi's compound. The whereabouts of Gadhafi are unknown. Two of his sons have been arrested.


Mon August 22, 2011

20 Years Ago: Coup Backfires, Destroys Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was at a tipping point two decades ago. Communist party hardliners, determined to stop President Mikhail Gorbachev's moves towards democracy, attempted a coup. The action backfired, and rallied many Russians behind Boris Yelstin.


Thu August 18, 2011
Middle East

Obama Calls For Syria's President To Resign

Originally published on Thu August 18, 2011 10:30 am



President Obama today released a written statement calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign. In his statement, President Obama condemned, quote, "the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that call in an announcement from the State Department.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (State Department): Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves.

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Thu August 18, 2011

Rebels Try To Wrest Control Of Zawiya From Gadhafi Troops

David Greene talks to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro on the latest on the fighting in western Libya. Rebels are trying to seize the oil refinery in Zawiya from Moammar Gadhafi's forces.


Tue August 16, 2011
Race To The Arctic

Russia Pushes To Claim Arctic As Its Own

Murmansk, Russia, is the largest city above the Arctic Circle. If Russia follows through with plans to explore for oil and natural gas offshore in the Arctic Ocean, the city and its port could see significant economic benefits.
David Greene NPR

Four years ago, Russian researchers made a bold, if unseen, move. From a submarine, deep beneath the icy waters of the North Pole, they planted a Russian flag on the ocean floor.

Russia has the world's longest Arctic border, which stretches more than 10,000 miles. And for Russia, that 2007 research mission was only the beginning of a major drive to claim ownership of vast portions of the Arctic, as well as the oil and gas deposits that are beneath.

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Tue August 16, 2011
Middle East

Navy Aids In Syria's Crack Down On Protesters

In Syria, the navy is being used for the first time against the protest movement there. Gunships have been shelling the coastal city of Latakia, where more than 30 people have been killed over the last four days. Residents say they fear the crackdown could get worse.


Wed July 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Photo Of The Day: Interviewing Reindeer In Arctic Russia

David Greene landed this interview at a reindeer farm near Murmansk, Russia.
David Greene NPR

NPR reporters are traveling the far North to report for an upcoming series on the thawing Arctic and what that's going to mean to nations in the region. Click here to see their dispatches. NPR's Moscow correspondent David Greene sent this curious photograph:

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Mon July 18, 2011
The Two-Way

A Postcard From Arctic Russia


A group of NPR reporters are in different parts of the Arctic doing some reporting for an upcoming series on the thawing Arctic and what it's going to mean to nations in the region. NPR's Moscow correspondent David Greene sent us a few graphs and a couple of pictures:

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Fri July 15, 2011
The End Of The Space Shuttle Era

In Russia, Space Ride For U.S. Spurs Nostalgia, Hope

Crew members of the International Space Station, (from left) U.S. astronaut Ron Garan, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokytyaev and Andrei Borisenko, prepare to enter a Soyuz simulator outside Moscow on March 30, 2011. With the space shuttle out of commission, the Russian Soyuz vehicle will be the only way for Americans to reach space.
Dimitry Kostyukov AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. shuttle program will end after space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth on July 21. Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao captured this reality on All Things Considered:

"After this mission, we will no longer have the ability to send American astronauts into space ourselves," Chiao said. "And arguably, we will no longer be the leaders in human space flight until we get that capability back."

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Thu July 7, 2011

Some Russians Happy To Back Status Quo In Election

Sixteen months out from the 2012 election, U.S. presidential campaigns are already in hyperdrive. There have been debates, stump speeches and attack ads, and the candidates are obsessed with winning over voters.

Russia also has a presidential election next year, but it's a very different kind of democracy. Russia will choose a president sooner, in March, but right now there's no visible campaign. And it's no secret that President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will essentially decide the winner behind closed doors.

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Mon June 27, 2011
Hidden World Of Girls

Russian Women Prove It's Hip To Be A Babushka

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The "Buranovo Babushkas" watch video, for the first time, of two of their members appearing on Russia's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? program.
David Greene NPR

In Russian culture, one iconic image is the elderly woman — in Russian, you call her a "babushka" — sitting on a roadside, selling vegetables from her garden.

One group of babushkas from the village of Buranovo, 600 miles east of Moscow, is blowing up that stereotype.

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Tue June 7, 2011
China: Beyond Borders

As China Invests, Many Kazakhs Say: Not Too Fast

A worker welds at the China-Kazakhstan pipeline junction in Xinjiang, China, in 2008.
Carlos Spottorno Getty Images

As China grows in power and influence, few countries are feeling the effects more than neighboring Kazakhstan.

Having broken from its past as a Soviet republic, Kazakhstan now has an up-and-coming economy and a desire to be a player on the world stage. China seems to be offering just what Kazakhstan needs — billions of dollars in foreign investment and deeper political ties with real-world powers.

But many people in Kazakhstan have a plea: not too fast.

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Thu May 19, 2011

Russians Wait To Find Out Who's Running For President

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and his Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are sending confusing signals about which of them intends to stand as candidate in next year's presidential election. Moscow is rife with speculation over which of the two men will emerge on top.


Thu April 28, 2011
William And Kate: The Royal Wedding

In London, Wedding Waiting Enters Its Final Hours

Originally published on Thu April 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Fans of the royal family take photographs as they wait for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

After five months of planning and anticipation, it's showtime in London.

The wedding ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton Friday morning at Westminster Abbey has a guest list of around 2,000 people — including friends of the bride and groom, members of the royal family and members of other countries' royal families.

After the vows, the bride and groom will ride to Buckingham Palace in the same gold carriage the late Princess Diana used 30 years ago. Swarms of people have descended on London for the nuptials.

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Tue April 26, 2011

Chernobyl: 25 Years Of Health Questions

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:57 am

Anatoly Kotlyar (left), 59, and Alexander Zenchenko, 58, are two of the thousands of "liquidators," or firefighters, who responded to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The Soviet government ordered them to the nuclear facility as first responders. Both men today complain of health problems and say Ukraine's government should be doing more to help with medical bills.
David Greene/NPR

In the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, a bell rang 25 times Tuesday morning, marking each year that has passed since the world's worst nuclear disaster. Many people who lived through the 1986 Chernobyl accident are still suffering the after-effects, and the new nuclear crisis unfolding in Japan serves as another reminder of just how long recovery can take.

A short drive away from the Chernobyl plant stands a police checkpoint that guards the restricted area. Outside, it's a beautiful part of Ukraine, with forests and fields. Inside, it's still largely a wasteland.

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