Reporters Join Forces With TI Against Corruption

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Transparency International (TI) are joining forces in a first of its kind partnership to root out grand corruption on a global scale, the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium.

This initiative will connect investigative journalists turning a spotlight on the secretive shadow economy with anti-corruption activists able to translate complex information into campaigns for change. The project is structured to ensure the independence of reporters and activists to pursue their distinct goals, and will generate information sharing between those communities on an unprecedented scale, with common themes agreed at editorial level. Read more

 

SCOOP Conference in St. Petersburg

SCOOP in cooperation with The International Media Support and the Regional Press Institute, invites journalists from Northwest Russia to participate in a conference on investigative journalism on December 10-11 in Pushkin, St. Petersburg.

Meet international capacities who have made investigations with impact across borders – and meet colleagues who have learned investigative methods through the SCOOP program and used them in their daily work as journalists in Northwest Russia.

Participation is free, and transportation costs are covered. See more and find the whole conference program here.

Not a Single Official Refugee from Ukraine to Kaliningrad in Two Years

Accomodation for migrantsFighting in the south-east of Ukraine forced millions of Ukrainian citizens to flee from their homes to save their lives and the lives of their children. Many have lost their relatives, their homes and belongings. Many did not have a choice where to go – only to Russia, which at that time offered them help and support.

The purpose of this investigation was to find out whether Ukrainian refugees in Russia received any support. Or were they left with their problems alone? Russia promised to support refugees on a state level. However nobody was granted an official refugee status in Kaliningrad region in last two years.
The investigation was made by Anastasia Drozdova and published in the newspaper Novy Karavan 5th of March 2016.

Read the original investigation – part 1part 2part 3

Read the English translation

If You Can’t Buy It, Burn It

romanIn the Kaliningrad region, people are in danger if they live in old houses on attractive spots close to the sea. Someone might want to have their beautiful view.

If a person living in an old house on a popular locations refuses to leave, there is a big risk that their house will set fire. During the last two years more than 200 arsons have been recorded in the Kaliningrad region.
The journalist Roman Romanovskiy has been digging deep into the fires and found dead bodies, a local politician who owns a construction company and the new expensive housing he has built on the lovely plots.
The investigation was published in the newspaper Dvornik 1 of March 2016, on the website Rugrad March 3rd 2016 and on Transparency Internationals Russia’s website for Kaliningrad.

Read the English translation

 

Ukrainian Refugees Forced Back From Russia

resettDuring the two years of the armed conflict in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced out of their homes. Many of them have moved within Ukraine. A large number of them followed Russian propaganda and went to Russia. However, not everything was so wonderful in the Russian Federation: only a few regions could give out refugee status, and only some offered free lodging and financial benefits. Having no work permits or legal documents, many Ukrainians were forced to return back to Ukraine.

In Ukrainian cities, a big volunteer movement started. Local residents gathered food and clothing and offered lodging to people who came from Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Donbas residents themselves actively joined the volunteer movement and started their own NGOs, and by their own example inspired others.

The video “Resettlement Secrets” by reporter Tetyana Rikhtun for the Chornomorska TV/Radio Company was posted on YouTube on March 9, 2016.

See the original video

Read the English translation

 

 

 

Big money in Illegal Ukrainian amber

Wherever you find precious stones like amber, you also find smugglers and organized crime. The Volyn region in Ukraine and the Russian enclave Kaliningrad – both with large deposits of the precious material – are no exceptions, and consequently the Polish city of Gdansk is the capital of a veritable industry of  illegal jewellery.

The Russian reporter Nikita Kuzmin and his Ukrainian colleague Maya Holub investigated how amber is mined illegally, crossing borders illegally and the structures behind the schemes. And surprise, surprise: a friend, Sergey Chemezov, of the Russian president Vladimir Putin is in this business.

The article “How Ukrainian Amber is Illegally Transported to Poland” by reporters Maya Holub from the Ukrainian/Polish newspaper “Monitor Wołyński” and Nikita Kuzmin from the Kaliningrad business portal Rugrad.eu was published online on the Corrupt.ua portal on February 24, 2016.

Read the original article (in Ukrainian)

Read the English translation

 

 

SCOOP Coordinator Wins Golden Spade Prize

GuldspadegalanValeria Helander, Swedish SCOOP coordinator for St. Petersburg, was awarded the Golden Spade Prize on Saturday evening at the annual Swedish investigative journalism conference. The prize was given in the magazine category. Congratulations!

Valeria Helander and her colleague Elin Ericsson received the prize in recognition of their documenttation of how the Swedish immigration authorities use non-qualified interpreters, which makes an already difficult situation worse for refugees arriving in Sweden. Their work was published in the magazine Faktum.

FOTO: Gräv2016

CIJ Summer School Open for Booking

The Summer School at Center for Investigative Journalism at University of London is open for bookings.

Focus is on on data journalism for all levels. From beginners to advanced, featuring hands-on sessions and case studies. There will also be courses on how to conduct investigations, covert filming, financial investigations, sports corruption, the Freedom of Information Act and much more.

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author James B. Steele and the editor-in-chief of The Intercept Betsy Reed will be among this year’s keynote speakers.

Read more

Too Much Water Makes The Kaliningrad Sausage Profitable

Three out of four samples of so-called high quality sausages bought in the local food store in Kaliningrad contained much more water than allowed in the Russian state standards. That was the result when the reporter Anastasia Drozdova in Novy Karavan sent the samples she had bought to laboratories.

The investigation was published 22nd of December 2015 in Novy Karavan Nr 41. This was the second time the investigative reporter Anastasia Drozdova tried to figure out what the sausage from local producers in Kaliningrad is made of. The first attempt failed, as any of laboratories couldn’t tell how much meat was in the sausage.

But Anastasia Drozdova didn’t give in. She bought a selection of locally produced high quality sausages in the food store and sent it to three different laboratories – in Kaliningrad, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

The result was astonishing. According to the protocols from the labs, three out of four samples contained more water than allowed in the state standards, to which the producers referred on the package. Since water is cheaper than meat, this makes it profitable for the producer, but the customer is cheated.

In a message The Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights in Russia, Rospotrebnadzor writes, that food that does not live up to the information on the package should not be sold. The consumer who bought it has the right to get their money back, according to the statement.

Read the original article

Read the full supplement of the investigation(Russian only) – page 1-2page 3page 4page 5-6page 7-8

Read the English translation

Public Transport as a Private Money Machine

In Syktyvkar – the capital of the Russian region Komi – the largest company  in local public transport, Alpha-Trans, went bankrupt. That’s what happens in a market economy. Or is it?

The journalist Maxim Poliakov took a closer look and found an interesting scheme, where the busses transported money directly into the pockets of a small circle of businessmen and politicians.

He published his findings in the article  “Alpha (in a ) Trance. Who Is Making a Profit out off Syktyvar’s Public Transportation?” in the 7×7 journal on October 28, 2015.

Read the original article

Read the English translation