Medical Care on Service

During many years the hospitals in Kaliningrad were equipped with computer tomography for use in various state run medical programs. This expensive equipment, financed by the federal Russian tax payers, was supposed to be used in the benefit of the residents in the Kaliningrad region. Today more than a third of them are out of order to be repaired.

Millions of rubels from the regional budget are spent on maintenance of this broken equipment. According to the Ministry of Health this is a natural process. But why are they so often out of order? Maria Pustovaya, journalist at the newspaper Dvornik in Kaliningrad tried to find the answer.

The investigation was published in the newspaper Dvornik and on the website RUGRAD.EU in the autumn 2016.

Read the original article in Dvornik and Rugrad.eu

Read the English translation

 

 

 

 

Russia: Time to apply for support of investigative reporting

We – the International Media Support, IMS, in Copenhagen, the Associations of Investigative journalism in Denmark and Sweden, FUJ and FGJ, in cooperation with the Regional Press Institute, RPI, in Saint Petersburg, Russia and Fojo Media Institute, Sweden – are happy to invite all journalists in the North-West region of Russia to apply for support for an investigative journalism report you would like to conduct in your region.

SCOOP workshop 2016.

The investigation should be useful to your community and interesting to your audience. The work should be intended to be published in a mass media you regularly work for, such as print media, radio, television or web based media.

We offer you assistance to plan your investigation, to participate in a training program at Fojo Media Institute in Kalmar, Sweden, with Russian-speaking trainers, and a follow up master class seminar when your piece has been published. During the work you can get support from our experienced trainers in Russia. You can also apply for financial support for various costs during the work, such as travel or external analysis, and a small fee.

SCOOP Russia is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) This is the seventh year SCOOP Russia is running, and SIDA is supporting the program until 2019.

The supported projects will also be published on the SCOOP Russia website. On the website you can see examples of previous investigations in Russian language as well as in English. If you have questions, you can find contact details on the web page.

Deadline for applications is February 15th. The application form must be properly filled and sent by e-mail to info@scooprussia.org. SCOOP Russia is ready to support 16 applications from new journalists. In addition, a number of reporters who have already received SCOOP training, can get support for a new investigation.It is also possible to apply for a cross-border investigation in cooperation with a colleague from another country.

Our selection period ends March 1st. The training period is planned for 17 – 23 April 2017 and will be held in Kalmar, Sweden.

Only journalists from the Northwest region of Russia can get support and participate in the training.

We are ready to welcome your application!

The staff and volunteers of SCOOP Russia

50 Investigative Journalists Meet in St Petersburg

Fredrik Laurin, reporter at Swedish TV program Uppdrag Granskning, listens to questions from the participants

Fredrik Laurin, reporter at Swedish TV program Uppdrag Granskning, listens to questions from the participants.

“My point is that international illegal fishing can be fought by international cooperation only,” the often-awarded Swedish investigative journalist Fredrik Laurin told his audience of Russian colleagues.

He was one of two Swedish keynote speakers at SCOOP Russia’s first ever conference on investigative journalism held in Russia 9-10 December 2016. The conference is probably the biggest such event held ever in North West Russia.

His point goes for any fishy business that journalists in different countries try to reveal. Fredrik Laurin suggested more international cooperation for the 50 Russian journalists from Northwest Russia who spent two days in Pushkin, just outside Saint Petersburg, to learn more tips and techniques for their work. A majority of the participants came from regions far away from Russias second biggest city Saint Petersburg.

Fredrik Laurins example of illegal fishing was twelve years old. Nevertheless it was relevant, because it was made possible only with help from Russian journalists in Murmansk.

Investigate – and come back later

Another point of Fredrik Laurin was that journalism matters. The investigation on illegal fishing, aired by Swedish TV4 Kalla Fakta, changed the rules on fishing in the European Union. It also embarrassed Scandinavian companies claiming to sell only ethically caught fish, while Fredrik Laurin and his partners Sven Bergman and Joachim Dyfvermark could show this was not true.

Uppdrag Granskning editor Nils Hanson gives tips to make the reporting better.

Uppdrag Granskning editor Nils Hanson gives tips to make the reporting better.

“Now it would be time to make the same investigation again, to find out if illegally caught cod is being sold to the market today as it was then,” he said.

International impact

He also gave examples of more recent investigations having big impact: The investigation on Telia Sonera’s murky cooperation with security services in non-democratic countries such as Uzbekistan and Belarus forced the company to pay a very expensive fine in the United States, the leaders of Telia Sonera lost their jobs and the board has put all their daughter companies in Eurasia on the sell-out list.

The third example was Panama Papers where he cooperated with Russian colleagues among others and where Sven Bergman in cooperation with the Icelandic colleague Johannes Kr. Kristjansson, made the interview forcing Iceland’s prime minister to resign.

Both Telia Sonera and Panama Papers were published in the Swedish television program  Uppdrag Granskning, a flagship of investigative journalism not only in Sweden but also world wide.

The Editor-in-Chief of Uppdrag Granskning, Nils Hanson, outlined a number of tips that can be practised by any investigative journalist. The use of line-by-line fact check and an in-house Devil’s advocate, are two of the principles helping Uppdrag Granskning to avoid errors in their investigations.

It can be done in Russia

After the first day’s examples from Sweden, some of the Russian journalists claimed that it is much easier making investigations in Sweden, but almost impossible in Russia.

Even if this remark contains a lot of truth, the speakers of the second day showed that a lot can be done also in Russia.

Aleksandr Gorshkow, from Azjur and Fontanka, shared his local experience from Saint Petersburg.

He was followed by three very good examples of investigative journalism pieces presented by participants in SCOOP Russia.

First Aleksey Semyonov presented the investigation he and his colleagues on Pskovskaya Gubernia made regarding dead Russian soldiers, returning from the allegedly non-existing war in Ukraine. Their work has been big news in the worlds biggest media.

Next was Svetlana Zobova from Saint Petersburg who has examined why the football club Zenit’s new stadion has not been built yet.

The final example was Roman Romanovskiy from Kaliningrad, who sent the claimed cleaned waste water from the regions waste water treatment facilities on analysis, and found it as dirty as the waste water pumped into the buildings. This year he has repeated his investigation to see what has happened. The result will be published locally in local media in Kaliningrad.

Biggest IJ event in many years

The conference was arranged by the Regional Press Institute in cooperation with the SCOOP coordinators, and RPI director Anna Sharogradskaya gave the closjng remarks.

The conference was arranged by the Regional Press Institute in cooperation with the SCOOP coordinators, and RPI director Anna Sharogradskaya gave the closing remarks.

The closing speech was held by Anna Sharogradskaya, director of the Regional Press Institute, arranging the conference in cooperation with the Russian coordinators of SCOOP Russia and Scandinavian colleagues.

The opening speech was held by SCOOP Russia’s Project Coordinator Börge Nilsson, representing the Swedish and Danish associations for investigative reporting, FGJ and FUJ.

“I am very impressed. This is, as far as I understand, the biggest event of its kind taken place in this part of Russia for many years — if not ever”, Börge Nilsson says.

 

 

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