Information on Land Allocation Evaporated

The former mayor of the Russian city of Syktyvkar, Ivan Pozdeev, has been arrested, suspected of abuse of power and embezzlement. But what has happened to the documentation?

Reporter Ekaterina Klepikovskaya tried to find out what the former mayor had actually done, and she realized that it’s almost impossible to find information on the allocation of land plots in the capital of the region Komi. Authorities also tried – unsuccesfully – to stop her research.

Her article was published 28th of October 2015 on the website komionline.

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Imprisoned by a Railroad Track

A small residential area in the Karelian village of Chalna has been cut off from the rest of the village for almost four years, because the railroad company without any warning closed a crossing and thus blocked the only road. Residents had to park at the tracks and carry all all supplies to their homes.

To add insult to injury authorities also stopped gas for heating. Residents tried all options to get the crossing open or a new small road and met a bureaucracy that would have amazed even Kafka.

The reporter Marina Bedorfas interviewed all parties involved and accompanied the residents, when they met authoritie. Finally, this summer a primitive road was constructed.

The text was published 1st of December 2015 in the 7×7 journal.

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Cultural Heritage or a Worthless Shack?

Almost 50 of the 150 old wooden houses in Vologda have been destroyed in the last two decades.

The reporter Irina Kazankina in her article ‘Without Helms’ explains what happened to one of these –  a very beautiful example of traditional building style in this  Russian town: A house with two floors on Prechistenskaya Embankment 18. It was built more than 100 years ago by a merchant  by the name of Sveshnikov and had the status of architectural landmark. But one hot summer day it burned down within a few minutes…

The article was published in Russian on 13th of November 2015.

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Insurance Companies Try to Outfox the Law

In Russia as in other countries car insurance is obligatory. But what do you do, when the insurance companies refuse to sell policies?

If you are a taxi driver this  destroys your business. And why do they refuse to sell? After all, insurance rates are skyrocketing. Sergei Markelov tried to sort things out in the article ‘A Policy of Reinsurance’, published 12th of November 2015.

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Putting a Name on the Lords of the Land

What happened with the land of Zaytsev Collective Farm after it was reorganized in 1992? In the story “Land on Paper”, investigative reporter Anna Yarovaya dug into the privatization procedures of state agricultural enterprises that happened in Karelia like everywhere else after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Anna Yarovaya investigated how and by whom hectares of land were obtained. Today the companies’ holders who own these territories are well-known Karelian residents. The role of Victor Maslyakov – ex-head of the Federal Forestry Agency and the mayor of Petrozavodsk – was also established.

The story is Anna Yarovaya’s third investigation in the Scoop Russia project. She is also a trainer and a coordinator in the project.

The investigation “Land on Paper” was published at the Interregional Online Web-Journal 7×7.

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VIPs Own Illegal Summer Houses on the Curonian Spit

The Curonian Spit in Kaliningrad is listed as a World Heritage Site and a national park. Nevertheless, investigative reporter Nikita Kuzmin found about 100 buildings, that were supposedly guest houses, cottages, hotels or recreational and medical facilities, but in reality were serving as exclusive summer houses for private persons.

Five years ago there was a campaign, run by the management of the National Park, to prosecute those who had illegally built summerhouses on the Curonian Spit. Today we can see demolition ordered by the court for only two of the buildings. All the other will continue to serve as someone’s summer paradise also this year. The journalist found the reason. The owners are famous businessmen, politicians and other VIP from the region.

Nikita Kuzmin made last year his third investigation in the Scoop Russia project. He is also a trainer in the project and the editor of the newspaper Dvornik and contributing editor of the regional news website in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Read the investigation in Rugrad and in Dvornik.

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Millions of Euro Spent, But Pollution Continues in Kaliningrad

The promising words from politicians when Kaliningrad applied for financial support from the EU and Sweden to clean the city’s waste water, were worth nothing. Only six out of sixteen waste water treatment plants have been built. And most of them do not clean the waste water at all, only pump it into the rivers flowing from the enclave into the Baltic Sea, making the sea more and more polluted.

Roman Romanovskiy in Kaliningrad didn’t just remember the speeches from back when the project started. He also took samples of the out flow from the plants and checked it in laboratories. His results show that pollution continues. The cost of the environmental damages is half a billion of rubles a day.

His investigation is published on the website and in the Kaliningrad newspaper Dvornik.

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10 Guide Dogs for 500 Blind Persons

According to the legislation, every sight-disabled person has the right to get a free guide dog and to receive an annual payment for its keeping. In the course of this investigation, the question “why have more than 500 blind people in Karelia received only 10 dogs?” gets its answer.

This investigation is devoted to the issue of acquisition and keeping of blind people’s guide dogs in Karelia. It is made by Marina Bedorfas and was published in PTZGovorit.

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Village Moaning under the Weight of Ten Quarries

This investigation focused on life in Rybreka, a traditional Karelian village, which is affected by the actively developing stone extraction. Some 10 quarries are under operation both inside and around the village.

It would seem that the welfare of the population should grow, which is not in fact true. On the contrary, people complain about the overall settlement decay; dust and noise generated by the industries also harms people of the village. This investigation, made by Lyubov Trofimova, represents an attempt to light up the reasons of the current problematic situation, as well as to find its roots and who is responsible for the troubles.

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Krasny Bor Landfill: The Chemical Chernobyl Is a Reality

Krasny Bor, popularly nicknamed “the Chemical Chernobyl,” is the largest chemical waste landfill in Northwest Russia. The approximate two million tons of chemical waste that has accumulated here over the last 45 years pose a real threat to everything and is located just a few kilometers from St. Petersburg.

In the early 1990s, the Northern Capital’s administration announced its determination to neutralize this landfill. It was decided to build a chemical waste processing plant on its territory. For 20 years, billions of rubles have been invested in its construction. However, the plant has still yet to be finished. In the meantime, the chemical waste has begun to spread into the environment, while harmful and dangerous material is still brought there.

This large systemic investigation by Lina Zernova – investigative journalist from Saint Petersburg – shows, that after 20 years the only visible result is the discussion in the media. There is still no solution to the problem, which poses a serious threat to the ecology of St. Petersburg and North-West. The chemical Chernobyl near Petersburg has practically begun. Who will answer for it?

Lina Zernova’s investigation was published on the public organization Bellona web page on December 8, 2014 and Novaya Gazeta in Saint Petersburg newspaper on December 10, 2014.

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