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Man of revolution

Man of revolution

Jan Kuciak made a revolution in my life 8 years ago when we met at the university. He was my friend, schoolmate, colleague, mentor, beer buddy, psychologist, philosopher, and an irreplaceable person in my life. All these sides of Janko have been spread across Slovakia and every single face during protests in the squares reflects one of them. 26th February 2018 stopped the casual time flow in Slovakia. The whole country was shocked by the news of the death of journalist Ján Kuciak and archaeologist Martina Kušnírová. The official statement hit thousands of people even more. The police president Tibor Gašpar...

You cannot kill the story

You cannot kill the story

When Marek Vagovič, the editor of Jano Kuciak from his news portal Aktuality, called me at 8 AM on Monday morning, I had no idea how his message was going to turn my upcoming days upside down. He asked me to sit down and explained me that Jano and his fiancée Martina were brutally murdered at their home in Slovak village of Velka Mača. He told me it was the work of professional – one bullet to Jano´s chest, one bullet to Martina´s head. And as I am the one who worked closely with him on his last big investigation,...

War of Words

War of Words

The Russian online propaganda offensive was launched after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The aftermath of this operation still echoes around the world today. Organized groups of pro-Kremlin online commentators have been active for at least 17 years, since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s presidency. In 2003, the name „Kremlin’s web brigades” was first used by Russian researchers, Anna Polyanskaya, Andrey Krivov and Ivan Lomako. Back then, the main purpose of the „brigades” was to praise Vladimir Putin’s presidency. Over the years, „brigades” took upon themselves to do more than just write comments; they started...

Usovsky Case: The Man Who Wanted More

Usovsky Case: The Man Who Wanted More

Alexander Usovsky was active in the Visegrad region, set up foundations, looked for EU grants, finally received money from Russia in cash, without leaving any paper trail. That’s how he started to organize a network of dutiful and useful people. And indeed, everything went just the way his sponsor wanted. The case of Alexander Usovsky, a Belarusian-born activist, is the first so thoroughly documented example of Moscow’s foreign policy. VSquare.org analyzed his activities, contacts and leaked data to see what he was doing in V4 for Russian money. Our report shows sources of his financing and explains who is answering...

Usovsky case: A Pocket Revolution Bought with Russian Money

Usovsky case: A Pocket Revolution Bought with Russian Money

Perhaps he was a fool, a liar and a fraud, the Baron von Munchausen of Russian influence in Europe. But the case of Alexander Usovsky – even though it may seem like a farce – is actually very serious. It’s the first so thoroughly documented example of Moscow’s foreign policy. It shows sources of its financing and explains who is answering to Kremlin’s propaganda puppet masters. And how it makes use of radical nationalists. The Usovsky scandal erupts in March 2017. Ukrainian hackers release proof that Russia has been financing anti-Ukrainian groups in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Activists from...

Russian Influence in Visegrad countries

Russian Influence in Visegrad countries

For several months, a group of investigative journalists from the VSquare project was researching the problem of Russian propaganda in V4 countries. Our findings prove that Russians are exceptionally effective when it comes to informational warfare. They use propaganda to gain certain advantages and frame the situation in the most favorable way. The way that suits Kremlin’s authorities. Russian propaganda offensive has intensified in 2014, along with eruption of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the „little green men” invasion on Crimea and Donbass. The internet was flooded with anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian comments based on...