On the crime of being an investigative journalist

Lecture and Discussion.

  • Aleksej Bobrovnikov, Ukranian journalist
  • Maike Middeler, Student Class 2016 (moderation)

Following the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian region of Donbass has been affected by armed conflicts between pro-Russian separatist forces and the Ukrainian government. Due to that condition, it has become a popular location for smuggling, money laundry and organised crime that transcends borders. To fight the illegal trade of weapons, fuel, gold and other goods, Kiev established a special investigative group. Its leader as well as several members have been killed since then.

Aleksei Bobrovnikov decided to investigate further in this matter in cooperation with a Russian colleague and his findings were shocking: Ukrainian military forces seemed to play a major role in this issue. The results of his research made Bobrovnikov the target of very powerful enemies, especially since the 92nd brigade that was presumably involved in the illegal activities are considered national heroes due to their participation in other armed conflicts like the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war and very recently the conflicts in Donbas itself. Since then, Bobrovnikov has received numerous death threats even in front of the camera. He disappeared for months in the western Ukraine but the threats continued. When he found out the Ukrainian secret service planned to kill him in 2016, he had to leave the country in a rush and found himself in Hamburg only 36 hours later.

In Cooperation with the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People and the Amnesty International Chapter of Bucerius Law School.