Regional Kings of State Auctions

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Russia

Organisation: 7×7 online-journal

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 28/03/2019

Credit: Gleb Yarovoi, Sergey Markelov, Natalya Petrova, Vladimir Prokushev, Anna Yarovaya (producer)

Project description:

The quality of food in schools, medicines for patients, repair and construction of housing and roads often causes deserved discontent among Russians. The state regularly spends billions of rubles for these purposes through the public procurement system. And in every region there are people who managed to adapt their business to huge budget money, and usually these are not some “Putin friends” from Moscow, but their own – local ones. “7×7” represents the “kings of government orders” of the Murmansk and Vladimir regions, the Republics of Karelia and Chuvashia.


Impact reached:

The main impact is that society, residents of small cities, through our investigations, found out which businessmen have close ties with regional governments and officials. Russian reality is such that it is practically impossible to directly influence this situation, but usually in such situations both businessmen and officials become more careful when allocating budget money. They begin to fear publicity.

Techniques/technologies used:

Journalists of our online magazine used the public procurement database. There is information about all auctions, the winners of which received budget money. Having compiled a list of the largest entrepreneurs close to the state, journalists used economic databases to determine the relationships between the companies. Then each journalist wrote about 10 requests for information to state authorities and companies, interviewed company employees and competitors.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The most difficult part of the project is the analysis of a large amount of data. These are thousands of government purchases. Journalists wrote out the sum of the contracts for each of them, put them together and got the TOP-10 entrepreneurs who got rich at the expense of budget money.

What can others learn from this project?

The most important result of the project is that readers have learned that often companies receive profitable government contracts only because they are friends with officials, and not because they are good businessmen. This is indirect corruption.

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