Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: Russian News Site to Pay Expenses of Foreign Journalists, Bloggers, to Visit Donbass

by Charles Bausman

I'm writing to let people know of an interesting opportunity.

A private Russian citizens' initiative whose goal is to provide information about the Ukraine war not covered in the western media, is organizing a press tour to the Donbass and Moscow in the second half of March. The invitation is open to all journalists and bloggers, mainstream and alternative.

They are offering to cover all expenses in Russia, i.e. - accomodation in Moscow, transport to and from Donbass, and accomodation in Donbass. Participants would have to pay for their own transport to Moscow.

I am acquainted with the company organizing the tour, Europa Objectiv, and their CEO Andrei Stepanenko, and can confirm that they are a legitimate group and reliable people. They publish a German language news site providing news and analysis about what is going on in the Ukraine. Andrei asked me to share this information with our readership. Here is the announcement on their site in German.

They stress that they are a completely private initiative not funded by the Russian government, and from what I know about them, I believe this to be accurate, however, I should add the disclaimer that I cannot, obviously, confirm this absolutely.

There are a lot of these citizen initiatives in Russia, often organized by Russians frustrated with government policies they see as too hesitant, and many of them really are what they say they are. In the end analysis, I don't think this is a critical issue. Participants should be aware that this group has a point of view they are trying to share, and factor that in to their reporting.

I think its a good opportunity for journalists with limited budgets, both alternative and mainstream, to have a chance to go to these regions and try to get to the truth.

I'm actually curious to see what the response will be, and curious to see what the ratio of mainstream to alternative journalists will be. Mainstream publications are also hampered by seriously slashed budgets. Lets see how many of them show an interest in this opportunity.

For those of you who sign up, the few of us from Russia Insider who are in Moscow would be delighted to meet you. We'll also try to send someone on the tour.

Charles Bausman, Editor, Russia Insider

Full text of a letter from Europa Objectiv describing the tour follows below:


«Europa objektiv» (, being a non-government and non-commercial media project, offers the opportunity for journalists and bloggers to take part in the press tour in Donbas (Ukraine) and in Moscow (Russia).

The 5-day program assumes:

Stage 1 – Moscow (2 days)

- On the first day you will be able to meet with prominent Russian political scientists, experts on Ukraine, politicians, and hear their opinions on Ukraine crisis.

- On the second day you will be able to see the exclusive video footages, photo and audio recordings captured by Russian journalists since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, which have never been broadcasted by the western mass media. Furthermore we’ll organize the meeting with the authors of these materials. You can freely use them to create your own materials.

Stage 2 – Donbas – (2 days, by request)

- we plan to meet with representatives of Donbas militia troops

- you will be able to talk to local citizens

- authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic take over security issues and the possibility of maximum freedom of movement in Donetsk. As well as in Moscow “Europa Objektiv” will make video and audio recordings, these footages you can also use to create your own materials.

The aim of the press tour:

- to provide exclusive video and photo materials for alternative mass media in Europe

- to enable journalists to witness the truth about the events taking place in Donbas, to communicate with the victims of the war in the East Ukraine, to make your own decision about the reasons of the war in the contemporary Europe, to show the world community the facts, that are hidden by the mass media controlled by the current U.S. administration: the bloody revolution on the Maidan in Kiev, glorification and rebirth of the fascism in Ukraine, the reasons of the rebellion of the civil population in the East Ukraine.

In addition the opportunity to make your own journalistic materials, you will be able to take a part in the shooting of the collective documentary film (optional)

that is going to be spread among US and European mass media offices and on the Internet. The documentary will consist of 1.5-2 minutes reportages, that will be filmed by the participants of the press tour.


- Europa Objektiv provides accommodation in Moscow and in Donbas, and transport to and from Donbas. Participants will travel to Donbas by flying to Rostov (Russia), and then traveling by bus to Donetsk.

- All transport charges to Moscow to be paid by participants of the press tour.

Time constraints: approximately 16-22 or 23-29 of March. The dates could be discussed. Your desires will be taken into account.

Concerning participation in the press tour or