VSquare, a network of independent media outlets carrying out cross-border investigations in the Visegrad region, is celebrating its third anniversary.
During this time we covered a broad scope of topics: from the environment and social justice to organised crime and politics. Here is a list of our most important publications and investigations:
Russian influence: Russian influencing strategies are like a swarm of bees: they consist of many small factors that don’t match one particular frame. VSquare Project reports present an analysis of Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns, which is the powerful weapon used in a quiet information war.
Chinese investments: China’s direct investment in Central Europe is still small compared to, for example, Japanese or Korean direct investment, but it is visible and appears to be modelled in a strategic, political way. Vsquare has examined how it looks in the Visegrad region.
Patriotism militarised: Central Europe has experienced a rise in the number and visibility of grassroots paramilitary actors ranging from anti-refugee vigilantes in Hungary through pro-Kremlin groups in Slovakia to a civilian component cooperating with the armed forces in Poland. The militarization of patriotism is an untold story in the region.
Jan Kuciak case: Reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancé Marina Kusnirova, both 27, were found dead on Sunday, February 4th 2018 – each killed by a single shot in their newly purchased home. The murder of these two young people rocked Slovakia like nothing else had in the previous 30 years. Their deaths literally changed the country.
Disinformation: We are tracking disinformation in the Visegrad region, describing main players and showing the mechanisms, from troll farms to state propaganda.
COVID-19: Closed borders and citizens who face tightened supervision over their daily lives. Fast-paced, wide-sweeping and often chaotic actions of governments, which are usually scrutinised by journalists and public opinion but which now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, have become a state secret.