UARU
A Selection of Stories from 2020
1 January, 2021

It comes as no surprise that a lot of the stories in the previous year were about the coronavirus. "Superheroes" rose up to the challenge and despite everything helped Ukraine handle this "black swan" relatively well. Especially tough were the first few months which revealed the extent of the crisis this sphere really was in.

But even beyond the epidemic, last year provided numerous topics to cover. As a result, we have a documentary about the legacy of the "first Ukrainian oligarch", an investigation into Maidan bullets, stories about surrogacy, Volodymyr Zelenskyy's role in Donald Trump's impeachment, and many more.

So here are just a few you may be willing to return to:

When the total count of coronavirus cases was still in the single digits, the Ukrainian government was quick to act and introduce a lockdown that at one point even forbade people to visit parks - later Chief State Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko admitted it wasn’t necessary. Curfews were never imposed unlike in Europe, but it is perhaps thanks to these measures that the country bode fairly well at the early stage. Naturally, we covered the topic extensively. Here are a couple of stories from 2020:

How Coronavirus Changed the Life of Ukrainian Capital (PHOTOS)

The New Great Depression: Consequences of Coronavirus for Ukraine and the World

“I Got My Family Sick – All for $74 A Month” – Ukrainian Doctor With Coronavirus On Healing, Motivation, and Risk

Sweat, Disinfectants, and Rubber Suits: Exclusive Report from Ukraine's Most Coronavirus-Ridden Region

DOCUMENTARIES

"The Heir". hromadske investigation

On November 3, 1996, the "richest man in Ukraine," Yevhen Shcherban, was killed in Donetsk. At the time of the murder, his fortune was estimated at about $500 million. Shcherban's companies were engaged in the production and sale of metal, gas, oil products, construction and financial transactions.

The son of the murdered businessman Yevhen Shcherban Jr. has been conducting his own investigation since 2013 and is trying to find out where his father's inheritance has disappeared. He is the protagonist of our documentary.

"Unlike most homeless people": the story of a roofless veteran

Oleksandr comes from the Luhansk region. There he used to work as a paramedic in an ambulance. At the beginning of the war he left the occupied territory and volunteered at the frontline. He had nowhere to return to from the war. He does have a home, but it is in the occupied Luhansk region.

In April, Oleksandr went to the Carpathians and was fascinated by the mountains. Now he travels with a backpack, sleeping bag and a bare minimum of belongings. He spends the night in roadside chapels, shepherd's huts. His crockery comprises just a metal mug - to boil water on the fire. He aspires to become a mountain guide.

Watch the touching story from Max Levin about a homeless veteran who seeks himself and his home in a peaceful life.

REPORTS

36,000 Pages, Charges over Messengers, Emotions in Courtroom: Report from MH17 Court Hearings

MH17 trials kicked off in the Netherlands last year. Our correspondent went there to cover the event firsthand. 

Central Ukraine Fires Destroy Entire Village (REPORT)

In 2020, Ukraine had both floods and fires. This report is from the Zhytomyr region where the entire settlement burned to the ground.

The Burning of Chernobyl’s Radioactive Forests (PHOTO REPORT)

As if Chernobyl hadn’t suffered enough in 1986, 2020 had more in store for the area. Fires broke out and quickly spread across north of the Kyiv region.

 

INVESTIGATIONS 

Traces of the Euromaidan Revolution: Bullets

“Bullets” is the continuation of Hromadske’s investigative series “Traces of the Euromaidan Revolution.” In this documentary, we follow three stories – one wounded protester and two murdered ones on Instytutska Street during the first hours of shootings on February 20, 2014. Bullets were found in the bodies of all the victims in these stories. We explain to whom they belonged.
 

STORIES

Servant of the People in a House of Cards: The Ukrainian Side of Trump’s Impeachment

On New Year’s night in 2019, comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he would run for president of Ukraine. Two weeks before 2020, the U.S. Congress impeached American president Donald Trump – with the reason being improper pressure put on the newly elected president Zelenskyy. Between these two events is a unique story, which has some parallels with the Ukrainian series “Servant of the People”, starring Zelenskyy, and some analogies to the U.S. political drama House of Cards, about the intrigues of American politics. In the heart of it all is a single phone call: when, on July 25, 2019, Zelenskyy called Trump to ask for a favor.

“This Isn’t My Child – This Is My Job.” How Surrogacy Works in Ukraine

Ukraine is one of the few countries in Europe where commercialized surrogacy is legal. And after both Thailand and India banned assisted pregnancy, Ukraine gained the title of the “Mecca of Surrogacy.” Prospective parents, unable to have children, began to visit Ukraine from around the world. In response to this demand, Ukraine swiftly began to create even more assisted pregnancy agencies.

"Find What You Love and Let It Kill You." Domestic Violence in Ukraine is Killing Women

In the summer of 2019, Nastia Kovaliova, from the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya, died after her boyfriend poured gasoline on her and set her on fire. Krystyna Kovaliova lost her only daughter but agreed to talk to hromadske about the tragedy to help prevent women in Ukraine from being killed due to domestic violence.