Taras Zozulinskyy

Cracking Eastern Europe’s lead paint syndicate MF

Ukrainian-made paint containing 100 or more times more lead than international standards permit is regularly exported to Europe and Central Asia.Ukraine is a haven for manufacturers of lead paint, despite reams of evidence that children especially can suffer neurological damage and other lasting health problems through exposure to lead-containing paint on walls or toys.



raised $3,420 out of $2,200

Exposing corruption in Ukraine has been Taras Zozulinskyy’s main job for the past decade.

Winner of several awards for his work, Taras has revealed illegal and unethical activity in the police, customs service, and the prison system. One of his prize-winning investigations probed how the families of ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and his prime minister took control of land, vineyards and companies in Crimea, now under Russian control.

A native of western Ukraine, Taras lives in Lviv with his wife and two daughters. He studied history and journalism at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, where he earned a Master’s degree in journalism in 2009. After starting his reporting career, he honed his skills in advanced investigative journalism training courses and has worked in print media, TV, and online news portals.

Taras’s work has had an impact. In 2011, the head of Lviv’s anti-narcotics police and several other personnel were fired in the wake of his series of five reports on the “Ukrainian Drug Mafia” – the hidden network connecting drug traffickers, police, prosecutors, and courts.

His investigation also revealed systematic police violations of the rights of HIV positive Ukrainians and the link between injecting drug users and the country’s fast-rising HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Taras and other investigative reporters in Ukraine know they run risks. The many media outlets controlled by oligarchs and politicians are not often receptive to truly impartial journalism, meaning that many dedicated reporters forgo potential earnings in order to cover issues major outlets might shove under the carpet. Although Ukraine is not as dangerous an environment for journalists as some of its neighbors, the unsolved murder of respected investigative reporter Pavel Sheremet sent tremors through the media.

Taras’s work has brought him a string of awards and honors:

  • European Press Prize 2017 shortlist

  • One World Media Awards finalist, 2017

  • 3rd prize, Ukrainian competition for “best TV investigation on the reform process,” 2016

  • Eastern Partnership Journalism Award finalist, 2011

In addition, Taras has won or been shortlisted for awards from the Polish Journalists’ Association (SDP), the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement (UMDPL), and other organizations. He’s been awarded financial support, grants and scholarships from prominent organizations such as Freedom House, Internews, and USAID.

Click here to see Taras Zozulinskyy's reporting proposal.

Coverage region: Ukraine

Reporting focus: Corruption, crime

Notable work or awards: European Press Prize finalist (2017), One World Media Awards finalist (2017)

Media: Newwest.media, TV channels 1+1, 2+2, ZIK

Previous work:

Toyota and Mercedes for the Chosen Few

Cross-border mafia: The kings of acid tar 

The Ukrainian customs mafia

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