Half of Russia’s 20 Richest Billionaires Are Not Sanctioned by Bloomberg

This story investigated and explained sanctions during the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, especially why certain individuals/entities were not sanctioned over their critical stake in energy and commodities. We discovered, at the time, that half of Russia’s 20 richest people were not sanctioned over its war in Ukraine, leaving many powerful billionaires free to operate around the world without legal restriction or ramifications.

I contributed to a months-long data collection effort and analysis of international sanctions on Russia, including its wealthiest individuals, during the invasion of Ukraine. I updated our database daily with new sanctions based on Treasury updates from the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union press releases. The lists of foreign government-sanctioned individuals had to be converted into tabular, csv-readable format. I organized our database, cleaned, merged, and deduplicated datasets to identify commonly sanctioned individuals.

I visualized this data as a venn diagram and beeswarm, and it was useful in cross-checking our visuals and producing other stories within the newsroom.

We tracked Russia’s 20 richest individuals assets, where identifiable. I worked on collecting (via Getty images and Google Earth) and collaging these assets for the sanctioned/unsanctioned collapsible tables in the article.

This story was recognized and shared by Apple News, Datawrapper, and the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

This story taught me a lot about the collaborative process for large-scale projects and investigations. While I was already familiar with data analysis techniques, I learned much more about the importance of sketching and thinking creatively about design choices, color palettes, and the visualization process as a whole.

  • Credits

Stephanie Baker - Contributed to reporting and writing Tom Maloney - Contributed to reporting and writing, and organizing a list of the richest Russians and their assets. Marion Halftermeyer - started the database for U.K. imposed sanctions. I later took over the project, restructured, and expanded the database to the U.S. and EU. Raeedah Wahid - Organized, updated, cleaned, merged, analyzed, and visualized sanctions database. Updated sanctioned and unsanctioned Svelte tables using asset imagery collected from Getty and Google Earth, then designed in Illustrator. Mira Rojanasakul - Helped maintain and clean names in sanctions database, designed collapsible tables of the Richest Sanction/Unsanctioned Russians. Alex McIntyre - Helped maintain and clean names in sanctions database. Double checked my work in merging and deduplicating datasets.
  • Award
  • Categories
  • See more