I carried out my first investigation when I was 12 years old. It was all love’s fault. I fell in love with a boy at a summer camp, but when I returned home, I discovered that I’d lost his phone number. I had to set out on a quest to find one person in a huge city, knowing only his name, age and the fact that he lived in one of St. Petersburg’s children’s homes.
Back then, the internet only worked through a dial-up connection and downloading one website cost 100 roubles. I found a database that had the contacts for all the children’s homes in the city and I called every single one. I pretended to be a journalist and asked, in my childlike voice, whether or not a 14-year-old boy called Tolik who had spent his summer at a children’s camp lived there. That’s how I found Tolik. After that, he got lost again, but the passion for finding information and journalism remained.
I have worked as a data journalist for RBK, written for The Project, worked with the research department of the Need Help Fund, and helped Conflict Intelligence Team conduct investigations into military conflicts.