Podcast: Then & Now #8 – Teresa Cherfas in conversation with Nataliya Gumenyuk of The Reckoning Project

27 June 2023

by Teresa Cherfas

Welcome to the eighth edition of our Russian-language podcast Then & Now with me, Teresa Cherfas. 

As a rule,  guests on our podcast are individuals for whom 24th February 2022 was a turning-point in their life; today we are talking about an organisation that came into being as a result of that fateful date. The Reckoning Project was created in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the aim of gathering evidence of war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

To this end, The Reckoning Project has brought together a team of international advisers – human rights experts, historians, lawyers and politicians. And on the front line, so to speak, is a team of journalists led by our guest today, Nataliya Gumenyuk. They are the foot soldiers on the ground who gather testimony about Russia’s war crimes from Ukrainian eyewitnesses.

This recording was made on 22 June 2023

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My questions include:

  • Could you ever have imagined doing what you do  today? What was the journey that led to your present occupation?
  • What exactly was the impetus behind the creation of The Reckoning Project?
  • What role do the lawyers play in your work? Have they had an impact on your team’s journalistic practice? 
  • What kind of interaction is there between lawyers and journalists on the team?
  • Tell us about your work with Ukrainian children – after all, their deportation to Russia is classified as a war crime under international law.
  • How did your team gather testimonials from people who were victims of the recent catastrophe at the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam?
  • Are you confident that your work will be of use to in the future? In what way?

See also this story on the deportation of children from Mariuopol:

Iryna Lopatina [via thereckoningproject.com], ‘“Dad, You Have to Come—Or We Will Be Adopted!”: One Ukrainian Family’s Harrowing Wartime Saga,’ Vanity Fair, 6 October 2022.

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