Open Park Summer Internship Apply Here!

The Russian Diaspora & US-Russian Relations

Summer Project – Check it out!

It’s official, confirmed, and much anticipated – after meeting for the first time his Russian counterpart, President Dmitry Medvedev, at the G20 economic forum in London in April, U.S. President Barack Obama will make his first presidential visit to Russia on July 6-8... Read More

Watch the Introduction Video

US-Russia Summit Roundtable Webcast

Project Blog

Russian Mafia Update and New Call for Contributors

It turns out that it’s not easy to find information about the Russian Mafia, especially during winter break when the universities and colleges are out of session. I sent emails to the three Boston University professors in the Russian department; two of them didn’t answer, and one sent me an email back saying that she knew nothing about the subject. Another disappointment was my attempt to call the Russian American Cultural Center; their phone number didn’t work. And the BPD press office is difficult to contact at best. I think my main problem was that I couldn’t spend much of my break in Boston; it’s much easier to convince people to talk to you in person.

So since I am planning to study abroad in London for the semester, I’m going to have to drop this story for now. I hope that another contributor will pick it up and work on it for the semester. I would walk around the Allston-Brighton area and visit the multiple Russian food stores to attempt to get information about the Mafia; also, try to go to the Russian American Cultural Center at 78 Tyler Street. I plan to pick up this story again in late May when I return from Europe, and I look forward to working with any contributor who does pick up this story. Good luck!

Russian Mafia

Hello all! My name is Emily Cataneo and I’m in my junior year at Boston University, studying European history and journalism. When I graduate, I hope to work as a journalist, preferably covering international news or writing in-depth feature stories. I am especially interested in writing about Russia. I first developed an interest in Russian history and culture when I participated in an exchange program through my high school. Through the program, I stayed with a host family in Veliky Novgorod for three weeks. Since then, I have hosted a Russian friend three times and traveled back to Russia once.

Given my interest in Russia, I have elected to work on the “Russian Diaspora and US-Russian Relations” project. Specifically, I will be writing my first story on the Russian Mafia’s influence in the United States. I will investigate the prevalence of Russian Mafia activity in Boston, measures that are being taken to combat the Mafia, and whether the Mafia problem has worsened or improved in recent years. In order to report on these topics, I will talk to the Boston Police Department, interview experts on Russia from local universities, and ask Russian business owners in the area if they have had any encounters with the mafia. With this project, I hope to uncover information about an ongoing problem and to perhaps raise awareness about this darker facet of life in Boston. Anyone interested in working on this project with me on a freelance, voluntary basis should feel free to get in touch.

Interview: OP developer on foreign reporting and working journalists in Russia

OP developer speaks with Northeastern University Journalism Professor Nick Daniloff of her experiences working as Moscow correspondent from May 1999 until July 2008.

Next Step in US-Russian relations: OP Collaborative Coverage & Transparency for Pittsburgh G20

The Kremlin has a brand new website - - Russians are embracing Facebook and social networks habits - - and Open Park's Webcast Roundtable discussion on US-Russian relations following U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to Russia in July produced memorable comments and predictions from its panel of Russia experts, kick-starting in the process OP's first case study in collaborative reporting of ongoing news events, specifically the "Russia story."

OP developer's take on US-Russian relations

Here is what I think on the topic - among others. And this has the double purpose of refreshing our memories about U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the G20 in London in April.

Recent Forum Posts