Since 2015, Budapest-born journalist Szabolcs Panyi has been busy uncovering the Kremlin’s corrupting influence in Hungary. He has been investigating topics such as far-right paramilitary groups exercising with GRU officers, shady diplomats selling thousands of Schengen visas to Russian criminals, and counter-intelligence operations against Russian spies being obstructed by Kremlin-friendly Hungarian politics. Panyi works for Hungary’s most-read independent news site, Index.hu, where his reporting focuses on anti-corruption, national security, and foreign policy-related issues. He has won the Gőbölyös Soma Prize, awarded yearly for the best investigative articles in Hungary, for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016.
Later, Panyi has joined veteran Polish journalist Wojciech Cieśla’s dedicated team of Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian reporters to establish a non-profit, independent, cross-border investigative journalism initiative in the Visegrád region. VSquare.org was launched in October 2017, with the mission statement of “as governments’ grip on media in the region tightens, it becomes all the more important for the journalists to remain independent, well-trained and vigilant”. Panyi‘s articles for VSquare include the story of the thwarted counter-intelligence investigation into alleged Russian spy Béla Kovács’s case and the tale of Russian meddling behind Budapest’s controversial metro car refurbishment.
Panyi is currently a Hubert H. Humphrey (Fulbright) fellow at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, where he takes courses in accountability and investigative journalism while continuing to work on his projects related to uncovering Kremlin disinformation and propaganda. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona and Washington, DC.
Szabolcs Panyi was selected for the 2018 shortlist with ‘Satan’s hand: Russian meddling behind Budapest’s metro chaos‘