Start of the election campaign in Ukraine: trends and players

With days with Alexey Yakubin, the first results of the start of the presidential election campaign company were summed up - video or

The presidential election campaign has already started, and according to the results of the first week, we can already talk about the main participants in the election race and the core elements of their election strategies.

The names of the main contenders have never been a mystery to anyone: this is the leader of the “Batkivschyna” Party Yulia Tymoshenko, the current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the showman Vladimir Zelensky. For Poroshenko, re-election is a pledge of confidence in personal integrity and an indispensable guarantee of a further favored regime for his own business. For Tymoshenko, the presidency is an old, but so far unattainable dream, and this campaign is probably the last chance to fulfill this dream; Zelensky demonstrates ambitions to hack the political system, but whether there is enough knowledge and what the ultimate goal of this process is an open question.

Election strategy of Peter Poroshenko. Although so far he stubbornly does not confirm his intention to run, but the electoral headquarters has long been working. Moreover, his President’s election campaign has already undergone several metamorphoses. The original plan - ArMoVir (Army, Mova/ National Language, Vira/ National Church) - apparently did not work and did not give the desired results - the struggle for the voter was not won in this way. The result was an attempt to fight not for the voter, but against opponents - by imposing martial law, which could delay elections for an indefinite time. But since plan “B” also did not work in December, everything so far boiled down to a primitive propaganda company, in which the main focus will be on an administrative resource. A few weeks later, the President will be put on the table new sociological ratings, and we will find out what Tomos has given, and whether the current Tomotur in Ukrainian regions will become a farewell tour. If the chances of winning will become too small, then Poroshenko’s election tasks will change drastically - for preparation for a parliamentary company and tendering administrative resources with more successful candidates in exchange for immunity in the next political cycle. True, it cannot be excluded that the President’s “hot heads” will include a plan “B” - elimination of competitors in legal and other ways.


In turn, Yulia Tymoshenko will try to play the image of an alternative and constructive opposition to the current government. At the same time, for the East, she strives to look not so radical in humanitarian terms as the current government, and for the West - not so corrupted. Tymoshenko is waiting for the mistakes of opponents and at their expense rises to the top of the electoral ladder, even taking into account significant anti-ratings. What exactly Yulia Vladimirovna is strong about is the experience and systematic work on the development of the Batkivshchyna party structure and the ability to talk with oligarchs. And just this resource can be decisive for Tymoshenko.

Vladimir Zelensky is the most anticipated surprise of the presidential race-2019. His team is trying to work counter-politically, not so much on its ratings as on the anti-ratings of opponents and on the implementation of a populist request for "justice." In form, this is a series (“The Servant of the People” is the Ukrainian “House of Cards”), essentially a marketing technology.

 Domestic political scientists and sociologists have taught the Ukrainian voter almost a year to his nomination as a presidential candidate. They persistently included his name in all the presidential ratings without exception, and then commented on them. The asset to Vladimir Zelensky, of course, should be attributed to the general fatigue of the voter from traditional politicians, both pro-government and opposition. It is precisely due to his novelty, interesting and unusual format of the election campaign Zelensky can show quite a decent result, and if not win, then go to the second round. To do this, Zelensky needs, firstly, for the remaining 80 days before the voting day to prove to the voter that he is not joking and is able to seriously rule the country. And, secondly, to gather and show his team, with which he is going to do it. Recently, suggestions have been voiced that Zelensky is a dummy candidate who is not going to win the presidential election, but simply withdraws his candidacy at the right moment in favor of one of the competitors. Well, everything can be, but it is very similar that in the case of Zelensky, the “doubler” may well become the first number.

Anatoly Gritsenko, who is taking part in the presidential elections for the third time, has traditionally been “the first impassable”, and only incorrigible optimists can consider his chances of reaching at least the second round. Gritsenko has been in politics for a long time, but he still cannot form a clear image in the public consciousness (although it is clear enough for me) to be developed for ordinary Ukrainians.

The white-blue field is experiencing a paradoxical period of electoral restoration and feudal fragmentation. If in 2014, such type parties got 16.5% of the votes, then today they have about 20%, and if they can accumulate the votes of the left projects and the young blue and white parties, even more. In contrast to the highly competitive "orange" electoral field, the "white-blue" electorate of the east and south of the country, constituting up to 40% of the voters, is still free.

Alexander Vilkul, Yuriy Boyko, Yevgeny Murayev are desperately fighting for the main part of this electorate. Everyone has to compete with Zelensky and second-tier players. The Administration of the President of Ukraine and the Russian Federation are actively interfering in the process, thanks to which the difference between “anti-Western”, “pro-Russian” and “pro-Kremlin” politicians has become especially noticeable. Perhaps somewhere here the future parliamentary coalition or the “third force” for Ukraine is being forged.

Another 10 candidates from Lyashko to Koshulinsky compete for parliamentary seats in the presidential elections - they are trying not to multiply as much as to save their electorate for the autumn; 10-15 candidates consoled their self-esteem with the status of "presidential candidate"; 8-10 - will be technical candidates - spoilers for leaders and donors of seats on election commissions.

Unprecedented external interference, high competition and election corruption are 3 key markers of this presidential company.


Ruslan Bortnik,

Director of UIMP