Electoral fraud: a real threat or manipulation?

More than a third of reports about bribing voters came from press-services and speakers of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and National Police. Among the politicians, the theme of the bribing of voters was the most active theme in the Yulia Tymoshenko headquarters. Naturally, the object of the attack was P. Poroshenko.

Bribing voters has become one of the most discussed topic during the current presidential election campaign, both in media and on Facebook, and was widely used for accusations opponents and influence on voters.

Our research covers the period from January 14 to February 28, 2019, and aims to show top speakers of the discussions on electoral fraud and bribing voters and which media most actively supported the debate.

Analysis of the 60 leading Internet-sites, radio, television releases, printed press publications and Facebook posts, we have come to the following conclusions.

More than a third of the reports on bribing voters belonged to the press services and speakers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police. The vast majority of abstracts at the beginning of the period (the heating phase of the topic) concerned general issues. Speakers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Assembly insisted that they were ready to ensure fair and transparent elections.

However, in the second stage (the phase of sharp personal accusations) they were much more willing to comment on the topic of alleged voter bribes from Poroshenko (in particular, I.Varchenko advised president not to seek legal loopholes, and A.Avakov directly accused presidential alley S. Berezenko in organization of the bribing "network"), but did not touch Yulia Tymoshenko. This was the reason why a number of commentators assumed that A.Avakov played on the side of the opposition candidate.

The bribing of voters was the most active topic in Yulia Tymoshenko headquarters. Naturally, the object of the attack was P.Poroshenko. On the one hand, he was accused of preparing a mass bribery. On the other hand, Tymoshenko team tried to assure that they would not allow the fraud.

P. Poroshenko was also accused by the other presidential candidates, such as A.Gritsenko and O. Lyashko, as well as Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky.

It is noteworthy that one of the trendsetters was the ex-deputy of the presidential party E.Firsov (currently affiliated with A.Gritsenko's team). Among non-politicians, a similar function was performed by journalist O. Dubinsky.

Such information agenda forced Poroshenko's headquarters to react and attract powerful speakers, in particular from the Prosecutor's Office and the National Security. But the president himself barely participated in the discussion, preferring to stay in the shadow. 

There were virtually no allegations of bribing voters for other candidates. While tha rating of comedian V. Zelensky grew up, an attempt was made to interpret his free concerts and TV series "The People's Servant" as bribing voters. In particular, the activists of the NGO 'Opora' have emphasized this. However, later the organization admitted that they did not have sufficient grounds for such conclusions.

The experts also took an active part in the discussion initiated by politicians, focusing on legal aspects. On the one hand, they recognized that bribery is a standard technology for Ukraine during the elections. On the other hand, they expressed the conviction that it works mostly on the local level or  during parliamentary election.

Consequently, we can assume that the bribery theme was, first of all, the PR-technology used by the key candidates.

By downloading presentation, you will be able to see in detail how and who used bribing voters as the topic for PR-activity, as well as what media and speakers most actively supported it.

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