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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

24: Land and bread as election tools

"Congratulations on receiving your state act"
distributed with property deeds in Ukraine

Whoever said election faslifications are a thing of the past, are very wrong. Transit servers and "carousels" may be gone, but the other [political] technologies have become commonplace, especially in provincial Ukraine.’

A group of civic organizations has been conducting long term presidential elections monitoring. It's preliminary conclusion: the buying of votes, abuse of administrative resources and voter intimidation are back from extinction and actively used by key candidates' local campaign headquarters.'

In “Election faslificators: end to unemployment,” journalist Dmytro Hnap first takes aim at Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. He promises investigations into other candidates’ campaigns will follow. In this installment, he looks at the way Tymoshenko has used administrative means (adminresurs) to leverage her electoral rating.

Specifically, he looks at the five-month government program giving out property deeds – a move that cost tax payers 800 million hryvnia ($100 million) from the government’s stabilization fund.

The property deeds are gifted with pomp and circumstance and plenty of local media coverage. The deeds are distributed with the premier’s portrait “so the people won’t forget who gave them the land.”

In Ukraine’s northwestern regions, Tymoshenko’s heart and braid are plastered across “social stores” (sotlsialny magazyny) that offer the needy basic goods and foodstuffs at discount prices. The report, published on Ukrayinska Pravda website on Dec. 21, includes photos of the storefronts and interiors in Rivne and Zhytomyr oblasts.

A November elections monitoring report issued by Opora - a national network of civic activists - found that Tymoshenko and Victor Yanukovych used the distribution of medical goods at the height of the flu hype for campaign purposes. Victor Yushchenko has friendly oblast administrations installed in every oblast in Ukraine, except in the east that is loyal to Yanukovych. Tymoshenko’s eponymous bloc is a major force in oblast and city councils.

Thus the levers of administrative powers are in multiple hands for the 2010 elections (not like 2004!). In a way, the presidential elections are a dry run for the local self-government elections in March of next year.


See Ukrainian language original “Election faslificators: end to unemployment,” Dmytro Hnap, UkrPravda, Dec. 21, 2009,

1 comment:

Bogdano said...

This ad is really bizarre.