A month after the vote at the interim elections of people’s deputies in constituencies No 87 (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast) and No 50 (Donetsk Oblast), the CEC website posted only a part of final financial reports of candidates in constituency No 87; while the National Agency for Corruption Prevention had some of the reports from constituency No 50.

Although the electoral law requires to submit financial reports within 7 days after the vote, as of the end of April, the websites of the CEC and the NACP had the reports from 9 out of 15 candidates in constituency No 87, and from 14 out of 19 candidates in constituency No 50. 13 candidates for people’s deputies have already received the notifications for breaking the deadlines to submit final financial reports. As of April, 29, there have been no reports from such candidates as Oleksandr Hruzdev, Ishtvan Dobsha, Liudmyla Doroshenko, Anton Rovenskyi, Oleksandr Tambulatov, Ruslan Derevoriz, Maria Zholob, Yosyp Rezesh, Oleksandr Leonidovych Shevchenko (self-nominated), Oleksandr Petrovych Shevchenko, and Yuriy Yurchenko.

OPORA counted the costs for political ads on the social media of Facebook incurred by candidates in both constituencies. Unfortunately, we cannot currently assess the actual costs incurred by candidates on Internet as the web offers many opportunities for campaigning, such as contextual advertisements in search engines, ads on YouTube, on messengers, etc. Today, in the Ukrainian segment, it is only Facebook that offers access to open data on costs for political ads. For the purposes of this report, we only accounted for costs from the candidates’ personal pages. However, during the monitoring, OPORA found a set of Facebook pages of parties or third persons that shared political ads campaigning in favour of a certain candidate (see more in our materials on constituency No 87 and constituency No 50).

Below, we analyze whether the data on costs declared by candidates as spent for campaigning on social media are their actual costs for political ads on Facebook, to compare to the data openly accessible in a Political Ads Library.

All candidates in constituency No 87 who were actively campaigning on Facebook, according to OPORA’s monitoring, such as Oleksandr Shevchenko, Mykhaylo Noniak, Serhiy Syvachuk, Yuriy Holiney, Vasyl Virastiuk, Marusia Zvirobiy-Bilenka, and Ruslan Koshulynskyi, have already published their final financial reports.

Major discrepancies between the reported and actual costs have been found with a candidate from the “For the Future” party, Oleksandr Shevchenko. The candidate reported spending UAH 100,000 for campaigning on the Internet. According to the report by Shevchenko, he paid the amount to an individual entrepreneur Vasylyk I.Ya. “for advertising services on the Internet,” under the contract concluded on February, 12, 2021. The report fails to specify the detailed budget entries. However, even with account for the fact that Facebook only offers the data on the range of costs for political ads, Shevchenko’s provisional costs for political ads on Facebook (about UAH 588,000) are almost six times higher than the officially declared amount. According to OPORA’s estimates, during the monitoring of campaigning activities, Oleksandr Shevchenko is a top spender for political ads on social media. For example, even if we take the minimal cost of the 33 most expensive posts by the candidate he posted on Facebook, their total worth exceeded USD 6,400 (ab. UAH 178,000). It is almost double-fold than the numbers in the final reports.

Certain discrepancies have been found also between the reports and the actual costs for political ads on Facebook incurred by a candidate from the All-Ukrainian Association “Platform of Communities,” Yuriy Holiney. The candidate’s final financial report stated the spending of almost UAH 14,000 but according to OPORA’s estimates, Holiney’s spending for Facebook ads reached UAH 50,000.

According to the final financial report, a candidate from “Svoboda,” Ruslan Koshulynskyi have not spent a penny for online campaigning. If we check the costs from the candidate’s Facebook official page it may look like true, as the last promoted posts from his page were posted in October, 2020. In any case, during the election campaign, Ruslan Koshulynskyi had the biggest support team on the social media. In fact, OPORA counted 9 pages that campaigned for the candidate. In total, all these pages spent almost USD 3,500 to promote Ruslan Koshulynskyi on Facebook.

As for the self-nominated Serhiy Syvachuk, his actual and declared costs for political ads on Facebook were almost identical, according to OPORA’s estimates. However, there is no data available whether the candidate was using other online platforms for campaigning options, and how much he spent on that. Other candidates, such as Mykhaylko Noniak, Vasyl Virastiuk, and Marusia Zvirobiy-Bilenka, declared much higher amounts in their reports than actually spent on political ads on Facebook.

In constituency No 50, the campaigning on Facebook was also used by Artem Marchevskyi, Larysa Revva, Andriy Aksionov, Valentyn Rybin, Yuliya Kuzmenko, and Andriy Bondarenko. Final financial reports of all these candidates have been published on the NACP website.

Comparison of final financial statements and actual costs of candidates for political ads on Facebook highlights a candidate from the “Opposition Platform – For Life,” Artem Marchevskyi and a candidate from the “Batkivshchyna,” Larysa Revva. Both candidates have not reported about their costs for campaigning on any Internet platforms. However, according to the monitoring, Artem Marchevskyi spent over UAH 60,000 on Facebook ads alone (and became a top spender for Facebook ads in his region), and Larysa Revva spent over UAH 50,000.

Andriy Bondarenko, a candidate from the “Servant of the People” did not declare any information on the costs for online campaigning but according to the Facebook Ads Library, Bondarenko spent over UAH 8,000 for campaigning on this platform.

According to financial statements, the winner in the constituency, Andriy Aksionov, and a candidate from the “Shariy Party,” Valentyn Rybin, did not employ any online campaigning. Indeed, no promoted ads were shared from the candidates’ personal pages. However, the parties where they are members were rather active in supporting their candidates online. Thus, according to OPORA’s monitoring, the page of the “Poriadok” party nominating Andriy Aksionov spent over UAH 50,000 for political ads supporting the candidate. The “Shariy Party” page, which member is Valentyn Rybin, posted the ads for the total amount of over UAH 47,000. At the same the “Poriadok” party page unfolded the online campaigning for Aksionov before he officially registered as a candidate in the CEC: the party spent ab. UAH 13,000 for the early campaigning.

Yuliya Kuzmenko reported higher costs for online campaigning than actually spent for political ads on Facebook. In her report, the candidate stated she spent funds for the targeted ads on Facebook and on YouTube. Unfortunately, it is impossible to check the actual costs for ads on YouTube incurred for any candidate, as YouTube has not opened any access so far to the data on political ads on their platform.

In addition, the official costs the candidates stated in their financial reports did not include the costs for early campaigning on Facebook. The four “transgressors” were the candidates Oleksandr Shevchenko, Mykhaylo Noniak, Serhiy Syvachuk, and Yuriy Holiney. At the same time, Oleksandr Shevchenko has spent for early campaigning on Facebook, since January,1, over UAH 300,000.

Early Campaigning


Number of Ads Before Registration

Costs for Campaigning Before Registration, UAH

Oleksandr Shevchenko



Mykhaylo Noniak



Serhyi Syvachuk



Yuriy Holiney



Artem Marchevskyi



Presently, Ukraine can enjoy the open access to data on costs for political ads only from Facebook. However, there are many more tools on the Internet to win the voter support online (e.g., context ads on Google, advertising on YouTube, Telegram, a.o.). OPORA hereby emphasizes that poor regulation of political online environment has been a shortcoming of electoral law, among other things, and it requires change.