City Council Secretary, local deputies, former judges, activists, lawyers - the Kharkiv Territorial Election Commission has completed the registration of candidates who will run for Kharkiv mayor on October, 31. A total of 13 candidates will run for mayor of the city with a million of population.

OPORA analyzed who these candidates are and what campaigning activities they are conducting. Candidates are ranked below in the order of campaign intensity.

Ihor Terekhov (Kernes Bloc – Successful Kharkiv), Secretary of the Kharkiv City Council, acting mayor

Джерело: Харківська міська рада

In 2006, Terekhov ran for the Verkhovna Rada on the "Our Ukraine" bloc list, but the attempt failed.

Ihor Terekhov started working in the Kernes team in 2010, on a position of a deputy mayor. Prior to that, he had held various positions in the civil service and local self-government bodies. In particular, he was the deputy head of the regional state administration, under Arsen Avakov. In 2015 he was elected a people's deputy for the Kharkiv City Council of the 7th convocation from the “Renaissance” party. He was member of the Standing Committee on Planning, Budget and Finance. He was a leader of the deputy faction of the Kharkiv city council of the 7th convocation “Opposition Bloc - Trust the Deeds”. In 2015, he became the first deputy mayor of Mayor Kernes. Ihor Terekhov was elected Secretary of the Kharkiv City Council on December 9, 2020. He joined the city council from the "Kernes Bloc – Successful Kharkiv" party. According to the media reports, Terekhov was nominated for the post by Hennadiy Kernes, who was undergoing treatment at the German Charité clinic at the time. The submission was made through an electronic signature.

After the death of Kernes, Terekhov, as secretary of the city council, took command of the city.

Territorial organization of the "Kernes Bloc – Successful Kharkiv" party nominated Terekhov a candidate for mayor.

Proxies in this election are Yuriy Babich and Oleksiy Meniv.

Terekhov is very active in the election campaign, which mainly includes public activities as the secretary of the Kharkiv City Council: he opens infrastructure facilities, participates in official and festive events of the city, meets with representatives of factories, utility management companies, doctors, teachers, SES employees and others. Terekhov also meets with local residents and holds personal meetings in his public offices. OPORA representatives in Kharkiv captured the distribution of free invitations to the zoo during citizens' meetings with him.

In addition, the website of the City Council posted stories with elements of political advertising in favor of Terekhov. Thus, the news appeared on the City Council website "Kernes Bloc unanimously supports Ihor Terekhov's candidacy in the mayoral election". He participated in the broadcasts of local TV channels. Many positive materials were published in favor of the candidate in the local media. He is massively represented on the outdoor advertising in the city; and he uses advertising tools on social media.

It is worth noting that Terekhov is one of the two candidates against whom the "Black PR" has been used most actively. The second goes Mykhaylo Dobkin.

Mykhailo Dobkin (self-nomination), Kharkiv Mayor in 2006-2010, People's Deputy of Ukraine of the 4th and 8th convocations

Фото зі сторінки Добкіна

In 2005, Kharkiv mayoral candidate Mykhailo Dobkin recorded a campaign video. At that time, Hennadiy Kernes, the future secretary to the city council, was helping him. Fragments of this video later hit the Internet and became memes about a "boring face" and "no one will give you money for that." Then, Dobkin won the mayoral election.

He was a People's Deputy of the 4th convocation from constituency No.73 (Kharkiv). During this time, he changed 5 factions of the Verkhovna Rada: "United Ukraine", "Democratic Initiatives", the "Center" group, SDPU(o), and the Party of Regions.

He was a member of the Party of Regions. From 2010 to 2014, he was the head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration. In addition, from 2010 to 2015, he was a deputy of the Kharkiv regional council (elected from the Party of Regions).

In 2014, he was a candidate for President of Ukraine and received 3.03% of the vote.

Dobkin is the leader of the Christian Socialists party founded in 2018.

Mykhaylo Dobkin is accused in the case of land theft under the "cooperative scheme". The case has been considered in the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Kharkiv for several years.

 He also is co-founder of the "Our House Kharkiv" NGO.

Dobkin's proxy in this election is Arthur Martin – another co-founder of the "Our House Kharkiv" NGO.

Although Mykhailo Dobkin is running in the election as a self-nominated candidate, the "Opposition Platform - For Life" party declared their support for him. In September, campaign materials were posted in favor of the candidate at institutions and enterprises owned, used and managed by an MP Oleksandr Feldman (“Opposition Platform - For Life”).

Dobkin is now one of the most active candidates. The basis of the candidate's campaign activities is to conduct direct meetings with voters in different parts of the city. In favor of the candidate, the courtyards of houses had branded campaign tents where animators entertained children.


In addition, Dobkin hubs are opened in the city and his NGO "Our House Kharkiv" has been actively reporting about the organization of children's art platforms. Also, we can highlight the "Our Children" program. Within the program, employees of Dobkin Hubs conducted free classes for children to learn TikTok blogging, and Ukrainian language.

On September, 13, Mykhailo Dobkin announced the city program "Care". According to Dobkin, this program "will help city residents pay the ever-increasing tariffs for housing and utility services."

OPORA representatives  believe that personal data collected in applications for participation in the "Care" program announced by Mykhailo Dobkin's NGO "Our House Kharkiv" could be used for the probable expansion of a network of supporters or campaigners, with a risk of bribing them.

Currently, Dobkin is the only candidate in whose favor the campaign newspaper is regularly distributed, as well as flyers with the image of the candidate and the addresses of Dobkin's hub offices.

Konstantyn Nemichev (self-nomination), Chairman of the Public Council at the Kharkiv Regional State Administration

Konstantin Nemichev was initially announced as the only candidate from the parties "Accent," "Holos," "Democratic Ax," "European Solidarity," "National Corps," and the "Right Sector." However, later the parties "European Solidarity" and "Accent" recalled their signatures under the protocol of voting for his candidacy.

In 2014-2016, he served in the Azov Battalion and Regiment. Since 2018, he has been the head of the Kharkiv regional branch of the National Corps political party. In 2019, he ran for People's Deputies of Ukraine from the "National Corps" PP in the majority constituency No. 170.

Although the two parties refused to support Nemichev, he continues to position himself as the only candidate from the patriotic forces, and therefore participates in the elections as a self-nominated candidate. In favor of the candidate, there is outdoor advertising posted around the city, saying "Konstantin Nemichev. The only candidate from the pro-Ukrainian forces."

Mykhailo Kovalenko, Danylo Polozhukhno, Dmytro Tkachov, Dmytro Shuyev, and Yevhen Zapisov were registered as Nemichev’s proxies.

Konstantyn Nemichev is conducting a very active campaign on social media. In particular, he invites to join his team. To do this, you need to leave contact information in a special form. Team members are offered the opportunity to visit the gym, educational activities, and health center.

In September, a mini-football tournament was held among ATO / JFO “Nezlamni” veterans where the candidate participated and provided support. In addition, on October 1, he organized a concert in the center of Kharkiv, and tents with his image appeared in the city. He participated in television programs from “Suspilne Kharkiv”, ATN Kharkiv. He also gave an interview to Kharkiv blogger, Oleksiy Andreev, and to a YouTube channel Politeka Online.

Alina Mustafayeva (self-nomination), deputy of the Kharkiv City Council

Since 2020, Alina Mustafayeva has been a deputy of the Kharkiv City Council from the “Servant of the People” party.

In 2012-2016, she worked as an ambulance doctor at the Center for Emergency Care and Disaster Medicine. In 2015, she held the position of Director of Ecocar LLC. In 2017, she was a Deputy Director of AutoInterprise company, which director and founder is Dmitriy Nikonov. He is an assistant of the People’s Deputy from the “Servant of the People” party, Oleksandr Kunitsky.

Mustafayeva was also an assistant of a People’s Deputy Kunitsky.

Big share of Mustafaeva’s efforts focus on social media. She is a top spender in terms the cost of advertising on Facebook. In addition, Mustafayeva actively uses her own channel on Youtube. She conducts live broadcasts with her subscribers, where she reports on her activities as a member of the local council. She meets with voters in backyards across the city. In September, the green color campaign materials supporting the candidate were posted on a large number of “AE CarSharing” vehicles with the image of the candidate and the words: “Alina Mustafayeva’s Goal. Technological Kharkiv. Per minute Rental of Electric Cars. More affordable than your own car! Initiative of Alina Mustafayeva. Modern Kharkiv.”

Besides, some days ago the assistant to the people’s deputy, Kunitsky Dmytriy Nikonov, who during the early campaign invested money in Mustafayeva’s advertising on Facebook, organized protest rally near the City Council. Two trucks arrived at the city council building, depicting City Council Secretary Ihor Terekhov. Next to the image, it read: “He Steals but Delivers,“ “He Delivers but Steals.”

Dmytro Marynin (self-nomination), deputy of the Kharkiv City Council of the 6th convocation. Postgraduate student at the Department of Regional Development and Local Self-Government

Dmytro Marynin is a post-graduate student at the Department of Regional Development and Local Self-Government at the National Academy of Public Administration under the President of Ukraine; Kharkiv Regional Institute of Public Administration. Currently, it is the Institute of Public Administration of Kharkiv National University named after V.N. Karazin.

In 2010, he was elected a deputy of the Kharkiv City Council from the “Party of Regions.”

In 2012, he left the faction of this party in the City Council.

In 2014, he ran for the Verkhovna Rada in the majority constituency No. 168 as a self-nominated candidate.

He was a member of the European Party.

Yuriy Chashey, Serhiy Zherebkin, Diana Kos, Oleksandr Naidyonov, and Artem Sosipatrov were registered as Marinin’s proxies.

Marinin is actively conducting meetings with city residents, that are published on the candidate’s two YouTube channels. During meetings with voters, branded newspapers, notebooks with the image of the candidate and his election slogan “New Kharkiv – New Mayor” were distributed.

He used local media in his campaigning activities, and held a press conference about his self-nomination at the press center of the “Nakypilo Media Group.”

Volodymyr Pletnyov (Shariy Party), Kharkiv City Council deputy

Volodymyr Pletnyov became a deputy of the Kharkiv City Council from the Shariy Party in 2020, and since August 2021 he has headed the party’s faction in the city council.

From 1991 to 2011, Pletnyov worked as a judge of the Kyiv District Court of Kharkiv. From 2011 to 2018, he worked in the Court of Appeals of Kharkiv Oblast. In 2018, he resigned .

From April 2018 until today, he has been the president of the “Association of Judges of Kharkiv Oblast” NGO.

In 2019, he ran to be elected as a People’s Deputy of Ukraine from the party “Opposition Platform – For Life” but he was not elected. Pletnyov left the OPFL party after the appointment of Ihor Raynin as the head of the regional organization.

There is an interesting fact that the candidate’s daughter, Yulia Pletnyova, was a lawyer of Mikhaylo Dobkin.

Pletnyov’s proxies are Serhiy Korshunov, Davito Matveychenko, Vadym Krokhmal, Serhiy Tereshchuk, and Zhanna Tolubko.

The candidate is holding meetings with voters, and the party’s tents with his picture are already available in Kharkiv. Thus, OPORA observers found out that they distribute leaflets in the tents without the source data.

The Kharkiv branch of the Shariy Party, a subject of the election process, regularly holds public events where they invite their supporters. In particular, they held volunteer clean-up days, a table tennis tournament, a campaign dedicated to the International Clean-up Day, etc.

Oleksandr Skoryk (“European Solidarity”), deputy of the Kharkiv regional council

 In 2021, Skoryk took part in the rating “The only candidate from the patriotic forces.” But he was ranked second after Konstantyn Nemichev. Later, the “Accent” and “European Solidarity” parties withdrew their votes for Nemichev and supported Skoryk. The head of the regional organization of the “Accent” party, Ihor Baluta, attended a conference of the EU territorial organization to nominate Oleksandr Skoryk as a candidate for mayor.

Since 2000, Skoryk has worked as a private entrepreneur; since 2017, he was a CEO at the Meat Factory LLC.

In 2015, he was elected a deputy of Bohodukhiv District Council (“European Solidarity” Party Faction). In 2020, he became a deputy of the regional council from that party. For the mayoral position he was nominated by the “European Solidarity.”

In Kharkiv, he hardly ever showed up at official events before being nominated as a mayoral candidate. Upon his nomination, Skoryk visited several educational institutions, and the premiere of the modern multimedia opera “Vyshyvanyi. The King of Ukraine,” accompanied by his party members. The candidate participates in a large number of secular and religious events, including meetings with clerics. He also took part in the commemoration of the crash of the AN-26Sh aircraft. In addition, he receives citizens at appointments in his public reception office in Bohodukhiv, as a deputy of the Kharkiv regional council.

As initiated by the “European Solidarity,” the Business vs. Government Forum was held, where Skoryk and MPs Nina Yuzhanina and Iryna Friz took part. Together with Petro Poroshenko, Oleksandr Skoryk made a donation for the reconstruction of the Church of St. John the Theologian in Kharkiv. In addition, he supported the Kharkiv Shevchenko Theater ”Berezil” to organize a trip with their production to the “Theater Gate” festival.

Mykola Kukurika, Chairman of the Party of Pensioners of Ukraine

Kukurika has run for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine several times, both as a self-nominated candidate and as a candidate from the “Party of Pensioners of Ukraine.” However, he was not elected.

In 2015 and 2020, he ran for city council on the lists of the “Party of Pensioners of Ukraine.” However, the party did not pass the barrier.

In addition, he holds one-on-one meetings with voters in the city; he publishes campaign videos on his social media accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

In favor of the candidate, targeted advertising was launched on Facebook to promote a number of posts on the page of the “Party of Pensioners of Ukraine.”

Serhiy Ryapolov, activist, director of Eco-Svitlo LLC

Serhiy Ryapolov is a victim in the case of Hennadiy Kernes and his two bodyguards. This case is still under consideration in court despite the death of the mayor of Kharkiv. Hennadiy Kernes and his bodyguards were accused of beating and kidnapping two Kharkiv residents on January 25, 2014. One of these Kharkiv residents was Ryapolov.

According to Suspilne, in August 2018, the Kyiv District Court of Poltava closed the case against Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes and his bodyguards, who were accused of beating and kidnapping two Kharkiv residents on January 25, 2014. The Prosecutor General’s Office and the victims appealed the decision. On January 31, 2020, the Poltava Court of Appeal upheld the complaint and sent the case to the court of first instance, the Kyiv District Court of Poltava. The preparatory meeting was postponed for various reasons, including the quarantine, lack of protection, elections, and Kernes’ disease. Hennadiy Kernes died on December 16. He was buried in Kharkiv on December 23. After the death of Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes, his family insisted on continuing the trial and demanded an acquittal. “Our position is that Hennadiy Kernes and his bodyguards are not guilty,” the defenders said.

In 2015, Ryapolov was a candidate for city council, under a party list of the “Public Movement – People’s Control.”

In 2020, he ran for the City Council from the party “Bloc of Yulia Svitlychna – Together!”

The candidate did not carry out any campaigning activities.

Valeriy Hovorov (self-nomination), deputy of the Kharkiv regional council, deputy mayor of Kupyansk (withdrew from the candidacy)

In 2020, Valeriy Hovorov became a deputy of the regional council from the “Opposition Platform - For Life” party.

On December 15, 2020, he was approved for the position of Deputy Mayor on operations of the council’s executive bodies.

From October 2018 to November 2020, he was an acting Mayor of Kupyansk, and a Secretary of the Kupyansk City Council.

In 2010, he was elected a deputy of the Kupyansk City Council from the “Party of Regions.”

In 2015, he was re-elected a deputy of the City Council from the “Renaissance” party.

He is currently running as a self-nominated candidate.

There was no campaign activity in the first month of the campaign.

Oleksandr Kondrusyk (self-nomination), blogger

Oleksandr Kondrusyk is the author of the Facebook page “Sasha Psycho – politics as it is” .

He has more than 19,000 subscribers on the page.

In 2020, Kondrusyk wanted to become deputy of the City Council on the list of the “Our Land” party.

Kondrusik calls himself the most opposition candidate.

The candidate has one conducted press conference on his record.

He did not conduct an active campaign in September.

Denys Yaroslavsky (self-nomination), lawyer

In 2020, Denys Yaroslavsky already ran for the position of Kharkiv mayor. Then, 1% of voters voted for him.

From 2004 to 2016, he worked in the police.

From 2015 to 2016, he was head of Obukhiv police department.

In 2019, he was a legal aid consultant for Kharkiv Design Institute LLC.

In 2019, as a self-nominated candidate, he ran to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The candidate did not show any public activity.

Victor Velychkov (self-nomination)


Victor Velychkov is an ex-owner of the POSP “Agropartner” company.

In 2010, he was elected a deputy of the Lozova City Council from the “Party of Regions”.

In 2015, he ran to the Lozova City Council from the “Socialists” political party.

He did not show any campaigning activities in September.


Please, be reminded that elections in Kharkiv have been appointed because of death of the mayor Hennadiy Kernes. On March 30, the Verkhovna Rada scheduled elections in Kharkiv for October, 31. The election process began on September, 11.

For comments, please, contact:

Mykola Zinchenko , coordinator of election observation of the Civil Network OPORA in Kharkiv region

tel .: +38 099 788 3660