Who suggests introducing mandatory IQ tests for politicians, how many ways to combat traffic congestion are offered by candidates and who shares fake rankings – learn more about how Kyiv mayoral candidates are running their campaigns and how much they spent for political ads on Facebook.

About 20 candidates are running for the position of a city mayor of Kyiv, both self-nominated, and party-promoted. In addition to advertisements in the streets and leaflets in mail boxes, most of them were trying to win voters’ support through campaigning in social media, such as Facebook. According to OPORA monitoring, Kyiv candidates are most active in this social media: they share campaigning materials from their own pages, from party pages, and from anonymous profiles alike. In this article, you will learn about expenses incurred by candidates for the position of Kyiv city mayor from September, 5 to October, 12.

OPORA analyzed the list of registered candidates  for the position of Kyiv city mayor and found out that 15 out of 20 candidates were using Facebook as their campaigning tool. They spent for the advertising content the total of over USD 160,000 (UAH 4.5 mln):

Costs of candidates for Kyiv City Mayor (September, 5 – October, 12, 2020)



Number of ads

Andriy Palchevskyi**



Iryna Vereshchuk



Vitaliy Klitschko



Boryslav Bereza*



Serhiy Prytula



Oleksandr Popov



Oleksiy Kucherenko



Serhiy Husovskyi*



Yehor Firsov



Yuriy Levchenko



Mykhaylo Pozhyvanov



Andriy Illenko



Serhiy Shakhov



Maksym Goldarb



Viktor Petruk



*Campaigned by the party page

**Campaigned by anonymous pages


According to Facebook Ad Library

The top spender for political ads on Facebook is Andriy Palchevskyi – a candidate from the “Palchevskyi Victory” party. He spent almost USD 70,000 for 400 advertising posts. We have previously reported how a fake sociological survey was promoted on Facebook where Palchevskyi’s ranking was expressly overstated, while most comments under the posts came from bots. The post with these fake survey results was shared from the party page of “Palchevskyi Victory”, from the page of the “Асоціація платників податків. Київ”  (lit. – Association of Taxpayers. Kyiv) NGO, and from anonymous pages “Свободная Украина” (lit. – Free Ukraine) and “Украина Онлайн” (lit. – Ukraine Online). The campaign for this candidate on Facebook started on September, 11, whereas the rapid growth of advertising activities was recorded on September, 30 (44 advertising posts).According to Facebook Ad Library

The highest amounts for political ads were spent by the “Association of Taxpayers. Kyiv” page – about USD 14,000 for 8 posts. “Free Ukraine” and “Ukraine Online” spent over USD 12,000 and USD 11,000. Oddly enough, but the lowest amounts were spent by a party page “Palchevskyi Victory” – almost USD 5,000. Recently, they have started sharing political ads from the page of Andriy Palchevskyi, which goes against the rules for posting political ads on Facebook as it was not marked as such.

Iryna Vereshchuk, a candidate from the “Servant of the People” party, published many more ads than all of the rivals in total – 2,138 posts. They spent for them over USD 37,000. Upon the official start of election campaign on September, 5, Vereshchuk started campaigning on Facebook on the following day, September, 6, and continued posting political ads almost every day on. Political ads of Iryna Vereshchuk may be provisionally divided into the following thematic groups: the candidate’s stories about herself, position on topics of national standing, her vision as to solutions to key issues in Kyiv, and criticism of the competitor Vitaliy Klitschko. The candidate stands out among other electioneerers as she shares extensively about her personality in her political ads, such as the fixations she used to have as a girl, the movies she likes watching, and her opinions about haters:

The third top spender on political ads is the incumbent Kyiv city mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, a candidate form the “UDAR of Vitaliy Klitschko” party. He spent over USD 15,000 on posting 94 ads. Klitschko’s advertising activities are rather irregular: the ads are launched approximately once in a week. Vitaliy Klitschko is one of the few politicians targeting his ads more on men – 56.5% of the total targeting. The content of the candidate’s posts is of the same type. They mostly share the slogan “Always by Kyiv Citizens’ Side” or tell about Klitschko’s deliverables as a city mayor:

Campaigning for a candidate Boryslav Bereza is shared from the party page of “EcoParty of Bereza.” The page spent USD 11,500 for 140 ads, while the peak of activity is recorded in the early stages of campaigning. Hardly any post promoted by Boryslav Bereza does not criticize current authorities in Kyiv:

Serhiy Prytula, a candidate from the “Holos” party, comes fifth. He joined the political campaigning on Facebook in the end of September. The candidate’s official page was created after the start of campaigning period – on September, 6. Prytula spent over USD 10,000 on 210 ads. Prytula’s audience is younger than the target audiences of other Kyiv mayoral candidates – 56.6% of targeted users are aged 18 to 35. In his political ads, Prytula is actively sharing about his team, meetings with voters, and the plan of action in case he wins in the elections.

Oleksandr Popov, a candidate from the “Opposition Platform – For Life,” is campaigning from two pages – “Oleksandr Popov” and “Kyiv Citizens for Oleksandr Popov.” It shall be mentioned that the ads on the page “Кияни за Олександра Попова” (lit. - Kyiv Citizens for Oleksandr Popov) are paid by the same-name non-governmental organization. As stated in the Facebook disclaimer, ads from the candidate’s pages are paid by the election fund of a Kyiv mayoral candidate Oleksandr Popov. The total amount spent is over USD 4,500 to post 260 ads. Popov’s advertising peak falls on the start of campaigning period; the target audience is the oldest of all – he does not target his ads at users under 34 years of age. Popov is different from others in a sense that he has previous experience as a Kyiv city mayor in 2010-2014. That is why, in all his posts, he compares himself to the present authorities and keeps telling where he performed better during his term of office.

Oleksiy Kucherenko, a candidate from the “Batkivshchyna” party, spent almost USD 4,500 to promote 36 ads. Kucherenko’s most ads are not available for viewing in the  Political Ads Library, as most of them were deleted by Facebook for breaking the Advertising Rules. The only accessible posts are the following two:

The 8th position is taken by Serhiy Husovskyi – a Kyiv mayoral candidate nominated by the “For the Future” political party. Although “For the Future” spent the most on political ads in  September, their campaigning for the potential candidate for Kyiv city mayor was not smashing. For example, political ads were not promoted from Serhiy Husovskyi’s personal profile at all. However, it was done for him: the page Київ ЗА Майбутнє (lit. – Kyiv. For the Future) was especially active; several ads may be found on the page of  Політична партія “ЗА МАЙБУТНЄ” (lit. – Political Party “FOR THE FUTURE”). According to OPORA, over USD 2,000 (almost UAH 57,000) was spent on his advertising campaign that included 82 promoted posts. Interesting enough that most views of Husovskyi’s ads come from men (56.4%). In his promoted posts, Serhiy Husovskyi focuses on the fact that the city needs to take care of businessmen; he talks about the need to adopt the new Masterplan for Kyiv; and emphasizes his intellectual bandwidth:

Yehor Firsov takes the ninth position. He is nominated by the “Ecological Alternative” party, and spent over USD 1,900 (almost UAH 54,000) on 92 ads. Firsov was sharing his political campaigning posts from his personal page – Єгор Фірсов, but it was paid by the party nominating him. The candidate certainly targeted Kyiv (84.1%) and Kyiv Oblast (15.9%) the most, whereas the distribution of the audience is rather uniform: 55.3% of women, 44.7% of men. Due to the candidate’s party affiliation, the topics for posts were rather predictable. Thus, he mostly focused on environmental issues in Kyiv (condition of water and air, waste sorting) and took every opportunity to criticize Vitaliy Klitschko for failure to settle the issues during his term:

Position 10 on the rating goes to  Yuriy Levchenko, a candidate from the party “Levchenko Team “Popular Rule.” He spent almost USD 1,100 (UAH 30,000) for 61 ads on Facebook. They were promoted from his personal profile. The candidate targeted Kyiv (94.9% of targeting), such as men (over 61% of the targeting). Levchenko wrote about being unhappy about actions of other mayoral candidates and the “Rating” sociological group. He is especially keen on the group, pulling them to pieces. The candidate keeps accusing the sociological group of faking the survey results. He also often writes about the general national issues (such as on Yurchenko case) and encourages his followers to fundraise for the electoral deposit:

Mykhaylo Pozhyvanov, a candidate from the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko, took the 11th position. He is the last on the list of candidates who spent over USD 1,000 during the period under monitoring. His Facebook campaign cost USD 1,050 (almost UAH 30,000) that he spent for promotion of 126 ads. Pozhyvanov was targeting his ads mostly at women (61% of targeting) from Kyiv (98%). In the posts, he promised to change the environmental, tariff and transport policy of Kyiv, and showed how the radical Party is shooting ahead in the ratings::

The twelfth position goes to Andriy Illenko who runs for the seat of the Kyiv city mayor from the “Svoboda” party, as usual. He spent about USD 750 (about UAH 21,000) for 6 ads on Facebook. Illenko also confirmed the trend shown by other candidates, when about 60% of his ads were viewed by men. Illenko’s ads are not distinct, some of them simply inform about his running for the Kyiv city mayor, others post videos you can watch here:

Position 13 is taken by Serhiy Shakhov running from the “Nash Kray” party. Although, similar to “For the Future” and “Nash Kray”, in  September, he spent large amounts on party campaigning on Facebook, Shakhov’s campaign was not noticeable. Indeed, the promotion of 42 ads only cost the candidate USD 300 (UAH 8,600). Serhiy Shakhov is running for Kyiv’s city mayor but most of his ads are targeting Luhansk region (56.4%), while as little as 23.9% target Kyiv. Topic-wise, his posts are distributed similar to others. Some posts inform about his candidacy, other paid content campaigns for candidates in other cities:

The last but one position is taken by a self-nominated candidate Maksym Goldarb. He spent on Facebook ads a rather small amount of USD 100 (UAH 2,900). The money was spent on promotion of 12 ads targeting 45+ women (56% of views). The candidate’s ads are similar in format to Oleksandr Dubinskyi’s 2019 campaign. These are short videos where Goldarb is telling about his attitude to recent developments in “big politics.” Other posts are about the candidate’s initiatives he promised to implement when elected (such as to introduce mandatory IQ tests for anyone aiming to be in the government):

Viktor Petruk, running from the Civic Movement “Khvylia” (lit. – The Wave) spent USD 90 (UAH 2,500) to post 18 ads. He started campaigning in social media as late as on October, 11. Interestingly, transportation is the leading topic of his campaign. Most of his posts tell about the viaducts or the bridges, or the “subway to Troyeshchyna district” everyone is longing for (even the Biblical characters do):

Other registered candidates for the Kyiv city mayor have not used Facebook ads and rather focused on other campaigning formats.


Anastasia Romaniuk, Olha Snopok – specialists on social media monitoring
For comments, contact: 
Robert Lorian, data analyst at Civil Network OPORA