A week before the election day, a candidate for Chernivtsi Mayor Vitalii Mykhailishyn has opened a playground at the address 7 Uzbetskyi Lane, Chernivtsi, with an inscription "We make children's dreams come true! Vitalii MYKHAILISHYN'. During the presentation, children living in surrounding buildings were presented toys and sports toys (balls, jumping ropes, and balloons saying: "I love Kalichanka!" [OPORA] – one of microdistricts in Chernivtsi).

According to the Article 53(4) of the Law of Ukraine on Elections of Deputies to the Verkhovna Rada of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Members of Local Councils, Village, Town and City Heads, the building of a playground "funded from the pre-election or election" fund, as it was repeatedly called by the candidate Vitalii Mykhailishyn himself, may be considered as a violation.

It is forbidden to conduct election campaigning, which includes giving voters money or goods, for free or on preferential terms, services, securities, credits, lotteries (besides goods with a name, symbol, flag of political party, which local organization is a subject of the election process, or other campaign materials, if their price is less than five percent of the minimum wage) and other material values, works or services.

This event was a campaigning event, and the present residents considered it to be such. On 49th second of the video, there is a woman's voice: "Thank you for the playground! ... the best. We will vote for you!", - and the answer of Vitalii Mykhailishyn: "Tha... Welcome, you are welcome."

Vitalii Mykhailishyn himself has commented his activities to a local TV channel right on the playground, and didn't conceal the event is related to electoral process. OPORA's observer managed to record a video of this interview. Vitalii Mykhailishyn told not only about what is already done, but also about what is to be done during this week:

... Not built, but installed. You know, there are more than hundred such playgrounds. I'm not ready to tell right now. In a few days, we will install one more playground in Ruskyi microdistrict at Hraviton [OPORA– microdistrict in Chernivtsi]... This one [OPORA – playground at the address 7 Uzbetskyi Lane], should correspond to all technical requirements. And we made it in accordance to these requirements... I have made a conclusion for myself, and mistakes of 2012. I used the funds that I could have spent on billboards and citylights for these two playgrounds, and repairs in a group of the nursery school number two, which was started yet in 2013, but nothing was done. So, I'll finish this group and 25 children will enjoy this new and nice group. Thus, I used these funds which could have been used for making my large pictures placed all over Chernivtsi, I used them for... citizens of Chernivtsi and in Chernivtsi.

To the question put by observer of Civil Network OPORA regarding whether Vitalii Mykhailishyn considers the installation of the playground at the address 7 Uzbetskyi Lane as voter bribery, he answered quite emotionally, and asked "to leave children alone":

Please, tell me if I told a word about that? I opened... Do you need a playground [OPORA – asks the present people, mostly children]? Mister, please, go away, let children be happy of the fact than playgrounds are installed. There are no campaigning words, nobody... Ask anyone, have I told a mere word? We opened a playground. I don't pay for any billboards, I just bought two playgrounds, and I will open a group in the nursery school [OPORA – shows by the hand in direction of a nursery school not far from the place].

A lot of announcements were placed inviting to come to this presentation (without an imprint). Besides that, observer of OPORA have reported that a newspaper from Vitalii Mykhailishyn was placed on fences of private houses on the adjacent street, in which he reported on his term as a secretary of Chernivtsi City Council, with indication that it's a campaigning material of the candidate.

We remind that during 2012 election campaign, when Vitalii Mylhailishyn was MP candidate in district #201, installation of playgrounds was a "peculiarity" of this candidate.

We would also like to inform you that the hotline was opened in Chernivtsi office of the Civil Network OPORA, where the voters can call and report about violations of electoral legislation +38099 010 6551.







Important information about the elections, electoral violations, the course and results of the observation campaign may be found on the site of Chernivtsi office of Civil Network OPORA http://oporacv.org/
Detailed information:
Hryhorii Sorochan, phone: +380502104847, g.sorochan(at)opora.org.ua
Nazar Tymoshchuk, Electoral Programs Coordinator of Civil Network OPORA in Chernivtsi oblast, phone: +38063 628 67 71, n.tymoshchuk(at)opora.org.ua


Civic monitoring conducted by OPORA - is a type of network activity, aimed at impartial assessment of the preparation and conduct of elections, as well as preventing electoral violations through comprehensive civic action. Since March, OPORA conducts a wide observation campaign during snap Presidential election, interim Parliamentary elections (district #83), and special local elections. The organization cooperates with 175 long-term observers, who are watching the course of election campaign in all Ukrainian regions. On the Election Day on May 25, 3,000 activists will join them to conduct the parallel vote tabulation, based on statistical sample.