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Three weeks before Ukrainian elections: Zelenskyi leads polls while Tymoshenko and Poroshenko fight each other

Ôîòî Íèêîëàÿ Ëàçàðåíêî 21–22.11.2004 Âûáîðû–2004
Three weeks before Ukrainian elections: Zelenskyi leads polls while Tymoshenko and Poroshenko fight each other
There is less than a month left before Ukrainians will cast their ballots to choose a president, and the campaign is warming up. Journalists and some officials started to leak oppo research against candidates, who, in their turn, try to get the best out of it extensively. Meanwhile, electoral support remains quite weak for each of three main leaders: comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, and former Ukrainian prime-minister (2007-2010) Yuliya Tymoshenko.

Zelenskyy goes up, Tymoshenko takes a dive

For the first time in Ukrainian elections, a “poll of polls” model was made. Constructed by, it combines different polls into a single image. The authors stress that their results show only a probability; they can’t guarantee the trustworthiness of the polls.

“Poll of polls” by

“Poll of polls” by

The model clearly shows the sharp increase in the electoral support of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who currently leads the polls. The sharp decrease of Yuliya Tymoshenko’s support since January is also evident, as well as the gradual growth of Petro Poroshenko’s, who currently holds the second position.

However, bookmakers like 1xbetua or pari match support rather Petro Poroshenko, with Tymoshenko and Zelenskyy rated with slightly smaller chances. One of the reasons for such a difference can be the age of each candidate’s electorate. Tymoshenko relies mainly on seniors who are more likely to go and vote than Zelenskyy’s young electorate. Poroshenko is supported almost equally by all age categories.

Support of candidates by age group. Source: Green – Zelenskyy, red – Tymoshenko, blue – Poroshenko. Data: rating group

Battles between Poroshenko and Tymoshenko

While Zelenskyy has nothing to lose in this election, both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko stand either at the edge of their political career or before its pinnacle. For nearly 20 years, Tymoshenko has striven for leadership in the country. Two times, she aimed for the presidency but came in second. This year is, probably, her last chance. Poroshenko seems to like his role of the main opponent to Putin’s policies and doesn’t want to withdraw. Therefore, both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko launched political attacks on each other, including suits to law enforcement agencies.

Tymoshenko dealt the first blow when her rating started falling. She sued Poroshenko about violating the election campaign rules and accused him of illegally using funds for his campaign. However, the Supreme Court rejected Tymoshenko’s appeal on 24 February.

Yet, Tymoshenko’s lawsuit seems rather faint if compared to the accusations of the Security Service (SBU, the Head of which is appointed by the president) against her. On 21 February, the SBU declared it uncovered an electoral pyramid which was funded from outside the election fund and supposed to recruit votes for a specific candidate at polling stations at election day.

The SBU avoided naming the particular candidate. However, on the day of its statement, it performed over 30 searches in the apartments of people close to Tymoshenko’s party. Also, Valeriy Dubil, a deputy from Tymoshenko’s party, was called in for interrogation by the General Prosecutor’s office, whose head, again, is appointed by the President.

Yuliya Tymoshenko told that SBU’s accusations are “delusions, disseminated by provocateurs in the SBU.” She also praised Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal affairs appointed by the parliament: “I believe that the Ministry of Internal affairs and Minister Avakov will work to prevent fraud and bribery.”

And he did. The same day, the patrol police of the city of Sumy checked the office of Petro Poroshenko’s party on suspicion of bribing voters. The oblast prosecutor’s office responded by initiating proceedings for exceeding authority.

Previously, Arsen Avakov told many times about the violations of Petro Poroshenko’s team who pay their “volunteer” agitators, and in that way created a huge network of people working in all regions to compel locals to vote for Poroshenko. However, the central election committee clarified that agitators are required by law to be volunteers, but electoral committees are allowed to compensate their expenses such as food, travels, topping up cell phones etc.

Finally, the journalistic investigation by the project published on 25 February accused Poroshenko’s business partner from the defense sector of laundering US$9.2 mn in procurements for the army. The editor-in-chief promised to show another oppo against Tymoshenko in the next video. Despite some criticism of the argumentation and conclusions of journalists, the project inflicts a blow to the electoral support of Poroshenko and, possibly, will impact Tymoshenko next week.

Yet, Yuliya Tymoshenko was the first to announce the start of Poroshenko’s impeachment procedure after the video, though the existing regulations in the Constitution of Ukraine make such a procedure considerably longer than the election campaign.


Yuliya Tymoshenko announcing the beginning of the impeachment procedure in an almost empty parliament. Source: screenshot from video

And what about Zelenskyy

While Tymoshenko and Poroshenko are struggling for votes, Zelenskyy is almost invisible in the public space. Actually, his tactic is quite reasonable: both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko are old players in Ukrainian politics and both have quite many faults or direct guilt on their accounts. Zelenskyy has almost nothing to be accused of except his Russian business and offshore schemes. He has quite high chances as a “new face” with extraordinary and entertaining agitation in a form of new film series.

Yet, many think his success wouldn’t be favorable for Ukraine. In his recent public statement, while accusing Poroshenko, he repeats Kremlin propaganda almost word for word: “People who came to the power by blood earn money on blood,” referencing two Kremlin theses about Euromaidan being a supposed coup in order to change power and that the war in Ukraine continues because it’s profitable for the country’s elites.

He also supported Maruv to represent Ukraine in Eurovision despite her concerts in Russia, denies that Ukrainian should have priority over the Russian language in Ukraine. The history of Zelenskyy’s TV-projects clearly shows how he supported any oligarch and any policy depending on who is ready to pay. For this time, the oligarch Kolomoyskyi is the employer.

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