Are Oligarchs Revealing Their Election Preferences on Ukrainian Television?

Ruslan Minich, analyst at Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld, prepared an analysis of the news reveals who Ukrainian oligarchs are promoting on their TV channels in the run-up to the 2019 elections.

“Poroshenko does not like that Shevchenko is telling the truth, and that he has decided to run for the presidency,” said Oleksandr Shevchenko – the presidential candidate of Ukrop party – in news on Channel 1+1 in September 2018.

During a TV story in February, the same news channel reminded President Petro Poroshenko that his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych had been ousted during the Revolution of Dignity.

Criticism of the president is hardly uncommon for 1+1, which was the most viewed channel in November with an audience share of 12.05 percent. And it’s owned by Ihor Kolomoiskyi – a Ukrainian oligarch, and the former owner of PryvatBank, which was nationalised in 2016.

Other popular TV channels are also owned by oligarchs – and these stations may have their own political preferences. Television is the main source of information for 76-97 percent of Ukrainians which gives the oligarchs a powerful tool to influence both the public and politicians.

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