Candidates have spent enormous sums on their electoral campaigns and will spend even more in the second tour where the final amounts of expenses on elections will start at 50 million USD.
The journalists found out that tens of millions are allocated only for political advertising and maintaining the election campaign’s headquarters and even the highest expenses remain unknown.
This is stated in the investigation of “Hromadske TV” channel.
According to the investigation, 44 candidates not only contributed 2.5 thousand hryvnia pledges for participating in elections but also spend a lot of money on campaigning which according to the law can be financed only from their own election fund.
According to journalists politicians pay the most for advertising on television where 1 minute in prime time on central TV channels costs from 4 to 350 thousand UAH.
Advertising on the radio is cheaper – a minute of election advertising in prime time will cost about 600-2400 UAH.
In print media, the cost of advertising in top national journals and newspapers starts from 20 thousand UAH but in regional media, prices are lower. For example, according to the information of the informational network “Opora” in the Kherson region publishers set the price of their advertising space at 3-10 thousand UAH. In average they ask around 4 thousand UAH for over half a strip of newspaper.
At the same time, investigators claim that in their financial reports potential presidents report only the money that they used from their election funds, but advertising and campaigning that began before the official start of the election campaign is not included in those numbers.
The journalists also learned about the shadow expenditures of candidates that originates not from their electoral funds. According to the information received from the “Chesno” movement, a separate item of such expenses is the payment to agitators, staff workers, and political technologists. According to the calculations, the price of one distributed newspaper in the city district is 50 kopecks, and in the rural area – one hryvnia. Salaries of lawyers and other staffs headquarters can be on the average market level – 10-15 thousand UAH. Payment for the work of political technologist depends on his experience and connections. Here we are talking about amounts from 15 to 100 thousand USD.
Also, the money is allocated to distribute compromising material on competitors in the media, on hostile actions and provocations, on so-called “bot-farms”. According to the “Schemy” program, such services can be used to create substandard accounts (these bots can be banned, excluded, deleted) at prices ranging from 20 cents to 20 dollars, and also create high-quality accounts that already cost thousands of dollars.
For example, network support can cost 3-4 thousand or 10 thousand USD per month, depending on how many people are required to be influenced by internet bots.
There are also prices for “dumping” of information and its distribution, “trolling” opponents, launching the necessary messages and working with the target audience on social networks. Payment for such services starts from 1.5 to 16 thousand USD per month and above.
According to the investigation, if those “shadow expenses” on elections will be counted the actual expenses on the election campaign can be one and a half to two times higher than the numbers officially reported by the candidates.
Even more, money will be spent on campaigning in the second round. According to estimates of the public movement “Chesno”, the final expenses will start at 50 million dollars.
“How much official millions of hryvnia presidential candidates will spend on these elections will be known in late March. They should make public their first reports five days later, two days before the elections,” the authors of the investigation summarize.