Lie 2018. How Presidential Candidates and Party Leaders Lied and Manipulated in Pre-Election Year. VoxCheck Rating

Analysis of the truthfulness of statements made by Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Groysman, Rabinovich, Boyko, Hrytsenko, Lyashko, Tyahnybok, Sadovyi as well as Vakarchuk and Zelensky in 2018.

Authors: VoxCheck team

1,962 statements were checked, more than a half of which are manipulative, deceptive or an exaggeration. This is the result of the Manipulators and Liars Rating 2018 project. Throughout 2018 VoxCheck was checking statements made by top officials and politicians who are leading in presidential and parliamentary election polls. Today more than a half of them — Petro Poroshenko, Yuliya Tymoshenko, Oleh Lyashko, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Yuriy Boyko, Andriy Sadovyi and Volodymyr Zelensky — have presidential ambitions. The political parties of Vadim Rabinovich and Oleh Tyahnybok will participate in the parliamentary elections. The political career of Volodymyr Groysman is yet to be determinate, but it is obvious that he will on board of Ukrainian politics. Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is not running for the president, but he is not planning to stand aside and «together with his team will be working to make pro-European powers win».

We are presenting an analysis of statements made by the top Ukrainian politicians during the previous, pre-election year.

Disclaimer: This rating has been compiled from results for the year 2018. It does not include statements made by politicians in 2019. We realize that some politicians have launched the active phase of their campaign only this year so their narrative has changed. 2019 statements will be analysed within separate VoxCheck materials, which are not part of the Rating of Manipulators and Liars, in February and March 2019. The methodology for the selection of quotes, fact-checking and calculation will be described towards the end of this article. The chart represents the truth and lies ratio in the speeches of politicians. In the article we describe the narrative of politicians in 2018 and the main mistakes and manipulations in their speeches.

Legend: the politicians were ranked according to the truth rate in their speeches. The lower the degree of truth, the higher the position in the rating. Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and Volodymyr Zelensky did not make it to the rating because of the small amount of factual statements made by them in 2018.

Tymoshenko and the New Course: How it was

If there were an award for the Top Manipulator of Ukraine, then the leader of the Batkivshchyna Party Yuliya Tymoshenko would be the frontrunner. In autumn of 2017 we started a systemic analysis of the speeches of Ukrainian politicians and analysed Yuliya Tymoshenko's public speeches for the first time within our pilot Rating of Manipulators and Liars. Back then, she was also leading in the manipulations rate as compared to other politicians listed. The pilot rating was based on September and October 2017 data. Subsequent ratings were published on a quarterly basis (see first, second, third quarter). This rating is based on data for the whole year of 2018.

It appears that Ms. Tymoshenko spent 2018 in preparation for the presidential campaign and five New Course forums. According to VoxCheck observations, Tymoshenko did not have many media appearances before the presentation of her New Course. During each of the New Course events Tymoshenko delivered well-prepared memorized facts from absolutely different spheres — economics, banking, state security, geopolitics and even economic bestsellers (for instance, Why Nations Fail by James Robinson and Daren Acemoglu).

During the New Course forums, the politician was trying to sound professional, so she referred to world and Ukrainian statistics and international ratings a lot. The less she was presenting her own assessment, the fewer mistakes and manipulations her speeches contained. Probably that is why the truth rate in her public talks during 2018 varied between 30 and 33% in contrast to 9% in the pilot VoxCheck rating for September-October 2017.

However, when she expressed her own opinion based on statistics or referred to data, her expressions consisted of manipulations, understatements and lies. These figures were relevant two years ago and since that time the index dropped to almost 60%. When Tymoshenko was comparing salaries in Ukraine and in Europe, she referenced the wealthiest countries with the highest wages and respectively prices. The politician often blamed Naftogaz for getting excess profits, without mentioning that it is one of the biggest taxpayers and payers of dividends in Ukraine. Gas was one of the topics she talked about on numerous occasions but sometimes did it rather clumsily. For example, she could boast of the conditions of the 2009 gas contract saying that, as a politician, she managed to negotiate beneficial transit conditions with Russia. At the same time, she never mentioned the high price and warnings on "take-or-pay clause" which Ukraine got for buying Russian gas.


I can answer for every letter of these (gas) contracts and I am telling you that it was real freedom, multiple increasing of price for Russian gas transit through Ukraine.

It is a lie. In the result, there was a less than double growth in gas transit tariff. While in 2014, the gas price increased almost three-fold comparing with 2008. Besides, Ukraine agreed to the "take-or-pay" principle.

Perhaps Tymoshenko's quote of the year is her statement about halving the gas prices. We wish it were as easy as she and the other politicians who echoed her statement are saying. Such a decision will have a negative impact on the economy and it is yet to be known how harmful it will be. We can reverse the relationship between Naftogaz and the state to the time when gas prices were low, the state subsidized the loss-making Naftogaz and the amount of gas extracted dropped every year. We can even make all private companies sell gas to the public at a fixed price. But for how long can the Ukrainian budget sustain such a load and for how long can the investment climate suffer from such abuse? That is a rhetorical question.

During 2018 Tymoshenko's main tactic was to criticize everything the government did regardless of what was done and by whom — from the Central Election Commission appointed by the Parliament upon recommendation of the President to state procurement of drugs, state debt, budget and gas market, i.e. issues that are the responsibility of specific ministers or state managers.

Rabinovich: «Who Is Vadim Rabinovich to Whom?»

Having a personal talk show is not a bad media issue and political resource. This assumption is proven by Vadim Rabinovich who for more than a year has been hosting his weekly show Who Is Vadim Rabinovich to Whom during the prime time on 112 Channel. In August 2014 sociologists did not even mention this politician in their polls, but in June 2018 he already had 8,4% of public support (at the same time he was 6th from the last in the deputy efficiency rating).

The programme Who Is Vadim Rabinovich to Whom offered plenty of materials for the fact checkers, since the duration of the show is one hour. Rabinovich comments on recent events in Ukraine, decisions of the government (of all branches and levels), cites reports of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine and in general presents numerous facts and statistics.

In his show Rabinovich often refers to international ratings — Doing Business, Democracy Index, Corruption Perceptions Index etc. In his opinion, that is enough to illustrate the sad state of affairs in Ukraine.

Among other politicians that VoxCheck studied in 2018, Rabinovich was the one who more often and openly expressed affections for Russia and nostalgia for the USSR. For instance, on several occasions he mentioned that pensioners in Belarus and Russia did not pay for utilities. The information turned out to be a fake.

Here are several examples of Rabinovich's statements with pro-Russian sentiments (he also always speaks Russian):


All people who have retired are exempt from paying for utilities. This is what Belarus did. Tell me... And I am not speaking about Russia as some may say that we are at war with it. Although now they did the same, after 70 years.


I submitted a draft law about it. We need to cancel utility fees for 11.8 million pensioners. And when they tell you it is a dream, I will say that in Russia, pressed by the sanctions, they have already done it. In the neighbouring Belarus, they have also done it. It fits into the budgetary share of subsidies.


Wars start for markets and we gave away our market without a war. We gave away a market that we will need decades to restore. <...> Look at the figures. Over the 4-year period, our direct export losses with Russia are as high as $38 billion. . Export rates across CIS dropped 3.8 times (export from Ukraine) and here we also lost a ton of money.

The last statement is also untruthful: during the 4 years, trade with Russia dropped by $16.9 billion while trade with other CIS countries decreased by $4.6 billion and not by $38 billion.

Rabinovich also referenced Russian sources of information about Ukraine, in particular, calculations of the Head of Moscow Union of Political Prisoners and Political Emigrants of Ukraine Larisa Shesler, who allegedly calculated the actual population size of Ukraine. According to her, the population of Ukraine decreased to 24 million. The same data was often quoted by Oleksandr Vilkul, the leader of the Opposition Bloc, and his former fellow party member Yuriy Boyko.


There is this European bread consumption rate. So, based on bread consumption, the European organization has calculated that there are 24 million people living in Ukraine.

According to VoxCheck calculations, if you apply this "bread method" properly, you will get an even smaller number: not 24 million but 10.9 million. If we followed the same logic, it would mean that in 2001 only 19 million people lived in Ukraine. In reality, according to the last and current census, the population of Ukraine is 48 million people. It means that calculating the population based on bread consumption is absolutely incorrect.

Unlike all the top politicians of Ukraine, Rabinovich is not afraid to make harsh statements.

I do not know what kind of moral monster one should be, to do such nonsense on the eve of catastrophic increase of gas prices, on the eve of final blow to the economy. They gorge on your money, they cost us a billion!" (referring to people's deputies of Ukraine)

Most of such quotes did not make it to the rating since we only check facts not emotions. But we did check the statement about a billion hryvnias that the Parliament costs the society. The statement turned out to be true.

Lyashko, Minimum Wage and Round Timber

For permanent viewers of Rada Channel and Ukrainian talk shows, Oleh Lyashko is probably associated with a loud voice, a red tie and focus on rural themes. At the same time, he does not often talk about agriculture. In 2018 he most frequently boasted of his party’s legal initiatives and draft laws. Lyashko reminded the listeners about the introduction of VAT extension on imported new equipment, on Presidential impeachment draft law and increase of minimum wage. Lyashko and his team were indeed involved in all these initiatives and Lyashko did not shy away from reminding the voters about it.

One of his favourite topics is the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. In his opinion VAT-free quotas on export are too low and he also criticised Europe's demand to cancel the round timber export ban. The politician has been persistently supporting the ban for a long time. Unfortunately, according to statistics, the round timber export ban did not stop logging and did not result in a significant growth of the wood processing industry in Ukraine.

Rabinovich compares Ukraine to Russia; Tymoshenko, to the richest countries of the world (Singapore, Norway, the Netherlands); by contrast, Lyashko makes comparisons with Poland. According to him, Poland makes more money on its timber and has more forests. The country has higher salaries and Ukrainians often go to Poland to find a job. The last two statements are true. By the way, because of higher salaries and involvement of Ukrainian workers, the flow of short-term workers to Poland varies between 500,000 and two million, according to various estimates, and increases every year.


Poland has the same amount of forests as Ukraine. Yet, Ukraine sells timber products for $2 billion every year, while Poland trades for $20 billion, which is ten times more.

This statement is not true, as Poland makes $4.3 billion on its timber and not $20 billion (Ukraine makes $1.2 billion).

At first sight, the range of topics Lyashko comments on is wide: cancer treatment funding, meat import, grain export, gas tariffs, emigration and poverty, procurement of helicopters for the MIA (Ministry of Internal Affairs) of Ukraine, the price of drugs, pensions and even car accident mortality rate in Ukraine. It may be the reason why Lyashko has one of the highest indices of lies in his speeches as compared to other politicians (30% of all the statements). It is indeed hard to keep so many different topics in one head.

At the same time, Lyashko rarely comments on state-level issues. You will not hear him comparing the GDP of Ukraine to other countries or making statements about Minsk agreements. His comments remain simple and at the same time narrow-themed, dedicated to very specific topics. He often reiterates the same opinions and cites the same figures. For instance, the fact that cancer patients receive budgetary support for 6% of what is necessary (in reality, adult cancer patients receive 30% financial support and children receive 63% support. These are also very low figures, but they are significantly higher than 6%).

Boyko: Gas, Gas and Gas Again

The gas topic is among the favourites for the former energy minister Yuriy Boyko. He often repeats that under his chairmanship of the Ministry of Fuel and Energy gas prices for residential consumers ranged between 400 and 700 UAH.


When I was the minister, we had two prices: residential and industrial. The residential price was 400 UAH and the industrial price was around 1,500 UAH.

A residential tariff of 407 UAH (for those with a meter) existed until 2007; then the tariffs were differentiated. For example, in 2010-2014 the tariff was 795-2,954 UAH depending on consumption and availability of gas meter. There was no industrial tariff close to 1,500 UAH, but that is not the point. Boyko is using convenient data from 10 years ago. Of course, the prices were lower then.

In spite of the professional experience in energy industry, Boyko's statements on this matter are truthful only in a third of cases. It is hard to say what is the reason behind them — manipulation or ignorance. Here is an example:


They (Naftogaz) really introduced spot prices for gas, market prices for a hub. None of the European countries has anything like that. That is why when we joined the European Energy Community, the country had to be supplied with gas from three sources — domestic extraction, long-term contracts and the amount lacking could be bought on the spot, on a hub. And they organized it in such a way that there are no long-term contracts and all the gas is bought on the hub.

In reality, Naftogaz has long-term contracts with European suppliers (30 as of late 2017), while the EU Third Energy Package does not regulate sources of gas supply to the country but sets conditions for competition on retail gas market. Right now in Ukraine competition exists only in the industrial supply sector.

Mr. President and His Lies

President Poroshenko at press conferences and international events and President Poroshenko in Facebook posts and articles are two quite different persons. In the first case, when Poroshenko delivers long speeches in front of an audience and sometimes gets awkward questions, he can make mistakes, manipulate and exaggerate. As far as written texts are concerned, which are prepared by his press service (Facebook, articles for foreign media), you will not find any mistakes there. The situation is similar to that of Volodymyr Groysman — his social media posts are checked and are absolutely accurate while public performances are not always like that.

This is where they are different from Yuliya Tymoshenko, Oleh Lyashko and other politicians — the latter do not show significant differences in the degree of mistakes in their written and oral statements, even though it is obvious that their texts are also written by communications professionals. That is why in the middle of the year VoxCheck adjusted the methodology of quote selection and excluded Facebook posts from the sources of information for fact-checking (for more details see the section Rating Methodology at the end).

VoxCheck has been checking the statements made by Petro Poroshenko for the longest time — since early 2016. Before 2018, the President never responded to criticism of his opponents. The dialogue was more like «talking to a brick wall».

In 2018 Poroshenko started responding to critics, referring to the conditions the country was in when he became President and saying that criticism was irrelevant since the situation was so bad then.


The humanitarian catastrophe of 2014 when the GDP dropped by 15% happened when I was elected. We were having a 14% deficit in the state budget, no army, 50% inflation, close to none or less than $5 billion gold reserve.

In this statement, Poroshenko partly presented accurate figures, yet they correspond to different periods in 2014 and 2015. At that time, Ukraine did not have a 50% inflation, nor did the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reserves drop below $5 billion.

Visa free regime, Doing Business rating and army were the top topics for President Poroshenko in 2018.


We are constantly trying to improve the investment climate. Dear friends, in 2012-2013 Ukraine held the 153rd place in the World Bank Doing Business rating. The following year, it was already the 137th which was also unacceptable. In 2017, Ukraine was the 76th. <...> 61 positions up definitely mean that were not standing still.

Ukraine was in the 152nd place (not 153rd) in 2011. When Poroshenko became President, which was in 2014, Ukraine was the 96th. In 2017 we already held the 76th place. Each time the results were published in the subsequent year, i.e. 2012, 2015 and 2018, but the calculations were made on the basis of data for the previous year. It may seem like a minor detail, but Ukraine made its way up the Doing Business rating not during Poroshenko's time in office.

Comments made about the army were on most occasions accurate. He was not going into specific issues but rather talked about increase of army and law-enforcement budgets which have indeed become significantly bigger in recent years — from 2% of GDP to 5%. At the same time, Poroshenko was often referring to Global Firepower rating which lists the Ukrainian army among the top 30. The thing is that Ukraine was in the top 30 before Poroshenko's presidency; moreover, the rating itself cannot be considered very reliable — it is absolutely unclear how it is made.

Tyahnybok: Minsk Agreements Expert

VoxCheck started following the statements of Oleh Tyahnybok in February 2018 and the Svoboda Party leader immediately reached the top 3 of the most truthful politicians according to our rating. On average, in 2018, lies, manipulations and exaggerations in his public speeches occurred only in a third of all cases — a decent figure for a Ukrainian politician.

While Rabinovich felt affection for Russia, Tyahnybok was decisively against it. In general, we may identify three favourite topics for Oleh Tyahnybok: 1. relations with "Moscovia"; 2. Minsk agreements; 3. law-making activities of Svoboda deputies in the Parliament.

Tyahnybok reminded the viewers on numerous occasions that Ukraine was still doing trade with Russia and that in his view it was unacceptable. Sometimes the leader of Svoboda provided accurate data as to the goods turnover between Ukraine and the Russian Federation; on other occasions he confused figures and manipulated facts.


Trade between Ukraine and Russia, export and import relations increased by 37% according to 2017 data.

Similar figures were referenced by many politicians as the information appeared in media articles in spring 2018. In 2017, the goods exchange between Ukraine and Russia in fact increased by 27.4% — up to $11 billion. First of all, it was stipulated by a significant (39.0%) increase of import — primarily through procurement of coal and oil products. Export growth was not that significant — 9.6%, and in real terms it actually decreased. None of the politicians mentioned that since 2014 the share of trade between Ukraine and Russia was constantly decreasing and over the past years the share of Russia in the external goods turnover decreased from 20% in 2013 to 11.9% in 2018.

As far the Minsk agreements were concerned, Tyahnybok was accurate when discussing them. But sometimes he did make mistakes.


They (Minsk agreements) have a specific article which stipulates that Ukraine will have to finance all the needs of these territories and this region from the Ukrainian budget and this funding will have priority status and that’s 100% for sure.

There is no such article in the Minsk agreements.

Hrytsenko: Who Sold the Military Property?

The main topic in statements made by the former Defence Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko was the state of affairs in the army. While Poroshenko often boasts about increased funding of the army and law-enforcement, Hrytsenko is looking for problems in the army (and there are plenty) and criticizes specific weaknesses. The state of emergency, the salaries of military officials and updating of pensions, housing issues, sale of military property... Manipulations and lies occur in the last-mentioned topic predominantly. Hrytsenko was often openly blamed for sales of Armed Forces of Ukraine equipment during his tenure as minister. To such accusations, he usually responds that the minister is not responsible for the sales of military property.


Who is selling weapons? (referring to available military property — editor’s note.) These are companies chaired by persons appointed by the President. The Minister of Defence has nothing to do with it.

Accounting for surplus property and its sales on the domestic market is conducted by the Main Department of Property and Resources of the Ministry of Defence. Respectively, Hrytsenko is right when claiming that the minister has no direct involvement in the export of weapons. Yet, Ukroboronprom (state enterprise in charge of the sales) can only sell property of the Ministry of Defence which was previously sold to it by the Ministry itself on the domestic market.

Hrytsenko also often comments on the Minsk agreements but the comments are not always accurate. For instance, he alleges that Minsk agreements provide for amnesty for all terrorists.


Minsk agreements are drawn up in such a way as to have no exceptions. They provide for full and unconditional amnesty for all.

In reality, the range of persons to whom amnesty may be applied is determined not by the Minsk agreements but by the norms of international and national laws. International law prohibits amnesty of war criminals, persons who have committed crimes against humanity as well as persons guilty of severe violations of human rights.

Groysman: Those Borrowings Were Not Ours

In the pilot Rating of Manipulators and Liars, Volodymyr Groysman was ranked first on truthfulness. Most likely, such a high position is connected to the fact that at that time the project was also fact-checking Facebook posts and Groysman's page resembles a statistical bulletin and battlefield reports at the same time. Here is an example:

In December, we commissioned the first GE locomotive built under a contract with American partners. Today we have all 30 locomotives commissioned. We fulfil our obligations in due time and involve Ukrainian railway professionals in the works.

It makes no sense to check such statements as they are dry statistics.

It turned out that Groysman's oral speeches do not differ much from the posts written by his SMM specialists. Typical narratives of the Prime Minister are like this: "we will compensate, we ensured, we cooperate, we determined, we are working", etc. In this aspect, his discourse is very similar to that of Andriy Sadovyi (see information about him below) and it is the typical communication style of an official.

Even though it is quite hard to catch a politician lying if he delivers dry facts and figures, fact-checkers had many reasons to put the verdict "manipulation" and "lie" near Groysman's statements over the past year.

It appears that one of the sore points for the Prime Minister is the payment of the state debt. In 2019, Ukraine will have to repay 417 billion UAH, which amounts to 40% of the budget revenue. Groysman and Tymoshenko even started a public dispute about it — not directly, of course, but via media.


Be careful! All the tales about the need to raise gas prices to repay the debts of my government are a LIE! Those debts were repaid long ago. Every economist knows that.


Ukraine borrowed almost $50 billion from external creditors which is UAH 1.3 trillion. Every year we have to spend at least one security and defence budget to service this debt.

In reality, debts of previous governments have to be refinanced over and over again. So, formally, the debt of Tymoshenko's government has probably been paid off partly or in full. But to be able to pay it off, subsequent governments had to take out new loans. Thus, it would be more appropriate to consider the change of the state debt: if it increases, new borrowings are made not only to pay off old debts but to finance the current needs of the government.

And this is where Groysman is partly right: between 2005 and 2013, the state debt increased from $57 billion to $73.1 billion. The share of debt of Tymoshenko's government (January-September 2005 and December 2007-March 2010) equals $22 billion. As of late 2018, the total state debt (direct plus state-guaranteed) amounted to $78.3 billion.

Ukraine has not yet had to “spend its security and defence budget every year to service debts”. In particular, in 2018 and 2019 we spent 130 and 145 billion UAH on debt servicing respectively while security and defence expenses for the same years amounted to 172 and 212 billion UAH. Of course, there are additional expenses related to debt repayment, but the Prime Minister was talking about servicing specifically.

The Truth of the Man from Lviv

Although the Lviv City Mayor Andriy Sadovyi is quite a media-popular personality, fact-checkers did not have a lot of material to go on. His statements were checked least frequently over the past year (see the chart “Number of Statements Checked”).

When Sadovyi is talking about his home region, he makes a lot fewer mistakes in contrast to when he is trying to comment on All-Ukrainian issues or specific narrow topics. For instance, his musings about the energy independence of Ukraine were quite superficial.


Ukraine has all the chances — enough oil and gas — for energy independence. We only need the political will to do the extraction ourselves, increase our capacities and stop being captives of the situation. With our own oil and gas, we will be able to meet the demand.

Ukraine does not have enough energy resources to satisfy its own needs. These resources are non-renewable and, more importantly, not as readily available as we would like them to be — they require serious investment into exploration and development.

In 2019, Sadovyi launched an active promo-campaign, gave several interviews and changed his narrative significantly. From a local-level official he turned into a national-scale politician. Sadovyi-2019 talks about the fate of the country a lot; he comments on relations with the IMF and macroeconomic issues. However, as we mentioned in the disclaimer, VoxCheck will check statements made in 2019 separately for February and March.

Zelensky: An Actor Turned Into Politician

Zelensky was not mentioned in the VoxCheck rating, as the active phase of his presidential campaign and relevant statements began after December 2018.

He announced that he was running for President at the end of 2018, which was a surprise for the general public. On the one hand, his political ratings were quite high. On the other hand, the actor joked about his presidency a lot yet did not talk about it directly. During the whole year, he was making movies, trolling the President at Kvartal 95 performances and making comedy sketches for the social media (for instance, his video about Svyatoslav Vakarchuk which said, “If you run, then I will run as well”). So there was not much to check in his statements made last year – they all pertained to his creative work.

He maintained the status quo until late December, when during his interview with journalist Dmytro Gordon he announced his political ambitions. One out of the five statements made during the interview that have been fact-checked appeared to be truthful. During the interview, Zelensky demonstrated very superficial knowledge on economics, relations with Russia, Minsk agreements and other affairs that are happening in Ukraine. For example, he suggested asking for weapons from Canada or Poland while Ukraine has been already getting weapons from abroad and has signed military support agreements with several countries.


There are many Ukrainians in Canada. It is good that we are not joining any alliances at the moment (referring to NATO — editor's note). Can we sign an agreement with Canada for some sort of military support? Well, I'm just curious.

VoxCheck will continue following the politician/actor in 2019.

Vakarchuk: Yes or No?

Having rather high political ratings, Vakarchuk, similarly to Zelensky, kept silent about his political career during the whole year. He only made several non-concert appearances that could be of interest to fact-checkers. As a result, in 2018 VoxCheck checked only four of his statements. Vakarchuk was mostly referring to national surveys on perceptions of courts, government, politicians etc. In one of the statements, he provided statistics about higher education. It was the only fact he was mistaken about.


Do you know that in Ukraine 80% of the people go to higher education establishments? It is the highest rate in the world.

It is true that 82% of Ukrainians enter colleges and universities, but we are only ranked 16th on this index after the USA, Denmark, Argentina, Ireland and many other countries.


oxCheck team: Yar Batoh, Oleksiy Krymeniuk, Volodymyr Landa, Svitlana Slipchenko, Maksym Skubenko, Olena Shkarpova

VoxCheck editors: Oleksandra Betliy, Oleksandr Zholud, Veronika Movchan, Mariya Repko, Ilona Solohub, Dmytro Yablonovskyi


The methodology of rating changed slightly during the project, based on the experience gained. Principles of methodology:

  1. check important (popular) politicians or those holding important positions;
  2. check what politicians themselves said and not what the speechwriters wrote.

After changing the methodology, we included previously checked statements into the new procedure; therefore, the ratings for all of the four quarters of 2018 are comparable.

Rating Participants

The first pilot VoxCheck rating was published in December 2017. Back then, the VoxCheck team was monitoring statements made in September-October by 20 politicians – the President, the Prime Minister, heads of parliamentary factions, their deputies or politicians active on media as well as several non-affiliated deputies.

In early 2018 we focused on politicians and celebrities who had individual or party rating of over 3.5% (threshold for entering the parliament is 5% but polls usually have a margin of error between 1.5% and 2%). One person from each political party with the highest rating remained in the rating. Thus, Oleksandr Vilkul, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Mikheil Saakashvili and 9 other politicians were not included. These are those who made it to the list:

  1. Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine
  2. Volodymyr Groysman, Prime Minister of Ukraine
  3. Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of Batkivshchyna Party
  4. Anatoliy Hrytsenko, former Minister of Defence, leader of Civil Stance (Hromadyanska Pozytsiya) Party
  5. Oleh Lyashko, leader of Radical Party
  6. Yuriy Boyko, co-leader of Opposition Bloc faction
  7. Vadim Rabinovich, leader of For Life Party
  8. Andriy Sadovyi, Lviv City Mayor, leader of Samopomich Party
  9. Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of Svoboda Party
  10. Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, singer, frontman of Okean Elzy band
  11. Volodymyr Zelensky, actor, co-founder of Kvartal 95 company

Our rating included only those politicians who had 10 checked statements during the year. For this reason Vakarchuk and Zelensky were not included — they had 4 and 5 fact-checked statements, respectively.

Sources of Speeches and Statements

For the first rating, VoxCheck monitored YouTube, TV channels, official Facebook pages, websites of parties and news to select statements for fact-checking. Our study included both statements made during TV appearances as well as posts on official Facebook pages. This is how the monitoring looked like in the first semester of 2018.

Starting from the second semester, VoxCheck selected statements only from oral speeches of politicians delivered during important events (Coordination Council, parliamentary session or briefing, conference, etc.), interviews, TV appearances (ТОP-30) or made on central online media (Ukrainska Pravda,, Censor, Novoye Vremya, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, etc.). We focused on oral speeches because it is more important to see what a politician is saying about challenging topics in real time than to check facts or figures written by speechwriters. We also excluded regional media from the analysis, since according to our observations statements made by politicians on central channels are then echoed on regional media. When compiling the rating from the general database of fact-checked quotes of politicians, we did not include Facebook posts and monitoring from regional media for the first semester because of the changed methodology of quote selection in the second semester.

Calculating the Position in Rating

The politicians were ranked according to the truth rate in their speeches. The lower the degree of truth, the higher the position is in the rating.

General Rules for the Selection of Statements:

  1. Statements for fact-checking should contain statistics and data that can be checked using open sources. We are not checking confidential data that is not in the public access.
  2. VoxCheck is not checking opinions that are not based on specific facts.
  3. Quotes taken out of context are not a subject for fact-checking. If this happened, however, the fact-checking must be revised.
  4. Some quotes were also labelled as "slip of the tongue" and "no verdict". They were not included in the rating.

VoxCheck – це незалежний фактчек-проект, який перевіряє висловлювання політиків та фінансується фондами західних країн: National Endowment for Democracy, PACT, TTF, а також грошима сотень українців, що підтримують проект на «Спільнокошті».

З 23 березня 2018 року VoxCheсk є підписантом Кодексу етики Міжнародної мережі фактчекерів інституту Poynter.

Ми віримо, що слова мають силу, а ідеї – визначний вплив. VoxUkraine об’єднує найкращих економістів та допомагає їм доносити ідеї до десятків тисяч співвітчизників. Контент VoxUkraine безкоштовний (і завжди буде безкоштовним), ми не продаємо рекламу та не займаємось лобізмом. Щоб проводити більше досліджень, створювати нові впливові проекти та публікувати багато якісних статей, нам потрібні розумні люди і гроші. Люди є! Підтримай VoxUkraine. Разом ми зробимо більше!