Ukrainian news feed often feature such titles as “Petro Poroshenko went on a working visit to Donbas”, “The President unveiled a new medical facility in the Kyiv oblast”, “The Head of state took part in unveiling of a monument in Lviv”. In the past four years, the President attended more than 700 public events in Ukraine outside the Presidential Administration. Poroshenko’s visits to different regions of Ukraine can tell a lot about the situation in the country and the priorities of the Head of state. Presenting state awards and taking part in official events are some of the functions of the President according to the Constitution. However, the President has been recently criticized for his excessive participation in ribbon-cutting ceremonies, such as unveiling of infrastructure facilities. “Columbus opened up the New World. Petro Poroshenko opened a new road sign in Zaporizhia” was one of the many jokes flooding social media after the President had unveiled a new section of the road in Zaporizhia.
VoxUkraine has gathered information about all public visits of the President in Ukraine during four years of his presidency and has found out where Poroshenko had traveled the most and how had geographical distribution of his trips changed; we also found out if it’s true that the President had unveiled too many schools, kindergartens, and roads in recent months.
Press service of the Presidential Administration publishes daily news about Poroshenko’s activities on its official website. We selected locations from the press releases, photo reports, and speeches. Meetings in the Presidential Administration and visits abroad weren’t included in the list. We found out that from June 07, 2014 through to June 22, 2018 Poroshenko attended a total of 727 events in Ukraine. You can find all the data following this link. If you find a mistake or if you know about a presidential visit that we missed, contact us via [email protected].
Since 2014, the top public official of the state took part in 727 public events. During this period, Poroshenko made 187 regional visits, where he took part in 354 public events.
The President paid the most attention to three Ukrainian oblasts – Kyiv oblast (33 visits), Donetsk oblast (25 visits), and Lviv oblast (21 visits). His visits were more or less equally distributed in time: in four years, the maximum time between Poroshenko’s visits to Kyiv and Donetsk oblasts was three months, Lviv and Odesa oblasts – six months. Lviv (14 visits), Odesa (11 visits), and Kharkiv (10 visits) were the most popular cities on Poroshenko’s list.
This statistics might lead to the assumption that Poroshenko made the most frequent trips to Ukraine’s largest oblasts by population. However, if we match the number of visits to the number of population, this hypothesis doesn’t hold true. The President made the largest number of visits per 100,000 people to Kyiv oblast, the seventh by the number of inhabitants: 1.88 visits per 100,000 people. Lviv (0.83) and Odesa (0.67) oblasts made it to the second and third place according to this indicator, while Dnipropetrovsk oblast ranked unexpectedly low: the second by population, it “scored” only 0.24.
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In addition to making regional visits, Poroshenko holds meeting and gives speeches in Kyiv. It’s not surprising that the President’s public appearances in the capital outnumber his regional visits; in four years, the President attended 373 events in Kyiv. Mystetskyi Arsenal (27 visits), Verkhovna Rada (27 visits), and Sofiyska Square (15 visits) were the most popular locations where these events took place.
To understand where the President spends the majority of his time, we categorized all his public events. What are the key elements of most presidential visits?
The key element of almost any event featuring the President is his speech in front of an audience. It would have probably been the largest category on our list, but we decided to categorize public speeches as separate events and exclude additional activities (except speeches), like award ceremonies or guided tours of enterprises. We categorized as “speeches” those visits where Poroshenko did nothing but give a speech or where it was impossible to single out other activities.
Such guided tours / visits of different venues are the most widespread scenario: 111 times, the President was shown plants, military equipment, and military training facilities. Here’s a more detailed statistics: tours of plants / enterprises – 37 visits, tours of military equipment and weapons – 20 visits, tours of military training facilities – 14 visits.
Meetings come second in the list of Poroshenko’s priorities. The President willingly meets students at schools and universities; in the past four years, Poroshenko had 39 meetings / speeches in educational institutions. The President had 26 meetings with the military and 14 meetings with international visitors and delegations. We’ve counted a total of 108 meetings. Presentation of awards, apartment keys, and technical equipment made it to the third place in the list.
However, Petro Poroshenko devotes his utmost attention to the army. According to our data, 23,6% of the presidential visits were somehow related to the army: meeting with the military, tours of the military bases, visits to the military training facilities, presentation of awards and diplomas at military universities. Poroshenko even flew aboard a jet fighter twice and drove an armored personnel carrier once.
As for unveiling ceremonies, the so-called “ribbon-cutting” events, Poroshenko attended them just as often as commemoration ceremonies – 79 times. We also added to this category unveiling of various infrastructure facilities (plants, schools, etc.) and taking part in the launch of the new patrol police service or the renewed Supreme Court of Ukraine.
The first six months since the beginning of Poroshenko’s presidency passed without ribbon-cutting ceremonies. The first unveiled facilities were the two hydroelectric units of the Dniester Pumped Storage Power Station in October 2014. It took more than a year for these activities to become regular in the presidential schedule: in the third quarter of 2015, Poroshenko unveiled seven infrastructure facilities. The third quarter of 2017 was the most prolific, when the President unveiled a total of 16 facilities. The second quarter of 2018 was also quite fruitful for Poroshenko: the President unveiled nine facilities. This is the second quarter in terms of effectiveness.
In the fourth year of his presidency, Poroshenko set his own record for ribbon-cutting: since June 2017, he has unveiled 35 facilities. This is a 66% increase compared with the third year of his presidency (however, the second year of Poroshenko’s presidency, with 22 unveiled facilities, was the most effective by far).
Is it mostly pre-election PR or signs of an economic recovery, accompanied by the launch of new facilities? We cannot tell for sure.
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