Who is the greatest liar and populist at the political top of Ukraine; and who almost always tells the truth? To know it, VoxCheck launches “Impact-17,” a weekly project to check statements by the 17 top politicians.
Who will be on the Impact-17 list? We will be checking the country’s top public officials – President, Prime Minister, leaders of political forces and parliamentary factions, as well as media active politicians that influenced public opinion formation during 2016 (based on the results of VoxUkraine project that analyzed which politicians most frequently attended political talk shows).
Below is the list of persons whose statements we check regularly.
|Petro Poroshenko||President of Ukraine||Vitaliy Khomutynnik||head of the deputy group “Party ‘Renaissance’”|
|Volodymyr Groysman||Prime Minister of Ukraine||Mikheil Saakashvili||head of the party “Movement of New Forces”|
|Oleh Liashko||Radical Party leader||Dmytro Dobrodomov||unaffiliated|
|Yulia Tymoshenko||AUA “Batkivshchyna” leader||Serhiy Sobolev||deputy head of the AUA “Batkivshchyna” faction|
|Arseniy Yatsenyuk||People’s Front leader||Mykola Skoryk||MP, Opposition Bloc faction|
|Yuriy Boiko||Opposition Bloc leader||Artur Herasymov||head of the faction “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko”|
|Oleksandr Vilkul||Opposition Bloc leader||Oleksiy Honcharenko||deputy head of the faction “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko”|
|Oleh Berezyuk||head of the faction “Association ‘Self-Reliance’”||Ivan Krulko||MP, “Batkivshchyna” faction|
|Maksym Burbak||head of the People’s Front faction|
How is VoxCheck going to collect quotes and check them? We will be selecting quotes with facts (predominantly those related to economic topics) and testing them for errors and manipulations. The main media channels to be checked include TV, printed media, Facebook and YouTube. We will try to monitor all statements made by politicians, though we do realize that some might avoid our attention. We invite our readers to join us in this important initiative by sending us quotes (with indication of the sources) for checking those politicians. However, it is unlikely that all the politicians on the list will appear in the weekly rating: some don’t make statements every week; and some statements mention no facts.
According to data from the International Energy Agency, in 2014 Ukraine was in tenth place for energy inefficiency in a list of 141 countries.
Partially true, partially a technical error. According to Global Trade Atlas, in January-April 2017 Ukraine really entered the top five of the world’s butter exporters, following a 205.8% increase in exports over the same period of the last year.
At the same time, according to SFS, the increase in butter exports in January-May 2017 was threefold, reaching 8,500 tons. But the comparison relates to January-May 2016. No data is available for the same period of 2014. Therefore, most likely, the statement that the increase in exports was over the 2014 (rather than 2016) figure was a lapsus linguae on the part of the Prime Minister.
According to Article 138 of the draft of the Labor Code, child workers will be prohibited from working at nights except for those who are involved in creating artworks. According to Article 151, it will be prohibited to make pregnant women work overtime. Moreover, Article 232 provides double payment for work on days off and holidays.
The current Memorandum with the IMF (March 2017) contains no promises to freeze salary increases.
Firstly, there has been no free healthcare in Ukraine for a long time. Secondly, the healthcare reform provides for distinguishing between entirely free services and services that will be partially paid for by citizens. Primary, urgent and palliative care will be pro bono. As to specialized aid, citizens will co-pay for it together with the state. People will pay from their own pocket for cosmetic surgery as well as for some types of dental treatment (the list is yet to be made).
The pension reform draft does not mention a reduction of the number of pensioners to 5 million or to any other level. Can the reform cause a decrease in the number of pensioners? This looks pretty unlikely because current pensioners will remain pensioners regardless of the reform.
Liashko is right in that his team has been working a lot in the parliament. However, the drafting of bills does not always attest to the effectiveness of a political force. According to MPs’ IMoRe rating, which measures effectiveness on the basis of voting for the most important reformist bills, the RP took the fourth place for the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada of 8th convocation. Factions of the People’s Front, BPP and Self-Reliance are more effective than the RP.
Almost true. Really, “Accessible Medications” is the first reimbursement program in 26 years (this is a mechanism for reimbursing the cost of medications) for pathologies such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and bronchial asthma. That is, this pertains to three pathologies, not four, as Oleh Berezyuk said.
By the way, in 2012-2014 a pilot reimbursement program was conducted, but it was focused on a single pathology: hypertension.
The statement about the coalition is true; but the level of confidence in the parliament is understated. According to Slovo i Dilo, there is no formal coalition in the Verkhovna Rada; that is, the sum of members of the two factions making up the coalition is less than 226. According to the Razumkov Center’s survey “The Ukrainian Citizens’ Attitude Towards Public Institutions”, in April 2017 confidence in the Verkhovna Rada was expressed by 9% of the respondents.
The healthcare reform provides for co-payment for medical services by the state and the patient. An important part of the medical services (primary, urgent, and palliative aid) will continue to be provided for free.
(quotes published in the article The Stockholm Syndrome on June 9,)
Indeed, Ukraine has not paid anything because of the take or pay principle. When the time came to pay, the parties went to court. Had Ukraine not won at Stockholm, we would have to pay $ 34.5 billion to Gazprom under the gas agreements concluded when Tymoshenko was Prime Minister.
Pursuant to the agreement with Gazprom, the base price of gas for Ukraine was $ 450 per thousand cubic meters, while the actual price for each quarter was determined according to a special formula that indirectly took account of the oil price. According to the verdict passed by judge Kireyev, in 2009 Ukraine paid $ 232 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas; in 2010, $256 per thousand cubic meters. In 2014, the actual price was more than $450: $ 485, and that was a consequence of the 2009 contract.
Today, the price for imported gas is $ 186 per thousand cubic meters; for the population, $ 260.
The highest actual price that Ukraine paid to Gazprom with Tymoshenko as Prime Minister (December 2007 – March 2010) was $ 360 per thousand cubic meters. (Additional reference). On the other hand, the base price that was used for calculating the actual price of gas imported from Russia under the 2009 agreement was precisely $ 450 per thousand cubic meters. The main problem consists in that, as a result of Tymoshenko’s contract, in later years Ukraine paid more for gas than other European countries did. For example in 2014, when the price for Ukraine was $485, while Europe was paying at the rate of $349.
In 2009 Tymoshenko was Prime Minister; she could bring the case to court, but she didn’t do it. The suit filed by Naftogaz was about overpayments between May 20, 2011, and October 2015 rather than during the 2011-2013 period. The overpayments did not contradict the contract; they were a consequence thereof. The suit relates to the period starting from May 20, 2011, because that was the day when Ukraine filed an official request for revising the price; Naftogaz used it as the ground for its 2014 lawsuit.
The overpayment for gas was a consequence of the concluded contract; it could only be revoked by a decision of a court, not of Ukraine’s Economics Minister; in fact this is what Naftogaz demonstrated in the Stockholm Court of Arbitration in 2017.
VoxCheck is an independent fact-check project which is funded by leading international donors (National Endowment for Democracy, PACT and others). VoxCheck is also funded by hundreds of Ukrainian philanthropists.
Since March 23 2018 VoxCheck is a signatory of the Poynter Institute International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles.
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