Mariupol, Bakhmut, Myrnohrad and Dobropillia have retained their incumbent mayors in the local elections. The second round awaits the residents of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. The mayor and the deputy corps in Kostiantynivka were elected after a ten-year break.
Local elections in the Donetsk oblast were held in 36 communities and 5 districts. 360 177 people (31.6%) took part in them. Voter turnout in the Donetsk region became the lowest among the regions of Ukraine. Experts say the reason for this is the COVID-19 pandemic, the new electoral system and the disappointment of voters.
Residents of the oblast voted for the mayoral candidate and the deputies of the city council on the territory of 19 city districts. In 17 of them, the winner for the position of mayor was determined in the first round. The second rounds of elections will be held in two more districts (Kramatorsk and Sloviansk).
Representatives of Opposition Platform – For Life won the mayoral race in 6 cities: Druzhkivka, Kostiantynivka, Selydove, Sviatohirsk, Chasiv Yar, Siversk. The self-nominated candidates won the mayoral race in the same number of cities: Bakhmut, Soledar, Kurakhove, Mykolaivka, Bilozirsk, Novohrodivka.
Three cities were headed by candidates of the Poriadok party, led by people's deputy elected by the first-past-the-post system and "Akhmetov's" manager Musa Mahomedov (Myrnohrad, Dobropillia, Lyman). Pokrovsk was headed by the representative of the For the Future party and Mariupol was headed by the representative of the Bloc of Vadym Boichenko party.
11 candidates applied for the position of the mayor of Kramatorsk. Incumbent mayor, non-party candidate Andrii Pankov and self-nominated candidate Oleksandr Honcharenko were elected to the second round. Oleksandr Honcharenko won in the first round with 48.61% of the votes, while Andrii Pankov received the support of 37.75% of voters.
For the last five years, Honcharenko was a deputy of the Kramatorsk City Council from the Our Land party of ex-members of the Party of Regions. He is the marketing and sales director of PJSC Energomashspetsstal. He went to the elections on 25 October as a self-nominated candidate, but he was openly supported by the newly created Our Kramatorsk party. The political force is under the leadership of Serhii Smyrnov, the head of the similarly-named non-governmental organization and the assistant of people's deputy Maksym Yefimov.
Six parties were elected to the Kramatorsk City Council: Opposition Platform – For Life - 14 deputies, Maksym Yefimov's team Our Kramatorsk - 12 deputies, Party for Peace and Development (a fragment of the Opposition Bloc) - 5 deputies, Servant of the People and European Solidarity - 4 deputies each, Party of Shariy - 3 deputies.
Pavlo Prydvorov (Opposition Platform – For Life), who promised "to restore economic relations with Russia" from billboards and incumbent mayor Vadym Liakh (Opposition Bloc), whose slogan of the last mayoral campaign was: "To love Sloviansk like Nelya", will compete for the position of mayor in the second round of the local elections in Sloviansk. Both candidates are in the database of the Myrotvorets website because of the events during the occupation of Sloviansk by Russian terrorists. The authors of the resource characterize them as "accomplices of terrorists and Russian occupiers".
According to the territorial election commission, Pavlo Prydvorov was supported in the first round by 32.10% of voters, while 30.78% of residents voted for Vadym Liakh.
Participant of the mayoral race Nelya Shtepa, who has been on trial for suspicion of separatism for the sixth year, was not elected to the second round of elections for the mayor of Sloviansk. She served as a candidate from the Party for Peace and Development and won 11.83% votes in the first round.
According to the results of counting 100% of votes, the five percent entry barrier to the Sloviansk City Council is overcome by: Opposition Platform – For Life (38%), Servant of the People (16%), Opposition Bloc (15%), Party for Peace and Development (12%) and Our Land (9%).
So, the question of power in Sloviansk is not as straightforward as it seems at first glance. Yes, Opposition Platform – For Life has got the most votes. But Rinat Akhmetov, judging by his media, found a common language with the current government. Therefore, the OP and the Party for Peace and Development, which are close to him, will certainly cooperate with Servant of the People. Therefore, a coalition is emerging, which, despite the first place of the Opposition Platform – For Life, leaves Medvedchuk's party in opposition.
In this situation, Our Land has the "Golden Share". Our Land is headed by Oleh Nedava in the Donetsk oblast. He is an ex-deputy and an open lobbyist for the interests of the oligarch of the Yanukovych era, called Yura Yenakiievskyi in crime rings. It is not difficult to forecast that Nedava will strive to be friends with the authorities and Akhmetov, like under the previous president...
The Bakhmut City Council was headed by incumbent mayor Oleksii Reva seventh straight times, since 1991. Non-party and self-nominated candidate. He was chosen by 24 349 voters out of 59 655 people who voted (77.99%).
Oleksii Reva allowed to hang up a flag of the "DNR" over the city council during the events of 2014. Three years later, Reva's house and the houses of his relatives were searched as part of a crime investigation on suspicion of exceeding authority, abuse of official position and forgery in office. They were initiated by the Donetsk oblast prosecutor's office.
Oleksii Reva went to the current elections as a self-nominated candidate but under the flag of the Poriadok party. His involvement in the political force was described in the guide for electioneerers: "The Poriadok party is a team of Oleksii Reva, in which energetic people with experience and experts in various fields work. They will make decisions competently and will be able to manage the community well".
As a result of the local elections, 15 mandates were received by the candidates nominated from the Poriadok party, 11 – by representatives of Opposition Platform – For Life, 9 – by Servant of the People, Opposition Bloc received 3 deputy's seats.
The new composition of the Bakhmut City Council included only 25% of those who were deputies of different levels, the rest are newcomers.
After being a people's deputy, Ruslan Trebushkin became the mayor of Pokrovsk for the second time. This time – from the For the Future political party, which is closely associated with oligarch Ihor Kolomyiskyi in political elite and the media.
In 2019, Trebushkin scandalously won the elections to the Verkhovna Rada in single-mandate district No.50 as a candidate from Opposition Bloc. Because of protests against possible falsification of the election results, the Ministry of Internal Affairs sent special forces to the city by helicopter.
At that time, the duties of the mayor were performed by the city council secretary Iryna Sushchenko, and later – by Trebushkin's younger brother Оleksii, who was the deputy of the Pokrovsk City Council.
Ruslan Trebushkin won 36.73% votes at the current local elections, while his two main opponents, Dmytro Artemov (Opposition Platform – For Life) and Serhii Andriichenko (The Youth Party of Ukraine), received the support of 29.92% and 20.25% of voters, respectively.
The last one is the candidate and the head of the political force, which represents regional projects. Serhii Andriichenko was included to the Myrotvorets database as "the one who committed a crime against Ukrainian statehood". According to the website he has been selling drugs in the Donetsk oblast since 2005, and then began to closely communicate with the confidant of Yurii Ivaniushchenko (Yura Yenakiievskyi) - the criminal lord of Horlivka. In Pokrovsk, Andriichenko owns a business related to slot machines, coal mining and other activities.
The situation with the party composition of the Pokrovsk City Council is the following: Poriadok - 14 deputies, Opposition Platform – For Life - 10 deputies, (The Youth Party of Ukraine- 6 deputies, For the Future and Servant of the People - 4 deputies each.
Incumbent mayor Oleksandr Brykalov, running from the Poriadok party, and candidate from the Opposition Platform – For Life Larysa Revva competed for the position of mayor of Myrnohrad. The gap between the candidates was minimal: 39.3% of citizens voted for the first one and 37.5% - for the second. Thus, Oleksandr Brykalov remains for a second term.
Five years ago, he won the mayoral elections as a promotee from Opposition Bloc. Local media called Brykalov "an active separatist" of Dymytrov (later was renamed to Myrnohrad - ed.).
Official data about parties running to Myrnohrad City Council show that Opposition Platform – For Life win 37.37% votes, Poriadok - 27.17%, Servant of the People - 9.72%, For the Future - 7.37% and Opposition Bloc - 5.48%.
Incumbent mayor Andrii Aksenov (the Poriadok party) won 58.41% of the votes at the Dobropillia mayoral elections. Another 34.27% of voters would prefer to see Oleksii Kormiltsev (Opposition Platform – For Life) as the city mayor, and 7.31% – Iryna Strepochenko (European Solidarity).
Andrii Aksenov is a defendant in several criminal cases, the court hearings of which have been going on since 2018. He was suspected of embezzling budget funds and forgery in office. Forgery of documents for travel to the occupied Crimea was also among the filled charges against him.
He openly sided with the separatists in 2014, helped to organize and conduct the so-called "referendum". He is listed in the Myrotvorets database as a mayor-separatist.
In 2017, Dobropillia authorities were suspected of sponsoring of Rinat Akhmetov's business through a utility company. Journalistic investigation showed that in one year, the Dobro utility company, which is on the balance sheet of the city, presented more than 10 million hryvnia to the DTEK company, owned by the oligarch, according to an "elegant" scheme.
The elections to the Dobropillia City Council showed the following results: Opposition Platform – For Life - 33.1%, Poriadok - 27.4%, Opposition Bloc - 11%, Servant of the People - 7.6%, Our Land - 6.72% and Voice - 5.8%.
By the way, three cities in the Donetsk oblast - Dobropillia, Druzhkivka and Novohrodivka will have deputies from the Voice party in their councils. Its candidates ran not in every city, but only where there were strong teams and chances to get in.
Election Observation Coordinator at the OPORA Civil Network in the Donetsk oblast Natalia Borovska comment on: "The party knew its strength, but did not invest in the Donetsk oblast. These were some kind of one-time meetings, while if they purposefully and seriously prepared for victory, the meetings should have been constant. Last year, realizing that there would not be enough resources - monetary, temporary and human, they clearly said that they were not very focused on our oblast. This all gave such result".
15 candidates competed for the post of mayor of Kostiantynivka. Oleh Azarov, a representative of the Opposition Platform – For Life party, won the first round with 41.46% of the votes. Oleksandr Kulik with 33.44% is in the second place and Serhii Chertkov with 9.74% is in the third. Both of them are self-nominated candidates.
There will be no second round of mayoral elections in Kostiantynivka, because less than 75 thousand people live there. So, a representative of Opposition Platform – For Life became the mayor of Konstantinovka.
Opposition Platform – For Life became the leader at the elections to the Kostiantynivka city council with 31.07% of the votes, Servant of the People won 12.08%, Our Land closes the top three with a result of 6.04%.
The previous local elections were held here in 2010. The Central Election Commission held no local elections in Kostiantynivka five years ago, because it considered it impossible to vote in the front-line zone of anti-terrorist operation.
According to the official data, candidate from the Opposition Platform – For Life Volodymyr Hryhorenko won at the elections of the mayor of Druzhkivka, which were held on 25 October. He won 49.1% of the votes, being ahead of his closest competitor Viktor Bashkatovyi (self-nominated candidate) by more than 15%.
Hryhorenko held leading positions in the Druzhkivka city council for a long time. He was the acting mayor recently.
He is listed on the Myrotvorets website as an "accomplice of the militants" for organization a pseudo-referendum in 2014 and active support of the pro-Russian militants who controlled the city for a certain time.
Political parties Opposition Platform – For Life (41%), Opposition Bloc (14%), Servant of the People (10%) and Voice (7%) have been run to the mayor's office. According to the processing of 80% of protocols, European Solidarity with 4.78% is also close to the 5% barrier.
In Mariupol, which is the largest city of the Donetsk oblast on the controlled territory, will be no second round of mayoral elections. Incumbent mayor Vadym Boichenko won in the first round. He won 64.57% of the votes, while his closest competitor, representative of the Opposition Platform – For Life Volodymyr Klymenko won 25.84%.
Boichenko worked at metallurgical enterprises owned by Rinat Akhmetov for many years. Public activists have repeatedly accused the mayor of having links with the oligarch, "hybrid" corruption and inaction due to the man-made pollution of the city.
Five parties were elected to the Mariupol City Council according to the results of the elections. The largest number of deputy's seats belonged to the Bloc of Vadym Boichenko, and the least - to the Servant of the People party.
41.69% voted for Bloc of Vadym Boichenko, 33.99% - for Opposition Platform – For Life, 7.90% - for Party of Shariy, 6.02% for Syla Liudei, and 5.10% - for Servant of the People. In total, 10 political forces competed for places in the city government.
"The victory of Party of Shariy, a high-profile Internet project of scandalous blogger, who lives outside of Ukraine, in the elections to the city councils of Mariupol and Kramatorsk is not phenomenal. In fact, Shariy is popular in many regions of the country, including, in particular, among the electorate, which receives information by social networks", - Election Observation Coordinator at the OPORA Civil Network in the Donetsk oblast Natalia Borovska says.
"The method of engagement of the electorate is improving from year to year, there is more targeting, more Facebook advertising. The same Shariy's Telegram channel and YouTube channel with a wide audience have done their job. He is liked by the public and just knows how to speak well about the current situation in the country or newsworthy event. The voters, unfortunately, still do not delve into the election programs", - Natalia Borovska explains.
About 200 thousand voting cards with technical errors were delivered to Mariupol from Kyiv the day before the local elections. They were sent for reprint. As a result, polling stations received correct voting cards a few hours before the voting.
Other cities and amalgamated territorial communities
Dmytro Verzilov from the Opposition Platform – For Life political party won the mayoral elections In Chasiv Yar. He was the deputy of the Leninskyi District Council of Donetsk before the war. A few years, he heads the Salvation Union of Donbas non-governmental organization created by himself.
Also, Verzilov was a member of scandals in the political life of the region several times. He and his supporters brought a pig's head to the building of the Donetsk Regional State Administration in November 2012, saying that it was "the face of the incumbent authorities". The oblast was headed by the Party of Regions at that time and Andrii Shyshatskyi was the governor. Verzilov with paid for grandmothers on protests was nicknamed "a tame activist" in 2016 for "cooperation" with the authorities of Pokrovsk.
Volodymyr Bandura (Opposition Platform – For Life) won the mayoral elections of Sviatohirsk, Oleksandr Zhuravlev (Poriadok) - of Lyman, Vitaliy Neshyn (Opposition Platform - For Life) - of Selydove, Roman Padun (self-nominated candidate) - of Kurakhove, Andrii Cherniaiev (Opposition Platform – For Life) - of Siversk and Serhii Makieyev (self-nominated candidate) - of Bilozirsk.
The results of the vote count also indicate that the greatest support for the post of chairman of the Soledar amalgamated territorial community was received by Yevhen Plastun (self-nominated candidate), the Mykolaivka amalgamated territorial community - by Oleksandr Hadiatskyi (self-nominated candidate), the Cherkaske amalgamated territorial community - by Andrii Holovash (Opposition Platform – For Life) and the Manhush amalgamated territorial community - by Volodymyr Karaberov (Our Land).
There are high changes that two amalgamated territorial communities of the Donetsk region will be headed by women: the Andriivka amalgamated territorial community - by Olena Nikitina (Our Land) and the Zvanivka amalgamated territorial community - by Sofiia Maksymenko (Batkivshchyna).
City, village and township councils
Representatives of the Opposition Platform – For Life party ran to all 19 city councils of the Donetsk oblast, in 14 of which they took leading positions.
Candidates of the Servant of the People will be present in 18 cities.
The Opposition Bloc, which will have its representatives in 12 city councils, is among the top three as well.
The elections of chairmen of the village and township councils in the Donetsk oblast were held in 17 communities. Servant of the People took the first place according to the results of vote count - 8 representatives of the party are elected as heads in the rural area. It is followed by the Opposition Platform – For Life with a leading position in 6 communities. Three more are self-nominated candidates.
Let us remind that local elections this year did not take place on the territory of 10 front-line village, township and city territorial communities of the Bakhmut, Volnovakha, Mariupol and Pokrovsk districts. The Central Election Commission found it impossible to hold them there.
The victory of Opposition Platform – For Life in the majority of councils of the Donetsk oblast was predictable. It is an indicator of how to use the media resources and the party structure correctly. The Donbas watches channels of Medvedchuk and, as before, is waiting for someone to come and make its life better. And the candidates of this party were the closest - they ran in almost all cities and had no viable challengers in many corners of the region. In their electoral programs, they promised the impossible, relied on emotions and nostalgia…
As a result, we can say that the power in the Donetsk oblast will be shared between Akhmetov and Medvedchuk. Or, in fact, the same memorable Party of Regions…
Alina Kondratenia, Kramatorsk, OstroV