14:11 26.09.2018

Russia, Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies will attempt to influence upcoming Ukrainian elections

2 min read

Russia will try to influence the presidential election campaign in Ukraine through social networks, cyber attacks and sabotage technologies. So will Ukraine's law enforcement agencies, political analysts have said.

"The participation of the so-called "siloviki" (power ministries) is not yet traced, but the fact they will participate in the election campaign is understandable," political analyst Volodymyr Tsybulko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday.

"The National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) is working on criminal cases against some candidates. Ukraine's National Corruption Prevention Center (NACP) is also actively working, and there are criminal cases at Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO). There is a figure such as [ex-MP from Batkivschyna Party faction] Shepelev, who gives evidence. Sooner or later these investigations can affect the behavior of candidates and even the fate of certain candidates," he said.

Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) Director General Oleksiy Koshel said one of the features of the upcoming presidential election campaign will be Russian influence.

According to him, during the presidential and parliamentary campaigns of 2014 for the first time in Ukrainian history, the influence of the Russian factor was minimal.

"However, I want to remind you that traditionally, during the 1990s and 2000s, Ukrainian politics and election campaigns seriously depended on Russian influence," Koshel said, adding that Russia can influence campaigns by financing certain activities.

"Traditionally, it will be influence through social networks and search services," Koshel said, noting that Russian social networks are among the top 10 rated websites in Ukraine.

Koshel said in order to minimize Russian influence on the Ukrainian elections, it is necessary to adopt the law On Foreign Agents announced in the Verkhovna Rada, strengthen protection of the State Voter Register, legislatively ensure transparency of candidates' funding and to develop tasks for law enforcement bodies.

Koshel said in June the Central Election Commission requested an additional UAH 36 million to purchase equipment to protect the voter registry from outside interference.