The war continues, Ukrainians spend money on weapons, ammunition and equipment, and the authorities… the authorities continue to spend millions of hryvnias on self-publicity. The so-called “coverage of activities in the mass media”, which is suspiciously similar to banal commissioned advertising for pro-government forces, continues to drain funds from the budgets of various levels. Some public figures spend less, ordering occasional complimentary interviews or news stories about “how our deputies held the meeting”, the others invest in information and PR services in full.

The data available in the  public procurement platform Prozorro indicate that the seven customers who spent the most money on advertising in the media in the first six weeks of the autumn – a total of almost 15 million hryvnias – are subordinate to the city authorities of Dnipro. Of course, we became interested in who exactly orders advertising materials here, who these orders go to, whether these “odes to officials” should be labelled as “advertising” in the mass media, and most importantly – whether these materials are worth such costs in a country at war.

The biggest investment was in the advertising of the Organizational and Analytical Service of the Dnipro City Council, packaged in the form of informational materials. Here they decided to spend a total of 9.5 million hryvnias. “Are you sure it’s about advertising?” – you ask. Yes, sure. Because this procurement code – “79340000-9: Advertising and marketing services” was used by the mentioned utility company and all other customers from our list.

The Dnipro City Council did not limit itself to advertising and informational orders of a specialized utility company. So in September, three more tenders were announced at the Prozorro platform with an expected cost of 1 million hryvnias, and then three more for 800,000 hryvnias each. The customers for each of them were various council departments and even one municipal company.