Communications campaign in support of privatization reform

Privatization for All


Society does not believe in fair and transparent privatization

The Ukrainian Government identified privatization reform to be a priority in 2021. Transparent and fair privatization is a tool for transforming outdated unproductive assets into productive ones. According to the State Property Fund of Ukraine, there were about 3,500 state-owned enterprises in Ukraine in 2021. Of these, only 2,300 were still operating, although their work is often unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 need to be declared bankrupt. In 2020, Ukraine incurred UAH 51.3 billion in losses from non-operating enterprises.

Privatization would help to preserve enterprises that are collapsing and losing value in the absence of modernization. It also offers the ability to attract new investments and promote the economic growth. Private owners invest in production, launch product manufacturing, create new jobs, pay taxes, and develop businesses in the long term. Therefore, transparent and fair privatization is useful for the people of Ukraine. The problem is that Ukrainians don't believe this.

The denationalization process in Ukraine began more than 20 years ago: in the nineties, almost every citizen was able to receive shares of state-owned enterprises. At that time, the government privatized factories, mills and mines, but did not follow proper procedures and sold off assets well below market prices. Thus, many state assets became "gravy trains" of new oligarchs. Ordinary Ukrainian citizens, who were left with nothing, still remember opaque auctions and corrupt schemes.

That is why, even in recent years, there has been a high level of distrust in privatization among Ukrainians. A 2014 survey showed that only 20% of respondents were rather positive towards it, while 45.7% expressed a negative attitude. Negative attitudes increased to 62 over the next two years.

This public sentiment hindered the implementation of privatization reform.


Communications campaign in support of privatization reform

In order to change public perceptions and promote the idea that transparent and fair privatization was possible, we developed and conducted the Privatization for All communications campaign. The goal of the project is to build public trust by sharing information about the reform process and its benefits, as well as revealing the features of large and small privatization.

To do this, we explained in simple terms what the reform is trying to achieve. We also explained the benefits privatization brings, namely:

  • attracting investment;
  • reducing corruption;
  • modernizing or reprofiling enterprises;
  • creating new jobs;
  • accelerating Ukraine's European integration.

By involving media outlets and producing different types of content, we were able not only to reach the widest possible audience, but also to achieve a high level of engagement with the people we reached. We presented this topic as interesting and important for Ukrainians who support their country and want to see it prosper. As part of the communications campaign, we:

  • Developed and implemented thematic special projects with the leading Ukrainian publications and "Ekonomichna Pravda": these materials introduced the essence of  the reform to both the general public and expert audience.
  • Published 49 materials in regional media outlets.
  • Produced and released two videos about successful examples of privatization.
  • Conducted four roundtables for activists, media representatives, employees of state-owned enterprises, and investors where they refuted stereotypes about privatization.
  • Developed and printed 2,500 posters and 2,000 booklets.
  • Conducted an external media campaign in Kyiv and five oblasts of Ukraine, which included 30 billboards and 45 citylights.

  • Launched the site with up-to-date information.
  • Conducted a series of training webinars for media and NGO activists.
  • Made 40 posts on social media platforms and released 10 animated explainer videos.


Privatization awareness increased thanks to the promotion of reform

The Privatization for All campaign reached out to the general public and increased awareness by achieving the following results:

  • Materials shared in the media received 168,297 views.
  • The number of Facebook followers of the State Property Fund account increased by 71%, and the reach of its posts spiked by 113%.
  • The number of positive media mentions about the reform increased by 26%.
  • 62% more new users visited
  • Media requests about the reform increased by 20%.

With these achievements, the campaign contributed to the future success of this reform in Ukraine. Two weeks after its completion, the State Property Fund held a large-scale auction for the privatization of the First Kyiv Machine-Building Plant JSC (formerly the Bilshovyk Plant) in Kyiv.

And in the summer of 2022, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a draft law on rapid privatization, which accelerates procedures and removes many restrictions that have prevented asset spin-offs for many years. In July 2022, the Government also approved a list of 420 state-owned enterprises to be transferred to the management of the State Property Fund for further privatization and liquidation.