Anastassia Kovalenko spends over €40,000 to not win SDE seat

Anastassia Kovalenko.
Anastassia Kovalenko. Source: ERR

Figures released on individual candidate campaign self-financing at the 3 March general election show some significant levels of spend amongst some Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Reform Party candidates, one in particular.

Top of the table has to be Anastassia Kovalenko, unsuccessfully running for SDE and collecting 357 votes, who spend over €40,000 of her own funds on the campaign, BNS reports.

Ms Kovalenko, a motorcycle racing star, had also been at the centre of a thesis plagiarism case shortly before the election, as had co-runner Rainer Vakra (who narrowly missed out on a seat).

This makes up well over half of the total self-spend by SDE, which totalled €68,861, and around €35,000 more than the next-highest self-spender. What required the outlying level of spend by Ms Kovalenko has not been reported.

Other significant SDE self-spenders were:

  • Roy Strider (ran for the party but not a member, also did not win a seat): €5,486.
  • Heljo Pikhof: €3,318.
  • Katri Raik (outgoing interior minister): €2,794.
  • Marina Kaljurand €2,790.
  • Ivari Padar MEP: €2,374.
  • Siret Pihelgas: €1,956.
  • Sirje Tobreluts: €1,545
  • Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE leader): €1,330.

The remaining SDE candidates, over 120 of them, spent less than €1,000 apiece on their candidacies. A total of 10 SDE candidates won Riigikogu seats.

Meanwhile, the Reform Party's figures reveal that Keit Pentus-Rosimannus was the highest personal spender on campaigning, with €8,412. 


Reform members as a whole spent €28,851 of personal money on election campaigning, ERR's online Estonian news reports. The bulk of this went on online advertising, with €12,671. A total of €4,031 was spent on press advertising, it is reported, with €1,593 coming from the pockets of individual Reform candidates in street-based canvassing.

Other significant Reform self-spenders included Kalle Laanet (€3,943), Sergei Gorlatš (€3,583) and Andres Sutt (€3,413). Reform Party leader and prime ministerial candidate Kaja Kallas spent €1,764 on her campaigning, it is reported.

The figures above reflect reported individual self-financing. Parties also financed their own campaigns, which stretched into one or two million euros in the case of the biggest parties, for the entire campaigns.

The required deposit must also be paid for each candidate running in the election. Larger parties will usually pay these.

Parties receive funds from donors, as well as state grants; the latter are issued in proportion to the number of seats won at an election. Another source of party revenues is membership fees, with the bigger parties with memberships in the thousands bringing in the most via this channel.

Conversely, smaller parties struggle a lot more. Richness of Life, which struggled to pass the 500-member mark required for registration as a political party, required a lot of its members to pay their own deposits at the election. Since the party did not get any seats, these deposits were lost.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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