Groups of interests: how MPs submit their laws together

Country/area: Ukraine

Organisation: chesno.org

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 30/06/2021

Credit: Oksana Stavniichuk


I have been working in CHESNO (chesno.org) since 2017 as a journalistan investigative journalist, but then switched in 2018-2019 to data journalism and analysis. Also, I became the leader of the Parliamentary subdivision where we were covering the MPs’ activities. One of my data articles on the compensation for housing led to the investigation against a dozen of MPs. Two of my data stories won data competitions #dataUp in 2020 and 2021

Project description:

Mainly the project is based on the analysis of the network of co-initiators of laws in the current Ukrainian Parliament (2019-nowadays). My main goal was to investigate the hidden connections between MPs and determine the most influential MPs amongst the MPs of monocoaltion. 

Impact reached:

The investigation was useful for different stakeholders who works closely with the current MPs. The list includes the advocation centres, journalists, diplomats etc. It gives the understanding with whom it’s best to consult or cooperate when you want to be heard, who is the best partner in spreading important information, which figures amongst his MPs are important for the President. 

After our publication where we revealed the main figures, one of them was appointed as First Deputy Chairman of the Parliament. Besides, one of the MP from top-10 was appointed as the chairman of the ‘Servant of the People’ party. 

Techniques/technologies used:

The data preparation was made in RStudio using the open data of the Parliament regarding the initiators of the bills. In R I created the nodes and links data tables which were then used in the network instrument called Gephi (not in the list).  In Gephi I calculated the main measures for the network analysis and created the network graphs with nodes according to the faction and size of influence. After graphs were improved in Photoshop, where I combined the network graphs and bar plots. 

Talking about the interactive network of MPs connections, it was made in the library called shiny with help from the d3 library from RStudio.

What was the hardest part of this project?

1) Data preparation took time because I needed to create the nodes and links table. 

2) The building of the online network application in R which has several containers according to factionsgroups, committees and hidden groups. 

3) Network Analysis in Gephi – it took time to delve into the measures and create the appropriate graphs. 

4) Storytelling – for a while, I couldn’t have decided on the focus I want from the investigation of hidden connections, but then I decided to concentrate on the main political figures and let users investigate the interactive network for themselves. 

What can others learn from this project?

The network analysis can be easily applied to the Parliament of every country where data regarding bills activity is available for everyone. It’s always useful to know what are the most influential politicians in the Parliament. 

Project links: