On the election of 31 March.
Nikolay Kozyrev, Lugansk, the head of the administration of the public committee of human rights protection
Even the preliminary analysis of the numerous violations of voters rights confirmed by documents allows to draw the conclusion:the violations had the massive character.This conclusion is diligently avoided by the authorities, who refer to „single drawbacks“ in the work of separate district commissions.
The pre-election campaign was conducted with one dominating political force („For United Ukraine“). It concerns the campaign in mass media, organizing meetings with voters and mobilizing various resources, both finances and personnel.
The awareness of voters was totally manipulated using various technologies. In the Lugansk oblast the most frequent were, along with the usual „information wars“, the so-called „social contracts“ with the candidates of the bloc „For United Ukraine“, with which contracts some voters came to the election stations to fulfill their „duties“ (information from the Novopskovskiy district).
The chaos was planned and organized at election stations. This is not an overstatement, since it might be observed everywhere, both in towns and in villages. In Lugansk the chaos began 15 minutes before opening the election stations: the heads of the stations got the phone orders not to start the election, but to arrive at the regional station. There they were explained that they had to cross out of the election lists the name of A. Yagoferov, a candidate for the Lugansk mayors post, and the name of V. Kolomoytsev-Rybalko, a candidate to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. It should be noted that A. Yagoferov drew away his candidature on the previous day at 7 p.m., when all election commissions were still working, and V. Kolomoytsevs candidature was canceled at 0:30 a.m. on31 March2002. As a result, all the stations were paralyzed for 2-3 hours. Some of them were not opened until the members of the commissions crossed out the indicated names from all the bulletins, some commissions hurriedly and nervously did that during the voting. At some stations they had no special stamps for this and the candidates were crossed out by hand. Moreover, at some stations there were bulletins, from which these candidates were not removed at all. All this time the voters waited at the door, the stations were overcrowded, and many of the voters did not want to stand in the line and went home. This situation lasted during the whole day, so at 20:00 the question was raised about continuing the voting, and at some stations it was done so. One may suggest that the main goal of this disorganizing the election was to hinder the work of observers and to create the favorable conditions for illegal actions of members of the commissions and special „saboteurs“, about what many acts were compiled.
The election stations were not equipped for voting, there were not enough polling-booths (the voters filed in the bulletins outside the booths) and polling-boxes, and there was no efficient phone communication. For example, at election station No. 4/108 (in the downtown of Lugansk!) there were only three boots and one box. In many cases the rooms were small and inconvenient for the work.
The election in penitentiaries became the apotheosis of cynical lawlessness and violating the rights of voters completely dependent of the officials. For instance, in preliminary prison No. 17 (Lugansk, region No. 105) and in four reforming colonies (about 6000 people) situated in Krasny Luch and Perevalsk, all 100% of prisoners gave their votes to the heads of the penitentiaries, who stood for the bloc „For United Ukraine“. The independent observers, including the observers from the Council of Europe, were not admitted to these election stations.
Meetings with voters in labor collectives were practically prohibited to all candidates, except those from „For United Ukraine“. So, even ex-Prime-Minister V. Yushchenko was not allowed (in spite of the preliminary agreement) to meet with voters.
of district election commissions. Under pressure of the administration (especially in villages) the undesired members, who were against faking the election results, were excluded from the commissions under the pretext of some insignificant violations (for example non-appearance at some conference). Most often this happened with the members of Yulia Timoshenkos bloc and the Socialist Party of Ukraine. The decision about excluding the members were taken without any official sessions (information from the Novopskovskiy, Kremenskoy and Stanichno-Luganskiy districts).
refusal to register candidates disagreeable with the power and able to be rivals to the „needed“ candidates. For this the authorities used false data. For example, the Shirokovskaya territorial commission of the Stanichno-Luganskiy district refused to register V. Titarenko as a candidate for the post of the head of the village council. V. Titarenko, being a member of the party „Batkivshchina“, got this refusal because of her double party membership. Later it became known that her membership in the party „Zhinki za maybutne“ („Women for the future“) was falsified, when the lists of this party were fabricated before the election without the knowledge of the members. Yet, the court, to which Ms. Titarenko turned, did not investigate this case.
the already registered candidates were „liquidated“ with the assistance of tax inspection and courts. Presumption of guilt was applied grounded on various information about allegedly „false“ data given by candidates. For instance, in the case of A. Danilov, a candidate to the post of Lugansk mayor, the court thoughtfully „investigated“ if the candidate might fly by airplanes with the incomes declared by him.
The information given by tax inspection about the allegedly concealed incomes was also very effective. A. Danilov was accused of concealing the sum equal to 3500 UAH; really, he had to obtain this money, but he did not, so he handed the corresponding documents confirming this. Danilov also presented the Instruction of the Ministry of Finances reading that not received sums must not be included to income statement. The court did not take into account these arguments having great importance for the case and ruled to cancel the registration of A. Danilov (thus misusing its power, since this is a prerogative of territorial election commissions). And, which is essential, this court decision was also illegal because it exceeded the boundaries of the constitutional limitation of election rights. The matter is that, according to the constitutional guarantees envisaged by Articles 64, 70 and 141 of the Ukrainian Constitution, the inauthenticity of information, e.g. about incomes, may not be considered as a ground for restricting the right to be elected (Article 22 of the Constitution). Besides, in a number of cases the courts used, to be on the safe side, the norm of Article 243-5 of the Civil-Procedural Code, according to which the court decision „may not be appealed“, and which in this part contradicts to Articles 6, 8, 19, 22, 55 and 64 of the Constitution.
Nevertheless, such deliberately illegal decisions during the election were not infrequent – it was a peculiar quasi-juridical repressive technology applied by the power for endorsing the unfair political competition.
It should be stressed that the repressive mechanism of „purges“ was used against the heads of village councils in the most cynical and insolent way. More probably, it may be explained by the fact that the significance of such posts has increased greatly after the agrarian reform.
At all election stations, where the laws were abused, militiamen were on duty. What for?
The right to elect and to be elected was abused everywhere and in mass:
the equality of the opportunities to agitate and organize the election campaign for different candidates was not provided: the opposition political forces and individual candidates were discriminated and underwent the political extermination;
the freedom of choice was not guaranteed. Under the conditions of absence of the fair political competition the free will and critical political thinking of voters were restricted and oppressed through the biased propaganda distributed by the mass media dependent of the power and using the „social contracts“ having the pseudo-juridical form; these contacts imposed on voters the duty to vote only for some concrete candidates. In the Lugansk oblast the bloc „For United Ukraine“ issued more than 700,000 such contracts;
the voters were bribed by the authorities with some charity acts. For example, V. Tikhonov, the head of the oblast council, three days before the election opened the computer classes in the village schools in Prostornoe and Kuriakovka of the Belokurakinskiy district and donated to the Kuriakovka village council a school bus. Naturally, on 31 March 82% of voters of this district elected Tikhonov as a deputy of the oblast council.
the secrecy of voting was violated at election stations: much evidence exists that, since the stations were overcrowded, the poling-booths were used simultaneously by several people, and some voters even did not enter the booths.
tax inspection and courts were used as the tools of „political surgery“.
So,it may be concludedthat the above-described technologies (having obvious features of organized crime) used during the election campaign-2002 are the external display of the deep-laid processes having place in the Ukrainian society.
31 March was a logical result of the past decade of unsuccessful Ukrainian reforms that did not manage to create the open and free industrial economy, which is now burdened with the corporative interests of parasite clans and the bureaucratism of the new nomenclature.
Now the new epoch begins, and this new epoch has already showed itself during the last election campaign:
In the economic aspect – by the desperate efforts of the figures influencing the main financial flows to use various political institutions for legalizing the illegal capital, which, according to the official information sources, controls the half of the country economy.
In the political aspect – by shaping the political regime as a clan-bureaucratic absolutism supporting the system parasitizing on the export of capital and extreme exploiting.
In the sociological aspect – by social crystallization and structuring the „lobbying groups“, on the one hand, and of the opposition groups, on the other hand. The election process and results clearly demonstrated the split of the society by the criterion „rich (power) – poor (not-power)“. Here one may see the source of future social conflicts.
In the social-psychology aspect – by the increase of the mass „psychological traumatism“ as a result of developing the role of the mass media as a tool for manipulating semantic and rhetoric thus distorting the social space. The main goal of manipulating the consciousness of voters is to mask the system of exploitation and the criminal nature of accumulating wealth in the society, where even a hard-working miner is a beggar.
In the philosophical aspect – by the growth of the distance between common citizens and the state, between the society and power, between labor and capital. The traditional values are squeezed out from the political sphere and from the entire public life for the sake of somebodys personal interests. The freedom and democracy became the first victim. Thus, the political and economic development of the country is more and more loosing its humanistic element.
As it is known, all the signs of the „death“ of socialism were concealed carefully, even in the better times of this political system, by the thorough systematic misinformation. Having the planned prices it was impossible to evaluate the size of the state capital and, as a result, to take the right strategic decisions and to create the efficient economy.
The system of power and capital functioning shaped during the last decade, that is the system, which is now fully promoted by the political bloc „For United Ukraine“, suffers of the same disease. Misinformation became the only condition of the existence of the present power and its material base – shadow economy.
I will risk to assume that the first seeds of death of this „new epoch“ were sown into the polling-boxes on 31 March.
In our opinion the seeds of death were sown long ago and they have already sprouted: the election was, in fact, lost by the power.
Yet, there is nobody, who could use this situation. In spite of all manipulations, the election clearly demonstrated that the people do not permit to fool themselves, that they do not admit the existing system of social relations and want changes.