Hired thugs at all electoral districts
Oleksandr Chernenko, head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] told Radio Svoboda on Monday that vote-buying had seriously influenced the election results, mainly in Cherkasy (No. 194); in Kyiv (No. 223) and partially in Pervomaisk (Mykolaiv oblast - No. 132). There was also a form of vote-buying through goods, rather than cash, in Obukhiv (Kyiv oblast; No. 94). Therefore, he says, in some areas the impact was decisive, in others considerable.
He believes that there are grounds for appealing the results, especially in those districts where there is a small gap between the first two candidates, and where vote-buying was on a major scale, in Kyiv and in Mykolaiv.
Chernenko’s assessment of the difference between Sunday’s re-reruns and the original voting is disturbing. He notes that in 2012 things were more peaceful, with less infringements and says that this was because Hubsky (No. 197 – Cherkasy); Zasukha (No. 94, Obukhiv); and Pylypyshyn (No. 223, Kyiv) were convinced that they had clinched their victory before election day. This, he says, was not with money, but through presents and the use of administrative resource. The infringements came during the vote count when they discovered that Romanyuk (in Obukhiv) or Levchenko (in Kyiv) were ahead. That was when all kind of force scenarios with Berkut riot police and thugs brought in.
He says that this time there was a lot of “carousel voting” (where people are taken to various polling stations and they “vote” many times), as well as the use of “titushki” or hired thugs whose presence put psychological pressure on voters and on the election commission. There were fortunately no cases where they were used for physical fights.
OPORA also stresses the effect of these titushki. It estimates that such people were present in 34% of the polling stations in No. 94; 16% in No. 223; 11% in No. 197; and 10% in No. 194.
Chernenko’s comment is worth noting now that the results appear to be known, with at least two differing radically from those given by exit polls. He says “the candidates who will did indeed distort the result, not through any brute force, but through political technology.”