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Statement of the Kharkiv human rights protection group on the run-off presidential election in Ukraine


General assessment

The preliminary results of the run-off on November 21, which were announced by the Central Election Commission (CVK), evidence a large-scale falsification of the election in some regions of Ukraine.

According to the CVK data, on October 31, 27 897 559 people voted, at the run-off, on November 21, 30 511 289 people voted. So, 2 613 730 more people took part in the voting. We claim that one of the sources of the increase in votes for presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich was the use of these additional 2.6 million votes by means of rude and cynical violations of the election law. How has it happened? 

First, voter lists for the run-off election in some regions were compiled with violations of the standing law. The sharp increase in the number of voters, what is, according to Article 80 (Part 1, Para 1) of the Law on Election of the President of Ukraine can be a basis for declaring the election invalid. For instance, according to international observers of the ENEMO (European network of public organizations monitoring elections) from Russia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan, voter lists in the Donetsk region were inexplicably increased comparing to those for the first round. 

Second, in many areas, polling station commissions (DVK) received «plans» for providing turnout of voters during the second tour of election. There are records evidencing that in the period between the first and second round those people, who did  not vote at the first round, were forced to vote for Yanukovich. In order to achieve that, there were used such unlawful actions as mass rounds of residences by strangers, who were not members of DVKs, though were in possession of voter lists with marks showing who did not vote on October 31. Those individuals tried by any means to find out the reason of residents’ nonparticipation in the voting (the relevant facts are captured on video). Later those residents were subject to administrative pressure. For instance, a rector of the Kharkiv Polytechnic University called those instructors, who did not come to vote at polling station 12 of territorial district (precinct) 172, for «brain-washing.» On the voting day, DVK members recorded those, who did not vote, as well as they phoned the voters or passed their personal data to other people, who one way or another forced the voters to come to the polling station. That was particularly the case for polling stations located in schools, where teachers went to parents of their students, hospitals, where doctors approached their patients. Such actions are beyond the competence of DVKs, described in Article 27 of the Law, and directly violate its Article 5.

Third, there were mass voting by the same people with several «off-list tickets» (certificates authorizing a person to vote off the precinct, where he or she is registered), reported by observers in all regions of the East, Center, and South of the country. That added tens of thousands of votes to the coffer of falsification and became an example of undisguised and cynical abuse of the law. So, the election results at such polling stations must be cancelled by courts. 

The pressure to vote for Yanukovich was used also by forcing students of some universities and cadets of police academies, who were forced to vote on the premises of their school under the supervision of schools’ administrations. For instance, students of the Kharkiv Agricultural Academy were told to take off-list tickets and vote on the premises of the Academy, and 300 cadets of the National University of Interior were just moved out to the town of Valki (the Kharkiv region). 

A lot of violations were recorded on the voting day. They include unusually high number of voting off polling stations, accompanied by numerous violations (at some polling stations in Donetsk, voting off polling stations made up from 20 to 30%, along with the significantly lower number of applications to vote at home); unfounded removals of official observers representing Viktor Yuschenko at many polling stations, especially during vote counts; so called «merry-go-rounds,» when designated individuals voted for those in the list, who were unable to vote and in the end for those, who did not come; injecting ballots into ballot boxes; violating of vote count procedure, etc.

The falsification at the polling stations, where Yanukovich’s victory was expected, was merged with the violence at the polling stations, where Yuschenko’s victory in the first round was «unplanned.» For instance, there were numerous assaults by, in some cases, armed strangers wearing civilian clothes on election commissions and observers aiming to disrupt voting or vote counts. In the Sumy region, several people, while defending the ballots, sustained bodily injuries. Against this background, prohibitions to film, mass denials of access to members of the media to observe vote counts looks like rather minor offences. 

The mass, systemic nature of those falsifications shows that they were preplanned as integral parts of the authorities’ strategic plan to obtain a necessary percentage of votes for presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich – in fact, a constitutional coup d’etat.

To sum up the above, we believe that during the run-off election the technologies used, in their substance and form, have criminal content, and, then, fall under the provisions of the Ukraine’s Criminal Code. These violations in no way correspond to international law, European standards of human rights and democracy. Obviously, these actions on the part of the authorities aroused anger in millions of people, who went into the streets of Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Sumy, Vinnitsa, and many other cities and towns of Ukraine. The only legitimate way to break the impasse is the review of the election results at those polling stations and precincts, where substantial or mass violations of the law have been recorded. We demand from the CVK to, at last, perform its duties in diligent way and impartially review the election results.

On the results of the run-off election in the Kharkiv region

According to the parallel vote count as it was made from the original reports by 23:00 of November 22, voters in Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region gave Viktor Yushchenko 24.34% of votes (28% in Kharkiv), Viktor Yanukovich – 69.89% (65% in Kharkiv), 4.1% of them voted against both candidates. A number of people who voted increased in the city by 10.5%, in the region – by 6.5%. In our opinion, that was the result of a rude violation of the Law on Elections in the form of forcing people to vote and mass voting with off-list tickets, both in the city and region. On the whole, there were compiled about 2,000 reports about violations of the Law. 

For instance, there are records about LAZ buses (license plates 6424 Р7 and 7551 Р1) with cadets of the Air Force Institute, who voted in the village of Gorodne, Krasnokut District (polling station 101 ТОВ 183) and other villages. All in all, 4 buses with cadets of this institute traveled back and forth in the area. Firemen cadets came to polling stations 26 and 27 in the village of Oleksiyivka to vote with off-list tickets (Ikarus bus, 3431 ХА), they also visited the village of Vodyane. In the Zachepilovka District, at several polling stations in the villages of Berdyanka, Mazharove, and others, passengers of deep-blue Volkswagen minibus (25393 ХВ) voted with off-list tickets. Military personnel voted with off-list tickets in the town of Lozova (School No. 1) and Kupyansk (polling stations 80 and 81). A white Gazel minibus (4367) with 19 passengers, accompanied by a Volga car (100-02-ХФ) rode around District No. 184, where they voted at various polling stations. Employees of the Kharkiv regional State Administration (regional health, housing and other departments), in 5 buses left the city’s central square, likely, to vote in the districts of the region. Their departure was filmed by Volodymyr Mukhin, a representative of the Ukrainian Ombudsperson and Kostyntyn Sytnyk, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. 

MP Yaroslav Dzhordzhik found that at polling station 168 of precinct 179 in the village of Mospanovo (Chuguiev District) 439 people voted with off-list tickets (in total, the voter list there included 1,200 people). In the same village, a «merry-go-round» was filmed also. In two cars with Russian license plates, strangers gave away ballots, marked for Yanukovich, and paid UAH100 ($19) for clean ballots. The polling station’s head prevented Dzhordzhik to enter the station, claiming that his MP’s certificate was forged. Later, when Dzhordzhik returned to the village, a column of cars without license plates blocked his car, strangers forced him to get off the car, took away his mobile phone, and drove him to polling station 168.

In Kharkiv, buses and cars rode between polling stations, while their passengers voted with off-list tickets. For instance, students of the Road Transport Academy voted at the Institute of Medical Radiology (polling station 174 of precinct 172). At the territory of precinct 176 (Kominternivskiy and Chervonozavodskiy Districts), a LAZ bus with Kharkiv license plate toured over polling stations 22, 24, and 26. There was recorded a ride between polling stations of a Ford minibus (921 52 ХК) and a gray Volga car (1523 ВК). The Volga car drove four women from one polling station to another in the Dzerzhinskiy District, witnesses saw them holding 10 to 20 off-list tickets. They were seen, in particular, near polling stations 72 and 58. In the Frunzenskiy District, there was seen a PAZ bus (215-09 ХА). Its 10 passengers voted, at least, at three polling stations.

There are records of numerous facts of forcing observers representing Yuschenko and even violence. For instance, in the Izum District, in precinct 180, Andriy Propotilov, a deputy head of «Our Ukraine» district headquarters, was assaulted. On the road between villages of Mykhailivka and Kapytolivka, his car was stopped by a car, from which two strangers got off. They broke a windshield of Propotilov’s car and damaged his video camera.

A lot of violations deal with the voting off polling stations. At precinct 183 (Valki District), lists for voting at home were separated in several pages, which were sent for voting in several cars. In those cars there were «no» room for observers representing Yuschenko: DVK members were accompanied with a police officer, so the observer was not needed. Mass rides with boxes for home voting without Yuschenko’s representatives were noticed in the Vilikiy Burluk District and others. In the lists for home voting, there were included people, who did not applied for it, their applications were written after the voting was finished by one hand (polling station 117, precinct 182). At polling stations 73 and 85 of this precinct, the DVK members disappeared with the ballot boxes and were not found. At polling station 3, precinct 183, voters were unable to vote because somebody wrote in their name applications for home voting. 

At polling station 12, precinct 181, 100 people voted in the open field. There are records of many facts, when people voted twice at different polling stations.

At some polling stations, members of law-enforcement agencies and local state administrations intruded in the work of TVKs (precinct commissions). There were a few facts of campaigning in the day of voting and preparation of clean reports with signatures of DVK members.

In most polling stations in the city and region, members of the press (newspapers Razom, Skhid-Zakhid, Pryvatna Sprava, Pravo Znaty, bulletin Prava Ludyny, etc.) were not allowed to film and be present during vote counts. A TVK of precinct 171 (Dzerzhinskiy district) even adopted a special order on the matter on November 21, which said that only those journalists were allowed, who had certificates and pictures. It unfoundedly narrowed the provisions of the Law prescribing that meetings of election commissions and premises of polling stations can be attended by «members of the media (no more than two from one entity). « 

25 November 2004

Information materials of Media-Group «OBJEKTIV,» Agency Television News, Kharkiv Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Kharkiv regional headquarters of V. Yuschenko, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group were used in this statement.

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