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Fear, Farce and Fraudulent ‘Observers’ at the Donbas ‘Potato’ Elections

Halya Coynash

   Updated information here: An ‘Election’ amid Kalashnikovs, cabbages and Moscow’s fascist fans

The pseudo-elections called by Kremlin-backed militants in Donbas began as expected with massive queues for ‘social cards’ and Russian ‘humanitarian aid’ , unimpeded opportunities for multiple voting and the same motley bunch of far-right and Stalinist observers who find it all exemplary .    

On the eve of a stunt, which Russia has already said that it will ‘recognize’ and which has been condemned by the UN, EU and other western countries. Pastor Sergey Kosyak, writing from Donetsk, reported that doctors, teachers and other public sector workers had been forced to hand over their passports and sign commitments that they would appear at polling stations.  He rightly predicted that the next morning Russian television channels would all be showing huge queues at the ‘polling stations’.  He fears that yet another “bloody spectacle is being played out according to a scenario from the Kremlin, greedy oligarchs and venal officials.”  After some ‘recognize’ these pseudo-elections, there will be a request for Russia to bring in so-called ‘peace-keeping forces’. 

The queues have certainly been a hit on Russian television, as were the reports from the militants that the ‘polling booths’ would remain open for longer because of the enormous ‘demand’. 

Judging by the reports coming in, even without the coercion of public sector workers, the ‘demand’ is easily explained.

In Donetsk, where 4 times less polling stations have been opened than is normal, a journalist from News of Donbas reports, you can ‘vote’ by presenting a copy of your passport and as many as 10 times.  Since each time you can get free food, no wonder that there are takers.

For those who have ‘voted’, there is the possibility of paying just one hryvnia for a sack of potatoes and cabbage.  These were delivered on Saturday as so-called humanitarian aid from Russia.

The situation is broadly similar in the Luhansk oblast, with people coming in great numbers to the ‘polling stations’ for their ‘social card’.  The militants from the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ announced that these cards would be issued in their newspaper and on campaigning material.   


   Self-styled ’prime minister’ Alexander Zakharchenko with Belgian ’observer’ Fabrice Beaur from the extreme right Parti communautaire national-européen party

It was clear after the March 16 pseudo–referendum on the Crimea’s status who was likely to be invited to ‘observe’ these supposed elections, and there are few surprises.  The ‘observers’ are once again from Europe’s far-right parties, just as the Hungarian Jobbik or  Belgian Vlaams Belang, or Stalinist parties, such as Greece’s Communist Party.  Oleksandra Dvoretska reports involvement by friends of the former President Viktor Yanukovych but otherwise notes many of the same parties as those mentioned on the eve of the event by Anton Shekhovtsov. 

The list will be added as soon as it can be confirmed.

What was evident in March is that these so-called observers are there to approve the performance, finding it all exemplary. 

They, Russia and virtually nobody else.

Continued / updated here: An ‘Election’ amid Kalashnikovs, cabbages and Moscow’s fascist fans

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