war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia registers double the possible number of ‘voters for Putin’ in occupied Ukraine, while intensifying pressure at gunpoint

Halya Coynash
It is not the fighters with machine guns, nor other methods to falsify the results, that make it imperative that the West refuses to recognize Putin’s supposed ‘re-election, but the fact that the farce is taking place on occupied territory

House-to-house ’voting’ at gunpoint on occupied territory Photo posted by Pavlo Lisiansky

House-to-house ’voting’ at gunpoint on occupied territory Photo posted by Pavlo Lisiansky

According to the independent Russian publication Important Stories, Russia has registered 4.5 million possible ‘voters’ in occupied parts of Ukraine, aside from Crimea. This is almost double any feasible figure regardless of the fighters brandishing machine guns and other methods of coercion used to ensure participation in its fake ‘presidential elections’. 

The number registered by Russia’s central election commission far exceeds the 3.2 million people in occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts whom Russia estimated had received Russian citizenship by 1 January 2024.  In all areas under Russian occupation, the occupiers are making it impossible to receive medical treatment, humanitarian aid, pensions, etc. without such citizenship, while parents have been told that their children will be taken away and placed in children’s homes if they are not enrolled in Russian occupation ‘schools’, which can only happen if the parents take Russian passports.  The number is still very likely inflated.  On top of that, and clearly because of resistance to such citizenship, the ‘central election commission’ has allowed Ukrainians to ‘vote’ using Ukrainian passports.  Even so, Important Stories notes, citing a Russian demographer who spoke with them on condition of anonymity, the number is almost twice as high as it should be. The numbers were probably based on voter lists prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and have clearly failed to take into account, at very least, the number of people forced to flee their homes.   The demographer estimates that the central election commission’s figure is around 80% higher than the actual size of the adult population.

He anticipates that the ‘results’ from occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts are more likely to be embellished than in parts of Russia.  In 2023, he notes, the so-called ‘election commission’ from Russia’s proxy ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ came up with percentages and absolute figures that clashed with each other.  As a result, more people were claimed to have taken part in Russia’s fake ‘referendum’ in 2022 ‘on joining the Russian Federation’ than were registered as being able to ‘vote’.  The demographer points out that even were there to be (or were Russia to pretend) 100% turnout in occupied Ukraine, the doctored results could only raise the percentage falsely claimed to have voted for Russian leader Vladimir Putin by a further 1-2%.  

As of 14 March, with the fake ‘early voting’ having begun on 25 February, the so-called ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ claimed that ‘turnout’ had been 57.84%.  ‘Voting’ will continue up till 17 March both at ‘polling stations’ and with Russia’s specific, armed, ‘electoral commissions going around to more homes. 

Pavlo Lisiansky, Co-founder of the Eastern Human Rights Group, reports that Russia has tripled the number of armed enforcement officers ‘accompanying’ such ‘electoral commissions’, in comparison with its last  fake ‘elections’ on occupied territory in September 2023.  Moreover, the intimidation has clearly been increased.  If in September, such armed men were merely in uniform, now they are in full military gear, together with machine guns.  They are, he believes, thus demonstratively upping the pressure on people in occupied Ukraine.  

In fact, neither the methods that Russia will be using to achieve the claimed ‘turnout’ and ‘result’ demanded by the Kremlin for this electoral farce, nor even the voting at gunpoint on occupied territory, are the main reasons why the international community must not provide any credence to the alleged outcome.  Regardless of the numbers involved, Russia’s holding of its ‘elections’ on occupied Ukrainian territory means that they lack any legitimacy.   This was, in fact, true since 2014, when Russia began holding all its electoral stunts in occupied Crimea, however Western countries then confined their reaction to words of condemnation.  Their reaction now needs to be entirely unequivocal. Ukraine’s main electoral watchdog, OPORA, has called upon all countries to refuse to take part in ‘observing’ this fake, and to not facilitate the opening of foreign polling stations.  Most importantly, they should not recognize the supposed results of these ‘presidential elections’ nor the powers of the self-proclaimed head of state,

See also:  Russians with machine guns ensure occupied Ukraine ‘votes’ for Putin

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