Southeastern Ukrainians Vote
by Stephen Lendman
Fascist illegitimacy grips Ukraine. Southeastern Donbas People's republics reflect an oasis of freedom. Residents intend keeping it this way.
They haven't struggled hard for months to quit. Today they're holding real democratic elections. For leaders and MPs.
Polar opposite Kiev illegitimate process. Limited self-rule permitted under Minsk protocol ceasefire terms.
Claims otherwise are false. Big Lies. Proliferated to sabotage real democracy. Absent throughout Ukraine. Except for Donbas.
Polling stations opened at 8:00AM Moscow time. Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics are heavily protected. Against expected sabotage Kiev plans. More on this below.
Donetsk has 363 polling stations. Including three in Russia for refugees. For more than three million eligible voters. Lugansk has 102 stations. For about 1.5 million potential voters.
Anyone aged 16 or older may vote in Donetsk. In Lugansk, it's aged 18 or older. High turnout is expected in both regions. No minimum numbers are required.
Internet voting is permitted. Inauguration date for new leaders remains open. Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Central Election Commission head Roman Lyagin said:
"There are several variants, when it may be held, but I cannot name them yet."
"An inauguration ceremony will be held at a Donetsk theatre. We are still thinking over an oath of the parliament."
"We (plan a) bright swearing-in ceremony which will be interesting for spectators and journalists," he added.
Key is establishing democratic governance. Polar opposite fascism's grip throughout other Ukrainian areas.
Perhaps Donbas democracy will inspire change elsewhere. Ukrainians deserve better than they're getting.
Their solution is nationwide revolution. Perhaps one day for currently absent freedoms.
One Donetsk voter perhaps spoke for many others, saying:
"Our opinion was simply ignored (by Kiev) when we took part in (May's independence) referendum."
"Now it's time to take the people's will into account. That's why I have come today to cast my vote."
For fundamental freedoms Kiev denies. Candidates to head DPR include acting Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko.
Donetsk and Lugansk Federal State of Novorossia parliamentary First Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Kofman.
Donetsk Berkut (elite police) veterans organization head Yuri Sivokonenko.
All support democratic freedoms. Restoring peace and stability. Rebuilding infrastructure and residential homes. As well as resolving social problems.
Zakharchenko backs instituting social payments to teachers, pensioners, and students as soon as possible.
His top priority is rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by months of war. So is incorporating Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and other Southeastern cities into Novorossia. Currently controlled by Kiev.
Sivokonenko wants DPR accession into a Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan Customs Union.
"We are strongly linked with Ukraine, but I call with all my soul and heart for integration, including Donetsk People's Republic's entry in the Customs Union," he said.
Economic restoration depends on responsible cooperative relations, he believes.
Kofman supports Novorossia governance. At the same time, he prioritizes resolving humanitarian problems.
Zakharchenko, DPR's Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin, and its co-chairman Denis Pushilin head the list of candidates likely to lead DPR post-election.
According to Purgin:
"Election campaign of the Donetsk Republic movement is a programme of people's economy, people's Donbas without oligarchs."
The prevailing system elsewhere throughout Ukraine. Corrupting the country hugely. Putting crime bosses in charge of policies.
Donbas intends change. People power, openness and social justice. Governance of, by and for everyone equitably.
Hundreds of observers from about 30 countries monitored voting. European Parliamentary members, Russia, France, Britain, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia, South Ossetia, Montenegro, NGOs and various other representatives among them.
Including an unofficial Russian lower house State Duma delegation. Representing various parties.
OSCE officials opted out. Bulgarian lawmaker Magdalena Tasheva perhaps spoke for other observers, saying:
"Only elections will bring peace to Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. We hope that elections will pass calmly, fairly, openly and will meet all international standards."
Russia intends recognizing electoral results. Believing they're a positive step toward resolving crisis conditions.
According to Russia's Foreign Ministry:
"Before the start of the Minsk peace process leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics have laid down their negotiating positions in public, particularly noting that free elections on these territories based on the principles of people's self-governance would pave a way to joint effort to preserve a common economic, cultural and political space in Ukraine."
"Russia will assist the leaders of the country's southeast winning at elections to confirm this policy."
"According to Minsk peace accords reached in September between representatives of the Ukrainian president and militias in southeast, Ukraine with assistance of representatives from Russia and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) holding of mentioned elections is agreed between October 19 and November 3."
"References to the law on special procedure of self-governance on these territories signed by (Ukraine's oligarch president Petro) Poroshenko on October 16 setting the date of elections on December 7 contradicts the Minsk peace accords."
Washington, other NATO members, OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reject real democracy.
They support illegitimate fascist rule. Violating agreed on Minsk protocol terms.
On November 2, Itar Tass headlined "Two subversive groups neutralised in Donetsk," saying:
They tried sabotaging elections. According to CEC head Lyagin:
"Two subversive and reconnaissance groups operate in the DPR territory. We neutralised two groups in Marinovka and Yelenovka. They were armed with heavy weapons."
"All roads to the DPR territory have been blocked off by Ukrainian security forces," he added.
On Sunday, Kiev announced a criminal investigation into Donetsk and Lugansk elections. According to its Security Service:
"The criminal case has been launched under Part 1, Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (actions aimed at forcibly changing or overthrowing the constitutional order or seizing power)."
Despite electoral legitimacy. What Kiev agreed to under Minsk protocol terms.
Again proving its word isn't its bond. Putschist fascist regimes operate this way. With no legitimacy whatever.
It bears repeating what other articles stressed. Obama's new friends are xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites.
Representing mob rule. European fascists in power for first time since WW II.
Taking full advantage. Violating core democratic principles. In lockstep with US hardliners. Mocking what they claim to support.
In response to Kiev's "criminal case," DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko said republic authorities intend criminal proceedings "on genocide after the polls."
"If we don't fear shelling, we don't fear the criminal case," he said. "No matter what Ukraine is opening."
It's "broiling with powerlessness…We've made the choice and we follow our way. We don't intend to turn off our path."
Freedom is too precious to lose. Nothing remains without it. Ordinary Southeastern Ukrainians put their bodies on the line to save it.
Representing model resistance for others to emulate. Deserving universal support and then some.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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