In Russia, a pseudo-election farce under the name "Unified Voting Day" has concluded, extended over several days. The winners of this pseudo-election were predetermined.
This spectacle has occurred in Russia not for the first time. The authorities employed all the familiar attributes of electoral Russia in these elections: pressure on voters and candidates not aligned with the ruling party, inflated voter turnout, and so on.
Through coercion, intimidation, and blackmail, the occupying administration of Russia attempted to involve Ukrainian citizens living in temporarily occupied territories in these "elections." For the Putin regime, these pseudo-elections were necessary for further "legalizing" the annexation of territories, bringing the occupied regions into the legal framework of the Russian Federation, and creating the desired image for internal and external Russian propaganda, which would exploit the theme of the "importance of democratic choice by the people." The organizers of these pseudo-elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine didn't even bother to follow formalities: there was no voting for single-mandate lists, and the Central Election Commission allowed not to publish the party lists of candidates in these regions. The leitmotif of this performance is straightforward: "The party doesn't matter much in the 'new regions' – what's important is participation in the elections because it's a vote for Russia. All parties are roughly the same. Everyone is for Russia, and everyone is for Putin!"
Furthermore, for the residents of the "Luhansk People's Republic", the occupied left-bank region of the Kherson region, and the "Donetsk People's Republic" , along with the captured districts of the Zaporizhzhia region, early "voting" was conducted until September 7. This even involved regions far from these territories. For this purpose, a special law was even adopted, allowing early voting not only at polling stations but also in residential and other public areas, along with several other peculiarities for expressing the will of different groups of voters. In parallel with the "extraterritorial voting," door-to-door campaigns were carried out in front-line cities to find "voters." Voters were allowed to come to polling stations with Ukrainian passports and even driver's licenses. This fact alone is sufficient to illustrate the complete insignificance of this electoral spectacle. In the end, by 6:00 PM on September 10, the farce was officially concluded, and its results were announced. As expected, "residents of the new regions, wishing to fulfill their civic duty and express their will, showed the highest voter turnout:
"Donetsk People's Republic" – 76.41%,
"Luhansk People's Republic" – 72.53%,
Zaporizhzhia region – 66.83%,
Kherson region – 64.45%." In reality, even in long-occupied Sevastopol, the turnout was only 22% (solely due to pensioners and employees of communal and other enterprises). The rest of the numbers had to be hastily fabricated.
To give the appearance of "election transparency" in temporarily occupied territories, they even imported so-called "observers" from Russia because they couldn't find enough willing "observers" among the locals. To "legitimize" pseudo-referendums in the occupied territories and give weight to the results of the fake voting in the eyes of the "internal consumer," the Russians even presented so-called international observers. The Central Election Commission of Ukraine reminded that the participation of foreign citizens in pseudo-elections as "observers" constitutes complicity in the crimes of the aggressor state.
According to the data from the Central Election Commission of Russia as of August 31, 1313 individuals were registered as "candidates for parliaments of the new regions." The candidate lists in these "new regions" were not published "for security reasons," according to the decision of the Central Election Commission. However, many familiar faces have already been discovered among them.
For instance, in the Zaporizhzhia region, aside from the former head of the Administration of the President and former Minister of Education and Science, Tabachnyk (against whom Ukraine has initiated a case of "state treason"), the founder of the "112" TV channel, Viktor Zubritsky, was running in the "elections." The candidate lists for deputies in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region from "United Russia" were led by "acting governor" Balitsky, head of the Melitopol "administration" Galina Danilchenko, and the head of the "We Are Together with Russia" movement, Vladimir Rogov.
In the top three candidates from "United Russia" in the "Donetsk People's Republic" were "acting head of the republic" Denis Pushilin, Artem Zhoga (the father of the deceased fighter from "Sparta," Vladimir Zhoga), and the general director of the "Donetsk Republican Center for Maternal and Child Health Protection," Anna Zheleznaia. In the top three "United Russia" candidates in the "Luhansk People's Republic" were "acting head of the Luhansk People's Republic" and an FSB agent under the cover, Leonid Pasechnik, secretary of the Luhansk regional branch of "United Russia," "speaker of the regional parliament," Denis Miroshnichenko, and State Duma deputy Viktor Vodolatsky.
In the Kherson region, the top of the list included "acting head" Vladimir Saldo, State Duma deputy and secretary of the regional branch of "United Russia," Igor Kastyukevich, and the director of the bread factory in Nova Kakhovka, Elena Dmitryuk.
All participants in the "electoral race" will be identified and will face deserved punishment. So, the real "adventure" for the organizers and participants of the fake "elections" is still ahead.
Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are documenting crimes, including the participation of Ukrainian citizens in organizing fake "elections," which is classified as collaboration. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, more than 3,500 organizers and participants of the "electoral circus" by Russia on occupied Ukrainian territories have already been identified. Investigations into all these cases continue within criminal proceedings initiated by investigators under two articles: "encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine" and "collaboration activities." The only legitimate body with the right to organize and hold elections in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and Sevastopol is the Central Election Commission of Ukraine.
The civilized world should not turn a blind eye to yet another crime by Russia. The only effective way to stop it is to liberate the occupied territories. Ukraine needs military assistance to save its citizens, restore territorial integrity, and halt the destruction of the international security system.