How did you feel about this matter?
Russia announced this Friday (23) the start of referendums on the annexation of Ukrainian territories to the Russian Federation, in a consultation on the intention of residents. The Kremlin-orchestrated votes were widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as “a sham without any legal force”. The referendum is being held in the Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, partially controlled by the Russians.
The Russian agency Interfax published the question being asked to the inhabitants of the Zaporizhzhia province: “Are you in favor of the separation of the Zaporozhzhia region from Ukraine, the formation of an independent state and its entry into the Russian Federation?”
The public consultation continues until next Tuesday (27th) and it is clear that there must be manipulation on the part of the Kremlin so that the results are favorable to the annexation of the territories. This would give Russia the pretext to claim that attempts by Ukrainian forces to regain control are attacks on the country, resulting in an escalation of the war, especially after President Vladimir Putin’s latest threats over the use of nuclear weapons.
“There is a desire for these referendums to go as unnoticed as possible, so that manipulation can be carried out comfortably,” Anna Colin Lebedev, an expert on post-Soviet societies, told the French newspaper Le Figaro.
The Russian agency TASS, which reports according to the country’s government’s point of view, gave some details about the conduct of voting in the controlled areas. According to the agency, due to short deadlines and “technical problems”, “it was decided to use traditional paper ballots, instead of electronic voting”.
In-person voting will take place exclusively on September 27, while on other days the consultation will take place “in communities and door-to-door for security reasons”.