Will among the people: how referendums started in LDNR, Zaporozhye and Kherson | Articles

For the referendum period from September 23 to 27, security measures were strengthened in the republics of Donbass, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, and the troops were put on special alert. LPR Ambassador in Moscow Rodion Miroshnik, as well as the head of the DPR Denis Pushilin, warned of provocations from Ukraine. Kyiv, indeed, already on the first day tried to disrupt the vote: for example, the cities of Stakhanov and Kherson were under shelling. However, according to State Duma deputy Dmitry Belik, the Ukrainian side still will not be able to interfere with the will of the people. How the voting is going – in the material of Izvestia.

In constant tension

Even the day before, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, announced an extremely difficult situation in the region, as Kyiv had grouped “rather serious forces” in the north of the republic. “It is possible that in the very near future he will try to change the situation and go on the counteroffensive,” Pushilin said in a video message, adding that the allied forces keep their finger on the pulse.

So, on the very first day of the referendum, the Armed Forces of Ukraine made an attempt to shell Kherson. However, as Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the region, said, the air defense forces repelled the attack. At the time of the vote, the air defense group protecting the region was strengthened. Provocations were also recorded in the Zaporozhye region.

In the Luhansk People’s Republic they began at 6 am: the city of Stakhanov was shelledLPR Ambassador to Moscow Rodion Miroshnik told Izvestia, pointing out that Ukrainian troops are “too close”, especially in the north-west of the region.

The queue at the mobile voting station in Lugansk

Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Volkov

Cities such as Stakhanov, Lysichansk, Severodonetsk, Kremennaya are potentially under threat, and in general, 2/3 of the entire republic, because the armed formations of Ukraine are not far. In principle, using MLRS or missiles, they can reach almost any point on the territory of the LPR. Therefore, it is dangerous,” the diplomat warned.

However the military is taking all necessary measures to ensure the security of the region as much as possiblethe ambassador remarked. According to him, now the forces have been put on special alert, especially the air defense troops and other units, which are doing everything to “militarily prevent destruction, shelling, the appearance of casualties and extinguish the enemy’s ardor in time”.

Besides, anticipating provocations from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the authorities of the LPR, as well as three other regions, deliberately extended the referendum for five days, organizing door-to-door rounds in order to avoid a large concentration of people in one place. Thus, teams of polling stations are now actively working, visiting houses, social institutions or organizing impromptu sites at bus stops, Rodion Miroshnik explained.

The process of voting in a referendum in the mobile center of the LPR

Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Volkov

We hold our fists and pray that no one gets hurt, that we can transparently carry out this procedure, that it meets all standards, that no one has any questions about its legitimacy.. This opens up the possibility for us to apply to the Russian Federation about accepting us into the country as a separate entity. We really want this and will try to make every effort to make it work,” he added.

At the same time, Dmitry Belik, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, noted that Ukraine would not be able to disrupt the vote and interfere with the will of the people, and the general mood of the people indicates what exactly the results will be.

Provocations are the corporate style of the Kyiv authorities, which will try to clothe their agony in appropriate actions. Our country foresees this, so the safety of people is a priority. Efforts are united, security measures have been strengthened,” the politician told Izvestia.

Security during the referenda is provided at the proper level, the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov confirmed earlier.

old dream

Despite the provocations from Ukraine, which began on the first day, the absolute majority of the inhabitants of the four regions intend to cast their vote during the referendum. According to the results of the VTsIOM poll, published on September 23, the maximum turnout is expected in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (about 78%), in the Zaporozhye region 80% of respondents said they would come to the vote, and in the Kherson region this figure was 69%. At the same time, 97% of those polled in the LDNR, who will participate in the referendum, assured that they would vote for joining Russia, in Zaporozhye and Kherson, the absolute majority also for joining the Russian Federation (87% and 89%, respectively).

Local residents, indeed, from the very morning began to come to mobile polling stations, wanting to cast their vote. In Donetsk, people were informed about the beginning of the referendum by loudspeaker. In the LPR, polling stations began work at 8:00 Moscow time, there are 461 of them on the territory of the republic, said deputy Dmitry Belik, who went there as an observer.

Everything is organized clearly and transparently, the voting procedure is proceeding as expectedadded the parliamentarian.

precinct referendum commission

A girl enters a polling station in Donetsk

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

Foreign representatives also arrived in the four regions where the voting takes place, despite the fact that the leadership of Western countries criticized the very fact of voting. In total, about 130 foreign observers from almost 60 countries will take part in referendums in the territories of the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

This number includes six citizens of Germany and France, eight Italians, as well as representatives of Spain, the Netherlands, the United States, South Africa and Latin American countries, in particular, Argentina and Brazil, a source close to the voting on the ground told Izvestia.

At the same time, the residents of Donbass, as well as the liberated territories, with whom Izvestia talked, speak positively about the referendums.

Of course, I am for Russia. There can’t even be other opinions. When I talk about it, I want to cry because it’s a dream. And when it comes true, and even at the end of life. This is happiness,” said a resident of the Kherson region.

“I will remember exactly until the very last days how we were bombed and fired upon by Ukrainian troops in 2014. No one expected this, it didn’t fit in our heads that such a thing could happen at all. But Kyiv gave the order to shoot at us. How can I vote for them? Why should I return to such Ukraine? I don’t want to see or hear her. I will vote for joining Russia, and all my friends too,” a resident of Lugansk told the Izvestia correspondent.

counting of votes

Moving ballots into a safe package after the end of voting in the DPR

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

However, not everyone who wants to vote is now in the LDNR, Zaporozhye and Luhansk, many have already moved to Russia. More than 200 polling stations were opened especially for them, the LPR ambassador noted.

“They are concentrated in all four territories at once. People come, write applications, they are entered, they present documents, receive ballots and vote. Now this process is quite active. People come and congratulate each other– shared Rodion Miroshnik.

According to preliminary estimates for the first day of voting, in the Kherson region, the turnout was 15.31% of the total list of voters, in the LPR it exceeded 21.97%. The CEC of the DPR reported a turnout of 23.64%. In Zaporozhye, it was 20.52% previously.

With a positive decision at referendums in the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, actions will follow from the Russian parliament and the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Peskov specified. In this case, all issues will be resolved promptly. According to the official representative of the Kremlin, “the process of recognition will be quite fast.”

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