Members of polling stations go to homes escorted by soldiers armed with Kalashnikov rifles who verify the process
As the Ukrainian authorities have already warned, the popular consultations convened in the occupied territories (Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia) for their incorporation into Russia are on the way to becoming a real fraud, not because of the anti-democratic and absolutely illegal way in which have been organized, but also because of the dynamics with which they are being carried out and, presumably, because of the scrutiny, starting on Tuesday when this strange process ends, which has been described as a “farce” and a “show” by kyiv.
Yuri Sobolevski, appointed by the Ukrainian authorities as Vice President of Kherson, declared yesterday through his Telegram account that “there are ‘electoral commissions’ that carry armed soldiers as escorts touring the region hunting for voters.” In his words, “People try their best to avoid them, but some have had bad luck twice. They have had to fill out their ballot and vote a second time.”
The BBC cites the case of a woman intimidated by the fact that members of the polling station came to her home in Zaporizhia carrying several armed Russian soldiers. He did not want to reveal his identity and assured that the situation is “creepy, terrible”, since, at the point of Kalashnikov, they made sure that he cast his vote in the ballot box and even watched before how he filled out the ballot, if he marked the yes or the no to the annexation question.
The mayor of Melitopol, a city in the Zaporizhia region, Iván Fédorov, warned yesterday of the criminal responsibility incurred by those who help Russia organize what he described as “pseudo-referendums.” As he assured through his Telegram channel, “58 heads of electoral commissions involved in the pseudo-referendum will soon be stripped of their properties (…), their houses, dacha apartments, land, cars will be confiscated and their bank accounts will be blocked. ».
He added that they can face sentences of up to ten years in prison. Fedorov said that they receive information from the citizens of Melitopol and “we also have data on all traitors in other areas.” Voting in Zaporizhia, as well as in the other three territories occupied by the Russian Army, began on Friday and will last for five days. Once held, according to sources consulted by the TASS agency, a preliminary project for the annexation to Russia of the four Ukrainian regions will be presented to the Russian Parliament on the 29th.
These referendums take place while the “partial mobilization” decreed on Wednesday by Vladimir Putin continues. “We are recruiting people who should not be recruited, according to the presidential decree,” the head of the vast Siberian region of Yakutia, Aisén Nikolayev, deplored yesterday.
Meeting with his government team, Nikolayev ordered “to create a double filter system in the republic to free those who are mobilizing by mistake.” He gave the example of “parents with four or more children under the age of 16” and arranged to “strengthen the interaction of local administrations with the military commissariats. All those who were recruited by mistake must be returned. This work has already begun.” However, reports of similar practices, even with people older than the established age or exempted by studies or other circumstances, arrive daily from all corners of Russia.
The protests against the mobilization decreed by Putin were reproduced yesterday in several cities of Russia. The largest numbers occurred in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, where several thousand protesters took to the streets. These two main Russian metropolises have been where riot control has been used most harshly. According to civil rights organizations, more than 700 people were arrested throughout the country yesterday, approximately half of them in the Russian capital. On Wednesday the number of arrested reached almost 1,400 protesters.
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