After fraudulent Ukraine elections, Donbass republics brace for new attack
Oct. 27 — Parliamentary elections held in Ukraine Oct. 26 will bring six far-right parties into government for the next five years while excluding any significant opposition, according to exit polls.
Early elections were announced in August by President Petro Poroshenko, the billionaire figurehead for the junta of oligarchs, neoliberal politicians and fascists who seized power in Kiev during a violent coup last February.
“According to the first results of the elections, the winner is the party of war rather than the party of peace,” said Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Aleksander Zakharchenko. Referring to the junta leaders, he added, “Yatsenyuk, Turchynov, Lyashko and Poroshenko himself — all these politicians backed military actions against us.” (RIA Novosti, Oct. 26)
Donetsk Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin added, “The elections were not free; it’s a farce. People are intimidated; the east of Ukraine is not represented. There are armed men everywhere across the country.”
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared independence from Ukraine after popular referenda in May. The young republics of the Donbass mining region withstood months of brutal war crimes by Kiev’s forces, with more than 5,000 killed and 824,000 made refugees, according to the United Nations. (PressTV, Oct. 24)
In September, Russia and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe had brokered a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and the People’s Republics. While the forces of Novorossia, as the union of Donetsk and Lugansk is known, faced intense pressure from Moscow to comply with the so-called Minsk accords, even in the face of constant ceasefire violations by Kiev, their enemies suffered no such constraints from their backers, the U.S. and NATO.
“The ceasefire that we discussed since September 5 was used by Kiev for troop repositioning, getting fresh forces and new weapons,” noted Zakharchenko.
For weeks, there have been ominous signs that Kiev was preparing a new offensive.
Military intelligence of Novorossia predicts it will begin around Oct. 28.
Militia leader and Ghost Brigade commander Alexey Mozgovoy, an outspoken opponent of the Minsk agreement, said: “Every day it has been confirmed that the enemy is concentrating forces, that new columns are coming. Not only is heavy artillery not being pulled back behind the ‘neutral’ territory [as stipulated in the Minsk agreement], it is being added daily.” (Fort Russ, Oct. 22)
Former Donetsk Defense Minister Igor Strelkov sounded the alarm Oct. 23: “A movement of Ukrainian Armed Forces from all directions to initial positions for an attack on Donetsk has begun.” (Rusvesna.su)
Strelkov explained that Kiev most likely plans a blitzkrieg attack aimed at capturing the capital of Donetsk and dividing the People’s Republics.
There are several motives for a lightning attack. First, it would forestall any military response from a reluctant Russian Federation to help Novorossian forces. Second, the restive Ukrainian troops can’t be relied on for a long offensive. And third, as invaders from Napoleon to Hitler learned to their chagrin, it is suicide to attack the locals during the brutal Russian winter.
U.S. declares election ‘free and transparent’
According to exit polls, Poroshenko’s bloc led the parliamentary elections with 22.2 percent of the vote, followed by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front with 21.8 percent. These right-wing neoliberal parties are most favored by Washington and the European Union.
Five other parties met the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament. Four of them are far-right or openly fascist parties: Self Help, Radical Party, Svoboda and Fatherland.
Several neo-Nazi figures are expected to take seats under their auspices, including notorious Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh. (RIA Novosti, Oct. 27)
The Opposition Bloc, which received around 9 percent of the vote, is composed of former members of the deposed president’s Party of Regions.
Among the organizations conducting “official, objective” international exit polling is the U.S.-based International Republican Institute. (RIA Novosti, Oct. 26) The IRI has trained and financed pro-coup forces in Ukraine and aids counterrevolutionary movements from Venezuela to Syria.
Most true opposition forces were banned. Anti-fascist organizations — like the Marxist Union Borotba (Struggle) and other participants in the mass movement against the coup — have been forced underground, their leaders driven into exile or arrested.
The Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), previously one of the largest parties in parliament, did not meet the 5 percent vote threshold. Although its name appeared on the ballot, KPU candidates were essentially prohibited from campaigning. Earlier, the party’s elected delegates were driven from parliament by an extraordinary law, and the KPU currently faces an outright ban in a court case brought by the rightist Interior Ministry.
“Whatever the outcome of the vote, the Communist Party does not recognize the elections as either democratic or legitimate,” said KPU leader Peter Simonenko during a meeting with European Parliament members. (KPU.ua)
Nevertheless, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt rushed to declare the elections “free and transparent.” (Kyiv Post, Oct. 26) Along with State Department official Victoria Nuland, Pyatt was one of the architects of the February coup.
The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, a supposedly neutral party to the Minsk ceasefire agreement, also declared the elections “essentially free and fair” despite some “irregularities.” (RIA Novosti, Oct. 27)
Yet by the morning after, independent media and activists in Ukraine had already documented hundreds of instances of voter intimidation, attacks on opposition candidates, ballot-box stuffing and other fraud.
Even the junta’s Interior Ministry, headed by fascist Arsen Avakov, reported 330 violations, including vote buying, intimidation and false ballots being given to voters.
Odessa ‘spat on Poroshenko’
The elections were carried out in areas of southeast Ukraine, as well as occupied areas of Donetsk and Lugansk, where the population lives under violent repression by the Kiev regime.
In Slavyansk, a city in Donetsk besieged for months before its occupation in July by Ukrainian forces, the turnout was just 13 percent. Locals reported that the only voters were occupation troops and functionaries and that polling stations were surrounded by camouflaged soldiers wielding automatic weapons and “patriotic” yellow ribbons. (Novorossia News Agency, Oct. 27)
In Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, people tweeted photos showing masked “election observers” at polling stations.
In Odessa, where neo-Nazis dispatched from Kiev massacred at least 48 anti-fascists and trade unionists on May 2, the turnout was just 8.8 percent by noon on Oct. 26. Election officials claimed a 39 percent turnout at the end of the day — a virtual impossibility given the earlier figure — but still the lowest ever recorded in the city’s history. (Timer.od.ua)
Perhaps one reason was President Poroshenko’s Oct. 23 campaign visit, when he declared that the May 2 massacre and burning of the Odessa House of Trade Unions was necessary “because we see now what happens if we had not stopped the attempt of the separatists.”
He also monstrously proclaimed Odessa a “City of Bandera,” after the World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. (Rushor.su)
Exiled Odessa Regional Council Deputy and Borotba activist Alexei Albu said, “I believe the elections in Odessa were our victory. Odessa residents made the most important choice — not to support the regime. Odessa has shown that more than 70 percent do not support the junta, do not support the farce called elections, and do not support the government’s policy.
“Seventy percent responded to our appeal and boycotted the elections, or went and spoiled ballots, or voted against all or for opposition parties,” Albu added. “Even a huge amount of ballot stuffing could not save the situation.”
Albu is co-founder of the Committee for the Liberation of Odessa, which issued a call to boycott the sham elections. “This was Odessa’s response to Poroshenko declaring it a ‘City of Bandera.’ The people of Odessa spat in his face and wiped their feet on him.” (Borotba.su)