Elections In Volatile Regions: How Our Compatriots In The South And The East Of The Country Voted

Elections In Volatile Regions: How Our Compatriots In The South And The East Of The Country Voted
12/06/2014
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Inauguration of the newly-elected President of Ukraine Mr. Petro Poroshenko took place on Saturday, July 7. The winner of the early presidential elections swear an oath an a solemn ceremony which started at 10 AM.

Stabilization of the situation in the East and returning Crimea were in the new President’s election programme. We decided to ask people from those regions if they trust Mr. Poroshenko’s promises.

Ms. Lyubov Putilina, Kharkiv
There’s no great tension in our city, thank God, our situation far to the one in Donetsk and Luhansk. Besides, we are Muslims and we know that God won’t change our situation unless we make at least a minimum effort on our own to change it.

We’ve been preparing for that day, analyzing the situation and the candidates’ programmes. Increased separatist moods have, of course, influenced my choice, as I would perhaps vote for a more radical candidate if the situation was different. Now, however, I chose the one who can stabilize the situation, who can be a proper President for our integral and free Ukraine in the nearest future.

Mr. Said Ismagilov, Donetsk
The leaders of so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” consider themselves as an independent state, they declared in advance that no elections are to be held on the territory they control. Nobody took that for unsupported allegations, as the staff at administrative buildings where the ballot stations were usually located was threatened, and the territory electoral commissions weren't even hired.

Terrorists attacked the district electoral commissions and kidnapped their heads and activists. promised to burn down the bulletins and everyone who comes to vote. Those people are armed and extremely inadequate, so nobody had doubts about their threats. One ballot station started its work on the election day, but it was immediately attacked and destroyed by some armed people who took hostage of the commission members.

We had no chance to vote, as this territory isn’t controlled by the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, including Donetsk, Makeevka, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Konstantinovka and some other cities and towns, and the people are intimidated. Some people tried to go to the places they usually voted, through — but the terrified staff said that there would be no elections that day and begged them to go away and not to expose everyone to mortal danger.

As far as I know, people did vote in the West and the South of Donetsk region, it’s about 15% of the region's electorate. Most of the voices were given to Mr.Petro Poroshenko. which was a surprise, as this electorate usually votes for the “Party of Regions” and its candidates.

Crimea
There were, unfortunately, no elections in the annexed Crimea. However, people registered in Crimea could vote at any ballot station at the continental part of Ukraine — provided they applied in advance.

Ms. Niyara Abdullaeva from Crimea told the “Crimea.Reality” correspondent that most of Crimean people were deprived of their fight to vote: “Many people would like to be here now and give their voices to the candidate they trust, confirming Ukraine’s european choice. Unfortunately, only some people can afford this: some of them odn’t have enough money for the distant trip, and some of them fear persecution they can face in Crimea because of their political views.”

Most Crimean people who left the peninsula on the election day voted in Kherson region. Besides, Crimean refugees in Kyiv, Rivne, Ternopil, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhgorod, also took part in the election.

Ms. Irina Cherkasova, Odessa
Our peaceful and tolerant city has been through a tragedy, and of course that influenced the people’s moods. These elections were for many people a line, and they wanted to leave their worries, unrest, fears for their lives and their future behind that line. Besides, I think many people realised how important it was to have a proactive attitude and work on our common future. For that reason the ballot stations were overcrowded — which, however, didn’t make people miss the voting.

I can share my own impressions of being at the ballot station, at it was like a gentlemen’s club. The staff was extremely polite and willing to help, though they looked tired in the afternoon. A group of observers also helped the visitors in a steady and non intrusive manner. For example, I tarried in indecision when looking for a free voting cabin, and one of the observers opened a free one for me and stepped away immediately as I thanked him and stepped in.

Increased separatist moods in the East of the country definitely influenced my choice, and, I think, the choice of many other people as well. I understood how important it was to elect our President after one round and make our State work effectively as soon as possible.

With all due respect to many other candidates I voted for Mr. Petro Poroshenko, as I understood that he represented both the forces willing to continue Ukraine’s European integration and that oligarchic network having real leverage over the situation.

Time will tell whether I was right and whether most of my compatriots who made the same choice were right. The only thing I can surely state now is that the elections gave us hope. We have hope for the first time in many months that we’ll break free from that horrible whirl of events, where our country was pulled in by the competing clans and the neighbouring country. We also realized that the election is not the end, it’s just a beginning. The beginning of the new life and our joint work on building a fair, just and really European state.

by Ms. Tetyana Evloeva

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