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Rebels in east Ukraine claim landslide vote for independence

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Of course it would be "disputed" by the West (read: NATO).

After all, as all the world knows, a referendum is the earmark of totalitarianism, terrorism and the Axis of Evil.

Overthrowing a democratically elected president, now that's the thing to do to earn a pat on the back.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

How can it be illegal for people to vote?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Only in Pretzel-logic Bizarroland would a supermajority vote be considered undemocratic and illegal. If memory serves, the 13 British colonies in America declared independence from tyrannical George. The British Parliament likewise considered the Declaration illegal and invalid. Who's the tyrant now? The NATO King?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I think the voters expressed their will pretty clearly despite the "democratic" Western leaders rhetoric. i wonder ,how can a Pew Research Centre of the US claim the exact opposite of what the people`s referendum results just showed? Yeah, I,m sure they are totally unbiased in the way they conducted their selective poll. Btw, the fact that pro Kiev national guardsmen fired on a crowd of people lined up to vote at a referendum killing and wounding a number of them as reported in more detail on other websites will do wonders for the western backed Kiev government. Government which in itself is by any definition illegal. The free " western media propaganda line on all this is really an eye opener.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

There was no way to independently verify the vote results. The rebels had prevented foreign media from observing ballot counting, and voting had taken place with no neutral monitors, incomplete electoral rolls, and a haphazard registration procedure that did nothing to prevent multiple voting.

Probably what most people on both sides were expecting.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Anti-Kiev sentiment was riding high after a fierce firefight between troops and rebels that killed up to 21 people on Friday.

And the ages and genders of those killed by the Ukrainian military ???

Oh oops, I forgot, there's a gag order on that information in the Western media, as you'll never find that printed by the AP, AFP or Reuters. Mysteriously all the those killed on the Pro-Russian side are "rebels", "terrorists" or "insurgents".

A freelance photographer working for AFP saw a gunman in a group of pro-Kiev militants fire into a crowd of pro-Russian activists in the town of Krasnoarmiysk, badly wounding at least two.

If you're waiting for any Western Government to condemn these shootings, don't hold your breath. They won't mention it, refer to it or acknowledge that it happened. Or perhaps they'll refer to it as "proportionate and reasonable" as they did when Kiev ordered tanks to drive over a human chain of unarmed civilians.

A poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center in the United States suggested 70% of Ukrainians in the east want to stay in a united country, while only 18% back secession.

Notice how they say "in the East", where exactly is that? Also, these polls are rigged because they're done in one language, in this case Ukrainian. This is how PEW skews the results. They know that Russian speakers won't respond to a poll done in Ukrainian language and of course they target the poll in specific areas.

Nice try PEW, but we we're not so easily duped.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Bush: And the ages and genders of those killed by the Ukrainian military ?? Oh oops, I forgot, there's a gag order on that information in the Western media, as you'll never find that printed by the AP, AFP or Reuters

When there are multiple fatalities, the news outlets rarely print the age and gender of the victims. It's nothing new here. You can find the same type of reporting in regions around the world.

Notice how they say "in the East", where exactly is that? Also, these polls are rigged because they're done in one language, in this case Ukrainian. This is how PEW skews the results. They know that Russian speakers won't respond to a poll done in Ukrainian language and of course they target the poll in specific areas.

The poll was conducted in all regions in the East, and in fact an oversampling was done. The poll responses have sections broken out into "Russian-only speakers" so obviously their responses were taking into account. In addition, PEW uses people from the local areas to conduct the surveys, meaning they'd have a local representative in the Russian areas. They even take care to include people who have the same regional dialect.

It's all spelled out on their website and in their report. I'm not sure who is telling you to go around saying that the Russian language was not used.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

“These can be considered the final results,” he said, less than two hours after polls closed.

He's being modest. The results were determined long before the polls even opened.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Without an independent varification, this poll is meaningless. It's just rebels fabricating the results that they want to see, regardless of the actual vote results. "Farce" is putting it mildly. A proper election poll should be held, without militant thugs in attendance, with independent and impartial adjudicators varifying the legitimacy of the results, and we'll see what the people really have to say, not what the separatists want the world to believe the people are saying.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

According to AP, Ukrainian national guard (consisting mostly of "Right Sector" activists from West Ukraine) opened fire on the referendum day on unarmed crowd outside a town hall of Krasnoarmeisk (in Eastern Ukraine), and there were fatalities. Shocking... This is just one of the many similar cases recently that, I think, shows at least three things: (a) it is not surprising that such circumstances would only reinforce the will of people to vote for independence; (b) the referendum is just a mere formality, and regardless of its results, the East and West of Ukraine had reached the point of no return in the process of their separation; and (c) the claims of Russia, that the activities of its military in Crimea preceding the referendum were intended solely to prevent eventual bloodshed provoked by national guard and other armed Ukrainian extremists (not confronted at all by the government), now, retrospectively, seem to be rather well-founded.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

When there are multiple fatalities, the news outlets rarely print the age and gender of the victims.

Oh really, try to be more astute when you read the news. Take note of the headline, what language is used, what information is provided. The News Agencies are very selective of the type of information they provide and how they provide it, that's how propaganda works.

Have you noticed a difference in the terminology used during the maiden protests and the words used now.

Notice that in the maiden protests, the Western media would always use the expression " x number of protestors were killed"

Now they always say "x number of rebels (terrorists) died as a result of violence (or clashes)"

The subtle change of language is meant to alter the perceptions of the reader, so as to make the Maiden protestors seem to be victims of an evil government yet the pro-Russian protestors are all made out to be terrorists that deserved their fate.

Superlib, by your count, how many unarmed civilians (non-combatants) have been killed in East Ukraine? Do you really believe that the 150 plus Pro-Russians that have been killed so far are all "terrorists"?

And you if still believe that the Maiden protestors were shot at by police, have a look at this investigation conducted by an independent German TV Channel (subtitled in English), whereby they concluded that the snipers were from within the Maiden protest group.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDPJ-ucnyPU

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Dont call them Rebels, call them Proud people of the Republic of Donensk and Slovansk

6 ( +8 / -2 )

According to AP, Ukrainian national guard (consisting mostly of "Right Sector" activists from West Ukraine) opened fire on the referendum day on unarmed crowd outside a town hall of Krasnoarmeisk (in Eastern Ukraine), and there were fatalities.

According to the AP, many of the Russians in the crowd were armed.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The result is meaningless as those running the vote did not allow independent observers to monitor it.

Still, I'm pleased to see that the crook Putin is now so keen to encourage minorities within countries to vote for secession. I eagerly await the announcement of an independence vote in Chechnya as most of the people there don't want to be part of Russia. I'm sure Putin will have no problem with the Chechen people becoming independent, respecting as he does the right to self determination. Or does that only apply to "Russians" in Ukraine?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Bush: Oh really, try to be more astute when you read the news.

I really have no desire to dictate the narrative about the Ukraine which is probably the biggest difference between you and me. You keep responding to individual posters and quite often no one in particular about how the media is distorting everything, but people who have even a passing interest in the topic would be hard pressed to believe many of your positions. That's to say I could believe nothing the Western media tells me but still think your points are calculated propaganda and often sound like you just made them up.

And at the end of the day I don't believe that Putin is a dangerous man because of the media, I think he's dangerous because he will have been in power for 20 consecutive years in a "democracy," he's shut down a lot of media outlets, he's former KGB, he has a desire to see Russia expand, and we know that he's already lied about the Russian involvement in Crimea.

So no, it has nothing to do with the words the AP chooses to attach to the people of East Ukraine. I don't have to blindly follow Western media to think Putin has a hand in what's going on in East Ukraine, but you're have to be blind to say that he doesn't.

I know the Right Sector is a dangerous group and makes the overall situation more volatile and they have blood on their hands. But since their candidate is holding steady with less than 1% of the votes in polls and since I've read numerous outlets saying on their best day their operating members total in the hundreds/thousands, I don't think that they 1) overthrew the government 2) took over Parliament 3) control all of the violence on the ground and 4) make up the Ukrainian National Guard, as one person posted here. I think it's an attempt by Russia and people like yourself to find the most radical elements involved and then convince the world that they are representative of West Ukraine and the West in general.

I see you post stories about the PEW results so I go to the website and quickly see that your claims are completely false. I called you out about a mythical Russian language ban that was never signed into law. You mixed up the concepts of a poll and a referendum. You post incredibly biased recaps of stories that rely on the person not being biased, but knowing nothing at all. To date you've described armed men taking over government buildings and taking up positions as "civilians" in every situation as if we're all stupid. I don't go around telling you that Right Sector thugs are great guys so at least give me the same courtesy when talking about armed men in East Ukraine. Once again, it has nothing to so with the media. I'm more than happy to say that radicals on both sides are the problem.

Believe it or not you do have supporters in the West. The problem is that they tend to be complete nutjobs like Alex Jones and his followers. If you want to see a complete psycho, meet anyone who supports him. That isn't helping your cause.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Upgrayedd:

According to the AP, many of the Russians in the crowd were armed.

First, this is from AP:"One of the videos shows several armed men holding AK-47s yelling to the crowd "go home, get out of here." One then cocks his weapon, and seconds later a man from the crowd steps forward and approaches another gunman, also carrying an AK-47, to speak with him. The gunman fires a warning shot over his head, but that doesn't deter the man. He continues to approach as shots continue and the man is struck by a bullet, falls to the ground and can be seen bleeding from his leg."

Second, there are photos and videos with the victims in the Internet - wounded and dead - they were not from the paramilitary forces of protesters, and were not armed.

Third - the crowd consisted of Ukrainians (not Russians) - i.e., citizens of the Ukrainian city of Krasnoarmeisk.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The vote is considered "illegal" and "undemocratic" by Western countries because it goes against the US and NATO's plan for regime change in the region. Hardly surprising.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The vote is considered "illegal" and "undemocratic" by Western countries because it goes against the US and NATO's plan for regime change in the region. Hardly surprising.

No, because it was a political power grab. But we are talking about Putin which isn't surprising at all.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Bass4funk Political powergrab just like when Junta Euromaidan took over the power when we could all see them armed.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

SuperLib, great post above. Thanks for letting me know that it's the like of Alex Jones that is setting all of these nutwingers off. And Bass - international politics makes strange bedfellows, doesn't it? (I've traveled in 3rd World countries enough to understand by experience what a "bedfellow" is.)

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Let's take a step back and look at reality here;

We have a coup-imposed government, that was never voted in by anybody, telling people that it's illegal for them to vote.

I can't think of a more undemocratic situation than that.

An unelected government telling people it's illegal for them to vote.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The problem : "new government " took power by force

And they trying to rule by force

They recognise NO compromise with opposition

Only " Fire at will !!!"

It is something from VERY old political history

Or from modern Africa

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Those predicting chaos, might want to take a look at Crimea;

the coffee shops are open and full, there's no violence, minority Tartars are being treated with dignity and respect, wages are rising, and they're expecting a bumper tourist season this summer.

There's no sign of the chaos that western "experts" predicted. The whole transition happened without a hitch.

The people in Eastern Ukraine truly despise this new government that has been imposed on them and they want out. 47 of their compatriots were burned alive in Odessa and the new government calls the victims "terrorists".

The Russian speaking areas of East Ukraine are lost to Kiev for good, they have to accept that fact. Heck, Ukrainian army APCs can't even last more than a few minutes in any given area before they're swarmed and overrun by civilians.

It's game over Kiev.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In April, 2005 President Putin's made clear at the annual state of the nation address to parliament he viewed the breakup of the Soviet Union as the 'greatest geopolitical catastrophe' of the 20th century. The bloody conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are a direct result of President Putin's ideological obsession to settle a political score from the break-up of the USSR.

We're in everyone's a loser territory, way beyond the political hubris about the illegally of Sundays referendum.

Whilst President Putin was proudly admiring the Russian Federations annual parade across Red Square, the usual modern contemporary works of missile, pride of place the fashionable intercontinental ballistic brand, interspersed with rocket launchers, tanks, and synchronized goose stepping, Russia the world’s largest oil producer, appears obvious to the fact that the world market is flooded with crude. Saudi Arabia is sitting on 2m plus barrels, whilst the US is producing some 8m per day . As the price corrects so will pressure mount further on the Russian economy.

EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels to today to debate whether to impose new sanctions on Russia companies that will block and seize capital assets, Washington has already hit Russian businesses with similar sanctions. Putin will look to direct Chinese capital investment to stimulate growth and to hedge against the capital outflows. One man ideology honed by 16 years as an officer in the KGB will cost Russia future as a energy superpower.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I still can't get my head around this "illegal" voting thing.

How can a vote be illegal? Who is going to be arrested, and what is the charge going to be?

I can understand calling the vote "illegitimate", "invalid", "unsanctioned" or "non-binding", but how can it possible be illegal?

Are you saying that if I print up a ballot on my home computer with a yes/no question on it, hand it out to my neighbours, then collect the ballots and count them, I'm going to be arrested?

What part of that is "illegal"? Sure the government can say that my referendum is "invalid" but how can it be "illegal".

Law experts please enlighten me on the terminology being used here.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sure, Burning Bush! It's one thing to take temporary custody of a country's government; it's another to hold an impromptu vote regarding the country's integrity. You might notice this when your neighbors' family votes on who the lawn mower they often borrow actually belongs to.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

You might notice this when your neighbors' family votes on who the lawn mower they often borrow actually belongs to.

Okay, taking your example, while the theft of the law mower would itself be illegal. A vote on the topic cannot possibly be illegal.

I ask again, how can the vote itself be illegal?

What charge is the prosecutor going to lay and upon whom?

A vote (referendum, poll, etc) cannot be illegal, it can be invalid, illegitimate, unrecognized, unsanctioned or non-binding.

The vote itself is not a chargeable criminal offence.

Those that are calling it illegal are merely demonstrating their ignorance of very basic concepts of law.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I ask again, how can the vote itself be illegal?

Lol semantics

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Okay, I'll give you that, under international "law," it is what you have mentioned: invalid, illegitimate, unrecognized, unsanctioned and non-binding. However, under Ukrainian law - this being not a referendum, mind you, but an apparent vote of intent - it was against the law. Thus, it was illegal.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ukrainian constitution no longer applies in this case, because the Nazi junta that took power have violated it numerous times. Hence, the regions have full right to decide for themselves. There is no way you could argue that an illegitimate government in Kiev could have any authority over the will of the people in eastern Ukraine.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I am struggling to understand what the Referendum was for?

Self Rule?, federalisation?, Join the Russian Federation?, Independence?.

The legality of the vote and the Donetsk People's Republic could well rest with how a court interrupts Article 73 of the Ukrainian Constitution that states - Alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the All-Ukrainian referendum -

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

Practically it was for independence. After the actions of the Ukrainian self-proclaimed government over the past few weeks, I do not think that any rational inhabitant of eastern Ukraine has any wish to live in the same state with people that open gunfire on women, children and the elderly.

As for legality, that legality was undermined by the actions of U.S. regarding the armed insurgents in Kiev. The ousting of the democratically elected president was done with U.S. backing, from which follows that the U.S. being signatory to agreements regarding Ukraine is worth than the paper those agreements were written on. To Russia's and Putin's credit, not even when a pro-US president (Yuschenko) was elected and started to follow an anti-Russian policy within Ukraine, not even then did Russia try to change things by force. Now the whole game is totally different.

@Laguna

"You might notice this when your neighbors' family votes on who the lawn mower they often borrow actually belongs to."

Except that in this case it's an argument exclusively between members of the same family, and the lawnmower was bought using common funds.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The legality of the vote and the Donetsk People's Republic could well rest with how a court interrupts Article 73 of the Ukrainian Constitution that states - Alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the All-Ukrainian referendum

This only means that for a referendum to be considered valid, it must be conducted nationally, but it does not mean that it is illegal to conduct a non-national vote.

Nowhere does it say that it is illegal to conduct a referendum that is not national, it's not a chargeable offence, there is no prison term.

Any person can conduct any vote they wish among any group of people, at any time on any topic, hence it is ludicrous to say that the vote itself is illegal.

There is no law against conducting a vote, there are only laws that dictate which elections and referendums will be recognized as legitimate by the courts.

Lol semantics

Sure, but globe trotting diplomats who are supposed to be experts in international law should not be making this elementary error.

How much are these diplomats earning per year, on top of their unlimited expense accounts?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just a note on why, other than 'rigging', results on voting day can be wildly different from results in a public opinion poll from earlier. On the Friday before the Monday election here in Alberta, the results from a public opinion poll conducted on Wednesday and Thursday showed the Wild Rose party well in the lead. On election day, the announcement of another massive Conservative party win came minutes after the polls closed. What happened? A couple of speeches by Wild Rose party candidates, showing them to be the right wing extremists that the Conservative party had been warning people they were, came to light. So, what has happened in the Ukraine between the Pew poll and the voting? Not just speeches (for example the one calling Hitler a 'liberator' on a day marking his defeat) showing the Kiev regime to be the right wing extremists the opposition (oops, that is what the people who tried, and then succeeded in overthrowing a democratically elected government for doing exactly what it had campaigned on doing were labelled as. Those who are aligned with what that democratically elected government was doing get the foreign label) has been claiming, but actions (shooting, and worse, of civilians by those taking orders from the regime, and other acts of repression and oppression)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not just speeches (for example the one calling Hitler a 'liberator' on a day marking his defeat) showing the Kiev regime to be the right wing extremists the opposition

Good call, that's true.

The Ukrainian governor of the Kherson region, who is in league with the new coup-imposed government, gave a speech praising Hitler as a liberator. Watch as a brave young Russian tries to take his microphone away in disgust. Notice as all his henchmen stand by and watch as if praising Hitler is a daily thing to do.

http://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/25ar93/video_governor_of_kherson_ukraine_declares_hitler/

Meet the new bosses in Kiev.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Bush

Yes, there are some evil folk in Kiev. But that doesn't mean that the pro-Russians in the west are any less horrible....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Democracy. Russian Style.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Funny. People decrying the referendum as illegal do not seem to care that Ukrainian cadres shooting unarmed civilians standing in line to vote is also illegal. Nor do they care that the current government is illegal, having come to power in a coup--in violation of the constitution. How people informally voting can be called illegal is beyond me. But if it is, it is then nonviolent civil disobedience. Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King might approve.

The votes were carried with no apparent violence. The pro coup forces were the violent ones--and their Western supporters in spirit.

Eastern Ukraine is safer to hold even "illegal" voting than the Iraq that the U.S. made.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ukrainian parliament approved the current interim cabinet to lead the country until May 25 elections for good reason.

The eastern regions produces 16% of Ukraine's GDP, over 50% of the Ukraine’s industry in Eastern Ukraine, Gazprom has calculated that Ukraine owes more than $22 billion in outstanding supply contracts.

The IMF loan is dependent on strict economic reforms, including raising taxes and energy prices. Sunday's vote for independence has created further instability from a break-up. Ukraine will be highly dependent on heavily subsidised imports of Russian gas for the foreseeable future. EU will only react economically with IMF involvement, Ukraine deficit is only manageable if the financial markets have confidence it can be repaid.

Little wonder then the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov this morning called for dialogue.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

As usual, we'll have to wait and see what happens next. I don't think even the most hardened Soviet supporters would call this a transparent election. Saying that you are breaking away is one thing, but making it happen is entirely different, especially when there is a significant part of the population who may not all be on the same page.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

(I've traveled in 3rd World countries enough to understand by experience what a "bedfellow" is.)

Then that would make us both well experienced 3rd world travelers.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Ukrainian parliament approved the current interim cabinet to lead the country until May 25 elections for good reason.

And who is the current Ukrainian parliament may we ask? Is the it the same people that were duly voted in during the last elections, because those people were chased out of the building.

Parliament is not in legal session when most of the members are gone and there are thugs standing around with baseball bats.

And physically chasing someone out of a parliament seat and then sitting in the same chair yourself doesn't make you a parliamentarian, you have to be voted in by the people, which this new government wasn't.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think the voters expressed their will pretty clearly despite the "democratic" Western leaders retoric.

Despite the hypocritical rhetoric of West. Now we can see that 'Western leaders' support no democracy anywhere but nothing except their selfish dirty policy.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Some will never learn:

We teach them to take their patriotism at second-hand; to shout with the largest crowd without examining into the right or wrong of the matter -- exactly as boys under monarchies are taught and have always been taught. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place -- the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else's keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan.

Mark Twain, a Biograph
0 ( +0 / -0 )

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