Is the Rebel Ukraine Vote a Setback?
Some say it’s illegitimate. Some even go as far as calling it a downright farce. One thing is for sure, though… no one can ignore the election in eastern Ukraine.
Rebels say that it helps their separatist cause. In fact, Oleg, Rebel Unit Commander, adds: “We had a normal election. The fighters’ mood is energetic. They have voted for ‘New Russia,’ and we are waiting for victory.”
Aleksandr Zakharchenko, pro-separatist, led the elections with a complete landslide – as the former mining electrician secured around 80% of the votes.
Addressing the media, he says, “Our people have shown that they don’t just make war, they also fight for a happy future. We are ready to talk to anyone who will listen to us, and listen to reason so that no blood is ever spilled on this land.”
Supposedly, Russia respects the people’s will, but it stopped short of recognizing the election.
As Christian Schulz (of Berenberg Bank) puts it, it’s a case of one step forward and another one backwards: “The important thing for Europe here is that if the conflict in eastern Ukraine does not get any worse, in the sense that we do not get another hot war on the ground, then it could be one of the factors that would drive the stabilization in confidence – in particular, in Germany – and could thus be good. But it remains a very volatile situation.”
The rebel region is permitted to elect its own local officials now, per the ceasefire agreement signed by all sides. However, any and every vote must be supported by the Kiev government. And in this case, it wasn’t.
The government’s firm stance threatens the security of the fragile ceasefire, leaving a big worry. In fact, shortly after the polling stations closed, artillery fire was heard near Donetsk International Airport.
In pursuit of the truth,
Politics Research Team