The strange “referendum” on the accession of the Donets and Luhansk oblasts to the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast was organized not simply to point out the absurdity of the separatist referendums. A similar poll is also one of the tools for creating on the territories in the east not yet seized by separatism a certain buffer zone and also a springboard for future attack.
Sunday, May 10, was marked by the separatist pseudo-referendum on the independence of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, which took place despite the request from Vladimir Putin himself to postpone it. The fact that this “referendum” is in reality no referendum at all and will not have any legal implications is known to everyone, including the organizers of this event — Putin’s terrorists.
But something else is of interest here. Along with the separatist “referendum,” in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk that are controlled by the Ukrainian military, a parallel referendum was held in which residents could express their position on joining their local communities to the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, where, in contrast to the neighboring Donetsk Oblast, there is no hint of separatism.
In particular, this applies to the polls organized in Debaltsev, Yenakiyev, Yasynuvata, Avdiyivka, Volnovakha, Novoazovsk, Mariupol (Donetsk Oblast), and also in Alchevsk, Stakhanov, Bryanka, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminne, Starobilsk, and Svatove (Luhansk Oblast). Of course, the “Kolomoysky referendum” (Ihor Kolomoysky is the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast — Ed.) cannot be considered a procedure that will have any legal consequences either, and the first task of the “plebiscite” is to point out the complete absurdity of the “referendums on self-determination,” on which the Donetsk separatists have obsessed for so long.
There is no doubt that the separatist “people’s governors” will announce that the idea of “independence” was supported by 97% or 79% (whatever number the separatist decide on in their pseudo election committees is beside the point). The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast will answer with his own “referendum” that is no less convincing. In passing, we need to point out that changes in the territorial administrative divisions in Ukraine require only 226 votes for the Verkhovna Rada to pass an appropriate bill and for the president to sign it. Knowing the energy and influence of Mr. Kolomoysky, such an outcome does not appear impossible. Under such conditions, the results of the “referendum” can play their role, and the poll will be more than just political theater. Moreover, a conference of representatives of the communities of southern and eastern Ukraine will take place in Dnipropetrovsk in a week and, based on the results of “Kolomoysky’s referendum,” may appeal to the Verkhovna Rada to adjust the internal borders of Ukraine.
Also of note is the fact that, at the same time that the separatists in Slovyansk and Luhansk were carefully manufacturing the numbers of ballots required by Russian TV channels, in certain territories the attempt to conduct visible “referendums” encountered serious difficulties. Thus, in four districts in the northern Luhansk Oblast, where the population is primarily Ukrainian-speaking and does not exhibit great love for its brotherly occupiers, the National Guard stood in the way of the referendum organizers. The same National Guard closed down all polling stations in the city of Krasnoarmiysk. According to media reports, the battalion Dnipro was involved, even though Kolomoysky’s deputy Boris Filatov later strongly denied any involvement.
It appears that Rinat Akhmetov has decided to become the master of the new Donetsk republic without caring too much whether it becomes a new Transnistria or some other semi-independent entity that formally remains in a federalized Ukraine. In either case, Akhmetov and his dominion will become entirely dependent on the Kremlin.
As for Kolomoysky, his recent actions demonstrate an attempt to create on the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts not yet consumed by the fires of separatism a buffer zone between the stable Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and the terrorist East. The hypothetical joining of these territories to the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast will only help in that task. In the first stage, this zone will become a kind of quarantine that will prevent the separatist contagion from spreading across the depressed industrial cities of the Donbas. Eventually it can become the springboard for the deployment of forces and a gradual attack on Akhmetov’s shabby terrorist “state.”
By Taras Klochko, Espreso.TV, May 11, 2014
Translated by Anna Mostovych