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A foreign election in our Crimea

Expert: “Ukraine needs to be consistent and refuse to recognize the newly elected Duma, while the West needs to keep the Russian delegation out of the PACE!”
20 September, 11:19
Sketch by Viktor BOGORAD

Russia held a parliamentary election lately. More properly, it was a formal imitation of the election procedure, conducted in order to keep the present regime in power. Something similar happened in the Soviet era as well, with the only significant change being that in the new political realities, the current masters of Kremlin have to comply with more realistic formalities.

So, at the time of this issue going to print, Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) had processed 93 percent of the ballots cast. “The turnout stands at 47.81 percent. It varies. It is an ordinary turnout, I would say,” the CEC’s chairwoman Ella Pamfilova reported. Results varied a little as well. The United Russia still led with 54.28 percent and, according to the preliminary data, will receive 140 mandates in the State Duma on party lists, and 203 in single-member constituencies. The Communist Party received 13.45 percent according to the preliminary data on party list vote, giving it 35 seats. The Liberal Democratic Party won 13.24 percent of the party list vote and 34 seats on that measure. The Just Russia got 6.17 percent. Political parties of non-systemic opposition failed to cross the 5 percent entry threshold. Thus, according to the preliminary data, the United Russia will hold 343 seats in the State Duma, giving it a supermajority.

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine has condemned Russia for holding election for the State Duma in Crimea and Sevastopol and will convey to our international partners the list of the persons directly involved in the organization of this farcical event in Crimea as well as those who participated in the illegal election, for inclusion in the sanctions lists. Ukraine also urged the world not to recognize the results of the State Duma election in occupied Crimea.

 “Russia’s treatment of an integral part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine as part of the single federal electoral district, as well as creation of four single-member constituencies in the Crimean peninsula, are flagrant violations of the fundamental norms and principles of international law. In this regard, the results of voting and powers of the 4 State Duma members elected in occupied Crimea’s single-member districts and 225 legislators elected on party lists are null, void and illegitimate, which casts doubt on the legitimacy of the whole of the State Duma,” the MFA’s statement reads.

Andrii SENCHENKO, MP of the 5th, 6th, and 7th convocations of the Verkhovna Rada, leader of the All-Ukrainian Movement “Power of Law” human rights organization:

 “With regard to the election for the Russian State Duma held in free parts of Ukraine, it was possible due to the fact that we still maintain diplomatic relations with the aggressor state. All the talk that these diplomatic relations are necessary in order to protect the interests of Ukrainians in Russia is just a lie. The true reason is the president of Ukraine’s psychological inability to take a necessary and situation-appropriate decision. As for the Duma election in the occupied territories, it is clear that the organizers of this vote are effectively the Russian security services. They ensure electoral commissions’ formation as well as turnout. They cannot be said to have succeeded on the latter count, though.

“The Ukrainian government would have largely disorganized the efforts of the Russian special services had it promptly released a legal evaluation of the actions of those Ukrainian citizens who organized the illegal ‘referendum’ in Crimea and took part in it by serving on the so-called election commissions. We are talking about all the levels of the organizers here, from the top leadership of the occupiers’ administration to the lowest clerks and those who put forward their candidacies. Had such a legal evaluation been released in time, many Ukrainian citizens, who are in fact forced by the Russian special services to take part in this so-called Duma election, would have refused to do so out of wariness.”

Semen NOVOPRUDSKY, independent journalist, Moscow:

 “The routine character of this election is shown by the relatively low turnout. Importantly, the lowest turnout was registered in Moscow and St. Petersburg. While it was nothing new in St. Petersburg, the authorities did not expect this low turnout in Moscow.

 “This election has demonstrated that, despite all the talk about highly elevated political activity, most Russians remain apolitical. And of course, this election has shown that the Duma, at least for now, will be unable to become a tool to help the country out of the crisis. This is because it will be formed by the same political forces which, firstly, showed their complete lack of independence for as long as they were in the parliament, and secondly, they were in many ways involved in causing this deep crisis. In fact, the slogans of stability are bandied about by the forces that have shown their incapacity to govern. It is also evidence that there is a crisis of capacity.

 “The opposition is very fragmented in Russia. And even if it was united and a large part of the people were willing to vote for it, it would have still failed to be elected, and it is unlikely to succeed in the future. It does not consider it even possible to really compete in the elections, believing that it does not affect the government’s policies anyway. It is generally true, for it has no way to counteract the government if needed.”

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