Sham Referendums in Ukraine: A Surefire Farce


Status: 09/23/2022 8:37 p.m

Torture and intimidation are commonplace in the occupied regions of eastern Ukraine. The perpetrators are Russian soldiers and their henchmen. As long as Russia occupies territory, there will be more graves like the one in Izyum.

A commentary by Andrea Beer, WDR, currently in the Ukraine

The other day I was standing next to the exhumed body of a person who obviously didn’t die of natural causes. His stiff body had just been lifted from a dark mass grave in the Izyum forest. He was lying on a banal plastic sheet with his limbs bent and a rope tied around his neck. He may have been strangled with this rope, according to the first findings of the Ukrainian authorities.

The small town of Izyum in eastern Ukraine was until recently occupied by members of the Russian army and their henchmen from Chechnya, Donetsk and Luhansk. And disturbing scenes such as the exhumation of hundreds of corpses in Izyum once again confirm the bloody reality of the occupation under Moscow direction: a system in which there can only be coercion. Never a real election like the pseudo-votes now.

Hasty torturers

The entire hypocritical process with almost bizarre-looking “electoral commissions” or “polling stations” is simply against international law and is rightly not recognized, especially since armed groups are supposed to force people.

All of this serves as a pretext for Russia to annex the occupied territories of Ukraine. In Cherson, Mariupol, Enerhodar, Donetsk or Luhansk – lawlessness, torture and intimidation by the occupiers of the Russian army and their hasty torturers are the order of the day everywhere.

Even worse times loom

The forced vote is a farce, but an important turning point nonetheless. After an annexation by Russia, the people in the Russian-occupied areas would probably face even worse times than they have had to experience up to now. Also on those who are more pro-Russia and anti-Kyiv. Be it as a result of years of Russian propaganda in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, be it out of conviction.

The Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Verechchuk regularly calls on people to leave the occupied territories. But not everyone dares this life-threatening flight and it would probably soon no longer be possible after an illegal annexation.

Corpses with signs of torture

It is still unclear what will happen if Russia sees the fighting over possibly annexed Ukrainian territories as a direct attack – on Russia. But I’m already dead certain: there will be more graves with corpses buried with signs of torture. Just like the man with the noose around his neck in the dark mass grave in Izyum.

Editorial note

Comments always reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

Commentary: Farce with surefire consequences – forced voting in Russian-occupied areas

Andrea Beer, WDR, September 23, 2022 at 7:58 p.m

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