How Russia Holds Fake Referendums Using Guns, Children and Terror

With a big propaganda show, Russian state media marked the beginning mock referendums in the four partially occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson. The Russian occupation authorities called on the people to vote on whether their region would join the Russian Federation.

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There was almost no other topic on state television, and the state-controlled Russian news agency Tass even began broadcasting live. The mantra is that everything is “absolutely normal” and that there are “international observers”, including from Russia, Togo and South Africa. According to Russian state media RIA Novosti and TASS, people are required to take part in the mock referendum in their homes for four days “for security reasons”. Pro-Russian supporters have been going door-to-door since morning, allowing people to fill out a ballot. On the fifth day, September 27, residents plan to go to the “voting precincts”.

Russia starts referendums in Ukraine

Ukraine and the West have criticized the multi-day vote in Russian-occupied territories as a “fake referendum”.

“Referendum under the muzzles of machine guns”

Videos released by Russian state media Tass show door-to-door voting in Donetsk: Residents are handed a ballot accompanied by armed Russian soldiers. There are similar photos from Melitopol, Zaporozhye, distributed by the Ukrainian media. They cannot be independently verified. But it was before Internal Intelligence Service of Ukraine (SBU) warned that the Russian occupation authorities would create armed groups to search homes and force people to participate in fake referendums.

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“This is a kind of referendum on machine gun nozzles,” Ukrainian news portal quoted. TSN deputy from Kherson region. “Imagine a man comes with a soldier and asks: yes or no?” If you say no, you will be arrested and taken to the basement.”

Many residents fled

Many mock votes apparently take place in residential buildings, with no privacy whatsoever. According to Internal Intelligence Service of Ukraine The Russian occupation authorities in Ukraine should allow children between the ages of 13 and 17 to fill out the ballots in order to increase the total number of votes and make the result look credible. Parents and childcare workers should bring minors to polling stations, the Secret Service has warned.

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Political scientist Thomas Jäger of the University of Cologne said in an interview with the editorial board Germany (RND) that Russia must think of something to make the fake referendums look at least somewhat credible. He also pointed out that many residents of the area have long since fled and are no longer in the area. According to the Secret Service of Ukraine, residents of four regions who traveled to Russia should also vote.

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The purpose of fake referendums is to legitimize the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories

Since the start of the fake referendums, the occupiers have intensified terrorist activities in the occupied territories. According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia destroyed civilian infrastructure and residential buildings in more than 30 places in the 24 hours before the start of the mock referendum. The control of the Russian military police has been strengthened in Kherson. “There, through budget control, psychological pressure is put on the population,” it says. Under the guise of humanitarian aid, attempts are being made to collect data on eligible voters. In some cities, such as Starobilsk Luhansk, people are said to have been banned from leaving the city. According to the Secret Service, in recent days media loyal to the Kremlin, including Russian state media, have been preparing to “…

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