More than 150,000 residents of the territories of Donbas not controlled by the Government of Ukraine voted remotely in the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation as of 15:45 (Kyiv time) on Sunday, 19 September. This was announced by Kiril Vyshinsky, the chairman of the international cooperation commission of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.
Currently, there is not complete information on the participation of residents of the territories of Donbas currently occupied by the Russian Federation. It was reported that the occupation authorities organised e-voting and also transferred people to the Rostov region by bus (several hundred units were announced) and by rail (12 electric trains).
Vyshinsky noted that residents of Donbas had taken part in the elections at 15 polling stations in the Rostov region and “more than 1,400 transfers” had been allegedly organised.
At the same time, according to Denys Kazansky, a journalist and member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas, there is much evidence from various sources that residents of the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions had been forced to vote in the Russian elections. For example, students and various categories of state employees were forced to go to Russia and then report on that.
“If you count, several thousand people were brought to the polling stations by buses. Someone voted online, but we will never know the true number. These are embellished facts,” the journalist said. He added that many people had been issued passports of Russian citizens even during the vote.
The Central Election Commission of Russia does not see any violations in the fact that residents of the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas “voted” in the State Duma elections in the Rostov region just minutes after receiving a Russian passport. According to Ella Pamfilova, the Commission’s head, it was allegedly “absolutely official and legal” and “there was a decision of the president on the expedited procedure for obtaining a Russian passport given the big number of those willing…”
Meanwhile, members of the Parliament of Ukraine will actively discuss this week the idea of adopting a resolution to not recognise the results of the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation due to violations of electoral and international law.
As a reminder, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine condemned conducting elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation in the occupied Crimea and enforced involvement of the residents of the territories of Donbas currently not controlled by the Government of Ukraine in the elections. Kyiv views the organisation and conduct of illegal voting as a continuation of Russia’s gross violations of Ukraine’s state sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Foreign Ministry stressed that the involvement of Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as almost 1.5 million voters in Crimea, significantly distorted the results of the Russian State Duma elections and called into question their legitimacy. All those involved in organising and conducting such a vote will be held liable under Ukrainian law.