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The people of eastern Ukraine exercised democracy yesterday and voted overwhelmingly to separate from the Kiev government.
Almost 90 percent of voters in Donetsk Region have endorsed political independence from Kiev, the head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, Roman Lyagin, announced….
Despite fears that amid Kiev’s intensified military crackdown – which killed at least two civilians on referendum day – the turnout will be low, in both of the region it was unexpectedly high. In Donetsk it reached 74.87%, while in Lugansk the central election commission says 75% of eligible voters came to the polling stations.
With such a huge turnout, the referendums have been recognized as valid by both election commissions….
Calling the regional voting on self-determination illegal, Kiev sent its recently formed paramilitary forces to Donetsk and Lugansk regions on Sunday, in an apparent move to disrupt referendums.
As armored military vehicles blocked passage to polling stations, voting in four towns across Lugansk region was disrupted. In the Donetsk town of Krasnoarmeysk, the National Guard shot at a crowd and killed two civilians who were protesting their attempt to seize a polling station….
The overwhelming vote in favor of separation will make it more difficult for Kiev and the US government to claim this was all orchestrated by Russia. The fact is that the Kiev government is nearly as unpopular in eastern Ukraine as it was in Crimea, where 95% of the people voted to get out of Ukraine.
US Secretary of State John Kerry can talk all he wants about this vote being “illegal,” but self-determination has always been illegal in the eyes of the government that stands to lose part of its territory. The overthrow of Ukraine’s president on February 22 was also illegal. The American Revolution was also “illegal” from the British point of view.
So which “illegal” action is ok? Is it legal to overthrow an elected president but illegal to hold a referendum for self-determination? When the new Kiev government decided to disenfranchise Russian-speaking people in their country, they sent a clear message to all Russian-speakers that they were soon to become an oppressed minority. Even though they later repealed those laws, their heart was exposed and the damage was done.
There are consequences to every action. The revolution genie was let out of the bottle, and even Russian President Putin himself could not stop it at that point. Putin doesn’t want to take over Ukraine (Kiev), because then Russia would be responsible for the debts of a bankrupt, failed state. He would rather the US and Europe were bled dry trying to pay the debts of the Ukraine. After all, Ukraine’s 30 tons of gold were shipped off to the Federal Reserve, probably as payment for US support for the Ukrainian Revolution.
Yet Russia may have little or no choice in annexing Eastern Ukraine, especially because 90% of the people might demand it, and because so many of them are ethnic Russian. Where Russians are in the majority, this in itself can become a strong argument to join with Russia. When it comes to man’s laws, the difference between legal and illegal is made by the decisions of men. When those decisions are driven by huge majorities, all opposition starts to have a hollow ring to it.