Today is a turning point for Ukraine. First round of elections is over. It showed that the people of the country want change and see that change in the inexperienced but ambitious candidate Vladimir Zelensky. However, it’s not just Ukrainians deciding their fate right now, but sitting president Poroshenko as well — otherwise there wouldn’t be a second round.
At the end of last year, sociological studies proclaimed Poroshenko the leader of anti-ratings, and the situation hasn’t changed at all since then. During five years of his presidency he has not fulfilled any of his promises about the European standard of living, the fight against corruption and the end to the civil war. Moreover, as Der Spiegel recently noted — the conflict has become a “lightning rod” for blaming all shortcomings.
“We are implementing reforms with one hand, because with the other we have to restrain our neighbor’s aggression,” Poroshenko’s words are cited in the article.
For all the discontent of the Ukrainian people, it looks mighty weird that Poroshenko advanced to the second round. However, many were also passionate about potential leadership of Vladimir Zelensky to pay any attention to the grand scam that the current president of Ukraine had organized in order to keep his seat.
Voteless & Voiceless
“If Poroshenko counted Ukrainians in Russia as his core, he would’ve made every effort so that they could vote,” says Ukrainian political expert Oleksandra Reshmedilova, commenting on the rather ambiguous decision of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine to deprive Ukrainians living in Russia of voting rights.
And she’s absolutely right. Many Ukrainians in the past five years have been forced to leave the country in an attempt to make money abroad. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, there are 3.5 million Ukrainians in Russia, and given the pro-Western position of Petro Poroshenko, it was obvious that they would never vote for him.
“I have the impression that the story behind the closure of the polling stations is an attempt to block out some voters who wouldn’t vote for the current president. This is a very dangerous precedent ”political analyst Alexei Yakubin assesses the situation.
Kiev claims it’s due to the fact that Russia is an “aggressor”, and therefore deprivation of voting rights is only to make it safer for Ukrainians and prevent Russian Special Service from putting pressure on them. However, the authorities did not specify where the citizens of Ukraine who were actually deprived of their legal rights are. As a result, only 1% of Ukrainians living abroad voted in elections.
Similarly, there are also residents of Donbas not under Ukrainian control. The reasons claimed are the same. In 2014, Petro Poroshenko promised to end the conflict in a few weeks, but the war has now been going on for over five years. Whatever goals the president would achieve, these people first of all want peace, and would vote for those who could provide that peace. They would certainly give preference to opposition candidate Yuriy Boyko, who himself was born in the Donbas, but their voting rights were taken away.
Democracy for sale
«The Net» — name given by the Ukrainian media for the scandalous system of paying off voters, developed at the headquarters of Petro Poroshenko. In Ukraine, it has long become a generally accepted fact. Political scientists prefer to call it controlled voting, and this has a definite meaning.
The principle of the system is quite simple. Agitators hired by headquarters received 1,000 hryvnias ($ 37) for work under the guise of a sociological study, recruiting supporters of the current president, promising them a monetary reward for a vote in the elections. Emphasis was placed on the poor, who are unlikely to refuse the «easy money», as well as pensioners and state employees, as the most disciplined part of the population. Thus an extensive database is formed. Later, people on this list were called up, inviting them to fill out an application for receiving money. It is noteworthy that the financing of this scheme came from the state budget under the guise of social assistance under the framework of a large-scale aid program “Care”.
On average — 85 million hryvnia ($ 3.2 million) per region were paid out as part of the program. The peculiarity of “Care” is also in the fact that it is absolutely not tied to any category of citizens, which means that anybody could receive money.
It is worth noting Ministry of the Interior is aware of the scheme. The head of the department, Arsen Avakov, has repeatedly spoken about this, stressing that the department is ready to resist such actions from any candidate.
“The target audience is distinguished from those who loyally spoke about the candidate at the time of the initial survey, and “the grid” thus obtained is paid out of state bridge. According to various estimates, the planned coverage of those affected is between 700 thousand to 6 million, ” The minister explained the workings of the system created by Poroshenko’s headquarters in an interview with Weekly Mirror
Farce, not votes
Cutting off the electorate from opponents and a large-scale program of bribing voters — these are the two most ambitious projects that Petro Poroshenko launched in order to get to the second round. However, they are far from the only ones that voting day itself revealed.
March 31 in Ukraine was marked by chaos. Although, on the basis of logic, all forces should be mobilized to conduct a transparent and democratic electoral process, from the very morning in the regions of the country a number of violations popped up. For example, in the Odessa region, two polling stations did not open at all, as it turned out that the local election commission received the wrong stamps. Later it became known that the ballot papers on these sites were “spoiled”
Volyn region did not receive enough ballots, despite the fact that the Central Election Commission printed many more ballots than was required. According to the State Statistics Service, as of January 1, 2019, the population of Ukraine was 42 million people and 60,260,000 ballots were printed
And to understand why so many were printed just look at the following photos.
The first photo was taken in Bakhmut, Donetsk region. The second is in Toretsk, also Donetsk region. They show obvious ballot stuffing, literally a stack of ballots. The person who was entrusted with dirty work of election fraud simply did not bother to throw the sheets in one by one.
In general, the Donbass became the center for fraud. This is due to the fact that martial law is actually in effect in the region, and the entire administrative resource is subordinated to the military representatives of Kiev, and those to the Supreme Commander Petro Poroshenko. So, despite the fact that opposition candidate Yuriy Boyko dominated east of the country, there is an interesting trend: in the region where the current government is not in favor, the president suddenly takes the lead, and very noticeably. In the same Bakhmut polling stations reported more than 60% of votes in his favor. There are more than a dozen such cities in the Donetsk region alone, and Petro Poroshenko, according to the headquarters of Yuriy Boyko, scored an unrealistic number of votes here, which on average exceeds 55%.
This level of falsification was promoted by another curious aspect, which is most relevant in the frontline areas. In Ukraine, it is called «dead souls.» in reference to classic works. The fact is that the election committee has registered voters indiscriminately, including those who could not vote: residents of the territory not controlled by Ukraine, and even the dead. The head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, who died last summer and was branded as a terrorist in Ukraine, also appeared on this list. All these people, living and dead, just «voted» for Petro Poroshenko. It was their voices in the ballots that were piled in the baskets. They created a surprisingly high turnout for Ukraine — 63.48%. In absolute numbers — 17 000 599 people.
The police opened a criminal case into this matter, but how it will proceed remains a mystery.
“Police found a video with information on the overstatement of the number of votes in favor of one of the presidential candidates in some polling stations. In particular, the video refers to the illegal use of ballots in eight localities in the front-line areas of Avdiivka and Toretsk, ”the press service of the National Police of the Donetsk region reported on April 7.
At the same time, it remains a fact that, with 2.7 thousand violations revealed by the police during the voting, the Central Election Commission, being completely loyal to the current president, did not acknowledge those.
Based on this, the real state of the results of the election could be completely different. Yulia Tymoshenko, who placed third, said on March 31 that her headquarters was conducting its own calculation, and according to this data, it was she who was in the lead. However, for reasons unknown, she did not dispute the results of the CEC, focusing instead on the upcoming parliamentary elections. As for Poroshenko, all his falsifications gave him only 15.95% of the vote, which is half as much as the leader of the race, Vladimir Zelensky.
Now, the presidential administration claims that this gap is not difficult to cross, referring to the experience of the elections in Austria in 2016. There, Norbert Hofer, who overtook Alexander Van der Bellen in the first round by 13.8%, eventually lost the election.
However, Alexei Yakubin is sure that this example is not quite correct: “Austria is a parliamentary republic, and the role of the president in it is completely different. Voters’ attention to the elections and the context of the elections there are also completely different. ”
At the same time, he did not rule out the fact that the administration was thus creating a background for further falsification, especially since the “social” program «Care» continues to operate.
“It is also not clear how the ballots of Ukrainians residing abroad are counted. Internal migrants from Donbass had problems with absentee ballots. I’m not talking about the members of the Central Election Commission, which includes six members of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, and the rest are loyal to the president [only 16 people],” he stated.