Russian President Vladimir Putin formally approved the annexation of the occupied parts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts on 30 September 2022. Here are five things that this will change.
Propaganda shows termed “referendums” that concluded in the Russian-occupied territories on 27 September served as the legal pretext for yet another Russian landgrab. Predictably, Russia’s occupation authorities reported a surreally high turnout with an even more surreally high “approval rate” for being annexed by Russia. Then, Russian puppet “officials” of the occupied territories convened in Moscow where Putin proclaimed the “admission” of these occupied regions into Russia.
Pseudo-referendum shows have no legitimacy
Russia had discussed plans for conducting “referendums” ad nauseam since its occupation of Ukraine’s southeastern regions in March 2022. However, the plans habitually got postponed due to local resistance and a strong partisan movement that announced a safari on local collaborators participating in preparing the pseudo-referendums.
These happenings, termed “propaganda shows” by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, are legally void disregarding their absurd organization — with “voting” teams barging into people’s homes, accompanied by armed soldiers, and offering zero voting privacy.
Ukrainians living in the occupied territory were literally forced to choose between compromising their safety or following their conscience. According to Vira Yastrebova, CEO of the East Human Rights group, residents who were not successful in avoiding contacting the “voting” teams and either refused to take part or voted “no” were detained. Not all of those who were detained had returned or gotten in contact with their family.
According to Harald Hartvig Jepsen, International Senior Adviser of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems Ukraine, only Ukraine can hold a referendum on Ukrainian territory, and by organizing fake voting on the territory it occupies, Russia has violated a range of international standards.