soldiers behind, open cards and washing machines as a prize –

from Francesco Battistini

Go to the vote for the annexation. “You can also check no: in this case your details are recorded”. “Or a hooded man gives you a kick in the kidneys”

KIEV – We vote in the gardens and in the cortili. In the kitchens and on the stairs of the buildings. In bars and shops. In markets and on car roofs. No booths, any pen is fine. The cross must be made under the eyes of the electoral commission and a couple of hooded and armed men. The card does not fold and ends up wide open inside portable glass urns, just like it happened in 2014 in Crimea, where it was normal for Putin’s soldiers to control the vote. «You can also check ‘no’ – tells us DK, 46, who lives in Kherson – in this case, they write down your data. If you refuse to vote, you have two choices. Or you find the kind teller who advises you to be careful, because you have a job and children. Or, if no one is filming you, you can kick yourself in the kidney from the hooded ones“. What did you choose? “I’ll sleep five nights away from home. And I will not be found ».

Armed threats

Vote or run away. DK’s choice is the choice of many. He has a hut in the country, “I used it to hunt.” He will be hiding from us all five days of the referendum, “then I’ll invent something to go away.” They haven’t gone home to fish yet, but he knows it will happen: ‘Until Monday, the Russians will go door to door. They say it is because there are few tellers, there was no time to run electoral commissions, there is no online voting … Nobody believes it: why then do they present themselves to the voters with armed soldiers? The best thing that can be done is not to open. But sometimes, the door is also thrown down“. The exiled governor of Lugansk, Sergei Haidai, tells us that in Starobilsk they dragged people to the landings. “And in Bilovodsk, the manager of a factory called the employees and spoke clearly: those who do not vote lose their job“.

Let the farce begin. The polls are opened, the votes are sought. And the voters: at the cost of firing them, of convincing them with a washing machine as a gift, of going and picking them up among the orphans. In Lugansk and Donetsk, in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, in occupied and yes and no controlled territories, here is Putin’s referendum. Announced three days ago and organized among the shotguns. With some real journalists, among the 542 accredited. Without independent observers, unless one wants to consider the 132 monitors neutral – lists the Russian ultranationalist Sergei Kurginyan – “which arrived on purpose from France and the USA, from Portugal and Qatar, from China and Great Britain, from Romania and from Venezuela, South Africa and Togo “, obviously from Russia and even from Italy: mostly NGO members welcome to the Kremlin, given that the UN has rejected this antics and many local OSCE observers have been under arrest for months, awaiting trial for collaboration with the Ukrainians.

Cheat and rewards

You already know how it will go, turnout and results. More spontaneous than spontaneous, the expected participation by Moscow is between 72 and 87%. But there are images of empty seats, with a few small babushkas or queues of soldiers. The cameras are crowded only around Denis Pushilin, the self-proclaimed president of Donetsk, who in gray-green is exalted for “the historic milestone” and “the only right way to Greater Russia”. In Melitopol, the former city clerk has 27 trucks loaded with people brought to vote from Crimea. “All forced people – says the Ukrainian mayor Ivan Fedorov – the order is to create an image of participatory voting and the illusion of regularity”. In some neighborhoods, the ban on leaving the place of residence before 27 September, the last day for voting, has been widespread. The Ukrainian municipal secretary of Zaporizhzhia, Anatoly Kurtev, says that “residents are promised cash prizes and household appliances if they also take advantage of the vote to apply for a Russian passport“. According to the security services of Kiev, to inflate the data of the voters, the ballot paper ended up in the hands of minors, including those staying in orphanages.

In Donetsk, just to make it clear that a simple formality is being dealt with, the question is only in Russian: “Do you support the accession of your republic to Russia as a federal subject?”. Five days to give the only answer allowed, another five to proclaim the only possible result: at the latest on 2 October, the Kremlin says, the Constitution will come into effect in 15% of Ukraine and the Anschluss will allow Putin to send more soldiers to these areas, to the point of “defending” them as if they were Great Mother Russia in all respects. For now, Kiev responds by preparing a counter-offensive in Lugansk and with the eighteen Himars missiles launched where the vote is taken: Zelensky knows that almost no one in the world will recognize annexation and prefers to talk about the horrors that are uncovered every daylike the torture chambers where the Putinian soldiers – UN observers certify, after having visited 27 villages and interrogated 150 witnesses – even tortured children.

This time the Ukrainian president sends a video message in Russian, a language he also speaks better, an appeal to consciences across the border already dismayed by the forced enlistments: «You are complicit in all these crimes. Because you have always been silent. Now in Russia it is time to choose. For men, whether to remain crippled or sane. For women, if they lose their husbands, children, grandchildren forever. Or protect them from death and from just one person. “

September 23, 2022 (change September 23, 2022 | 22:57)

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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