East Ukraine Votes For Independence: Turnout Reported "Off The Charts"

Tyler Durden's picture

The most significant geopolitical event of the day is the east Ukraine independence referendum taking place in various cities across the region, less than two months after the Crimean case study which saw the region split away from Ukraine and join Russia, despite the fervent warnings by Kiev and the west that the result of the "rigged election" would not be accepted by anyone. As it turned out then, it only needed to be accepted by Russia which promptly took over the Black Sea territory.

Today's vote is a carbon copy of what happened in Crimea, with the locals almost certain to vote in Independence from Kiev (even over Putin's "objections" who has managed to distance himself from the vote if quite willingly will accept its outcome), followed by another vote that annexes east Ukraine (and subsequently Transnistria) to Russia which may be held as soon as May 18, promptly followed by the adoption of the Ruble as the regional currency.

All while the west once again, in a desperate example of futility does nothing, but merely warns of more "costs", sanctions and claims this too referendum was illegal. The same west which, as a reminder had no problem with a violent voup in Kiev three months ago despite a signed agreement by western leaders that saw the existing government in power until late 2014. The same west which now sternly refuses to recognize what, at least superficially, is a democratic referendum.

As a reminder, this is what most likely will be the final outcome of today's events:

For the details of what happens on the ground, we go to Reuters:

Separatist rebels pressed ahead with a referendum on self-rule in east Ukraine on Sunday and fighting flared anew in a conflict that has raised fears of civil war and pitched Russia and the West into their worst crisis since the Cold War.


In Mariupol, scene of fierce fighting last week, there were only eight polling centres for half a million people. Queues grew to hundreds of metres in bright sunshine, the event taking on an almost festive atmosphere as one polling station overflowed and ballot boxes were brought out onto the street.


Clashes broke out around a television tower on the outskirts of the rebel stronghold of Slaviansk shortly before voters made their way to polling stations through streets blocked by barricades of felled trees, tyres and rusty machinery.


"I wanted to come as early as I could," said Zhenya Denyesh, a 20-year-old student, second to vote at a concrete three-storey university building. "We all want to live in our own country."


Asked what he thought would follow the vote, organised in a matter of weeks by rebels, he replied: "It will still be war."

Oddly mature for his age, and yes - Ukraine's violent response is only a matter of time: "Ukraine's Interior Ministry called the referendum a criminal farce, its ballot papers "soaked in blood". One official said that two thirds of the territory had declined to participate." The US response was just as terminal. Via the NYT:

A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said the United States would not recognize the results of the votes. She said the referendums “by armed separatist groups are illegal under Ukrainian law, and are an attempt to create further division and disorder,” adding that if they proceed, “they will violate international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Far more importantly, should Ukraine be split in two - either peacefully, or through a civil war - the IMF's bailout money ends, which after all is what this is all about.

However, while this would mean the end of the Kiev government which would be promptly swept out of power should the western money trickle to a halt, the eastern locals couldn't care less:

Engineer Sergei, 33, voting in the industrial centre of Mariupol, said he would answer "Yes" to the question on the ballot paper, printed in Russian and Ukrainian: "Do you support the act of state self-rule of the Donetsk People's Republic?"


"We're all for the independence of the Donetsk republic," he said. "It means leaving behind that fascist, pro-American government (in Kiev), which brought no one any good."

Just as important is that the local population has no illusions about what happens next:

Some see a "Yes" vote as endorsement of autonomy within Ukraine, some as a move to independence and others as a nod to absorption by Russia.


Annexation is favoured by the more prominent rebels, but the ambiguity may reflect their fears an explicit call for full "independence" might not have garnered the support they seek and could leave them in an exposed position towards Kiev.

The NYT focuses on this question:

Despite their slapdash nature, the elections pose a risk of escalating the smoldering conflict in Ukraine by entrenching the political wings of pro-Russian militant groups, while putting the interim government in Kiev in the awkward position of arguing against what organizers describe as a democratic votes.


“The results will legitimize us before the world community,” Roman Lyagin, the chairman of the central election committee of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, said at a news conference here Saturday. Mr. Lyagin said he had printed 3.1 million ballots that pose one question: “Do you support the act of self-rule for the People’s Republic of Donetsk?”


But even in Donetsk, the wording had people baffled. Some interpret the question as a vote for more local autonomy, some for independence and still others as a step toward inviting annexation by Russia, following the example set in Crimea.

In any case, the answer will be known shortly: the turnout based on journalist reports has been far greater than expected: 

More on the turnout from RT:

More than fifty percent of voters in the Donetsk region have already cast their ballots, according to the head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” Roman Lyagin.


“The turnout is not just high, it’s off the charts,” Lyagin said. “People are queuing up at polling stations, and election commissions are working at full capacity.”


The referendum turnout in the Lugansk region has already reached 65 percent, according to the chairman of the local referendum committee, Aleksandr Malykhin.


In Mariupol, recovering from Friday's deadly clashes, only eight polling stations have been opened, according to the coordinator of the central election commission of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, Boris Litvinov. Those willing to vote have to wait for their turn in huge queues.

Voting is due to end in 53 locations at 10 p.m. (1900 GMT) and the rebels hope to have the ballots counted by Monday afternoon. This means that an official announcement of east Ukraine independence may come as soon as Monday night or Tuesday.

"It is not at all clear what action rebel leaders will take once the results, expected one way or another to show a large "yes" vote, have been announced. Any appeal to Russia could confront Kiev and the West with a serious challenge."

What most likely will happen is that the newly-independent eastern republics will note that Kiev armies continue to engage in anti-terrorist operations, at which point they will request that Russia send in peace-keepers. At that point Putin wins again.

As for the visual coverage of the day's events, here is a sampling of photos on the ground:

Finally, here is a livestream from the Donetsk central voting commission which has periodic updates on the voting process:

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MFL8240's picture


A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said the United States would not recognize the results of the votes. She said the referendums “by armed separatist groups are illegal under Ukrainian law, and are an attempt to create further division and disorder,” adding that if they proceed, “they will violate international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

But it is OK for Obama to ignore the US Constitution on a daily bases!  We have absolutely no business getting involved in the Ukraine but as the bankers have ruined the US banking system and the dollar and Putin wants to put an end to the Petro-Dollar, all of a sudden the Ukraine chaos is interesting to the War Mongers! How about we get rid of the Federal Reserve and start over to fix America rather than involve our self in another place we do not belong?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Clearly all going according to some playbook for stoking late year flames. It's going to be a very cold winter upcoming, That is when people get desparate.

That is when these goons will strike. Till then, expect hot and cold, peace and war-lets...

This is just a game about the illusion of control....


Manthong's picture

You know how you sometimes get a little lapel sticker (I Voted) when you go to the polls here?

This time, everybody over there should get an AK for showing up to vote..

It would greatly help to mute the inevitable western backed Kiev goon reaction.


ParkAveFlasher's picture

Not to beat a dead horse, but where is John Kerry in all this?

Abi Normal's picture

ROFLMAO, there are some real dumb asses over there in Ukraine...

So lemme see, we fomented (via CIA) unrest in Ukraine, and now Pukin has his opening to annex as much has he wants, brilliant, eh?

I would like to see the proof of our CIA fomenting violence, or is it you have a sound bite of the communist Nuland?  Where is the proof USA started this whole thing...

I don't have it (proof), do you?

svayambhu108's picture

Nobody gets this news, MSM is blind to this, so obviously no english version


EatYourCornTakeyourPill's picture

Blind to what?

Propoganda reported by the RT via RT pawn Zerohedge?

It's not even 20:00 there, polls aren't closed. And you think paper ballots have already been counted? It would take weeks to count these but we all know that the results were goalseeked in the Kremlin.

Misleading headline, complete bullshit. 

Theta_Burn's picture

And all those barricades we've been seeing are trying to keep the Russians out?

Latina Lover's picture

Message from Donetsk and Lugansk:

Dear Ms Nuland/Nudelman

Your cookies suck. If you really knew anything about us, you would have handed out pelmeni (perogies).


The People

PS Fuck the US!

Anusocracy's picture

"Do you support the act of self-rule for the" person named ___________________.


Antifaschistische's picture

Well, unfortunately...self rule isn't really on the ballot anywhere in the modern world.  The only option any of us are given is who we will be a slave to this year, or next year.

The Ukraine has been run by fascists...what I would have like to have seen is a true "independence" movement with perhaps an East and West Ukraine.   Annointing Putin as your king (as much as the guy has made me smile these last few years) hardly qualifies you as being independent or opting for "self rule"

moneybots's picture

"Blind to what?

Propoganda reported by the RT via RT pawn Zerohedge?

It's not even 20:00 there, polls aren't closed. And you think paper ballots have already been counted? It would take weeks to count these but we all know that the results were goalseeked in the Kremlin.

Misleading headline, complete bullshit."


What is the exit polling showing?

Zero Hedge is not an RT pawn.

disabledvet's picture

Well it is a little ironic that ZH has come down squarely on the side of a "full scale War between Russia and the West with Russia winning."

Only the lunatic fringe phucktards believe this is a good idea.

Again according to GERMAN Chancellor Merkel "Putin is a phucking wacko."

Since their aren't all too many people if The Borderland to begin with very assertions of authority and "new arrangements" EVEN BY PUTIN STANDARDS have been declared a bad idea.

Even a cursory glance at the historical record says why.

For the historical record "an entire generation of Americans has been lost just to keep Mother Russia in one piece."

Anusocracy's picture

I'm for he US keeping all of its military, intelligence agencies, NGOs, and special ops all within its own borders.

In other words, make the malignant tumor that it is a non-malignant tumor that consumes itself faster.

Theta_Burn's picture


Not sure if its your post or the vodka tonics from last night...

A majority of ZH readership squarely wants a war? how about some fucking common sence.

Putin wouldn't be the "bad guy" if we just minded our own buisness.

Sacrificing a whole generation of Americans keeping Mother Russia in one piece really wasn't a concern to TPTB at that time, neither was the 10-1 Russian/allied sacrifice required for the big win..

Putin isn't what everyone wants, he corrupt, a thug an oligarch, and a liar, but right now hes what everyone needs.

Bottom line is we fucked around with a country, on his border mind you, and he called bullshit.

Dude loosen those bandages a little..

sushi's picture

Henry Kissinger appears to agree with ZH:


"The demonization of Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one," Kissinger wrote.


You show me a link where Kissinger gets reported in the Western "media."

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_11/Claims-that-Putin-initiated-conflict-in-Ukraine-after-Sochi-Olympics-make-no-sense-Kissinger-8792/

QQQBall's picture

Yeh, Merkel stands like a tool/prop while Omomber spews bullshit basically telling her that he will keep spying on her emails, phones, etc.

Matt's picture

"And you think paper ballots have already been counted? It would take weeks to count these but we all know that the results were goalseeked in the Kremlin."

You know it is possible for more than one person to count the ballots? Like, each polling station can individually count its own ballots? We use paper ballots for federal elections in Canada, and we get the results within ~4 hours of polling stations closing.

The thing is, democracy only matters if you have someone with enough guns who is willing to recognize the results of the vote.

sushi's picture

Canadians could get the results 4 hours BEFORE the polls close if they would just agree to Harper's reforms.

lakecity55's picture

Begone, Zionist Troll/Bath House Suckster!!

Nobody here thinks RT doesn't shade their coverage.

Libertarians and other True Americans are not Pawns of the USSA or the RF!!

Crawl back to your Termite Masters!

BlindMonkey's picture

Does this imply you have more trust in the US propaganda organs ABCCBSMSNBCFOX?

angel_of_joy's picture

First, they vote for it.

Then, they pick up arms and fight for it.

And then, you're dead !

Anusocracy's picture

I love the smell of a dying empire in the morning.

crazzziecanuck's picture

It doesn't take "weeks."  We just had a riding election here in Canada.  About 2000 ballots counted by four people in less than fifteen minutes.  Twice.

free_lunch's picture

Paper elections in Europe always started on sunday morning, the results where always on TV in the evening.. So you're saying the democracy in Europe has been rigged for decades?

A Nanny Moose's picture

What makes you think elections are only rigged on a single Continent?

I've seen rigged eleections for the Board Members and President of the local Little League. The math impaired turd brains seemed to forget that you cannot have more votes than voters.

Bingo Hammer's picture

Pretty much the same in Australia, within 4 hours the result is clear 

tsuki's picture

The votes will be counted by Monday, but everyone knows the result.  In a poll, more than 50% wanted to remain their own country, just over 20% were pro-EU and just over 20% were pro-Russia.  Since the only option is for independence, they will vote for independence by 70+%.  Don't need RT to tell me that.


Ser Bronn's picture

The Crimea and the Donetsk River Valley, the Don, and the Donets have historically been under Russian control since the age of the Kievan Rus. I just typed a goddamn bloody long term paper over conflict in the Don River Region. Russia has savagely fought every enemy that entered the Donets region from Pecheneg tribesto Nazi Panzers. And here we are.... poking the Russian bear and her people in her own backyard. Understand the region, its people, and more importantly its history before you post bull 

strannick's picture

The people have spoken but the Westt ie. CIA/IMF dont like what they have to say, so they will pay.

McMolotov's picture

All Kiev and the West could do was whimper after the vote in Crimea. The same will happen with this vote. "Anti-terrorist operations" will rightly be viewed by people in east Ukraine as an attack on their sovereignty, and they will request assistance from Russia.

For the Nulands of the world, they now know they completely fucked up, and it's all over but the crying. We'll see how desperate and unhinged from reality they really are. After today, they're left with one feeble option to advance their agenda: go to war with Russia.

Sofa King Confused's picture

the United States would not recognize the results of the votes

who gives a fuck what the United States thinks, do they think they are ruler of the world

Bingo Hammer's picture

yes and a "little" country in the middle east owns the US

Trogdor's picture

That's a "shitty little" country, actually ;)

TheRedScourge's picture

Yes, they do, incase you were unaware.

tsuki's picture

Yes.  They think they are the indispensable one, the chosen.

BurningFuld's picture

I wish they would knock off their "Evil Russian Empire" routine. I mean really...............

Oh but it keeps the war machine lubed doesn't it?

TheMeatTrapper's picture

who gives a fuck what the United States thinks

I live in Alabama and I sure as hell don't care what the Federal government thinks. As far as I'm concerned, Washington is a bigger threat to me than Russia ever will be. 

It wasn't Russian snipers pointing rifles at American citizens in Nevada, or Russians stealing cows and running ranchers off public land. It isn't Russians telling me that I have to pay DOUBLE for my son to ride the bus but "underpriveleged" kids get to ride the bus for FREE and I HAVE to pay for it. 

It isn't the Russians that are making my life difficult. It isn't Russians who are picking my pocket and deciding who gets the fruit of my labors. It isn't Russians doing any of that, is it? It is good, solid, patriotic Americans that are working for the beast and selling their souls for a paycheck and pension. 

I have no reason to point a rifle at the Russians. On the other hand....

BearClaw's picture

As far as I'm concerned, Washington is a bigger threat to me than Russia ever will be. 

Former Defense Sec. Robert Gates, now a Chancellor at William & Mary College said essentially the same thing on one of the Sunday shows earlier today.

Ides of November's picture

Apart from anything else , can you please tell me what business Nuland, McCain, Brennan, Kerry and Biden have had visiting Ukraine and supporting an opposition that subsequently gained power via a coup d'état (ie - there was no election that brought Yats and his mates to power)

Can you point me to a similar stream of high ranking officials from any European country that has trekked to Ukraine over the last several months?!?! Wouldn't you say that is strange - given Europe clearly had a much larger vested interest in Ukraine (and the stability of their gas and energy supplies!!! than the US).

Clearly you also missed the speech by Nuland patting everyone on the back for the $5 billion invested in Ukraine to 'bring freedom to Ukraine' - via a coup d'état!!! You couldn't make this stuff up!! Spoken in December 2013 at a conference on Ukraine sponsored by???? CHEVRON. Ever heard of them???

You clearly also missed the phone call on January 2014 between Nuland & Pyatt in which Nuland said 'fuck the EU' we're going to get this thing done anyway and the guy we want to put in power is our man 'Yats'.

Geez, awfully good at reading the future isn't she. What was Yats doing not a month later? Why, leading the coup government!!

Clearly you haven't been following this situation closely or at all if you aren't aware of this sort of thing!

813kml's picture

The frequent visits by US lackeys are what leads me to believe that the US is desperate, they provided the money and means to get a civil war started ASAP.  The FED can continue its backdoor QE via Belgium and other conduits for awhile but the West needs to put a lid on a gold Juan before the world finds out it has no gold left.  It's also a show of force to scare/satisfy oil producers that might think of abandoning the petrodollar.

I don't see how much further the US can push China/Russia without starting a shooting war.  The game clock for the dollar is in crunch time, the best the US can hope for is overtime.

BlindMonkey's picture

More like penalty minutes where the time left in the game is set by an arbitrary referee. Only they know when it will end for sure. Make no mistake though, the wistle is ready.

franzpick's picture

The unscheduled, unauthorized last minute visits to Kiev by Nuland, McCain, Brennan, Kerry and Biden were very possibly black bag trips to deliver cash 'support' to fund the feeding, arming, fueling and transport of snipers and provocateurs around Kiev and to eastern Ukraine target cities.

Yes, U.S. fascist 'policy' has become that atrocious, malicious, cruel, ill-fated and doomed. 

Mine Is Bigger's picture

Your first point is what I have been bringing up to anyone who would listen.  Most people would go, "Oh, yeah, now that you've mentioned ..."  I personally blame journalists not doing their job intentionally/unintentionally or too stupid/biased to realize it is totally unacceptable for high-ranking foreign government officials to visit a country in turmoil and express support for a group that is trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.  This whole situation in Ukraine could have been avoided if Ukrainian people were given the chance to decide if they wanted to move toward the EU or not by casting votes.

shovelhead's picture


Neo-nazis are very shy and need constant validation to feel 'empowered'.

The US is giving out hugz.

Sometimes cookies are not enough.

buyingsterling's picture

They spent $5 billion trying to undermine the government there, we spend less than that on presidential elections, and think about how much naked propaganda they churn out. And that's in a country with seven times the population of Ukraine.