Thursday, 8 May 2014

Think of a number

I'm trying to guess what the result of the polls on Sunday will be. Somehow I doubt it'll be the modest "Syrian" 97% we saw in Crimea. Judging by the choice of the term "People's Republic" for Donetsk, I think some of these Eastern Ukrainian votes will come closer to a "North Korean" 100%. The separatist paramilitaries will want to prove they are even more Russian than the Crimeans.

Looking at this photo of the current leadership of the "Luhansk People's Republic" we can expect the actual business of vote-counting will be a long process involving the removal of shoes and socks.

Will Putin acknowledge the result? He won't necessarily have to. As I've noted before, Armenia has never officially recognised the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh even though the Armenian president Robert Kocharyan had been president of the breakaway region. Putin's game is plausible deniability - with very little emphasis on the "plausible".


  1. It's about 90% in Luhansk at the moment. Donetsk is slow to count up results (as if they really needed counting) but it looks like we're going to see 90%+ as well.

  2. I've got it all wrong: Luhansk separatists report 94-98% with a 75% turnout. Pretty Crimean. But Donetsk is waiting for updated instructions from Moscow: they say the won't be releasing final results any time soon but the preliminary yes vote was 89%. Recall the intercepted conversation between the Moscow-based Nazi Barkashov and the Donetsk warlord Boytsov. It even made it to BBC Russian Service last week. Barkashov said, to quote from memory, "Make it 99%... are you going to make rounds and pick up sheets of paper? Are you f-g crazy? To hell with it... OK, make it 89% for the Donetsk Republic. That's it."

  3. I hadn't seen the news about Barkashov. Lo and behold, the Donetsk vote really is 89%. This makes those stories about seized pre-filled ballot papers all the more plausible.

    The masters of the new People's Republics are imitating North Korea in other ways, especially xenophobic paranoia, seizing the Red Cross and journalists (even Russian ones now). I guess they just like beating people up, taking hostages and torturing them. Not even cheap vodka is as intoxicating as the power they can now exercise in their fiefdoms. I'm guessing there are a lot of petty criminals and hoodlums among them. As I said, these wars attract football hooligans with Kalashnikovs (and, um, MANPADs). Expect the movement's own Arkan to emerge soon (armed robber and head of Red Star Belgrade's hardcore fan club turned Serbian "patriot").