According to the latest polling, fewer than 4 in 10 residents of the oblasts that supposedly just voted 90% in favor of independence actually want to join Russia.
A new poll out from Ukraine (by London-based ComRes for CNN, with 1,000 respondents, conducted in Russian and Ukrainian) generally matches the Avaaz-commissioned poll earlier this year, even after all the chaos since then. Most notably, the new poll finds support for annexation by Russia is still well below a majority in the three Ukrainian oblasts (see map at bottom of post) recently seized by Russian-speaking separatists:
The CNN poll found that even in eastern Ukraine, a minority of people back an alliance with Russia.
Just over a third (37%) of Ukrainians in three eastern regions favor an alliance with Russia, while 14% of the region backs an alliance with the European Union and about half (49%) say Ukraine would be better off if it did not ally with either, the poll found.
“Eastern Ukraine” includes the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, which are generally seen as among the most pro-Russian areas in the country.
Donetsk and Luhansk held referendums on independence on Sunday, with an election official in Donetsk saying Monday the region had voted 90% in favor.
To get a sense of how illegitimate and fraudulent that referendum was — held even after Vladimir Putin himself publicly asked that it be delayed — check out the New York Times reporting on how absurdly and shoddily conducted it was. Here’s just the tip of the massive iceberg of fraud:
There were no rolls of eligible voters, and only very slight precautions were taken against people voting more than once, a common form of electoral fraud in former Soviet states that is known as “carousel voting.”
Tatyana Us, a volunteer election official, referred to the system as “open list” voting. She said officials would compare handwritten lists of people who voted after the polls closed, and would deduct one vote each time they found a person who had voted twice at different polling stations. She did not know whether a yes or no vote would be deducted.
The ballot boxes were transparent (I mean literally clear plastic), so voters who bothered to show up — and many did not, in light of the violent situation on the ground — could easily see the overwhelming number of votes already cast for independence from Ukraine.
This must have been one of the most illegitimate plebiscites held in the past century. Even Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet had more respect for the electoral process.