As recently as yesterday, I was unsure whether the referendums in the Donetsk Region and the Luhansk Region would end up as the same landslide vote against the new Kiev regime as the referendum in Crimea. The ethnic Russians are stronger in Crimea, and so on. However, yesterday, I realized that the question was different in Donetsk and Luhansk. The voters were asked
Do you support the Act of State Self-rule of the Donetsk/Luhansk People's Republic?Note that there has been no vote on the annexation by Russia yet; the grassroots or the new local politicians may be preparing the referendum on the annexation for the following weekend and I am really uncertain about the results. The support for annexation could be significantly weaker. The desire for genuine independence could be strong. On the other hand, the emerging republic(s) will probably need some military support to resist the attempts of the current Kiev regime to occupy them – the Kiev troops and tanks are being declared occupation forces today – so they may be forced to seek some close relationships with Russia whether they want it or not. Well, let me repeat: I honestly can't predict the results of the next referendum.
The people's desire to submit ballots in the referendum that took place yesterday was staggering, about 75%. See e.g. these long queues in front of the polling stations. Everyone knew that some lunatics from Kiev may begin fire against civilians, like in Krasnoarmejsk, but they went to vote, anyway. In fact, the fear of the bullets from Kiev has probably encouraged people to vote and to vote for independence from Kiev. I would probably be pushed in that direction, too, regardless of the detailed nationalist colors of the regime that would be pointing guns and tanks to civilians like me.
About 90% were in support of the independence of the Donetsk Region; 10% were against. The Luhansk Region data will be published later. They may be a bit less convincing but I do expect the independence to gain the support of a majority, too.
Why do I expect the support in Luhansk to be weaker? It's simple. Because the Donetsk Region GDP per capita is nearly $5,000 while it is just slightly above $3,000 in the Luhansk Region. The Donetsk Region is clearly one of the true engines of the Ukrainian economy and they're losing lots of money by the redistribution in Kiev. Mostly dirty and not so hard-working people in Kiev and the Western Ukraine may become good at creating mess in the streets, breaking into various government buildings, and impressing millions of idiots in the West by their low-level instinctive hatred against Russia but otherwise they are not too good at many other things.
Update: Unless the results are seriously skewed, I was wrong: the Luhansk Region support is said to be 96%, even higher than in the Donetsk Region.
It's clear that a Donetsk Region without this redistribution would be better off. The region is full of coal mines and steel industry. These enterprises were already started by a Welsh businessman, John Hughes, in 1869 (the year when the 2nd Gambrinus brewery was founded in Pilsen LOL) which gives their industrial activity quite some Western flavor. However, the steel companies were significantly expanded in the Soviet times.
The support of the independence from Kiev is therefore a matter of common sense and it goes beyond the ethnicity of the citizens.
The European men (and women) are no longer allowed to meet Natalia Poklonskaya, the Crimean top procurator. Her fans on the Old Continent became the latest victims of the newest, today's sanctions imposed by 28 pro-fascist villains and jealous boner shrinkers, the so-called EU foreign ministers. I will use all legal means to spank these 28 bastards.
The BBC refers to the typical citizens of the Donetsk Region, these mostly conservative, law-abiding, and hard-working folks who have trouble with coups and similar things, e.g. with the "revolution" in Kiev, as to the "rebels". Most of the Western press is choosing similar ludicrous and ludicrously negative labels while the Maidan regime still claims to continue with an "anti-terrorist" operation. It's just so crazy that the readers who take these labels seriously should be declared brain-dead.
Three million eligible, elegantly dressed voters that are powering much of the Ukrainian economy were asked whether they like to be governed by a regime appointed by angry mobs on the street, a regime that treats the bulk of the citizens of the region as terrorists just because they consider the algorithm by which the Maidan regime got to power illegitimate – and they don't like most of its plans, either. 90% of them answered No. What a surprise. If someone in Ukraine is "definitely not a rebel" and "definitely not a terrorist", it's the typical voters of the Donetsk Region in the lines on a video above.
Related: Actor Martin Stropnický, a mildly anti-Russian guy who is the current defense minister for the billionaire Andrej Babiš' ANO party, doesn't plan to allow any (NATO) foreign troops on our territory. He also suggests that we won't bring our current 1% of GDP for defense to NATO's expected 2% anytime soon.Putin has tried to convince the local people to postpone the referendum so that there may be a dialogue before it. They didn't listen to him. They are independent of the Kremlin, a fact that may cause some pain in the neck of Vladimir Putin himself. But who are you, Mr Putin, the EU, and the U.S. if you wanted to question the message of this referendum with such a shockingly high turnout and an incredibly clear result?
At the confederative level of the EU, we have never had such a high turnout. In fact, turnouts around 25% have been the norm in the Czech elections to the EU Parliament. It's not surprising that people are not terribly interested in this "EU democracy". There is none worth mentioning. There is no single "demos" in the EU. And even if you created a demos, the EU Parliament can't even author EU laws. It's just a collection of deputies that are paid to sit in a building and pretend that the EU is a democracy which it's clearly not. When it comes to the comparisons of democracy at the levels of the EU and the Donetsk Region, the Soviet-like officials in the EU should – if you allow me to borrow the words from Jacques Chirac – use the great opportunity to shut up.
Unless there are serious reasons to think that the result was rigged, and I guess that it is an extremely unlikely conspiracy theory at this point, all decent people in the world who have at least some respect towards democracy must take the result of this referendum into account. It seems obvious to me that the Donetsk Region – and we will have to wait for the Luhansk Region results – won't remain a part of Ukraine. It's deeply immoral to push 3-10 million people to remain targets of tanks and intimidation by a regime they don't like. To a large extent, this outcome holds independently of the current de facto government in Kiev. Even with a different government that would be less unfriendly towards the people of the Donetsk Region, a majority of the Donetsk Region citizens would probably favor independence because the risk of unfriendly interference and the economic matters would still be too important. The support for the independence is just way to high for any interpretation of it as an artifact of one or another temporary circumstance.
So congratulations to the supporters of the independence of the Donetsk Region (and perhaps other regions later).
Off-topic but political: Prof Ruth Wisse of Harvard (whom I know as a soulmate from the feminist witch hunts after the January 2005 Larry Summers speech) wrote a nice but sad essay in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the universities have become a key player that suppresses the freedom of speech, intellectual diversity, and simply the truth in the West. Hat tip: Fred Singer