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General Staff: People brought from Russia to occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast to help falsify sham elections

by Martin Fornusek August 25, 2023 12:40 PM 2 min read
Billboards advertising sham referendums and Kherson's illegal annexation by Russia in Kherson, on Nov. 14, 2022 (Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent)
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Russia has been settling people from the Russian Federation in occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast to ensure favorable results in planned illegal sham elections, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported on Aug. 25.

The Russian occupation authorities have provided newcomers with the abandoned homes of local residents in several settlements of the oblast, according to the military.

Simultaneously, Russia is increasing pressure on Ukrainian residents to obtain Russian passports. According to the U.S. research group Ukraine Conflict Observatory, these tactics include denial of medical services, social benefits, the ability to drive and to work, and even overt threats of violence or intimidation.

Moscow's goal is to secure positive results of the planned sham voting in order to create the "desired image for the Russian media," the General Staff said.

The report noted that due to a "negative experience" organizing sham referendums last fall, the "vote" will be held in a hybrid format, including voting at polling stations and visits of the occupation authorities' representatives to apartments and houses.

Starting from Aug. 30, Russian-controlled officials will start visiting the residences of locals and collect the votes, the General Staff said.

Russia illegally declared the annexation of occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts on Sep. 30, 2022, after a sham referendums. Russia and its local proxies used coercion and mass falsification to produce favorable results, claiming nearly 100% support in some areas.

In May this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing regional "elections" in the occupied territories, planned to be held in September this year.

Ukrainians under occupation face deportation, loss of property after Putin’s new order
Editor’s Note: The names of the people from the Russian-occupied territories interviewed by the Kyiv Independent for this story have been changed to protect their identity, as they have shared sensitive information that could place them in danger. As Russia largely exhausted its military potential…
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