Status: 09/23/2022 7:35 PM
Mock referendums have begun in eastern Ukraine – and people there have been forced to participate, says Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Republic’s Sobolevsky Regional Parliament. daily themes. There can be no question about free voting.
Daily topics: What do you hear from Cherson, how are the Russian occupiers now trying to get people to vote?
Yuri Sobolevsky: Indeed, the theater of the absurd is shown in Cherson and in all areas – and the Russian government calls it a “referendum”. People are forced to vote: they are supposed to go to the polling stations and the occupying power has opened only a few polling stations. They exist only to create the image that people will willingly go to. But people don’t go. So the occupiers are forced to go to people’s homes to get them to vote.
Yuri Sobolevsky is the deputy speaker of the Kherson Regional Parliament. He fled the Russian occupation of the region and lives outside Kherson for security reasons.
Daily topics: How do we imagine this compulsion to vote? What information do you have about this?
Sobolewskyj: They go door to door – usually in pairs – and have a ballot box and ballot papers. There are also armed soldiers of the Russian National Guard. You are watching everything. Under these circumstances, when a person’s home is visited, it is very difficult to refuse to vote. Nobody knows what reaction will follow.
Each individual case is examined.
Daily topics: Do you think there are still people in Kherson who believe that pro-Russians are cooperating with the occupation?
Sobolewskyj: Yes, in Kherson there are people who cooperate. But their number is really small when compared to the total population. That is why the invaders were forced to leave the Crimea (Attached by Russia in violation of international law 2014, editor’s note) Or get people from the Russian Federation. After all, you have moved your special forces to the regions, and they have the complete infrastructure there (occupier, editor’s note) accumulated. Most of the inhabitants of the Kherson region are Ukrainian patriots and are waiting for the liberation of their lands.
Yurij Sobolevsky, Deputy Head of the Kherson Regional Administration, about the situation there during the mock referendum
Today’s topics 9:45 pm, September 23, 2022
Daily topics: Ukraine has now announced severe penalties: anyone who participates in, organizes or even finances such compulsory voting can be prosecuted for treason or violation of territorial integrity. Is this the right way to go if they have to assume that people will have to vote?
Sobolewskyj: If someone participates in this vote under duress, they will be considered non-offending and not penalized. It is seen as being done simply to save life and health. Legally, these people are perfectly clean. People who participated in this show are punished – for example, they voluntarily went to the polls. This, then, is the task of the investigating authorities: they study and examine each case individually.
Escape from Cherson is hardly possible
Daily topics: What about those who want to flee the occupied territories? It was dangerous before, but is it still possible now?
Sobolewskyj: This is very difficult. I would like to remind you that during the entire occupation, there was not a single humanitarian corridor that the Russian Federation would allow us to evacuate people and bring in humanitarian aid.
There is a road through Zaporizhia – but this road is very difficult and the conditions created there by the Russian Federation are simply inhuman: you are on the road in the middle of nowhere for several days, waiting until you can actually go one step further . Recently, information was received that young people of military age are no longer allowed to leave the regions.
Interviewed by Karen Miusga for Daily Topics. The interview has been slightly adapted to the transcript.