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Eastern Ukraine voters show courage, unity in the face of fascism

By Kait McIntyre |
May 14, 2014
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Chicago, IL - In spite of the coup government in Kiev, an electoral referendum on autonomy saw huge voter turnout in Donetsk and Lugansk in the east of Ukraine. People lined the streets and waited patiently to cast their votes for self rule.

The successful vote shows mass opposition to the U.S.-backed seizure of power in Kiev by fascists and pro-NATO oligarchs. On voting day, the U.S.-backed coup-makers in Kiev sent soldiers to intimidate voters, firing on civilian crowds and blocking polling stations with armed personal carriers. People still voted in big numbers.

Joining the U.S. government in backing the fascists in Kiev are German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande. Together they declared the referendum on autonomy illegal, while supporting an unelected government in Kiev.

Voter turnout reached over 74% in both regions of Ukraine. The referendums addressed the status of the regions, asking voters if they supported the act of state self rule. The results show the popularity and strength of the protest movement. Leading up to the vote, people occupied government, public and media buildings and set up barricades in the city. Some were killed resisting the Kiev coup government’s military crackdown in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. There are dramatic videos, one of unarmed civilians stopping a tank in the street at an intersection and the other of voters being shot at by soldiers outside a polling place. Last week in Odessa, fascists burned the trade union hall and murdered survivors of the fire.

The results of the referendums were announced on May 12: in Donetsk 89.07% voted in favor of state self-rule; in Lugansk 96.2% voted in favor. Clearly the people have spoken: they oppose the U.S.-backed, fascist forces that overthrew the elected government in Ukraine.

Still, U.S. corporate media tries to dismiss the results of these referendums as the work of a pro-Russian minority, despite Putin’s prior position that the referendums should be postponed. In reality, democratic and left forces such as the Borotba Union and the Communist Party of Ukraine promoted the referendum initiatives. The referendum is the work of brave people within Ukraine, not outside of it.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is issuing a call for “Emergency Antiwar Actions” through May 26 to protest U.S./NATO war moves and to oppose the role of U.S. and NATO in Ukraine. The U.S. already spent $5 billion backing the fascist-dominated coup government. It is also being reported in Ukraine that 400 mercenaries from the U.S. private security firm Academi (formerly Blackwater) are participating in the Ukraine military attacks that are attempting to suppress the democratic opposition. NATO is positioning warships in the Black Sea in an attempt to bully Russia. This proves once again that the U.S. is not interested in peace or democracy; it is only interested in financial gain and global domination.