Ukraine Vote on Separation Held in Chaos

5/11/14
 
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from The New York Times,
5/11/14:

Separatists in two provinces of eastern Ukraine conducted chaotic and sometimes violent plebiscites on Sunday that offered voters just one question about self-rule, while raising many more about where events in the region were headed.

Large crowds turned out in some cities to cast votes meant to legitimize the separatists’ declarations of independent “people’s republics” in the two provinces. But the voting left unclear whether the two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, will now follow the Crimean Peninsula in seeking to be annexed by Russia.

Nearly everyone who cast a ballot appeared to be voting in favor of greater autonomy from the Ukrainian central government in Kiev. Opponents appeared to be staying away from the polls, as many had said they would. The ballot papers that could be seen in transparent ballot boxes in two cities, Donetsk and Slovyansk, were almost all marked yes.

But the voting took place in such a raw state of lawlessness that no one other than the organizers and perhaps their Russian patrons seemed likely to accept the results as a democratic expression of the voters’ will.

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