Lugansk & Donetsk Declare Independence
By Stephen Lendman
On Sunday, Lugansk and Donetsk voted. Regional referendums were held. Doing so reflected real democracy.
Ordinary people spoke. They did so overwhelmingly. They did near unanimously. They rejected Kiev fascists decisively.
They were unequivocal. They left no doubt where they stand.
On Monday, Lugansk People's Governor Valery Bolotov went the extra mile. He declared what free people everywhere support.
He proclaimed regional self-determination. He spoke for virtually all residents, announcing:
"We have chosen our own path of independence from tyranny and bloody dictatorship by Kiev junta, from fascism and nationalism. We have chosen the path of freedom and the rule of law."
Donetsk followed suit. Its People's Republic co-chairman Denis Pushilin declared:
"We, the people of Donetsk People's Republic, after the results of the referendum held on May 11, and on the basis of the Donetsk People's Republic's sovereignty declaration, announce that the Republic, from now on, is a sovereign state."
It's "according to the will expression of the residents of the Donetsk People's Republic…"
He went further "to re-establish historical justice…" He "ask(ed) the Russian Federation (on behalf of regional residents) to consider the request of the Republic to join Russia."
It's a bold step. It's not unexpected. Will Lugansk make the same request?
Will other Eastern Ukrainian regions? Will growing numbers of residents demand it? It remains to be seen how Moscow responds.
Donetsk People's Republic co-chairman Myroslav Rudenko
addressed DPR's first post-referendum priority, saying:
"First of all, we are facing the task of defending and equipping our borders."
"We need to secure full control over armed groups and military bases located in the region, courts, prosecutor's offices and so on."
"We need to drive all forces of the enemy out of the republic."
"We will not (stop using Ukraine's hryvnia (its currency) for the time being so as not to ruin our economy."
"At any rate, for now this is a transition period, and after that we shall see."
Ukraine's democratically elected/lawlessly toppled president Viktor Yanukovych commented on Sunday's referendums, saying:
"Why did an overwhelming majority of citizens who live in Donetsk region come to the referendum and vote for any other state system except for a system in which you can call your citizens terrorists and kill them with impunity?"
"Because the people of Ukraine have reached the limit of their patience."
"Dissidents were persecuted in Germany then and now whole cities in Ukraine are experiencing a blockade only because the people are defending their viewpoint, which is different from that of the ruling regime."
"Today's Ukraine is reminiscent of Germany under Hitler. (He) then designated an enemy represented by dissident intelligentsia, Jews, Gypsies, etc."
"They were blamed for all the problems of German society and the propaganda played its role some time later."
Yanukovych addressed Odessa's May 2 massacre, adding:
"A normal person shudders at the sight of the burned dead bodies of the people who were martyred..."
"However, we see an unimaginable thing now: some people who are brainwashed by propaganda were able not only to accept this killing, but even rejoice in it. It's ordinary fascism."
Yanukovych denounced Kiev's ongoing aggression, adding:
"Immediately withdraw mercenaries and troops from the territory of the Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa and other regions, stop the violence and terror against your own people."
"Citizens see every day what you are doing to your country, you have passed the point of no return."
Yanukovych justifiably blamed Kiev for all post-coup violence. Give real democracy a try, he urged.
"(L)ook look at all events preceding the referendum in the southeastern regions of Ukraine closely and objectively and give them a fair and balanced evaluation."
"Some people have probably not realized it yet, but reasonable people understood a long time ago that the blood of the 'heavenly hundred' is also on the hands of the new administration."
"I know it like no one else. Neither myself nor any members of my administration issued any orders to open fire on peaceful citizens on February 18-20."
"Those who are behind the coups understood that the authorities, whose heroes from Berkut were wounded and killed and who gave their lives to defend constitutional order and peace, would not issue a command to return fire."
"Then those monsters who came to power made a horrible decision to open fire on 'their' activists and the police simultaneously to make the 'sacral sacrifice' to the revolution that they had promised."
"I couldn't believe it,but they did it. Hence the wounds to people's backs and shots fired from behind caught on some recordings."
"(T)his junta is responsible for the killing of the 'heavenly hundred' and the killings in Odessa, Kharkov, Mariupol, Slavyansk, and Kramatorsk."
"And they won't stop because they understand that they have crossed all possible borders and punishment for them will be inevitable."
On Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry urged calm, restraint and constructive dialogue, saying:
"Despite attempts by the Kiev authorities to upset the voting, including by using militants, heavy weaponry, national radicals and the army against the peaceful people, which resulted in the loss of life, people expressed their will in these regions with a high turnout."
“The preliminary results of vote counting convincingly show the real determination of the people in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to have a right to make their own decisions on issues concerning their vital interests."
"We think that the results of the referendum should be translated into life through a dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk."
"Once again we reaffirm the need for starting immediately a broad discussion with all political forces and regions in Ukraine on its future state system."
"This is consistent with the international efforts reflected in the Geneva Statement of April 17 and the roadmap proposed by Swiss President and Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE Didier Burkhalter."
“We expect the Kiev authorities to take real steps, not just make general declarations, and immediately organize productive meetings with representatives of the South and East of Ukraine, which would lead to stabilization in the country."
"Unfortunately, the Kiev authorities continue to show criminal unpreparedness for dialogue with the people."
Post-referendum reality reflects miles to go. Long ones to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions responsibly.
Expect Washington to subvert efforts to do so. Expect Kiev stooges to march in lockstep.
Perhaps East/West confrontation will follow. This writer's new edited and contributed book explains today's reality.
Potentially it looms. Things are perilously closer than ever since WW II. Preventing the unthinkable matters most.
Hopefully cool heads will do so. The alternative is too grim to imagine. We're all in this together. Humanity fate hangs in the balance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
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