Monday, September 15, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Backs Donbas Participation in Ukrainian Elections

Paul Goble


            Staunton, September 15 – In a change of tactics reflecting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement on Saturday that Russia wants to have a “neutral” Ukraine rather than to create another Transdniestria lest that further alienate the rest of Ukraine, Moscow will back the participation of the Donbas in the October 26 Ukrainian elections.


            Under a plan reportedly being overseen by Putin advisor Vladislav Surkov, Moscow will back the so-called “Opposition Bloc” in these elections to gain more influence over Kyiv’s future policies rather than support those who want a boycott (


            This bloc, the Ukrainian news agency Liga points out, has a better chance of winning seats than does the Party of the Regions which polls suggest would not exceed the five-percent barrier in a part of Ukraine it dominated earlier if it chose to run.  That is probably why, the agency says, that party and Moscow have decided on a different strategy.


            There are some 20 majoritarian parliamentary electoral districts in areas controlled by Russian forces and pro-Moscow militants, and if this plan goes forward, the Russian side almost certainly could guarantee that a majority or even all of these would vote for pro-Moscow candidates.




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