Serhiy Tkachenko: not to hold Parliamentary elections in Donetsk region is worse than to hold them
In early June, after the observation of the presidential election, all Donetsk regional branch of the All-Ukrainian public organization "Committee of Voters of Ukraine" was forced to leave the region through a real threat to the personal safety of employees. In spite of this fact and very unfavourable situation in the region, now the organization has launched a campaign to monitor the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament), appointed for October 26.
As reported for the website of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" by the head of the Donetsk branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine Serhiy Tkachenko, all structural units of the organization, which remained on the territories, liberated by the Ukrainian army or not occupied by separatists, have joined the observation of the election process and are preparing their first report. Taking into account all the risks, the human rights activist emphasizes the importance of holding the parliamentary elections in the Donetsk region in the conditions of factual war.
"It is clear that this is the first question asked by all: how can we hold elections under the conditions of war and how important it is. Unfortunately, in this situation, there are no easy ways out, and it is not possible to give simple estimates whether the election will be a good or a bad thing to do at the moment. We could debate the conduct of elections in the Donetsk region before the election campaign. If the election campaign started, you can just say: not to hold Parliamentary elections in Donetsk region is worse than to hold them," says Serhiy Tkachenko.
Arguing his point of view, the expert focuses on several aspects. According to him, these elections will help to re-socialize the population of the conflict region. "The people who are now in the Donetsk region, should feel their mental bind to the whole country, to the processes that are taking place in the country. And the elections are essentially the same method of re-socialization of people returning to their Ukrainian space. Because if you look at the processes that occurred during the last six months, then, unfortunately, we can say that people more frequently vote at the referendum of the Donetsk People's Republic that in the Ukrainian elections. Indeed, a little more than 100 hundred out of more than 3 million electors voted in the Donetsk region during the presidential campaign. It means that the majority of the people just wasted this chance. If the people will be deprived of the chance to take part in the parliamentary elections, the last thing they will remember will be the DPR referendum, which is bad, to put it mildly."
Serhiy Tkachenko also thinks that an important part in the upcoming elections belongs to the process of resetting the local elites. "It's hard to say how achievable any result can be here, but we are talking about restarting the local elites and the people who will represent the region across the Ukraine. Of course, it is not possible to hold elections throughout the Donetsk region now. However, it will at least be an impetus to elect deputies for certain parts of the Donetsk region, who will represent the region at the national level. If it doesn't happen or at least the first step is not made in this direction, enemies of the Ukraine will have a reason to state that the east of Ukraine doesn't have a voice in the Verkhovna Rada, the region is not represented by anyone, etc. This will definitely be used in the propaganda campaign against Ukraine itself. Therefore, I reiterate that though it is hardly possible to hold a full-fledged campaign, it is necessary to conduct a campaign as close to it as possible, in order to get at least minimal results. And it will be possible. When the situation stabilizes, it will be possible to hold the elections in the majority districts, where the electoral process will be disrupted during the upcoming campaign."
The expert also notes that at present the situation of the border regions, which present high risks to the organizers of the election process, remains unclear. "Nobody knows what to do in those districts, which are close to the border, whether the elections will be held there, whether the Central Election Commission will give any orders concerning holding the elections on these territories. The risks for the people who will take place in the organization of the elections in these places are enormous. Nobody can guarantee that the front line won't move closer and all participants of the electoral process won't be regarded as DPR's enemies. To put it mild, it is wrong to expose people to such a risk. So, there are no ready answers here."
Despite this, it is possible to hold the elections in the parts of the Donetsk region which are currently returning to civilian life - Kramators'k, Slavian'sk, Dobropillya, Chyrvonoarmiys'ky district, – concludes the head of the regional organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.