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Eastern Ukrainian Expats Flood 'Symbolic' Moscow Polling Station

Published: May 13, 2014 (Issue # 1809)



  • People voting in a referendum in Moscow on the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

  • People at a polling station in Moscow raise a flag that reads, "Donetsk Republic."
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

  • Members of an electoral commission at the polling station during the referendum.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

Central Moscow was engulfed in a sea of St. George's ribbons, Team-Russia apparel and Ukrainian passports Sunday morning as the self-proclaimed authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions ran an improvised polling station for their referendums on independence.

Despite President Vladimir Putin's call last week to postpone the referendum on the independence of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukrainian separatists have gone ahead with the political exercise.

Scores of Ukrainian expatriates registered in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions turned out to the Moscow polling station. Some waited more than three hours to cast their ballots on the rooftop of a rusting auto repair shop near the bustling Kievsky Station.

The voters passed through metal detectors before climbing rickety stairs to reach the austere polling station. After presenting their Ukrainian passports and proof of registration, voters slipped their ballots into transparent, unguarded ballot boxes.

Still, the exuberance and optimism of voters outshone the modest premises and organizers' minimal budget.

"I feel like today is another holiday, like the May holidays are not over yet," said Lyudmila Lysina, a retired school teacher from the Donetsk region. "I have been in line for almost an hour now, but I will wait as long as it takes. And I will vote in favor of the independence of Donetsk, of course."

As Moscow voters lined up proudly under the flags of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, they did not yet realize that their ballots would not count toward the referendums' final outcome.

The official website of the Donetsk People's Republic announced earlier that a polling station would be set up in Moscow. But Donetsk Central Election Commission head Roman Lyagin said on Sunday that none of the polling stations established outside of the region had been coordinated with the self-proclaimed authorities.

"They are doing this on their own initiative," Lyagin said of voting taking place outside of the region, RIA Novosti reported.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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