Referendums are a show with which Russia tries to justify the annexation of Ukrainian territories. At the same time, the Russian leadership is preparing a reason to declare war a war.
Ukraine’s rapid advance in its counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region initially appeared to have confused Russia’s plans to hold so-called referendums in its occupied territories. Their implementation was postponed until the indefinite future.
Now the sound on the clock has changed. According to current information, these show-like votes will be held at high speed from September 23 to 27, so already this week.
The polls would be held in the Russian-controlled separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia, which Russia seized in the offensive that began in February.
Russian economic magazine RBK (you switch to another service) said citing three sources that the president Vladimir Putin would take a stand on the referendum on Tuesday evening.
So far, the Kremlin has not commented on information about the intentions of the Russian-controlled territories to hold so-called referendums.
The “referendums” were announced by the leaders and officials of the puppet governments planted in the regions by Russia.
In practice, these are organized presentations by which Russia justifies the annexation of territories. Votes held at gunpoint cannot be taken seriously as an expression of the will of the people.
The “special operation” could turn into a war
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said (you switch to another service) that he got the impression from recent conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Putin is willing to end the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s actions do not support Erdoğan’s impression. Russia will not back down from its intentions, and it is impossible for Ukraine to accept the so-called referendums.
For example, independent Meduza online publication (you will switch to another service) interprets this to mean that the “war party” demanding the acceleration of military operations has won in the Kremlin.
Russia has fought a war with an army of peacetime strength. The representatives of the hard line have considered that Russia is fighting with its hands tied behind its back. They have demanded that all the forces of the country be harnessed for war.
If the Russian leadership officially annexes the territories it has captured in Ukraine as part of Russia, it can interpret Ukraine’s counterattack on these territories as a declaration of war. It would allow a “military special operation” to be declared a war.
Amendments to the Business Launching Act
At the same time, a law reform has progressed in the Duma, which brings the concepts of launching a business, martial law and wartime into the criminal code.
From the point of view of the Kremlin, the launch involves both practical problems and political dangers. It is very uncertain whether Russia currently has the resources for a large recruitment into the armed forces.
Until now, a large number of Russians have passively supported the so-called special operation, because it has not directly affected their everyday life.
The motion could finally awaken the silent majority to the reality of war, and it is not certain that they would welcome it.