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Donbass elections’ outcome shows popular support for integration with Russia, expert says

According to an expert, Moscow "views the elections’ outcome as an important signal for the Ukrainian authorities"

MOSCOW, November 12. /TASS/. The outcome of the Sunday elections of heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR), as well as People’s Councils elections, have made it clear that people in Donbass support the policy of integration with Russia, head of the Russian Center for Current Politics Alexei Chesnakov told TASS on Monday.

When commenting on the elections’ outcome, he pointed to some important conclusions. "First, the election campaigns and the unprecedented voter turnout prove that people support the policy the Donbass republics’ authorities adopted in 2014. It undoubtedly is a victory for pro-Russian voters and pro-Russian political forces," the expert stressed. "Second, the Donbass republics have shown that their political institutions are mature enough to create conditions for legal elections," he added.

"Third, the current authorities have achieved clear success, which is a result of people’s trust in their leaders," Chesnakov went on to say. "Despite the hardships that the ongoing blockade has been causing, both [Acting DPR head] Denis Pushilin and [Acting LPR head] Leonid Pasechnik have managed to show their high efficiency in a relatively short period of time. The elections have given great impetus to efforts to resolve a number of economic issues, which include the need to increase public employees’ wages, reduce fuel prices, counter corruption and remove obstacles hindering business activities. This shows that people support their social and economic policies and strongly oppose Kiev’s policy of punishment towards Donbass," the expert pointed out.

"Fourth, the election campaign was open and transparent," the Russian expert noted. "The elections should be recognized as democratic and conforming to international standards," he said. At the same time, according to Chesnakov, the vote "in no way violates the Minsk Agreements, as the Package of Measures concern only local elections, while they have nothing to do with the elections of the republics’ heads and parliamentary elections."

"And finally, fifth. The Sunday elections give hope that the Minsk process, aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, will go on as the Donbass republics continue to abide by the Minsk Agreements," the expert said.

According to Chesnakov, Moscow "views the elections’ outcome as an important signal for the Ukrainian authorities." "Kiev needs to stop wasting precious time and launch a direct dialogue with Donbass," he concluded.