Donetsk Protesters Finish Preparations for Weekend Referendum

Protesters Spent About $1650 on Vote

Some three million Ukrainians in the eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk will go to the polls Sunday for a referendum on the status of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk.

It’s democracy on the cheap there, with officials saying they spent about $1650 on the vote, almost half of that on toner cartridges to print the ballot papers asking if voters “support the act of self-rule of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

The simple sentence means different things to different protester factions around the oblasts, with some supporting outright secession and others seeking increased autonomy within Ukraine.

Between that and the ongoing Ukrainian invasion of the region, it isn’t clear what the referendum will actually accomplish, though it hopes to grant some level of legitimacy to the protesters’ leadership, as Western governments continue to back the military attacks against them and call for them to abandon public shows of opposition to the new central government.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of