Huge Gulf Separates Turchynov’s Rhetoric and People Voting in Eastern Ukraine

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There is a huge gulf separating the acting president of Ukraine (Turchynov) from the people who voted on Sunday in several referenda. Turchynov is quoted saying “The farce, which terrorists call the referendum, is nothing more than propaganda to cover up murders, kidnappings, violence and other serious crimes. These processes are inspired by the leadership of the Russian Federation and are destructive to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. [They] threaten the lives and welfare of citizens and have the aim of destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, disrupting presidential elections and overthrowing Ukrainian authorities.”

On the other side, there are photographs showing people in line to vote, such as


These people do not appear to regard voting as a farce. It is far from apparent that they are terrorists or that the referenda are meant to cover up “serious crimes”. In fact, none of his charges about the voting’s motivations or effects appear to be true. It is highly doubtful that the people voting would agree with his assessments, judging from their own statements. Russia keeps urging again and again that Kiev talk with regional representatives. Turchynov’s rhetoric is at odds with such a meeting happening, although it might since governments have been known to meet with their antagonists, even ones they’ve called terrorists.

Turchynov sounds like the typical man of the central state who opposes any whiff of federalization, autonomy, separation, secession or devolution of power, and who therefore opposes regional power and local democracy. He speaks as one who wants to maintain a state’s borders and powers intact, no matter what political sentiments within that land must be vilified and suppressed. The central state, in this view, must dominate, and any forces deviating from that are nowadays labeled as terrorists.

If there is to be any breaking up to do, the existing states want to maintain the power to draw the maps. They do not want peoples or groups of peoples separating on their own. To allow that in principle is to give up the basic territorial principle of the state, which they cannot allow. It threatens the existence of all states. States are basically against voluntary political associations, territorial and non-territorial alike. They want to control the terms of political association. This is one reason why we hear various political figures, including within the U.S. and Germany, criticizing these referenda and declaring them illegal, not to be taken seriously, a farce, and lacking in credibility. They don’t want their own citizens getting the idea that they actually have a right to separate from the state that claims to rule them.

10:57 am on May 12, 2014