In Russia, the Central Election Commission has scheduled the so-called elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for 10 September. Among the candidates are Russian military personnel who took part in the full-scale invasion, killed and tortured people, and are now running for the party of Russian dictator Putin’s United Russia (Yedinaya Rossiya).
UPDATE: After the fake elections, not all those involved in the Slidstvo.info investigation become deputies. In Crimea, only Oleksandr Stolbov wielded power.
Slidstvo.Info journalists have examined the list of candidates running for the United Russia party in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
ELECTIONS WITHOUT CHOICE
On 10 September 2023, Russians plan to hold so-called elections to local councils of the temporarily occupied territories. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party includes not only local collaborators or Russians brought to the occupied territories, but also Russian military personnel who took part in the occupation of Ukrainian towns and villages.
In their propaganda campaign, the Russian military boasted about how they captured Ukrainian towns and villages. They consider this to be a major advantage for participating in the fake elections. Some of the candidates have been fighting against Ukraine since 2014.
WENT TO OCCUPY KYIV
Mark Vorzhev, 25, a «volunteer» from the occupied Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region, decided to run in the «elections» as a candidate of the United Russia party.
Back in 2014, Mark became one of those who led the Russian Spring movement and took part in the seizure of the Security Service building in Luhansk.
At that time, a group of pro-Russian separatists seized the local office of the Security Service of Ukraine, took all the weapons from there and recorded a video message demanding a referendum, threatening «open confrontation».
In 2022, Mark joined the so-called Special Military Operation and went to occupy Kyiv on the orders of Russian dictator Putin: «I had to take up arms when the Special Military Operation began. As a member of a volunteer battalion, I entered Kyiv… on 24 February, and then we fought near Izium.»
«Well, when the situation in the city (Sievierodonetsk, which Russia occupied in June 2022 — ed.) stabilised, I went back to the front. Now I serve as deputy commander of a combat training battalion. We are fighting to bring the long-awaited day of our victory closer,» Vorzhev boasts in the video.
«WE NEED TO FORCE UKRAINE TO PEACE»
Artem Bayev is a Russian soldier who is running for a seat in the occupied city of Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast. He has Ukrainian roots, originally from the now-occupied town of Mospyne in Donetsk Oblast.
Bayev sees his main task as «forcing Ukraine to peace».
«While the Russian armed forces continue to carry out a combat mission within the framework of the Special Military Operation to force Ukraine to peace, more and more Russian citizens are willing to join the defenders of Donbas as volunteers,» the occupier says.
The Russian serviceman plans to defend the rights of other occupiers in the captured Sievierodonetsk on behalf of Putin’s party.
«I want to support at the legislative level those… who are destroying fascists, who are zombified by American curators and want to take away our lands, language and culture, without sparing their lives and health,» says Bayev.
WANTS TO BE A DEPUTY IN CRIMEA
Another candidate who wants to run for office in the occupied Crimea is 50-year-old Alexander Stolbov.
He is from the Sverdlovsk Oblast. Oleksandr voluntarily took part in the war against Ukraine and informed his voters about it.
«I am a member of the Special Military Operation, and in February 2022, I was one of the first to support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to conduct a ‘special operation’ in connection with the situation in Donbas… We do not abandon our own!» says Stolbov.
Stolbov is not just an invader, he is a «proactive citizen». Before he came to Ukraine with weapons, the occupier used to hold one-man pickets with a placard «For the liberation of Ukraine from neo-Nazis and terrorists».
This is how Alexander Stolbov convinces voters to vote for him: «It is symbolic — our great-grandparents fought fascism to liberate Ukraine and Europe from the ‘brown plague’. Nazis, neo-nationalists and terrorists came to power there. My civic position is to support our president and the armed forces.»
HE DREAMED OF CREATING THE «KHPR» BUT FLED TO THE «DPR»
Another candidate from United Russia, Vyacheslav Gubin, writes in his election brochure that he was born in Lipetsk, Russia. In fact, the occupier lived for a long time in the Kharkiv region, where in 2014 he took part in an attempt to create the so-called «Kharkiv People’s Republic».
«The Ukraine project is a criminal project created at the end of the 19th century by order of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff with the sole purpose of splitting a single nation. This project is being closed today and a new, clean project is being launched. We are returning to our roots… Yes, Malorossia as a state will be sovereign and independent,» says Hubin.
His wife, Liliia Hubina, is from Kharkiv. However, even she did not encourage her husband to love Ukraine more. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Russian bombs have been flying at her native Kharkiv almost every day.
In one of the Russian interviews, Hubin was called «Batya of Kharkiv» («Kharkiv’s Daddy» — transl.). After an unsuccessful attempt to seize power in Kharkiv, he fled to fight in the «DPR».
«Before the war started, he was a school history teacher. Then he created the Kharkiv insurgency. And then he fought for nine long years, rising from an ordinary militia fighter to a lieutenant colonel of the Russian army, chief of staff of one of the regiments,» the propagandists write about the occupier.
The couple have two children — a daughter and a son. The son, Sviatoslav Hubin, also went to fight against Ukraine in 2014.
During the war for the pseudo-republics of the DPR and LPR, Gubin Jr. was taken prisoner by the Ukrainian army and exchanged in 2017.
Now, in addition to his officer’s rank and weapons, Vyacheslav Gubin wants to receive a deputy mandate to enjoy power in the occupied Ukrainian city to the fullest.
A TRAITOROUS MINER FROM LUHANSK REGION
Artur Galkin, 37, is from Antratsyt, Luhansk Oblast, which was occupied by Russia back in 2014. During the occupation of the city, he began to cooperate with the Russians.
Galkin’s career took off – from a simple miner, he rose to the position of deputy director general for labour protection at one of the mining companies in occupied Antratsyt.
Galkin voluntarily decided to take part in Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
«In February 2022, I joined the ranks of volunteers to defend our homeland because I consider myself a patriot. Now I continue to serve in the ranks of our army,» Artur Galkin introduces himself to the voters.
The occupier calls on people to support Russian dictator Putin and believe in the Russian armed forces: «I believe that our army will be able to achieve all its goals: to ensure the security of our borders and to put an end to the terror against us, the residents of Donbas. Today, more than ever, it is important to unite and support our president and believe in the armed forces.»
These candidates are not the only military personnel who will run in the pseudo-elections in the occupied territories.
For the sake of Russian propaganda, the so-called elections will start a few days earlier. In this way, Russia seeks to get at least some votes for its theatrical production. Until 10 September, the occupiers failed to forcibly distribute new passports to Ukrainians, so they allowed them to vote with any passport, or even with a driver’s licence.
Unfortunately, the experience of previous Russian so-called elections shows that Ukrainians in the occupied territories will have to vote at gunpoint.
The material has been prepared with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the joint initiative «European Renaissance of Ukraine». The material represents the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union or the International Renaissance Foundation.