Kremlin prepares illegal elections in the occupied South of Ukraine: first participants

Russian street posters in occupied Melitopol. Photo: RIA Novosti

Traitors and collaborators prepare to participate in illegal elections that Russia plans for autumn 2023 on the occupied part of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. By now, regional offices of only three Russian political parties («United Russia», «Communist Party of the Russian Federation» and «Liberal Democratic Party of Russia») have been registered in the Russian State Register. Their legal addresses are in the «capitals of new territories» – Melitopol and Genichesk. Some party offices are headed by people from Russia and occupied Crimea.

As the state-occupant, Russia is not allowed to involve population of the occupied territories into its national elections. It will be clear violation of the international law and legislation of Ukraine. «Elections» and «elected members of parliament» will be recognized as illegal and illegitimate. Organizers of «elections» will face international sanctions whereas active participants of this international crime will be brought to criminal responsibility. While registering as participants of illegal «elections», they provide documentary evidence of their illegal activity.

Russia defined the 10th of September, 2023 as the «single voting day» in the country, including occupied territory of four Ukrainian regions. Elections of local «governors» as well as «parliaments» will be conducted there. However, the procedure has not been yet determined. Kremlin and the Russian State Duma try to reform its electoral legislation and «integrate» occupied territories into Russian political and legal system. Last draft laws stipulate that residents of «new regions» will be able to vote with the passport of the Russian Federation as well as with other identification document. Introduction of the substitute of Russian passport is explained by the unwillingness of Ukrainians to receive passports of aggressor-state.

Chasing voters

Last month occupation administrations increased their pressure on residents of the occupied South to receive Russian passports. Many people compare them with Nazi Ausweis. People are stopped at checkpoints, not given social assistance and pensions (see our article «Take Ausweis or die») without Russian passports. Occupants threaten not to issue school certificates to children of non-citizens of the Russian Federation. 

In March, «governor» of Kherson region Saldo reported that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation directed its personnel from Russian regions to accelerate the issuance of Russian passports as there has been insufficient number of local collaborators.

Occupation administration of Zaporizhzhia region introduced «travelling teams of passport officers». The «governor» Yevhen Balytsky openly admits that the hurry is caused by expected September elections: «We need to conduct elections in September. People need passports to participate in elections. There are no restrictions. I hope that up to 50% of population will have Russian passports by this summer. Up to 80% will have them by September. This is our goal».

The goal of Volodymyr Saldo, the «governor» of the occupied part of Kherson region, is to have 150 thousand residents of region with Russian passports. However, there are not so many people on the occupied part of Kherson region! Moscow decided to solve this problem by amending legislation: the draft law proposed to allow voting stations beyond boundaries of occupied regions. More to that, local «governors» will be given the right to determine their own electoral procedures, different from the Russian federal legislation. The draft law justifies it by the need to secure the safety of voters.

Occupation «authorities» do not disclose exact number of voters on occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. It has been legitimized by the special order of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation from December 2022. The order allows not defining exact number of voters in subjects of the Russian Federation under martial law.

Local offices of the Russian political parties are quickly registered on the occupied territory.

Russian political party «United Russia»

Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regional offices of party «United Russia» were registered the first in the Russian State Register in December 2022. Galyna Danylchenko, close friend of «Zaporizhzhia governor» Yevhen Balytsky and the head of occupation administration of Melitopol, was appointed as the head of Zaporizhzhia regional office of «United Russia».

As Zaporizhzhia collaborators reported, there were 16 local offices of «United Russia» in cities and rural districts as of March 2023. They also report about preparation of preliminary voting or party «primaries» used in the Russian Federation.

Галина Данильченко керує обласним відділенням “Единой России”. Фото Телеграм Галина Данильченко

«Governor» of Melitopol city Galyna Danylchenko manages Zaporizhzhia regional office of «United Russia». Photo: telegram channel of Galyna Danylchenko

Zaporizhzhia regional office of «United Russia» is registered in Melitopol at the following address: Bohdan Khmelnytsky avenue, 10. Trade center «Foxtrot» was located there before the Russian occupation. In July 2022, occupants opened there «humanitarian center», later renamed into «Center of assistance of «United Russia».

«Humanitarian assistance», given by party «volunteers» to local residents, children’s house in Kalynivka village, and Russian troops in occupied Zaporizhzhia region, has been used as the main campaigning argument of the Russian occupation administration.

«Center of assistance of «United Russia» in occupied Melitopol. Photo: RIA Novosti

Russian occupants failed to find local collaborator for the head of Kherson regional office of «United Russia». Russian citizen Igor Kastikevich, member of the Russian State Duma, has been appointed as its head. Since Russian occupation, he has actively travelled around occupied Kherson region as party «supervisor» of the region. He made careers in the Russian Federal Agency for Youth Affairs and then joined Council of State Policy to Protect Family and Children under the President of Russia. The Council is headed by infamous Maria Lvova-Belova, the abductor of Ukrainian children. Kastukevich accompanied her during all her visits to occupied Kherson region. He organized deportation of children-orphans from Kherson children’s hospital.

Igor Kastukevich, member of the Russian State Duma

Communist Party of the Russian Federation

Zaporizhzhia regional office of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is headed by Crimean collaborator Oleg Slusarenko, former member of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea of Ukraine. He was accused of state treason and breaching territorial integrity of Ukraine for organizing 2014 Russian «referendum» in Crimea.

Кримчанин Олег Слюсаренко очолив Запорізьку організацію КПРФ

Oleg Slusarenko is the head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation on the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia region

Before the Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014, he has been among leaders of the Crimean office of «Ukrainian Choice» political force created by Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, close Putin’s friend. He participated in rallies supporting Russian occupation of Crimea and in the organization of illegal «referendum». However, he has not been further promoted by Russian occupants in Crimea and received Russian grants for his «patriotic» projects. After the Russian occupation of Kherson region, he appeared in Genichesk as the representative of «city mayor’s office».

Zaporizhzhia regional office of the Russian Communist is registered in Melitopol at Robocha street, 7. It has been used by the Ukrainian Communist party before it has been banned in Ukraine.

Russian communists are more visible in occupied Kherson region. Born in Russian Uljanovsk, Russian citizen Ramil Zamaletdinov is heading their regional office. He has been promoted by Aleksey Kurinnoi, member of the Russian State Duma from the Russian Communist party.

It is surprising that Yuri Romaskevych, former chief sanitary officer of Kherson region and ardent communist, has not been appointed to this position. He was accused of the state treason.

Ramil Zamaletdinov (indicated by arrow) at the meeting of «Kherson regional office of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation». Photo:

Collaborator Oleksandr Ponomarev, former head of Strilkove local community, also joined the Russian Communist party. As telegram channel reported, his wife Larysa Ponomaryova has been appointed by occupants as «passport officer» of the community. She actively forces community residents to receive Russian passports on the eve of September «elections».

In accordance with the Russian State Register, Kherson followers of Zuganov, the leader of Russian communists, were registered in Genichesk at Druzhba narodiv street, 66. Before the Russian occupation, this building hosted driving school of the Association to Support Defense of Ukraine.

Liberal Democratic Party of Russia

Zaporizhzhia regional office of Russian Liberal Democrats was registered in the Russian State Register in March 2023. The regional office is headed by collaborator Kateryna Umanets, «governor» of Kyrylivka local community. She has been among leaders of «Russian Spring» in Melitopol in 2014.

In 2017, the State Security Service of Ukraine initiated criminal investigation of Umanets’ actions, under suspicion of the state treason. She fled to Moscow and worked there as real estate agent. After occupation of Melitopol, she came back to Melitopol. Regional office of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is registered in Umanets’ apartment in Melitopol – Bohdan Khmelnytsky street, 64, apt.61.

Катерина Уманець очолює регіональне відділення ЛДПР. Фото Телеграм “Новая Кирилловка”

Kateryna Umanets is heading Zaporizhzhia regional office of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. Photo: telegram channel «Novaya Kirillovka»

Telegram channel of Kyrylivka occupation authorities regularly posts news about events of Umanets’ party, quotations of party leader Zhyrynovsky or party «good actions» on occupied territories («humanitarian assistance» etc.).

«A Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth» (SRZP)

Russian occupants reported about creation of Zaporizhzhia regional office of Mironov-Prilepin’s party in March 2023. However, it has not been registered yet in the Russian State Register at the moment of current article.

Zaporizhzhia office of SRZP is headed by Yuri Petrovych Onyschuk, former member of Melitopol City Council, colleague of «governor» Balytsky. He has been among the first to collaborate with enemy. He was given the position of the director of municipal enterprise «Vodokanal» (water utility company).

Установчі збори регіонального відділення партії “Справедливая Россия - Патриоты - За правду”

Statutory meeting of Zaporizhzhia regional office of SRZP

Why do his boss Balytsky and he lead different Russian political parties? Onyschuk explained it in the following way at the party statutory meeting: «Our party supports the polict of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and special military operation in Ukraine. At the same time, multiparty system should be in any country».

Thus, Balytsky made various stakes. If the Russian legislation will introduce indirect elections of «governors» on the occupied territory, then, «governors» will be «elected» by local «parliaments». In this case, Russian «governors» Balytsky and Saldo will need to secure the majority of votes…

If the Ukrainian counteroffensive will erase them with their Russian «supervisors» from occupied regions, then, they will use voting stations beyond boundaries of their regions or Ukraine.