Kharkov to hold a city referendum

Kharkov city meeting-referendum on federalization planned to take place on Freedom Sq. on March 16. The action is scheduled to start at noon, informed the reporters Yegor Logvinov, a member of the meeting’s Executive Committee. The Executive Committee was established on March 1; the decision to hold a referendum on March 16 was adopted at the meeting that took place on the Freedom Square on March 8. The city meeting would engulf some 50 non-governmental organizations: the Cossacks, the Afghan war veterans, “Borotba” and others. The head of the Executive Committee is Artem Trofimov.

As Yegor Logvinov notes, Executive Committee decided to print ballots as they expect a huge turnout. The exact design of the ballot is being discussed; the same goes for the wording of the referendum question (which will have to be answered “yes” or “no”). To collect the ballots, the Committee plans to install about 100-200 ballot boxes, which at the end of the vote will be taken to a specially formed Counting Commission. According to preliminary information, in the ballot paper people will be able to put name and surname of the voter, as well as the phone number.

Gennady Makarov, Chairman of the Coordination Council of Russian organizations in Eastern Ukraine, believes that the will of the people on the referendum should be open and transparent. The event is open to all international observers who wish to come. The organizers of the referendum do not recognize the legitimacy of the new government in Kiev; the results of the people's referendum will be sent to leadership of Russia, the UN, the EU and other international organizations.

According to Gennady Makarov, the referendum will also include an option to vote for people's governor. Presumably, the attendees will elect Igor Massalov. After the election, candidacy of the people's governor would be presented for approval to Viktor Yanukovych, whom the referendum organizers still recognize as legitimate President of Ukraine.

As Igor Massalov notes, the venue scheduled to take place on the Freedom Square on March 16 should rather be called a plebiscite or a poll, as the organizers have no opportunity to observe the referendum procedure outlined in the law. The referendum should be initiated by the Regional Council and organized by the Kharkov Regional Administration. “I spoke with the chairman of the Regional Council Sergey Chernov, and he said that he would discuss this option at the meeting of the Party of Regions. On Thursday, we will hold a meeting of about 100 NGOs, where we will discuss the candidacy of people's governor and nominate him to the city meeting,” said Massalov.

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