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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Live Day 636

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Klitschko Ahead in Kiev and Filatov in Dnipropetrovsk: Exit Polls in Second Round of Ukrainian Elections

The second round of voting took place in a number of Ukrainian cities today in elections which were either too close to call or where no candidate got more than 50% in the first round on October 23.

In Kiev, according to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, 64.7% voted for Witaly Klitschko of the Poroshenko bloc and 35.3% for Borislav Bereza of the Party of Resolute Citizens. Bereza is also a member of Right Sector.

In Dnipropetrovsk, according to the polling organization Sotsis, 62% voted for Boris Filatov, the candidate from the Ukrop party supported by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi, and 38% for Aleksandr Vilkul. Another monitoring group had identical results.

In Lviv, 61.4% voted for Andriy Sadovy from Samopomich and 38.6% voted for the Svoboda candidate, Ruslan Koshulinsky, former vice speaker of parliament who has served in the military.

In Ivano-Frankivsk, 56.1% voted for Svoboda candidate Ruslan Martsinkiv and 43.9% for the Solidarity candidate Ihor Nasalik, the Kiev International Institute for Sociology reported (KMIS).

In Pavlograd, the Opposition Bloc candidate Anatoly Vershina gained 55% of the vote and Yevgeny Terekhov from Ukrop party 45%, KMIS reported.

In Vinnitsa, according to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Sergei Morgunov of the Vinnitsa European Strategy party garnered 66% of the votes and Ludmila Shcherbakovskaya of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party of Yulia Timoshenko received 31%.

Mikhail Okhendovsky, chairman of the Central Elections Commission, said turnout for the second rounds was very low, about 30% of registered voters.

It is still too early to assess the final results of the Ukrainian elections as the official tallies have to be given and more analysis is needed. But it may be that predictions of a revanche of Svoboda and Right Sector, which failed to cross the 5% threshold in the parliamentary elections last year, and gained only scattered seats in single-mandate district, may be premature. Timoshenko's Batkivshchina party also did well only in a few specific districts.

The cliche of the "East-West" divide persists in describing Ukraine, although those that take a more granular view find that this is not only superficial but misleading.

Serhiy Vasylchenko, a physicist in Chernihiv Region who has worked with election-monitoring groups, has done intensive and painstaking work in documenting the vote in every district in Ukraine for the 2014 elections and created a series of maps.

This map from last year's elections reveals how much Ukraine is "speckled" throughout and not divided neatly between "East and West," as districts voting for Poroshenko appeared in the Donbass even by the front line -- or perhaps especially by the front line given the failure of the "people's republics" to end war and deliver basic necessities last year. The map also shows that the Popular Front, created by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, had more success in western Ukraine that seems to be acknowledged.

2015-11-15 21:20:51

The map also shows that while controversial politician Oleh Lyashko had significant support, it was concentrated in the north. Svoboda did not have significant support anywhere. In Zakarpattia, an area with a pro-Russian presence, there is also the "speckling" between Poroshenko Bloc and Opposition Bloc.

Vasylchenko created another interesting map that shows which parties came in second, so that we can get a sense of where the challenges are to those that did win the elections, sometimes by not very wide margins.

2015-11-15 21:27:43

And here we see the Poroshenko Bloc in many areas of the "East" where, if the cliches were true, those coming in second would be other parties critical of Kiev. We can also see the challenge of Samopomich in a number of regions.

The question is now how these maps will look after these latest local elections, and whether the cliches about the "East-West" divide will have more substance or be challenged once again. 

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Fighting Continues Along the Front Line; Poroshenko Announces Increased Combat-Readiness

On November 15, Russian-backed separatists continued to shell Ukrainian positions for a total of 13 times, the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] posted on their Facebook page.

On the Donetsk line, grenade-launchers and firearms were used. Peski was pummeled the most -- 10 times -- with 82-mm mortar-launchers on one occasion, which were supposed to have been withdrawn under the Minsk agreement.

Militants also fired on Opytnoye and Krasnogorovka, and on the Mariupol line, separatists fired on Granitnoye with grenade-launchers

President Petro Poroshenko announced he was raising the level of combat readiness due to the escalation of 
fighting in the Donbass in the last week, reported (translation by The Interpreter):

"We are really seeing hard demonstrations of an escalation of the situation in the east. The number of shellings has increased, and our reaction has been instant. I have given a clear order that as soon as a threat to the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, to our warriors, our heroes, is created, Ukrainian soldiers have the right to open return fire. And that has already led to the following consequences: four diversionary reconnaissance groups of militants have been destroyed, one of which approached to within 80 meters of our observation post. And our soldiers acted absolutely professionally, let them through, it was night-time, they were equipped with heat-sensors, and then ensured a return reaction, and the diversionary and reconnaissance group was destroyed."

Poroshenko said among the items abandoned by the fighters were found documents confirming the Russian citizenship of those who had undertaken the attack.

"We have sharply increased the level of combat readiness and steps which the Ukrainian army will take for defense," Poroshenko emphasized.

He said meetings will take place tomorrow, November 16 with OSCE monitors to show them the places where armor and artillery have not been withdrawn.

The separatist news site DNR News said Ukrainian military had fired on positions of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) 16 times.

A representative of the DNR's "Defense Ministry" said Shirokaya Balka and the Donetsk Airport were the areas that came under fire, as well as the town of Ozeryanovka, where they claimed there were 5 shots from a tank. They also claimed that the Ukrainian army is moving back armor toward the front, although there was no independent confirmation of the claim.

A photographer in the city of Kherson near the border with Russian-occupied Crimea documented the movement of armor on the rails, the local news site Kherson Tipichny reported.

DNR News said they were Ukrainian tanks being brought to the front.

 Ukrainians were following the outcome of the second round of some mayoral and other elections around Ukraine. According to exit polls this evening, there were the following tentative results:

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick