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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 650

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.
Mariupol Holds Delayed Elections

Mariupol, the key coastal city on the edge of both the Azov Sea and the front lines of battle against the Russian-backed separatists, held elections today over one month after the rest of the country held their polls. AFP reports:

The earlier vote was pushed back "due to the improper preparation of election ballots, the absence of control over their printing and number, and reliable storage," the Solidarity party of President Petro Poroshenko said.

But locals and the pro-Russian party that had hoped to do well in the city both accused Kiev of simply calling off a vote it was about to lose.

This time round a trickle of mostly elderly people headed to the polls in rainy weather to elect a new mayor with a candidate from a pro-Russian bloc favourite to win.

"The turnout is very low", Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, head of Donetsk military and civil administration, told Ukrainian TV channel "112".

RFE/RL reports that the polls have closed in both Mariupol and nearby Krasnoarmiisk, and this time there do not appear to have been the same issues that there were last month:

The Central Election Commission said on November 29 that voter turnout in Mariupol was at 34.6 percent and in Krasnoarmiisk at 34.5 percent.

Kyiv Post reports that despite four mines and explosives being discovered by authorities on the eve of the vote, the election has gone well with better than expected turnout. Kyiv Post also seems to think that a business associate of a powerful local oligarch is likely to win the mayoral election in Mariupol:

At polling stations, the voters said they were hoping the ongoing vote would bring peace and prosperity to the city, where some 40,000 residents work for the Metinvest steel company, owned by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.

Out of a dozen of voters polled by the Kyiv Post, the majority said they cast their ballots for Vadym Boychenko, the top HR manager at Akhmetov’s Illich steel mill. There were a total of 22 candidates for mayor registered for the race.

“Boychenko is our guy, he works at the Illich plant,” said Liudmyla Kovtun, 67, a nurse at a local maternity hospital. “Plants are the most important for us here, as well as peace”

“I voted for Boychenko because he is young and he’s from Metinvest. We need jobs. My husband is a Metinvest employee,” said Oksana Pugachova, 40, a boiler operator.

Boychenko arrived at his polling station smiling and said he expected to gain over 50 percent of votes, which would allow him to win in the first round. If elected, he promises to tackle corruption, create new jobs and transform Mariupol from a frontline city into a tourist center.

Mariupol makes second attempt to elect mayor after failed vote

Mariupol residents submit their votes in the second round of the city's local elections on Nov. 29. Photo by Anastasia Vlasova MARIUPOL, Ukraine -- Despite cold rain and warnings of possible terror attacks, residents of the sea port city Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast rushed to polling stations on Nov.

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Nov 30, 2015 11:00 (GMT)
Elsewhere in Ukraine, the power is still not on in large parts of Russian-occupied Crimea following the explosion of electrical pylons last weekend:

Ukraine has also tightened control over foreign charter flights, citing security concerns. The move comes weeks after Ukraine and Russia both blocked commercial flights between the two countries.

-- James Miller