"People's Republic of Donetsk" votes on "self-rule" in referendum

Voters are going to the polls in the eastern Ukraine regions of Luhansk and Donetsk over whether they support state "self-rule" for the self-declared "People's Republic of Donetsk."

The vote comes after violence on Friday between government and separatist forces in the port city of Mariupol left several people dead and despite Russian President Vladimir Putin saying last week that the ballot should be postponed.

Should Donetsk gain independence or even join Russia, Ukraine would lose important coal- and steel-producing regions that accounts for a large part of GDP. More immediately, there are fears that a yes vote could cause Ukraine to slide into outright civil war.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande yesterday said they would support wider sanctions against Russia - including in energy and financial services - if Ukraine's May 25 presidential election doesn't take place because of the turmoil in the country. The problem for Germany, of course, is its close economic ties with Russia, as profiled by the WSJ.

Putin, for his part, is looking to Chinese investment to help boost Russia's slumping economy as the West implements what have so far been mild sanctions, Bloomberg reports.

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Comments (14)
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3552) | Send Message
    Wonder if the vote is 95% again this time LOL
    11 May 2014, 05:20 AM Reply Like
  • kashirin
    , contributor
    Comments (63) | Send Message
    Why LOL, man? Have you been there the last time? Give us more details
    11 May 2014, 09:47 AM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3552) | Send Message
    My bad, the vote came back, looks like it's only 90% this time, clearly a legit election


    What a joke


    I have some 2007 MBS to unload while we're at it. They're AAA rated I promise
    12 May 2014, 02:52 AM Reply Like
  • User 353732
    , contributor
    Comments (5168) | Send Message
    If a referendum were held in almost any state in the US, several counties would vote to leave that state, especially in California, New York, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado.......
    If states were allowed to hold a referendum in the US, a majority would freely and fairly vote for "self rule" from Wash DC; the same is true in every European country.


    Political fragmentation and coerced geo political "federalism" are the norms in dozens of countries and certainly in every geographically large polity; Many nations are Yugoslavias under the surface;


    Russia has shown considerable skill in exploiting the inherent and potentially violent tension between political fragmentation and coerced federalism in the Ukraine and will no doubt attempt the same in Estonia and Latvia while pursuing a more totalitarian model domestically.
    11 May 2014, 12:34 PM Reply Like
  • King Rat
    , contributor
    Comments (1901) | Send Message
    Indeed, User 3...


    The new "Russia" is wise in a Machiavellian sort of way to claim territory in chunks. Uproar in Chechnya? Who remembers that? Georgia (the country)? Who remembers that? In 5 years it will be East and South Ukraine? Who remembers that? The power structure of the old Soviet Union never really left, it merely left the KGB in charge.
    11 May 2014, 11:53 PM Reply Like
  • DmT1
    , contributor
    Comments (74) | Send Message
    One real economic problem in Estonia, is that tourists from USA are not coming here, because they fear what they are being told in the US media. Russian tourism has also declined, because of the fall of the Russian ruble.


    For Russia it would be very hard to do something like in the Ukraine in Estonia. Most Russians, who live here, understand that if they would be living in Russia, then life would be a lot worse.
    12 May 2014, 07:56 AM Reply Like
  • KJP712
    , contributor
    Comments (472) | Send Message
    Sanctions might work against a poor country.Against Russia,not so much...
    11 May 2014, 08:06 PM Reply Like
  • Sakelaris
    , contributor
    Comments (2707) | Send Message
    Concerning sanctions: Countries and corporations who are critical of Russia now cannot be counted on for the long run.
    11 May 2014, 08:15 PM Reply Like
  • James Bjorkman
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
    The vote is for self-rule, by an overwhelming percentage.


    The markets undoubtedly will yawn and go higher, because that's all they know how to do for the past two years. It would be interesting to find out what WOULD send the markets down - it would have to be something titanic.
    12 May 2014, 01:01 AM Reply Like
  • Ford289HiPo
    , contributor
    Comments (1106) | Send Message
    This sounds like 1990 Yugoslavia all over again.
    12 May 2014, 11:13 AM Reply Like
  • Sakelaris
    , contributor
    Comments (2707) | Send Message
    I see some similarities, and some differences with the Yugoslavia situation of the 1990s. Yes, there were people in Yugoslavia displeased with their borders, just as we now see with Ukraine. But here are the differences:


    (1) In the 1990s, the US was all for reconfiguring borders; ultimately Yugoslavia was broken up into SEVEN separate nations, with Serbians ultimately losing the right to live in many areas. But NOW the US is the country sanctimoniously protesting any change in the borders of Ukraine. Of course, most Americans have long since forgotten the Yugoslavia breakup--but Russia knows what the US did there and sees the US as being very hypocritical concerning Ukraine's borders.


    (2) The other difference is in the human cost. Admittedly, the figures could change in Ukraine if no settlement is reached, but right now we are talking about a struggle there with maybe a couple hundred dead. The death toll from the US border-changing in Yugoslavia was far higher; 2,000 Serbian civilians alone died in 1999 from the US bombing of Belgrade.
    12 May 2014, 11:31 AM Reply Like
  • Ford289HiPo
    , contributor
    Comments (1106) | Send Message
    """ultimately Yugoslavia was broken up into SEVEN separate nations, ~"""


    I beg to differ there. After the death of Tito, Slovenia took a hike and got away easy. Croatia was next in line, and the fighting started, then little Bosnia decided to break away and had their rear ends handed to them. Serbs never lost a right to live in the contested area's. Many still live in their ancestral homes while others fled to Serbia proper.


    The US didn't have much to do with the Balkans conflict until Clinton decided to inject us into a European issue and Haig nearly got us into a war with Russia.


    ""~2,000 Serbian civilians alone died in 1999 from the US bombing of Belgrade.""


    That was a stupid move on our part.
    12 May 2014, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • Sakelaris
    , contributor
    Comments (2707) | Send Message
    The seven: FYROM, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo.


    The violence was mostly over:


    1. The 1993-1995 establishment of Croatia and Bosnia (including the displacement of about 300,000 Krajina Serbs from Croatia--and less than half of them have returned).


    2. The 1999 establishment of Kosovo, again thousands of Serbs have had to flee an area. And I am glad you can see the wrongness of our bombing Belgrade in that struggle.
    12 May 2014, 03:21 PM Reply Like
  • Ford289HiPo
    , contributor
    Comments (1106) | Send Message
    Eight, if you include the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.


    My POV comes from working for 4 years in Bosnia and Croatia. I never had the opportunity to rub elbows with Serbs outside of Sarajevo, but most willingly moved to Serbia proper.


    Thank you for not taking me back 800 years to the Plain of Blackbirds.
    13 May 2014, 11:34 AM Reply Like
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