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Condemn Russian fake-referenda – Upgrade fight against electoral disinformation

(September 21, 2022)



The fake-referenda announced by the self-proclaimed authorities of the Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine are another effort to politically manipulate and instrumentalize elections and referenda for the anti-democratic agenda of the Russian dictatorship. Their results, obtained illegally in an atmosphere of fear and lack of access to independent information, should in no way be recognized by the international community. Those who are involved in their organization – be it in the occupied territories of Ukraine, be it in the Russian Federation – should be put on international sanctions lists. Western countries should decisively continue to support Ukraine in its military struggle against the Russian aggression and upgrade their own efforts against disinformation and electoral manipulations by the Russian Federation.

On September 20, the so-called separatist authorities of the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine announced to hold fake-referenda on leaving Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation. They are expected to last several days and to take place between September 23 – 27. The rushed announcement, just two days ahead of the planned voting, reflects the Kremlin’s chaotic response to the progressive counteroffensive by Ukraine’s troops liberating further Russian-occupied territories. The hasty holding of the fake-referenda is aimed at forcing territorial concessions from the Ukrainian authorities, mobilizing the own population for an anti-constitutional war of aggression, and stopping Western states’ military support for Ukraine.

Neither Ukrainian law nor international standards allow the results of such a vote to be recognized. There is not a single precondition or criteria for the holding of fair elections as laid down in international obligations that would be fulfilled by holding this vote.
The hasty holding of fake-referenda in territories in the area of military operations must be considered a violation of international laws and standards.

EPDE condemns the instrumentalization of elections and referenda for the enforcement of the imperialistic power politics of the Russian Federation.

EPDE appreciates the fast reaction of the international community and the declaration of political leaders not to recognize the outcomes of any such fake referendum.

EPDE repeats its urgent call on European parliaments on national and regional levels to carefully scrutinize the behavior of their elected members and to prevent any possible participation of European politicians in such efforts of political propaganda and electoral disinformation.

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