UKRAINSKA PRAVDA — MONDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2022, 16:29
Russia planned to hold a so-called “referendum” in the Kharkiv region from 1 to 7 November in which 75% were supposed to “vote” for joining the Russian Federation.
Source: RFE/RL Donbas.Realii (Donbas.Realities), referring to a document obtained from sources within one of Ukraine’s intelligence agencies
Details: According to the Kremlin-drafted “Strategy for holding a referendum on the accession of Kharkiv region to the Russian Federation”, the “voting” was supposed to take place over seven days with a prescribed result – 75% in favour of joining the aggressor country. A total of 142,000 voters were supposed to vote, and over 100,000 of them were to vote “for”.
As Donbas.Realities notes, the document must have been drafted recently because the front line is shown as of 24 August. The main risks [mentioned] are the pro-Ukrainian sentiments of the population and the shortage of staff to work in the election commissions.
To win Ukrainians over, the authors planned to promulgate the inevitability of the entire Kharkiv Oblast joining the Russian Federation, as well as pushing the economic and social benefits of joining Russia.
The slogans in the “strategy” include “Russia is here forever” and “Say yes to Russia, we are one people before God”. The Russians also structured their referendum propaganda around Orthodox feast-days, for example, they planned to hold a cross procession in support of the “referendum” on 21 September [the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God] and every day of the referendum’s duration.
The Russian authorities have postponed the sham “referendums” indefinitely in the occupied territories of Donbas, as well as in Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts, due to the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive.