Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Two weeks after the electoral campaign in Ukraine for the presidential post started, the first schemes for bribing voters for the elections in March 2019 were recorded. Information arrives from Kiev, Odessa, Chernigov, Khmelnitsky, and also from towns and villages.
As journalists reports, local officials, using their administrative resources, organised a so-called “sociological project”. In order to participate it is necessary to sign a “like-mindedness questionnaire” and a “personal obligation”, which are perceived by many as an obligation to vote for the current president Petro Poroshenko.
The questionnaire asks for a house or apartment address, a phone number, and who you will vote for in elections. It also suggests to evaluate your confidence in your choice on a 5-point scale and to choose from the provided options what good things were done by the current president.
Those who are taken as so-called “interviewers” who are registered at the house where the “survey” is being carried out, and they are set the task of finding 12 people who support the current president. According to journalists, there is the promise to pay 1000 hryvnia to everyone for 14 houses.
It is also reported that in Chernigov, at the order of the region administration, employees of colleges carried out a similar survey among colleagues and also their families.
In Khmelnitsky, at one of the universities of the region, so-called volunteers who showed their willingness to carry out a survey concerning “the attitude towards the situation in Ukraine” were briefed for several days. Everyone was issued “personal obligation” forms marked “Poroshenko’s Team” and set the task of identifying supporters of the current president and to keep in contact with them.
Odessa teachers also received an order “from above”. They were set the task of finding parents who will carry out the so-called “questioning”.
At the same time, the residents of Kiev started to receive calls from unidentified persons who suggest to them to be agitators in their house or doorway. In addition, information is already arriving from the capital about its inhabitants being offered monetary rewards in exchange for their passport data and a vote for the necessary candidate.
The human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta“ remind that according to the law of Ukraine No. 1703-VII “On the introduction of amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine concerning strengthening responsibility for violations of the electoral rights of citizens”, for bribing voters a restriction of freedom for a period of up to 3 years or imprisonment for the same term without the right to hold certain positions or to be engaged in a certain activity also for a period of up to 3 years is stipulated. And a voter who sold their vote may be fined from 3100 to 5400 hryvnia.
The right of citizens to participate in political life is regulated by Article 38 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
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