Election commissions in the referendums that ended the day before in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People's Republic (LPR,) as well as in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Regions, processed all 100% of the voting results reports. As a result, according to TASS, 99.2% of the voters in the DPR, 98.4% in the LPR, 93.1% in Zaporizhzhia Region, and 87% in Kherson Region voted for joining the Russian Federation.
After the polls closed, the turnout at the referendum, taking into account polling stations on the Russian territory where refugees voted, was 94.1%, according to the LPR Central Electoral Commission. As reported by TASS, 1,662,607 voters took part in the vote. In the DPR, 2,131,207 voters cast their ballots in the referendum, which amounted to 97.5% of the voter rolls. In the Zaporizhzhia Region, there was 85% turnout and 541,093 people voted, while 571,001 people voted in the Kherson Region, and turnout was 78.8%.
The referendums in these regions were held from September 23 to 27. To ensure the top level safety and security, the first four days of voting were conducted by mobile election commissions. People had an opportunity to express their will by voting in the territory adjacent to their house or in the building of a theater, kindergarten, hospital or school. On September 27, the residents cast their votes at specially prepared polling stations. There were quite a few reports and video-clips from the scene. People confidently voted for their future, went to the polling stations voluntarily, many smiled, and women often could not hold back their tears for joy. Observers who came there not only from Russia, but also from 45 countries from all five continents confirmed that people reacted to the voting precisely in this way. For example, Mexican writer Israel Gomez was present as an observer, and in a conversation with a TASS correspondent he said that “no pressure or bribery” was noted during the LPR referendum by international observers. For his part, State Duma deputy Sergey Ten confirmed that the LPR referendum had been held in line with all legal requirements.
It should be noted that there were also many polling stations on the territory of the Russian Federation, where refugees and displaced persons from Donbas and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Regions were able to vote. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Russia hosted more than 3.6 million refugees.
The people of Donbas have been waiting for this moment for eight long years. Moreover, they were not just waiting, but living without light and water to the sound of exploding shells in constant fear for the fate of their loved ones. They suffered, defended themselves, and waited.
After the voting results were announced, DPR head Denis Pushilin called the referendum results a “feat of the people.”
“This is a feat of the people,” he said. “A feat that our people, we all performed in 2104 and now we repeated it already in 2022. Well, now go ahead! Go ahead for Russia! To build and, of course, to win! Thank you, friends!”
No matter how hard the Ukrainian guerrillas tried to intimidate the people by opening heavy fire along the entire front line during the referendum, which is more than a thousand kilometers, they failed. People cast their votes for reunification with Russia, for the right to speak their native language and for the right not to fear for the lives of their children. They voted under the sound of artillery cannonade. That was indeed a heroic deed!
The further procedure for the incorporation of the DPR, LPR, and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Regions into Russia was explained by Oleg Zatsepa, deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg Election Commission and a lawyer who was an observer for the Russian Federation. After the results of the referendums are determined, the leaders of the Donbas republics and the heads of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Regions will send appeals to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to admit these regions to Russia. A draft of a special law on the subject's admission to the Russian Federation will be submitted to the State Duma, as well as a law on the ratification of the corresponding international treaty. Zatsepa said that the law will establish all conditions for integration of these regions into the Russian legislation.