|Barkashov - note the symbol behind him|
So, it seems the Ukraine referenda were fixed in a stunningly obvious and clumsy way. But don't just take my word for it: read this piece in the Economist, an august organ not known for its casual use of words such as "bogus" and "farce".
One last word on last weekend's referenda in Ukraine: as reported in the now-essential Interpreter magazine, more taped conversations have come to light (better than watching gangster movies, this, and certainly more realistic).
An audio recording was posted on YouTube, apparently between Dmytro Boitsov (a rebel leader in Donetsk) and Aleksandr Barkashov (a Russian neo-Nazi leader at national level*).
Boitsov: The troops are landing... Donetsk won't stand up...If we don't get support, if Russia does not bring its troops, we will be fucked up. I am cancelling the referendum set for the 11th, because it can't be held. We can't conduct it lawfully as long as these cocksuckers are here.
Barkashov: Dima, Dima Dima, there is no way that you cancel it. It will mean that you got scared...
Boitsov: No, we are not scared at all. We simply can't hold it, we're not ready.
Barkashov: Dima, just flog whatever you want. Write something like 99% down... Are you going to walk around and collect papers? Are you fucking insane? Forget it, fuck them all...
Boitsov: Got it.
Barkashov: Write that 99%... well, not 99%... let's say 89% voted for the Donetsk Republic. And that's it, fucking shit.
In other words, it seems that Barkashov, the skinhead-friendly thug, had just about enough mental capacity to realise that 99% - the Crimean referendum result - did not exactly sound credible and reduced it to 89%.
And the referendum result polled last Sunday in Donetsk was...wait for it...89%. What an extraordinary coincidence!
Ah, you say, but the source of the taped recording is the SBU (Ukrainian security service). This is just blatant propaganda, like the Russians are doing, right? Naturally the new Donetsk regime has dismissed it as fake. Well, that would be a perfectly legitimate argument, were it not for three things.
One, because earlier secretly-recorded tapes by the SBU (see previous blog here) gave a remarkably convincing explanation of what happened in the case of the murder of a local councillor. Hardly proof, but this at least makes us treat them seriously.
Two, logic dictates that it is quite hard to credibly fake a dialogue between two public (or semi-public) figures, because there will always be someone who knows well the voice of one or both of them, and can tell.
And three - rather a clincher, this - because it was posted on 7 May. The referendum was the 11 May. So to believe that it is a fake, we would have to also believe that the tape exactly predicted the outcome of the Donetsk referendum, four days before it actually happened.
*There is, by the way, a certain irony in Moscow's dogged insistence that Kyiv is a neofascist administration, when it is seemingly they who are making use of fascist thugs to do their dirty work.