Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Russian authorities announced this week that early voting has started for local elections in occupied areas of Ukraine, in an effort to further solidify the Kremlin’s grip on power in territories it has invaded.
The elections are just the latest attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin at legitimizing his country’s occupation of the territories. And already, the early voting seems destined to repeat the results of past sham referenda and polling by Russia in Ukraine: The vast majority of candidates in these elections belong to the Kremlin’s United Russia party and are running virtually unopposed. Governors handpicked by Moscow are seeking full terms of office, Reuters reported.
The Russian-installed governor of Zaporizhzhia, Yevgeny Balitsky, already predicted that United Russia would get a robust vote.