Free elections under Nazi fire at South Western Russia

10:55 16.09.2023 • Vladimir Kozin , Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences

Election commission members prepare to count ballots at a polling station after a local elections in Donetsk, the capital of Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.
Photo: AP

  • The elections at various levels held in Russia have been declared valid, Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) head Ella Pamfilova said at a commission meeting summarizing the results of the nation-wide elections held between September 8-10, 2023, and in new territories a little bit earlier because of the brutal and unprovoked Ukrainian-NATO aggression.

Ella Panfilova added that the elections have been successful. 13 political parties and more that 45 millions voters took part in them, including participants living in four new territories that have joined Russia in October 2022 – in DPR and LPR (Donbass) and in Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions (South Western Russia). The majority votes have been casted in favor of the “United Russia” party – the leading party in Russia. These elections have been organized for the first time after these four territories have joined Russia.

33 foreign observers from 21 countries voluntarily monitored the elections in all four territories. They noted the observance of all standards of electoral law, their transparency and openness, as well as high voter turnout and free will.

Final protocols from all four Election Commissions set up in two Donbass Republics and two Regions in the South Western Russia have been posted at the Internet in the PDF format.

Though any elections do not usually substitute any referendum, those held in Russia have confirmed that the majority of voters in all these four lands once again voted for their unification with Russia. In this case there is no need to arrange new referenda.

The level of participation in the elections has been high. In DPR the show up of voters was 76,41%, in LPR – 72,53%, in Zaporozhye Region – 68,11% and in Kherson Region – 65,14%. That was higher than in some other parts of Russia.

The September 2023 nation-wide elections have proved that the feelings of patriotism and consolidation have been deeply rooted in the whole of the Russian Federation, especially since the Special Military Operation that has begun with the aim to disrupt unprovoked combined Ukrainian-NATO aggression against Donbass and later against Russia launched with the aim to kill more Russian civilians.

During the elections arranged in these four territories the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have shelled many cities and villages located there them with heavy weapons, including 155 mm howitzers, HIMARS MLRS fitted with cluster munitions and other heavy weapons systems.

According to official figures announced by the DPR Joint Control and Coordination Commission since September 2 till September 10,2023 the AFU fired at DPR territory alone: 475 times and released 1524 shells, sometimes aiming at polling stations.

During such brutal attacks five persons have been killed and 47 have been injured, including three children.

Polling stations and election commissions have been deliberately attacked by Kiev’s troops. One polling station was destroyed in Zaporozhye Region, two election commissions have been damaged in DPR, with six persons being injured.  

Vladimir Putin has said about the elections: “They have been held everywhere, including in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and in the Lugansk and Donetsk republics. They were held in difficult conditions there, and I admire the courage of the staff at polling stations. When bombing raids began there – the enemy also targeted voting stations, people went into basements, leaving them to resume their work when the raids were over. People came to voting stations and stood in lines despite the possibility of attacks on them.”


  • Russia has repeatedly drawn the attention of the international community to the shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) from the Ukrainian side.

Director General (DG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi has embarked upon stable tactics not to notice such attacks that have reached more than 400 since last spring.

His official statement release on the situation in Ukraine related to NPP has one more proof of that. It stated that starting from the beginning of September, the IAEA team working at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant as observers “heard around two dozen explosions over three days, followed by several more in the last few days”.

The statement also clarified that just over a year after the IAEA established a permanent presence at this Europe’s largest NPP to help prevent an accident there during the conflict in Ukraine, the overall situation at the facility remains “highly precarious”. But DG Grossi has done nothing to prevent such accidents. He preferred to express his “deep concern” only, but failed to identify that shelling has been done by the Ukrainian side.

Separately, the ZNPP officials informed the IAEA team that more drone strikes had taken place in the nearby city of Enerhodar – where many plant staff live with their families – in the morning of 7 September, 2023.  

In addition, the IAEA team was informed that the ZNPP had decided to temporarily reduce the number of personnel on the site to minimum levels over the next few days due to concerns of a higher risk of military activities in the area.

And, as many times before, the IAEA DG turned a blind eye to such drone attacks that have been launched from the positions controlled by Ukraine. Their locations are known to everybody. 

Three months after the downstream Kakhovka dam was destroyed – causing the depletion of the huge reservoir that the ZNPP had been relying on to cool its reactors and spent fuel – the plant continues work on expanding access to other sources of water, for example through the drilling of groundwater wells. So far, seven such wells of a planned total of 10-12 have been completed.  

Again: dead silence from the IAEA DG, though it is known who has exploded the Kakhovka dam. It is Ukraine.

The IAEA team reported that the ZNPP is performing maintenance on different components and safety systems at the facility, whose six reactors remain shut down, one in hot shutdown and the others in cold shutdown.

So, the question may be asked: For what reasons the culprits for constant attacking the ZNPP and the city of Energodar – namely the AFU units – have not been identified so far by the IAEA DG Grossi?


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