McClatchy reports: Having lived through a month of pro-Russian separatists storming and seizing government buildings to raise the Russian flag, Donetsk residents will be asked May 11 to answer a single question in a hastily organized referendum.
That question, according to a government official who said he was present at a meeting Tuesday where the wording was agreed on: “Do you support the creation of the Donetsk People’s Republic?”
What would a “yes” vote actually mean? Officials admit they aren’t sure. In fact, one noted that more than a desire to join Russia, or be a separate nation, the vote is an attempt to persuade the central government in Kiev to listen to this populous, industrial region. Regional council member Nikolai Zagoruiko said that if the central government would agree to two long-standing demands, the vote might never have to happen.
“If they would agree to make Russian a second official language of Ukraine — so that everyone can understand the state documents they must read and sign — and agree to give Donetsk more local control over the taxes we collect to send to Kiev, so that we can make this a better place to live, we would probably be satisfied,” he said. “In fact, if they did those two things, I’m sure the referendum could be postponed, and eventually forgotten about.” [Continue reading…]