- Posted May 25, 2014 by
Team iReport featured this story
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Presidential Elections in Ukraine
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
In Kiev participation in the voting is the highest I personally ever remember! I had to wait for over an hour for my chance to vote, some of my friends reported two hour lines! People are willing to wait in lines for a few hours, after we have been fighting for this chance since November!
While standing in a long line I didn’t notice anger or irritation in spite of inefficient process. If anything, people seem to look at the crowd around them with pride, happy to see that many came to contribute to this important national decision, that many are not avoiding the inconvenience of the wait.
Something unusual for Ukrainians is to strike conversations with strangers waiting in line. Normally people would stand silently. But today there was a lot of chatter. People were encouraging each other, reminding that this was wonderful to have a problem of such high participation that we had to stand in line, remembering other times when hardly anybody came to vote. Older people noted how many younger ones were there today!
In some ways these crowds are mini-extensions of Maidan (protests on Independence Square that took place between Nov 2013 and Feb 2014) – it’s people who care about future of Ukraine and feel personal responsibility for it. Many came to vote wearing Ukrainian traditional clothes. They look into the future with hope and determination to contribute to building new Ukraine!
Elections are complicated in Eastern regions of Ukraine where armed Russian terrorists and some Ukrainian collaborators are harassing members of district election commissions, threatening their personal safety and safety of their families.
On May 22 the work of 18 out of 34 election commissions in Donetsk and Lugansk regions have been stopped fully or partially by representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. The Committee of Voters of Ukraine predicted that because of “ongoing acts of terrorism and armed insurgency” 10% of Ukrainian population would be unable to vote. Terrorists in Lugansk and Donetsk region are warning citizens not to go to polls to vote threatening explosions.
Never in the history of Ukraine we had to fight so hard for our right to elect President and to influence the long-term future of our country. Never before we have treasured this right like we do now!