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© RIA Novosti. Valery Melnikov
Local residents (or "terrorists and bandits", as Poroshenko refers to them) participate in the elections of the Luhansk People's Republic in Ukraine's southeast.
While Kiev continues to drop bombs on the regions, polling stations are now open in the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Around a hundred international observers (from Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, South Ossetia, and the United States) are monitoring the elections. A Hungarian observer of the absentee polling for refugees in Russia reported today: "Everything is going, as it should. We have exposed no violations so far."

South Ossetia's Parliament Speaker Anatoly Bibilov told RIA Novosti: "[The elections are] organized on a quite high level, people are eagerly going to the polling stations, I don't notice any violations." And a German observer in Lugansk, chief editor of the German monthly magazine Zuerst!, Manuel Ochsenreiter, told reporters:
It's well organized, also it's a big challenge. Now everything is calm and peaceful, no provocations or violations ... We were visiting polling stations. They are all very crowded, it's a huge interest of the population at the elections. You can see it by masses of people standing inside and in front the polling stations.
The vote comes just one week after Kiev's own elections, which, despite being accepted as legitimate by countries like the U.S. and Russia, were plagued by violations, threats, and violence.

Contrast the presence of these observers with the following effusion of slime from the Guardian:
No international election monitors will be present for the vote, and no minimum turnout has been set by the organisers, reflecting the uncertainty over how many voters will bother turning out.
Or this, from the BBC, on the current humanitarian convoy from Russia:
On Sunday sources told the BBC that a huge convoy of up to 90 military trucks had been seen passing through rebel held areas of eastern Ukraine.

The convoy, which bore no military insignia, was carrying multiple rocket launchers and other weapons.
Someone should find out where the BBC gets their x-ray vision goggles...

Kiev Strikes Back

Never one to surprise or disappoint, Kiev has continued its policy of official schizophrenia, announcing they plan to launch a criminal probe into the Novorussian elections, deeming them 'illegal', despite the fact that the Minsk protocols they signed agree to the elections in principle. DPR's acting prime minister, Alexander Zakharchenko, responded with tough words:
If the SBU has actually opened a criminal probe into the DPR elections, we will in turn open a criminal investigation into the genocide.
And in another stunning display of democracy and Western values, the SBU has also decided to black list all international observers. This comes as Novorussian officials report Ukrainian attempts to disrupt the elections:
"On November 1 at 17:30 local time [14:30 GMT] Ukrainian punitive troops on the orders from the Kiev 'junta' blocked the roads leading to the territory of the DPR ... to stop those wishing to take part in the vote on November 2," the press service of the DPR's government said.

According to the press service, there were other cases as well. Several well-armed groups of the Dnipro-1 volunteer battalion, part of the Ukrainian National Guard, tried to enter the region in order to destabilize the situation and disrupt the elections, but were stopped by the DPR's special forces.

According to the Head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the DPR Roman Lyagin, the turnout at the elections is high.

"The turnout is high, no procedural violations were recorded. Everything is good," Lyagin stated.

Nevertheless, Lyagin has noted that there were several attacks registered on the election day.

"In the Leninsky district the shelling was quite active, but for us it is already something common, we do not pay attention to it," Lyagin said.
Read the Western media and all you'll see are reports that the evil Novorussians are killing Ukrainian soldiers. AFP reported:
Six Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by pro-Russian rebels, officials say on the eve of separatist elections that Ukraine and its Western backers say will undermine an increasingly hollow truce accord.

Losses in the last 24 hours "as a result of fighting were six servicemen killed and 10 wounded," Volodymyr Polyovy, spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council, said on Saturday (local time).

Polyovy said the deaths showed that separatist forces "continue to violate the ceasefire agreement" signed on September 5.
This last statement is complete and utter bullshit. Kiev has been violating the ceasefire every single day, shelling residential areas, killing civilians. The NAF is engaging in strictly defensive operations, because Kiev keeps sending troops into the combat zone. The Novorussians have NOT advanced into disputed territory; Kiev is the one invading.

As for the international response, Slovakia has shamefully refused to acknowledge the elections. The U.S. and EU are saying they go against the Minsk protocol (really, what they mean is that DPR and LPR decided to hold the elections today, and not on December 7, as Kiev would like), causing the international community to reject their legitimacy. Par for the course, really. Novorussia expected as much. Russia, in contrast, intends to accept the results, like they did for South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008.

So far, voting is ongoing and, Guardian idiocy notwithstanding, voter turnout looks good.

To close, just in case you haven't had enough freedom and democracy for one day, I'll leave you with this gem of good will from the White House:
"We deplore the intent of separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine to hold illegitimate so-called local 'elections' on Sunday," the White House said in a statement on Friday.