(Kyiv Post) The people have spoken. But what exactly they said is a question and whether anyone in power in Ukraine or Russia will take their wishes into account is yet another one.
Will it mean the breakup of Ukraine? Or finally a fierce response from the West and the central government in Kyiv? Will Donetsk and Luhansk become stand-alone states within Ukraine or be absorbed into Vladimir Putin's growing empire, just as the Russian president took Crimea in March?
On the morning after the hasty referendums on May 11, no one seemed to know the fate of the two oblasts that collectively make up 15 percent of Ukraine's population.
Separatist election officials reported 89 percent for seceding and 10 percent against doing so in Donetsk Oblast. In Luhansk Oblast, Oleksandr Malykhin, a separatist referendum official, reported that 96 percent of voters "supported federalization of the Luhansk region," adding that more precise data would be released by noon on May 12, the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. […]
Should a vote to join Russia occur and pass, the situation here would descend further into chaos, says Olexiy Haran, a professor of political science at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.
Even without a second vote on joining Russia, the fight for dominance here is likely to continue, he told the Kyiv Post by phone from Kyiv. “Russia will continue to use its method of provoking clashes and bloodshed, because every time there is bloodshed people could turn against Kyiv,” he said.
Besides more mayhem, what will come next for Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts “is very difficult to predict,” Haran added.
“The international community will not recognize it (the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic). Separatists do not have control of everything in the region… they control some cities, and the Kyiv government controls some cities,” he said. He’s right: The U.S. many EU countries and the Kyiv government have decried it as illegal and said they will not recognize the results.
Plausible scenarios, Haran says, could include: the regions becoming a contested zone where part is controlled by the central Ukraine government in Kyiv and part by separatists; Moscow fomenting further unrest that leads to bloodshed in order to justify sending in Russian soldiers as "peacekeepers" under the guise of needing to protect ethnic Russians and there Russian-speaking population.
See the full article "Donetsk, Luhansk steam through another Soviet-style vote, so now what?" by Christopher J. Miller © Kyiv Post