Refugees from the zone of armed conflict in the Donbass region in Ukraine are called “internally displaced persons” (IDPs). To date, there are slightly less than 1.6 million such “persons” in Ukraine, according to official figures. Despite the fact that these people made their choice (consciously or by force of circum-stances) in favor of Ukraine, the authorities treat them like strangers, believing that they are all potential “separatists”.
Left without anything and, in fact, starting a new life, IDPs could have relied on assistance from the state to which they showed their loyalty. However, by the end of 2014, Ukraine had ceased to notice them, leaving refugees alone with their problems.
On the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections, another refugee problem is emerging – the unresolved issue of their suffrage. But IDPs are 5% of voters. Taking into account today’s ratings of Ukrainian politicians, these 5% of votes can become decisive.
Olga Ayvazovskaya, coordinator of political and electoral programs of the Opora civil network, is sure that the settlers can take part in the presidential elec-tions, but only after they change their electoral address. However, this is done by very few people. A lot of them do not want to waste time and energy on trips to the authorities: in 2014 only 120 thousand voters across Ukraine changed their election addresses.
As for the parliamentary elections, the settlers can vote only for lists of par-ties, they do not have the right to elect the majority candidates. And in local elec-tions, refugees from the Donbas can not take part at all, no matter how long they live in a particular locality. The authorities in Kiev never concealed that they do not want to give such a right to the migrants, fearing that they can support the “wrong” candidate.
Note that even serial maniacs in prisons have the right to vote. This right is guaranteed by international conventions. If a person is punished for a crime and he is deprived of his liberty, he has the right to vote, and this can not be taken away from him.
But for power, the former “Donetsk” and “Lugansk” settlers are worse than serial maniacs – they can vote “wrong” and choose “wrong”. And therefore expect miracles, for example, that Ukraine is afraid of punishment for violation of international law, it is not worth it. The fear of losing power is much stronger. It is for this reason that there is a tendency in Ukraine to record immigrants, deprived of the right to vote, not refugees, but ordinary citizens. Last year the number of refugees suddenly inexplicably increased by 400 thousand people – 60 thousand in only three months. Thus, the Kiev regime reduces the number of “unreliable”.

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