On September 18, a polling station was opened at the Russian Embassy in Kiev for the elections to the State Duma of Russia. The night before, the building was attacked by nationalists, who threw flares, petards and Molotov cocktails at the building. Vozdukhoflotsky Avenue, where the diplomatic mission is located, was glowing scarlet. In the morning, Ukrainian nationalists, police and National Guard were already there, waiting for Russians coming to vote. The night before, Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman called the attack on the Russia’s Embassy “a small, insignificant incident”.
The nationalists organized a flash-mob with music, and remakes of Soviet songs with “artistic” anti-Russian lyrics – could be heard: “If you are moskal, get busy. Don’t fool around. Vote for United Russia”. Many laughed at the remakes. Representatives of the Ukrainian media covered the fun.
“We advise everyone who came with Russian passports to go to Russia to fight Putin’s regime,” – a nationalist deputy Igor Miroshnichenko said to the press.
But it wasn’t so funny by 12 p.m. when an elderly couple arrived. Galina Milyunina, of Moscow, who came to Kiev to visit her ill aunt, was afraid to go to the polls, but she finally came. As she was approaching the fence separating Russians from the crowd, nationalist Igor Miroshnichenko tried to break it, yelling “Take your suitcase and go to Russia!” – The woman managed to go into the building thanks to cooperation between the police and the National Guard, even handcuffed one of the nationalists, who shouted “I’m a deputy!”
The policeman answered “Who cares? Everyone’s sick of you.”
This is the mood in Kiev.
“Ukrainians don’t need fine words,” – an ultra-radical from Sokol organization said. –“Today we’re teaching Russians a lesson, to fight against political illiteracy.”
The Ukrainian style campaign against illiteracy wasn’t long in coming. A tall man with a Russian passport approached the fence. When the nationalists blocked his way. he said:
“It seems to me your Hollywood movie hasn’t still ended” – as he tried to force his way with the whole mass of his body onto the territory of the diplomatic mission. Miroshnichenko immediately hit him in the jaw, and the nationalists shouted a storm of abuse: “Get the hell out of here to Russia!”. They began fighting. The nationalists pushed the man aside, knocked him down and began kicking him. The man turned out to be strong. He stood up quickly and started throwing punches, until a policemen pushed them all toward the driveway, where they calmed down. It was later claimed that the man was a Ukrainian, although the information was not confirmed.
A group of “good Samaritans” – Kiev ultra-nationalist apologists — streamed a banner that said “Death to Russia” throwing down a Russian flag. An old man in a white suit wipdx his feet on the symbol of the Russian state, almost falling as he screamed: “Death to katsaps!”Several people tried to trample on the flag, but the majority refused to burn it.
Every Russian who came to vote, was greeted with boos and whistles. An athletic looking man drove to the polling station on his bike, voted while the crowd jeered, got on the bike and drove on, as they threw an egg at his helmet.
“I don’t understand what these elections are all about,” – one Kiev passer by said, surprised. “Now TV will show us being savages.”
Apparently, the activists were tired after lunch and began to drift away. In the evening, the National Guard officers handed off duty, and Russians were able to vote safely, even coming with children. In total 20-some people voted in Kiev. But it’s now a tradition in Kiev: much ado about nothing.