If Putin chooses to dash the hopes of those in his own country and in eastern Ukraine who crave another Crimea style Under Armour Curry 1 Black Yellow
Some 3 million paper ballots are all but ready, vote organizers said, and they ask one question: "Do you support the act of proclamation of independent sovereignty for the Donetsk People's Republic?"
The Donetsk People's Republic has its own radio and television stations and a fledgling online presence, all of which have churned out a steady diet of anti Kyiv invective.
Meanwhile, in a high ceilinged room with peeling paint and loose floor boards, preparations continued for Sunday's vote in a government building in the shadow of the regional administrative headquarters, now occupied by the insurgents. A lone unshaven man guarded the room, though armed men in camouflage milled about outside the regional headquarters.
"Putin is seeking a way out of the situation. We are grateful to him for this," said Denis Pushilin, co chairman of the Donetsk People's Republic, as the pro Russian rebels call themselves.
"Russia has made it clear it doesn't want the referendum, so it has no obligation to recognize its results, especially if it fails," said Alexei Makarkin, deputy head of the Moscow based Center for Political Technologies think tank.
Still, the swift decision by the insurgents' councils to go ahead with the vote raised questions about Putin's motive, and whether he was sincere in sounding a conciliatory note. In his remarks on Wednesday, the Russian leader also said Russian troops were being pulled back from the Ukrainian border, where their presence had raised fears that Moscow was looking for a pretext to invade.
However, those opposed to the referendum seem likely to ignore it, many out of fear or desperation over the anarchy that has taken grip in eastern Ukraine.
"This is a madhouse. That isn't a particularly literary word, I know, but there is no better way to put it. People are killing one another and we don't know why," said 58 year old retiree Svetlana Amitina.
"Preparations are going according to schedule. Almost the entire run of ballots has been prepared," Lyagin told The Associated Press.
Despite the phrasing, organizers insist they will decide only after the vote whether they want independence, greater autonomy within Ukraine or annexation by Russia.
Russian state media describe the Donetsk People's Republic as "supporters of federalization," reflecting Moscow's official line that it would like Ukraine's government to devolve some powers to the regions.
annexation, his now sky high approval ratings could suffer. But pursuing expansionist goals, or even tacitly supporting anti government movements in Ukraine, will likely prompt new and substantially more punitive Western sanctions against Russia.
But many in Donetsk say they would like their would be republic to one day join their eastern neighbour. The Russian tricolour often flutters over the several dozen government offices seized and occupied by anti government groups.
But unlike the Crimean vote, which was held as Russian soldiers and affiliated local Under Armour Kilchis Mens Water Shoes
Donetsk People's Republic elections chief Roman Lyagin said there will be around 1,200 polling stations and he expects a turnout of 70 per cent.
Putin's surprise call on Wednesday for the referendum to be put off appears on its surface to reflect Russia's desire to distance itself from the separatists. The West and the Ukrainian government accuse Russia of supporting or outright directing the unrest in the east, while Moscow denies involvement.
Ukraine has in recent weeks grown perilously polarized, with the west looking toward Europe and the east favouring closer ties with Russia. Thursday's pronouncement was likely to further inflame tensions between the interim government in Kyiv that took power amid chaos in February and the armed insurgents, who have seized police stations and Under Armour Shoes Black And Orange
"We are remaining quiet, because we are simply afraid for our lives," said Diana Dekatiryova, a university student. "The thought I have is to stay away from the referendum, because nothing will depend on our vote anyway."
Campaigning for the referendum has been negligible, largely relying on crude graffiti. Many sidewalks bear spray painted stencil images of the word "referendum" next to a crossed out swastika.
A poll by the Washington based Pew Research Center released on Thursday found that 70 per cent of the residents of Ukraine's east want the country to maintain its current borders. That suggests Sunday's votes have a chance of failing, if opponents turn out in force and the count is honest.
The Donetsk People's Republic, which arose in chaotic and murky circumstances in early April, makes no pretense of its desire for full autonomy from Ukraine, which they say has been led by a "fascist junta" since the toppling of Yanukovych, a Donetsk native.
militias held control of the peninsula, the latest votes are being held amid armed conflict. And, critically, unlike Crimea, whose majority Russian speaking population made approval a foregone conclusion, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have a more mixed population.
The occasionally violent protests that culminated in President Viktor Yanukovych's fleeing to Russia were viewed by many in the east as a coup and a portent of repression against the region's majority Russian speakers.
The votes are similar to the one in Crimea in March that preceded Russia's annexation of that strategic Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. Like the one in Crimea, they are regarded as illegitimate by both Kyiv and the West.
"This isn't our government. It's the government of those that destroyed everything," said construction labourer Galina Lukash, 48, who plans to vote in favour of autonomy.
government buildings in more than a dozen cities in the east.
Support for the referendum is most pronounced among eastern Ukraine's proudly Russian speaking working class. Rage against the central government that came to power after months of nationalist tinged protests is blended with despair at Ukraine's dire economic straits and corruption.
In apparent defiance of a call by Russian President Vladimir Putin to put off the vote, insurgents in eastern Ukraine insisted Thursday they will go ahead with this weekend's referendum as planned.
However, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said Thursday there had been no evidence of a pullback. "We've seen no change in the Under Armour Gemini 2 Mens Russian force posture along the Ukrainian border," he said.
Along with the vote Sunday in the eastern Donetsk region, a similar and even more hastily improvised referendum is to take place in the neighbouring Luhansk region. Together they have about 6.5 million people.
Russia insurgency to hold referendum in east Ukraine despite Putin's call for a delay
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