To end the war in Ukraine, the billionaire proposes the organization of polls supervised by the UN in the regions occupied by Moscow. In support of his thesis of a country cut in two, he published a map of the 2012 legislative elections, the results of which are strongly polarized between the west and the east of the country.
Geopolitics according to Elon Musk has something to delight Moscow. In a tweet posted Monday, October 3, the billionaire offered a “peace plan” to end the war in Ukraine, based mainly on UN-supervised elections in the Russian-occupied territories, otherwise known as the four oblasts. (regions) in the east of the country (Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk). Crimea, meanwhile, would remain with Moscow. After the ballot, “Russia leaves if it is the will of the people”suggests Musk, who seems to ignore, among other things, the significant population movements that these regions have experienced since the start of the conflict.
– Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
– Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
Taunted on Twitter, Musk notably received a response from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, inviting him to “understanding the facts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
Response from Elon Musk the next day: “Assuming you believe that the will of the people matters, we should, in any region in conflict, support the will of those who live there. Most of Ukraine unequivocally wants to be part of Ukraine, but some eastern parts have Russian majorities and prefer Russia.”
Assuming you believe that the will of the people matters, we should, in any given conflict region, support the will of those who live there.
Most of Ukraine unequivocally wants to be part of Ukraine, but some eastern portions have Russian majorities and prefer Russia.
And to tweet, to support his statements, a map of the 2012 legislative elections, where the party of regions, “pro-Russian”, emerges in the majority in the south-east of Ukraine.
The reasoning of the billionaire, who nevertheless claims to be pro-Ukraine, delighted the Russian authorities and the media close to the Kremlin, who hastened to relay it. Like Russia’s Deputy Representative to the UN, who was pleased that“Elon Musk is digging deeper and deeper into the real origins of the Ukraine crisis. A commendable step!”
However, the billionaire’s approach poses several difficulties. The map, first of all, dates from 2012. Since then, positions have evolved in Ukraine, as we explained in a previous article on the presidential elections of the past twenty years. Witness the last election, that of 2019, which brought Volodymyr Zelensky to power. “Russian-speaking actor and humorist who converted to Ukrainian and displayed a pro-European opinion, he is elected with 73% of the votes in the second round, coming first in all regions except Lviv [ouest du pays, ndlr]», recalls Alexandra Goujon, lecturer at the University of Burgundy, in her book Ukraine, from independence to war. No ballot, however, is organized in Crimea, nor in the part of Donbass controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Difficult, moreover, to clearly identify a “pro-European” candidate on one side and “pro-Russian” on the other in the second round, Putin himself having wished the defeat of outgoing President Poroshenko. In the first round, however, the “pro-Russian” candidate Yuri Boïko, who won only 12% of the vote at national level, came out on top in the unoccupied parts of the oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk and in part of those of Odessa and of Kharkiv, but without an absolute majority.
For Alexandra Goujon, however, the trend at that time was more towards the erasure of regional differences, which “is explained by the aspiration for political renewal in the face of disappointment with the established elites”. “The conflict in the east, meanwhile, increases the feeling of national identification to the detriment in particular of regional identification, she continues. Ukraine covers a cultural, socio-economic and political diversity which is, in part, territorialized, but which does not produce a binary division of the country. Because “While there are indeed two contrasting cultural and political poles at the western and eastern extremities which are carriers of political divisions, the central regions form an important and often forgotten identity base.”
But beyond his difficulty in grasping the country’s developments, the most problematic in Musk’s reasoning remains the equal sign he seems to affix between a vote for a so-called “pro-Russian” candidate and the desire to be annexed by Moscow. . It is indeed difficult to justify, or even to speak of, a desire for separatism on the pro-Russian side, on the basis of past elections, insofar as, ahead Alexandra Goujon, “where none of the candidates had proposed secession”, she explains to CheckNews. It is even this absence of a political base, in Ukraine, in favor of secession, which would have pushed Putin to intervene.
That is, the term “pro-Russian”, before the war, “did not mean at all wanting to be administered by Russia.” For the record, she recalls, the pro-Russian president “Yanukovych had certainly signed the Kharkiv agreements in 2010 [prolongeant l’utilisation de Sébastopol par la marine russe, ndlr], but it was also under his presidency that the association agreement with the EU in 2012 was initialed, before turning around at the end of 2013”.
Left, finally, to call a past ballot, Elon Musk could have evoked the one which precisely concerned the independence of the country. However, during the referendum on this subject in 1991, the yes vote won with an overwhelming majority in all regions, including the south-east. Only Crimea had then voted only 54% in favor.
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