All was quiet on the streets of Mariupol after the Ukrainian vote. The turn out there was significantly higher than for the presidential poll last May – small surprise as back then the city was on the warring frontline and residents feared being attacked at polling stations. This time government troops were on hand to protect voters.
“We supported the president and his party too,” said one woman.“People voted for him a short time ago, they gave credence to him, and to his party.”
But another voter declared his backing for the Opposition Bloc’. “They all promise too much, but I think members of Opposition Bloc’ will do what they say – there’ll be no war – nowhere, especially here. Because there is still fighting going on here,” he said.
Although having resisted a rebel onslaught, support for the opposition in Mariupol has been strong.
Political expert Maria Podibailo said it was because there was a lot of propaganda put about for the Opposition Bloc’ at all the factory plants. “It must be understood that the majority of people in eastern Ukraine work in the factories. They value their jobs. That’s why, it is clear it’s a significant factor.”
But there were other reasons. ‘Opposition Bloc’ was formed by allies of ousted President Victor Yanukovych and many voters can’t accept a post revolutionary government in Kyiv. Plus they see them as mostly likely able to reach a deal with Russia bringing an end to all the fighting.