Yesterday’s elections in Ukraine did not apparently take place at all in at least 27 seats. The Crimea of course did not go to the polls as it was annexed by Russia. Parts of the Russian speaking east did not vote either, where rebels hold sway and where it was thought too difficult to open polling stations.
Where a country is split badly between a majority and minority, it is most important for the majority to proceed in ways which the minority think are fair, even if they do not agree with some of the policies being pursued and want a different political answer. Holding an election when the most unhappy part of the country is unable to participate in it is far from helpful.
The loss of the Crimea tipped the odds further against the pro Russia part of the country by removing pro Russian voters. This has now been compounded by the Kiev government’s inability to restore law and order in Donetz and Luhansk and reassure its eastern citizens that it will operate in the interests of the whole country and take their needs into account.
The Ukrainian government needs to build bridges with the pro Russian minority if it wishes to reunite the country. Democracy does allow the majority to have its way, but democracy also entails the majority being reasonable towards the minority.