Russia, rather than actually recognizing independence of separatist regions in Ukraine, allegedly aims to annex territories captured their through an illegitimate referendum being carried out under military occupation and martial law.

Reports suggest that the referendum will be held on September 11th, and the Guardian has suggested that polling indicates turnout will be virtually non-existent, amidst fears that those who vote against annexation will be “round[ed] up.”

The territory is still under active occupation with the sounds of shelling in the background and a strict legal curfew at night, but few leave their homes at all with most going straight to work and back to avoid being targeted for violence.

Still, the Russian government aims for ideologically purging the region, and their current aim is to “retrain” the Ukrainian teaching staff for the entire region with Russian trainers.

This represents the latest interaction of authoritarianism using the language and tools of “democracy” by staging referendums to imitate gathering of the public while, while ignoring the “substance” of democracy by carrying out the referendum months after a military invasion before martial law has even been lifted.