Do you want evidence that if Eastern Ukraine had a free election it would vote against joining Russia?

The views of this popular mayor in a city that the Russians will presumably soon control provides an insight into what people in this area of eastern Ukraine think of the Russians.  This mayor was a strong supporter of the former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, who was Russia's man in the Ukraine, but even though this mayor supported Yanukovich, he does not support Russian rule.  Given that this mayor is extremely popular and is an elected politician, one would think that he has a reasonable good feeling for the views of people in this second-largest city in the Ukraine.  Just something to remember when the Russian stage another election as they did in the Crimea.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Mayor Gennady Kernes was in critical condition after undergoing surgery at a local clinic, said Dr. Valery Boiko, who performed the two-hour operation. . . . 
close friend of the mayor, former regional Gov. Mikhail Dobkin. . . .
Kernes and Dobkin were staunch supporters of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, who was ousted in February following deadly clashes between police and protesters angered by a decision to abandon an economic association pact with the European Union
Kernes, the longtime administrator of Kharkiv, was charged with making separatist statements and put under house arrest. 
In April, when pro-Russia protests spread across eastern Ukraine, Kernes, who was still officially under house arrest, persuaded the police to storm the regional administration building in Kharkiv and push out the separatists who were occupying it.  
The criminal case against him was then dropped and he returned to his mayoral duties.
Taras Berezovets, a political consultant, said the attempt on the mayor’s life was a “gruesome message to other governors and administrators not to dare meddle in the Kremlin's game.” . . . 



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