(Prints size 100x72 cm)

   It's not the first week a circus has been on tour in post-Soviet territory. McDonald's restaurants have reopened in Kiev for the first time since the beginning of the war, pushing the war into the background. The familiar clown warmly welcomed Kiev citizens with branded burgers and French fries. Meanwhile, our own special McDonald's works here, in Kherson. It cooks loudly, mainly on the front-line all day long, and delivers in ambulances to the city hospitals. The orders are numerous. Ambulances didn't run so much even in the midst of the pandemic. Wounded Russian soldiers are brought in in different aggregate states: solid, liquid, and gaseous, sometimes completely disassembled and heavily roasted. There are rumors that such "products" are being disposed of. They are taken from hospitals without their IDs.
   Local, already familiar clowns have arranged their own, equally familiar circus. They call it the "Referendum". Despite the fact that pro-Ukrainian residents of the region are leaving en masse, most of those who remain do not support Russia, and the decision-makers are well aware of this. They have succeeded - it looked funny. Empty polling stations, staged voting for the camera, ballot boxes at markets and grocery stores, armed people walking through houses and apartments, strongly recommending that people vote. Especially results-driven collaborators, in the event of refusal, gave residents 24 hours to pack their belongings and leave the region. Most of the population still preferred to sit out the circus tour at home and not to open their door to anyone. The streets of the city were literally empty. Could such a referendum take place? First of all, you need to know at least how many people lived here and how many remain. What the clowns know perfectly well is how many have left, and even who they are. When crossing the last Russian checkpoint, everyone leaving had their passport photographed. That's, probably, where the real vote has taken place. Its result was known in advance and does not depend on the opinion of the local population. Because without it, the main show planned in Moscow’s Red Square would not take place. Because the clowns have decided that the circus must go on… At any cost.
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