A Teversal man has just returned from trouble-hit Ukraine where he was observing and assessing the legality of the country’s recent presidential poll.
Richard Goad, a former chief executive of Mansfield District Council, was based in a ‘very beautiful’ part of northwestern Ukraine, near to the border with Belarus, for a ten-week stretch.
He was one of 100 long-term observers deployed by the Organisation for Safety and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) who observed the presidential election that took place at the end of May.
Using his experience from organising elections in Mansfield and observing elections in other countries, Richard was part of the team assessing the Ukrainian election process in terms of its compliance with international standards for democratic elections and national legislation.
He interviewed political candidates, agents, governors and activists and fed his findings back to the OSCE.
“We had a lot of reporting to do,” he said. “I did 50 reports in the time I was there!”
Though there have been high profile outbreaks of violence between Ukraine and Russia in the Crimea region, Richard said that he did not witness anything like that where he was based.
The most that happened where he was were what he described as ‘a few little skirmishes’ - including the burning of a Communist Party building and a shoot-out between rivals.
“We had good security back-up and they looked after us pretty well,” he said.
“People in the east had to be ready to move within half an hour’s notice because of the problems but we didn’t have anything like that in the west.
“We did have an escape route through Poland if necessary though.”
The Ukrainian presidency was won by confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko following the 25th May election.
There could now be Parliamentary elections taking place next year and Richard said he would consider going back for those.
“I enjoy it,” he said.
“You make good friends and it was absolutely fascinating, though I did have to get my mind around the Cyrillic alphabet.”