We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The title indicates a gross misunderstanding of what's happening. This is a revolution driven by ethnic Ukrainians who live in and dominate the western Ukraine. It is not being driven by the ethnic Russians in the east. The two groups want different, incompatible outcomes.
The election map of 2004 shows the likely outcome: partition, hopefully peacefully.
I seriously doubt it. Russia won't stop at anything less than total annexation of all the old Soviet republics, and Ukrainians won't stop at anything short of total independence.
And that's what's causing the trouble, and will continue to. The eastern part of the country is home to Russians mostly because the Soviet Union killed off the native population and forced Russians to settle there instead. The natives won't accept an outcome where their country is split up and half (and the most fertile half) being annexed by Russia.
If they do accept it, rather soon the 20% or so Poles in the north west will start demanding they be allowed to add their part of the country to Poland, losing an important industrial area...
My wife is Ukrainian and I have several friends who live in Ukraine. Most of us here in the USA and almost all the commentators I have read do not take into account the severe poverty and total govt corruption which have plagued Ukraine for the past 100 years. The Ukrainians are fiercely independent and whether they are eastern or western, they DO NOT desire to be a part of Russia, which would only be a continuation of what they have now. The average wage in Ukraine is about $300 a month!; for doctors and engineers and lawyers too. Prior to 1991, they were slaves for a corrupt communist party that ruled USSR. The ruling elite simply changed names when the system collapsed in 1991. Ukraine has been ruled by a mafia family, pocketing billions each year from various schemes/rackets within Ukraine. The "family" regularly took protection money, bribes, from small or medium business in Ukraine and if they objected, they would simply take the whole business or 'disappear' the owners. The farms, land, industry, are all owned by mafia families. The people of Ukraine only want what we in the west take for granted, the rule of law for everyone, personal property rights, free enterprise, etc. and the opportunity to develop their country. It was and remains an East Germany, without a West Germany. With the Internet and a form of independence, they are no longer prevented from seeing the wealth and freedom of their European neighbors. The young people of Ukraine are amazing. God Bless the brave men, women, and children of Ukraine. I pray they are successful in their revolution.
Putin and Russia don't have the population or armed forces to hold what they have now. Putin has been applying polictical pressure and encouragement to the russianized Ukrainians to hold the country for him because he doesn't have the muscle to control it by force. BBC reports today indicate (correctly) that the Russian aligned Ukrainians in the east don't want to split the country, it's a dangerous part of the world in a dangerous time and they know that (better then we do).
I don't see how the alignment with the EU can be stopped at this point, Putin's interference may have only reminded the Ukrainians what they hated about Russian Empires in the first place.
I agree with John the River. All of the Ukrainians know that Russia offers them nothing in the way of jobs or business investment or infrastructure improvement. Putin's Russia is a third world outhouse. So, the eastern, ethnic Russian Ukrainians will not fight for Putin. If they were so inclined, we would have seen them fighting already. Putin tried to bribe the Ukrainian president and it backfired. As a side note, I will add that Obama's State Department is very capable of making the Ukrainian transition to modernity much more difficult and complicated. I would not be surprised to see Obama somehow encourage Putin to drive some armored regiments into Kiev. Obama is nothing if not a saboteur and his true sympathies are no mystery.
glad to see these comments; they reflect my observations and impressions as well. My russian-ukrainian friend arrives here in US for a 2 week visit this week. His parents and sibling are at "ground zero". Pawns in the geo-political game, whose best interests are not the concern of Mr. Putin, or other power brokers.
Please mark my words. With Obama challenging Putin not to take any action in the Ukraine, he is effectively calling him out. Putin knows that Obama is weak. Obama knows that Putin knows this. Obama is encouraging and challenging Putin, in public, not to defend what Putin considers his own turf. Said so first.