The democratically elected government of Ukraine (corrupted for sure) was forced out of power by Ukrainian pro-Western protesters using the tactics, that now the Ukrainian pro-Russian protesters are using to refuse to subordinate to the interim government in Kiev. We helped the pro-Western protesters, and now Russia helps the pro-Russian protesters. These are the raw facts, no need for pro or anti coloring of them. Sure, our media tries hard to have us believe otherwise, but as always, it is best to look at the facts, and at what is NOT being discussed, by the same media.
Ukraine's majority population and industry is in the East, and its major produce goes to Russia, not the EU! The EU offered Ukraine the usual deal: 1) open your market to us, 2) close down your industry and as a return one day you may get Visa-free entrance to the EU and a pre-accession deal.
We offered that to a country, which is in deep crisis, and basically lives off Russian credits and gas sponsorship. We could offer Ukraine the IMF's wonderful austerity measures which have done "miracles" in the poorest and newer EU member states, and most recently in Greece (mass unemployment, lowering standard of living, increase in suicides, etc.).
Let's put ourselves in the shoes of ex-president Yanukovych. On one hand he had to choose between destroying Ukraine's industry, that employs thousands of Ukrainians from the East (those who elected him), and thus cause a severe supply problem to his biggest trade partner and neighbor Russia, which also happens to be the hand which feeds him and his country, and the motherland of his electorate. On the other hand he had more support from Russia, credits gas, and continuous open market for the existing industry. Well, it is no wonder that he chose Russia, despite the fact that apparently 70% of all government contracts in his time, went to companies belonging to his son (according to World Bank source). Corruption aside, this guy really did not have a choice! And this, of course, is not discussed in our media.
The minority of Ukrainians from the western parts -- less developed and in a more economically difficult situation -- believe that the EU will be the solution to their problems, and not without our help, went out to protest against Yanukovych's choice. This all resulted in the Maiden events which were surrounded by violence on both sides, let's not forget the Ukrainian ex-KGB agents, pulling individuals from the protesters, torturing them, humiliating them, and probably murdering some of them. As a result of the violent shooting of protesters and police, the government collapsed, and Yanukovych left to Russia.
Now let's put ourselves in the shoes of Putin, or rather Kremlin, as Putin is not a single dictator as many are trying to portrait him. People who do that, have absolutely no clue of how totalitarian regime functions (as an experiment, ask any of them to explain how the Soviet Union functioned, and they'll remain quite... yet they will explain in detail how democracy functions in the US, or the different models in Europe). So, Kremlin, which has done endless concessions to Ukraine -- a classic example of a client who constantly fails to pay -- and had just signed a long-term agreement with that government and president finds itself cheated by a bunch of protesters who with OUR help (understand "OUR" as ENEMY, as Kremlin sees it) had seized power in Kiev.
From here on come into account the strategic interests of both Russia and the West. Russia sees NATO's advance towards its borders as aggression, and a pro-western government in Kiev could easily undertake a pro-NATO policy, which neither Russia, nor the majority of the Ukrainian population desire! And since what the people desire has never been the utmost concern of any government in any system, Russia was practically forced to react by our little orange revolution 2 scenario. And here comes into play what Ukraine really is. It in effect is a political post-Soviet creation of a state. Half of its population and territories are basically Russian and are populated with ethnic Russians, or pro-Russian Ukrainians. Crimea was the first move, as it is strategically important to the Russian Black Sea fleet and military history, but also because it has been used by Ukraine to extort billions in gas reductions fro Russia! So in a way, Russia was paying for its own base on its own territory among its own people, only because a famous communist crook and a butcher of Ukraine called N. Khrushchev, gave it away to the Ukrainian SSR back in 1954 against the then existing constitution. This act was forced on Russian president Boris Yeltsin back in 1994, when Russia was practically ruled by Washington, as means to collect the remaining Soviet nuclear arsenal and keep it all in the Russian Federation, as means to prevent parts of it to leak to terrorist organizations or "states". Strategically speaking, this was a positive move for Russia, as today Ukraine is an open house, which anyone having a real army can invade. And in this case, this is the Russian Federation.
Ukrainian army is a joke, (and please Ukrainian nationalists, do not take this personally, it is a fact, and we all see it right now before our own eyes). A conscript army, which means half of it is made up from Russian or pro-Russian soldiers and officers, which has almost no combat experience, leave a brigade or two,which have been used in NATO hot spot missions, and is poorly fed, with almost no resources to train, but most of all, without a will to fight its own people! Yes, that's right! Most Ukrainians have relatives in Russia, or in the Eastern parts of Ukraine. They don't want to shot at them, and this is why they do not follow the orders from the interim government in Kiev, that is why they cannot achieve their "anti-terrorist" operations in reality, the army and police is refusing to fight against what they see as their own people, with demands they know too well are just and are so!
And sure, the Russian military intelligence is helping and has sent operatives to organize the Russian and pro-Russian citizens in Ukraine, but they won't achieve nothing had not the local people want that! The people are in support of separation, and their demand is not only based on ethnic or "fascist" propaganda spread by Moscow, it is very much based on simple economics calculations: as part of Russia, we get paid better, and we get stability, which is not the case as being part of Ukraine for the past 23 years! The language ban law is only a small but reassuring element for their support for separation from Kiev!
Why are all these police stations falling one after another in those eastern Ukrainian towns? Because most of the officers either support the cause, or understand that the locals being the majority are for it and shooting won't change anything. So they just go and surrender the building and weapons to the locals and their GRU helping agents. Anyone who believes that the protests in the eastern parts were done by Russian sent agents, must watch youtube videos of them. Whole towns, older, younger, whole families protesting and waving Russian flags and supporting the armed men in charge of the ex-Ukrainian police r administrative buildings. And this is exactly what we are not being told by our media, because we may then say, well, if the majority wants Russia, let them have a referendum! And this was exactly what they were protesting for weeks ago, and what Russia was asking the interim government to do, but since it responded with "No" people said, the hell with Kiev and started take control of their own lives, and sure with the support of Russia, no doubt about that!
So, before anyone say that Ukraine is sovereign country, hence the handful of the western supported interim government should call the shots, please do not forget that it cannot call the shots, because it does not have the legitimacy with the majority of the Ukrainian citizens! This is the bare fact, and if a future referendum is held, I would be very surprised to find that most Ukrainians want us and NATO. Perhaps, few months ago, they may have wanted to stay within Ukraine, and not join Russia, but after the recent political unrest, that aspiration has long changed.