Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
The same great Twins Daily coverage, now for the Vikings.

The Store


Photo

Situation in the Ukraine

  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 glunn

glunn

    Head Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 5,208 posts
  • LocationBeverly Hills, CA

Posted 08 March 2014 - 03:00 AM

I don't like the Russian incursion into Crimea, but can see the logic behind it.

The elected president of Ukraine was sympathetic to Russia and was run out of the country by dissidents. Access to the Black Sea is strategically important to Russia. Most people in Crimea appear to prefer being part of Russia. It seems to me that these are logical reasons for the Russians to feel that they need to do something substantial.

What I would like to know at this point is what role, if any, the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies played in the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine. I am also hoping that this can be worked out peacefully, and that ultimately the people of Crimea get to decide which group of corrupt politicians will rule them.

Is Putin really being a monster here, or are his actions at least somewhat understandable in light of Russia's aspirations to remain a major power?

#2 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    Twins Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 4,616 posts

Posted 08 March 2014 - 07:44 AM

What I would like to know at this point is what role, if any, the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies played in the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine. I am also hoping that this can be worked out peacefully, and that ultimately the people of Crimea get to decide which group of corrupt politicians will rule them.

Is Putin really being a monster here, or are his actions at least somewhat understandable in light of Russia's aspirations to remain a major power?


Ding ding ding... Of course you and I will never know what the CIA role is. The alternative media will speculate and the mainstream will ignore it. Then you have the US going out and saying that executing diplomacy at the barrel of a gun is a bad thing... like we don't do that or anything. I'm so tired of this.

I wouldn't leave out the fact that the Ukraine recently decided NOT to join the EU. The didn't want any part of bailing out all of Europe and I think this is largely being driven by the EU looking to retain some sort of relevancy. This whole situation makes little sense without the US being involved, as I really think that some powers that be are itching for a war to take everyone's mind off of the "recovery" that really isn't happening. That's speculation, I know. But this is front and center while Venezuela is being ignored, and what is going on there is just as bad, if not worse.

#3 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 08 March 2014 - 03:50 PM

There is also the ultimatum the EU/USA gave Ukraine to join that may have forced some of these events. I get the feeling we have slowly and subtely been working to further reduce Russian power and influence and this one backfired. PUtin said enough, decided to flex some muscle, and our government looks weak as a result.

#4 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:53 PM

Ukraine's refusal of the EU was heavily influenced by Russia, I don't think it had as much to do with a reluctance to bail out all of Europe as it did with economic threats from Russia, as well as promises of greater fortunes by joining Putin's Eurasian Union. Also, Yanukovych is decidedly pro Moscow, so the ultimate decision to join the Eu was always pretty nebulous, despite whatever majority within the country or any Western powers wanted.

What's curious is the decision to crackdown so violently on the pro EU protesters by Yanukovych, what forces influenced that? Clearly it provided the catalyst for a reprisal against the government and shifted the focus from a economic political one to a social political one, the fight is no longer about the EU.

The big risk to Putin in the uprising is the uncertainty of what the next govt may bring and what it's attitude towards Russia's existing presence in Crimea might be, obviously influenced by the US and the EU. With the region being essentially Russian (outside of the Tatars) it provides an easy position of strength for him and a source of unity for the pro Russian people in the East and the South. Of course much of this also has to do with his vision of the rebuilt former glory of the past, one which many Russians share.

I don't see what his end goal is politically though, there is no way he takes the Ukraine by force , he may just ride out the current wave and try to exert some further political will within the country to influence who forms the next government and to ensure it is not one chosen by the West.

Edited by twinsnorth49, 10 March 2014 - 11:00 PM.


#5 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:52 AM

PUtin said enough, decided to flex some muscle, and our government looks weak as a result.

If this is what strength looks like, I want no part of it. Eerily similar to the kind of rationals of decade ago.

#6 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 11 March 2014 - 10:32 AM

If this is what strength looks like, I want no part of it. Eerily similar to the kind of rationals of decade ago.


I'm not saying it makes it right, but if you don't think Putin's actions ring louder to Poland, Khazakstan, Bulgaria, etc. than the EU/USA diplomacy....you're fooling yourself.

I'm not suggesting that they do anything to counteract that, but merely to suggest that sometimes if you back a bear into a corner....don't be surprised when they come back out with the claws.

#7 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 11 March 2014 - 12:06 PM

Ringing loud as in wanting to have no diplomatic relationship with Russia, sure; this just moves such countries further West. I just don't see how this show of strength works in Russia's long term viability of as a world power. It seems comical, early-twentieth century tactics.

#8 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:25 PM

Ringing loud as in wanting to have no diplomatic relationship with Russia, sure; this just moves such countries further West. I just don't see how this show of strength works in Russia's long term viability of as a world power. It seems comical, early-twentieth century tactics.


You must not be trying very hard then. If Russia is going to stir up revolution, separate states, use military intervention, and stage coups for considering alternatives.....you should see very quickly how that could have a tremendously powerful influence on decision making in that region. Especially if all the West can do is lob meaningless sanctions and rhetoric.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 11 March 2014 - 03:18 PM.


#9 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:28 PM

You must not be trying very hard then. If Russia is going to stir up revolution, separate states, military intervention, and coups for considering alternatives.....you should see very quickly how that could have a tremendously powerful influence on decision making in that region. Especially if all the West can do is lob meaningless sanctions and rhetoric.


Actually what is happening in Ukraine is quite the opposite, the West is responsible for stirring up the revolution to set the stage for a coup. The rejection of the EU by Yanukovych was a direct result of sanctions and economic pressure from Putin towards Ukraine. Military intervention is not a viable alternative for Russia, Western sanctions against such a move would hurt them greatly and are far from meaningless , the overtures in Crimea could still have that same effect however Obama and the EU don't seem to have the will to enforce any . In other words, if he doesn't go any farther they pretty much don't care if he takes Crimea back.

Further, Romania and Bulgaria may not be as resistant to Russian influence as you may think, their association with the EU has been anything but beneficial to them so far and they legitimately may have more interest in Putin's Eurasian Union. Kazakhstan is already in the Eurasian economic union with Russia, as well as many other former Soviet states. In other words, they already have tremendous influence on decision making in the region, including Ukraine.

#10 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:49 PM

Actually what is happening in Ukraine is quite the opposite, the West is responsible for stirring up the revolution to set the stage for a coup.


Sorry, my post gave a false sense of this. I was referring to precisely this when I used the analogy of the bear in the corner.

For me, Russia's incursion just goes to illuminate how far (and really, it's not far at all) the West is willing to go to hold back Russian influence. Russia isn't going to lose their seat at any major table over this and they will continue to be a super power. What this goes to show countries in the region is that you can do things Russia's way (which many of them are inclined to do anyway as you point out) or....you can still do it Russia's way eventually. And don't expect that being part of NATO or tied to the EU is going to change that.

You can call Russia a lot of things for doing this, but stupid isn't one of them. They knew the West was trying to squeeze their turf with some covert stuff and they called their bluff.

#11 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:11 AM

You can call Russia a lot of things for doing this, but stupid isn't one of them. They knew the West was trying to squeeze their turf with some covert stuff and they called their bluff.

That the West won't go to war over Crimea? Gutsy call Russia! Again, Russia might retain Crimea as part of their territory, but democratically empowered border states will just move further towards the EU to retain their sovereignty. I just don't see how that's a smart play. Brute force ain't what it used to be on the stage of world politics. I just don't see the smart play here.

What the heck was the Winter Games about if not establishing diplomatic goodwill; whatever gains the games made, Putin undid with Crimea.

#12 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:27 AM

That the West won't go to war over Crimea? Gutsy call Russia! Again, Russia might retain Crimea as part of their territory, but democratically empowered border states will just move further towards the EU to retain their sovereignty. I just don't see how that's a smart play. Brute force ain't what it used to be on the stage of world politics. I just don't see the smart play here.


Of course it was an obvious bluff to call - that's why it was so stupid to start a revolt in a country that was leaning towards accepting the EU's invitation! The West/US looks weak because they started a problem that they quite obviously had no resolve to see through, but weren't careful enough to avoid being caught with their hand in the cookie jar. It was a failure of global foreign policy by whomever decided bullying Ukraine into the EU was the way to go.

I agree with you about the Winter Games, but the truth is that in many regions brute force/underhanded politics is still the name of the game. Or, at least, damn effective at persuasion. We can both agree to not liking it morally and probably not liking it as a long-term strategy, but it can be effective in the short term. The distinction that north has posted a few times is important though - we didn't engage in brute force, but we did try to bully Ukraine around to minimize Russia's influence. We played our own dirty game, the Russians just called our obvious bluff.

Plenty of blame to go around.

#13 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:22 AM

Ukraine, without Crimea, will be part of the EU before long; not good for Russia. I'm not sure that Ukraine was bullied into the EU; that's your take, I haven't seen that legitimated anywhere. Sure, EU and the US have stakes in the Ukraine being part of the EU, but if there's a bully it's the Russia's with, you know, the tanks and stuff.

I guess the Crimea referendum doesn't offer a No vote on it's ballots, hilarious. Both options lead to Russian control.

#14 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:37 AM

That the West won't go to war over Crimea? Gutsy call Russia! Again, Russia might retain Crimea as part of their territory, but democratically empowered border states will just move further towards the EU to retain their sovereignty. I just don't see how that's a smart play. Brute force ain't what it used to be on the stage of world politics. I just don't see the smart play here.

What the heck was the Winter Games about if not establishing diplomatic goodwill; whatever gains the games made, Putin undid with Crimea.


It wasn't a matter of being gutsy Pseudo, it was a matter of shrewd political timing. Which democratically empowered border states are going to move further to the EU? Latvia, Estonia, Poland? They're already members of the EU and the first two arguably would not take much persuasion to join the Eurasian Union if Ukraine goes that way. They don't have to give up sovereignty, Crimea is not a sovereign nation, that's not the issue. This isn't about territory, it's about economic and political influence.

Ukraine is the big fish here, Levi is right, there is no way Putin is going to allow the West to walk in and bully or backroom deal it's way into Ukraine joining the EU. The EU and the US decided it was in it's best interests to remove Yanukovych to further it's interests, Putin decided he needed to react and give people something to think about.

What the US and the EU is missing is that there is significant support in Ukraine for Russia, the East and South of the country are predominantly Russian, he's pandering to that and trying to create enough civil unrest to ensure that their (and his) political voice is heard when the next government may be decided.

I'll agree that Putin has lost any goodwill the Olympics may have brought Russia, though I'll argue most of that was mostly for the press, he doesn't much care.

#15 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 01:37 PM

I guess the Crimea referendum doesn't offer a No vote on it's ballots, hilarious. Both options lead to Russian control.


It's pretty funny. Option A. Join the Russian Federation or Option B. Vote to reinstate a constitution that lasted all of 15 days and hardly any of you know what it means.

#16 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:09 PM

Ukraine is the big fish here, Levi is right, there is no way Putin is going to allow the West to walk in and bully or backroom deal it's way into Ukraine joining the EU. The EU and the US decided it was in it's best interests to remove Yanukovych to further it's interests, Putin decided he needed to react and give people something to think about.


Right, we tried to oust the pro-Russian guy after he rejected an ultimatum we knew he wouldn't accept. Russia just played the same game, only called our bluff on it.

It's not like we should expect to play dirty politics to weaken the Russian state and Putin is going to sit back and watch it happen. Again, we got caught playing a dirty game of poker and our bluff got called.

#17 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 6,020 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:13 PM

I think this pushes Poland and others closer to the EU. I think it pushes the remainder of Ukraine closer to the EU.

Not sure what the right wing wants Obama to do....go to war? What kind of "strength" do you want them to show, if you think they are weak?
Lighten up Francis....

#18 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:36 PM

I think this pushes Poland and others closer to the EU. I think it pushes the remainder of Ukraine closer to the EU.

Not sure what the right wing wants Obama to do....go to war? What kind of "strength" do you want them to show, if you think they are weak?


Please, don't throw that stuff in here. If you're playing poker and you bluff, you are shown to be "weak". No one wants war, but if you don't bluff so obviously and so transparently you probably aren't going to get called out. The problem here isn't the response, the problem is the utter stupidity that put the onus on Russia in the first place.

Most of the nations in that region play both sides to their advantage and know full well what the EU/USA was up to and what the Russians are up to now. The biggest difference is that now they know how far both sides are willing to go when crossed.

#19 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:51 PM

I think this pushes Poland and others closer to the EU. I think it pushes the remainder of Ukraine closer to the EU.

Not sure what the right wing wants Obama to do....go to war? What kind of "strength" do you want them to show, if you think they are weak?


Poland is already a member of the EU. Why does this push Ukraine closer? It may turn out that way but it's far from a certainty, Russia holds considerable sway over Ukraine. The two countries are inextricably linked and as much as the country desires it's independence it has had a difficult time releasing it's dependence on Russia, which is a main part of the problem and one which Putin is very aware of.

The next government is going to have to have a steel resolve if it is to join the EU, it will come at a heavy price from Russia, I think many people are aware of that. Sadly, if that does indeed happen, I don't envision the West stepping up to fill the void.

Putin holds all the cards here and there isn't much the US or the EU can do about it, he's not afraid of any of them and knows quite well they have no response that will have any teeth.

#20 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 6,020 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 07:42 AM

I guess it's fair to ask....if you think the President is being weak, what do you want him to do differently? Not sure how that isn't fair.

While Ukraine and Russia are linked like few countries, there are enough non-Russians there that I believe (naively?) that even if they "take" Ukraine in the short term, they'll pay a long term price in violence and rebellion. But then, looking at much of the non-West......democracy seems to only kind of happen/work....

the only thing I know with certainty is that this is complex
Lighten up Francis....

#21 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:02 AM

Whether Ukraine has Russian sympathies before, the notion that part of their country has eben forcibly occupied certainly will make them gunshy at entering into a permanent diplomatic relationship with said invading country. The protests were, as reported, stemming from the refusal for eased diplomatic relations with the EU which would have brought many goods Ukrainians seek.

Russia's supposed federation of whatever can't be held only by force; Belarus woudl be an obvious concern moving to the EU. Russia would lose it's entire Western border states to the EU which would be huge political blow to them.

From what I've been reading, I just don't understand how Russia's actions has long term positive outcome for them. At best, they get Crimea, at best. At worst they lose all political and diplomatic influence West of their border.

#22 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:32 AM

The protests were, as reported, stemming from the refusal for eased diplomatic relations with the EU which would have brought many goods Ukrainians seek.


The refusal came because of an ultimatum regarding a political adversary. Along with other pressures to accept. There is a strong sense among international experts that the West then sparked the protests as a way to pressure the Russian-leaning leader out of office. Ever since 2004 we've been working to get him out of office and get a pro-West person in. Basically to weaken Russia. (Which Russia is well aware of)

What was Russia supposed to do? Let the West meddle with Ukraine's politics at their expense and sit on their hands? The West has been engaged in a covert war of politics with that nation for almost a decade now to put someone in charge that is pro-West. They've basically been begging to have their bluff called for the better part of a decade.

I'm not sure what it will do long-term, but the truth is many of those countries rely on Russia for much of their economic foundation. Whether they like the military intervention or not, they know that. The positive for this for Russia is it may make the West think twice about meddling again.

#23 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:55 AM

What was Russia supposed to do? Let the West meddle with Ukraine's politics at their expense and sit on their hands? The West has been engaged in a covert war of politics with that nation for almost a decade now to put someone in charge that is pro-West. They've basically been begging to have their bluff called for the better part of a decade.

Well, the first action probably shouldn't have been invade a sovereign nation; that you frame it as reasonable is totally ridiculous. I'm not sure what Russia should have done, but they probably put themselves in this position as much as the West influenced the upheaval.

I just totally reject the terms of your argument by couching the West's hand as a bluff; the West will get what they want--in a more Westernized Ukraine, Crimea or not, ostensibly that's what the people of Ukraine want as well.

In a way, Ukraine's populace was trying to call Russia's bluff, and well, Russia just pushed all in, and we'll see how it turns out. It's clear, that their actions don't sit well in Ukraine or even in Russia (what with some 70 percent disapproving of the occupation of Crimea).

I'd like to see some of these experts that actually support your take, I just haven't seen it.

While overly simplistic, this is nice recap from Time of why it doesn't bode well for Russia.

#24 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:22 AM

Well, the first action probably shouldn't have been invade a sovereign nation


Well, that wasn't their first action. They also offered their own economic package and terms for Ukraine joining their group. They made this action because things were escalating thanks to what was likely an EU/USA backed revolt.

All reports I've seen have said the Ukrainain people are not interested in breaking apart their state. It is a country with deep political divides but also has a lot of interest in staying with Russia as well. It would've been better off if both Russia and the EU stopped using Ukraine as the monkey in a game of monkey in the middle.

But there are a number of things contradictory about your post:

1) A bluff ceases to be a bluff when you back it up. Russia didn't have a bluff called, they had their resolve called out. And it appears it wasn't a bluff at all.

2) Your own link speaks directly to what I've been saying - this was a message to it's neighbors. And they are hearing it loud and clear and it will have ramifications that are better for Russia in the short-term. It creates uneasy alliances to be sure, but it's naive to think fear isn't a powerful motivator.

3) Russia is already isolated from the West, this whole scenario started because of the deep divides that exist.

Listen, I don't like what Putin is doing, I don't agree with it as a modus operandi for a super power, and I don't like it as a long-term strategy. But I'm also not shoving my head in the sand and pretending this was some kind of unprovoked or hasty move with no reasoning behind it. You can call the Russians a lot of things for this, but stupid isn't one of them.

#25 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:38 AM

Well, I don't think Russia invaded Crimea on a whim either. The question I thought we were addressing is whether it was reasonable and if it's good for the long term viability of Ukriane and Russia. As usual, we end up on the same page, though we take different circuitous routes to get there.

#26 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,015 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:47 PM

Well, I don't think Russia invaded Crimea on a whim either. The question I thought we were addressing is whether it was reasonable and if it's good for the long term viability of Ukriane and Russia. As usual, we end up on the same page, though we take different circuitous routes to get there.


Yeah, methinks you were focused on ethics and I was focused on the practicalities of why.

#27 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 05:06 PM

Whether Ukraine has Russian sympathies before, the notion that part of their country has eben forcibly occupied certainly will make them gunshy at entering into a permanent diplomatic relationship with said invading country. The protests were, as reported, stemming from the refusal for eased diplomatic relations with the EU which would have brought many goods Ukrainians seek.

Russia's supposed federation of whatever can't be held only by force; Belarus woudl be an obvious concern moving to the EU. Russia would lose it's entire Western border states to the EU which would be huge political blow to them.

From what I've been reading, I just don't understand how Russia's actions has long term positive outcome for them. At best, they get Crimea, at best. At worst they lose all political and diplomatic influence West of their border.


With all due respect I think you underestimate the dependence countries like Belarus and Ukraine have on Russia. Belarus is not going to be joining the EU anytime soon, at least until they pay down the enormous debt they have with Russia, and find a new source of affordable energy. Ukraine is in much the same situation, they are far more dependent economically on Russia than many think. I'm guessing the average Ukrainian is going to opt for gas to heat their house over whatever goods they desire from the West. You don't think Putin knows that? He sure as hell does and it's one of his most powerful weapons. What does the West have to offer them?

At best Putin maintains his political influence in Eastern Europe, Crimea is just his not so subtle reminder that it's his ball. At the end of the day he will ultimately dictate the direction of the new government and what decisions they will make in terms of their economic future. There is nothing the West can or will do about it, he knows it and whatever it is they threaten him with he cares very little about. Russians are used to hard times, economic sanctions from the likes of the US, Canada and the EU are of very little consequence to them

Edited by twinsnorth49, 14 March 2014 - 07:12 AM.


#28 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Twins News Team

  • Twins News Team
  • 1,962 posts

Posted 13 March 2014 - 11:56 PM

I'm guessing the average Ukrainian is going to opt for gas to heat their house over whatever goods they desire from the West. You don't think Putin knows that? He sure as hell does and it's one of his most powerful weapons. What does the West have to offer them?

That's just it. At certain point, a population is just going to face a winter without heat (or facing whatever supposed insurmountable odds) to rally around what ever rights and privileges are the going rate (developed) world wide. It's an eventuality. Perhaps you're right, the time isn't now, but with the recent protests, there's certainly an imminent threshold. Long term, it's difficult to imagine there isn't some other viable way for Ukrainians to heat their homes without capitulation-like Russian dependence. More, given the warm European winter, Russia's hostility seems like a bad play.

Maybe there's something your reading, I'm not reading; if so, I'd appreciate a nudge in the right direction.

Edited by PseudoSABR, 14 March 2014 - 12:02 AM.


#29 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,742 posts

Posted 14 March 2014 - 08:59 AM

Possible Pseudo, hard to envision though ,but don't get me wrong I would love to see it. At the end of the day though it's all about oil and money, despite what the people want. The West is only going to prop up Ukraine financially for so long, unless the US in particular is willing to make a major investment in developing (or restoring more accurately) the country's own gas industry. I just don't see all the talk of alternative energy coming from the US being overly viable, from a cost perspective and a political one, Russia will certainly flex it's muscle again if that does occur.

The biggest part of the problem as I see it is the rampant corruption that exists there, largely led by Russian Oligarchs. Since independence in 1991 the country has maintained such close ties to Russia it has resulted in heavy political influence by them within the country. The Kuchma government barely separated themselves from them allowing the oil barons to sew their seeds within the political infrastructure. The reality is this whole thing has really been going on since 2004 and the Orange revolution, a huge example of political corruption and the control the gas industry in Russia has over Ukraine, where was the West then? As long as the illusion of legitimacy remained, it wasn't their problem.

Victor Yanukovych came to power as a result of the Orange Coalitions desire to take Ukraine more towards Europe and Russia's desire to stop it. Yanukovych was once a member of the Orange Coalition, wonder what happened there? I don't see much of a difference in what is happening now as opposed to back then, other than the US and the EU making a little more noise about it's displeasure, which over time I imagine will die down. Putin is just using most of this as a stall tactic in order to find another political alternative to the one the West has installed.

As far as reading goes, there is plenty to read about the pro Russian sentiment in the East and South, which at the end of the day may create a secession movement within the country. Any European newspaper or magazine is full of great views on the subject.