Forget about Putin. His personality is way too fascinating - in a sinister kind of way - to discuss issues as they are, without letting emotions come into play. In fact, forget about Russia at all.
Let's think Ukraine and let's think democracy, as that is the major value the EU is meant to be bringing to this born-again country.
Kiev and Western Ukraine have a new parliament and a new President Olexander Turchynov. With Eastern Ukraine and Crimea waving Russian flags it is clear he is still not in charge of the whole country. But he suits the West. Therefore, he is the president of the whole of Ukraine, even though he isn't really the president of the whole of Ukraine. Oh. Democracy lesson number 1.
Nobody properly investigated what happened on that tragic day of the 20th February in Maidan. Assumptions were turned into facts, despite the rumours that the snipers who killed both protesters and officers of the riot police might have been an external force. Officers of Security Service of Ukraine loyal to Yanukovich have hacked phones of Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and leaked their conversation to the web. The officials discuss their impressions of what's happening in the country after the revolution. Mr Paet, who is hardly on the Russian side, suggests there is a strong evidence the snipers killed both protesters and Berkut police forces, and might have been employed by some of the leaders of Maidan. To be fair, Catherine Ashton does say she'd be interested in the investigation, but has anything been done about it? No. Not from the EU side. Aparrently, the new government is investigating but they have a clear interest in what their findings 'should' be. Democracy lesson number 2.
Western leaders have flocked to Kiev to make friends with the new government, give their assurance and in return get some useful promises, or maybe even contracts, from a weak new government currently not in a position to negotiate.
Yanukovich was indeed an immoral crook (with a terrible taste in interior design). However, he was an elected crook (with a terrible taste in interior design). Sadly, it's a given that, when people vote in that part of the world, they expect their next leader to be a crook and steal the money from the budget. The only hope people have is that this new guy will steal less money than the previous guy. Just think why oligarchs in that part of the world are always in such loved-up relationships with governments. Sometimes, literally, like one of the previous presidents of Ukraine, Kuchma, whose daughter is married to the oligarch Pinchuk. No wonder people were getting fed up with all these cosy, undemocratic arrangements.
Thank God, the unaccountable EU government is now here to teach how to do democracy properly... Thus, the EU commission suggested that the Ukrainians hold a referendum on that treaty that caused all the mayhem. After all, it defines the very direction the country is going to take. Hang on a second - just like Yanukovich has pushed the treaty with Russia without a referendum - the new Ukrainian government, mentored by the EU, has also taken it as a given that the treaty with the EU is a done deal. Right... Democracy lesson number 3.
The current unelected government of Kiev has been very swift to issue new laws, letting Tymoshenko out, banning the Russian language (a moronic move that has fortunately just been vetoed by the new President). Unelected people making hasty laws but demanding that everyone has to oblige. Democracy lesson number 4.
Military invasion of Crimea by the Russian army in disguise was an outrageous step and had to be condemned. It was illegitimate and provocative. However, it should not distract us from what is actually genuinely happening on the ground. The majority in Crimea seem to be on the side of Russia, whether the West likes it or not. The decision of the new president of Crimea to hold a referendum on the 30th March [now moved to the 16th March] to decide the status of the region, merely mirrors what happened in Kiev. It is not illegitimate if we acknowledge that people in the country wanted a change and people in both, Kiev and Crimea, have the right for that change. So, why are western leaders not supporting this reasonable and democratic move by Crimea's new premier Sergei Aksenov to hold a referendum?
William Hague announced today that Britain would view the referendum in Crimea, as illegitimate. Now, if Hague acknowledges the new Government in Kiev & thinks that's what people wanted, it's simply hypocritical to deny the same right to Crimea. Otherwise, it looks like the West only supports regime change if pro-Western leaders come to power. Democracy lesson number 5.
But then who had any doubts. The US, the EU, and Russia are all in Ukraine not to help its people to build democracy. They are there pursuing national interests. Full stop. The only difference is that Russia is doing it openly like a clumsy bear in a chinashop, and fuck the PR. The US is doing it behind the scenes, like masterful and experienced puppeteers, and 'fuck the EU'. The EU is there with its own Imperialistic ambitions of expansion of the EUSSR. Wherever you look, this is not democracy but hypocrisy.