Curator of Excellent Takes
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NATO did not convince 1 million+ Ukrainians to face off for months (at the cost of life and limb) against the security forces of Yanukovych at Maidan after he back tracked on his campaign promise to integrate with the EU. Not everything is the result of the Western boogey man. The fact of the matter is that the EU is a much more attractive value proposition to many former Eastern Bloc nations than the Russian Federation.And so you are going to have a very hard time convincing anyone in Eastern Ukraine or Russia that a coup doesn't constitute "meddling".
If the people of Eastern Ukraine are what got Yanukovych elected, why did they support a pro-EU candidate (as he presented himself) if they see themselves as Russian through and through? Something isn’t adding up.
I was not on the ground in Donetsk or Luhansk in 2013, but most international polls that I can access found that EU Ascension had very high backing in Western and Central Ukraine (70%+ and 60%+) and anywhere between 20%-52% in Eastern Ukraine based on the age group polled (65+ years were significantly pro-Russian while 20-64 years old were decidedly more pro-EU) with nearly half of respondents in both polls actually favoring non-alignment with either faction. (Source here under popular support tab) This does not seem to reflect alleged overwhelming support for Russian integration in Luhansk and Donetsk even though they were decidedly less pro-EU.
What I am saying is that it appears that Ukrainians desire a future more similar to Poland than Belarus. Not that they are identical situations (as you pointed out, they are quite different).Ukraine looks nothing Belarus (which is extremely authoritarian but also extremely clean and low crime country).
I agree with you that the post-war Ukrainian nation may not be viable, but the alternatives are quite unattractive.The best outcome may be to simply re-incorporate postwar Ukraine in to the three functional countries (Poland, Hungary, and Russia) that used to govern the area but within the framework of an International Treaty which ensures Ukrainian language and cultural rights are respected.
I am sure dividing an ethnic group up into three separate nations (one of which already has made it no secret that they think the Ukrainian culture & language should not exist) will end spectacularly.
Either way, I find the Ukraine situation quite interesting as it is one of the last places that the dust from the collapse of the Soviet Union has yet to settle. May peace for the people of Ukraine and Russia prevail in the long run.