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 If the political issue was simply that Russia wanted to keep Crimea because of its warm-water port, then this is a simple to understand issue.
   But that isn't the case.

 (Reuters) - Pro-Moscow youths recaptured the administrative headquarters of the eastern city of Donetsk and flew the Russian flag from its roof on Wednesday, hours after Kiev's authorities managed to fly their own flag there for the first time since Saturday.
This could get messy.

  Where is Donetsk, you ask?
It's a province in eastern Ukraine, bordering Russia.
   It's demographics of the city are almost even split between ethnic Russians (48.15%) and ethnic Ukrainians (46.65%). The city itself is around 1 million people.
  However, the demographics if the province are majority Ukrainians (56.9% vs. 38.2%).
  Which would explain the second paragraph of this article.
 While the group of a few hundred pro-Moscow activists was recapturing the building, however, a far larger demonstration was gathering elsewhere in the city in favor of the authorities in Kiev, a sign that the tide of local opinion is turning against Moscow's allies in Ukraine's Russian-speaking heartland.
 The protestors appear to be mostly local citizens. While their demands are mostly about "Mother Russia", the most likely grievance is simply domestic politics. The city was the political support base of Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych and has not adjusted well to his downfall.
  Many locals feel marginalised by the new administration in Kiev, which they describe as the fruit of a power grab by pro-Western "bandits".
  "Why are our boys not heroes? They suffered in Kiev. They were beaten and humiliated, made to go on their knees. Now they are all forgotten. They were just fired from their jobs. If they had not protected us, then those mad protesters would have burnt the whole of Kiev," she said.
 It's easy to look at this as a Russia vs. the West situation, and that is how the news media is presenting it, but in fact this is mostly about domestic politics.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (29+ / 0-)

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:05:34 AM PST

  •  Ukraine has certainly not been (6+ / 0-)

    a cohesive and homogeneous nation since it separated from the USSR. The divisions between the east and west are chronic and long standing.

  •  The only domestic politics that count are ours.... (9+ / 0-)

    So It Is Written.

  •  Can we blame Putin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac, gjohnsit

    and maybe bomb Russia for internal conflicts in the Donbas?  I'll bet maybe 1 out of 10 tv "experts" on this situation can even tell you what the Donbas is, and why it matters.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:39:05 AM PST

    •  Working Man's Death - Heroes (6+ / 0-)
      An unflinching portrait of physical work in the 21st century. 'Heroes' looks at freelance miners in Ukraine who spend long days crawling through cramped shafts of exhausted coal mines to dig out a living for themselves.
      •  So Many Responses... (5+ / 0-)

        ... my mind can hardly contain them.

        --  Some people are multimillionaires because they uncovered ways to increase click rates and monetize the results.  They consider this to be difficult and important work.

        --  My people come from the coal fields of Oklahoma.  The memorial in McAlester lists the names of hundreds of men who died in the mines, from a city with a population under 18,000.

        --  Above all this brings to mind the documentary "The Devil's Miner" centered around a fourteen year old boy who works the ancient shafts of Cerro Rico above Potosi, Bolivia.  By now he is surely dead.  I have never seen a more disturbing movie.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:48:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tks. I'll check it out (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tarkangi, blueoasis

          •  Good on you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, Claudius Bombarnac

            My thumbs are mauve about embedding videos. so I appreciate your linking to the trailer.

            So let us focus on  the paradox.  

            I see a film about a boy, the age of my inncocent daughter, who goes in to the mines to support his mother and to protect his little brother from the harsh realities of life.

            In one sense he and sus companheres are orthodox Catholics like everyone else in the mountains, in another sense they are devotees of the pre-columbian tios (uncles? gods? devils?) in the underworld.

            Has there ever been a more clear example of social ritual in the service of anxiety management?

            But going back to the Ukraine we are to understand all of this as an instantiation of the market economy.

            To the benefit of...

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 06:15:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Even ethnic Russians want to stay with Ukraine (9+ / 0-)

    I've seen polls and articles about polls in that regard (sorry, I'll see if I can find some links), but this article on Think Progress gives a good perspective on that:

    In the meantime, even a poll of Russians in Russia isn't good news for Putin:

    At home, this intervention looks to be one of the most unpopular decisions Putin has ever made. The Kremlin’s own pollster released a survey on Monday that showed 73% of Russians reject it. ...
    Read more: How Putin's Ukraine Invasion Is a Disaster for Russia |

    From the same article:

    Even Russia’s closest allies want no part of this. The oil-rich state of Kazakhstan, the most important member of every regional alliance Russia has going in the former Soviet space, put out a damning statement on Monday, marking the first time its leaders have ever turned against Russia on such a major strategic issue: “Kazakhstan expresses deep concern over the developments in Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Kazakhstan calls on all sides to stop the use of force in the resolution of this situation.”

    What likely worries Russia’s neighbors most is the statement the Kremlin made on March 2, after Putin spoke on the phone with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Vladimir Putin noted that in case of any escalation of violence against the Russian-speaking population of the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea, Russia would not be able to stay away and would resort to whatever measures are necessary in compliance with international law.” This sets a horrifying precedent for all of Russia’s neighbors.

    Every single state in the former Soviet Union, from Central Asia to the Baltics, has a large Russian-speaking population, and this statement means that Russia reserves the right to invade when it feels that population is threatened. The natural reaction of any Russian ally in the region would be to seek security guarantees against becoming the next Ukraine. For countries in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Armenia, a staunch Russian ally, that would likely stir desires for a closer alliance with NATO and the E.U. For the countries of Central Asia, Russia’s traditional stomping ground on the geopolitical map of the world, that would mean strengthening ties with nearby China, including military ones.

    Read more: How Putin's Ukraine Invasion Is a Disaster for Russia |

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:58:35 AM PST

    •  Putin is playing the long game (6+ / 0-)

      Besides the fact that Russia isn't a real democracy, and thus opinion polls don't mean much to him, he has based his political identity on being a "strongman" in the Stalin model. Appearing to be weak isn't not even an option for him.

        If he hangs onto the Crimea, then he's won this match. Problems in the Donga are probably just leverage for him. Something he can sell out to maintain his standing in Crimea.

        OTOH, I'm not an expert in Russian politics. I could be totally offbase.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:06:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The statement 'damning' Russia (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, mookins

      released by the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the situation in Ukraine:

      Kazakhstan is deeply concerned with the current developments in Ukraine. Further escalation of tensions may lead to unpredictable consequences at both regional and global levels.

      Kazakhstan calls on all parties to renounce options that imply the use of power and make maximum political efforts to resolve the current crisis by means of negotiations.The resolution of the crisis should be based on respect towards the fundamental principles of international law.

      We urge all parties to maintain a balanced, objective and responsible approach towards the situation and refrain from any actions that could provoke a further escalation of the crisis.

      Kazakhstan hopes for an early normalization of the situation, the prompt restoration of law and order and a peaceful dialogue between all parties involved.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:59:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The fate of eastern Ukraine will be decided (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    almost entirely by what Kiev does, not Moscow.

    Ukraine will stay together IF the Provisional Government in Kiev reins in its right-wingers and tones down its saber-rattling against Russia, withdraws its legislation delegitimating Russian as a second language, elects a new government in May acceptable to most Ukrainians, secures the economic assistance it needs from the EU and IMF, and resists US pressure to drag Ukraine into NATO.

    Right now every one of these seems unlikely, which means for now that all Putin has to do is hold on to Crimea and wait for mainland Ukraine to descend again into anarchy.

    •  IS there a "government acceptable to most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      From what I understand, about half the country wants to be allied with Europe and the other half allied with Russia.  

      The alternatives, allied with both and allied with neither, seem even less workable.

      I freely admit that I know little about internal Ukrainian politics, and welcome informed comments.

    •  I don't see how it would benefit Putin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if mainland Ukraine descended into anarchy. He doesn't want a NATO state on Russia's border -- not even a hypothetical "West Ukraine".

  •  The nonviolent resistance by Ukrainians (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has been so effective in preventing the war Putin wants that someone should nominate at least their acting President, if not the entire Ukrainian people, for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:18:47 PM PST

  •  Pandora's box open for business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

    by chuckvw on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:43:01 PM PST

  •  "No such thing as one Ukraine": (3+ / 0-)

    "The best assessment I saw today came from Russian/American journalist Vladimir Pozner on CNN, who said that whatever Putin does, he is always demonized by western media.

    Pozner also remarked that there’s no such thing as one Ukraine, there are many different peoples gathered together under one flag. They of course have the same right to self-determination that all peoples are guaranteed under UN law. And if the millions of Russians living in Ukraine feel threatened, and ask Putin for protection, should he deny that request? What would the US do if it had that kind of number of Americans under threat, and requesting aid, somewhere in the world, let alone on its own borders, like Mexico or Canada? I think we know the answer to that one.

    Washington and Brussels would love to get a hold of the pipelines under Ukraine soil. And that they haven’t yet is certainly not for lack of trying. But they’re choking on their own hubris circus, and besides they should understand that Russia will never allow them control over those pipelines, because they keep the Russian economy alive.

    It looks like a very real possibility that Ukraine will not survive in its present shape and form for much longer. And even though it would first of all be silly to blame that on Russia, even if Ukraine would split according to the wishes of its separate population segments, the pro west western part of the country should never get it into its head to as much as touch the pipelines. Because that would carry with it a serious risk of warfare. It’s time for the westworld to wake up from its hubris induced dreams of what once was. You don’t win a war with a Haircut In Search Of A Brain [John Kerry], not even a PR war. Those days are gone."

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:28:42 PM PST

  •  Yes, It's Domestic Politics... (0+ / 0-)

    and oh yeah, per Stumpy Mccain's grilling of Hagel today, it's a massive intelligence failure for "not seeing this coming"...

    again, what needs to happen here is the anti Putin faction needs to deal with Putin...

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 03:34:44 PM PST

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