In my opinion, when assessing the events in Ukraine, many observers have confused concepts.
Initially, the events in Kiev, later called EuroMaidan, were perceived by the democratic public in the West, in Russia and in Ukraine itself as the struggle of Ukrainians with the authoritarian corrupt government of the country. Therefore, Democrats around the world supported these speeches and the change of power. The protesters’ slogans included democracy, the right to self-determination, integration with Europe. That is, the struggle was on the plane of democracy against authoritarianism, transparency against corruption, self-determination against external dictates. Most of the speakers were not against Russians.
However, as in most cases in history, on some barricades with liberal-democratic forces there were nationalists who, due to their better organization, seized the initiative and leadership positions in the new government, and put forward their nationalist slogans: “Ukraine for Ukrainians”, “Russians are invaders”, etc. Thus, they divided the whole world around them in a different plane: nationalists against internationalists, fascism against equality, Ukrainians against Russians.
As a result of this two-plane intersection of interests at one point, a confusion of concepts occurred.
The leadership of Russia, who initially negatively perceived the overthrow of Yanukovych, who was loyal to it, as the new authorities of Ukraine believe, took advantage of this situation and, under the slogan of protecting Russian and Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine from nationalists, began active operations in the Crimea and Ukraine as a whole. Involuntarily or, as many opponents of Putin believe, with intent the Russian propaganda machine mixed Ukrainian democrats with Ukrainian nationalists, uniting them into one concept of “new Ukrainian authorities”. And since the image of the enemy in the guise of a nationalist and a Russian offender in Ukraine suited best for the patriotic unity of Russia, a label “Banderite” was put on the forehead of this enemy and at this forehead, figuratively speaking, Russian weapons were pointed.
But the whole trick is that along with the nationalists, the Ukrainian democrats also found themselves at gunpoint. And they, together with the nationalists, were immediately disliked by the majority of the Russian people, yesterday’s brothers and friends. Although the Ukrainians did not fight with the Russians. They fought against dictatorship and corruption for freedom and democracy in their own country.
Having fallen into this propaganda trap, all those interested in the events in Ukraine have now divided into two teams: for Ukrainians and for Russians. Everyone who doubts the correctness of President Putin’s actions is immediately labeled as an “enemy of Russia”. Conversely, all those who are concerned about the fate of the Russians in Ukraine, are immediately called “imperialists” and “invaders” by the opposition. Although in fact, they should be divided by a totally different sign: for free democratic Ukraine or for an authoritarian and corrupt leadership of Ukraine? By this criterion, I think, most Ukrainians and Russians will give their sympathy to the first group. And the second plane is like this: for equality of citizens or for national-chauvinist orders in Ukraine? With this choice, it seems to me that the majority of Ukrainians and Russians will also vote for the first one. So it turns out that most Ukrainians and Russians want the same thing, but they are on the verge of a war. Russians, who are really overwhelmed with imperial ambitions and want to “gather their land” throughout Eurasia, I think, after all, are not the majority. In any case, I would like to believe it.
So a Ukrainian (or Russian) democrat is not an enemy to a Russian defender. He is an enemy of the authoritarian regime and imperial manners.
So, I want to make things clear once again: I (I think, like most people who are worried about the fate of Ukraine) am for free Ukraine with a democratically elected leadership; with its right to decide whether to be in the Customs Union or in the European Union. But! I am against the nationalists in the power in Ukraine, I am against the oppression of other nationalities there!
I am also against violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the Crimea. But! If facts of genocide and violations of the rights of national minorities in Ukraine are revealed, I am for foreign interference and protection of the rights of these minorities. Of course, preferably not by one country, be it Russia or the United States, but an international contingent of troops under the auspices of the United Nations.