1. Ukraine wants to join the EU, but to do that it would need to break the ties to Russia and agree to the EU’s terms. Among them would be higher gas prices, meaning every household would pay more for simple heating. President Yanukovych apposed EU integration, effectively rejecting the EU in favour of Moscow. This simple move has hit a strong nerve with the people.
2. Ukraine’s Prime Minister wants to maintain Russian links, but his recent behaviour, even his treatment and regard for the protesters, has left Vladimir Putin looking at alternatives. Although Putin has been rather forceful in his discouragement of any EU deal, threatening Russian sanctions if they “go” or a 15+ Billion stimulus package should they “stay”.
“Russia without Ukraine is a country; Russia with Ukraine is an empire." - Foreign Policy Community College saying
4. Ukrainian politics are greatly dependent on Oligarchs and mafia styled ‘family’ dynamics. The current President Viktor Yanukovych, has even mistreated the Oligarchs, mismanaged the economy and his government is said to be rife with corruption.
5. It boils down to Ukraine’s national identity and their ailing economy. The issues may seem simple, but they are deep rooted. Those roots are too deep and too sensitive for Western powers like the US to influence, and even if they tried, they’d only be poking around in a wound - and the ripple effects of that are a little scary, hence the stand-offish approach from the West…
A different perspective - taken from a press briefing regarding the security concerns and particularly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights and issues pertaining to the Winter Olympics in Sochi:
Alexey Komov - responsible for international relations for the Russian Orthodox Church’s Commission on the Family and Motherhood and the World Congress of Families’ representative in Russia, at the National Press Club in Washington; he said,
"It is hypocritical for the West to raise objections about civil liberties or corruption in Russia, he asserted, pointing to examples of what he claimed were the West’s own anti-democratic track record. Human rights violations “don’t happen [in Russia] on a larger scale than in the Western Europe and the United States,” he said:
In Guantanamo Bay in Cuba there is a base with many political prisoners; there is political correctness in Western countries and people go to jail more and more for stating, for example, their biblical views. You cannot quote Bible in Canada anymore where it says that homosexuality is a sin … If you repeat those passages from the Bible you can go to jail, and this is happening more and more in the United States as well… If you look at how [President] Kennedy was killed, there were I think 200 witnesses who were killed — this movie is telling you, with Kevin Costner, it’s like the military-industrial complex killed JFK… Who killed them? Who did 9/11?
He also suggested the protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for his decision to walk away from closer ties to the European Union “is a special operation being financed by Western powers that want to start a revolution and get riots in the streets” to overthrow a democratically elected leader.
It’s up to the Ukrainian people to decide their fate, to hopefully grow from this, and in some way better define who they are. My own opinion, is to work out something neutral such that Ukraine can stand on their own – however fantastical an idea that may be…if only… in an ideal world. What is clear though is that the initial riots and subsequent (seemingly reactionary) vehement protests came as a shock to even the president. When he made the anti EU announcement, protesters reacted by toppling a statue of Lenin in Kiev. The people of Ukraine are speaking.