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I did speak with actual Ukrainians presently living in the Ukraine, but visiting abroad for a variety reasons, not expats. Here in NYC we recently held couchsurfing/airbnb party that ended up being made up mostly of Russian, Ukrainian, and Estonian students and visiting academics, abroad for only a month or two at most, all far left of center politically. Even the Pussy Riot-supporters among the Russians were quick to circle the wagons in support of any criticism of Putin.  While the Ukrainians, some from Crimea as well as other non-Kiev areas, were quite hostile and genuinely fearful of the prospect of losing political independence, even those who didn't like the new fascists in Kiev. Is this representative of the masses in the region?  Probably not, but I kind of expected to see more ambivalence on the part of the Ukrainians regarding the prospect of Russians moving into the eastern Ukraine, but hostility to that idea was pretty universally felt. Everyone except the Russians are kind of tired of the authoritarian stuff that they continue to identify with Russia and Putin.
by santiago on Fri Apr 4th, 2014 at 12:51:41 PM EST
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It is a cliche that Russians have long preferred stability to liberty. Might that be different for the Ukrainians? And I wonder if envy of Russia having an effective leader, especially compared to Ukraine, since Putin came to power might play a part. Envy easily leads to hatred.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 4th, 2014 at 01:19:24 PM EST
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The idea that the people in Kiev are fascists is 100% Russian disinformatiya. The government is supported by exactly the same parliament which supported Yanukovich. Are there extremists in the Rada? Yes. Were they their previously as well? Yes. Is the Ukraine the only country with nasty political forces? No. In what country are they the mainstream? Russia.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Apr 5th, 2014 at 03:01:50 PM EST
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Between 1/5th and 1/3rd of the Ukrainian cabinet are from Svoboda or Pravy Sektor. In other words, unreconstructed Nazis.

I really don't think Ukraine has anything to let Russia know about the mainstreaming of far-right thugs.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 5th, 2014 at 04:16:49 PM EST
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Here in the Astoria area of New York where I am there are lots of Ukrainians (in Bayside, Brooklyn are the Russians), and as developments have changed in their home country this week, so have their feelings about what their compatriots back home are thinking. Among expats especially, there is now a new sense that Russia will also have to annex eastern Ukraine and that people both support it and that it is probably best for everyone anyway. Some are even resigned to the rest of Ukraine being made part of Poland. It's a much different attitude than the more strident, pro-Ukrainian sentiment last week, and I doubt that a NATO visit to eastern Ukraine would be well received by locals anymore.  That window seems to have past and a sense of inevitability regarding the return of at least eastern Ukraine to Russia seems to now be setting in.  
by santiago on Wed Apr 9th, 2014 at 01:15:33 AM EST
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It's going to be supremely ironic for Poland to partition another country with Russia...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 9th, 2014 at 02:04:22 AM EST
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Not to mention NATO acquiring a long border with Russia after all....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Apr 9th, 2014 at 02:19:02 AM EST
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I have a hard time seeing this actually happen.  If nothing else, Polish annexation of Western Ukraine would add something like 20 million people to the Polish population. ~60 million.  Putting on order with the big countries like the UK, France, Germany, and Italy.

A rump Ukraine seems more likely. I do think that union between Moldova and Romania is likely if the Russian try to annex Transnistria. Between this and separatist movements, it's going to be a very different Europe.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Apr 9th, 2014 at 03:09:11 PM EST
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