Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Window is Closing

Russia's window to seize eastern Ukraine disguised as a rescue mission is closing. The people of eastern Ukraine inconveniently refuse to act like they want Russian help.

While the divisions between easterners and westerners in Ukraine are real, it isn't as bad as those who advocate partition say it is. But the ethnic Russians were a very convenient prop to justify Russian invasion if they would just stay silent and allow the Russian propaganda apparatus to speak for them.

This is encouraging:

More than 1,000 demonstrators with Ukrainian flags took to the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Tuesday, for the first time outnumbering pro-Moscow youths who have seized its government building, which flies the Russian flag.

President Vladimir Putin's declaration on Saturday that Russia had the right to invade Ukraine was accompanied by pro-Russian demonstrations across Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking south and east.

But in the four days since, the tide of opinion in eastern cities appears to be turning back towards Kiev.

Bearing placards with slogans such as: "I am Russian. I don't need protection," the protesters marched near the occupied regional government building, staying far enough away to avoid clashing with the pro-Russian youths still inside.

The story says easterners were disgusted with revelations that some of the so-called "easterners" were imported from Russia to astro-turf a call to Moscow for help.

This doesn't mean that Russia won't try to take the region--especially if Ukraine can rouse its military to fight for Crimea--but it does mean that it will have to look like an invasion and not a rescue mission.

Which means Russia's Potemkin military might be called to do more than it can accomplish without looking inept in the process.