According to the Kremlin, a March 18 signing ceremony between Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol made it official: Crimea is now part of the Russian Federation.
What are the implications of Russia’s actions in Ukraine? Can they be compared to Nazi Germany’s expansion into Poland to protect “ethic Germans” like Putin’s claims to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea?
Dr. Ewa Bacon, expert on Russian and central European history discusses this historically significant event with a blog post, "Who are you calling a Nazi?"
It all traces back to the history of the region, explained Bacon, professor of history at Lewis University in Illinois. She said, “Today’s battles are the confrontation of Ukrainians who see themselves as Europeans and Ukrainians who see themselves as Russians.”
For a few years, after the great re-drawing of the map of Europe in 1918, the Ukrainians formed a nation-state only to be overwhelmed by the expansion of the Soviet Union. A brief independence was traded for more than sixty years of a Soviet Socialist Republic.
She said “It’s the division between a Ukrainian culture looking westward and the Russian or russified eastern Ukrainians who see the future in the Russian orbit. Many citizens in the eastern Ukraine are ethnic Russians who moved there during the USSR period.”
Bacon wrote more about the Ukraine conflict when violence erupted in Independence Square in December 2013.