It has been terribly exciting and worrying to watch the Ukrainian revolution on TV and to read about it every morning in the newspaper. It is exciting because they seem to be so well-organized, so highly-motivated, and so well-connected with the political establishment to their West. It is almost like Ukrainians have been taking notes on the political actions of the Iranians, Egyptians, Tunisians and the Syrians and made rapid progress in organizing effective tactics and strategies. But it is also worrying, because one has to wonder how the Russians will react once the Olympics are over. It seems like history would suggest they will simply roll in with Janukowitsch’s blessing and clamp down on any and all political protests. But now that the Ukrainian Parliament has voted to return security forces to pull back from forcing out the protesters in Maidan Square, maybe things will not go so far as they would have in the days before the fall of the Soviet Empire. Still, it is hard not to see this conflict as the age-old East-West struggle of larger powers.
However, as of Thursday the Russians seem to have been relatively calm in their reactions to the vote by the Ukrainian Parliament. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was sending ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to talk to Janukowitsch, which seems like a mild reaction compared to the actions taken by the U.S. and the E.U. Have the Russians decided they aren’t in a position to make any overt actions in the Ukraine? Maybe they have come to some kind of compromise agreement with Western powers behind the scenes. We can only watch and wait to see how it all shakes out.