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There is no US energy weapon. Doesn't exist.
It's not like I've been paid to have these points. Heck, I didn't even start having an even moderately positive opinion of Putin until relatively recently. Furthermore, none of that was through reading Russia Today articles. I just read up on the issues with a moderately sympathetic eye. It doesn't require sycophancy to support the Russian government's position, just a sympathetic understanding of Russia's history (admittedly, something I was bred with that most Westerners aren't) and a willingness to acquit when the evidence doesn't stack up.
"Salient but neglected facts." More like: Misrepresented and harped upon facts by the West's Apologists. Ukraine itself nullified any previous agreements with Russia about the Crimean Peninsula when it, unilaterally and without the support of the Crimean people, repealed the 1992 Crimean Constitution. That constitution gave the Crimea her own President and legal system. That constitution was repealed by Ukrainian authorities after the Budapest Memorandum you mention. Considering memorandums are merely diplomatic agreements, even the slightest breach makes them utterly irrelevant. A treaty might have more legal force.
The journalists are the ones telling us its illegitimate.
1) Nobody has claimed that there are 25,000 Russian troops in Crimea. The number I've heard most often is 16,000. 2) No, it is not threatening under the circumstances, but a justifiable act. Russia has not threatened to use force to incorporate any portion of the Ukraine into the Russian Federation. Unlike, say, Nazi Germany, which historically ignorant persons have claimed Russia's actions resemble. 3) The duly elected parliament of Crimea and its leaders requested the presence of Russian soldiers. In contrast, the government in Kiev has come about through no discernible Constitutional process. Rather, it was a revolutionary power grab by the Maidan supporters. To add to it, a good chunk of the soldiers are most certainly Crimeans themselves. Their militia is now 10,000 strong according to the Crimean government. 4) The two situations are not comparable in the slightest. What few comparisons can be drawn actually favor Russia. Ukraine as political entity does not have the same history with Crimea as the United States has with the former Mexican state Alta California. Alta California was settled mostly by Americans, which is why we seized it in the first place. Wait, that sounds like Russia seizing Crimea because the Russians there wanted it. Can't use that one.
Interesting, my paternal family is from outside Kiev as well. Ukraine usually got spoiled in relations to Russia. Ukrainian peasants were more restive than their Russian counterparts, so the Tsars and later the USSR had to bribe them to keep them calm. That same dynamic is happening again. Putin essentially bribed Ukraine so that they did not choose the EU (the EU wanted an exclusive deal, forbidding entry into the Customs Union). Right now, Russia is planning lots of economic benefits to the Crimeans for joining the Russian Federation. They'd do the same for any other part of the Ukraine that would join.
It shouldn't be anyway. We have almost no trade with Russia, and a good portion of our trade would be unaffected by all but the strictest sanctions. Europe would be the loser in an economic battle Russia, I'd bet. Europe depends more on Russia than Russians depend on Europe. This is an existential battle to Russians: They'd be willing to put up with a pretty tight squeeze to fight for the Crimea or any other part of the Ukraine that voted to join Russia. All sanctions will do will make Russians feel like they're a country under siege (and they'd be right). That often has a unifying tendency. Makes people willing to suffer great pain for the sake of the cause.
Because my family is a white emigre family from the Ukraine. I've always supported it. Furthermore, I think they are better off together, just as I think Scotland is better off in the United Kingdom, and the South better off in the United States. Yes, Ukraine would be better off. Heck, Ukraine sucks so bad that they were better off under Communism in relation to Russia. That's pretty hard: To lose to socialism economically.
Considering I've already admitted it, I don't mind admitting that I am in full support of full union between Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine in a restored Russian Empire. I would only support lawful means towards attaining those goals, and not through threat of aggressive war, which Russia has not threatened, despite all the propaganda to the contrary.
I love how all of the commentators are claiming it's rigged when there's no evidence for that. "Well, there's Russian troops in town." Well, the ballots are secret, so intimidation isn't really a factor. Furthermore, there is absolutely zero evidence of Russian soldiers nearby polling stations. I forgot, Russia is guilty before proven innocent, so I'm just some kind of apologist for the evil Russians.
Ummm...that didn't happen. I realize it's fair game right now to simply make accusations up about Russia, but I'm still of the "innocent until proven guilty" mindset, even when it comes to government wrongdoing. I'm sure Russia has had its fair share of corrupt practices to hassle the opposition, but I'm just not convinced it rises to the level of systematic repression, especially when compared to a state like Nazi Germany or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, neither of which exists today. Furthermore, Russians like Putin, and they, in the relatively recent past, risked life and limb to oppose a real repressive regime, so I'm inclined to support the majority population of Russia over the malcontents in their own country and the foreign media.
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