Russia should respond to the situation in the Ukraine by following the precedent set by the United States in a comparable situation. Russia should offer to purchase the Russian populated areas whose residents want to leave Ukraine much like the United States purchased California from Mexico.
In the 1840's people from the United States had settled in parts of
Mexico, but were not happy with the Mexican
government. U.S. citizens in the Texas
region had openly revolted and gained independence from
Mexico. People in California were also interested in leaving
Mexico. The United States annexed Texas and a border dispute
led to war between the United States and Mexico. The United
States won the war but instead of simply taking other territory from
Mexico forced Mexico to sell California and additional areas to the
United States. The United States also assumed some debts that
Mexico owed to U.S citizens.
The Russians in the eastern Ukraine don't want to be part of Ukraine
any more than the U.S. citizens in California and Texas wanted to be
part of Mexico. Russia should help them leave by offering to
purchase the region from Ukraine once the people of Ukraine vote for
a new government. Government officials chosen in an
election have authority from the people to act. Officials who
came to power as a result of mob action have no authority from the
people to act.
Russia should also consider compensating Ukraine for the its loss of
Crimea. The separation of Crimea from Ukraine was comparable
to a divorce. Often one party to a divorce will compensate the
other by paying alimony to the other/ Russia could undermine
claims that it "stole" Crimea by paying alimony to Ukraine.
Paying for something isn't stealing.
The mob overthrow of a president from eastern Ukraine and talk of
eliminating Russian as an official language indicates that many
Ukrainians don't want Russians in their country. The presences of
racist elements in the anti-government mob indicates the overthrow
may have been in part motivated by ethnic prejudice. Russians
in Ukraine fear that failure to allow the Russian region to leave
Ukraine could result in use of violence against them.
Failure to allow the Russian region to leave could lead to prolonged
efforts against the Ukraine government. European ethnic conflicts
[such as the Basque conflict in Spain and the conflict between Irish
Catholics and English Protestants in Northern Ireland] can
last for generations.
Americans tend to think of ethnic conflicts in terms of differences
in skin color, but differences in culture can produce the same
results as was the case in Adolf Hitler's efforts to exterminate the
During the collapse of the Soviet empire, the residents of
Czechoslovakia recognized that they would have a better chance of
success if they split into two countries. Ukrainians made a
mistake by keeping the arbitrary political boundaries set by the old
Soviet Union. The Soviet Union to a large extent was a
Russian empire. Keeping Russian regions in Ukraine means
Ukrainians are still subject to control by politicians chosen in
part by Russians. Eliminating the Russian regions
from Ukraine would make Ukrainians truly independent of Russia.