Not too long ago Ukraine descended into violence. While the overall story is oft-repeated the details seem elusive on most news sources, so please forgive me as we sum up.
Ukraine is insolvent: the nation is so deeply in debt that it needs $17 billion USD (almost 10% of Ukraine's annual GDP) to meets its obligations and continue functioning, and it needs this money relatively quickly. It was hoping to receive $20 Bn USD in loans from the European Union so began negotiating a trade deal with the EU that would include such a loan.
The European Union declined and offered only about $830 million USD in loans and their trade deal required Ukraine to change many internal laws, some of which had no direct bearing on trade.
Russian then offered $15 Bn USD in loans with a trade agreement that included reducing energy costs to the Ukraine.
Up against the wall the president of Ukraine was effectively forced to abandon the possibility of a trade deal with the EU and accept a deal with Russia because only Russia was willing to meet Ukraine's needs. This was announced by the Ukrainian government on November 21st, 2013.
Protests began almost immediately. Some Ukrainian citizens who wish for closer ties to the EU began to gather in Kyiv to protest the trade deal with Russia. By the 24th estimates on the number of protestors ranged as high as 100,000 (although the actual numbers were probably closer to 20,000) and the protestors began breaking police cordons and physically clashing with police. The police responded with tear gas and batons. The protestors began being encouraged and organized by opposition political leaders. The protests also began allowing neo-Nazi groups to take the elad in violence against police forces.
This is not hyperbole or Godwin's Law - actual self-described neo-Nazi groups led violent attacks on police where isolated groups of police were attacked and their equipment stolen to arm protestors. These protestors, now with riot gear, then continued the escalation of violence.
Protestors begin assaulting and seizing government buildings, including city hall of the capitol, while continuing violence against police. The protestors used petrol bombs, improvised weapons, and captured firearms to attack police and used arson and burning barricades to distract and repel police. By the middle of January protestors and police were being killed as well as injured.
At the height of the protests prior to any protestors dying the Ukrainian parliament passed anti-protest laws that sparked greater protests and more violence; the laws were repealed and insttead the government offered to release already-arrested protestors and offer amnesty to other protestors if government buildings were released. This exchange of prisoners for buildings was completed by about the 16th of February. On the 18th the protestors began their assaults on police lines and by the 20th had re-taken all the surrendered buildings and taken others, as well.
During this same time the opposition leaders, who were still leading the protestors, were negotiating with foreign powers for loans and support for when they has succeeded in seizing control of the government. Aresniy Yatsenyuk met with Angela Merkel in person urgin her to impose sanctions and aid the protestors so help them take over the Ukrainian government.
The opposition tot he elected government in Kyiv was being reflected in greater Ukraine with the Ukrainian-speaking West seizing most government buildings seized by protestors but the Russian-Speaking eastern and southern fringes marked with pro-government forces aiding police is resisting protestors.
By February 20th enough members of parliament had fled or defected that the opposition parties gained control of the Ukrainian parliament. The president agrees to early elections, has his powers slashed, and several other changes occur in the next few days. Opposition leader Yulia Tymeshenko is released from prison at the vote of the opposition-controlled parliament. By the 23rd the opposition leader and protest organizer Aresniy Yatsenyuk is made Prime Minister as other opposition leaders are placed in charge of the Ukrainian government.
As this is occurring protestors in Crimea, which is largely Russian-speaking, are rejecting the new government in Kyiv as illegitimate. The regional parliament in Crimea states that they will vote to decide if they will remain part of Ukraine and armed men seize airfields and government buildings in the Crimea. The brand new government in Kyiv states they will not allow the breakup of Ukraine.
The new government also beings pleading with Europe and the US for - billions of dollars in loans to prop up the Ukrainian economy.
The crimean regional parliament asks for help from Russia to aid it in its claims to autonomy. Russia agrees and sends troops too support the new Republic of Crimea.
We have been continually surprised at the political developments of the last few years where ostensibly Democratic governments in Europe and North America vocally and materially support the violent overthrow of various governments in the world. This may be most surprising in Ukraine.
Let us be very clear - what occurred in Ukraine is the violent overthrow of the lawfully-elected government by an armed mob led by the losers of the last election. This was not prompted by mass oppression, nor was it triggered by civil rights violations or the illegal grasp for power - the pretext for this armed insurrection was the government's refusal to sign a trade agreement that would have forced Ukraine to modify its internal laws to be advantageous to European nations without giving Ukraine the loans it needed to remain solvent.
There are already protests in large cities across Ukraine against this new, mob-seated, government by Ukrainians that reject its legitimacy - if more protests arise led by the new opposition what side shal Europe, the BBC, and similar groups take? Will the violent protestors still have the right to change the government via force?
The last five years have clearly demonstrated through the words and deeds of European and North American political leaders, pundits, and academics that none of them actually believe that Democracy works. What shall they replace it with?