I’m all in favor of Russian as Ukraine’s official language and, possibly, of more power to Ukraine’s regions. What I’m opposed to is the Kremlin’s attempted partition or takeover of Ukraine under these pretexts. These are strictly Ukrainian issues and should not be decided at gunpoint. Once Russian troops are back at their bases and there is no threat of invasion of any kind, Ukraine should probably try to resolve those internal disputes.
When I was growing up, the Soviet press and television would often extol various “heroes” of “anti-imperialist” or “anti-racist” struggle. Some of them were true heroes, like MLK. Others were a tad controversial, like Nelson Mandela (whose greatest achievement came later, I believe, when he prevented large-scale retaliation against the white community). Yet others were more that just controversial, such as Angela Davis, Leonard Peltier or Bobby Sands. I must admit that I still admire Bobby’s nerve in fighting the system by slowly killing himself – it was no GULAG but he was subjected to unfair and indecent treatment. Whether he personally committed acts of terror or merely an IRA member, I have no idea although I suppose that, as an IRA man, he was somehow responsible for their actions.
The point is, it does not matter whether the cause was just or not quite or not at all, Soviet propaganda would take it up to spite the Americans or the Brits. They did not care about Irish republicanism – they just wanted to annoy Thatcher. Likewise, Putin’s “support” for the rights of Eastern Ukrainians says nothing about the merits of their plight; it’s just opportunism.