Victor Yanukovich was the democratically elected president of this nation who turned his back on the European Union in favor of closer ties with bordering Russia. The western, Europe-leaning portions of the country, long struggling with a depressed economy, exploded — quite literally — with anger after Yanukovych chose Russia over the EU as the remedy for a bankrupt economy.
The protestors, with behind-the-scenes manipulation by Washington and the EU, were victorious in forcing Yanukovych from power. As he fled, the gates of his residence, the Mezhgorye mansion outside of Kiev, swung open for all of Ukraine and the world to see how the corrupt elite live while the masses remain hopeless. The opulence of his lifestyle confirmed all suspicions.
But Russia did not stand idle while a legitimately-empowered government was overthrown. The annexation of Crimea, on the south-eastern coast of Ukraine, was one outcome. Within a matter of weeks of that takeover, the growing strife in the region became viewed as an ethnic conflict pitting Western Ukrainians, known for their pro-European aspirations, against Russian-speaking and Russian-rooted Eastern Ukrainians, who supported the annexation.
In the eyes of much of the world this has, indeed, become an ethnic battle. But at its core, the root of this uprising is the same we see across the four corners of the world: With nothing left to lose, people will be losing it.