Ukrainians are as independent from Russia as Canadians are from the USA. To a non-Northern-American, Canadians seem not so different than Americans; but they are. They identify with their own things, their country, their families. They view themselves as no more American than a Thai person does.
Ukraine is the same story. They may "look" Russian, but they are anything but Russian. They won't willingly be assimilated into Russia, no matter what their political affiliation. If Russia walks over the border, the protests will continue, raging ever harder. If they can't have free elections and choose their future, they would rather die. Wouldn't you?
I consider them the canary in the coal mine. Brave canaries. Because what's happening in Ukraine is a dress-rehearsal for what's going to happen in the USA if the robber-barons and police state continue to beat people down. We'll do the same thing, and face even worse brutality because the USA has the most vile weaponry in the world.
For that reason, I'm following closely what happens in Ukraine, wondering in the back of my mind how best to take a stand here against the powers that keep people in poverty and unfree.