Sergey V. Lavrov, John Kerry’s counterpart in Russia said,
“The statement added that the “threats and ultimatums” made it difficult to reach “honest arrangements” that would help stabilize the situation in Ukraine, apparently referring to blistering statements by Mr. Kerry and other officials.” As E.U. Meets, Crimea Moves to Hold Vote on Joining Russia, New York Times, March 6, 2013
Someone needs to remind Russia their occupation of Ukraine make it impossible to reach “honest arrangements”. There is some sense to having the eastern region voting on whether it wants to become part of Russia. The key will be the vote must not be influenced by outside forces including Russia and the west. The only way to do this is by vote of the regions citizens that is closely monitored by the U.N..
The vote also needs to occur without Russian occupation. Russia must withdraw all of its troops to remove the intimidation factor. A Russian solider on guard with a military rifle watching as one enters the voting booth would be very intimidating.
Further, Putin still must be punished for his inappropriate actions and unfortunately that punishment will also negatively affect the Russian people. It is very clear that Putin has not gotten beyond his thinking instilled in him while a member of the KGB.
Vladimir Putin is an old school Soviet Union leader and is not looking out for the best interest of the people of Russia. His focus is on rebuilding the power, might and influence of the old Soviet Union. Some will say that is the same thing and they would be incorrect. In a true democracy the purpose of government is to help achieve the goals, objectives and aspirations of its people. Putin see his role as rebuilding the power and mite of the debunked Soviet Union for its own sake. He is pursuing this aim at all cost including sacrificing the rights of its people if necessary.
Hopefully there is a peaceful settlement to this situation. To reduce the likelihood of such future actions Putin and Russia must accept some cost for their actions. It is unfortunate that ordinary Russian citizens will be paying a price for their leaders impropriety.