The people in the East speak Russian and incline towards Russia, while those in western Ukraine march to a different drum: they speak Ukrainian and foster fond hopes of becoming real Europeans. In Crimea, the majority converse in Russian and their hearts have always beaten patriotically for the motherland. Crimea, after all, was part of Russia from 1784 until 1954, at which juncture Nikita Khrushchev, a native of Ukraine incidentally, made what some consider a major blunder: the Soviet leader gift-wrapped the peninsula and handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Since its divestment from the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been something of a schizophrenic nation with conflicting allegiances in the West and East of the country. In recent years, a neocon agenda has stoked up this internal strife to incendiary levels.