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Those fledgling protests that erupted in Ukraine last fall have led to changes that seemed like a long shot at the time, including the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych.

Now Yanukovych says he was the victim of a coup, and Russia—having pulled off a catastrophe-free Olympics—has marched into Crimea, apparently to the relief of many of its residents. What hasn’t changed is the east-west split that divides Ukrainian loyalties and pulls the country in opposite directions.

Yale historian Timothy Snyder, writing in the New York Review of Books, notes that Russia is attempting to justify its takeover as a move to protect Russians from ultranationalist, fascistic, and anti-Semitic elements in the Ukrainian revolutionary regime. According to Snyder, that’s a fabrication, but not so different from some of what we’re reading and hearing in the Western media.

In Snyder’s assessment, this was a “classic popular revolution,” but “the Russian press presented the protest as part of a larger gay conspiracy. The Ukrainian regime instructed its riot police that the opposition was led by a larger Jewish conspiracy. Meanwhile, both regimes informed the outside world that the protestors were Nazis. Almost nobody in the West seemed to notice this contradiction.”

Read the rest here.