Begin quote from page 12 of Time Magazine March 31 2014:
Just ask Mikhail Gorbachev. In an interview on the eve of Crimea's annexation, the last leader of the USSR---the Nobel Peace prize Laureate who is credited with ending the Cold War--- declared that Putin should not stop at Crimea. All of Southern Ukraine, Gorbachev said, is Moscow's rightful dominion. "In essence, in history, it's just like Crimea," he told a Russian news Website. "It's population is Russian. It was civilized by Russians." And with tens of thousands of Russian troops massed at Ukraine's eastern border, Putin may yet decide to expand his land grab.
As long as he can follow the Crimean formula---a bloodless and surgical takeover---even his enemies in Russia will applaud.------"
end quote from page 12 of the Time magazine on March 31, 2014.
The above article likely would be hard for Americans and possibly Western Europeans to make full sense of. However, we are not Russian mostly and have not studied Russian history to fully make sense of all this right away. However, it is a factor in properly understanding what actually is going on in Russia and in Putin and Gorbachev's minds.
Here is another one that is mind boggling if you haven't read it from the same article in Time:
72% of Russians agree with Putin retaking Crimea
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