What was Ukraine made of and why is it falling apart [read description]

Ukraine is actually where Russia started about 1100 years ago, and Kiev was Russia’s first capital (hence the name, Kievan Rus).

However, about 300 years after that, the Mongol invasion, and later pressure from the south and east, shifted the center of the Russian culture north, to Novgorod and later Moscow.

Thereafter, and for most of the middle ages, Ukraine became a mess of small towns and lawless steppes being raided and fought over by Muslims to the South, Catholic Europeans (mostly Lithuanians, Poles, and Austrians) in the West, and Orthodox Christian Russians in the North. Russians won Ukraine back roughly 350 years ago, but the struggle never really stopped.

Here is a brief and incomplete list of foreign powers that have fought Russia for the lands of modern Ukraine:

Lithuania (5 wars 1492-1537)
Turkey (7 wars 1568-1792)
Poland (9 wars 1605-1939)
Sweden (1 war 1700-1721)
Austria (3 wars 1733-1918)
France (3 wars 1812-1918)
Britain (2 wars 1853 -1918)
Germany (3 wars 1914-1945)
Romania (2 wars 1918-1945)

In these wars the locals, few in number, tended to take the Russian side because they were culturally and, more importantly, religiously affiliated with Russia.
However, Poles, Austrians, Germans (and now US and EU) have all worked to change that by supporting cultural/religious conversion, or at least independent Ukrainian identity (preferably anti-Russian). These efforts finally bore fruit when Central Ukraine briefly sided with Austrians during the 1918 civil war (although the southern and eastern Ukraine formed Soviet Republics).

When Bolsheviks reunited the area, they have attached a lot of formerly Russian lands to the newly formed Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, to counterbalance rural West Ukraine with some industry and Eastern proletariat.

As a result of WWII, West Ukraine was attached to Ukrainian SSR as well. These lands have not been part of Russia since the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, and due to their Polish/Austrian/German masters spending the past 700 years nurturing Russophobia, were very anti-Russian.

Finally, in 1954, Crimea was handed to Ukraine for no actual reason - it was never even part of the Kievan Rus, much less Ukraine, and settled by ethnic Russians.

So, in the end, we have one side of the country extremely Russophobic (most recent Western funding for nationalism came in the form of approximately $15 bn from US State Dept and Soros), and the other side essentially settled by ethnic Russians who were arbitrarily thrown in there by USSR.

What followed was a tug-of-war between two halves of the country, ending in Westerners deposing a democratically elected Eastern president in an armed coup, and ensuing civil war.

... As we can see, the history is a little more complex than "eebil Putin" narrative you would see on CNN ;).

PS. Oh, and before the Holodomor trolls run all over this history video - saying Russia oppressed Ukraine because of 1932 famine is like saying USA oppressed Texas because of the Dust Bowl.

Incidentally, Dust Bowl and the Great Depression (as well as famines in the Volga region, Central Asia, and India) were largely caused by the same factors as the Ukrainian famine, although US had more resources and competence to handle the Dust Bowl than the newly formed Soviet state did.

While we're on the subject, it's also worth noting that Texas has only been a part of the US about half as long as Ukraine was part of Russia, and that Texas secession from Mexico is quite similar to Novorossiya's secession, although less justified.