One of the factoids making the rounds is that the Crimea was Russian territory for 200 years, when it was acquired by Katherine the Great, and that it was only amalgamated with the Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev. What this history overlooks is that the Crimean peninsula was the ancestral homeland of the Tatars. Historically, they made up the majority of its population until Josef Stalin deported all of them to Siberia in 1944. Considering that about half of them died along the way, in what way was this act not a genocide?
To make matters worse, after the war, the Tatars were not allowed to return to their homeland. It is only for this reason that the Tatars now make up 12% of the Crimean population. The Russian majority residing there now is composed largely of career Soviet military veterans and their children who were allowed to pick their retirement place, as a perk of choosing a career that required them to be bounced around the Soviet Union. Since Crimea has the nicest weather in the Soviet Union, a lot of them settled there.
As a result, the Tatars really, really don’t like the Russians who occupy their ancestral homeland. If the West were led by somebody competent (i.e. not Obama), the US would be funneling small arms through the Ukraine to the Crimean Tatars, encouraging them to wage guerilla warfare. When Putin’s masked bandits start coming home in body-bags, the seizure of the Crimea will being to look less and less like a good move and more and more like a bleeding sore.
While Putin seems to be taking a break to consolidate his gains, he won’t stop until he is stopped. Sooner or later, somebody must stand up to him with force.