Transatlantic Relations Program Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky is quoted by National Geographic on the underlying divisions fueling the current crisis in Ukraine:
But it’s not just about geography or religion. “The biggest divide after all these factors is between those who view the Russian imperial and Soviet rule more sympathetically versus those who see them as a tragedy,” says Adrian Karatnycky, a Ukraine expert at the Atlantic Council of the United States.
At first there were no such divisions. In the ninth century, Ukraine, known as Kievan Rus, was becoming the early seat of Slavic power and the newly adopted Orthodox religion. But Mongol invasions in the 13th century curtailed Kiev’s rise, with power eventually shifting north into Russia to present-day St. Petersburg and Moscow.