The overwhelming majority of eastern Ukrainians currently trapped in brutal winter conditions between separatist thugs and the Ukrainian army aren't Ku Klux Klan members, or fat cat bigots who delight in oppressing their ethnic Ukrainian neighbors. They are coal miners and steelworkers and children and pensioners. They are people who've watched their lives be shelled into oblivion by both Kiev's army and paramilitary brigades and Putin's warlords, and who are now isolated in what Amnesty and the UN describe as an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Painting them as a bunch of backward anti-Western hicks is neither progressive, nor tolerant, nor liberal, nor accurate.
Russia's ruling class, taking its cue from the president, has completely shifted into a world of its own, replete with a separate set of ideas, values and principles. And the problem is not whether the Russian or Western world is more "correct," but that the two sides have conclusively formed separate camps, unable to understand and unwilling to even listen to each other.
General Valery Gerasimov writes about how "a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war." This is achieved, Gerasimov writes, by "the broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian, and other non-military measures applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population." The goal is "to create a permanently operating front through the entire territory of the enemy state."