According to Russian political scientist and sociologist Mikhail Tulsky, initially Russian President Vladimir Putin intended to organize in Crimea some type of Transnistria or Abkhazia separate unrecognized republic. But he had to drop this plan because he did not dare to rely on local separatists.
“I think that initially Putin wanted to whomp up from Crimea some kind of Transnistria and Abkhazia. But in Crimea the pro-Ukrainian mass overnumbered the pro-Russian one on the street protests, and there were not only Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians among the Majdan participants, but even Russians with signs “I am Russian and I want to live in Ukraine”. Even at the rally on February 26, 2014 – one day before Putin’s armed seizure of the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol – pro-Ukrainian demonstrators were exponentially more than pro-Putin ones. And this was despite the fact that most of the pro-Putinists were centrally brought in Simferopol by buses from Sevastopol. In the end, the Putinists lost and were pushed out of the square near the Parliament and returned to Sevastopol with nothing on the same buses,” said the political analyst in an interview.
He believes that in that situation Putin had to either capture Crimea with Russian army or to retreat. “Those days “to retreat” meant for him not to revenge on Ukraine for escaping the colonial net of Russia. Putin went to the length of capture Crimea because it was easy: there were 25 thousand Russian troops there and it was about three to four times more than the Ukrainian ones. Next, seeing that it worked out very well in Crimea, he began to “work the bugs out of” Donbas. First and foremost, by that brutal war television propaganda,” said Tulsky.