This Is What a Grassroots Army Looks Like

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KYIV—It is quarter to midnight on the last night of 2014, and the mass of people pouring out of the Metro station near Sophia Square in the Ukrainian capital is so colorfully adorned it is almost unsettling. One of the more jarring aspects of Kyiv, for a first-time visitor like myself, is the strict black/gray monotony of local dress. On this night, though, the streets are filled with blue and yellow.

The display of patriotism is a sight that was practically unheard of before the dramatic, violent protests that began in the winter of 2013-2014 and that led to the ouster of President Victor Yanukovych, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and an armed conflict in the east that has already claimed more than 5,000 lives.

Foreign Firm Funding U.S. Green Groups Tied to State-Owned Russian Oil Company

Rosneft, owned by the Russian state, is the world's largest oil company / AP

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

‘Leviathan’ Review

Illustration by Gary Locke

“The best one-liner in Leviathan comes in the opening credits,” the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane noted in his review of the Russian entry for best foreign language picture at this year’s Oscars. “Reportedly, as much as 35 percent of the budget was supplied by government funding. This is like Kazakhstan using oil revenues to pay for Borat.”

Inside the Ring: Russians Advance on Ukraine

A pro-Russian armored vehicle moves toward Slovyanoserbsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015

Russian military forces are crossing into eastern Ukraine in larger numbers, according to Phillip A. Karber, a Georgetown University professor currently on a fact-finding tour of the region.