This is the one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis
* BY MAX FISHER
* January 24 at 1:45 pm
Ukraine's protests and the 2010 election results. Click to enlarge. (Max Fisher/Washington Post)
After two months of rallies in the capital city of Kiev against President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject a deal for closer integration with the European Union, Ukraine's protests are spreading to other major cities throughout the country's west. Protesters have even seized government administrative buildings in several regional capitals, heightening concerns about where Ukraine's crisis will go.
What's happening in Ukraine is about much more than the anger over Yanukovych rejecting the European Union deal and drawing the country closer to Russia. To help explain what's going on, I've put this map together up top. The red stripes show regions where mass protests are surrounding the regional capital buildings. The black stripes show regions where protesters have actually seized the government administrative buildings. The blue regions are where Yanukovych won a majority in the last presidential election, in 2010; dark blue means he won at least 70 percent. Orange regions show where Yulia Tymoshenko, then prime minister and candidate for a pro-European party, won the majority; she won at least 70 percent in dark orange regions.
Here's why this map is important: There is a big dividing line in Ukrainian politics -- an actual, physical line that separates the north and west from the south and east. You can see it in this map and in just about every electoral map since the country's independence. That divide goes beyond the question of whether Ukraine faces toward Europe or toward Russia, but that question is a major factor. And it's polarizing.
This map drives two things home: First is that the protests are practically endemic in the half of the country that voted against Yanukovych, which includes Kiev. Second, the protests are not really a factor in the...