In general, I support the right of self determination. Everyone has the freedom of association, and therefore, they can choose to be, or not be, part of any country they feel like. If a democratic majority in a localized geographic region votes in a referendum to secede from one country, or join another, than it's no one's business but their own. It's obviously absurd for a country that calls itself a democracy to insist on continuing to own a group of people against their will, who have already voted to leave said country. Any country that respects the vote must respect the results of any referendum that goes against them. Only tyrants would say otherwise.
The right to a referendum has been granted to places like Quebec and Scotland, and the right to secede has been given to places like Slovakia, none of whom were previously 'oppressed' by their former masters. Even when there are no human rights violations that prompt a secession, simply not liking one another, or not feeling like one belongs here anymore, is more than enough of a reason to secede. Many such new countries, born out of no ill feelings whatsoever, have been recognized and treated as legitimate in just the past few years. It's absurd to say that suddenly the Crimea requires persecution before it can be allowed to leave, when nothing of the sort ever happened to Singapore before it separated from Malaysia, Syria before it separated from Egypt, Montenegro before it separated from Serbia, etc. That has never been the international standard so it's stupid to try and invoke it now, just because the west is prejudiced against Russia and reflexively opposes anything Russia attempts.
Crimea is ethnically Russian, historically Russian, and linguistically Russian. It was just a weird aberration due to the whimsy of the Ukrainian tyrant Kruschev that they were ever part of Ukraine in the first place. Crimea already declared independence from Ukraine once before, in 1992, and has never been happy as part of Ukraine even when it did begrudgingly give up on that claim. Becoming part of Russia makes a lot more sense than staying where they are. I suspect the referendum next week will verify everyone's presentiments concerning this fact.
There are exceptions to the right of self determination. If you seek self determination so that you can enact villainy that your parent-state was previously disallowing, for instance slavery in the Confederacy of the United States, then no civilized nation has to stand for that sort of crap. Just as we have the right to intervene in foreign nations with human rights abuses, we can intervene in backwards regions of our own countries where crimes are being done. But Crimea does not fall under this category.
In fact, it's the exact reverse. The other exception to the right of self determination is when a backwards state wishes to be free of a more civilized Empire. If the British, French, Japanese, Americans, or whoever wish to invade and conquer a backwards region, in order to bring the light of civilization and progress to it, or in order to colonize it with their own people and build the country from the ground up, then this is also okay, because it makes the world a better place. This is why Israel has the right to exist, as well as the right to conquer and colonize the West Bank. When the Jews arrived in Israel, it was still living in the Medieval age. The place was barren and empty, with no commerce, no roads, no electricity, no irrigation, nothing. Israel took it over and turned it into a thriving modern metropolis with a per capita GDP of $34,900. Obviously the world is a better place with Israel than the previously existing Palestine. For the same reason, Australia is better off as Australia than it was under the aborigines, and America is better off than it was under the Amerindians. When the superior supplants the inferior, there's no need to hold a vote on whether the inferior barbarians like the idea or not. They already ceded their right to exist by sucking too badly to deserve a place on this Earth, much less a country of their own.
Even if the Crimea didn't vote in a referendum to join Russia, the Russian empire would have the right to conquer the Crimea under this principle. Ukraine has been a basket case ever since it achieved independence. It has been wracked by continuous revolutions and coups. All of its leaders have been corrupt criminals. The rich have made out like bandits while the rest of the nation is desperately poor. In fact, at $7,400 per capita, Ukraine is one of if not the poorest country in Europe. It's even poorer than Albania. It's even poorer than Kosovo. This while sitting on the most fertile farmland in the world, plenty of nice rivers and harbors, coal and other natural resources. Ukraine has no excuses for its situation. Peopled by whites, it behaves more like a country from the heart of Africa. Frankly, they're an embarrassment to our entire race, and a blot upon our name. If anyone else took them over and administered their clownish country for them, it would be an improvement. I'd love to see the EU annex them and run the damn place for them, and just the same, I'd be completely fine with Russia taking on that role. Someone has to do something about that place. A country that cannot administer itself, like any child, must be administered by someone else, a proven real adult, like Russia -- with a per capita GDP of $18,100, and democratic elections without any force or fraud for the last twenty years. Ukraine is lucky to keep any portion of its sovereignty after the mess it has made of itself. By all rights the state should just be abolished and incorporated by its neighbors as they see fit, like Poland was centuries ago when it fell behind its neighbors in development and suffered the same fate.
Anyone would flee the basket case of Ukraine for the relative stability of Russia, given the chance. The people of Crimea are lucky they're being allowed the chance. Does anyone think they'll reject it? A chance to be three times as rich as they used to be? A chance to have an actually stable country where the politics are decided by elections instead of riots? Just as we welcome Mexicans who flee to America 'in search of a better life,' why don't we bless Crimeans who are fleeing the joke that is Ukraine for the better life to be found in Russia? Mexico is far better off than Ukraine, any logic that holds for Mexicans should apply thrice as much to the Crimea.
Ukraine is like North Korea, in that it is under performing its natural potential by a criminal degree. South Korea has every right to conquer North Korea and administer it correctly so that North Koreans can live like South Koreans. By the exact same logic, Russia has the right to conquer Ukraine. So does Germany, or any other country that wants the damn place. If we wanted to, we could go conquer it, and it would be just as moral. Someone has to fix the leaking pipe that's washing out that worldwide treasure, the breadbasket of the entire world. Someone has to run it who has the intelligence and integrity to actually make things work. Why not Putin? He showed he can build things via the best Winter Olympics of all time. His nation showed it was full of competent people by winning the most medals in the Winter Olympics. Russia, unlike Ukraine, is a grownup. Leave it up to them.