Days after Ukraine's president was toppled from power during the Euromaidan revolution, Russian soldiers and local proxies took control of the strategically important Crimean peninsula and surrounded Ukrainian troops in their bases. Unhappy with the change in government in Kiev and using the unfounded fear of the Russian language being restricted, Russia made a bid for control in the region.
Following an illegal and fraudulent referendum on whether Crimea would become a part of Russia or not, Russia then formally annexed the peninsula — a move which was widely condemned by the international community. Russia had, in one quick and mostly bloodless takeover, reminded the world of its power, and made the West in its poor handling of the situation appear weak.
VICE News headed to Crimea to see how the change in rulers has gone down with the local population. Some residents welcomed Russia and the prospect of a greater economic future, while others feared losing their freedom to speak out, and did not like the idea of becoming pawns in Russia's military muscle flexing.