If there ever was an election that was easy to call as to the outcome it was Sunday’s balloting in Ukraine area of Crimea. Reportedly 95 percent of the Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and become part of Russia.

The election was held with Russian troops everywhere. Talk about intimidation! The Russians are masters at it. The rest of the world, including the United States, are amateurs at it.

The United States and European Union labeled the election as illegal. President Barack Obama informed the Russian president/dictator Vladimir Putin that we would not recognize Crimea as part of Russia because the voting took place under duress of “Russian military intervention.” Putin said the election complied with recognized rules.

It is known that Russia has friends in Crimea because of its naval presence there for many years. However, to win an election by such overwhelming numbers generally is unheard of if not impossible. The intimidation also included major Russian military exercises near the borders of Ukraine where troops took over a natural gas facility in Ukraine.

Putin knows the we probably will institute economic sanctions, expected by the first part of this week. The sanctions will hurt Russia — whether enough to make Putin back off is the question.

The Russian dictator needs a diversion to take the minds of the people off the domestic problems in Russia. Corruption in Putin’s government is widespread and the unrest has been evidenced by protests in Moscow and in other cities. However, all of the uprisings have been put down. The unrest is growing. Putin’s popularity has improved at home by his acts of aggression against Ukraine.

It will take major actions by us and the European Union to get Putin to back down. Putin doesn’t want to lose face by backing down. We have a stalemate of sorts with Putin holding the best cards because he has taken the edge from the U.S. and European Union.

Putin is power-hungry. He really doesn’t care about the Russian people. Even though Russia now is just a shadow of what it was when it was the Soviet Union, it has nuclear weapons.

Putin is a reminder of the dictators in Europe in the 1930s who eventually brought about World War II. Yes, conditions are different but a dictator is a dictator and they never lose their hunger for power.