At the time, White House spokesman Jay Carney was unequivocal when speaking to the press about the vote:
...the so-called referenda to which you refer are illegal under Ukrainian law and a transparent attempt to create further division and disorder.The White House was clear: Despite a high turnout for the referenda and an overwhelming vote for autonomy, the US would never recognize the result.
Fast forward to today, and the White House and State Department has suddenly rolled out a flashy PR campaign -- complete with its own hashtags! -- singing the praises of voting in Ukraine:
So why the sudden flip-flop on voting? The vote last week was held by the "bad guys" who resist the authority of the US-backed government in Kiev. Therefore for them, voting does not matter. Only for the pro-US side does voting matter.
If the wrong group votes, it's illegal. If the pro-US side votes, it is by definition legal -- as long as they vote the right way. To help ensure that, the current US-backed government is now seeking to ban one of the major opposition parties. Must make sure that the people vote the right way!
The US government position on legality versus illegality is illogical, however. If the referenda in eastern Ukraine are illegal according to that country's constitution, it is also true that the current government in Kiev is illegal, having come to power in an unconstitutional coup on February 23rd.
So when the source of political authority is itself illegal, any action taken by that authority is by definition also illegal. Hence, the vote on May 25th that the White House is happily hashtagging is every bit as illegal as the referenda in eastern Ukraine.
But that's different...