No one would have anticipated the startling stubborn resistance the Ukrainians put up to defend their country, belaying any argument that they are historically Russian. Equally stunning is the incompetence of the Russian military.
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.