30 January 2022
Statement by members of the Congress of the Intelligentsia
Statement by supporters of peace against the Party of War in the Russian government
The flow of disturbing information about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine is intensifying. Reports have appeared about the rapid recruitment of mercenaries in Russia and the transfer of fuel and military equipment to the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. In response, Ukraine is rapidly arming and NATO is sending additional forces to Eastern Europe. The tension is not subsiding, but on the contrary, is only growing.
Russian citizens are in fact being held hostage to Russia’s foreign policy that is turning into criminal adventurism. Not only do they live in uncertainty about whether or not a major war will break out, but they are also witnessing a huge rise in prices and a fall in the national currency. Do Russians need such a policy? Do they want war, and are they ready to bear its burden? Did they give the authorities the right to play a game of this kind with their destinies?
No one is asking Russia’s citizens. There is no public discussion. There is only one point of view on state television, and it is that of the supporters of war. State television broadcasts direct threats of military intervention, exudes aggression and hatred against Ukraine, America and Western countries. But the most dangerous thing is that war is presented as a permissible and inevitable development of events. They are trying to deceive and corrupt people, imposing on them the idea of a holy war with the West instead of developing the country and improving the standard of living of its citizens. The question of the cost of war is not discussed, but it will be ordinary people who pay the price, huge and bloody as it will be.
We, responsible citizens of Russia and patriots of our country, appeal to the political leaders of the country. We openly and publicly challenge the Party of War which has formed within the government.
We express the point of view of those citizens of Russia who hate war and consider even the making of military threats and the current criminal style of foreign policy rhetoric to be a crime.
We hate war, while you consider it acceptable. We stand for peace and prosperity for all citizens of Russia, while you put their lives and destinies on the line with your political game. You deceive and exploit people, while we tell them the truth. It is we who speak for Russia, not you, because the peoples of Russia, having lost millions of lives in past wars, have for decades lived in accordance with the proverb ‘Just so long as there is no war.’ Have you forgotten this?
Our position is very simple: Russia does not need a war with Ukraine and the West. Nobody is threatening us, nobody is attacking us. A policy based on the idea of such a war is immoral, irresponsible and criminal and cannot be conducted in the name of the peoples of Russia. Such a war can have neither legitimate nor moral goals. The country’s diplomacy can take no other position than the categorical rejection of such a war.
War is not only inconsistent with Russia’s long-term interests but also poses a threat to Russia’s very existence. A demented attempt by the country’s political leaders to push us across this line will inevitably lead to the creation of a mass anti-war movement in Russia. Each one of us will become part of this movement.
We shall do everything possible to prevent and, if it becomes necessary, to stop this war.
Initial signatories [for a full list of signatories, see here]
- Lev Ponomarev, human rights defender
- Valery Borschev, human rights defender
- Svetlana Gannushkina, human rights defender
- Leonid Gozman, politician
- Liya Akhedzhakova, actress, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation
- Viktor Shenderovich, writer
- Tatyana Lazareva, TV anchorwoman
- Grigory Yavlinsky, politician
- Andrei Zubov, historian, politician
Translated by Simon Cosgrove