The Future of Ukraine – Open letter of world intellectuals

2014/01/25 • Analysis & Opinion

The future of Ukraine depends most of all on the Ukrainians themselves. They defended their democracy and future 10 years ago, during the Orange Revolution, and are standing up for those values again today. As Europeans grow disenchanted with the idea of a common Europe, people in Ukraine are fighting for that idea and for their country’s place in Europe. Defending Ukraine from the authoritarian temptations of its corrupt leaders is in the interests of the democratic world.

We cannot afford to turn our back on Ukraine. The new authoritarians in Kyiv should know that there will be a high price to pay for their repressive policies and for abandoning the European aspirations of the people. It is not too late for us to change things for the better and prevent Ukraine from becoming a dictatorship.

Passivity in the face of the authoritarian turn in Ukraine and the country’s reintegration into a newly expanding Russian imperial sphere of interests pose a threat to the European Union’s integrity. It is a threat not just to the moral integrity of the Union but possibly to its internal institutional integrity as well. Alongside the diplomatic and economic measures taken by individual states and the entire EU, independent democratic initiatives should make efforts to defend victims of repression, support civil society and strengthen independent media.

The quality of any democracy depends to a great extent on what its citizens know about their country and the world. In Ukraine, the picture of the world is shaped by the authorities, who control most of the mass media, and Russian television channels faithful to President Putin. For the sake of democracy, we must support and strengthen independent and pluralistic media in Ukraine.

We must help strengthen civil society, especially the new initiatives that have arisen around the Maidan. No matter what the authorities say, the people fighting to keep their country’s future open are not foreign agents – the only ones deserving that name are those pursuing a policy of mass repression to quash Ukraine’s hopes of becoming a European democracy.

The letter has been signed by:

Andrew Arato, Professor of Political and Social Theory, New School for Social Research, United States

Shlomo Avineri, Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Lluís Bassets, Deputy Director, El País, Spain
Zygmunt Bauman, Professor of Sociology, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Gianni Bonvicini, Director of the Institute of International Affairs, Italy
José Casanova, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University, United States
Bogusław Chrabota, Editor-In-Chief of Rzeczpospolita daily, Poland
Aleš Debeljak, Poet and Cultural Critic, Slovenia
Tibor Dessewffy, President of the DEMOS Hungary
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Foreign Minister, Chairman of the Baltic Development Forum, Denmark
Ute Frevert, Director of the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany
Paolo Flores d’Arcais, Philosopher and Journalist, Editor of MicroMega magazine, Italy
Timothy Garton Ash,  Professor of European Studies, Oxford University, United Kingdom
Carlos Gaspar, Chairman of the Portuguese Institute of International Relations (IPRI), Portugal
Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, United States
André Glucksmann, Philosopher and Writer, France
Jeff Goldfarb, Professor of Sociology, New School for Social Research, United States
Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform, United Kingdom
Andrea Graziosi, Professor of History, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Tomáš Halík, Professor of Sociology, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic
Pierre Hassner, Director of the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, France
Agnieszka Holland, Film Director and Screenwriter, Poland
William Hunt, Professor of History, St. Lawrence University, United States
Suat Kiniklioglu, Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Communication, Turkey
Ira Katznelson, Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University, United States
János Kis, Professor of Philosophy and Political Science, Central European University, Hungary
Zenon E. Kohut, Professor of History, Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Research, University of Alberta, Canada
David Koranyi, Diplomat, Former Undersecretary of State, Deputy Director Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Hungary-United States
Bernard Kouchner, Former Foreign Minister, France
Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Bulgaria
Marcin Król, Professor of History of Ideas, Warsaw University, Poland
Mark Leonard, Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, United Kingdom
Sonja Licht, President of Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Serbia
Tomasz Lis, Editor-In-Chief of Newsweek Polska weekly , Poland
Adam Michnik, Editor-In-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Poland
Marie Mendras, Directeur de recherche, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France
Dominique Moïsi, Conseiller spécial de Institut français de relations internationales (l’IFRI), France
Alexander J. Motyl, Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University-Newark, United States
Piotr Mucharski, Editor-In-Chief of Tygodnik Powszechny weekly, Poland
Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, United States
Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Ton Nijhuis, Director of the Duitsland Instituut, The Netherlands
Zbigniew Nosowski, Editor-In-Chief of Więź magazine, Poland
Claus Offe, Professor of Political Sociology, Hertie School of Governance, Germany
Andrzej Olechowski, Former Foreign Minister, Poland
Monika Olejnik, Journalist, Poland
Andrés Ortega, Author and Journalist, Former Director of Policy Planning, Office of the Spanish Prime Minister, Spain
Ana Palacio, Former Foreign Minister, Former Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group, Spain
Šimon Pánek, Director of the People In Need, Czech Republic
Anton Pelinka, Professor of Political Science, Central European University, Austria-Hungary
Víctor Pérez-Díaz, President of Analistas Socio-Políticos (ASP),  Spain
Marc F. Plattner, Editor, Journal of Democracy, United States
Ruprecht Polenz, Former Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag, Germany
Adam Pomorski, President of the Polish PEN Club, Poland
László Rajk jr., Architect, Designer and Political Activist, Hungary
Joachim Rogall, Executive Director of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Germany
Adam Daniel Rotfeld , Former Foreign Minister, Poland
Jacques Rupnik, Directeur de recherche, Sciences Po, France
Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, United States
Gesine Schwan, President of the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Germany
Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology New York University, United States
Narcis Serra, President of the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, Spain
Martin M. Šimečka, Journalist, Editor of Respekt weekly,  Czech Republic
Sławomir Sierakowski, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Poland
Aleksander Smolar, Chairman of the Board, Stefan Batory Foundation, Poland
Timothy Snyder, Professor of History, Yale University,  United States
Andrzej Stasiuk, Writer, Poland
Fritz Stern, Professor of History, Columbia University,  United States
Frank E. Sysyn, Director of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Research, University of Alberta, Canada
Jerzy Szacki, Professor of Sociology, University of Warsaw, Poland
Monika Sznajderman, Publisher, Publishing House Czarne, Poland
Roman Szporluk, Professor of Ukrainian History, Harvard University, United States
Paweł Świeboda, President of demosEUROPA – Centre for European Strategy, Poland
Paul Thibaud, Philosopher and Writer, France
Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director of the Institute of International Affairs, Italy
Jordi Vaquer, Director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe, Spain
Tomas Venclova, Poet and Writer, Yale University, Lithuania-United States
António Vitorino, former European Commissioner, President of Notre Europe-Institut Jacques Delors, Portugal-France
George Weigel, Writer, Ethics and Public Policy Center, United States
Michel Wieviorka, Directeur d’études,  École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, d’études, France
Adam Zagajewski, Poet and Essayist, University of Chicago, Poland
Jacek Żakowski, Columnist,  Polityka weekly , Poland

Slavoj Žižek, Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London, Slovenia-United Kingdom

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