In this horrible moment of time, we would like to address you with much pain in our hearts.
The ruling regime of Russia has crossed the last line in its progressing immorality. Without declaring war, it has started military operations in Ukraine. In the beginning of this past March, the Russian army occupied Crimea, and now it is attempting to seize the southeastern part of your country. During these operations, the special operations paratroopers from Russia hide their nationality and their faces, acting as the “little green men.” This is a shame for any combat troops. It is a shame for Russia and her Armed Forces. Never before did Russian soldiers hide behind a human shield. Even today no Russian soldier would do that, but the regime forces him to commit crimes against his brothers and against his own honor and dignity.
In order to occupy Ukrainian land and to annex a part of Ukraine, the Russian authorities use absolutely false slogans, crying about alleged “cruel oppression” of the Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine by the government in Kyiv. They also spread a lie that this past February, the power in Ukraine was usurped by Fascists and radical Banderite nationalists. We clearly understand that the former president of Ukraine Yanukovych, himself being a native of Eastern Ukraine, would never “oppress” his fellow Russian-speaking Eastern Ukrainians more than the people in the Western part of your country. He and his inner circle oppressed all Ukrainian citizens equally, by embezzling enormous sums of their money and turning the country that potentially was the richest in Europe into the country of paupers with no rights, sometimes forcing them to leave Ukraine and to look for a piece of bread abroad. We also very clearly realize that the government of today’s Ukraine in Kyiv, which was recognized by almost every country in the world, is not Fascist or ultra-Nationalist. This government started to manage Ukraine using a constant, ongoing dialogue with its citizens. It strives to make Ukraine a stable, democratic state.
We also very clearly realize that Ukraine, as one of the independent countries that formed after the collapse of the USSR, never, not even once, seized even an inch of land outside of the borders established by international treaties and inherited from the USSR. The present-day Russian Federation by no means is the sole heir of the country that used to be our common country. The land of Crimea (including the city of Sevastopol), the land of Donbas and any piece of the historical Russia is generously watered by the sweat and the blood of all ethnicities who lived in that historical Russia. All of them worked on it and all of them defended it. The statement of Mr. Putin that Crimea is now “re-united” with Russia is merely a false slogan. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan might also, by this logic, become “re-united” with Russia because they were, indeed, regions within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic until 1936. And then Finland and Poland might be “re-united,” because they were parts of the Russian Empire until 1917!
We believe that the agreement of December 8, 1991 about the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States must be respected and followed. The fifth article of this agreement says that “the honorable partners of the Commonwealth recognize and respect each other’s territorial integrity and the existing borders.” The same principle is documented by the second article of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, signed on May 31, 1997. Finally, this same principle features in the articles third and fourth of the concluding document of the Helsinki summit of the Organization for Security of the countries of the European Union.
Today, treacherously breaking these, and a number of other international treaties, trampling her own signature under them, the Russian Federation, or, more precisely, the regime that seized power in it, carries out an in-your-face aggression against you, Ukrainians, with an outrageous cynicism. You are close to us, we – you and us Russians – should be brothers. But our rulers despise you and lecture you about your social order, your Constitution, your laws, urging you to change all these the way they, the Russian rulers, want. The current Russian regime, however, forgets that its legitimacy even over Russia is very dubious, because in Russia today, there are no open and fair elections at every level, including the presidential elections. Instead, all results of all elections are routinely falsified. So how can Russia push her will down another sovereign country’s throat?
We are disgusted by these actions of our authorities. We suffer from the shame in which they drag our country in front of the entire world community. We realize that we are becoming a rogue state, which has all the terrible economic and political consequences.
That’s why we want to declare to you, our dear Ukrainian sisters and brothers, with all possible strength: by standing up for your freedom, for your country’s integrity, – you also stand up for our country, Russia, for the freedom of our nation.
In this just fight – we are with you!
Signed: Lyudmila Alekseeva, Andrei Zubov, Mikhail Kasianov, Georgiy Satarov, Lilia Shevtsova
Translated by George Pinchuk