Europe’s leading media have called upon politicians to stop appeasing the Russian President Vladimir Putin. This call was made by the editor in chief of the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza Adam Michnik in a letter reprinted by 12 leading European publications. Among them are El País (Spain), La Stampa (Italy), Le Monde (France), Die Welt (Germany), Denník SME (Slovakia), Der Standard (Austria), De Volkskrant (Netherlands), Hospodarske Noviny (Czech Republic) , Dario de Noticias (Portugal), Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania).
A number of mainstream media have initiated a discussion of this letter, such as the largest Estonian portal Delfi, “Dielli” in Albania and “Timpul” in Moldova.
In his letter, Michnik reminded about the tragic consequences of “hypocrisy, stupidity and silence of the intellectual elite” to the actions of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
Euromaidanpress has translated this letter from Polish.
Nobody spoke as Beautifully about Peace as Stalin
A sad memory of the 20th century is the duplicity, stupidity, hypocrisy, and silence of the intellectual elite, persons of culture, science, and the media as they faced the advancing successes of totalitarian regimes: Nazism and Stalinism.
Europe will forever be ashamed of having closed their eyes to the annexation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Baltic states. Nobody spoke as beautifully about peace and people’s rights as Hitler and Stalin. Conversely, nobody caused as many war crimes as those two dictators. Today, Europe remains silent toward the aggressive imperialist policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The West tolerates a rebellious policy which explicitly violates the sovereignty of other countries: Moldova, Latvia, Georgia, and above all, Ukraine.
The European Union acts as if it were the neutral Switzerland of a contemporary world, and this is particularly true of the political and business elite. But Europe is not Switzerland, it is a continent where two bloody world wars broke out. Therefore, we, the cultural and political figures, science, and media, have a duty to keep a sharp eye out and alert our countries. We must not fall for the same old illusions; we must not succumb to conformity. We should call upon the leaders of the EU to face up to the aggressive politics of Putin.
We do not classify Putin as the Russian nation just as we did not classify Brezhnev as the Russian nation when he started the war in Afghanistan. Russia’s fair and courageous voice back then was Andriej Sacharow who, in the Russian parliament, called the military intervention in Afghanistan “a disgraceful war.” The present war with Ukraine, which began with the annexation of Crimea and is sustained by provocations in the eastern part of the country, is equally shameful, tragic, and dangerous. This war is accompanied by Russian decisions typical for dictatorships that stifle democratic freedom.
Appeasement is the path to nowhere.
Putin is not a European type politician; he is a politician who cultivates permanent belligerence. There are many signs that he has already opened Pandora’s box. Chauvinists and amateur conquistadors are heading to Ukraine from Russia. Arming these bandits with exemplary military equipment is a crime.
Experience teaches us that dialogue with Putin is a waste of time if it is not backed up by unity and firmness. He does not care about the weak and those lacking in will, which is exactly how he currently perceives the member states of the EU. They waste words and try to impress the Kremlin with more red lines. Putin is still supplying mercenaries with weapons and amassing troops along the Ukrainian border, but Ukrainians have the right to choose the path of European democratic standards; they have the right to live in an honest country. Perhaps today the future of the EU is about to be decided in Eastern Ukraine.
Europe’s response should be the solidly united stance of all EU member states and the use of all possible means of pressure, by stopping all weapons supplies to Russia, as well as applying economic and political sanctions.
Source: wyborcha.pl, pravda.com.ua
Translated by: Rafael Szlom, Alya Shandra, edited by: Daniel Centore