Article by: Alya Shandra
On September 21, 2014, International Peace Day, marches for peace were traditionally held all over the world. This global wave of marches grew in support for the Moscow march for Peace. 59 of them in 27 countries were held against Russian aggression in Ukraine, as registered on the Global FB event. Many more spontaneous protests were held. Russia has been vehemently denying its participation in the ongoing conflict of the Eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, but overwhelming evidence of the presence of regular Russian troops in Ukraine, such information on Russian soldiers KIA in Ukraine gathered by the “Cargo-200” FB group, has is turning the tide of Russian sentiment to speak out against the war in Ukraine, which is why in eight Russian cities organized marches were held. Click on the point on the map to get more info on the event. The full list of marches is here.
Marches held in Russia were in the spotlight of media attention. The most numerous one was in Moscow, with 20 to 30 thousand participants counted by the opposition yet only 5 thousand – by government officials. The rally in St.Petersburg, despite attempts of the authorities to disband the protest, gathered several thousand participants too. Other protest locations included Voronezh, Volgograd, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk.
During the march, ordinary Russians spoke out against Putin and Russia’s involvement in the war, asking Ukraine for forgiveness and saying that they have had enough of Putin’s lies.
The marches in other cities around the world were smaller, but still numbering up to 1000 participants (Rome). Germany and USA both saw 7 cities taking part in the global event. New Zealand and Sydney joined in from the Southern Hemisphere.
The East Ukrainian cities of Lysychansk, Kharkiv. and Sloviansk also joined in the march. Odesa in South Ukraine was also not left aside. A special feature of the marches around the world was the participation not only of nationalities that suffered from Russian aggression, such as Georgia, Poland, the Baltic states, but also of Russians around the world that joined Ukrainian communities in demonstrating against Russia’s overt war in Ukraine and it’s occupation. Prior to the march, a series of protests flooded Russia. A new stage of the anti-war movement in Russia began with the formation of the Russian Anti-War committee, which appealed to citizens to prevent their children from leaving to fight to Ukraine, often to their death. Russians both in and outside of Russia are showing that there is another Russia, and stakes are high. As one anecdote aptly put it, “that awkward moment when you realize that the only way to help Ukraine is to start a Maidan in Russia.”
In support of the march, a music video in support of 21 September 2014 was made to a song by Christian Tessen. Photos of refugees from war zone taken by Kira Dzhafarova at “Station Kharkov” volunteer center in Kharkiv, Ukraine.