The participants of Ukraine’s First of December group, a coalition of intellectuals, called upon the Ukrainian authorities and society to refuse an illusory peace at the price of capitulation, as that will only encourage the enemy to new aggression.
Though the appeal was made on 16 March 2017, it is even more relevant, as calls for making “compromises” with Russia have been repeated by pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk in an interview to Financial Times, and a campaign to force Austrian-style neutrality upon Ukraine in exchange for the promise of Russia stopping its war.
What is the nature of the peace for which we long?
Appeal of the “First of December” Initiative Group
The Russian Federation is waging a hybrid war against Ukraine. However, it started long before 2014. The conditions were identical one hundred years ago: Soviet Russia incited conflicts within the very heart of Ukraine, and established the puppet regime of “Soviet government,” deceiving and manipulating leaders such as Kotsiubynskyi and Shchors, through whom they could effect their military interventions… Additionally, a percentage of the political leadership of the Ukrainian National Republic could never free themselves of the illusory dream of establishing a socialist but independent Ukraine under the patronage of a democratic Russia!
It wasn’t long before the true cost of this illusion had to be paid: with the very lives of these leaders, the loss of Ukrainian independence, and the deaths of millions of victims.
The fundamental characteristic of Russia is imperialism. The operative concept of a “democratic Russia” has nothing in common with the real world understanding of democracy, and it never will, unless and until the Russian people experience a cathartic transformation, a liberation from their current national idea and imperialistic essence.
In such circumstances, peace is merely a dream.
Any disposition towards compromise is understood by the Russian government as a weakness in one’s opponent.
They view all accords to be as worthless as the paper they are written on. Their real weapons are deceit, falsehood, and contempt for the norms of international law. They are motivated by the instincts of a violent empire, offended that they have lost their status of “greatness” and will stop at nothing until it is reconstituted.
We must keep their motivation in mind.
Malicious “peacemakers,” both within Ukraine and beyond her borders, expect us to be like docile lambs. Their proposal for “peace” requires a price that is nothing less than our capitulation. Ivan Franko had a saying that is timely for us now:
“Peace is the blessed work during times of peace. If you are agitating for peace during turbulent times, you are either a traitor or a coward.”
It is beyond dispute that Ukraine has become fatigued from this war. It is also true that this entire time of enduring great trials has also strengthened the core of our national identity.
Now we understand clearly that no one from the outside can ever conquer Ukraine so long as we ourselves do not destroy her from the inside. Consequently, it bothers us tremendously to see the current state of Ukraine’s political class, their greed, their eagerness to take the interests of the government during a time of “painful compromise” and manipulate them to their own benefit; and finally their utter lack of concern for the very basic needs of ordinary people. It also upsets us that the governing elites are devoid of all strategic vision for the future development of our country.
The world is repulsed by the weak, and we have seen this impatience from our own experience. Our only hope is to become strong: spiritually, economically, and militarily.
When we become strong, we will become victorious, and in this manner will establish a true peace.
We seek a dignified peace.
We have no desire for an illusory “peace”, obtained in exchange for our national interests; such a “peace” will only encourage our enemy to initiate new acts of aggression.
What we want it a unified, united, and free nation, with the strength to stand on our own feet, and with whom others must contend.
More from First of December group:
- “Europe’s fatigue from Ukraine is the aggressor’s greatest ally” – appeal of European intellectuals
- Freedom and Responsibility | A new social contract for Ukraine
- Ukrainian intellectuals appeal to international leaders and the world community
- Ukrainians call upon Poles to establish mutual Day of Remembrance
- Ukraine must not turn into the monster it is fighting – appeal of Ukrainian intellectuals
Translated by: Jeffrey Stephaniuk