Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine is a tragedy of an unprecedented scale. The struggle for independence of the Ukrainian society will go down in history, and the heroism and determination of the resistance movement will be remembered by successive generations of Europeans. Since the protests on Independence Square in Kyiv commenced in 2013, thousands of Ukrainian citizens have given their lives for the European dream, standing firmly for democratic future of the country. These values are also dear to our Foundation. We are convinced that people who support our activities also want to help Ukraine. There is more than one way to do it.
When diplomats talks bullets do not fly. Yet, diplomatic means did not convince Putin from his sinister and terrifying plans. At this difficult moment, military support for Ukraine is essential. It is hard to question the legitimacy of this request - clearly emphasised by the Ukrainian authorities, the army and activists - especially at such an important, existential moment for the country's future. Nevertheless, many people who support “green movement” may end up facing a dilemma - how to show support while clearly opposing the destructive military-industrial complex? How to support Ukraine while identifying with the pacifist postulates that still play an important role for the Green movement? However, military support does not have to be the only tool to end a war, nor the only way to show support.
Be part of social mobilisation
The green movement is famous for its grassroots activities, climate protection becoming a genuine global success story in recent years. This is the moment when politicians should receive a clear, explicit message that citizens expect them to take every step necessary to end the war and punish the aggressor. In the last few days, a major mobilisation of the society has turned out to be one of the key elements in changing a number of paradigms for conducting German policy in the key areas of international relations, economy and defence. An unprecedented level of global solidarity has led to the unity of the international community in the consistent condemnation of Russia's aggression and its ongoing isolation. The importance of participating in a peaceful protest movement in your area should not be underestimated. Each citizen can pressure on politicians, both at the regional and central level. As a green family, we should emphasise that war with each successive day leads to catastrophic consequences for the environment and the civilian population.
Break the information blockade in Russia
The fight against disinformation and the lack of fact-based information in Russia are another important elements which can put additional pressure on the ruthless regime. Since there is no war in Russia’s public sphere, each of us, having friends, colleagues or relatives in this country, can try to make sure the general public knows about the factual situation in Ukraine and finds out about the disregard of their president for the lives of his citizens. The fight against Kremlin’s propaganda machine is hardly an easy one, but a drop pierces the rock. Let us be vigilant and not repeat the propaganda slogans. For example, let's not use the term "Ukrainian crisis" but a war that Russia started at its own request. We can also take a firm stance not to consume Russian media, nor buy Russian products.
Show support for the Ukrainian society
The green movement has always been characterised by empathy towards one another, a strong sense of belonging to a community and a willingness to help. This is the moment when we can support those who seek refuge from war. After all, the green movement for many years has developed and strengthened its sensitivity towards the needs of various social groups, including minorities. This is especially useful in such difficult and often chaotic conditions of providing humanitarian aid. We can show support through volunteering and/or providing financial assistance. After 2013, I had the opportunity to talk to many people who left their homes as a result of the occupation of Ukrainian territories. I was proudly told that "Ukraine is people", so no military aggression or occupation has ever broken and will not break the Ukrainian nation. The words of support and international solidarity, which in the inhuman conditions of war keep the spirit the bravely fighting nation alive, are a great asset for the Ukrainian defenders.
The main thing is not to be passive. Find the strength and motivation to fight the injustice that happens before our eyes. This is the attitude that has characterised the green movement for many years. This is the moment when, just our like patron Heinrich Böll, we must be convinced of the importance to change the reality that surrounds us so as not to lose its achievements for good. The Ukrainian nation, with its perseverance and strong will, has already shown the whole world the importance of such values like freedom and democracy and why it is worth fighting for them.
This article was first published by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung´´'s Warsaw office.