“Yesterday I was detained during an anti-war rally,” one researcher who signed the letter told ZME Science.
Amid anti-war rallies in Moscow and other cities in Russia, many have decided to speak up against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – including scientists, science journalists, and public figures. Several open letters are already circulating with hundreds of signatures from prominent researchers, while a group of media outlets also declared their opposition to the war.
Over 600 Russian scientists and scientific journalists signed an open letter against Russian military action in Ukraine, which they described as “unfair and frankly meaningless.” It’s a fatal step that is causing human losses and undermining the foundations of international security, with Russia solely to blame, they argued.
“There is no rational justification for this war. Attempts to use the situation in Donbass (a region in Ukraine) as a pretext for launching a military operation do not inspire any confidence. It is clear that Ukraine does not pose a threat to the security of our country. The war against her is unfair and frankly senseless,” the letter reads.
The scientists and journalists said Ukraine is a close country to them, with relatives, friends, and colleagues living there. Starting a war because of Russia’s geopolitical ambitions means betraying the memory of Russians and Ukrainians who fought together against Nazism. All problems between countries can be solved in peace, they wrote.
Russia is “dooming itself to international isolation” and to the position of a pariah country,” they argued. For the scientists, this means that they won’t be able to do their jobs normally anymore. Doing science research is impossible without full cooperation from colleagues from other countries. Russia’s isolation will lead to cultural and technological degradation, they wrote.
Anna Dybo, a Russian linguist and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences who signed the letter, told ZME Science that it’s “an extremely bad and dangerous idea to bomb Kyiv, Mariupol, or Voronezh (all cities in Ukraine currently attacked by Russian military) in order to stop the shelling of Donetsk.” Dybo, who was detained during an anti-war rally yesterday, said “shooting tends to diverge in circles for a long distance and for many years.”
Further calls for peace
Elena Chernenko, a business reporter at the Kommersant (a daily newspaper), collected at least 100 signatures from fellow journalists in an anti-war petition, distributed through the Telegram messaging service. The signatories include journalists from state-run Russian media outlets TASS and Russia TV, as well as from private ones such as Snow, The Bell, and Novaya Gazeta.
“We, Russian media correspondents and experts who write about Russia’s foreign policy, condemn the military operation launched by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. War has never been and never will be a method of resolving conflicts and there is no justification for it,” the letter reads, which is still open for further signatures.
Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2021, posted a video on YouTube questioning the war and announcing the newspaper’s next edition will run in both Russian and Ukrainian. “Only the anti-war movement of Russians can save life on this planet,” Muratov said on the video.
Simultaneously, a group of 30 independent Russian media outlets published a declaration opposing the “massacre” started by the Russian leadership. They promised to “be honest” in their reporting and wished “resilience and strength” to Ukraine people “resisting aggressions” and to those in Russia resisting “military madness.”
“Pain, anger and shame are three words that reflect our attitude to what is happening,” they wrote. “This will bring grief to the families of thousands of people in Ukraine and Russia. The world has never been so close to a global catastrophe. We hope the funeral won’t come to your house. But there can be no certainty.”
Artists have also expressed their rejection of the war. Yelena Kovalskaya, director of the Meyerhold Theater Center, resigned from the state theater, writing in a Facebook post that “it’s impossible to work for a murderer.” Meanwhile, renowned author Sergei Lebedev said the “soviet crimes went unpunished in Russia, and so they recur.”