“Putin is not all Russia. We do what we can” Open letter of the Swiss public
We Russians living in Switzerland express our solidarity with the Ukrainian people fighting the aggression of Putin’s regime. We demand an immediate end to this criminal war, an immediate end to the destruction of cities and the killing of civilians.
We appreciate the unprecedented steps taken by the Swiss Confederation in condemning this war – even to the extent of partially abandoning the age-old tradition of neutrality. We appreciate everything the government is doing to freeze the assets of those who have profited from Russia for years, to cut off access to the country for those who have no place in a democratic state governed by the rule of law.
It is important to us that the Swiss understand: not all Russians are for Putin, Putin is not all of Russia. We do what we can, together with thousands of Swiss and other nationalities we raise funds for humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and help to receive Ukrainian refugees. We take part in solidarity actions and anti-war rallies in various Swiss cities.
We observe with pain and indignation that among the Russian-speaking community in Switzerland there are also those who openly support Putin and advocate for war, spreading their influence through social networks.
Isn’t it against the law for people who are resident in Switzerland to incite hatred and propagate war?
It is the duty of citizens of a state governed by the rule of law to obey the law. It is the duty of the state authorities to enforce the laws. We have already seen where the state’s failure to fulfil this duty leads: for many years, Switzerland has not enforced laws against the “laundering of dirty money” stolen from the people of Russia.
The Swiss public can and must prevent a repetition of this mistake – the failure of the rule of law to enforce its own laws. Putin is a war criminal. Supporting Putin is support for criminal aggression, propaganda for war. All democracies have laws against war propaganda. We demand that such legal norms be respected and enforced.
We address this open letter today to our Swiss neighbours and to the government of the Swiss Confederation.
Ilya Gringolts (violinist, Gringolts Quartet)
Olga Ivanova (sister of human rights defender Vladimir Bukovsky)
Ivan Monighetti (Professor at the Musikhochschule Basel)
Angelika Oberholzer-Smirnova (Synthese Theatre Zurich)
Marina Ohrimovskaya (online magazine Schwingen.net)
Polina Petushkova (Swiss NGO Russia of the Future)
Svetlana Rodina (filmmaker)
Tatiana Fleischmann (Chief Stage Director, Crescendo Theatre; Director of the Insight Theatre School in Geneva)
Elena Khazanova (Film director)
Mikhail Shishkin (writer)
Evgenia Shishkina (publisher, programme director of the SlovoNovo forum)