Who is against the war? All open letters with calls to stop the invasion of Ukraine
The invasion of Russian troops to Ukraine has shocked many Russians, who did not expect such an escalation of the already familiar conflict in the east of the country. In addition to criticism on social media and participation in street protests, many signed open letters against the war – doctors, comedians, teachers, students, scientists, podcasters, architects and many others have written their petitions. MediaZone has compiled all the petitions and their main theses.
“We are not looking for the guilty and we are not judging anyone. Our vocation is to save human life,” a document with 6,200 signatures of doctors and nurses from all over Russia takes a long time to upload in Google Docs. – “And now, at this difficult time for both countries, we call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for all political issues to be resolved exclusively by peaceful means”.
A cursory search by the names of the signatories shows that the list includes, for example, doctors from the Serbsky Institute and Sechenov University in Moscow and hospitals in Belgorod close to the place of conflict, intensive care specialists and neurosurgeons, medical students and experienced specialists.
“We took an oath to help all people regardless of nationality, religion or political views,” they write. – “But now our help is not enough. The fighting will take so many lives, cripple so many lives, that we will not be able to help in all our efforts. Crying out in pain, screaming for mothers, will all be in the same language”.
“It only takes a moment to kill a person, while the treatment and recovery of victims can take years. And for the moments of today’s fighting, we will pay the price for years to come,” stress the signatories. – “Therefore, in keeping with our vows and in maintaining a humane and equitable treatment of all lives, we demand the immediate cessation of all operations with the use of lethal weapons”.
The number of signatures on the letter from representatives of the IT industry is even higher – the list contains 14,500 names of employees of companies and individual developers. Natalia Lukyanchikova, product manager of the HeadHunter recruitment website, organised the collection of signatures. Employees of major IT companies (Sber, Yandex, Cyan, Gazprom, Avito, Ozon and Mail.ru) joined the appeal, as well as many individual developers and engineers from other companies.
“We, employees of the Russian IT industry, are categorically against the military action in Ukraine initiated by the Russian Federation’s armed forces,” the document states. – “In our work, we make the best products, the best service, and we sincerely do everything to make Russian IT solutions proud. We want our country to be associated not with war but with peace and progress. Progress and the development of technology for the benefit of people is not possible in conditions of war and threats to lives and health; it is only possible in conditions of cooperation, diversity of viewpoints, information exchange and open dialogue”.
Teachers, students, academics
More than three thousand school teachers signed the statement “War is a disaster”. “The invasion of Ukraine has started on behalf of Russian citizens, but against our will,” the signatories stressed. – “Our students will die in the heat of war. The war will inevitably lead to the aggravation of our country’s social problems. We support the anti-war protests and demand an immediate ceasefire”. The organizers of the signature collection note that they are coming “from practically all regions of Russia”.
A petition with 10,000 signatures from students, postgraduate students and lecturers at Russian universities says that Russians do not want war. “It is accepted that science and the Academy should be free from politics. But the time has come when this freedom has nowhere to exist. War will affect all aspects of life, including science and education,” stress the signatories. – “Studying the history of the twentieth century in seminars and lectures, we thought that all states had learned their hard lessons. However, it turns out that this is not the case”.
The 170 graduates and staff of the Higher School of Economics made their own anti-war appeal, addressing not only the country’s authorities but also their own university: “We ask the leadership of our university, the staff, the teachers, formally and informally, to support this request, to join the voices of peace activists”.
Scientists and science journalists have posted an open letter on the “Troitsky variant” website condemning the war effort. “We are bitterly aware that our country, together with other republics of the former Soviet Union, which made a decisive contribution to the victory over Nazism, has now become the instigator of a new war on the European continent,” the four thousand signatories conclude.
“We, young scientists from Russia – biologists, chemists, physicists, ecologists, mathematicians, psychologists, historians, geologists, geographers – are against military action in Ukraine,” six dozen other signatories appeal. – “The development of our country is impossible without the progress of science. And development of science is impossible without international cooperation. By becoming an aggressor and continuing military operations in a neighbouring sovereign country, our country becomes an outcast and condemns itself to isolation – including intellectual isolation”.
Russian ethnographers and anthropologists collected more than 270 signatures on a Change.org appeal “against the use of complex humanitarian issues as a pretext for political manipulation and military clashes”.
Half a hundred economics professors and researchers believe that “the actions of Russia’s leadership are severely damaging to Russia’s future”: “As economists we can predict with absolute certainty the gravest negative consequences for Russia’s economy – rising prices, falling incomes and investment, depreciation of savings, further cuts in social spending, accelerating loss of human capital through emigration. The economic costs for Russia will be an order of magnitude greater than the missed opportunities during the previous decade of economic stagnation”.
Representatives of Russian charitable foundations – more than 500 people – signed an appeal to President Vladimir Putin, urging him to stop the “humanitarian catastrophe that is multiplying pain and suffering”.
“We consider inhumane methods of solving political conflicts by force and call on you for a ceasefire and the start of negotiations,” the authors of the appeal conclude.
Representatives of culture and art
“We, artists, curators, architects, critics, art critics, art managers – representatives of culture and art of the Russian Federation – initiated and sign this open letter, which we consider insufficient but necessary action towards peace between Russia and Ukraine,” begins the appeal, which lists the names of over 6,700 signatories.
The document states that “the pretext behind the deployment of the ‘special operation’ was entirely engineered by representatives of the Russian authorities”.
“Everything that has been done in cultural terms over the past 30 years is now at stake: all international ties will be severed, cultural private or public institutions will be mothballed, partnerships with other countries will be suspended”, the authors of the document say. – “All this will destroy the already fragile economy of Russian culture and significantly reduce its importance to Russian society and the international community as a whole. It will be virtually impossible to engage in culture and the arts under such conditions”.
“War devalues the very essence of the work of an architect and urban planner, whatever country he is in,” says an appeal of five thousand architects and urban planners. – “The respect of neighbours cannot be won by force or destruction. But it can be earned by building your own country, your own home”.
The architects stress that in the twenty-first century, “foreign policy issues must be resolved exclusively through peaceful means”.
“We are convinced that war brings nothing but death, pain and destruction. And it cannot be justified in any way. The animation community in Ukraine and Russia is one and indivisible: we have been working together, watching each other’s pictures for many years. The art of animation is also an art which helps people to feel human. Not to kill, not to destroy. To connect,” explain 390 artists and directors of animation, including the creators of famous Soviet films – Yuri Norshtein, Garri Bardin and Leonid Shvartsman.
“Animation – and art in general – has always been imbued with an anti-war spirit. We believe that today’s hostilities are not just against our Ukrainian friends and colleagues, but against all people, humanity and Man in general. We are against the war. We want to ensure that words about brotherly people do not turn into a bloody nightmare. There is no justification for bombing and killing!”
Almost 350 creators, writers and sound directors of podcasts have signed a collective statement on the inadmissibility of Russian soldiers’ participation in battles against Ukrainian troops.
“The podcast industry is a sphere which cannot exist without international connections, without stable work of western services including hosting services and podcast platforms. The podcast industry is a very young media format, which can be destroyed due to current events,” the authors explain. – “By unleashing this war, Russia has condemned itself to international isolation, to the position of a pariah country. It means that now we will not be able to do our job properly”.
“Our life’s work is literally aimed at getting people to look at their problems from a different angle, to laugh and rejoice,” Meduza publishes an appeal from Russian comedians to “Mr. President”. – “But there are things and phenomena which, from any angle, evoke emotions: fear, anger, a sense of loss and helplessness. And one of these phenomena is war. People are dying, cities are being destroyed, panic and fear are settling inside everyone who is unable to influence the situation. Man has learned to speak in order to talk and to negotiate. That is why we call on you to stop the hostilities on Ukrainian territory and to resolve disagreements through negotiations”.
More than 250 artists have signed the appeal, including Alexander Dolgopolov, Vera Kotelnikova, Denis Chuzhoy, Mikhail Shats and Idrak Mirzalizade, whose stay in Russia was declared “undesirable” last summer.
Representatives of the Russian fashion and beauty industry and lifestyle media also wrote their own open letter. At the time of publication it had been signed by 2,333 people.
“Our industries have always stood on international ties, co-creation that knows no borders, beauty and mutual respect. In a matter of days, this entire world has collapsed and our friends, colleagues and partners have found themselves without homes, without jobs and are now forced into hiding in bomb shelters,” states the document posted by The Blueprint. – “There is no family in Russia that was not affected by the terrible war of the 20th century. We were all brought up on our grandparents’ stories about the horrors of that war, and to this day we all greet May 9 with tears in our eyes. The memory is too fresh for us to let history repeat itself now. We call on all those affected by this nightmare to immediately stop the military conflict and return to a peaceful solution”.
More than 130 members of the game development industry have spoken out against a “special military operation” in Ukraine. They write about cooperation with their Ukrainian counterparts and millions of dollars flowing into the budget from a working, competitive games industry – without state support, “and often in spite of its foreign and domestic policies”.
“Sometimes we make games about war, but we are against the war going out of monitors and television sets into the real world,” the appeal’s authors write. – “Many of us have relatives, colleagues, friends in Ukraine. Ukrainians and Ukrainian women are often our wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers. We are still in touch with them: we see and hear their fear, their pain, their confusion. Their determination, their anger, their hatred. There is no rejoicing at what is happening. There is only the endless horror of war. Stop this war!”
33 leading music journalists and critics united for an appeal to Vladimir Putin demanding an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.
“We are being deprived of the present and the future. Not only of our work – because writing and thinking about music now is impossible – but of the future in a broad sense. The future of Russia as a political entity, peaceful cooperation not only with Ukraine, but also with the rest of the world,” they write, calling for the end of “death, grief and destruction”.
The Change.org petition against military action, which everyone is invited to sign, has already collected more than 870,000 signatures.
Photo: Давид Френкель / Медиазона
* MediaZone was recognised as a “foreign agent” in the Russian Federation in 2021.