Clear Statements by the Anti-War Committee of Russian Personalities in Exile.
In videos shared on social media Wednesday, eight of the country’s leading opposition voices — including former oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alexei Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol and former chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov — called on Russians to resist Kremlin propaganda and push back against the war on Ukraine.
Russian public figures established the Anti-War Committee of Russia In a statement to the international community, the committee’s founders called the invasion of Ukraine a “war crime.”
On February 27, Russian public figures established the Anti-War Committee of Russia.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s press secretary Maxim Dbar announced the establishment of the organization to the Russian service Voice of America.
The committee’s founders issued a statement to the international community.
“On February 24, 2022, the Russian government led by Vladimir Putin unleashed a war of aggression against Ukraine,” the authors of the document said.
“In the eyes of the whole world,” they insist, “this war crime was committed in the name of the whole country, of all Russians.” “As citizens of the Russian Federation, we have held ourselves responsible against our will for violations of international law, military invasion and mass deaths of people. The enormity of the crime committed does not leave an opportunity to remain silent or to show passive dissent,” say the initiators of the creation of the Anti-War Committee of Russia. They also emphasize: “For people who grew up with the ideals of ridding the world of Nazism, a war of conquest is the most horrific and shameful phenomenon.
Not opposing such a war is complicity.
And resistance is the only possible and worthy course of action.” “There is a clear difference,” the committee members recall, “between Russians – involuntary participants in Putin’s adventures – and those who knowingly help the Putin regime with fratricidal aggression.
We are morally responsible for not being able to prevent war, for allowing Russian troops to treacherously attack a neighboring country. But the direct participants in the invasion – the generals who devised the plan and the political leadership of Russia – should be labeled war criminals.
Everyone individually and collectively must be punished for their actions.
There is no statute of limitations for the crimes they have committed and they must be punished accordingly no matter how long the world and its victims must wait.”
“The Russian Anti-War Committee appeals to world governments to take a principled stand against violators of international law,” the document reads.
“The Anti-War Committee calls on all true patriots of Russia to unite in the fight against the aggressive dictatorship of Vladimir Putin, regardless of political differences, ideological differences and personal likes or dislikes,” the authors of the statement said.
The document was prepared by Mikhail Khodorkovsky (former oligarch, 2003-2013 years in Russian prison), Garry Kasparov (world chess champion), Sergey Aleksashenko (former board member of the Russian Central Bank), Sergey Guriev (former chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Yuri Pivovarov (historian), Evgeny Kiselev (journalist), Vladimir Kara-Murza (politician, twice seriously poisoned), Dmitry Gudkov (politician), Boris Zimin (well-known committed businessman), Evgeny Chichvarkin (successful businessman) and Viktor Shenderovich (writer) signed.
“We all represent different political movements. But we have merged into one anti-war committee, because we believe that our country does not need this war,” said Khodorkovsky.
The initiative marks a rare moment of unity in Russia’s opposition, which is known for bitter division and infighting.
“We united so that the voices of Russians who are resisting this war could be heard all around the world,” said former lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov.
“The Kremlin sees us as extremists and enemies of the nation — like hundreds of thousands of Russians who have been silenced or forced to flee under the threat of being imprisoned,” Sobol said in the video.
State polling agencies’ surveys have shown a majority of Russians supporting President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine — though the research has been criticized by opposition and independent figures as not accurately reflecting society’s views.
Putin himself has publicly attacked Russians who emigrate or oppose the invasion as “traitors and scum,” and public protests against the war have been met with a tough response and thousands of arrests.