SFL Alumni Reject Russia’s Aggressions

by Jorge Jraissati

On behalf of the over 8000 alumni of Students For Liberty, I want to emphatically condemn Russia’s aggression against the Ukrainian people.

Since annexing Crimea in 2014, Russia’s authoritarian regime has been systematically violating the sovereignty and well-being of Ukraine, especially in the Donbas region in the eastern part of the country. 

Russia’s actions are a clear violation of international law. They are also immoral, inexcusable, and intolerable for all of us who believe in freedom and peace for our nations.

During the last months – and especially in the last days – Students For Liberty Alumni has been working closely with our alumni network not only in Ukraine but also in countries like Belarus and Poland. 

By standing together, we can make a difference, even during the darkest of times. 

The following are comments from alumni:

Daniil Lubkin
Alumnus from Ukraine
CEO of Ukrainian Students For Freedom

Right now, Russia is occupying part of my country. They declared “independence” of their puppet states and moved their forces inside their territories officially. They intentionally broke Minsk agreements which were the only way to have peace. They have officially chosen a way of war! If you want to help the liberty movement in Ukraine, we will start a fundraising campaign soon.

Tania Rak
Alumna from Ukraine

The West’s reaction is stereotyped, belated, and insufficient to stop hostile Russian actions. An effective response requires preventive instead of reactive action. There is no need to appeal to Russia as a mediator in resolving the “Ukrainian crisis”. Current issues need to be called by their names and reflect the real state of things. Aggression has to be called aggression. The West should stop waiting for Russia to continue its actions while draining the European gas market.

Maria Chaplia
Alumna from Ukraine
Research Manager at Consumer Choice Center   

Putin actually wants Ukraine. You can check out his essays where he claims that historically Ukraine is part of Russia and that we are two brotherly nations. And so, he sees Russia’s occupation of Crimea and parts of Donbas as a liberation of Russian people. Russia was giving away Russian passports to people who lived in the occupied territories so that if Ukraine tries to take them back, Russia can fight back on the pretense that it is defending its citizens.

Mykhailo Lavrovskyi
Alumn from Ukraine
CEO of Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation

All the Post-Soviet countries are now in danger NATO or not. The whole world is in danger. A mentally sick imperialist is on the move. 

Piotr Markielau
Alumnus from Belarus
Founder of Legalize Belarus

Recently I met a few people who had to move from the occupied territories. It is very hard for them to speak about their home. It’s a disastrous situation.

For countries like Belarus and Ukraine, the situation is really difficult. The European Union only supports us in words, but in fact depends on Russian gas, pouring billions of dollars into the Russian economy, strengthening the authoritarian regime there. And there is no solution to this any time soon.

A lot of Russian forces are currently located in Belarus; they didn’t leave after their planned “training” finished.

Russia escalates the war in Ukraine because its price is bearable, considering benefits for Putin internally. I would naturally like to see the price of this war increased enough so that it is stopped.

Adam Mazik
Alumn from Poland
Fellow at Prometheus Institute

Ukrainians deserve freedom, peace, and the right to prosper and flourish.

The free world (particularly Germany and the USA) needs to learn from past mistakes. Never again should deals be made with criminals and bandits. It needs to impose strong and debilitating sanctions against Putin and his corrupt, antihuman machinery, as well as support Ukraine in every way necessary to ensure its freedom and independence.

I hope the Ukrainian people can soon hear words similar to those that the Polish heard from the then-American president Clinton when they entered NATO in the year 1997. A quote which I was reminded of in the recent days through a Polish parliamentarian:

“Now, Poland is joining NATO. Poland is taking its place in the community of democracies. Never again will your fate be decided by others. Never again will the birthright of freedom be denied you. Poland is coming home.”

Jorge Jraissati
Alumn from Venezuela
SFL Director of Alumni

We must strongly condemn Russia’s acts of war and recognition of so-called “independent states” in Ukraine. Putin’s actions are a complete violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law.

Make no mistake, Putin is not threatened by NATO. He simply hates freedom, especially in Ukraine. 

NATO was a non-issue in Ukraine back in 2014, the year Russia illegally annexed Crimea. At the time, Ukraine was completely indifferent to the idea of joining NATO. The then-president Viktor Yanukovich was firmly against it, and the public was more focused on joining the EU than NATO. So, if Ukraine’s neutrality back then did not prevent Putin from destabilizing Crimea and the Donbas region, why should the United States or the European Union take his demands seriously now?

Putin’s argument – blaming the expansion of NATO for Russia’s behavior – is inconsistent at best. It is nothing more than an excuse created by Putin himself, one that allows him to galvanize domestic support and more importantly, an excuse that validated and legitimatized his illegal annexation of Crimea.

This article was originally posted on the Students For Liberty Blog

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