It’s been one month since Russia invaded Ukraine. Putin’s autocratic government is violating international law in an imperialist attempt to conquer a sovereign nation, with catastrophic consequences for the Ukrainian people and their democratic rights. This invasion comes on top of previous Russian imperialist military action, including the annexation of Crimea in 2014. As the war carries on, the US and others have officially accused Putin of committing war crimes. Those who believe in democracy, peace, and human rights have an obligation to stand up for the people of Ukraine and their right to self-determination.
Putin’s politics are oligarchic, plutocratic and fundamentally opposed to democracy and public trust. Indeed, Putin cracks down on his own citizens for dissenting against his government’s violation of international law. It was recently announced that Russian universities would no longer teach sociology, cultural studies or political science classes, which are key incubators of political thought and activism in any nation. Their elections are rigged and Putin’s political opponents are tossed in jail and poisoned. This is why, importantly, we must remember that it’s the Russian leadership who are culpable, and not the Russian people writ large.
Putin’s disinformation tactics substantiate calls for a robust Online Safety Bill, and the connections between Putin-aligned oligarchs and UK politics are one major reason why we’re pushing for the Elections Bill to crack down on dark money. In our current era of global democratic backsliding, it’s imperative that we unite and fight for democracy wherever possible.
We not only need to show solidarity with democracies in peril, such as Ukraine’s, but to strengthen our own democratic systems and institutions, making them resilient to the influence of autocrats and standing as a testament to the importance of public trust and equality.
Yesterday, Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy called for worldwide protest against Russia’s invasion. He urged people everywhere to “make yourself visible and heard” and to tell our governments that people matter, that freedom matters, and that peace matters.
We’ll be marching in solidarity with Ukraine alongside the European Movement, the Mayor of London, and many others tomorrow to show our support. We stand with Ukraine.
We’d love to see you there – you can sign up here.