We must say it loud and clear - we are all Ukrainians now. In Warsaw and in Paris, in Berlin and in Prague, in London and in Budapest, one thing must be said loudly: today, Ukrainians are not only fighting for themselves; they are fighting "for our freedom and yours".
Ten artykuł czytasz w ramach bezpłatnego limitu

Follow the big issues that shape Polish politics and society by signing up to our weekly newsletter " News from Poland: Democracy at Stake ". It allows you to stay up to speed on developments concerning the ongoing assault on democratic institutions, rule of law, and human rights in Poland.

This means war.  

Anyone familiar with Polish history will surely remember the events of September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland to "protect the persecuted ethnic Germans". Two weeks later, the Soviet army aided Hitler in "protecting the persecuted Ukrainians and Belarusians".

Today, Putin's troops want to "protect" peaceful Ukrainian citizens from "Ukrainian fascists and nationalists" who have pursued a "policy of genocide" in Donbas. 

That's right! Putin's thuggish attack is reminiscent of tactics used by Hitler and Stalin. The Russian president also reaches extensively and shamelessly for rhetoric used by the most notorious totalitarian regimes of the 20th century.

This is the end of a world in which we have lived since 1989. The full consequences of this are beyond the scope of our imagination. Are we witnessing the beginning of a worldwide war? 

Ukrainians are possibly the most unlucky nation in Europe. Despite their stubborn, heroic, years-long struggle, they have never managed to create and protect their own state. They were the victims of Russification and deprivation, discrimination and repression, they were imprisoned and tortured. They were victims of the great famine and the Stalinist terror of the 1930s. They died at the hands of the Nazi occupiers and later at the hands of Stalinist oppressors. 

And in every generation, they have always repeated that "Ukraine is not yet lost". 

Today, they again repeat these words in defiance of Putin's despicable, vile, and false declarations. This KGB lieutenant colonel understands the world as his own private prison where everyone is his property, everyone can be imprisoned or murdered. Anna Politkovskaya was murdered because she wrote the truth about the crimes in Chechnya. Boris Nemtsov was murdered because he was a popular politician standing for Russian democracy. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was also imprisoned because he dared to publicly criticize the regime’s corruption. Today, Alexei Navalny is imprisoned because he speaks with the voice of a Russian people who do not want to be put in the uniform of Putin’s servants.

The world must know this if it is to have the courage not to let the poison of acquiescence to these criminal actions win. Silence could be a sign of cowardly approval and surrender to this criminal force. 

Everyone should remember the consequences of the consent given by the democratic world to the demands of the totalitarian regimes in Munich in 1938 or in Yalta in 1945. Chamberlain and Daladier believed that in Munich they were securing peace for a generation, and instead, they cleared the way for Hitler’s expansionism. Roosevelt believed he could convince Stalin with rational arguments, and instead put half of Europe in his hands. 

Let us not follow this path.

We must say it loud and clear - we are all Ukrainians now. In Warsaw and in Paris, in Berlin and in Prague, in London and in Budapest, one thing must be said loudly: today, Ukrainians are not only fighting for themselves; they are fighting "for our freedom and yours".

***

Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

We decided to make our service available to everyone free of charge in order to provide access to high quality journalism for expats and English speakers interested in Polish affairs. 

The access to information should be equal for all.

Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation
DONATE
Czytaj ten tekst i setki innych dzięki prenumeracie
Wybierz prenumeratę, by czytać to, co Cię ciekawi 
Wyborcza.pl to zawsze sprawdzone informacje, szczere wywiady, zaskakujące reportaże i porady ekspertów w sprawach, którymi żyjemy na co dzień. Do tego magazyny o książkach, historii i teksty z mediów europejskich.
Więcej
Komentarze
Zaloguj się
Chcesz dołączyć do dyskusji? Zostań naszym prenumeratorem