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Thursday, July 7, 2022

This is what the various signatories are communicating to Golob and Fajon: Slovenia must pledge all its reputation and influence for the end of the war in Ukraine

By: C.R.

“The war in Ukraine is already deep in the fourth month, so it is self-evident that there are calls for reasonable action by all who could contribute to the end of the murders,” the signatories wrote in the introduction to the open letter to Prime Minister Robert Golob and Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon. As the list of signatories shows, these are extremely different people who have summed up their thoughts in eight points.

“As the desire for common sense to prevail and brutal Russian aggression to stop remains unanswered, there is a growing fear that Ukraine will lose sight of what is happening,” they wrote.

You can read the full eight points below:

  1. We are pleased that there is a broad consensus in the Slovenian and European public on the unacceptability of an unprovoked and brutal attack by the Russian Federation on the sovereign, internationally recognised state of Ukraine. We are pleased that we have succeeded in uniting in condemning the atrocities committed by the Russian regime on the shoulders of Ukrainians. In these cloudy times for Slovenia, Europe and the world, we are reassured that we largely agree that the killing of children and the helpless, the barbaric sieges we once watched with horror in Bosnia and Croatia, starvation, shelling and the destruction of once flourishing towns and villages, attacking civilian buildings, persecuting or even deporting people from their homes, looting and burning food supplies, demolishing cultural monuments and, ultimately, unilateral annexations have no place in modern Europe and deserve unconditional condemnation. What we also have in common is the desire for the suffering to end as soon as possible and for peace to prevail. The policy that Slovenia should defend in international fora must be built on this common consensus.
  2. However, realising the desire for peace in the current situation is proving to be an extremely difficult task that requires truly sensible action. This is not just because the aggressor is currently unwilling to abandon his destructive plans and expansionist ambitions. If peace is to be truly lasting and firm, it must carry at least the basic features of justice. Otherwise, it will sooner or later turn out to be just a pause before a new attack or even a peace like the one in cemeteries.
  3. For peace to be just, it is first and foremost necessary to listen to those who have been arbitrarily and brutally deprived of peace. These are, in this case, the citizens of Ukraine. If, at the beginning of an unprovoked Russian attack, they decided to protect their country, its future and human and natural resources by not resisting too much and waiting for better times in silence, we should respect their decision without disparagement. However, they decided otherwise. We assume that they decided on decisive armed resistance also because the enemy and the ideology they had to face on February 24th this year are not new. Not only do they tighten their grip on the territory of Ukraine, but they deny Ukrainian national identity and culture the right to exist independently. They deny the right of Ukrainians to decide their own destiny and disparage the Ukrainian language, often with vocabulary and actions that we know all too well from our history and to which the recently deceased writer Boris Pahor reminded us in his opus. This is fully confirmed on the territories that have already landed under Russian occupation, from Crimea to the Kherson district. Since Ukrainian men and women as a community have decided to defend the existence of their country and identity with weapons, we believe that their choice is binding even when considering the appropriate conduct of Slovenian foreign policy. Otherwise, we would agree with the logic of imperialism and deny the values based on which Slovenia gained its independence. We believe that it is not possible to credibly condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and at the same time make moves that would lead to the weakening of the Ukrainian resistance as a basis for a just and lasting peace.
  4. This means that we must support the Ukrainian resistance with all the means at our disposal as members of the world community of states. Also, because the regime of the Russian Federation has in the past grossly violated the principle of the inviolability of state borders as a pillar of European and world order after the Second World War. The fact that the violent violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, together with the tacit de facto abolition of Belarus’ independence, passed without serious consequences for the Russian Federation has not only set a dangerous precedent but served – not for the first time in modern European history – as an incentive for a frontal attack. It is therefore inadmissible for foreign countries to agree to trade with the territory of the attacked country in the name of “peace for our time”. In the past, Slovenia itself has been a victim of expansionist scandals and genocidal policies of regimes in its neighbourhood. This is one of the reasons why it is in the vital interest of our country to pledge all its reputation and influence, to oppose a return to the “Munich format” of negotiations, where the affected country is waiting for a decision by self-proclaimed superpowers. The failure of the “agreements” from Minsk proves to us that such a format does not lead to stability or peace, but only serves to justify violations of international law and leads to further aggression.
  5. Of course, it can be argued that the attitude of Western countries, which were considered the winners of the Cold War, to the Russian Federation, which had to face the loss of a great empire and the uncertain fate of many compatriots in other parts of the failed Soviet Union, for the last three decades has not always been appropriate and respectful of the sensibilities of the Russian public and nation. But it would be wrong to adopt as dry gold the interpretations of the current Russian ruling regime about the feeling of being threatened by the expansion of Euro-Atlantic ties to Eastern Europe as the engine of its irrational decisions. We must not forget that the desire of Ukrainians for EU membership stems from the same aspirations behind the accession of Slovenia and other post-communist countries in 2004. In the light of recent months, the pursuit of alliance membership, which would be able to deter a stronger neighbour from attacking, is not only perfectly reasonable, but also currently relevant.
  6. In the light of developments over the last two decades, it should be noted that the nature of the Russian regime is a key factor in encouraging countries in its neighbourhood to integrate as quickly and thoroughly as possible into transnational alliances far to the west. Even before the frontal attack on Ukraine, it became clear that, just as the Russian regime does not recognise subjectivity for the Ukrainian people and state, it does not suffer from autonomous political and social development in individual countries in the area it considers influential. In his eyes, Ukraine’s “sin” is not so much a separation from Russia as a departure from the undemocratic social model that prevails in it. The ability of Ukraine and other Russian neighbours to choose their own path to the future must not be less important than the security concerns of the Russian public, if it can express them credibly at any given time in language and actions worthy of a peaceful community.
  7. Finally, Slovenia, like other European countries, must support Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression based on its own fundamental interests. It is clear from official statements by Vladimir Putin and prominent representatives of the Russian regime that they do not question “merely” Ukraine’s statehood, but the entire European system resulting from the democratisation process in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. It would be naïve, therefore, to think that concessions on Ukraine would stop the revisionist intentions of the Russian regime; as experience shows again, it is much more likely to only inflame them. The substantial resources the Russian regime has invested in financing undemocratic forces in Europe and elsewhere over the past decade – even as the two largest EU countries sought an agreement that would satisfy Russia’s foreign policy interests in Ukraine, albeit at the cost of international law – testify that destabilising the European project for the official Kremlin is as important a goal as territorial expansion in the former Soviet and Russian empires.
  8. In view of the above, we insist that a sensible policy towards Russian aggression against Ukraine requires a persistent effort for peace, which, in our view, can only be achieved with loyal and determined support for the Ukrainian defence chosen by Ukrainians at the outbreak of war. We also believe that the search for lasting peace must come from unwavering respect for the sovereign and democratically expressed will of the Ukrainian people.

Signatories of the open letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia:

Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, Aleš Maver, Frane Adam, Gorazd Andrejč, Matej Avbelj, Samo Bardutzky, Aleš Berger, Bojan Brezigar, Miro Cerar, Milan Dekleva, Jasmin B. Frelih, Pavle Gantar, Boris Golec, Gregor Golobič, Tamara Griesser Pečar, Igor Guardiancich, Roman Jakič, Ivo Jevnikar, Janez Juhant, Janez Kopač, Miha Kosovel, Attila Kovács, Primož Lubej, Marko Marinčič, David Movrin, Andrej Naterer, Jurij Perovšek, Rajko Pirnat, Renato Podbersič, Alenka Puhar, Renata Salecl, Brane Senegačnik, Branko Soban, Mitja Steinbacher, Dejan Steinbuch, Janez Stergar, Rok Stergar, Simona Škrabec, Ivan J. Štuhec, Janez Šušteršič, Žiga Turk, Uroš Urbas, Peter Verovšek, Gregor Virant, Peter Vodopivec, Janja Vollmaier Lubej, Taja Vovk van Gaal, Simon Zupan, Andreja Žižek Urbas, Lilijana Žnidaršič Golec.

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