Free Russia Foundation Launches #NoToWar Campaign

NEVER AGAIN? OR OVER AND OVER… Russia celebrates the Victory day

May 10 2015

Yesterday Russia solemnly celebrated the 70th anniversary of the victory in the most horrible and deadliest war in its history. That war took millions of lives, destroyed half of Europe, and completely changed the world order, affecting everyone’s life and outlook in some way.

The Soviet people called this war ‘The Great Patriotic War,” while to the rest of the world it was World War II. For every Soviet person the war started on June 22, 1941 and ended on May 9, 1945. Our nation preferred to forget about the period of 1939-1941, during Stalin and Hitler’s collaboration, about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression treaty, about the USSR’s war against Finland and the invasion into the Baltic States.

Our nation preferred to celebrate the end of the war one day later than the rest of the world. And our nation preferred to neglect the contribution of the Allies to the war attributing the victory mostly to ourselves. Who cares about the American lend-lease program to the Soviet Union? Why discuss how the Soviet troops behaved on the liberated territories? Could the Soviet Union have avoided so many losses if the strategy had been smarter, if the Soviet leadership hadn’t committed so many errors (and crimes!) at the cost of people’s lives and if the country had been better prepared for the war?

However, the war was “sacred.” There was no debate regarding the role of the Soviet Union in the war. We were the nation-liberator. That war and our victory were the key elements of our nation’s self-consciousness and self-identification. Everybody could relate to it, be proud of that part of our history forgetting all black pages in it. Our victory in that war was an undeniable value unifying all of us. Even when the Soviet Union collapsed, the war and our victory remained the only unchangeable concepts in our consciousness and discourse. Victory Day was and is the most popular holiday, which could unify the entire nation: all ethnicities, all ages, all religions, and all political views.

While all other Soviet values vanished with the Soviet Union, it was very natural for the new Soviet-style dictator, Vladimir Putin, to use Victory Day to his favor. His regime and constant propaganda has conducted a laser surgery on the nation substituting a righteous national pride by twisting it into an ugly and threatening militaristic and pseudo patriotic frenzy.

The Russian people, as a nation, haven’t reconciled our past, haven’t analyzed our mistakes, violations and crimes, and haven’t ask for forgiveness and redemption. We painted the truth with many colors turning it into a half-truth and then to a complete lie. We are still outraged with the Baltic countries for their museums of occupations. Our overwhelming majority of people believe only the Soviets won the war and liberated Europe. We completely forgot about our Afghan war, and do not speak about Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

How can we move forward to the future as a nation without deep reflection of our past, without reconciliation with it and paying the price for our wrong doings? Well, our present responds to this question. What do we have? The war against Georgia in 2008, the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war against Ukraine in 2014-2015.

If Victory Day taught us anything, it taught us about the great sacrifice of a nation and the horrors of war. That we are now facing several wars and threats of others shouldn’t be celebrated, but should be met with the knowledge that the new Putin adventurism will come with the loss of life and prosperity. Is Russia ready for this? Do the Russian people understand what path they are be led down, or do they only believe wearing a black and orange ribbon is the extent of their patriotism?

Nevertheless, we should remember the war, our role in the victory, mourn those who died for our better future and esteem our veterans. It was a great idea to organize a march of the “Immortal Regiment.” The initiative came from a Siberian region and it’s very genuine and touching. It’s great we still have a holiday unifying the nation. It’s terrible that Putin’s government imposes myphologemes of the Soviet period and revives Stalin’s veneration. It’s great that veterans whom we are rapidly losing every year feel respected and honored yesterday. It’s wrong they are being remembered only on a Victory Day and before the elections. It’s great that the Victory anniversary was organized in such a grand style. It’s sad the Kremlin spends more money on military expenses and parades and holidays than on pensions for our veterans and their healthcare.

Victory Day is a day of honoring our veterans. It’s not a day of shaking Russia’s military muscle. “My dear, if only there was no war,” says a popular song. Let’s remember that war, learn from our history and live in a peace. Never again!

The Soviet people called this war ‘The Great Patriotic War,” while to the rest of the world it was World War II. For every Soviet person the war started on June 22, 1941 and ended on May 9, 1945. Our nation preferred to forget about the period of 1939-1941, during Stalin and Hitler’s collaboration, about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression treaty, about the USSR’s war against Finland and the invasion into the Baltic States.

Our nation preferred to celebrate the end of the war one day later than the rest of the world. And our nation preferred to neglect the contribution of the Allies to the war attributing the victory mostly to ourselves. Who cares about the American lend-lease program to the Soviet Union? Why discuss how the Soviet troops behaved on the liberated territories? Could the Soviet Union have avoided so many losses if the strategy had been smarter, if the Soviet leadership hadn’t committed so many errors (and crimes!) at the cost of people’s lives and if the country had been better prepared for the war?

However, the war was “sacred.” There was no debate regarding the role of the Soviet Union in the war. We were the nation-liberator. That war and our victory were the key elements of our nation’s self-consciousness and self-identification. Everybody could relate to it, be proud of that part of our history forgetting all black pages in it. Our victory in that war was an undeniable value unifying all of us. Even when the Soviet Union collapsed, the war and our victory remained the only unchangeable concepts in our consciousness and discourse. Victory Day was and is the most popular holiday, which could unify the entire nation: all ethnicities, all ages, all religions, and all political views.

While all other Soviet values vanished with the Soviet Union, it was very natural for the new Soviet-style dictator, Vladimir Putin, to use Victory Day to his favor. His regime and constant propaganda has conducted a laser surgery on the nation substituting a righteous national pride by twisting it into an ugly and threatening militaristic and pseudo patriotic frenzy.

The Russian people, as a nation, haven’t reconciled our past, haven’t analyzed our mistakes, violations and crimes, and haven’t ask for forgiveness and redemption. We painted the truth with many colors turning it into a half-truth and then to a complete lie. We are still outraged with the Baltic countries for their museums of occupations. Our overwhelming majority of people believe only the Soviets won the war and liberated Europe. We completely forgot about our Afghan war, and do not speak about Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

How can we move forward to the future as a nation without deep reflection of our past, without reconciliation with it and paying the price for our wrong doings? Well, our present responds to this question. What do we have? The war against Georgia in 2008, the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war against Ukraine in 2014-2015.

If Victory Day taught us anything, it taught us about the great sacrifice of a nation and the horrors of war. That we are now facing several wars and threats of others shouldn’t be celebrated, but should be met with the knowledge that the new Putin adventurism will come with the loss of life and prosperity. Is Russia ready for this? Do the Russian people understand what path they are be led down, or do they only believe wearing a black and orange ribbon is the extent of their patriotism?

Nevertheless, we should remember the war, our role in the victory, mourn those who died for our better future and esteem our veterans. It was a great idea to organize a march of the “Immortal Regiment.” The initiative came from a Siberian region and it’s very genuine and touching. It’s great we still have a holiday unifying the nation. It’s terrible that Putin’s government imposes myphologemes of the Soviet period and revives Stalin’s veneration. It’s great that veterans whom we are rapidly losing every year feel respected and honored yesterday. It’s wrong they are being remembered only on a Victory Day and before the elections. It’s great that the Victory anniversary was organized in such a grand style. It’s sad the Kremlin spends more money on military expenses and parades and holidays than on pensions for our veterans and their healthcare.

Victory Day is a day of honoring our veterans. It’s not a day of shaking Russia’s military muscle. “My dear, if only there was no war,” says a popular song. Let’s remember that war, learn from our history and live in a peace. Never again!

Free Russia Foundation Condemns the Kremlin’s Decision to Annex the Occupied Territories of Ukraine and Preparations for Mobilization in Russia

Sep 20 2022

On September 20, 2022, the occupation authorities of the self-proclaimed republics “LNR” and “DNR” and other occupied territories of Ukraine, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, hastily announced that they would hold “referendums on joining Russia” in the near future. The authorities of the “LNR” and “DNR” added that the vote will take place as early as this week, from September 23 to 27, 2022.

On the same day, the Russian State Duma introduced the concepts of “mobilization,” “martial law” and “wartime” into the Russian Criminal Code. The deputies voted for the law in the third reading unanimously — all 389 of them. Now voluntary surrender, looting and unauthorized abandonment of a unit during combat operations will result in imprisonment.

From the first day of the war unleashed by Putin’s regime and its allies against independent Ukraine, Free Russia Foundation, which supports Russian activists, journalists, and human rights activists forced to leave the country because of direct security threats, has condemned the crimes of Putin’s regime against independent Ukraine. We respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states and consider human life and freedom to be of the highest value.

The forthcoming “referendums”, mobilization, and martial law are a collapse of the whole system of “Putin’s stability,” the illusion of which the Kremlin has been trying to maintain since the beginning of the full-scale war with Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is preparing to blatantly violate international law once again and launch an attack on democracy and freedom in Ukraine and Europe. Any statements by the Kremlin that residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine want to become part of Russia are false.

Three decades ago, the Ukrainian people proclaimed the independence of their state. Since 2014, the world has seen that Vladimir Putin has undermined Ukraine’s sovereignty and any attempts at anti-war protest in Russia through military force, repressive legislation, false statements, and massive state propaganda. Despite all the suffering inflicted on Ukraine, Putin has failed to achieve this goal: Ukrainians continue to show fortitude and determination to defend their country at any cost, and Russian anti-war resistance continues despite repression.

We consider any attempts to tear away Ukrainian territory through so-called “referendums” categorically unacceptable and call on state institutions and international human rights organizations to join the demand for an immediate end to the war and the liberation of the occupied territories. Any war brings suffering to humanity and endangers peace. We will not allow a totalitarian dictatorship to prevail and we will continue to fight for Ukraine’s independence and Russia’s democratic future.

Free Russia Foundation announces the appointment of Vladimir Milov as Vice President for International Advocacy

Sep 01 2022

September 1, 2022. Washington, DC. Free Russia Foundation announces the appointment of Russian politician, publicist, economist, and energy expert Vladimir Milov as FRF Vice President for International Advocacy.

In her announcement of Vladimir’s new role, Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation, remarked: “I am delighted to welcome this distinguished Russian civil society leader to our team. I am certain that Vladimir will become our force multiplier and make a profound contribution to FRF’s mission, including strengthening civil society in Russia, standing up for democracy defenders who oppose war, both inside and outside the country, building coalitions and mobilizing supporters. Vladimir Milov’s professional skills and extensive experience in human rights advocacy will help us come up with effective and innovative approaches to combat the authoritarian regime and repression that the current Russian government has unleashed against citizens of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.”

Vladimir Milov was born on June 18, 1972. From 1997—2002 he worked in government agencies, more than 4 years of which were in senior positions, from assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Commission to the Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia.

Vladimir Milov has bravely and publicly called out the authorities for monopolizing the economy, and encroaching into public and political life of Russian citizens. Milov’s profile as an opposition leader rose thanks to his joint project with Boris Nemtsov. The report titled “Putin. Results,” condemned the activities of the Russian government during Putin’s presidency. In 2010, Mr. Milov headed the Democratic Choice movement, which later served as the basis for the creation of a political party with the same name.

In 2016, Mr. Milov became an associate of the unregistered presidential candidate Alexei Navalny. On May 11, 2017, he began hosting a weekly segment on the economy, “Where’s the Money?” on the NavalnyLIVE broadcast on YouTube.

In April of 2021, he left Russia for Lithuania amidst persecution of Alexei Navalny’s organizations. In February of 2022, he categorically condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On May 6, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice added Vladimir Milov to the list of media outlets considered as “foreign agents.” Vladimir Milov is a regular guest expert for the world’s leading media outlets — CNN, CNBC, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal.

Kara-Murza faces a new charge as the Kremlin cracks down on its opponents

Aug 04 2022

Russian pro-democracy politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who’s been in jail since April for allegedly spreading “disinformation” about the Russian military, now also stands accused of “carrying out the activities of an undesirable organization,” which names Free Russia Foundation in the newly filed charge.

Free Russia Foundation, unconstitutionally designated as an “undesirable” organization by the Russian government in June 2019, did not organize an event on political prisoners in Moscow in 2021. FRF does not have any presence or programs inside Russia. Additionally, FRF has never conducted any work in the State of Arizona.

FRF strongly condemns the new charges brought against Vladimir Kara-Murza by Russian authorities and demands the dropping of all charges against him and calls for his immediate release.

“All actions of the Kremlin directed against Russian opposition politicians and activists have nothing in common with establishing the truth. They are instead aimed solely at getting rid of opponents of Putin’s regime,” FRF President Arno stated.

Free Russian Foundation and Boris Nemtsov Foundation launch “Russians for Change” fundraising campaign

Jul 25 2022

Russia is not Putin. We are Russia.

We aim at sharing this message with our friends around the world — therefore, in cooperation with Boris Nemtsov Foundation we are launching “Russians for Change” fundraising campaign.

We are going to be telling the stories of active pro-democracy anti-war Russians who have not lost their hope. US nationals also participate in this campaign: Francis Fukuyama, investigative journalist Casey Michel, and alumni of Boris Nemtsov Foundation media school.

Thank you for your donation:

The Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom honors the political legacy of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian liberal opposition politician assassinated in Moscow in 2015. It promotes freedom of speech and education along with the vision that Russia is a part of Europe.

Free Russia Foundation is starting to document cases of abduction by the Russian army of Ukrainians for the International Criminal Court

Jul 13 2022

In the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, in addition to the killing of civilians and horrific destructions carried out by the Russian army: a severe violation of the norms of international law in the form of abduction of Ukrainians into the territory of Russia has been taking place.

Prior to being interned, Ukrainians are placed in so-called “filtration camps” where they are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

All these actions violate the Hague Conventions and constitute an international crime.

We plan to collect information about such abduction cases, put it in written pleadings, and submit them to the International Criminal Court.

If you have been subject to abduction (internment), please, fill in the form via the link.