UKRAINE: Open Letter from Russian international relations staff and studentsMar 4, 2022
Below is the text of an open letter to President Putin protesting the invasion of Ukraine from students, alumni and staff of Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO), Russia’s elite institution specialising in international relations.
(I have checked this Open Letter and am persuaded of its validity. It was signed by 1412 courageous people. A Russian radio station that ran it has been closed down. John Menadue)
Open Letter to the President of the Russian Federation from students, postgraduates, graduates and staff of the Moscow State University of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We, graduates, students, postgraduates and staff at the Moscow State University of International Relations, by signing this appeal, speak out categorically against the military action of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine. We consider it morally unacceptable to be silent bystanders, when people are dying in a neighbouring state. They are dying on account of those who preferred weapons to peaceful diplomacy.
During its history Russia has repeatedly stood up in defence of the weak and supported them, even if a high price had to be paid for this. The leaders of our state have resolved the most complex crisis situations by peaceful means, despite ideological differences.
We call for this foreign policy tradition to be continued today: to withdraw military forces from Ukrainian territory, to cease the bombardment of Ukrainian cities and to start honest negotiations – without ultimatums and without demands for the other side’s capitulation.
Many of us have friends and relatives on the territory where battles are being waged. But war has not only come to them, it has come into the houses of each of us, and its consequences will be felt by our children and grandchildren. Many generations of future diplomats will have to restore the lost trust in Russia and good relations with our neighbours.
Restraint in statements, critical thinking, an awareness of the complexity of processes taking place in the world, and tolerance of others’ opinions, are undoubtedly innate in graduates of our campus. But there are also things we do not tolerate – like the use of violence in situations where it might be avoided.
We were trained for life and work in an open world. We were trained to be representatives of a country for which the entire world was open – and Russia was open for the whole world. We were taught diplomacy, international law, journalistic ethics; we were taught the value of international cooperation, collaboration and cultural exchange. Special attention was always paid to the importance of international efforts to create an international system of treaties for the limitation of nuclear weapons.
The action of Russian forces on the territory on Ukraine has created conditions in which the realisation of the values that we learned over years of study is impossible.
We, graduates, students, postgraduates and staff of MGIMO, are striving to defend Russia’s traditional foreign policy values: security, peaceful cooperation and dialogue. Even if these values diverge from the official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the state as a whole, we are not afraid of affirming them openly.