On DELFI channel, the co-founder of the FRF told why an auction to support Russians fighting in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is needed
– The auction in support of Russian volunteers who are fighting on the side of Ukraine is a very important psychological milestone, – believes Garry Kasparov. – Of course, we realize that the sums that can be raised, against the general background of the support Ukraine receives from Western countries and private donations, are a drop in the ocean. But it’s an important drop, because until today there is no understanding in the ranks of the Russian opposition in exile about how to respond to the successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This dispute began literally in the first days after Putin’s full-scale invasion – about where the boundaries of our support for Ukraine lie. Many are still unable to utter in shorthand, “The war is criminal, the regime is illegitimate, Crimea is Ukrainian”. Even that is a problem. And those who can say it are often not ready to take the next step and recognize that we need to help Ukraine – to endure this war, to repel Putin’s aggression, to inflict a decisive defeat on the occupying army, to liberate all Ukrainian territories. And thereby prepare the ground for change in Russia – so that it finally has a historic chance to get out of the swamp of totalitarianism. But even among those who are ready to help Ukraine, there is a division: how far can the limits of this aid go? With humanitarian aid it is clear: everything related to humanitarian items (food, water, water filtration units, generators, sleeping bags, etc.) is one story. But direct assistance to the Ukrainian army or to Russian volunteers who are fighting in its ranks against Putin’s invaders is a frontier that most of our colleagues cannot yet overcome.
The resolution adopted at the Anti-War Conference of the Free Russia Forum in Tallinn on October 2 clearly stated: we, the Forum participants, are ready to take this step. It’s clear that we are still a minority in the Russian opposition on this issue, but it seems to me that this is a reference point that will allow us to start a normal dialog with Ukrainian society. Because for many Ukrainians this question has remained suspended: who is the Russian opposition with, whose side is it on? The events that the FRF is holding in support of the Ukrainian armed forces are our clear and unambiguous answer. We are with Ukraine.
It is clear to everyone why there is such discord in the ranks of the Russian opposition about helping Ukraine: many of our colleagues simply see themselves as participants in future elections in Russia. And it’s quite obvious that by participating in these elections, they may face unpleasant questions from Russian voters. Every day the war brings grief and suffering to Ukraine, but many Russian families have also received funerals, and many Russian citizens will return from the front maimed. The war is taking a tremendous toll on Russia as well. And it is this purely political fear – that in a certain number of years to meet in that distant democratic society with voters who have been directly affected by the war – that restrains many of our fellow oppositionists today.
In my opinion, it is categorically unacceptable to think about this during a time of war. Not because I have made it clear that I am not going to run for office anywhere. Here’s the point: it seems to me that even those who want to actively participate in political life in Russia in the future must make an important moral choice – realizing that it will be possible to establish relations with the neighboring country of Ukraine only through the efforts that are being made now. Any duality, any attempt to pass between the streams, causes Ukrainians to reject it quite clearly.
This is a war in which we can draw a chess parallel: there are “white” and “black”. But, unlike a chess game, it cannot end in a draw. Either Ukraine wins – and all of us, citizens of the Free World, win, or Putin wins – and, accordingly, the forces of dictatorship and totalitarianism. Even if it is a question of his partial victory, retention of occupied territories, etc., the consequences will be catastrophic for all. Ukraine, which is waging war on behalf of the entire Free World, has the right to count on our support. And today’s auction – I repeat, a drop in the ocean, but still an important step. Because the foundation of relations with the future liberated Ukraine is being laid today.
For the full version of Garry Kasparov’s interview with the Lithuanian television channel DELFI, see here.
A reminder: an auction in favor of Russian volunteers fighting in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be held in Vilnius today, November 9, at 18:00 Kyiv and Vilnius time. To attend and participate, registration is required. The organizational fee for participants is 10 euros.
You can also participate remotely by registering by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also make a donation for volunteers at the link. The Free Russia Forum will certainly post a report on the destination of all donations received and funds collected at the auction.