On November 9, Vilnius hosted a charity auction organized by the Free Russia Forum together with the humanitarian initiative Action4.life – in support of Russian and Belarusian volunteers who are fighting in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Putin’s occupation army.
– This is a very important psychological milestone, – said Garry Kasparov, co-founder of the Free Russia Forum. – Of course, we realize that the sums that can be raised at such events are a drop in the ocean against the general background of Western support for Ukraine. But it is an important drop, because there is no common understanding within the ranks of the Russian opposition as to how to respond to the successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Many are still unable to say without stammering: “The war is criminal, the regime is illegitimate, Crimea is Ukrainian”. And those who can say it are often not ready to take the next step and recognize that we need to help Ukraine – to withstand this war, to repel Putin’s aggression, to inflict a decisive defeat on the occupying army, to liberate all Ukrainian territories. And thus prepare the ground for change in Russia – so that it has a historic chance to get out of the swamp of totalitarianism. A chess parallel can be drawn in this war: 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 even if it is a partial victory, its consequences will be catastrophic for everyone. Ukraine, which is fighting a war on behalf of the entire Free World, is entitled to our support. And our 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.
At the auction, the famous politician and 13th world chess champion personally presented personalized lots – an author’s business lecture and an autographed chess board. Among the lots were also paintings by the famous Italian artist, publicist and volunteer Katerina Margolis, works by Polish and Ukrainian artists and designers who consistently support the Ukrainian army, commemorative stamps with autographs of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the commander-in-chief of the AFU General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, a popular military expert, ex-advisor of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksii Arestovych, a book from the auction partners, the Forum SLOVONOVO, signed by famous writers Vladimir Sorokin, Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Viktor Erofeev, the flag of Ukraine with autographs of Ukrainian fighters who are undergoing rehabilitation in Latvia, as well as the banner of the Russian Volunteer Corps, which visited Belgorod during those legendary raids, and trophies from the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Siberian Battalion – the same Russian volunteers who, together with Ukrainians, are liberating the territory of Ukraine from Putin’s occupiers.
The auction was led by Evgenia Chirikova, a political and eco-activist, a member of the Free Russia Forum Council, who came from Tallinn especially for this purpose, and Dmitrii Semenov, a host of DELFI and Free Russia Forum channels, while the participants (both those who came directly to the auction and those who bid online) came from different European countries, from Israel and even from the USA. In the end, a drop in the sea turned out to be not such a drop in the ocean: more than 50 thousand euros were raised for the training and equipment of Russian volunteers, as well as Belarusian volunteers from Kastus Kalinovsky’s regiment!
Ivan Tyutrin, co-founder of the Free Russia Forum, who was directly involved in the organization of the auction, assures: the Forum does not plan to stop there. The next auction in favor of the AFU soldiers will be held in Riga in December 2023.