21 March 2023. Viktor Sholudko, Alina Tropynina and Kyrylo Perevoshchykov fact-checked the so-called “Manifesto for Peace” by Alice Schwarzer and Sarah Wagenknecht for the Ukrainian organisation VoxUkraine and allowed us to publish the text on the M100 website. You can find the original version here.
On February 10, the “Manifesto for Peace” petition appeared on the Change.org platform, it has already been signed by more than 748,000 people. The authors of the appeal are Germans Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht. And although the vote does not reflect German public opinion – a citizen of any country can support the petition – it is another reminder that Russian “peace” is loved not only in Moscow, but also in some European cities.
Under the guise of “peace,” “achieving compromises on both sides,” Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht are actually pushing typical Russian propaganda narratives.
The authors begin the manifesto with the classic justification of any crime – equating the victim with the criminal. First, they mention the military and civilian casualties on both sides of the war, but for some reason they do not mention who is responsible for this suffering. “Women were raped, children were intimidated, the whole nation was traumatized,” the authors write, but they do not specify who became the executioner of the Ukrainian people.
The petition contains neither a sharp condemnation of Russian aggression, nor calls for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity or the punishment of war criminals. The most difficult thought the reader will encounter is “war is bad and peace is good.”
Further, so that Ukrainians do not even think about a just peace, “peace-loving” Europeans offer Germany to refuse the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. Otherwise – escalation, Putin’s nuclear briefcase and the Third World War.
To avoid the end of the world, the Germans encourage “compromise on both sides.” And this version of a peaceful settlement is allegedly supported by 50% of the German population. However, public opinion in Germany is not as unambiguous as the authors of the petition try to present. In a YouGov poll published at the end of December, it is indeed indicated that 55% of Germans support the start of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. At the same time, half of the respondents said that Ukraine should return all its territories, including Crimea, which is not very similar to the “compromises” proposed in the manifesto.
Other studies also show results that contradict the arguments of peace-at-any-cost advocates. In a February 25 Civey survey, 63% of respondents said Germany should do more to promote peace talks. However, 42% of respondents believed that the goal of the negotiations should be to restore the borders of Ukraine before the annexation of Crimea, and 33% were in favor of restoring the borders by February 24, 2022.
According to the Infratest dimap survey of March 2, the majority of respondents (47%) consider it appropriate to support Ukraine with weapons, and 73% agree that Ukraine should decide for itself when to negotiate with Russia. 54% do not agree that the end of the war will mean the loss of Ukrainian territories.
In fact, a compromise with Russia will not lead to the end of the war, but will only give the occupiers time to regroup and prepare a new strike. Currently, Russia agrees to negotiations, which will not discuss the de-occupation of Ukrainian territories, the punishment of criminals or the payment of reparations. So, in fact, these are not negotiations, but their simulation for the temporary freezing of the front line. Western leaders, in particular, Chancellor Scholz, talk about Russia’s unpreparedness for real negotiations.
The rhetoric of Russian propagandists leaves no doubt that the aggressor intends to continue killing Ukrainians and seizing their lands. Moreover, Russian channels regularly broadcast hate speech against other countries: Kazakhstan, Georgia, the Baltic states, Poland, and Moldova. And central TV channels are calling for nuclear strikes on NATO countries. Therefore, Russia will not stop at the occupation of Donbas and southern Ukraine. It will fight until Ukrainian defenders armed with Western equipment stop her.
It is the supply of this equipment that the Left Party proposes to refuse, fearing escalation. And at the same time, they are not embarrassed that the destroyed Ukrainian cities (Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Mariinka, Bakhmut and others) already look as if Russia used weapons of mass destruction against them.
Of course, the risk of nuclear escalation remains – in the latest report of the US intelligence community, it is noted that against the backdrop of defeats, Moscow will rely more on its nuclear arsenal to achieve its goals. However, both in Ukraine and in the West, the choice is small – either fight with the hope of a just peace, or make concessions to the aggressor and live in a world without rules, where dictators can launch “special operations” against their own neighbors and threaten with a nuclear stick with impunity.