2 Years of War in Ukraine – A Pacifist Comment

Participation of unarmed pacifist forces in implementation of the Ukrainian peace formula (A statement, adopted by the general assembly of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement on 24 February 2024)

Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, bearing in mind the axiom that peace is not equal to war (Peace≠war), supports and will implement in our activities the values of peace, democracy, and justice, declared in the Ukrainian peace formula of President Zelensky.
We agree with condemnation of Russian aggression, demands of withdrawal of troops and compensations of damages.
Nobody could feel safe while the war is considered normal and dictates its rules of lawlessness.
We will act on the basis of belief that democratic society and democratic world must be united for common good and common security.
We will resist nonviolently to Russian aggression and all forms of militarism and war.
We will support preservation and development of democracy. We will protect  human rights and rule of law.
Pacifism is a vital part of diversity of thoughts and beliefs in the democratic society. We will preserve pacifist identity, which gives hope for better future without wars, and we will uphold our right to refuse to kill.


Practical approaches to nonviolent resistance to Russian aggression

  • Society and the state must unite for nonviolent resistance and unarmed protection of civilians.
  • The basis of nonviolent resistance is individual and collective action as a manifestation of values: reason, conscience, hope, truth, love, dialogue, work.
  • Keeping the light and banishing the darkness from your home is also a resistance to the aggression that awakens our dark instincts
  • In the unofficial discussion group of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, methods and joint actions for non-violent resistance to Russian aggression and all forms of war, tyranny and militarism should be discussed, starting with the simplest ones, which can be practiced both independently and together with others: spreading hopes, visions, knowledge for a future just peace; to seek honest and dignified reconciliation and understanding in peaceful dialogue; care about your own safety by avoiding risks (shelter, relocation, etc.); to speak the truth against war propaganda; protect human rights, especially the absolute right to conscientious objection to military service, by all legal means; to refuse cooperation and manifest civil disobedience to Russian aggression and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the military and militant authorities.
  • We confirm the decision: to endorse refusal to kill, protection of human rights, peace education, truth telling, political protests, international solidarity as forms of nonviolent resistance; support activists of peaceful resistance to militarism and war in Ukraine and everywhere in the world, including the occupied territories of Ukraine; prepare a report on perspectives of resistance.

A quote from Yurii Sheliazhenko’s speech to the National Congress of Nonviolent Movement in Rome

“I say frequently about simple ways of nonviolent resistance, that there is no magic in it: even when you hide in shelter or relocate, you also resist. It is important to turn on realistic thinking before you come to more complicated ways of nonviolent resistance, such as exposing lies of aggressive propaganda, spreading hope, calming hatred, dissenting and disobeying to threats and violence, stopping the injustice, aggression and oppression by the gradually growing scope of dissent and disobedience, the refusal to kill. We need to rethink paradigm of nonviolent resistance, recognize it as a daily act of individual and collective conscience. And prevention from emergence in Ukraine of militarist dictatorship like Putin’s is also is a form of nonviolent resistance. We need to resist an animal instinct to copy cruelty on the other side. Nonviolent resistance means stopping violent behavior of others while not behaving like them, sticking to the light side of human nature.”

Yurii Sheliazhenko