To all libertarians of the world
As you no doubt know from today's news, February 24th, 2022, President Putin has commenced an aggressive war against Ukraine. No reason or justification was provided; perhaps, in his mind, none was needed. He treats Ukraine as a Russian colony. War, death and destruction are to be the cost of this delusion.
Putin started once as a popular politician who used divisive propaganda, militarism and election rigging to propel himself to power. He now is a tyrant who starts a major war in Europe in spite of everyone around him, contrary to public opinion and no doubt against at least a part of his own political and business elites.
This morning's news was a shock to everyone. Anti-war sentiments are running high, online petition signatures to stop this are collected in hundreds of thousands and previously apolitical celebrities express outrage and disgust. Despite best propaganda efforts the war fails to achieve any significant popular support.
We understand the inevitable consequences brought upon us by this war and we support all efforts to stop it, including broad and harsh sanctions against persons responsible. Putin and his cronies must be forever proscribed from setting foot on any free nation’s soil. Their money must be found and frozen, the property they gained by corruption must be arrested everywhere in the world. Businesses owned and operated by them as quasi-private companies must be sanctioned as well. We not only understand but welcome it.
One thing we warn foreign decision makers against is a collectivist approach to sanctions. Russian people as a whole are not responsible for this atrocity and do not condone it. This is being perpetrated by individuals. And we ask that blame and punishment be meted out individually as well.
For example, here’s what Belgium’s asylum minister has said, according to Reuters: "At the moment, Russians are not welcome here, a general visa ban for Russians should not be a taboo."
We humbly ask all friends of liberty to urge their governments to abstain from enacting such indiscriminate sanctions. This is a page from a Cold War communist playbook. Do not raise an Iron Curtain against us, do not rebuild the Berlin Wall. To do this would only discourage support for peace and foster enmity and opposition. Russian people do not deserve to be collectively punished for our tyrant’s inhumanity. Please find a way to allow individuals to travel, to promote peaceful cultural exchange and cooperation.
We call upon all friends of liberty around the world — libertarian parties, movements, foundations and individuals — to stand behind us in condemnation of this aggression. A moment has come for all people to unite against what may become the worst tragedy of this century. And right now, as always, peace is our best hope.
Chairman of the Libertarian party of Russia
February 24, 2022