The letter from the President

Professor Olga Garaschuk, President of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society

21 February 2024

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends,

These days we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, when millions of Ukrainians unequivocally showed their resolve to live free as a part of a big European family and be ruled only by law. We remember the Heavenly Hundred, the first heroes, who paid the highest price, in this fight. We also must not forget that it is russia[1] that has been demolishing the world’s law and order, occupying parts of Georgia in 2008, parts of eastern Ukraine and Krym 10 years ago, and has been waging a full-scale war against Ukraine since 730 endless days, bringing the post-war era in Europe to an end.

This attack is not aimed at Ukraine only. It is a frontal assault on the worldwide democracy. The axis of evil is forming faster than expected and continues to metastasize. While key decisions in the US are limping and Europe is just ramping up its military production facilities, North Korean war missiles are destroying Ukraine, those of Hamas – Israel, the ones of Houthi rebels – attack European cargo ships in the Red Sea. The war in Ukraine brings destruction and claims the bloody toll every day. In this war, 708 scientific assets were destroyed, damaged, or stolen. Around 5000 academics, mostly women, left Ukraine, and at least 100 were killed (see here). But Kyȉv stands, as 1000 years ago, on the path of evil threatening Europe and it is Ukraine that is loosing its sons and daughters every day. We must never forget what price is paid, so we can live in peace and pursue research.

In view of the rising destabilization potential in Moldova, the Baltic states and all other European countries; in view of the rise of pro-Putin left and right-wing extremists, we must remain strong and united. We must stand up to all forms of selfishness and rethink our policy. For the last two years, we aimed to ensure that Ukraine does not lose this war. Now we must do everything to enable Ukraine to win. And to win as quickly as possible. This is the only way to restore the democratic world order and contain the conflict flashpoints worldwide. Freedom is a precondition for a dignified life, and a dignified life along with academic freedom are essential to carry out science. As researchers and as human beings we should do everything we can to continue supporting Ukraine!

[1] I do not use capitalization for the name of the aggressor country as a sign of protest, in line with the common practice in Ukraine.