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An appeal to the politicians of countries who are expected to travel to the World Cup football games in Russia
Опубліковано 07 червня 2018 року о 09:42

President of Argentina Mauricio MacriPrime Minister of Australia Malcolm TurnbullKing of the Belgians Philippe, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles MichelPresident of the Federative Republic of Brazil Michel TemerPresident of the Republic of Colombia Juan Manuel SantosPresident of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado QuesadaPresident of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Premier Minister Andrej PlenkovićQueen of Denmark Margrethe II, Prime Minister Lars Løkke RasmussenPresident of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif IsmailPresident of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Édouard PhilippeFederal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela MerkelPresident of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, Prime Minister Katrín JakobsdóttirPresident of Iran Hassan RouhaniPrime Minister of Japan Shinzō AbePrime Minister of the Republic of Korea Lee Nak-yeonPresident of the United Mexican States Enrique Peña NietoPresident of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco Saadeddine OthmaniPresident of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu BuhariPresident of the Republic of Panama Juan Carlos VarelaPresident of the Republic of Peru Martín VizcarraPresident of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz MorawieckiPresident of the Portuguese Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Prime Minister António CostaKing of Saudi Arabia , Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Salman bin Abdulaziz Al SaudPresident of the Republic of Senegal Macky Sall, Prime Minister Mohammed DionnePresident of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Minister Ana BrnabićKing of Spain King Felipe Vi, Prime Minister Mariano RajoyKing of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf, Prime Minister Stefan LöfvenPresident of the Confederation of Switzerland Alain BersetPresident of the Republic of Tunisia Beji Caid Essebsi, Head of Government Youssef ChahedQueen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Theresa MayPresident of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez

Your Majesties, esteemed representatives of the citizens of your states!
The main football event of the year, the World Cup, is drawing closer. It will take place in Russia despite
this country occupying the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, unleashing a war in eastern Ukraine,
supporting the brutal dictator Assad and war crimes in Syria, curtailing the democratic rights of its own
citizens, repressing the indigenous population of occupied Crimea - the Crimean Tatars, interfering in the
elections of western countries and unleashing a disinformation campaign against them.
Your excellencies, the list of Russia's crimes can be continued, however, one stands out. On 14 May, the
jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who had resisted the occupation of his native Crimea in 2014,
announced a termless hunger strike. The only condition for ending it is the "release of all Ukrainian
political prisoners held on the territory of the Russian Federation.” There are at least 70 such prisoners,
and the number increases each day.
Oleg was sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony as a result of a falsified trial. Other political prisoners
have been convicted in a similar manner: on the basis of false “confessions” obtained under torture, fake
witnesses, planted ammunition. The latter was the reason for the arrest and conviction of Volodymyr
Balukh, a Crimean farmer who rejected the occupation of Crimea and kept raising a Ukrainian flag over
his house. Volodymyr Balukh is holding a termless hunger strike for over 70 days since 19 March,
balancing between life and death. Also on hunger strike, in solidarity with Sentsov, are Oleksandr
Kolchenko and Oleksandr Shumkov. The number of arrests and sentences grows with each day. Just on
4 June, Ukrainian journalist Roman Suschenko was sentenced to 12 years of “severe regime”
imprisonment in Russia on baseless mystery “spying” charges. All these tragedies go unnoticed by the
Russia has established a real repression machine in occupied Crimea. Civic activists among Crimean
Tatars are being arrested in droves and accused of terrorism. Also accused of terrorism is the 19-year old
Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb, whom the FSB kidnapped while he was on a trip to Belarus. The list of political
prisoners is long and each name in it represents a shattered fate and children left to grow up without
parents (see more information here: http://letmypeoplego.org.ua ).
Your Excellencies, all of these Ukrainians became victims of Russia's undeclared war against Ukraine. In
authoritarian Russia, their purpose is to be broadcast on state TV playing the role of "enemies,"
"terrorists," and "extremists," inciting the hatred of Russians towards Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, and
ramping up support for Vladimir Putin's aggressive politics.
Oleg Sentsov has declared that he intends to hold the hunger strike until the fatal end. This is a realistic
scenario: one has to only recall his letter from prison, where he wrote about Ukrainian political prisoners:
"If we are destined to become nails in the lid of the tyrant's coffin, then I would like to be such a nail. Just
know that this nail will not bend." And he told his lawyer: "If I die before the World Cup or during it, then
there will be a resonance in favor of the other political prisoners."
A hunger strike is the only weapon that the imprisoned filmmaker has to counter the horrendous injustice
against 70 Ukrainian citizens.
Your Majesties! You, the powerful of this world, have another weapon. One of the dreams of Vladimir
Putin is to use the presence of foreign dignitaries at the tribunes of the World Cup to embellish his image
of a "strong leader" and as visual support for his politics of repressions and wars. You can take the side of
the filmmaker who was sentenced for protesting the occupation of his native Crimea by joining the
political boycott of the World Cup, inviting others to follow your lead if you have already done this, and
calling upon Russia to fulfill the demands of Oleg Sentsov and release all Ukrainian political prisoners.
History shows that leaders of authoritarian states prefer to put on a mask of mercy before sports events.
The letter was signed by many prominent intellectuals, journalists, writers, diplomats, politicians,
cultural actors, including Timothy Snyder, Anne Applebaum, Rebecca Harms, Marilouise Beck,
Yuriy Andrukhovych, Oksana Zabuzhko, Serhiy Zhadan, Edward Lucas, Mustafa Dzhemilev,
Mustafa Nayyem, Michel Eltchaninoff, and many others.
The full list of signatories is here:
Willem Aldershoff, former head of unit, European Commission, analyst international affairs, Brussels,
Alim Aliev, program director, Crimean House, Ukraine
Victoria Amelina, writer, Ukraine
Yuriy Andrukhovych, writer, Ukraine
Ivan Andrusiak, writer, Ukraine
Anne Applebaum, journalist, historian, USA
Antoine Arjakovsky, historian, France
Larysa Artiugina, film director, project leader NGO NewDonbas, Ukraine
Kateryna Babych, No Borders Project, Committee of Solidarity with Crimean Hostages, Kyiv, Ukraine
Marieluise Beck, former State Secretary, Alliance '90/The Greens (Germany)
Мark Bielorusets, translator, Ukraine
Andriy Bondar, writer, Ukraine
Kateryna Botanova, journalist, curator, Switzerland/Ukraine
Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow, American Foreign Policy Council, USA
Maksym Butkevych, human rights defender (No Borders Project, Committee of Solidarity), Ukraine
Artem Chapeye, writer, Ukraine
Simas Čelutka, Head of European Security Programme, Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, Lithuania
Yevgen Chernykov, actor, Ukraine
Jurriaan Cooiman, festival manager, Switzerland
Halyna Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine
Mustafa Dzhemilev, Crimean Tatar leader, political prisoner during the USSR
Danilo Elia, journalist, Rai - Radiotelevisione italiana, National Public Broadcasting of Italy
Michel Eltchaninoff, philosopher, France
Andrew Fesiak, International Director, Final Cut Media, Ukraine
Leonid Finberg, sociologist, cultural researcher, director of Center for Studies of History and Culture of
Eastern European Jewry, Ukraine
Gregory Frolov, director of Free Russia House, Kyiv, Ukraine
Svetlana Gannushkina, human rights defender, Russia
Nina Garenetska, musician, Dakhabrakha band, Ukraine
Georg Genoux, Theatre/film director, Germany/Ukraine
Anastasiya Gernega, Chairperson, NGO Touchpoint, Ukraine
Iryna Gorban, art-manager, Ukraine
Marko Halanevych, musician, Dakhabrakha band, Ukraine
Rebecca Harms, MEP, Alliance '90/The Greens (Greens)
Markéta Hejkalová, writer, Czech Republic
Ola Hnatiuk, University of Warsaw, PEN Club member, Poland
Yaroslav Hrytsak, historian, Ukraine
Jakub Janda, Director, European Values Think-Tank, Prague, Czech Republic
Mikhail Kaluzhsky, Playwright, journalist, Germany/Israel
Andrey Khadanovich, litterateur, Belarus
Borys Khersonsky, writer, Ukraine
Valentyna Klymenko, journalist, PR-director in The National Art Museum of Ukraine, Ukraine
Oleksandra Koval, head of the Publishers’ Forum NGO, Ukraine
Maxym Kurochkin, playwright and screenwriter, Ukraine
Askold Kurov, filmmaker and producer, Russia
Myroslav Laiuk, writer, Ukraine
Philippe de Lara, professor of political science, France
Anastasia Levkova, writer, journalist, Ukraine
Danylo Lubkivsky, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine (2014), Diplomatic advisor to the Prime Minister of
Ukraine (2015-2016)
Edward Lucas, London, UK
Olesya Mamchych, writer, Ukraine
Myroslav Marynovych, former Soviet political prisoner, Ukraine
Juraj Mesik, global risks analyst, Slovakia
Diana Matsuzaki, journalist, Hungary
Marina Meseguer, journalist, Spain,
Patryk Michalski, journalist, Poland
Vitalii Moroz, Internews Ukraine, Ukraine
Mustafa Nayyem, member of Parliament of Ukraine
Oleksandra Nazarova, psychologist, Ukraine
Andriy Nikitchyuk, Euromaidan Press, Ukraine
Tetiana Okopna, translator, Ukraine
Oleksiy Panych, philosopher, Ukraine
Tetiana Pechonchyk, Human Rights Information Center, Ukraine
Kateryna Petrovska, writer, Ukraine, Germany
Nataliia Popovych, Co-Founder, Ukraine Crisis Media Center
Anzhela Prazdnichnykh, medical doctor, Belgium
Antje Rempe, Germany, President of the association for partnership between the twin cities of Kharkiv
and Nuremberg
Mykola Riabchuk, writer, Ukraine
Oleksandra Romantsova, Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine
Olexander Scherba, Ukrainian Ambassador to Austria
Anton Sliepakov, musician, Dakhabrakha band, Ukraine
Arkadiy Shtypel, poet, translator, Russia
Roman Shutov, EaP Strategic Advisor, Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Ukraine
Alya Shandra, Euromaidan Press, Ukraine
Konstantin Sigov, Director of the European Humanities Research Centre, National University of
“Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, Ukraine
Ostap Slyvynsky, writer, Ukraine
Bohdana Smyrnova, filmmaker, New York/Kyiv
Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University, USA
Alice Stollmeyer, Executive Director, Defending Democracy, Belgium
Maksym Strikha, professor of physics, writer, Ukraine
Sergiy Sydorenko, European Pravda, Ukraine
Joanna Szostek, researcher, Royal Holloway University of London, Great Britain
Liudmyla Taran, writer, Ukraine
Tetyana Teren, journalist, Ukraine
Halyna Tkachuk, writer, Ukraine
Olena Tsybulska, musician, Dakhabrakha band, Ukraine
Halyna Tytysh, journalist, Ukraine
Andreas Umland, Senior Fellow, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Ukraine
Oleksandr Vilchynskyi, writer, Ukraine
Pavlo Volvach, writer, Ukraine
Natalia Vorozhbyt, playwright and screenwriter, Ukraine
Maryna Vroda, director and writer, Ukraine
Wira Wowk, writer, translator, PEN Club member, Brazil
Volodymyr Yermolenko, UkraineWorld, Internews Ukraine, Hromadske.ua, Ukraine
Pavlo Yurov, independent director and actor, Ukraine
Iryna Zabiiaka, translator, Kyiv, Ukrainereza Semotamová, Writers in Prison Committee of the Czech PEN
Centre, Czech Republic
Oksana Zabuzhko, writer, Ukraine
Yevgeniy Zakharov, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine
Alla Zamanska, TV Director, Ukraine
Serhiy Zhadan, writer, Ukraine
Bohdan Zholdak, writer, Ukraine
If you would like to sign the letter, please fill out this form (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScjZmnWVFDTIim8PSZ4VszMJG0IRJF0l4-RTvhkn4V5qNM5rA/viewform).

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