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Open Letter of Czech and Slovak public intellectuals to the citizen of Ukraine

Dear friends,

In 1968, Czechoslovakia was invaded by thousands of tanks sent by Moscow. Our country was occupied for the next 22 years. That time seemed like it would never end, but finally, the day of our freedom arrived in 1989.

The Russian occupying army invaded Crimea in a similarly treacherous way on February 20, 2014 and forcibly annexed it to Russia. With this move, Moscow demonstrated to the world that it considers international conventions just a mere piece of paper and that the only laws the Kremlin recognizes are the laws of the criminal underworld and jungle.

We are convinced, however, that just as the day of freedom came for us in Czechoslovakia, it will come one day for Crimea and the Donbass region that are currently occupied by Russian forces.

Two years after the Russian aggression attempted to break apart your country and drown the Revolution of Dignity in blood, we bow in respect to the heroism that you put up against this oppression and Russian militarism.

With admiration, we watched you fight for freedom, protection of national independence and European aspirations. Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred were shot in Maidan on the very first day of Russian annexation of Crimea and then thousands of Ukrainians sacrificed their lives in defense of Ukraine. Many others, such as Nadezhda Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov or Oleksandr Kolchenko continue to be tortured behind the bars of the Russian Federal Security Services.

Today, we share your concerns about how a free Ukraine will be able to come to terms with the demon of corruption and insatiate greediness of oligarchs. We also share concern over how will you be able to manage reforms critical to anchoring the heir nation of Kyivan Rus in Western civilization, where it rightly belongs.

Revolution is only the first step on the path towards modern civilization. We know through our own experience that it is a long and challenging journey. Even we could not deal with corruption and influence of oligarchs as well as we had hoped. Like you, we are often frustrated by the state of our societies and by our corrupt politicians. But when we reflect upon life before 1989, we are grateful that our children today live and work in a free and prosperous world.

Two years after the occupation of Crimea, you, the women and men of Ukraine, face two paths. One leads to freedom, rule of law, prosperity and civilization. The other leads to violence and a society in which all Ukrainians would merely be vassals, serving the oriental despot in the Kremlin.

We believe that your return to the Western civilization will be successful and the 20th of February 2014 will remain in the memory of your country just as the 21st August 1968 is in ours – as a day that has been overcome by history, but also as the unforgotten day of infamy.

We are convinced that Ukrainian women and men will soon be enjoying freedom of travel, study and work not only at home but also across Europe up to the shores of Atlantic. That your Ukraine will be free, independent, democratic, free from of the curse of corruption, strong, prosperous, united and European.

Bratislava – Praha, February 2016


Andrej Bán, photographer and journalist

Jiří Bárta, manager, civic activist

Gabriel Bianchi, psychologist, university teacher

Ivan Binar, author

Fedor Blaščák, philosopher, university teacher

John Bok, civic activist, signatory of Charter 77

Ľubomír Burgr, actor and musician

Jaroslav Černý, film director

Kamil Miroslav Černý, civic activist, signatory of Charter 77

Viera Dubačová, theater director

Alexander Duleba, political scientist

Přemysl Fialka, photographer and cameraman, signatory of Charter 77

Jefim Fištejn, publicist and signatory of Charter 77

Karel Freund, clerk and signatory of Charter 77

Egon Gál, philosopher, university teacher

Fedor Gál, publicist

Libor Grubhoffer, biologist, university professor

Olga Gyárfášová, sociologist, university teacher

Tomáš Halík, priest, university professor

Jozef Hašto, psychiatrist, university teacher

Anton Heretik, psychologist, university professor

Karel Hirman, energy specialist

Beata Hirt, civic activist

Mario Homolka, documentarist

Jana Hradílková, woman of action and writer

Štefan Hríb, journalist

Milan Hronec, civic activist

Olga Hubová, university teacher

Michal Hvorecký, writer

Jakub Janda, political analyst

Roman Joch, political scientist

Peter Juščák, writer

Robert Kirchhoff, film director

Helena Klímová, psychotherapist, signatory of Charter 77

Michael Kocáb, musician, former minister of government

Miroslav Kocúr, theologian

Petr Kolář, former ambassador, chairman, Initiative for European values

František Kostlán, publicist

Martin Kotas, coffee house manager and civic activist

Ľubica Lacinová, biophysicist

Marián Majer, security analyst

Monika Le Fay, writer and director

Štefan Markuš, scientist and former ambassador

Daniel Matej, composer and university teacher

Michal Matzenauer, poet and painter

Grigorij Mesežnikov, political scientist

Juraj Mesík, environmentalist and publicist

Martin Mojžiš, physicist and publicist

Jaroslav Naď, defense analyst

Mário Nicolini, analyst and civic activist

Juraj Nvota, film director and university professor

Štefan Olejník, physicist

Petr Pánek, civic activist

Tomáš Peszyński, civic activist

Zdeněk Pinc, philosopher and signatory of Charter 77

Vladimír Pirošík, attorney and civic activist

Lucia Piussi, singer and writer

Jana Plichtová, social psychologist, university professor

Ondrej Prostredník, theologian, university teacher

Martin C. Putna, literary historian, university professor

Iveta Radičová, university professor and former Prime Minister

Věra Roubalová Kostlánová, psychotherapist and signatory of Charter 77

Rudolf Sikora, visual artist, university professor

Olga Sommerová, film documentarist

Juraj Stern, economist, university professor

Boris Strečanský, development specialist

Ljuba Svobodová, historian

Štefan Szabó, environmentalist and university teacher

László Szigeti, publisher

Soňa Szomolányi, political scientist, university professor

Jiří Šesták, senator

Marta Šimečková, publicist

Jiřina Šiklová, sociologist, Woman of Europe1995 and signatory of Charter 77

Pavel Šremer, environmentalist and signatory of Charter 77

Ján Štrasser, poet and lyricist

Ivan Štrpka, writer

Petruška Šustrová, publicist and translator, signatory of Charta 77

Peter Tatár, civic activist

Ľubica Trubíniová, civic activist

Jan Urban, journalist, signatory of Charter 77

Martin Vadas, director and documentarist

Eva Vavroušková, civic activist

Miroslav Václavek, poet and lyricist

Ľudmila Verbitska, civic activist

Jan Vít, publicist and signatory of Charter 77

Helena Woleková, civic activist, former minister of government

Marcel Dávid Zajac, civic activist

Peter Zajac, literary scientist, university professor

Katarína Zavacká, legal historian

Viktor Žárský, biologist

Pavol Žilinčík, lawyer and civic activist