My name is Alona and I am FreeRossDAO’s core contributor as Operations/Community Lead. As some of you’ll know, I am Ukrainian, based in the UK. You may have heard about the ongoing tensions around Ukraine so I want to share my thoughts on it with you as I believe the issue is very much aligned with the DAOs’ core values — freedom, justice and compassion.
Open Letter on the War in Ukraine
- Why should you care? Any further military escalation is likely to have profound negative consequences for the rest of the world. For crypto fans here: It will also likely mean a guaranteed and long bear market.
- None of what I say in this open letter reflects other core contributors’ views.
- As a native Russian (& Ukrainian) speaker myself and a huge fan of classical Russian literature — I have no animosity towards Russians and have lots of amazing friends from Russia. When I say “Russia”, I mean the Kremlin’s authoritarian regime, not Russian people.
I have been raising awareness about the war in Ukraine since 2014 by covering perspectives from people in Ukraine and its history. I regularly debunk misinformation and promote media literacy in my Twitter account which you are welcome to follow. I have never been affiliated with any political party or ideology. I like to develop nuanced views with an open mind while seeking the truth.
Right now, my family and friends back in Ukraine along with the rest 44 million people in Ukraine are in great danger. Here’s a thread on what it feels like to be Ukrainian these days.
Every time I speak to my family, I am scared that this is the last time we speak. I do not want anyone to experience this and that’s the reason why I am writing this post. I believe that even one person can make a huge difference if they put their mind to it and I have been spending all my free time to help prevent further escalation of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukrainians do not want to go to war. We never attacked any country at all and gave up the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world in exchange for security assurances that have been grossly violated. Right now our lives at the whim of a dictator and I am terrified of the atrocities of the WWII happening again in my beautiful country — on a much larger scale this time. We have to prevent this together and people in Ukraine need your help.
Special message to Russian people: Many people in Ukraine understand that not all of you support the Kremlin regime and how hard it is for you to fight it. We do not hate you. We are nothing like what they show you on the federal channels. We don’t want this war.
What’s happening in Ukraine?
- A large war in Ukraine is likely within the next few days/weeks due to the escalating tensions between Russia and NATO. Yuval Noah Harari argues that what’s at stake in Ukraine is the direction of human history.
- Caught up in the middle, my home country, Ukraine is unable to avert this war on its own as the main issues at dispute are outside Ukraine’s control, such as demands of security guarantees that Russia has made to NATO (which Ukraine is not part of). Here’s a great analysis of the recent events by Michael Kofman.
- Amid the growing tensions, Russian media claims that there is a genocide of the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine’s southeast. As a person born and raised in Eastern Ukraine and a native Russian speaker, I categorically deny this false narrative. I have never been discriminated against in Ukraine for speaking Russian. A lot of Russian speakers serve in the Ukrainian army along with Ukrainian speakers. Speaking Russian is not an indication of pro-Kremlin views or an intention to join Russia.
- A population of 44 million people (Ukrainians, Russians & all other ethnicities) are being effectively held hostage, caught up in the conflict that Ukraine cannot resolve on its own. It’s extremely stressful for all of us and that’s why people in Ukraine need support right now. Not just ethnic Ukrainians — all people in Ukraine of all ethnicities, along with their loved ones outside of Ukraine, need your support.
What can you do to help?
- Educate yourself about Ukraine — this list of key resources is a good start as well as these books. Please spread information, raise awareness and talk about this in your houses, classrooms, at work and on social media. This is critical.
- Use correct terminology when speaking about Ukraine. Most importantly — encourage the media to do the same. Words matter — check out this video to find out how to avoid misleading vocabulary.
- Check on your Ukrainian friends and show compassion — here’s a great manual on how to speak to your Ukrainian friends right now.
- List of organisations to support Ukraine’s war relief. Source: Ukraine Resources doc by Sasha Boychenko. Ukraine is the leading country in terms of crypto adoption so some key volunteer organisations, e.g. Save Life in UA- accept donations in crypto.
Where can you learn more? Which news sources are credible?
Mainstream media (from every country) often just push a certain agenda so double and triple check the presented “facts” and don’t take any headlines at face value.
The best way to educate yourself is to supplement what you hear on the news with perspectives of people who have lived in Ukraine or have a deep understanding of it.
Here are my personal recommendations (in no particular order & will be updated):
- Simon Ostrovsky – award-winning freelance news and documentary producer. Simon is known for his coverage of the crisis in Crimea and the war in Ukraine for VICE News.
- Terrell Jermaine Starr — a Foreign Affairs journalist presenting a viewpoint of living in Ukraine as a black man.
- Tadeusz Giczan — a Belarusian journalist, Fellow of CEPA.
- Illia Ponomarenko — the Defense reporter with The Kyiv Independent.
- Serhii Plokhy — professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, where he also serves as the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.
- Sasha Boychenko — a Ukrainian living in Portugal, fighting for victims’ rights at Victim Support EU. Check out her post on the war in Ukraine from Ukraine-centric point of view
- Ukraine’s Official Twitter account — more exciting than it sounds. Endless source of hilarious memes on geopolitics. Also, Ukraine World — account showcasing Ukraine’s dynamic society, changing economy and vibrant culture.
- Defence/Geopolitics analysts — Rob Lee, Michael Kofman, Dmitri Alperovitch.