||Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe|
Centers for Pluralism Letter of Solidarity to Our Friends in Georgia
August 19, 2008
We, the members of the Centers for Pluralism Network, which includes representatives from more than one-hunderd NGOs in twenty-three countries of the former Soviet Union and Soviet bloc, express our Solidarity with our democratic friends in Georgia.
The invasion of Georgia by Russia is a gross violation of international law. In the 21st century, arbitrary use of force is an unacceptable means to resolve disputes. For much of the 20th century, the Soviet Union provided the world many of the worst examples of aggressive behavior that helped teach us to seek peaceful resolutions to political problems. Now, Vladimir Putin continues the policy he started in Chechnya of anihilating people and nations to achieve his goals.
We call on the Russian government to reject its brutal use of force and to end its propaganda assault reminiscent of Soviet lies, to withdraw to Russian borders, to respect Georgian territory, to cease the practice of breaking off provinices from its neighbors, and to accept the real involvement of international institutions to help resolve such disputes.
We call on the people of Russia to reject violence and to respect the borders of its neighbors. Rise up to demand from your leaders your place in a prosperous and democratic century. Let the world know that your leaders do not represent your wish to move forward towards democracy. Call on your government to step away from the backwards path towards Sovietism.
We express our solidarity with all Georgia’s democrats who are bearing the consequences of arbitrary leadership and brutal force. We support your hopes for a soverign, democratic, and independent Georgia. Recent events have delivered a serious blow to those desires. We salute especially our Georgian friends and members of the Centers for Pluralism Network who have worked for more than a decade on building working relations with ethnic communities in Abkhazia and Ossetia and on fostering reconciliation and the peaceful resolution of conflicts in these regions. You have shown a way out of the crisis. We stand with you in your struggle to fulfill democratic aspirations.
Gabriel Andreescu, Director, Center for International Studies, Romania
Eric Chenoweth, co-Director, Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe
Miljenko Dereta, Director, Civic Initiatives, Serbia
Philip Dmitrov, former prime minister, Bulgaria
Smaranda Enache, co-Chair, Liga Pro Europa, Romania
Isa Gambar, Chairman, Musavat political party, Azerbaijan
Vahid Gazi, Chairman, INAM Center for Pluralism, Azerbaijan
Ylber Hysa, former Director, Kosova Action for Civic Initiatives
Tolekan Ismailova, Director, Civil Society Against Corruption Human Rights Center, Kyrgyzstan
Agu Laius, Director, Jaan Tõnisson Institute
Irena Lasota, co-Director, Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe
Ivan Lozowy, President, Institute of Statehood and Democracy, Ukraine
Siarhiej Mackievič, Chairman, Civil Society Centar Supolnasc, Belarus
Tamara Mackievič, vice-Chairman, Belarusian School Society, Belarus
Alexandra-Luminita Petrescu, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Romania
Alexandere Podrabinek, editor-in-chief, Prima Human Rights News Agency
Liana Popa, Executive Director, Foundation for Pluralism, Romania
Maciej Strzembosz, President, Polish Audiovisual Chamber of Commerce
Petruska Sustrova, journalist and former spokesperson Charter 77, Czech Republic
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