This is a modern world where everyone is connected and everyone is working across boundaries. We have employed and worked with Russian people in the past, we have Russian friends, and we have Ukrainian friends. Personally in my friends circle are a Ukrainian-Russian couple. It breaks our hearts that there is such a terrible conflict now ongoing which is affecting our friends so much.
The Russian leadership are bullies. They use fear and intimidation and anxiety to line their pockets. It’s an old strategy and one where weak institutions are the bully’s friend. If an institution has no way of defending the weak, only the bullies win. Bullies tend to like one another, even if they often, almost inevitably, end up turning against one another when a big fightback comes.
Politics can often be hard to understand. The politics of other countries even more so. I doubt if every politician in Ukraine is an angel. But so what? If I see someone being mugged in the street I don’t check out their politics or moral base before trying to scare off the mugger and helping the victim. When there’s a power disparity, the only thing we can do is to show that actually, there is support from others and no, we won’t tolerate the bullying. We need to help heal the world and move to one with good institutions so that arguments take place in corridors, not battlefields. This is why things like the EU, African Union, the UN, etc, really matter. Too many people have been trying to undermine such bodies for too long. And it’s very very wrong. Let’s all defend them, and let’s defend the right of the Ukrainian people to live in peace.
So what can we, Interconnect, do to help now? I personally have sent money to Unicef to help the child victims of this war. I’ve told friends to do similar. Can you?
I’ve also decided that if we can find a refugee organisation who have someone looking for work in our field, we’ll try and find a way to employ one person to add to our team of ten, regardless of origin. I’m also going to encourage any Ukrainian charity working on rebuilding a lost internet presence to get in touch and we’ll try to do at least one free site for someone. It’s the least we can do.