November 28, 2004
Education and science are above geographic borders since their ultimate mission lies in forming and promoting humanistic ideals, principles of democracy and academic values that give birth to human solidarity. At this crucial moment in the history of the Ukrainian people we are addressing the academic community of Russia with a request to demonstrate its moral support and intellectual solidarity with Ukrainian educators and scholars. We are more than convinced that your support is of paramount importance especially now when the key figures of Russia – starting with President Vladimir Putin up to the Ambassador of Russia in Ukraine Mr. Viktor Chernomyrdin – are lending their full-fledged unconditional support to just one of the presidential contenders in Ukraine disrespecting the real will of the Ukrainian people.
Unfortunately, leading Russian mass media never kept to the principle of the International Convention on Journalist’s Ethics when covering the events in Ukraine. In fact, they are responsible for divesting tens of millions of Ukrainian voters of the right to bring their position across to the residents of Russia. The highest authorities of Russia with the humiliating support of Russian mass media continue to forge the image of an enemy, a kind of U.S. or Western European mercenaries, of the vast masses of Ukrainian voters. This cannot be allowed to last any longer! We are urging you to say your resounding academic “No!” to such undemocratic and alarming trends. Education and science, unlike irresponsible and often short-sighted politicians and journalists, cannot give their consent to manipulations, fraud, negative stereotypes and preconceptions regardless of the world outlook of the members of academic community.
Therefore we are appealing to all the representatives of the Russian academic community to put right the political and informational asymmetry concerning the events taking place in Ukraine. We believe that many Russian people share the same aspirations as we when they are following the situation in Ukraine. We do not want any wall between Ukraine and Russia, we are against inflaming hostility and provoking separatism which are forced upon us by political technologists, who earn their money. We believe that both President Vladimir Putin and Russian mass media are obliged to give an attentive ear to your opinion, to your voice of intellectual and educational conscience. Help us carry our opinion through to the Russian general public! Let us join together in proving that education and science are capable of overcoming all artificial obstacles and boundaries!
On behalf of the academic community of Lviv region
Prof. Ivan Vakarchuk
Rector of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,
Head of the Rectors’ Council of Lviv Region