Russia’s attack on Ukraine also moves us as a student association, which is committed to „promoting an international mindset, tolerance in all areas of culture and the idea of international understanding“ (§ 3 of our statutes). People who know each other don’t shoot each other.
Many of our members have already been to both Russia and Ukraine in the past, where they were able to establish contacts and get to know the local culture and way of life. Visits to our partner universities in Omsk and Samara were a fixed date in the schedule of our association until the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. Visits to Germany enabled Russian students to get to know Germany as well.
We therefore view Russia’s current attack on Ukraine with great concern and even greater dismay. As an association that works for understanding between people, we promote peace and mutual tolerance. We condemn the escalation of violence caused by Russia’s invasion. We promote exchange and cooperation as the only existing way to peace.
For us as Verkehrte Welt, the current situation therefore unfortunately does not allow an excursion to Russia to be organized.
Nevertheless, we are convinced that this war is not a war of „the Russians“. Rather, the Government of Russia is significantly driving the confrontation. For this reason, we do not want to break off our existing partnerships with Russian universities. Rather, we see it as our task, especially in these times, to maintain contact and to point out the importance of peace. Furthermore, we are seeing first movements against the war from civil society in Russia, also through direct contacts we have. This gives us hope. We are firmly convinced that the complex conflict between Russia and Ukraine must be resolved peacefully. We call for an end to the war in Ukraine and for negotiations for a lasting peace.