On February 10, the “Manifesto for Peace” petition appeared on the Change.org platform, it has already been signed by more than 748,000 people. The authors of the appeal are Germans Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht. And although the vote does not reflect German public opinion — a citizen of any country can support the petition — it is another reminder that Russian “peace” is loved not only in Moscow, but also in some European cities.
Under the guise of “peace,” “achieving compromises on both sides,” Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht are actually pushing typical Russian propaganda narratives.
What is known about the authors of the petition?
Alice Schwarzer is a German journalist and feminist, founder of EMMA magazine. Worked in various fields: reporter, freelance political correspondent, teacher, editor of “Dusseldorf News”. She took an active part in the women’s movement in France, and then in the Federal Republic of Germany. Co-founder of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. In 2012, Schwarzer was a delegate to the Federal Assembly from the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, but lost.
Sahra Wagenknecht is a German politician, economist and publicist. In 1998, she participated in the Federal elections of Germany from the Party of Democratic Socialism, but did not pass. In 2004, she was elected to the European Parliament from the same political force. In 2009, Wagenknecht managed to get into the Bundestag from the Left Party, and currently remains a member of parliament from the same party. In 2018, together with allies, she founded the center-left movement “Aufstehen” (Stand Up). Sahra Wagenknecht repeatedly spread pro-Kremlin narratives. For example, she called Russia’s invasion of Donbas a “civil war“, and in 2017 she urged for the dissolution of NATO and the creation of a security alliance with Russia. Also, Wagenknecht has repeatedly said that anti-Russian sanctions since 2014 have harmed Germany.
The authors begin the manifesto with the classic justification of any crime — equating the victim with the criminal. First, they mention the military and civilian casualties on both sides of the war, but for some reason they do not mention who is responsible for this suffering. “Women were raped, children were intimidated, the whole nation was traumatized,” the authors write, but they do not specify who became the executioner of the Ukrainian people.
The petition contains neither a sharp condemnation of Russian aggression, nor calls for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity or the punishment of war criminals. The most difficult thought the reader will encounter is “war is bad and peace is good.”
Further, so that Ukrainians do not even think about a just peace, “peace-loving” Europeans offer Germany to refuse the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. Otherwise — escalation, Putin’s nuclear briefcase and the Third World War.
To avoid the end of the world, the Germans encourage “compromise on both sides.” And this version of a peaceful settlement is allegedly supported by 50% of the German population. However, public opinion in Germany is not as unambiguous as the authors of the petition try to present. In a YouGov poll published at the end of December, it is indeed indicated that 55% of Germans support the start of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. At the same time, half of the respondents said that Ukraine should return all its territories, including Crimea, which is not very similar to the “compromises” proposed in the manifesto.
Other studies also show results that contradict the arguments of peace-at-any-cost advocates. In a February 25 Civey survey, 63% of respondents said Germany should do more to promote peace talks. However, 42% of respondents believed that the goal of the negotiations should be to restore the borders of Ukraine before the annexation of Crimea, and 33% were in favor of restoring the borders by February 24, 2022.
According to the Infratest dimap survey of March 2, the majority of respondents (47%) consider it appropriate to support Ukraine with weapons, and 73% agree that Ukraine should decide for itself when to negotiate with Russia. 54% do not agree that the end of the war will mean the loss of Ukrainian territories.
In fact, a compromise with Russia will not lead to the end of the war, but will only give the occupiers time to regroup and prepare a new strike. Currently, Russia agrees to negotiations, which will not discuss the de-occupation of Ukrainian territories, the punishment of criminals or the payment of reparations. So, in fact, these are not negotiations, but their simulation for the temporary freezing of the front line. Western leaders, in particular, Chancellor Scholz, talk about Russia’s unpreparedness for real negotiations.
The rhetoric of Russian propagandists leaves no doubt that the aggressor intends to continue killing Ukrainians and seizing their lands. Moreover, Russian channels regularly broadcast hate speech against other countries: Kazakhstan, Georgia, the Baltic states, Poland, and Moldova. And central TV channels are calling for nuclear strikes on NATO countries. Therefore, Russia will not stop at the occupation of Donbas and southern Ukraine. It will fight until Ukrainian defenders armed with Western equipment stop her.
It is from the supply of this equipment that the German opposition proposes to refuse It is the supply of this equipment that the Left Party proposes to refuse, fearing escalation. And at the same time, they are not embarrassed that the destroyed Ukrainian cities (Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Mariinka, Bakhmut and others) already look as if Russia used weapons of mass destruction against them.
Mariinka, Donetsk region, early March 2023
Of course, the risk of nuclear escalation remains — in the latest report of the US intelligence community, it is noted that against the backdrop of defeats, Moscow will rely more on its nuclear arsenal to achieve its goals. However, both in Ukraine and in the West, the choice is small — either fight with the hope of a just peace, or make concessions to the aggressor and live in a world without rules, where dictators can launch “special operations” against their own neighbors and threaten with a nuclear stick with impunity.
In the previous version of the article, we indicated that the German opposition proposes to abandon the supply of weapons to Ukraine. However, not all opposition parties are against supporting Ukraine. Therefore, we changed the wording “the German opposition proposes” to “the Left Party proposes”, because in the text is about Sarah Wagenknecht, a representative of this party.
The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations