On June 10-11, the international summit “For Peace in Ukraine” is to be held in Vienna. It will be attended by “representatives of Russia, Ukraine, and various NATO countries that support the goals of peace” in order to “end the war and prepare for negotiations.” However, an organization whose leadership echoes Russian propaganda in its statements is responsible for the summit. Most participants also promoted pro-Russian narratives. The purpose of the summit is to prepare the “Vienna Declaration for Peace” address to political leaders. The call is planned to be sent to the embassies of Russia, Ukraine and NATO countries, as well as international organizations for further work on the “peaceful settlement of the war”.
“Call for peace” or justification of Russian aggression?
In the description of their goal, the organizers allegedly note that they “condemn the illegal Russian invasion in Ukraine“. However, in the very next sentence, they “are aware of NATO’s co-responsibility for this long-term conflict“. That is, of course, we condemn Russia’s invasion, but we understand that it did so because of NATO’s actions. And in fact, it is not Russia’s fault, but NATO provoked it.
At the meetings provided by the summit, the participants will discuss the need for “peace talks” and a “ceasefire”, but not the return of territories occupied by Russia to Ukraine, reparations, or punishment of war criminals. As part of the meeting on the topic “Civil Society Movement and Peace voices against the War from Russia and Ukraine“, Russian and Ukrainian public figures will share the dramatic consequences of the war for their compatriots.
What is known about the organizers of the summit?
The summit is organized by a number of public organizations and institutes promoting the ideas of peace, pacifism and non-violence. One of the organizers is the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Action Alliance for Peace, Active Neutrality and Non-Violence (AbFaNG).
Former executive director of the International Peace Bureau, Reiner Braun, spreads Russian propaganda. He says that NATO expansion is the source of the Ukrainian “crisis” and sanctions against Russia will make Europeans suffer. Brown is known as an “expert” on Russian politics who favors a diplomatic solution to the war. He called the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine a “civil war”, and in 2021 he said that “friendship” with the Russian Federation meant “peace” in Europe.
Despite the dismissal of Reiner Braun from the organization in 2019, the International Peace Bureau continues to invite him to various events. And the organization still declares that “it is wrong to take the side of any of the warring armies, it is necessary to stand on the side of peace and justice” and “the establishment of peace requires the actions of both sides“. In addition, the Bureau publishes statements by Ukrainian “pacifists” (in fact, pro-Russian speakers) about how Ukraine “violates the right to refuse military service”, but for some reason, its website does not mention forced mobilization in Russia and in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
Regarding AbFaNG, the Alliance periodically publishes “peace projects”. For example, on the AbFaNG page there is a link to the article “Even after the Russian attack: peace is the only option“. The organization promotes the ideas of “neutrality” and distributes appeals by authors who oppose the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Moreover, AbFaNG published an interview with Ruslan Kotsaba, a member of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, accused of treason. Kotsaba criticized the Ukrainian government for unleashing a “civil war”, worked on Viktor Medvedchuk’s channels, and now, being abroad, joined Medvedchuk’s new movement — “Another Ukraine”.
Who is funding?
One of the sponsors of the summit is the American feminist organization Code Pink: Women for Peace (CODEPINK). On their website, CODEPINK notes that they are working to end war and imperialism in the USA, and are holding anti-war rallies. In fact, the organization plays along with Russian propaganda. For example, he opposes the Russian invasion, but says that the war was caused by the expansion of NATO and the “aggressive” approach of the West. CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin also published the book “War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict”, in which she described how the USA and NATO “provoked” the war. Under the loud headlines “nothing justifies Russia for its attack,” the organization repeats typical Russian rhetoric: it calls the Revolution of Dignity a “coup d’état supported by the United States” and justifies the annexation of Crimea by the fact that the overwhelming majority of votes in the pseudo-referendum came from “ethnic” Russians.
In addition to the statements, CODEPINK posted a petition on their website for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. The organization calls for support for the words of Pope Francis, the leaders of Brazil, Turkey and China regarding the end of the war through negotiations. The name of the petition is “Tell Biden, Putin & Zelensky: No to WWIII, Yes to a Ceasefire in Ukraine!” implies that its authors do not see any difference between the aggressor and the victim of aggression.
The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung is also among the sponsors. The Foundation’s official website states that its ideology is close to the Left Party of Germany. In particular, a member of the German parliament from this party, Katrin Vogler, stated that Germany is “doomed” to cooperate with the Russian Federation and Putin. Sahra Wagenknecht is also one of the supporters of Russia from the Left Party of Germany. The politician played along with the Russian narrative about the “civil war” in Donbas and stated that anti-Russian sanctions since 2014 are harming Germany itself.
The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung publishes articles by authors who urge not to consider Russia as a single “imperial” power, but to pay attention to NATO as well. For example, the author Christine Buchholz talks about the West’s plans to push Russian capital out of eastern Ukraine, which is why Russia decided to occupy Crimea in 2014. Other authors, Jan van Aken and Kathrin Gerlof, write that the EU wanted to use Ukraine as a “bulwark” against the Russian Federation, and Russia, in turn, sought to use its influence in Ukraine against the EU and NATO. So Ukraine had to “choose” between two players and in the end it led to “disaster”. At the same time, among the publications of the Rosa Luxemburg Stifrung there are those that express support for Ukraine and condemn the Russian invasion.
What about the speakers?
One of the speakers of the summit is linguist-theoretician, philosopher Noam Chomsky from the USA. In his speeches, Chomsky criticizes Washington’s policies and promotes typical Kremlin narratives. For example, he says that the issue of Crimea should be “postponed” for some time, and Donbas should be given “autonomy”. Chomsky also criticizes the United States for not making efforts to solve one of Putin’s most frequently expressed “security problems” — Ukraine’s membership in NATO. So this supposedly “motivated” the Russian dictator to launch an invasion.
A member of the US House of Representatives, Dennis Kucinich, was also represented at the plenary session of the summit, which will deal with the current situation in Ukraine. Since 2014, Kucinich has condemned US sanctions against Russia for its aggression. In addition, Kucinich talks about the so-called “Nazis” and the “coup d’état” in Ukraine in the Russian media. In 2022, Kucinich accused Joe Biden of starting World War III, and this year held a rally against aid to Ukraine.
Another guest of the Vienna Summit is Jeffrey Sachs, American economist, professor at Columbia University. Saks has repeatedly stated that NATO expansion allegedly “provoked” the Russian Federation, Crimea was “historically” Russian, and ethnic Russians mostly lived in Donbas. Saks participated in the meeting of the parliamentary commission of the Russian Federation on the investigation of the activities of “biolaboratories” in Ukraine. In addition, he takes a pro-China position: he accuses the US of aggravating Sino-American relations and denies massive violations of human rights in the PRC.
A video of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be shown at the panel discussion on negotiations and the ceasefire. The politician is also known for his pro-Russian position. In April 2023, Silva did not support the idea of providing Ukraine with weapons and suggested that it “cede” Crimea to Russia.
In addition to foreign guests, speakers from Ukraine were invited to the summit. In particular, the executive secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement Yurii Sheliazhenko will take part in one of the meetings. The latter said in January 2023 that the US supply of weapons to Ukraine contributes not to the end of the war but to its “escalation”. According to him, the war continues because Ukraine did not want to fulfill the Minsk agreements. In 2022, the International Peace Bureau awarded him and Russian Asya Gagieva the Sean McBride Peace Prize as activists on opposite sides of the conflict. Gagieva also participates in the summit.
Another Russian on the list, Oleh Bodrov, is not distinguished by loud statements, but is also connected to the International Peace Bureau — since October 2022, he has been a member of the board of this organization, before that he was a member of the IPB Council. According to information on the Bureau’s website, he is one of the leaders of the Russian movement for peace, environmental protection and nuclear safety.
Despite the “peaceful” facade and the involvement of participants from Ukraine (read: people with a Ukrainian passport, not with a pro-Ukrainian position), it is impossible to hide the pro-Russian orientation of the event. Such “calls for peace” actually only play into the hands of the Kremlin and the coverage of pro-Kremlin narratives in Europe. After all, according to the summit program, the participants will not discuss the most important issues for a just peace in Ukraine: de-occupation of territories, Russia’s responsibility for committed crimes, and security guarantees for Ukraine.
Speakers insist on “peaceful” talks, when Russia actually wants to occupy Ukraine, not negotiate an end to the war. Formally, the Russian Federation says that it is ready for negotiations, but “taking into account the realities that are emerging at the moment”. This wording means that Russia is not going to give up the occupation of four Ukrainian regions and Crimea. And even more so, Russia has never once agreed to discuss the payment of reparations to Ukraine or the punishment of war criminals. Instead, calls for the enslavement and murder of Ukrainians can be heard constantly on Russian TV channels and in the Russian state authorities. Negotiations with such “peacekeepers” are an agreement to freeze the war and repeat aggression in a few years.
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