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Appeal of the Organizing Committee of the Congress regarding the military aggression against Ukraine

The Organizing Committee of the International Congress of Belarusian Studies strongly condemns Russia's military aggression against independent and sovereign Ukraine. Russia violates international law, despises universal values. Our thoughts and hearts together with the Ukrainian people, who courageously defend the sovereignty of their country.

Unfortunately, the authorities of the Republic of Belarus, deprived of democratic legitimacy in 2020, have been acting as accomplices in Russia's military operation. Russian tank units have launched an attack on Kyiv from the territory of Belarus, missile shelling of Ukraine is being carried out from the territory of Belarus, Russian troops are using the infrastructure of the Belarusian army for their needs.

This is a rude violation of international obligations and the Constitution of Belarus. Involving Belarus in the war is a crime and complete disregard for the interests of the Belarusian people.

We are asking the Ukrainian and international community understand that Belarusian society does not support the war. If they had the opportunity to vote democratically, Belarusians would had never elected supporters of war (especially, war with fraternal Ukraine) to senior government positions.

Unfortunately, Belarus is an authoritarian country. In 2020, the Belarusian people clearly demonstrated their commitment to democracy and freedom by refusing to trust Lukashenko. Lukashenko retained his power by using physical violence, large-scale repression, and Russia's political and economic support. Since then, the rhetoric of the Belarusian authorities has contained more and more xenophobia, hatred of the West and Ukraine, as well as propaganda of physical violence and war.

The academic community of Belarus has actively supported the democratic process in Belarus and suffered mass repressions - arrests, criminal cases, intimidation, dismissals from the Academy of Sciences and universities. Hundreds of teachers, professors and scientists have faced this.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of the Belarusian academic community in Belarus and abroad strongly condemns the actions of Russia and of the Belarusian authorities, stands for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, respects its desire for freedom and the right to choose their own future.

We believe that the measures aimed at the complete disruption of cooperation between Ukraine, the EU and the United States on one side and the Belarusian academic community on the other side are wrong.

Disruption of contacts and cooperation with state controlled academic bodies is justified, but cancellation of contacts at the individual level and with civil society is counterproductive. This will weaken the ability of Belarusian society to resist the propaganda of war, militarism and imperial revanchism carried by the Russian and Belarusian authorities.

Since its founding in 2011, the International Congress of Belarusian Studies has been a platform for dialogue and cooperation between academic and expert communities. It always spoke from the position of respect and support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of all countries in the region and especially Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland.

Ukrainian researchers have always been an important part of Congress, making up one of the largest delegations. The Organizing Committee has always promoted the widest possible participation of Ukrainian scientists in the work of the Congress. We express our support and sincere solidarity at this critical time, as well as our readiness to support Ukrainian scientists by all available means.

We are convinced that the cooperation between Belarusian and Ukrainian scientists should be continued and intensified. Academic communities in the region must resist external aggression by reinforcing one another.

Andrei Kazakevich (Head of the Organizing Committee)

Tomasz Błaszczak (Member of the Organizing Committee)

Vika Veličkaitė (Member of the Organizing Committee)

Rūstis Kamuntavičius (Member of the Organizing Committee)

Daria Cusitcaia (Member of the Organizing Committee)

Aliaksei Lastouski (Member of the Organizing Committee)

Lithuania Belarus
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