The fight over Ukraine is the fight for democracy.
By Anthony Borden
IWPR FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Whether or not massed Russian forces cross their southern border in the coming hours, days or weeks, Moscow has long waged a war against the still-nascent independent state.
Armed insurrection and destabilisation techniques, political pressure and manipulation, cyber attack – all these tactics and more have been aggressively deployed for years. Surrounded on three sides by the continent’s largest army, Ukraine is now subject to the extreme psychological and economic threat of a full-scale invasion.
This is not about combatting the repression of Russian-speakers in Ukraine or reclaiming the historic territory of the Rus peoples. It is not even about the failure to implement Minsk, the complex accords signed under the pressure of the 2014 conflict.
This is about the one thing the Russian president truly fears: the right of a sovereign people, freely associating and communicating, to make their own political choices.
He cannot accept it in Ukraine. He will not tolerate it in Russia (or Belarus). He meddles in it in Georgia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond, with Russian disinformation campaigns intent on destabilising democratic processes around the world. And he trains his ire on it – destabilising “colour revolutions” – in the recent joint statement with the Chinese president.
At a moment of extreme pressure, this special edition of IWPR’s Frontline Update highlights not only key issues facing Ukraine; it also platforms its courageous local voices, determined to see their struggle through. We are and will be with them.
Ukraine may be still emerging, its structures weak, and its governance beset with many issues. But it has definitively made its choice to be an open and free European democracy; and that is what is at stake for Ukraine, and for the continent.
"This is about the one thing the Russian president truly fears: the right of a sovereign people, freely associating and communicating, to make their own political choices."
Reporting the Ukraine Crisis
International and Ukrainian media need to do more to avoid cliché and self-censorship - while giving those in the occupied territories a voice.
Interview with Nataliya Gumenyuk
"People in the occupied territories have almost no presence in the media."
"As diplomacy scrambles to avert the threat of a Russian invasion, Ukraine is locked into a consuming, nerve-wrecking conflict against Moscow-backed militias."
Ukraine: Russia Mobilises Disinfo Alongside Military
Could a sudden increase in fake news be a precursor to real-world escalation?
"They keep us on alert all the time in a state of insecurity and tension.”
Ukraine: Stress Takes Its Toll
Amid ongoing uncertainty, citizens try to prepare for every eventuality.
“Right now, the people’s biggest enemy is panic in our country.”
Ukraine’s Day of Unity
Government organises public show of solidarity on date rumoured for Russian incursion.