2021 Right Livelihood Laureate Vladimir Slivyak.

Two years into Russia’s war on Ukraine, Vladimir Slivyak keeps up the fight for peace and Russia’s soul

News 23.02.2024

Vladimir Slivyak, a renowned Russian environmental activist and 2021 Right Livelihood Laureate, once led peaceful protests against nuclear and coal corporations in cities around Russia. His life was deeply rooted in the pursuit of energy efficiency and climate protection. However, his reality was drastically altered two years ago when Russia began waging a full-scale war against Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s autocratic regime and the war, a “dark time” in Russia’s history, as Slivyak called the past years, forced him to flee his homeland.

“Russia became a fascist state,” Slivyak said. “It launched a war against Ukraine. And that also changed everything that I was doing.”

His focus has shifted from environmental activism to peace work and anti-nuclear campaigning against the state corporation Rosatom, which is directly involved in the war.

Despite the grim circumstances, Slivyak found hope in the resilience of the Russian people.

“Even if Russia is a completely fascist state right now, and Vladimir Putin is a bloody fascist dictator, there are people in Russia who still protest this regime,” he said. “For the past two years, I’ve met a lot of young and smart people who really want to change this country.”

Looking forward, Slivyak’s main concern is the continuation of the war and the need for a regime change in Russia.

“It’s just impossible as long as Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia stays,” he said. He said he hoped that the political regime in Russia would soon collapse.

In the face of the unrelenting aggression unleashed on Ukraine, Slivyak encourages people around the world to support the fight against Russia’s war.

“Democracy is the simple thing that individuals – in Western countries especially – can do,” he said. “Contact your elected officials and demand more support for Ukraine and more support for Russian opposition and the Russian activists fighting the fascist regime in Russia.”

He noted that Russian activism has also evolved significantly over the past two years, with discussions on Russian imperialism and colonialism becoming more prevalent.

“We are finally starting to discuss Russian imperialism and colonialism, the possible democratic developments in Russia and how we can achieve it,” Slivyak said. “We have a long road ahead, which I hope will lead to the deconstruction of the Russian political regime, which I call a fascist regime, and hopefully a new democratic time for Russia in the future.”

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