— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) March 11, 2022
To see the full list of dissident signatories, visit the Renew Democracy Iniitative.
“We are 85 dissidents from 24 oppressive countries. As those who know firsthand the experience of living under oppression, we have come together to warn the Free World that it’s not just our freedoms that are under threat. We know that the dictators back home will stop at nothing to destroy freedom anywhere and everywhere. This is why we are calling on all free nations and citizens from all over the world to come together and defend Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s attack on his neighbor is an attack on the idea of democracy itself. If we fail to stop him here, he and all the dictators aligned with him will continue to spread darkness to the rest of the Free World.
Authoritarian rulers already support one another’s regimes as they aim to mold the world in their own image. The regimes in Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and others have banded together against democracy in defense of their own power. Meanwhile, Putin has meddled in the elections of at least 27 countries. These actions all stem from an authoritarian fear that freedom is infectious – that a free and prosperous neighbor might give the Russian people hope that they may one day be free to decide their own futures. China’s Xi Jinping has the same fears about democracy in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
Dictators around the world are watching how you respond to Putin’s aggression to see how much they can get away with. Take it from us – people who have suffered under authoritarianism; who understand how authoritarians work – these dictators don’t stop; they are stopped. And the Free World has given dictators free rein for too long. Democracies failed to adequately respond when Putin invaded Georgia in 2008, when he first invaded Ukraine in 2014, when he propped up dictators in Syria, Kazakhstan and Belarus, and when he assembled his troops on the border of Ukraine.
So now, we must do what we can to not only help the people of Ukraine fight to save their homes and families, but to nurture freedom around the world. By signing this letter, all of us – dissidents from Russia to Iran; Cuba to Cambodia; South Sudan to Syria, and 18 other countries, are uniting not only in defense of our own peoples, but in defense of liberty everywhere. If dictators can help each other, so must we. Together, we stand with Ukraine.”