A petition called the “Manifesto for Peace” appeared on Change.org on February 10 and has since been signed by over 766,000 people. The authors of the petition are Germans Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht. Although anyone can support the petition, regardless of nationality, it is another indication that some European cities, in addition to Moscow, love Russian “peace.”
Under the guise of “peace” and “achieving compromises on both sides,” Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht are promoting typical Russian propaganda narratives. The authors begin the manifesto by equating the victim with the criminal, a classic justification for any crime. They mention the military and civilian casualties on both sides of the war, but do not specify who is responsible for the suffering.
The petition contains no sharp condemnation of Russian aggression or calls for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity or the punishment of war criminals. Instead, the authors propose “compromise on both sides” to avoid escalation and a potential Third World War, encouraging Germany to refuse to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine. However, a compromise with Russia will not lead to the end of the war, but will give occupiers time to regroup and prepare a new strike.
Studies show that public opinion in Germany is not as unambiguous as the authors of the petition try to present. The majority of respondents consider it appropriate to support Ukraine with weapons, and many believe that negotiations should aim to restore Ukraine’s borders before the annexation of Crimea. Western leaders, including Chancellor Scholz, believe that Russia is not prepared for real negotiations.
Russian propagandists regularly broadcast hate speech against other countries and call for nuclear strikes on NATO countries. Russia will not stop at the occupation of Donbas and southern Ukraine. It will fight until Ukrainian defenders armed with Western equipment stop them.
The Left Party proposes to refuse the supply of Western equipment, fearing escalation, but is not concerned that destroyed Ukrainian cities already look as if Russia used weapons of mass destruction against them.
Although the risk of nuclear escalation remains, the choice is limited. Either fight with the hope of a just peace, or make concessions to the aggressor and live in a world without rules, where dictators can launch “special operations” against their neighbors and threaten with a nuclear stick with impunity.