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What/who are the prominent pacifist movements/organizations/thinkers in the 21st century, and what is their position on the conflict in Ukraine?

Much of the public and political discussion about the conflict in Ukraine is grounded in the concept of just war. Indeed, the initial anti-war sentiment was aimed only against the Russian "special operation"; however, waging war by Ukraine and the support thereof by the West are considered largely justified, and those who volunteered to fight and kill for Ukraine have been largely treated as heroes, and the pacifist attitudes have even been denounced.

One could agree that idealistic pacifism and/or non-resistance to violence is a no-go for Ukraine. However, pragmatic pacifism seems quire relevant: it is unlikely that Ukraine will be able to liberate all of its territory, which means that Ukraine and its allies will eventually need to seek an accommodation with Russia, lest countless Ukrainians and Russians continue to die in meaningless fighting. (Even if Ukraine were to regain the control over all of its territory, Ukraine and NATO will still need to coexist with Russia.) Politically, the question of accommodation with Russia imposes itself not only from a moral point of view, but also due to the economic hardships that the war brought to the world, particularly to Europe - in this sense pacifism could be a moral justification for negotiations with Russia.

To return to the question: I would like to learn more about modern pacifism, its views on the conflict in Ukraine, and whether any prominent western politicians have expressed opinions in favor of making concessions to Russia in order to end the war.

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    Putting this here under the question: please don't DV any answers citing pacifist viewpoints just because you disagree with the utility of those pacifist solutions wrt Ukraine (no one's DVed any answers to date). This is just asking for the pacifist PoV (I think - I didn't ask the question). Jul 13 at 19:38
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    Reminder: the question is about pacifism, i e., about the morality of waging a war. It is not about the best Ukrainian/Western strategy for winning or what exactly can and cannot be won. Jul 14 at 5:49
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    The history teaches us that the weapons given to the Mid East states in 1970s and 1980s didn't do them or us ANY good in the long run. On the contrary, Afghanistan and Iran have been using our old weapons against us. Given this historical lesson, the pacifist position is not to provide any weapons to Ukraine at all. After all, Ukraine was unable to properly manage the civil life in their own country since 1991, so there is no doubt they'd be unable to properly manage whatever military help we give them in the long run, after the active war phase is over. Nov 9 at 17:36

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Politicians, especially those who are sufficiently prominent to be involved in actual governance, are very seldom pacifists. Accordingly, I am unaware of any statements made by pacifist politicians on the Russo-Ukranian War. However, a large number of (self-described) pacifist organisations have provided some level of commentary, and examples are found below.

Secular Organizations

War Resisters' International

Describes itself as,

a global network of grassroots antimilitarist and pacifist groups, working together for a world without war

and is one of the oldest and largest international pacifist networks, having been founded in 1921. It is based in London, UK. On February 24th 2022 they released the following statement,

As War Resisters' International, we are extremely concerned about the war in Ukraine. War is a crime against humanity!

We call on Russia to immediately cease all attacks and withdraw its troops from the borders with Ukraine.

We call on the people of Luhansk/Lugansk and Donetsk/Donetsk to make it clear to the Russian government that they want to determine their own destiny, not at the price of war.

We call on the Ukrainian government to renounce military resistance and to proclaim civil resistance instead.

We call on the Ukrainian people to refuse all obedience to a possible new government installed by Russia. This is called social defence. If everyone refuses to obey Russia's orders, if Russia occupies Ukraine, it will ultimately not be able to achieve its goals.

We also call on the Russian people and Russian soldiers to refuse all obedience to their government's acts of war, to resist non-violently and to bring about the removal of the Putin regime. This is also part of social defence.

We call on Russia, the UN, the OSCE, NATO and all governments to start negotiations immediately.

We call on NATO members to show moderation in their response to Russian aggression and not to make the Russian people pay for the crimes of their leadership.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in these difficult times and we support those resisting war in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere.

So essentially they condemn the Russian invasion and advocate the use of Civilian-based defence. More recently, WRI has published articles by Yurii Sheliazhenko, who is described as the executive secretary of a group called Ukrainian Pacifists. You can find the full article here. It is largely what one would expect from a pacifist group, but does include the following, somewhat interesting line,

We don’t call for any particular action now to ensure that peace plans will not be targeted by hatred and attacks of militarists

Peace Pledge Union

Is a British NGO, founded in 1934, which, in its own words, "has been campaigning for a warless World". Here is a summary of their position on the Russo-Ukrainian War,

The Peace Pledge Union stands in solidarity with peace campaigners in Ukraine, Russia and throughout the world who are resisting the war in Ukraine. Condemning the invasion of Ukraine and renouncing all war, we stand against both Russian militarism and NATO militarism.

The War Resisters League

Is an American organisation, founded in 1923 which claims to adhere to the following creed,

The War Resisters League affirms that all war is a crime against humanity. We are determined not to support any kind of war, international or civil, and to strive nonviolently for the removal of all causes of war, including racism, sexism and all forms of exploitation.

They released this statement in June 2022, which concludes as follows,

As an antimilitarist organization that has resisted war for a century, we affirm that our hope does not rely in the actions of nations which will always be self-interested. Our hope lies in the courageous experiments with nonviolence among people who resist violence and oppression. Our hope resides in recognizing that no person is our enemy, but war itself is the common enemy of all humanity.

To stop this war, we call for an end to the escalation, authentic peace talks, and a demilitarization of the region. There is no hope in military victory.

German Peace Society (DFG-VK)

Was founded in 1892 in Berlin, and released the following statement in February 2022,

Stop the war! Остановите войну!

After the deployment of Russian troops to the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and their recognition by Russia as independent states on Tuesday, this was followed Thursday morning by Russia's invasion of other parts of Ukraine in violation of international law on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Our solidarity is with the people of Ukraine and all who will suffer the consequences of this war.

We demand an immediate stop to the attacks on Ukraine, the withdrawal of Russian troops and a return to the negotiating table. We call on all soldiers to lay down their arms and refuse to go to war. We demand from the European Union to open its borders for refugees and to maintain the visa-free regime for Ukrainians. The German government must accept and support deserters and conscientious objectors from Ukraine and Russia.

We strictly reject arms deliveries to crisis and war zones, including Ukraine. These are counterproductive and make urgently needed peace negotiations impossible. There is no separation between defensive and offensive weapons. Any weapon can always be used to support own attacks or counterattacks. More weapons do not lead to peace, they rather pour oil on the fire of this conflict. We firmly reject demands from Germany for a military build- up or participation in the conflict.

We call on all countries to reject Russia's breach of international law. The approval of the Russian invasion by individual states outrages us. We advocate the outlawing and prohibition of wars of aggression worldwide and legal consequences for those responsible. We call for prudence in this difficult situation in order to prevent a further escalation of the war. Russia's president is threatening consequences for interference the likes of which have never been seen in history. Putin's threats, particularly with regard to the worldwide nuclear arsenals, fill us with concern. This situation highlights the need for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The vision of a pan-European peace order is becoming a distant prospect as a result of the invasion of Russian troops. Only a cessation of hostilities and the development of sustainable solutions can restore prospects for peaceful coexistence.

We welcome all non-violent protests in Russia, Ukraine and other parts of the world that demand the cessation of hostilities and work for peaceful solutions. We call on people to continue to take to the streets in the coming days and especially invite them to the large rally we are co-organizing on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Victory Column in Berlin.

Assorted South Korean NGOs

You can find the full list of NGOs and their statement on the war (released February 2022) at the above link. This is the concluding paragraph,

We strongly stand in solidarity with all people living in Ukraine’s territory and support the people of Russia who are against the war. South Korean civil society calls for peace and stands in solidarity with people around the world who are against this war.

Stop the War Coalition

Is a British group established in 2001 which has been active in opposing the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and NATO more generally. They give this description of their own activities,

Stop the War opposes the British establishment’s disastrous addiction to war and its squandering of public resources on militarism. We have initiated many campaigns around these issues.

We are committed to supporting Palestinian rights, opposing racism and Islamophobia, and to the defence of civil liberties.

In February 2022, they released the following statement in relation the Russo-Ukrainian War,

Stop the War condemns the movement of Russian forces into eastern Ukraine and urges that they immediately withdraw, alongside the resumption of diplomatic negotiations to resolve the crisis.

This dispute could and should be resolved peacefully, and that remains the only basis for a lasting settlement, rather than the imposition of military solutions. That it has not been resolved is not, however, the responsibility of the Russian or Ukrainian governments alone.

The conflict is the product of thirty years of failed policies, including the expansion of NATO and US hegemony at the expense of other countries as well as major wars of aggression by the USA, Britain and other NATO powers which have undermined international law and the United Nations.

The British government has played a provocative role in the present crisis, talking up war, decrying diplomacy as appeasement and escalating arms supplies and military deployments to Eastern Europe.

If there is to be a return to diplomacy, as there should be, the British government should pledge to oppose any further eastward expansion of NATO and should encourage a return to the Minsk-2 agreement, already signed by both sides, by all parties as a basis for ending the crisis in relations between Ukraine and Russia.

Beyond that, there now needs to be a unified effort to develop pan-European security arrangements which meet the needs of all states, something that should have been done when the Warsaw Pact was wound up at the end of the Cold War. The alternative is endless great power conflict with all the attendant waste of resources and danger of bloodshed and destruction.

We send our solidarity to all those campaigning for an end to the war, often under very difficult conditions, in Russia and Ukraine. Stop the War can best support them by demanding a change in Britain’s own policy, which can be seen to have failed.

Religious Groups

Soka Gakkai

Is a Japanese New Religious Group, founded in 1930, which is generally identified as Buddhist. They claim to have 12 million members and to be an organisation promoting "peace, culture and education", although their pacifist credentials have been disputed. Their president, Minoru Harada, released the following statement in February 2022,

The flames of war continue to spread in Ukraine. It is deeply regrettable that civilian casualties are on the rise. Many people's lives, livelihood and dignity have been threatened by the conflict. This is truly tragic. It is heartbreaking to see the dire situation every day. We strongly call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

I hope that utmost efforts will be made by all countries concerned to prevent the situation from worsening. As a Buddhist, together with Sokai Gakkai members around the World, I am offering fervent prayers for the quickest possible end to the conflict and a return to peace and safety for all.

Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

Was established in 1937 and is based in the UK. In February 2022, they stated,

The Anglican Pacifist Fellowship does not believe that war is ever a way to solve disputes between or within countries. Jesus taught us that we should love our enemies and do good to those that hate us. To use violence against others does not meet with His teaching.

It is therefore with great sadness that we hear of the invasion of Ukraine and of the division and fighting over recent years in the Donbas Region. We think of all the people who will suffer as a result of this conflict, in Ukraine, Russia or surrounding countries.

We hope that even now a peaceful solution will quickly be found and pray for those from many countries who are still working for that outcome. We need to pray also that other countries will not be drawn into this conflict.

We stand with our fellow Christians in both countries caught up in this conflict, Orthodox, Catholic and all other denominations and with other peace-loving people. We pray that God will help them to witness to the message of the Gospel and that this will bring peace and hope to those affected by these dark times.

And we hope that Christians the world over will do what they can to reject violence towards their fellow human beings and fellow Christians. That God will give wisdom to all political leaders, particularly those in Ukraine and Russia, the wisdom to see that war and the horrors that it brings is not the way to settle disputes.

It is possible that their position has changed somewhat since then. Their May 2022 newsletter is fronted by a letter from a trustee of the organisation which concludes with,

Consequently, NATO nations must literally dig in to repel a hostile Russia. Although pacifists would not accept this, perhaps to continue to support Ukraine militarily is the sanest answer, bearing in mind the great peril the world is now in; some would say, its moment of maximum danger. In this we can but regret the failure of nuclear disarmament campaigns and continue to support the peace activists working in this area.

Obviously, the above statements only represent a concise summary of the positions taken by these organisations, and there are many other organisations that I haven't discussed. A detailed discussion of the views of every pacifist in the World is well beyond the scope of this site.

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    Thanks for these. They were pretty much as I suspected, i.e. unlike hardcore realpolitik-ers who tend to stay mum on Russia's initial action, most pacifists condemn the invasion. I was hoping the Russel Foundation would have some position on this war (since the op mentioned Russel in comments), but alas they seem to have turned into a glorified bookshop these days... which you could swear lives in a time capsule. russfound.org
    – Fizz
    Jul 14 at 0:04
  • OTOH if someone feels like paying 12 pounds spokesmanbooks.com/Spokesman/PDF/Putin125.pdf spokesmanbooks.com/Spokesman/PDF/124CorbynMP.pdf
    – Fizz
    Jul 14 at 0:18
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    @Fizz we need to pay attention not to make wrong conclusions: yes, that's the statement of pacifistic groups. But there is nothing saying that they are actually right, in fact some don't understand a lot about the conflict itself. "The conflict is the product of thirty years of failed policies" is directly Russian propaganda. It's not. It's Russia wanting to control an independent country and trying to find any possible excuse. It's still true that "if Russia stops fighting, there is no war. If Ukraine stops fighting, there is no more Ukraine". The pacifists don't address that.
    – Mayou36
    Jul 14 at 12:07
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In Germany, there is a group of intellectuals (which include the former State Minister for Culture Julian Nida-Rümelin, so it includes at least one former politician) published an open letter in the newspaper Die Zeit that called for an end to war and negotiations with Russia.

Their argument was basically that supporting the Ukraine war effort would just mean to prolong the war and therefore lead to more suffering, and bring with it the spectre of nuclear proliferation if Putin goes through with his announcements to equip Belarus with nuclear-capable missiles.

The counter-argument to that was that ceasing to support Ukraine would not mean that Russia would start negotiations, but that Russia would conquer Ukraine unhindered and claim victory. But this what comes closest to a pacifist position in Germany (and was promptly almost universally denounced as naive and/or stupid).

Tino Chrupalla, the leader of AfD faction in the German parliament (AfD being a party on the extreme right) called for an end to sanctions against Russia and claimed that "the West" bears at least some responsibility for the war. That's not a widely shared notion even within his own party, but it somewhat resembles a pacifist position (AfD is not per se against violence, I guess he just does not like action against people with whom he feels ideologically aligned).

But as a political movement with any kind of influence it would seem that here in Germany at least pacifism is essentially dead, with Putin being blamed for killing it.

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  • But they don't sound like pacifists; more like pragmatists. They seem to have practical reasons why this particular war is a bad idea. Jul 13 at 23:02
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    @OwenReynolds, yes, that's why I weaseled around a bit with the language. The group includes pacifists, but is not wholly comprised of them. But while there certainly is some pacifist sentiment left in parts of the population (see the other answer with a statement by the German Peace Society) it is not really something that has any traction, as far as I am a judge, or is broadly discussed in public media. Jul 14 at 7:51
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    Pacifism was dead long before Putin.
    – gerrit
    Jul 14 at 8:17
  • Höcke was apparently even more explicit "Ukraine has the right to self-defense; but whoever delivers weapons, according to Höcke, "throws oil on the fire and prolongs the war". " And to tie it with the peace movement... "In the same month, Höcke posted a picture of himself on several social media with the motto of the peace movement “Create peace without weapons” and the symbol of the dove of peace." says German Wikipedia. He also complained about the loss of Russian gas. So, I'd say he had very similar positions to Orban in these regards.
    – Fizz
    Jul 20 at 7:49
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Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen (Alliance 90 / The Greens), the Green Party of Germany, has its roots in the peace movement, has pacifism as an explicit pillar of their policies in their party program, and has just recently, in their latest annual party convention, explicitly reaffirmed its commitment to pacifism.

However, they are (almost ironically) among the strongest proponents of supporting Ukraine with arms (including heavy artillery) and military aid. Although they also want to see this balanced with humanitarian aid and refugee support, and in particular, they are pointing out that Germany must support both refugees from Ukraine as well as from Russia (e.g. deserters or dissidents).

So, in other words, the leading pacifist party in Germany is leading the charge for military aid for Ukraine while at the same time reaffirming their commitment to pacifism. To use the terms from your question: the German Greens are committed to idealistic pacifism but have resigned to pragmatic non-pacifism in this particular conflict.

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Definitely not quite a representative of pacifism, but Henry Kissinger is the most prominent politician talking about Ukraine having to make some concessions to Russia to end the war. This article in the Washington Post describes it. And there is an other article in CNNBC where Kissinger also tallking about this topic.

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    I wondered why Kissinger won the Nobel prize for Peace, but in these weeks I realize why.
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 14 at 23:28
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    @EarlGrey: Yeah, for making peace between US and [North] Vietnam... which also led to the downfall of the US-backed regime in the South. Biden should get that prize too, for Afghanistan, although he might have to share that one with Trump.
    – Fizz
    Jul 20 at 8:02
  • @Fizz well, if a strong economy is what keep (western) countries at peace, he did a good job :) . I still wonder why western countries have to rely so much on defense spending to keep them going ... apart from the small issue of keeping energy import cost low, expenses in defenses have a very small, even negative, fiscal multiplier. One may say there are a lot of chronies and oligarcs in the West (see the Dassault family in France, for example) ... but that retoric and that theme has been already poisoned by Trump, so you cannot mention it anymore.
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 20 at 8:20
  • @EarlGrey: OTOH Nixon supplied plenty of weapons like to Israel during the 1973 war en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Nickel_Grass
    – Fizz
    Jul 20 at 8:53
  • @EarlGrey: a more obscure episode that does bear more similarity with Ukraine is Nixon's position on the 1971 Indo-Pak war over Bangladesh. Apparently Nixon was so sure Pakistan would win he didn't want the US to even show moral support for Bengalis (who were being murdered).
    – Fizz
    Jul 20 at 9:01
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As for your last question, this is basically the viewpoint of the Hungarian leadership. Beside the fact that there is a large Hungarian minority living in Transcarpatia county of Ukraine who now have to fight in a (from a Hungarian viewpoint) worthless war, their argument is also heavily based on economical reasons. They say that the ongoing inflation and energy crisis and hence the stagnation/recession in the whole developed world (not to mention the famine in the developing world) would also end or shorten by such a step, and this is beneficial for basically everybody. When the economy is back on track, it is also much easier for the West to rebuild what remains from Ukraine.

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Green Party of the United States

Green Party of the United States has opposed the Russian invasion and has blamed both Russia for the actual invasion and the US government and Western powers for the "provocations".

Gerhard Schroeder (Germany’s former Chancellor, 1998-2005)

Gerhard Schroeder mentioned that the situation with the Russian invasion "can be alleviated only through a diplomatic solution".


Greens stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and Russia who oppose the invasion

The Green Party is calling on the leaders of the United States, NATO and Russia to immediately initiate diplomatic talks together with Ukrainian leadership to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a ground-and-air invasion throughout Ukraine, including the capital city of Kyiv.

The Green Party condemns Russia’s military incursion, which is in violation of international law, regardless of real or perceived provocations. We also recognize the US government and Western powers are responsible for 30 years of provocations by failing to respect the promise to not expand NATO after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This reckless antagonism between world powers has led to war with the potential for massive destruction, environmental damage and loss of life.

“The threat of all-out nuclear war is hanging over everyone. The US and other countries should be working together to combat climate change instead of fighting over resources that gain profits for the multinational corporations,” said Rita Jacobs, member of the Green Party’s Peace Action Committee (GPAX). We call on the parties involved to pursue a diplomatic solution through the United Nations, in accordance with international law. A serious solution that prioritizes the lives of Ukrainian civilians will require an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops, a promise of no US troops or arms in Ukraine, and a commitment to diplomacy.”

Green Party of the United States, Friday, February 25, 2022: https://www.gp.org/green_party_calls_for_ceasefire_and_diplomatic_solution_to_ukraine_crisis


Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (1998-2005) said he doesn’t think it expedient to refuse from contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and stands for diplomatic settlement.

"I would not refuse from my possibilities of speaking with President Putin," he said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, which came out on Sunday.

He stressed that the situation should have a diplomatic solution. "The fate of Ukrainian servicemen and civilians can be alleviated only through a diplomatic solution," he said.

Schroeder calls for diplomatic solution in Ukraine and continuing contacts with Russia: https://tass.com/world/1478069

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    +1 Canada's Greens have similar statement. One wonders however how exactly the UN is supposed to be decisive in stopping wars when Veto-wielding members are involved. Jul 13 at 20:58
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    Schröder's position is not pacifistic but opportunistic, so his position is unsuitable as an answer to this question. (Off-topic but worth mentioning: He has discredited himself so much in Germany that picking up any of his positions carries a risk of public backlash; the political discourse in Germany just ignores what he says.)
    – toolforger
    Jul 14 at 9:49
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    Calling Schroeder a pacifist is quite a stretch. He led the first post-WWII German government openly sending troops into a not UN backed mission, the bombing of Serbia in the Kosovo war. (Not arguing about that decision having its arguments or not, I think few pacifists would have acted that way.) Jul 14 at 20:40
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    @TorstenSchoeneberg: I was answering the OP's question "whether any prominent western politicians have expressed opinions in favor making concessions to Russia in order to end the war" This fits Schroeder, even though what you mentioned is still correct. Jul 14 at 21:06
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    Hm... Schröder is somewhat prominent, but not as a politician anymore - his current prominence is that of a Putin shill. So he's both prominent and an (ex) politician, but he's not exactly a prominent politician, though I'll say it's an edge case.
    – toolforger
    Jul 15 at 16:03
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Jeffrey Sachs

The conclusion on his latest article on his personal website says:

Instead of risking this disaster, the real solution is to end the neocon fantasies of the past 30 years and for Ukraine and Russia to return to the negotiating table, with NATO committing to end its commitment to the eastward enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia in return for a viable peace that respects and protects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He has consistently held this view and has denounced both Putin's aggression as well as American politician's view that American is exceptional and therefore can dangerously act in world politics with hubris. In his view, war is not the answer; negotiation is.

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    With such genuine and pure ideas, he is not a pacifist, he is a useful ignorant, in fact he implemented the reforms that led to the extreme wealth accumulation that took place in the early 90s in Russia. So he has some role in the kind of civil war between "our" good oligarchs and the bad oligarchs friends of the current ex-KGB president. Yes, appealing to Ukraine territorial integrity means he foresee its total destruction from the Russian. Probably he honestly (naively) sees a chance for a restart of a corrupt country (I mean Ukraine) through erasing it and restarting from scratch...
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 14 at 23:36
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    @EarlGrey I'm not sure whether it's fair to assume an author means the opposite of what they say, and on that basis denounce them. Actually, I'm sure: You cannot do that. Jul 15 at 10:07
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica please read the entire interview that mr. Sachs had on a range of close-by topic npr.org/transcripts/1097135961?t=1657896919686 and then you are free to draw your conclusions. I still stand my ground that someone promoting intense foreign inference, with loads of foreign investments, cannot be thinking of long-term peace.
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 15 at 14:59
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    @EarlGrey (a) Jeffrey Sachs' suggestions messed up Russia. (b) Now Jeffrey Sachs advocates peace. Since a ⇏ b therefore Sachs is a liar. Is that your argument? Maybe just possible that he's a more ordinary human who makes mistakes and owns up to them? As for "his interference in Russia during Yeltsin" Yeltsin invited Sachs! After that if its interference are you suggesting that Yeltsin was an illegitimate leader?! And even in 94 when he resigned he blames the west for not helping warning ofdictatorship
    – Raveesh
    Nov 2 at 14:19
  • (a) Jeffrey Sachs brought in his baggage of experience and culture. At the time he had the fame for being the one that had the right recipe to bring wealth, as he did in Bolivia and in Poland. He brought in the social-peace-via-free-market idea. It did not work. Yes, he is an ordinary human, when he fails. When he succeds, instead, he is the genius from Harvard. Funny dichotomy. (b) he advocates territorial integrity of Ukraine. That is just a very obscure way to say he is advocating for war. The interference I mention is the influx of foreign capital on a weak economy.
    – EarlGrey
    Nov 2 at 14:58
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In Switzerland there is a political group called "Group for a Switzerland without an Army" (Wikipedia) which is undoubtedly the most prominent pacifist group in Switzerland. Some of its members are elected politicians but it's not a party, it uses Switzerland's tools for direct democracy.

Notably it doesn't have an official position on whether it supports Ukraine's defence. Some prominent members do support Ukraine's military, some don't. The group clearly condemns Putin's attack and Putin's regime in general. They ask for strong sanctions against Putin, his oligarchs and his resource exports. But most of all they view themselves as a group which tries to prevent war, and after war has already started it's too late for its work to be really effective.

Disclaimer: I may or may not be affiliated with this group.

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I think these quotes from a Belgian and German NGOs kinda summarize the situation of peace activists in these circumstances:

“We had maybe three, 4,000 people, which is not many,” Ludo De Brabander, a member of Belgian peace group Vrede vzw, told The Intercept. “It was difficult to mobilize.”

“Iraq was very clear: It was an aggressive war based on false arguments,” he added. In Ukraine, by contrast, it was Russia that had staged an illegal, unprovoked invasion, and U.S.-led support to Ukraine was understood by many as crucial to stave off even worse atrocities than those the Russian military had already committed. That has left peace activists scrambling, said De Brabander, “because we don’t want to support NATO. And of course, we also oppose what Russia is doing. And a position in between, with alternatives to war, is very difficult to sell.” [...]

De Brabander noted that it did not help that some on the radical left of the peace movement “see only U.S. responsibilities or EU responsibilities.” That has exposed more moderate voices to the accusation that they are apologists for Putin. “There’s this very black-and-white vision that if you’re not with us, then you’re against us,” he added, noting that those calling for the dissolution of NATO were regularly accused of defending Russian interests. [...]

“We have been calling for the delegitimization of NATO, and there is really no reason to change that,” said Reiner Braun, a German activist and executive director of the International Peace Bureau. Braun noted that a coalition of dozens of groups calling for NATO’s dissolution are planning a peace summit in Madrid in June, to counter the alliance’s official gathering in the same city. “The main reasons why we are against NATO, the militarization, the military spending, the aggressive attitude, NATO’s expansion — these are all criticisms that are still valid.”

“We are definitely in opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but without excusing Putin, we are also explaining that one of the reasons for the current situation is NATO’s expansion over the last 25 or so years,” he added. “It is not an excuse for the invasion, but it helps to understand how such a situation could happen.” [...]

It’s what De Brandeber describes as a “policy of self-fulfilling prophecy”: NATO taking a provocative action (expanding to Russia’s border) that contributes to a crisis that, in turn, justifies the existence of NATO. “Putin has become the best defender of NATO policy,” he added. “He made NATO very strong with this war.”

I've read that (pretty long) article in its entirety, but it alas doesn't contain any quotes on a concrete proposal how to de-escalate now, unless you want to read between the lines that NATO dissolving should also mean Western countries not sending weapons to Ukraine. Save maybe for this quote:

Antonio Mazzeo, an Italian journalist and peace activist [said] “But it’s true that a majority of political voices and pundits have become uniform.” He added, “There is a whole segment of the population that rejects the logic of war, of taking sides, of sending weapons, but it hasn’t figured out how to take a position, how to directly intervene in the discourse around this war.”


Condemning the "illegal war in Ukraine" but also condemning NATO was the position of one representatives (Judith Benda) of the (German political party) Die Linke to that parallel summit in Madrid. Likewise, Sevim Dağdelen, an MP for Die Linke said in an interview

alongside my party Die Linke, I have spoken out against arms deliveries from the very start, because we think they will prolong the war and loss of life in Ukraine. [...]

Although this may seem utopian to many people in Germany today at this moment, our long-term goal has to be to dissolve NATO and replace it with a collective security system that has disarmament and cooperation as its overarching objective.

So, if you want a reflection of those NGO position (quoted earlier) in a political party, Die Linke is probably a good example.

And while the idealistic position in re NATO possibly sets them apart (e.g.) [from the AfD](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_for_Germany#Foreign_policy, in that interview Dağdelen also mentions pragmatic reasons like Russian gas:

The economic war with Russia is jeopardizing Germany's entire prosperity model. The Western sanctions have not ended the war. Instead, they are acting like a boomerang. They are hitting us, the people and industry in Germany. [...]

Should gas deliveries from Russia cease, we will face a disaster in Germany such as we have not known since the global economic crisis during the Weimar Republic.

Which have also been raised by some AfD members, like Höcke. Somewhat aside, interestingly, the AfD seems split on how strongly to condemn the war, and these developments somewhat contradict what Eike Pierstorff wrote further above--the June AfD conference failed to muster a majority to condemn the war.

The "Rethinking Europe" resolution called for improved ties with Moscow and only referred to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a conflict, never using the German word for war, Krieg.

It was put forward by the party's influential and arguably most extreme right-wing figure, Björn Höcke, but encountered resistance from more moderate forces in the party and its leadership.

Delegates from western Germany said the resolution's text trivialized the invasion and should use a stronger term like Russia's war of aggression.

Despite the party's two co-leaders, Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel, requesting that the text be revised, they failed to achieve a majority by two votes among party delegates.

So the conference was called off early. That article also mentions that AfD has also opposed sending weapons, and that that has apparently cost them votes in the western side of Germany:

[The AfD] has also suffered regional election losses in western states this year that many in the party attribute at least in part to its comparatively ambivalent posture on the war in Ukraine, which include its opposition to Germany sending weapons to the government in Kyiv.

Opposing heavy weapon shipments apparently was something that the AfD could more easily agree upon:

The motion [to send heavy weapons] would prolong the fighting in Ukraine and "could make us party to a nuclear war," said the AfD's most senior Bundestag lawmaker Tino Chrupalla.

The socialist Left Party [Die Linke] was also against the move, pointing to earlier statements by Chancellor Olaf Scholz about how heavy weapons deliveries increase a risk of a nuclear escalation. [...] The Left Party also said that delivering more weapons would simply make the war last longer.

Now if you want popular sentiment, according to an April poll

The poll – a monthly survey of political sentiment for ARD and die Welt – also shows that supporters of the Greens, SPD, FDP and CDU/CSU are overwhelmingly in favour of the arms deliveries, while the majority of AfD voters are against them.

(Die Linke is alas not mentioned. Nor does the [English] coverage of that poll extend to reasons why those who were opposed were so.)

You probably know the situation in France better than I do, but it seems that one can generalize to a good extent from the one in Germany to other European countries, e.g. AP headlines "France’s Le Pen warns against sending weapons to Ukraine" (but sadly there are no direct quotes in the article). Likewise, according to AP "Mélenchon has also expressed opposition to supplying weapons to Ukraine and wants France to leave NATO’s military command, ideas which are not acceptable to center-left politicians." (But not direct quotes, nor detailing his reasoning for opposing weapon deliveries.) In Italy, the 5 Star movement is apparently also opposed to sending weapons to Ukraine. And "Italian transport unions on Friday [May 20] striked in protest against military aid for Ukraine and called for an immediate ceasefire". In Spain, Podemos (which is somewhat like a Spanish version of Die Linke) is part of the coalition government, but they oppose NATO membership and sending weapons; they actually put out a statement criticizing the deliveries, but [insofar] didn't quit the government over that. Vox [typically classified as populist right] however seems to have endorsed arms shipments in February, but I could not find any newer statements.

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I think it's arguable that the war in Ukraine has risen to the level of "genocide,"¹ but the war does present essentially the same problem to pacifists as many other major wars and unambiguous genocides. This is mentioned in Jörg W Mittag's answer: in response to an open letter in Die Zeit that suggests ending the war via negotiations with Russia, the counter-argument is

...that ceasing to support Ukraine would not mean that Russia would start negotiations, but that Russia would conquer Ukraine unhindered and claim victory. But this what comes closest to a pacifist position in Germany (and was promptly almost universally denounced as naive and/or stupid).

I don't see any difference between 21st and 20th century thought here, probably because of basic problem touched upon above. George Orwell more clearly formulated this exact same problem eighty years ago during World War II in his letter "Pacifism and the War":

Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.

The one major difference above is that pacifists outside the Ukraine are not actually living on the fruits of the war work that Ukrainians are doing and dying for, as were pacifists in England in 1942, but being willing to throw Ukrainians under a bus because doing so doesn't hurt you doesn't exactly come across as an example of great morality.

In his 1949 article "Reflections on Gandhi", describes what might be the most extreme pacifist response to genocide:

In relation to the late war, one question that every pacifist had a clear obligation to answer was: 'What about the Jews? Are you prepared to see them exterminated? If not, how do you propose to save them without resorting to war?' ...Gandhi was asked a somewhat similar question in 1938 and that his answer is on record in Mr Louis Fischer's Gandhi and Stalin. According to Mr Fischer Gandhi's view was that the German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which 'would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler's violence'. After the war he justified himself: the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly.... If you are not prepared to take life, you must often be prepared for lives to be lost in some other way.

Regarding whether pacifism "could be a pragmatic justification for negotiations with Russia," I don't see how, unless if it were of a very contingent and temporary sort. What if the "pragmatic" decision turns out to be that putting a stop to Russia here by continuing to prosecute the war seems most likely to minimise harm in the long run?


¹ "Pacifist position in support of genocide of Ukraine" is the title at the time I'm writing this answer.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JJJ
    Nov 4 at 1:35
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Pope Francis calls the war

clear and unequivocal in condemning it as morally unjust, unacceptable, barbaric, senseless, repugnant and sacrilegious.

However the Pope has been criticized for not painting the war in black and white terms, and for leaving the door open to discussions with Moscow. He also regrets the death of Daria Dugina that was killed likely by chance while targeting her father, a far-right political philosopher, whose political views and support for Vladimir Putin she shared.

Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro Putin! No, I am not (...) I am simply against reducing complexity to... good guys and bad guys, without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.

In July, the head of the Roman Catholic Church repeated his wish to visit Ukraine.

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  • 1
    Dalai Lama likewise: dalailama.com/news/2022/…
    – Raveesh
    Nov 2 at 9:09
  • 1
    Is he saying this about Russian activities or is he also including Ukraine's self defense as well? There are many people who condemn the war but support the defense.
    – Joe W
    Nov 2 at 12:28
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    DId Pope Francis (or the Dalai Lama) mention anything specific that should be done now? Condemning the war is probably something many people can agree upon, and discussion the roots and interests is probably also interesting, but I wonder if there is more hands-on advice?
    – Trilarion
    Nov 4 at 14:43
  • What do you expect it can be done? When a valet has been stolen, a proposal that a victim and thief should just divide the contents on half peacefully may not look nice for some.
    – Stančikas
    Nov 4 at 15:34
  • @Trilarion [My personal belief] If you personally ask Pope, Dalai Lama and other such luminaries the question, and ask sincerely not challengingly, their practical advice (in the suitable formats of their own culture): The solution is to pray to God. I wrote briefly here. The point is not some belief about who/what/where some deity but about finding an emotional response that goes beyond condemnation. Jesus: Do not judge / Love your enemy etc
    – Raveesh
    Nov 5 at 2:49
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US Congress candidate Geoff Young says in this article

Preventing nuclear war “is my main concern. That’s been my main concern for 40, 45 years,” he explained.

And “it’s most likely to happen, looking at today’s situation, when there is a tense, perhaps a war going on, such as Ukraine. And that’s where the chances of an accidental nuclear war are the highest,” he warned.

Young criticized the US government for sending weapons to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Avoz Regiment, which has officially been part of the country’s National Guard since a 2014 Washington-sponsored coup.

Young is calling himself “probably the only anti-war Democrat” running for Congress.

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    This seems to be Geoff Young's stance on nuclear war, rather than his stance on Ukraine specifically. You may also want to include quotes from the article specifying that Young is a pacifist - he clearly is according to the article, but you haven't specified that in your answer, and Stack Exchange answers should be standalone to protect against link rot.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 1 at 14:22
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    I don’t see any anti-war/pacifist positions being mentioned, just anti-nuclear war and anti Avoz Regiment but nothing about the conflict itself.
    – Joe W
    Nov 1 at 20:13
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    Thanks for that pointer. It took me to Denis Kucinich (D) Cleveland Mayor, Senator Ohio, who has taken a pro-peace stand on Ukraine youtube.com/watch?v=xk40UKzbDrA. And he's consistently — ie across party lines — pro peace: ie he repeatedly tried to impeach Bush for Iraq and said Obama's strikes against Gaddafi were an impeachable offense: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Kucinich
    – Raveesh
    Nov 2 at 7:05
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    @Joe W Pacifism is the opposition or resistance to war, this is from wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacifism
    – user44804
    Nov 7 at 15:14
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    @Joe W Where you got, that he is against Russias´s actions?
    – user44804
    Nov 8 at 15:31

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