Global Network Russia Study Tour Declaration
Above Photo: From Space4peace.blogspot.com
As an international delegation to the Russian Federation of 25 individuals, we have visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, and three cities in Crimea (April 25-May 9).
We came to learn, to listen, and to build a bridge of friendship through citizen diplomacy. We have had daily important meetings with Russian journalists, activists, academics, ordinary citizens, and gained first hand information and historical perspective. The Russian people met us with warmth, openness, and generosity.
We came because we are alarmed by the U.S. demonization of Russia and the NATO provocations which have created a world of increasing military confrontation, with the U.S. even threatening the first-use of nuclear weapons.
Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 US/NATO has encircled Russia with bases, so-called ‘missile defense’ systems, escalating “war games” right on its borders, and with warships increasing military operations in the Black Sea.
Numbers don’t lie. Russia is a country of just 144 million people, with average income of $400 a month, or $13 a day. Their annual military budget is $60 billion and decreasing. The U.S. military budget is $800 billion and increasing. The U.S. has more than 800 bases encircling the world.
The Russian people love their country with a warmth and depth of love that is difficult for Americans to comprehend. It is a love born of centuries of history, culture and religious faith, and a love born of the suffering and sacrifice of the repeated defense of their Motherland.
On Victory Day, May 9 in St. Petersburg, we walked in solidarity with 1.2 million family members and survivors of the 1941 – 1945 defense of the former Soviet Union when Americans and Russians were friends and allies against the German fascist invasion and occupation. (It should be remembered that 28 million Soviet citizens lost their lives during the fight against the fascists.)
Our message is a call to end the demonization of Russia, remove US/NATO warships from the Black Sea, end the escalating war maneuvers on Russia’s borders, and build bridges of diplomacy and friendship.