POLITICS

Open letter from the SD Platform of Ukraine to the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland on the eve of the International Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano on July 4-5, 2022

We, representatives of the Social Democratic Platform of Ukraine, who have been defending the right to build a more fair and progressive society in Ukraine for 10 years, address in this open letter to people's deputies, representatives of local councils, members of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland with the following:
1. The price of Ukraine's freedom and desire to become a full part of the European Community is too high. It is measured in tens of thousands of dead civilians, including more than three hundred children killed by Russian troops, destroyed cities and infrastructure, and temporarily occupied territories.

2. There are no prerequisites for the end of the war yet, so it is necessary to be prepared for a protracted confrontation and support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia's unprecedented aggression.

3. Putin's Russia promotes a model of an autocratic state, using the ideological veneer of military expansionism and national cult, as opposed to the democratic order that countries like Ukraine aspire to.

4. It is very important that the recovery of Ukraine has already begun. There is no need to wait until the end of the war to upgrade infrastructure and rebuild bombed cities. Tens of thousands of people need a roof over their heads, and the children and teachers of many villages and towns dream of starting the new academic year in renovated schools and universities.

5. The restoration of post-war Ukraine will require a lot of financial and human resources. All these tasks cannot be accomplished without the help of Western partners, including Switzerland, in the short and long term. In this regard, politicians, decision makers and citizens play a key role, as the level of support will depend on their involvement and empathy with Ukraine.

6. It is necessary to take more radical steps that will allow Ukraine to get out of the financial and economic crisis. Such a step could be the cancellation of sovereign debt, or at least part of this debt, since the financial system was not particularly able to cover external debts on loans in the pre-war period, and what can be said, when there is a war.

7. Provided financial assistance must have a targeted application and a transparent system for monitoring distribution. First of all, ordinary people should see the results of using this assistance in the construction of residential buildings, bridges, the repair of social infrastructure facilities, the provision of basic needs and social guarantees.

8. Another major problem is unemployment and declining financial transfers from labor migrants (many men have gone to the front or are unable to leave the country to work abroad), which have traditionally helped support the economy. Programs for the recovery of Ukraine should be aimed primarily at human-centrism and the creation of new jobs so that people who are already unemployed today can feed themselves and their families.

9. All these problems cannot be solved without a deep restructuring of Ukraine itself. The political elites should get rid of the politicians of the past and the oligarchs as much as possible, and the Ukrainian society, which has gone through such difficult trials, should be more demanding of itself and those who are elected to defend their interests. There should be parties in parliament that will not only strengthen the defense sector and build up military power, but also give priority to education and the social sphere, the protection of labor rights and the fight against the infringement of marginalized groups.

10. Solidarity in this difficult time for Ukraine is filled with a very practical meaning. The participation of representatives of European social democratic parties in support of Ukraine will allow not only to integrate our societies, but also to protect the entire civilized world from Putin's Russia.

Such support may include very real actions, such as:

- allocation of financial resources for the restoration of the Ukrainian economy and social security of the most affected miles of the population;

- implementation of joint infrastructure projects aimed at rebuilding residential buildings for those who have lost a roof over their heads, schools, universities, sports and cultural centers;

- allocation of funds to support industrial cluster enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses, including farmers and industry workers, as well as the digital transformation of society;

- strengthening sanctions against Russia, including Russian oligarchs, politicians and their families who own expensive real estate and assets in European countries, including Switzerland, conducting investigations into the ties of Russian financial and industrial groups with part of the political establishment, cutting all Russian banks from SWIFT, blocking all financial transactions related to the aggressor country, withdrawing all Swiss business from Russia.
The Ukrainian people have taken on a very heavy burden in their struggle for freedom and democracy. Support and strengthening of Ukraine will contribute to the victory of common European values over autocracy and Russian aggression.
05.07.2022
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