SF Canada Statement re: Russian Speculative Fiction writers’ Ukraine comments

A week ago, eighty Russian speculative fiction writers wrote an open letter about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They were not (as one might have hoped) opposing the invasion, but supporting it enthusiastically. A list of the signers may be found here: https://amazingstories.com/uncensored-ukrainian-sf-news/ .

These writers describe themselves as being involved with a con entitled “Stars over Donbas” that has been held annually for three years. It is held in Donetsk, a region of the Ukraine taken over by pro-Russian forces in the last round of aggression eight years ago. It’s not clear what, if any, local involvement there is: it appears to be a political tool, intended to normalize and celebrate Russian control of the Donbas area. The organizers are now extending this to the all-out invasion of a sovereign country.

The letter is based on Russian propaganda that accuses the Ukranian people of atrocities during the earlier war in the Donbas, and on Russian claims that Ukraine harbors significant numbers of “Nazis.” Reports by reputable organizations such as Amnesty International suggest that while serious abuses took place on both sides, the great majority (including anti-Semitic and anti-Roma attacks) were carried out by the Russian-backed rebels. The situation was not helped by the fact that much of the fighting on both sides was carried out by independent “militias” with inconsistent training and little central oversight, some (on both sides) dominated by right-wing extremists, some not: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combatants_of_the_war_in_Donbas. No reputable source supports the Russian claims of “genocide.”

SF Canada asks our members and friends to ensure that their information about this complex situation comes from reliable and objective sources. While we realize that Russians who actively oppose their government’s actions do so at significant risk, and that the truth is sometimes hard to come by in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, we call on the signatories of the “Stars Over Donbas” letter to educate themselves, to give up their inaccurate and one-sided view of recent history, and retract their support of Russia’s cruel and illegal invasion of Ukraine.

SF Canada Board of Directors

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