Feminist Anti-War Resistance (Russia)
ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 the Feminist Anti-War Resistance (FAS) together with the Foundation for Human Rights Defenders received the Aachen Peace Prize. During the award ceremony twenty FAS members and activists performed with their faces covered. This was out of solidarity with the anonymous and activist women of the movement currently in Russia. Behind them a screen revealed masked Russian activists unable to appear in public. In this way, FAS emphasized that their movement exists because of those who remain inside Russia, continuing the struggle under dictatorship.
“PEACE IS NOT limited to a ceasefire. We want a peace not only without overt military violence, but also without structural violence. Such a peace also requires the full inclusion of representatives of vulnerable groups in any pre-negotiation processes and peacemaking. Such a peace requires active struggle and cannot be fooled with a mere ceasefire.
We call ourselves Feminist Anti-War Resistance, but we are well aware that “anti-war” is not about privileged pacifism, but about recognizing the right of the affected party to self-defense. Ukrainians cannot say “no to war” to a war that has already come to their home. They cannot say “this is not our war.” They are forced to defend themselves and their home and loved ones — and often at the cost of their lives.
We want to be understood correctly: “anti-war” in our case is not the idle waiting for an abstract peace to come when one side runs out of resources. “Anti-war” is daily resistance to the aggressor and his military and imperial ambitions. Resistance includes thousands of women, queer people, activists and feminists. And this award belongs to them.
As long as Putin and this regime exist in Russia there will be no peace. As long as people and territories are under occupation there will be no peace. Peace cannot be considered peace when political prisoners are in jail and activists who have fled the country cannot return home safely. Such “peace” does not take into account the rights of the vast number of people in vulnerable situations.
We want peace, but we want a just peace, without occupied territories, without slavery and torture, without prisons and exploitation, without dictatorships, without silencing violence in any form.
We want to dedicate this award to Russian women and LGBTQ+ people who have been criminally prosecuted for their anti-war actions, identity and views, who are sitting in pre-trial detention centers and prisons. These activists have experienced searches and torture, faced violence for anti-war agitation and for helping Ukrainians. These are not only activists of our movement — there are thousands of stories of resistance to Russian fascism, stories of schoolgirls and pensioners alike. We dedicate this award to Maria Ponomarenko, Sasha Skochilenko, Natalia Filonova, Tatiana Savinkina, Marina Novikova, Victoria Petrova, Masha Moskalyova and all those whom we are unable to name today for security reasons.
We will donate the cash equivalent of this award to a Ukrainian feminist organization and a Russian initiative that helps political prisoners. We express our support and solidarity to Ukrainians in their struggle for freedom. Thank you.
FAS is a horizontal movement and their speech was written collectively. See the full Russia text.