Uniting Against Aggression — The Vital Role of Civil Society in Supporting Ukraine

In the war that has gripped not only Europe but the entire world with its relentless severity, Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression has highlighted an often underappreciated front in the battle for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law: civil society.

An episode of The Grassroots View from April 2022 is worth remembering and talking about again. This podcast by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) sheds light on this crucial battleground, featuring insights from Marta Barandiy, the founder of Promote Ukraine, among others. Barandiy’s experience and initiatives offer a profound glimpse into the strength, resilience, and indomitable spirit of Ukrainian civil society and its pivotal role in the ongoing conflict.

Ukraine’s defense against the invasion is multifaceted, spanning military resistance and the equally formidable front of civil society’s endeavors. The country is not just fighting for its territorial integrity but also for the right to align with European values — a battle underscored by the harrowing evidence of war crimes committed by the Kremlin’s forces. Amid this chaos, the European Union’s support through military aid, sanctions, and humanitarian assistance plays a critical role, yet the heart of the resistance beats strongest in the efforts of individuals and organizations on the ground.

Barandiy’s Promote Ukraine stands as a testament to the power and agility of civil society in times of crisis. Originally focused on fostering dialogue and understanding between the EU, Ukraine, and Russia, the onset of war transformed Promote Ukraine into a dynamic hub of coordination for assistance and support. Through digital platforms and a vast network of activists, Barandiy has steered her organization to become a leading civil society coordinator for aiding Ukraine, demonstrating the profound impact that committed individuals and groups can have during such dire times.

The response of civil society to the war is monumental, driving not only the provision of humanitarian aid and support for refugees but also stirring the collective conscience of the European community. It’s a vivid illustration of how civil society — through empathy, action, and solidarity — can transcend boundaries and play a critical role in addressing the immediate and long-term challenges posed by conflict.

As the war drags on, Barandiy voices a crucial concern: the potential waning of the European Union’s resolve. The protracted nature of this conflict risks diluting the initial surge of support and attention, a scenario that could play into the aggressor’s hands. This highlights the importance of maintaining focus and solidarity with Ukraine, ensuring that the momentum of support does not fade as the conflict continues.

Barandiy’s unwavering stance and her belief in the strength of Ukrainian society are emblematic of the broader struggle for national identity, sovereignty, and democratic values. They remind us that while the military front is crucial, the battles fought by civil society are equally vital in preserving the cultural, social, and political fabric of a nation under siege.

The insights shared in The Grassroots View podcast underscore the essential role of civil society in the face of aggression. It’s a narrative of resilience, solidarity, and the indomitable human spirit that thrives even in the darkest of times. As Europe and the world watch and support Ukraine’s fight, the story of Marta Barandiy and countless others like her provides a beacon of hope and a call to action — a reminder that in the fight for freedom and democracy, every effort counts and the united front of civil society is an unstoppable force.

In this conflict, as in many others, the grassroots response — embodied by initiatives like Promote Ukraine and the collective action of individuals and communities — demonstrates that even in the face of overwhelming adversity, unity, and resilience can pave the way to enduring strength and recovery.

Follow Marta:

This website stores cookies on your computer. Cookies Policy