Roger Waters Writes Open Letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has shared an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging a solution that would bring an end to the war in Ukraine, which was waged by Russian in late February.
The remarks come weeks after Waters wrote an open letter to Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine and wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, where he condemned western nations supplying the Ukrainian resistance with weapons and urged a negotiation between the two countries that would result in a ceasefire. He also cited "extreme nationalists" as one of the issues that "have set your country on the path to this disastrous war," referencing Putin's claims as pretense for war, which was to "denazify" Ukraine.
Zelenska responded by directing Waters to instead ask the Russian Federation for peace rather than seeking it from Ukraine's side.
As a result of this open letter, Waters' shows in Poland were canceled, though the promoter (Live Nation Poland) did not supply a statement explaining the decision at the time.
The musician then shared a message on social media that stated, in part, that a town councillor in Krakow had "threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me 'Persona non grata' because my public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace, rather than escalate matters towards a bitter end that could be nuclear war and the end of all life on this planet."
Now, Waters has penned an open letter to Putin (who has been accused of war crimes and has increased threats of using nuclear weapons), spurred by the First Lady of Ukraine's reply.
In the message (displayed in its entirety below), Waters asks Putin if he would "like to see and end to this war." Operating under the presumption that Putin would say, "Yes," the 79-year-old Pink Floyd icon continues, "If you were to come out and say, 'Also the Russian Federation has no further territorial interest beyond the security of the Russian speaking populations of The Crimea, Donetsk and Lubansk,' that would help too."
Waters is referencing the disputed territories within Ukraine that have largely Russian speaking populations, which Putin has sought to "liberate."
He also echoed worldly concerns that Putin may not stop expansion at Ukraine and instead begin to "overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland the rest of the Baltic states." Lightly mocking this idea, Waters suggested that if these are Putin's true aims, then the world can stop playing "nuclear chicken" and "just blow each other and the world to smithereens."
"Alright back to the table, if I’ve read your previous speeches correctly, you would like to negotiate a state of neutrality for a sovereign neighboring Ukraine? Is that correct? Assuming such a peace could be negotiated it would have to include an absolutely binding agreement not to invade anyone ever again," says Waters to Putin, noting that NATO members often "invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil, but that doesn’t mean you should."
Waters then describes Putin's war as one that took him by surprise and labeled it a "heinous war of aggression, provoked or not."
He is now hoping for a response from the Russian President and that this will all be a step forward in working toward a peaceful resolution.
Read the entire letter below.
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday 25th September 2022
Recently I have been reading comments on social media, asking why I’ve written to Mrs. Olena Zelenska but not Mr. Vladimir Putin? Very good question, I’m glad you asked, here it is.
Roger Waters' open letter to Vladimir Putin.
Dear President Putin, since The Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on February 24th this year I have tried to use my small influence to encourage a ceasefire and a diplomatic settlement that addresses the security needs of both Ukraine and The Russian Federation. In that endeavor I have written two open letters to Mrs. Olena Zelenska the wife of the Ukrainian President. These letters are readily available on the internet. I am increasingly asked to write to you too, so here goes. Firstly, would you like to see an end to this war? If you were to reply and say, “Yes please.” That would immediately make things a lot easier. If you were to come out and say, “Also the Russian Federation has no further territorial interest beyond the security of the Russian speaking populations of The Crimea, Donetsk and Lubansk.” That would help too. I say this because, I know some people who think you want to overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland and the rest of the Baltic states. If you do, fuck you, and we might as well all stop playing the desperately dangerous game of nuclear chicken that the hawks on both sides of the Atlantic seem so comfortable with, and have at it. Yup, just blow each other and the world to smithereens. The problem is, I have kids and grandkids, and so do most of my brothers and sisters all over the world and none of us would relish that outcome. So, please Mr Putin indulge me, and make us that assurance.
Alright back to the table, if I’ve read your previous speeches correctly, you would like to negotiate a state of neutrality for a sovereign neighboring Ukraine? Is that correct? Assuming such a peace could be negotiated it would have to include an absolutely binding agreement not to invade anyone ever again. I know, I know, the USA and NATO invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil, but that doesn’t mean you should, your invasion of Ukraine took me completely by surprise, it was a heinous war of aggression, provoked or not.
When Mrs. Zelenska replied to me via Twitter, I was very surprised and mightily moved, if you were to reply to me, I would mightily respect you for it, and take it as an honorable move in the right direction towards a sustainable peace.