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Prime Minister at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit: this is the ‘1938 moment’ of our generation

LITHUANIA, June 10 - Having waged the war against Ukraine, Russia’s regime is desperate to show that the Russian non-democratic power system is more efficient than a democratic one, counting on Western leaders’ fatigue and resignation, of course, under Putin’s terms,’ said Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday. 

‘No surprise that democratic principles and the rule-based international order could be seen as a threat to autocrats. In their view, a world order is divided into spheres of influence. They introduce notions as ‘sovereign democracy’ or ‘multi-polar world’, they demand to not impose ‘Western values’ so as to disguise – and poorly so - an ambition of safeguarding and empowering autocracy.

Economic dependencies – be they on Russian oil and gas, or on Chinese supplies, technology, and investment, easy outreach via social media, and freedom of speech abused by propaganda outlets today generate ample opportunities for autocratic regimes to use asymmetrical tools to undermine democratic institutions,” said the Prime Minister. 

According to Ingrida Šimonytė, this is not a purely idealistic approach, it’s deeply pragmatic too. Because only in the environment of trust and rules-based order can one be sure that other players in the field will play a fair game. The results of the concessions to the dictators are evident today in Ukraine, where Russia is waging a genocidal war and also showing contempt for democracy. 

‘It should be clear to us today that the credibility of the democratic world is put to test in Ukraine. This is the ‘1938 moment’ of our generation. This is a fight between democracy and autocracy. A fight between freedom and sheer brutality. This is a dividing line today. The line that has never been clearer since the Second World War,’ said the Prime Minister. 

In the effort to help the Ukrainians, it is important to maintain unity, further increase and speed up the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, broaden and strengthen sanctions against Russia, including through complete de-coupling from its energy resources, and against its accomplice Belarus. Other moral duty and strategic interest is opening the EU doors for Ukraine and granting it an EU candidate status. 

As the Prime Minister noted, the war in Ukraine is a dramatic but also a defining moment for the future world order. 

‘What kind of a new system will we build as the aftermath of Russia’s war in Ukraine? Will it be a system where an aggressor is condemned but also allowed to keep a bit of the stolen land? Just a bit. And maybe tomorrow another bit. What kind of a world-order would that be? Today our arsenal of democracy is stronger than ever before. We are just not using it fully, as though we are afraid of our own success,’ said Prime Minister Infrida Šimonytė. 

Full speech in english.