FEB 2022

In response to
comments on social media

We would like to talk!“ because at the moment we are speechless. But we don’t have to talk, if anyone doesn’t feel like it. We will never force anyone to talk, and we can also be quiet together – or alone. 

In May 2022 our trilateral team decided to rethink and replan a project we started planning the year before. There was the huge wish to continue to connect people and to stay in touch. 

In the time since, we developed a project that wants to give a chance for those who want to try to talk. 

We found 21 participants who want to try. Our experienced team will do everything it can to support them. All of the participants are independent adults and free of choice in all aspects of the program. All of them were and are invited to share their wishes, fears and ideas for the project – at any time. 

And we share our political views. We are not neutral. We don’t support Russia’s aggression and we want Europe to support Ukraine and not to forget. In this aim, we need to strengthen each other. And that’s the main reason why we will meet. We want to explore how we can find a way to talk about our situations and how we can support each other, because in the current state of affairs we don’t believe that anyone can face this alone. 

The title was never meant to be a request to talk with someone one doesn’t want to be spoken to. It is meant to motivate people to start talking, stressing the “we”. Although our international team agreed on this title at the time, we understand that it was insensitive. We understand all those who do not want to talk with any Russians now and we would never ask them to do so. But we want to provide a space for those who want to try. 

Yes, it is “just” a try, because in all honesty we cannot guarantee any kind of “result” and we want everyone to be aware of that before joining. But we deeply believe in conversation from human to human against inhumanity. 

Yes, our project-description is misleading, and we are deeply sorry about it. 

When we write about “learning about different perspectives”, we don’t mean a pro- or against- Ukrainian one, but the different perspectives – and in this case not political opinions – we all have because we are different people. 

No, it will not be a “typical exchange”. Nothing of all this is typical and it never was. Not before February, as the war had already started before, and even less so after the full-scale invasion. We are and have always been aware that there is trauma. But we still believe that visiting memorial sites together can teach us a lot and going for a hike is simply necessary to breathe after talking and thinking a lot. 

As the German team we want to stress, that we would never collaborate with any NGO or organization which is supporting the war against Ukraine and/or any kind of imperialism. That is stated clearly in our statement on the full-scale invasion as well as in our foundation-letter. We are deeply sorry that due to some changes in the staff in our team, important things, such as the published project description, might not have been seen by every team member. 

To be clear, no participants will be coming from Russia. STAN did not sign any agreements with any Russian organisations within the framework of this project and no organisation from Russia is involved. 

Therefore, we have removed the project-description from our homepage and replaced it with this answer to messages and critics who have reached out to us.