On the 2nd of March, 2022, the letter to Prof. Michael Meadows, President of the International Geographical Union, and Prof. Dr Barbaros Gönençgil, Secretary General of the IGU has been sent. Executives of the Polish Geographical Society asked to consider whether Russia should not be suspended as a full member of International Geographical Union. It must be clearly stated that this bottom-up initiative is supported by the entire community of the Polish Geographical Society and expresses solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues.
Letter to executives of the International Geographical Union
Dear Mr President,
Dear Mr Secretary General,
The unprecedented attack of Russia on sovereign and independent Ukraine that begun on the 24th of February, 2022 has shocked the entire world. On the same day, the Polish Geographical Society has officially condemned the attack and called the Polish state authorities for adequate diplomatic reaction as well as help for the Ukrainians.
We have welcomed with satisfaction the declaration of the International Geographical Union dated 27th of February, 2022, in which IGU names Russian act of aggression as “senseless and unacceptable”. Obviously, we note that this is not entire Russian society, especially scientific community, that supports the atrocities by the Russian army. Nevertheless, we cannot see how a country invading a sovereign neighbour can fulfil the objectives of the International Geographical Union.
It needs to be pointed that the oldest and biggest geographical society in Russia – the Russian Geographical Society – is led by the people personally responsible for the invasion. The President of the RGS since 2009 is the Russian Ministry of Defence – Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, while Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the RGS since 2010 is President of the Russian Federation – Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
Further participation of Russia as a full member of the International Geographical Society can raise concerns as to actual acceptance of Russian actions in Ukraine by the IGU as well as undermine status of geography and geographers. Therefore, on behalf of the Polish Geographical Society, we kindly ask the Executive Board of the International Geographical Union to consider whether Russia should not be suspended as a full member with immediate effect.
President of Polish Geographical Society
Secretary General of Polish Geographical Society