Publication date: 
As Rector of the Czech Technical University in Prague, at the moment when a crisis bordering on a war has arisen in the east of Ukraine, I issue the following pronouncement:
  • The highest values of a democratic society are freedom and the rule of law - the freedom to choose one's own path, while respecting the rights and freedoms of others. This is true not only among individuals, but also between states.
  • One state cannot be allowed by force, by coercion or by diktat to coerce the actions of another state. One state cannot be allowed by its own decision to divide another state and appropriate a part of it, or to facilitate such an action. Violence always arouses violence and loss of freedom. Violence cannot enforce a voluntary and wanted relationship between countries.
  • Relationships and problems between people and nations must be built on an effort to understand different points of view and to seek a mutually acceptable intersection of solutions. In achieving this, it is necessary to use true facts and to avoid disinformation and manipulation.  In this way, in our opinion, even the most difficult problems and relationships can be resolved by peaceful means.  Only peaceful paths of understanding can lead to a happy coexistence of societies.
  • We condemn the actions of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, in not only questioning the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also sending its army into the territory of a foreign state.  Arguments about the essential needs of the minority and their protection, and a number of unverified claims against Ukraine, are very reminiscent of historical parallels from the time of the separation of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, and the invitation issued to armed forces by an illegitimate group of people at the time of the August invasion by Warsaw  Pact troops in 1968. It seems that the method of violent seizure has not changed over the decades - even the propaganda accompanying Russia's actions is similar to the propaganda of the past.  We cannot trust unverified propaganda, and we ask for only objectively-verified and verifiable facts be used in the argument.
  • Every violent dispute brings high casualties on all sides, between the warring armies, among the civilian population and in the functioning of the entire human community. In the interests of humanity, we therefore call for violence not to be used, for a return to the rule of international law, and for the resolution of disagreements to be exclusively peaceful. 
  • As a university, we want to act in the coming period of time as a solid part of our state, of the EU and of the part of the world that shares the ideals of democracy and freedom. Our role will definitely include finding and providing objective information, finding ways to help those who will be (or who are) affected by the war, by sharing our historical experience, and by revealing the tricks of propaganda and fake news, and by pointing out how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way. 
  • We will look for all ways to help our students who will be affected by this conflict. We will – if necessary – also help all those who may have to leave Ukraine and we will try to welcome among us experts who may be among them. 
  • We stand firmly on the side of democratic principles and we fully support the legitimate government of Ukraine! 
  • Today is 24/02/2022 and the year is not 1968. The world has changed, and we are part of the world of free people ruling our societies democratically. Cold war-era divisions of the world are unrealistic relics, and as such we will refute them rationally. If this succeeds, it will be clear that positive cooperation can only bring peace. 


A Ukrainian flag flies over our university as a token of full support and solidarity! 

Vojtech Petracek,

Rector of CTU in Prague