One of my heroes is Jaroslav Romanchuk, an Objectivist from Belarus and tireless promoter of freedom in that country and throughout Eastern Europe. Jaroslav fled Belarus last year when authorities in the Lukashenko government invaded his apartment and threatened prison. He arrived safely in Kyiv, where he continued his activism (including lectures to Ukrainian Objectivists) but he is now caught in the Russian invasion.
Vanessa Smyth and Linda Abrams, long-time friends of TAS, have kept in close touch with Jaroslav, and have set up a GoFundMe account for him and his family. Funds are sent to his bank in Poland, where he may need to go soon. I urge those who can to provide Jaroslav and his family with an investment in his safety and his continued promotion of freedom in what has become a dark threat to that value.
Vanessa has sent regular updates from Jaroslav in Kyiv. The most recent:
Sunday, Feb 27: "I give many interviews, write much on social networks and Ukrainian media. Today I had two live streams with Radio Liberty Ukraine and one Ukrainian TV channel. In addition, three interviews for Belarusian and two to Russian media on different issues including war and the situation in Belarus."
Monday, Feb 28: "Another night is over. I am safe and ready for another day to fight against the enemy. People need information badly, especially in Russian speaking countries. Telling them the truth is as important as supplying soldiers with weapons…."
"Thank you for all the heart and support you give me!!"
Jaroslav attended our Summer Seminars as a student in the 1990s and early 2000s, and he has many friends in our organization. After his student years, Jaroslav completed his education, started a family, and became a prominent intellectual activist in Belarus. He formed centers to teach Austrian economics, organized entrepreneurs, worked in political associations to develop reforms, and—in 2010—campaigned as a candidate for the presidency. And all the while Jaroslav produced a torrent of articles. For more background, see Robert Bidinotto’s interview: “Europe's Last Dictatorship: An Interview with Jaroslav Romanchuk.”
I could say much more about this remarkable man: his energy, acumen, and remarkable courage. But things are happening fast on the ground in Ukraine. As a prominent critic of Lukashenko and Putin, he is almost certainly a target for the Russians, and he needs our help now.
Like many of you, I expect, I have followed the news about the invasion, day by day, hour by hour, as Putin pursues his fantasy of recreating the Russian empire. There’s not much any of us can do as individuals in the face of this evil. But one thing each of us can do is help rescue a brave man, one of our own.
I have contributed to Jaroslav’s fund. I hope you will, too.