The origins of the humanist organisation “World without Wars and Violence” (MSGySV) were in Moscow after the dissolution of the USSR. Rafael de la Rubia, its founder, lived there in 1993.

One of the first supporters of the organisation was Mikhail Gorbachev, whose death has been announced today. Here are our thanks and recognition for his contribution to understanding between peoples and for his commitment to arms reduction and global disarmament. The text that Mikhail Gorbachev wrote celebrating the creation of MSGySV is reproduced here.

“Peace or war? This is really the continuing dilemma, which has accompanied the entire history of mankind.

Throughout the centuries, in the boundless development of literature, millions of pages are devoted to the theme of peace, to the vital need for its defence. People have always understood that, as George Byron said, “war harms the roots and the crown”. But at the same time wars have continued without limit. When arguments and conflicts appeared, reasonable arguments retreated to the arguments of brute force, in most cases. Moreover, the canons of law developed in the past and existing until not-so-distant times regarded war as the “legal” method of doing politics.

It is only in this century that some changes have taken place. These have become more important afterwards with the advent of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons.

At the end of the Cold War, the terrible threat of war between the two powers was averted by the joint efforts of East and West. But since then, peace has not ruled the earth. Wars continue to take tens, hundreds of thousands of human lives. They empty, ruin whole countries. They maintain instability in international relations. They put obstacles in the way of solving many problems of the past that should already be solved and make it difficult to solve others that are easily solved today.

After having realised the inadmissibility of nuclear war – the significance of which cannot be underestimated – we must today take a new step of decisive importance: a step towards the understanding of the principled non-acceptance of warfare as a means of resolving existing and future problems. For wars to be rejected and definitively excluded from government policies.

It is difficult to make this new and decisive step, it is very difficult. Because here, we have to talk on the one hand about unveiling and neutralising the interests that produce contemporary wars and on the other hand about overcoming the psychological predisposition of people and especially of the world’s political class to resolve conflict situations by means of force.

In my opinion, the worldwide campaign for a “World without Wars” …. and the actions planned for the time of the campaign – discussions, meetings, demonstrations, publications – will make it possible to publicly reveal the true origins of the present wars, to show that they are completely opposed to the stated reasons and to demonstrate that the motives and justifications for these wars are false. That the wars could have been avoided if there had been insistence and patience in seeking peaceful ways to overcome the problems, without sparing any effort.

In contemporary conflicts, wars have at their core national, ethnic and sometimes even tribal contradictions. Religious conflicts are often added to this factor. In addition, there are wars over territorial disputes and over sources of natural resources. In all cases, there is no doubt that conflicts could be resolved by political methods.

I am sure that the campaign for a “World without Wars” and its programme of actions will make it possible to unite a large number of forces of public opinion in the process of extinguishing the still existing hotbeds of war.

Thus, the role of society, especially of doctors, nuclear scientists, biologists, physicists, will consist not only in making humanity understand the inadmissibility of nuclear war, but also in carrying out actions that will remove this threat from all of us, i.e., the potential of popular diplomacy is enormous. And it is not only unfinished, it is still largely untapped.

It is important, it is extremely important to create conditions to prevent the establishment of war zones in the future. The existing intergovernmental institutions are not yet able to achieve this, even though they take some measures (I have in mind the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, other religious organisations, and of course the UN, etc.).

It is clear that this task is not easy. For, to some extent, its resolution requires the renewal of politics in the internal life of peoples and governments as well as changes in the relations between countries.

In my understanding, the campaign for a World without Wars is a worldwide campaign for dialogue, within and outside each country across the barriers that separate them; for dialogue based on tolerance and based on the principles of mutual respect; for dialogue capable of contributing to a change in political forms in order to consolidate new and truly peaceful political methods of solving existing problems.

On the political level, such a campaign is capable of creating interesting initiatives aimed at the establishment of a common understanding for the consolidation of a peaceful consciousness. This cannot fail to be a factor in influencing official policy.

On the moral level, the campaign for a “World without Wars” can contribute to the strengthening of the sense of rejection of violence and war as political instruments, leading to a deeper understanding of the value of life. The right to life is the primary right of the human being.

On the psychological level, this campaign will contribute to the overcoming of negative traditions inherited from the past, by strengthening human solidarity….

It is clear that it would be important that all states, all governments, politicians of all countries understand and support the initiative for a “World without Wars”, in order to guarantee a peaceful beginning of the 21st century. I appeal to them.

“The future belongs to the book, not to the sword” – once said the great humanist, Victor Hugo. I believe it will. But to hasten the approach of such a future, ideas, words and actions are needed. The campaign for a “World without Wars” is an example, in the highest degree of noble action”.

Mikhail Gorbachev