Photo/Illutration A man holds a poster which reads "No war" as people lay flowers near the site where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down, with the Kremlin Wall, left, the Spaskaya Tower, second left, and St. Basil's Cathedral, center, in the background in Moscow on Feb. 27. (AP Photo)

Peace is the foundation of all kinds of meaningful human activities. The rising international wave of protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, involving not just governments but also citizens, organizations and businesses around the world, reflects a profound sense of crisis that is shared widely.

Before he ordered troops to advance into Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is “a part of the world economy,” an apparent warning to the United States and Europe. Perhaps, Putin mistakenly bet that unlike during the Cold War era the West would not take any strong actions to counter Russia’s attack on its neighbor in today’s deeply intertwined and interdependent world.

To prove him wrong, governments and companies across the globe need to think beyond their parochial standpoints and interests and join forces to stand against the aggression. We all should regard the war unfolding in Ukraine as our own crisis and make every effort to exert pressure on Moscow in multiple ways.

For the international community, the most uplifting element of the global outburst of protests is a growing chorus of “no to war” from the Russian public.

The head of the Russian delegation to a major U.N. climate conference apologized for failing to prevent the war. It is painful to imagine the feelings of this Russian, who has to watch his country’s aggression against its neighbor while tackling global challenges that require international cooperation.

A former competitive figure skater who was a member of the Russian Olympics team and took part in many competitions around the world representing her country posted an all-black square on her Instagram site in protest against the war. A Russian oligarch targeted by Western sanctions as an ally of Putin also called for a cease-fire.

Expressing opposition to the government in Russia entails physical danger. The list of journalists and antigovernment activities who have been assassinated has kept growing.

Still, protests against the invasion have erupted across Russia and more than 5,000 people have been detained.

The fact that there are many Russian citizens who are ready to stand up against the war according to their conscience in spite of the risks involved in such actions under an authoritarian regime underscores the health of the country’s civic society.

The Putin administration is tightening its control on the publication of information about the conflict. It has banned news outlets from using the word “war” and demands that they call it a “special operation” instead. The administration has also blocked access to some independent media.

These moves indicate that the Kremlin is seriously concerned about public opinion at home. Russia holds elections under a political system that has a semblance to a checks-and-balances system among the three branches of the government. Even the authoritarian ruler of the country cannot be totally indifferent to his poll ratings.

The Putin administration has kept deceiving the Russian people as well as the international community. While disseminating misinformation about Ukraine, it repeatedly denied its intention to invade its neighbor. The Russian public in general should not be held accountable for the war.

Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of an independent Russian newspaper who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with a Filipina journalist last year, issued a joint statement with Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), saying, “The time to act is now.”

The statement warned about the unprecedented risk to international peace and security posed by the menace of nuclear weapons and urged governments across the world to support democracy and freedom of speech.

All citizens of the world, including Russians, are victims of the invasion, which takes human lives, causes economic downturns and destroys order. Here and now is the time to enhance international solidarity for an immediate stoppage of the war.

--The Asahi Shimbun, March 3