-Courtesy of Peter Breslow Consulting & Public Relations
Fred Baumgarten, a Bucks County businessman and the owner of The Grundy Commons in Bristol, has set a goal to seed dissent in Russia against the country’s invasion of Ukraine, while providing support to the people of Ukraine by organizing a weekly demonstration in front of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation at 9 E. 91st Street in New York City.
The plan is to begin these weekly “silent vigils” on Friday, April 29th from noon to 1 p.m., and then repeat the silent demonstrations Friday after Friday for as long as necessary. The plan is to have peaceful protestors holding open black umbrellas in front of the Permanent Mission building and other Russian agencies all over the world, encouraging people to “block no traffic and hold no signs,” with a simple message to stop the invasion of Ukraine and remove Russian forces now.
The open black umbrellas recall the closed black umbrella demonstration held by British Prime Minister Chamberlin, who, on September 30th, 1938, held up a closed black umbrella upon his return from a meeting with Hitler, and foolishly announced “Peace in our time.” The black umbrellas represent a very different message: a call to action rather than acceptance.
“My hope is that we create a big enough demonstration to deliver two messages to the Russian people — that the invasion is in fact being condemned worldwide and that Ukraine’s struggle is supported worldwide. We want to get through Vladimir Putin’s cyber wall through VPNs and other aspects of social media,” said Baumgarten. “The goal is to get the message to the Russian ex-pats outside of Russia. We want to stop the invasion of Ukraine now, and have the Russians withdraw from Ukraine promptly.”
Baumgarten said he was inspired to launch this protest by the Ice Bucket Challenge, as his mother tragically was diagnosed with ALS, and he was inspired after seeing that initiative start from nothing and catch on to people on a global level, producing more than $200 million in fundraising.