2022/03/02

Statement of the partners and managing directors of MLA+

The war Russia has inflicted on Ukraine is a watershed moment that broke our trust and affronts the principles of humanity that we value. Nothing can justify the pain and tragedy brought over the Ukrainian people.

We founded MLA+ on the idea of international cooperation. Over the course of the last ten years, this has led to us working on projects across four continents in more than a dozen countries. Russia and Ukraine are two of them. MLA+ is not an abstract entity. We have offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow, where we employ around 50 colleagues. We are not an abstract entity, we are people. Some of us happen to be born in Russia, some in Ukraine, some elsewhere. Until a few weeks ago, that was no reason for discrimination, and it shouldn’t be now, as long as we share the same values. We have known each other for years. We have worked elbow to elbow. Before this war was started, we were supporting each other, caring for each other when challenges came our way. We all stand against this war, and we will not let each other down in a time that calls for difficult personal and professional decisions.

Urban planning is a collaborative process, we work directly with many local authorities and clients who are aligned with our principles and many have told us that they are equally shocked and appalled by what is happening.

Therefore, we have decided not to stop our operations in Russia, however we have ceased running projects in Russia from our offices outside the Russian Federation, and we will receive no renumeration from Russian clients or our offices, doing our part in the financial isolation EU and other countries are operating to support Ukraine. However, we will support our colleagues with knowledge, input and help in their work. We will keep building ties, and we will keep learning from each other.

Our Russian offices are taking a stand, and they have all our support. Just two days ago, MLA+ Russia publicly announced their withdrawal from a project because of its implications with war culture. This statement was done on social media for everyone to see. This might seem not enough, but please consider that this is only what we are able to share online. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more happening.

The goal to realize a civil society is important for us, and we will keep fighting for this, worldwide and in Russia. We believe in collaboration across cultures and borders, and that even in times like these, it is important to collaborate between those who share the same cause.