In the face of the ruthless Russian invasion, one man’s unwavering commitment to liberty shines like a beacon of hope for Ukraine and the world. Meet Mykhailo Lavrovskyi, an alumnus of Students For Liberty (SFL), co-founder of Ukrainian Students For Freedom, and a fervent advocate of freedom, whose inspiring journey unfolds amidst the chaos of conflict.
From a young age, Mykhailo was instilled with the values of personal responsibility and a deep appreciation for the history of Ukraine, which revealed a tradition of libertarian ideas in his culture. As he delved into the subject, he discovered a profound interest in the concept of liberty.
In 2014, just after the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, Mykhailo attended his first Students for Liberty conference in Kyiv, where he encountered libertarianism as a well-defined idea that resonated deeply with him. This realization prompted him to join the organization, leading him to participate in various capacities, such as a local coordinator, national coordinator for Ukraine, and regional director for Eastern Europe. Through his involvement with SFL, Mykhailo forged vital connections that eventually led to the founding of Ukrainian Students For Freedom, an esteemed organization actively dedicated to safeguarding Ukraine’s liberty.
Reflecting on SFL’s impact on his life, Mykhailo shared, “The organization I co-founded because of SFL is doing a lot right now. We have almost 500 coordinators taking on different roles in defending Ukraine — that’s a huge network. They are helping a lot of people right now,” said Mykhailo.
As the conflict with Russia escalated, Mykhailo and his team focused on humanitarian efforts, organizing aid and delivering essentials to those in need, especially in cities on the front lines. They established the Center for Humanitarian Aid, making a significant impact on the lives of many during the difficult times of war.
For Mykhailo, leaving Ukraine or giving up the fight is not an option. As he firmly stated, “I don’t see any option other than to fight or leave — and I cannot even think of leaving. If Putin takes Ukraine, he would probably jail or kill people like me because we are active voices for liberty, and liberty is the biggest threat to him.” Mykhailo holds a steadfast belief that liberty itself poses the greatest threat to Putin, which is precisely why this war was instigated in the first place.
Witnessing the horrors of war and its devastating impact on civilians, Mykhailo stresses the importance of reevaluating values and appreciating basic freedoms that are often taken for granted. He envisions a future without Russian aggression, where Ukraine can chart its own path and pursue economic reforms without fear.
Reflecting on history, Mykhailo emphasizes the crucial lesson that civilized societies should not appease aggressors but stand up for liberty and freedom. He urges people in the West to be cautious about misinformation and to seek accurate information from reliable sources to understand the truth behind the conflict.
Mykhailo speaks out because he loves Ukraine and believes that fighting for liberty is the only viable option. His unwavering dedication and commitment to the cause of freedom inspire hope for a better future for Ukraine and the world at large.