Captive Nations Summit

Captive Nations Summit provides an opportunity to hear first-hand from witnesses of past and present captive nations.


Each July, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation leads efforts to mark National Captive Nations Week, in fulfillment of the 1959 congressional resolution adopted during the Eisenhower administration to show American solidarity with nations subjugated by communism.

President Biden issued a strong statement in his 2021 Captive Nations Week Proclamation, declaring that “during Captive Nations Week, we recommit ourselves to those principles which form the foundation of our Nation, and to amplify the voices of courageous individuals around the world who are striving to advance the principles of human rights, justice, and the rule of law.”

This year, VOC is honored to announce that Mrs. Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, joined the Captive Nations Summit on Tuesday, July 19, in person, at our Museum. First Lady Zelenska of Ukraine accepted VOC’s Dissident Human Rights Award on behalf of the people of Ukraine for their brave fight for freedom against Russia’s war of aggression.


Panel Discussion: Putin’s war against Ukraine and the future of Russia

Since Putin declared war in February, nations of the free world have led widespread opposition to Russia’s invasion and war against Ukraine. The free world has rallied in support of Ukraine’s self-determination and right to defend itself against the tyranny of the Putin regime, which is seeking to seize the territory of Ukraine and destroy its nationhood. The Russian army has suffered significant losses in the war, and the Russian people have felt the impact on the Russian economy due to US-EU sanctions. In the wake of Russia’s struggles, Putin’s military leaders have signaled their weariness. However, Moscow remains committed to the war despite the high costs and is supported by other authoritarian regimes, including the Chinese Communist Party. This panel explored the war against Ukraine and the future of Russia.

  • Michael Sawkiw, Jr., Executive Director, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
  • Brian Whitmore, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
  • Marek Chodakiewicz, Ph.D., Professor, Institute of World Politics and Patrick Henry College

Panel Discussion: The Lessons of Ukraine for Captive Nations around the world

Russia’s unjust and reckless invasion of Ukraine has given many reasons for democratic and free societies to rally in support of the Ukrainian people. Through the lessons and experiences of former captive nations, we know the consequences of people living under communism and other forms of totalitarian regimes. Although the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell, one-fifth of the world’s population today is still suffering under single-party communist regimes. This panel explored the lessons of historic captive nations, the struggle for freedom in countries still held captive by communism today, and the lessons that we can draw from the Ukrainian people’s brave resistance in the face of the Putin regime’s war and tyranny.

  • Amb. Martin Palouš, Director of the Václav Havel Center for Human Rights and Diplomacy initiative & Former Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Nations
  • Hyun-Seung (Arthur) Lee, One Korea Network
  • Jianli Yang, Citizen Power Initiatives for China