Savchenko free, Russians furious and confused

Nadiya Savchenko showing middle finger in a Russian court during her last speech on 9 March 2016. Photo: YouTube screenshot

Nadiya Savchenko showing middle finger in a Russian court during her last speech on 9 March 2016. Photo: YouTube screenshot 

2016/05/26 • Analysis & Opinion

As Nadiya Savchenko gloriously returned to Ukraine, Russians witnessed yet another new turn of Kiselyov TV-style discrepancy. Once abducted from Ukraine by Russian special services, labeled as a murderer and convicted in a fabricated case, Savchenko was now pardoned by Vladimir Putin and safely returned home. This new episode leaves many Russians furious, insulted, and confused.

One Ukrainian woman is worth two Russian men,” many commentators noted as they witnessed an obviously unsymmetrical comeback scene of Savchenko to Ukraine and Russian military intelligence officers Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev to Russia.

To Boryspil Airport near the Ukrainian capitol, the Ukrainian Savchenko was brought in by the country’s president Petro Poroshenko, where she has been long awaited by dozens of journalists and activists with handshakes, hugs, and flowers. However, Putin did not come to Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport to greet the freed Russian prisoners of war, and the access was granted only to the POWs’ wives and state channels’ journalists that were on a special closed list, as journalist Pavel Kanygin wrote on Facebook. Savchenko went on straight to making a speech targeting Poroshenko’s Administration, while Russian media weren’t even allowed to ask Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev any questions.

  • Arrival of GRU operatives Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev amnestied by Ukraine to Moscow. Photo: RT
    Arrival of GRU operatives Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev amnestied by Ukraine to Moscow. Photo: RT
  • Savchenko barefoot, talks to journalists upon arriving to Kyiv. Photo: radiosvoboda
    Savchenko barefoot, talks to journalists upon arriving to Kyiv. Photo: radiosvoboda

Putin’s „considerations of humanism”

President Vladimir Putin said the release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was “dictated by considerations of humanism,” Novoye Vremya reported, citing Interfax. The request for pardon allegedly came from widows of Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin who were killed in Donbas in 2014.

“I would like to express the hope that such decisions, dictated above all by considerations of humanism, will lead to a reduction of the conflict in the well-known zone of conflict and will help avoid such horrible and unnecessary losses” (translation by The Interpreter).

In 2014, relatives of Kornelyuk and Voloshin appealed to the European Court on Human Rights requesting to find those guilty guilty of the deaths of the journalists. Now, as Russian Gazeta.ru reported, on recent Kremlin pictures they look “depressed.” Unlike the sister and mother of Nadiya Savchenko, families of the two Russian GRU [military intelligence – Ed.] officers weren’t granted a meeting with their President. Putin’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov only said on Russia’s Ministry of Defense-run Zvezda channel, that “such meeting wasn’t in a schedule.”

 “A slap in the face”

Russia’s Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko stated that the media attention around exchange was a “special operation in order to make a national hero out of Nadiya Savchenko,” TASS quoted. Matviyenko felt sorry for Ukraine where “people whose hands are covered with blood, fascist accomplices are made into heroes.”

Read also: Russian coverage of Jamala’s victory descends to the level of old Soviet anecdote

The Russian patriotic community met the news about Savchenko with disbelief and outrage. A day before her release, Russia’s People’s Liberation Movement (Russian: NOD, “НОД“) representative Aleksei Shilchenko said in a comment to Gazeta.ru that it couldn’t be true: “It is impossible. You should need to check the sources informing about this. This is unacceptable!”

Member of the self-proclaimed “Parliament of Novorossiya” Yevgeniy Tinyanskiy told Gazeta.ru he took it as “shame and humiliation… like a slap in the face.” Former self-proclaimed defense minister of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” Igor Strelkov said the exchange was unequal from the “moral point of view,” since the weight of Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev in Russian society was incomparably lower than Savchenko’s in Ukraine.

“Shameful story finally ends”

Shortly before the exchange was confirmed, Russian opposition politician Aleksey Navalny wrote on Twitter he was hopeful that “everyone comes back home and this shameful story finally ends.”

Another Russian opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov wrote on Facebook that many calamities could have been avoided if only the exchange took place even half year ago.

“The lawyer wouldn’t have died in Ukraine, we wouldn’t have been ashamed in front of the whole world with the process against the [Ukrainian Verkhovna – Ed.] Rada and PACE deputy, there wouldn’t have been another split in the society around a propaganda made-up story,” he commented.

Eduard Limonov, Russian nationalist opposition politician and writer, stated about the “demonstration of Russia’s weakness” in a post on Live Journal. He wrote that Putin yielded to pressure of USA, France, Germany and “dying Ukraine” and predicted Putin will be condemned for it by the same people that applauded Crimea’s annexation. “The partners of the Normandy [negotiations] format achieved a decision on allocating OSCE police forces in Donbas… In the perspective, we will see colossal pressure regarding Crimea.”

Today Savchenko, tomorrow Crimea?

Russian social network VK.com is now full with hateful comments and memes. “Today you give away Savchenko, tomorrow Crimea?”, the public page called “Civil war in Ukraine (Crisis in Russia)” asks. “While you’re jumping, Donbas will wave good-bye to you…,” user Svetlana Svetlana commented on Rambler news.

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“First we exchanged Savchenko, what next – Crimea? Huge minus to Putin and his team, I won’t vote for them any more,” VK user Saniok Veselyi commented at “The Republic of New Russia. The Great Rus” public group.

“In case Nadiya Savchenko becomes president of Ukraine, things will turn out ugly for the Kremlin. Russia won’t have a more desperate, harsh, and intransigent opponent ready to give its health and even life for her country… Ready to use all means to bring back Donbas,” VK user Aleksandr Saveliev wrote.

“Russia was put down, boldly and brusquely. Now they will try doing it more often,” user Aleksandr commented on Novorosinform.org. “It is a 100% fault of Russian president: he testified personally, with his signature, to weakness of his country and lack of justice in it. Well, America appreciated this adulation; Russians reassure in disrespect.”

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  • Mykola Potytorsky

    what else is new, russians are always confused

  • Ken Sears

    This was predictable. The hazard in pathological lying is, sooner or later your lies will start contradicting each other and you will turn everybody into your enemies. So, the original LIE in this case went that Savchenko was the murderer of the Russian journalists. Therefore, the whole premise of the case, duly accompanied by weeping relatives, was that Savchenko must pay. Of course, the whole thing was a political charade and a farce and a kangaroo court to begin with. So, when Putin used Savchenko to get back his two soldiers (who, supposedly, were never in Ukraine to begin with…just like Putin’s “little green men” were never in Crimea to begin with), then of course the whole flimsy fabric of lies about justice being done for the families of the Russian journalists (by putting Savchenko in jail) fell completely apart. Do the families, and their grief and loss, matter? Not to Putin they don’t! Nothing matters to the lying megalomaniac tyrant except his own craven lust for power and glory.

    • Lev Havryliv

      Top comment.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      As member of the Verkhovna Rada, Nadya can make life very uncomfortable for Poroshenko and the government….. which is probably why the dwarf decided to release her. Of course, she will also be a Rada member who will be dead against any compromise with the dwarf and the so-called LNR and DNR, thus de facto preventing any solution of the Donbas occupation, which suits the dwarf very nicely. Presumably the dwarf thinks that having her as an active Rada member will be of benefit in making the Donbas a “frozen conflict”.
      Trouble is that that will mean that Dwarfstan will have to cough up for supporting the so-called LNR and DNR completely, for which he doesn’t have the rubbles, thus breeding discontent. It remains to be seen whether Nadya’s release will be of much benefit to the dwarf. It Dwarfstan itself, it may well backfire on him.

      • Ken Sears

        Yes, Medvedev’s greatest accomplishment and highest qualification for the Russian presidency was being shorter than the Dwarf.

      • Czech Mate

        Let’s wait how much “stubborn” or reckless Savchenko will be if she really takes the path of politics.

        I hope she understands fighting and doing politics are two things. But I am inclined to think that with increasing pressure from domestic problems mounting, Putler will have no time to think about Ukraine and what to do to cause trouble.

        Clock is ticking and it ain’t in ruSSkies favor.

        Payback is coming at last.

  • Lev Havryliv

    When will Russians wake up to the fact that they have been lied to all along?

    • http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/ Bu Buccaneer

      There’s a difference between being lied to and living a lie and feeding on it.

      • Quartermaster

        They’re doing all that, alas.

    • Czech Mate

      Wrong, because they knew it from the start.

      It’s just, they like it that way. We call it cowardice, for them being obedient sheep has been modus vivendi that had formed their DNA for centuries, at least those who survived.

  • Patrick

    I still don’t know what to think of the release of Navchenko apart from simply being happy for her and her relatives.

    First despite the criticism towards Putin from extrem nationalist Russians I don’t think many Russians really cared for what happened.

    The question is, is this more than just a prisoner exchange ?

    What did Russia gain?

    It got two Russians back but given the fact that Putin mercilessly sacrificed Russians in Donbas based on lies I don’t think that Putin cared much for that.

    It got rid of an annoying Ukrainian wasp in one of its prisons. A wasp that would constantly remind Ukraine and Europe of what kind of a country Russia has become: A country of injustice in which nothing works without corruption, a country caught in itself afraid as it is of desintegration and is therefore willing to hand itself over to a “strong man” a dictator leading it into isolation and economic decline. This is what Russia has become, a complete stalemate indulged in injustice.

    And the Russian population ?

    They allow all this blinded as they are by fear for desintegration and hollow nationalism that brought them no where. I know no other people with so little self-esteme!

    So I think that because of the fighting spirit of Navchenko she simply bacame a liability for Putin. A liability that could not be broken. Russia had to get rid of her.

    I don’t think that she was released to achieve a lifting of sanctions because it was already clear that the sanctions will be extended.

    This is what I said about Navchenko back in march: https://youtu.be/IoOcEf61F2g

    • Czech Mate

      “Savchenko herself was the biggest factor in her release.”

      I agree very much and would like to add her family namely sister Vira, who dropped her life and basically created the world-wide movement in support of Nadiya.
      What a unique amazing achievement and dedication even for our times.

      Is Savchenko a saint? Of course not but It was the Putler’s Kremlin, the dark evil sinister power that made her a hero in the first place. So this to the Putinobots, Nadiya’s fame was born out of ruSSian crime, you are helping to spread. Never forget that!

      And great video commentary, btw!

      PS
      Any meaning, you refer to her as “Navchenko”? :-)

  • Czech Mate

    “RuSSians furious and cconfused.”

    ou better get used to it, Ivans because your lies and blatant agression are going to catch up with you sooner or later.

    And on your knees you will go, begging Ukraine and the world for forgiveness!

  • Rascalndear

    Strelkov said it right. Svchenko was morally worth far more than two GRU men. But there are many more Ukrainians illegally held in Russia who also need releasing. Let’s hope this is just the first step.