Putin, Savchenko and Ukraine


International, More, Political prisoners, Ukraine

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Christine Chraibi

Why doesn’t the Ukrainian government do anything to liberate Nadiya Savchenko? Why is there no exchange of prisoners? Why doesn’t Ukraine negotiate? Maybe the Ukrainian government is afraid of Savchenko’s return?…

Such questions can be heard everywhere in Ukraine; they mirror the responsibility of the Ukrainian government, and not that of Russia, and are permanently fuelled by Kremlin propaganda and its Ukrainian lackeys.

Let’s face it. Savchenko’s fate depends on one person – Vladimir Putin. Nadiya Savchenko is stubborn and ready to break the Kremlin’s scenario by sacrificing her life and health. But, Putin is also stubborn and will stick to his script. For him, Savchenko’s life and health have no meaning. Moreover, what’s currently happening around the Ukrainian pilot is fully in line with his interests as it stirs up Ukrainians against their own government, i.e. it weakens the enemy’s position and allows Putin to get future concessions from his enemy (Ukraine). Putin knows very well that an enemy which is not supported by its own people, will be easier to overcome than an enemy which bases its decisions on public opinion.

Therefore, Putin will continue to draw out Savchenko’s period of imprisonment as the whole situation only weakens the authority of the Ukrainian state. No more and no less… If this means sacrificing Nadia’s health, he’ll not hesitate… If this means sacrificing her life, he’ll not hesitate… No public appeals, no statements by concerned Western leaders, no threats of new sanctions lists will affect him… nor will he be influenced by any proposals of prisoner exchange, such as Yerofeyev and Alexandrov (Russian fighters currently imprisoned in Ukraine-Ed.) for Savchenko. In fact, Putin isn’t interested in anyone’s life; he runs a country with a completely different system of values. We used to live in such a country and we remember Stalin’s refusal to exchange his own son Yakov for Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus – “I don’t exchange soldiers for field marshals!” – was considered a sign of courage and not degeneracy. So, why should we be surprised?

Putin and his propagandists have become intoxicated with their success. At first, they failed to foment hysteria in Ukraine during the trials of Sentsov and Kolchenko, the capture and arrest of Tatar activists in Crimea, or absurd detentions of our compatriots in Russia. It’s namely the Savchenko case that is the bait for the Ukrainian fish to be dragged on and on and on over hard ground until it suffocates from rage and moral distress. What kind of villain voluntarily gives up such bait – a bait contributing to internal destabilization and distrust of the enemy country’s authorities?

Does this mean that Savchenko’s actions are not right? No, it doesn’t. Savchenko acts very consciously, drawing our attention to Russia’s lawlessness. She fights so that the international community will pay more attention to Russia’s criminality and her fate, and she will win not only because she is a deputy and a famous personality, but also because she is desperate and highly capable of self-sacrifice. That’s why she can stand alone against the whole Russian state apparatus.

No, it’s not Savchenko’s actions that are wrong. What is wrong is the hysterical reaction to her actions and attempts by many people to capitalize on what’s happening. It is this reaction and these efforts that help Putin. It is they – and not Savchenko’s actions – that ultimately transform Nadia from a heroine standing up against an authoritarian system to a simple hostage of Putin’s plans for destabilizing Ukraine, while the court proceedings are mere tools for this destabilization.

Nadiya Savchenko doesn’t need our hysteria. She needs a state that is capable of consolidation and self-esteem in these difficult times.

A real state, a strong government…


Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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