There is no hope. Why the hero of Ukraine Savchenko became an enemy of the state

00: 22, 24 March 2018

On Friday, March 23, Shevchenko district court of Kiev arrested for two months the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Nadezhda Savchenko. She is suspected of preparing a coup d’état and an assassination attempt on the President. « ” understood how in just two years Savchenko passed a thorny path from the national hero to the enemy of the state, what awaits her in the foreseeable future and what will get the Ukrainian authorities from the promotion of this story.

Wrong turn

On March 8, when crossing the dividing line between the DPR and the territories controlled by Ukraine, the security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained Vladimir Ruban, a well — known Ukrainian volunteer engaged in the release of prisoners. He was carrying a large shipment of weapons to Ukraine. First of all, there were reports that Ruban almost alone planned an attack on the government quarter in Kiev.

Soon, however, Ukrainian security officials said that Ruban did not act alone. 13 Mar investigators have called Nadezhda Savchenko for questioning in the case. On March 15 the Prosecutor General’s office of Ukraine (GPU) brought three representations to the Verkhovna Rada: about removal of inviolability, about detention and about Nadezhda Savchenko’s arrest on suspicion in preparation of coup d’état.

On March 22 the Verkhovna Rada granted the petition of GPU. On the same day Savchenko was detained by employees, and the next day the court arrested her until may 20. These events were accompanied by a flurry of approval from Ukrainian politicians. Though only two years ago the same people honored Savchenko who has returned from the Russian torture chambers, and applauded when the President Poroshenko handed her a star of the Hero of Ukraine. It seems that during this time on the way from the Russian prison to the big Ukrainian policy Nadezhda somewhere made a wrong turn. What is not surprising-people who have shown themselves on the battlefield, are not always able to choose the right tactics in political battles.

Nadezhda Savchenko was born in 1981 in Kiev. Almost all her life is connected with the Ukrainian armed forces. Savchenko served in the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq, mastered the specialty of Navigator at Kharkiv University of the air force of Ukraine. In 2013, she supported the Maidan, took part in clashes on Grushevsky street in January 2014. With the outbreak of hostilities in the Donbass, joined the volunteer battalion Aidar.

In the summer of 2014, she either was captured by the soldiers of the LPR and was taken to Russia, or she crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border and was detained in Russia. As a result, the investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) accused her of aiding the murder of journalists VGTRK Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

In March 2016, a Russian court found her guilty and sentenced her to 22 years in prison. However in two months Savchenko exchanged for two citizens of Russia Alexander Alexandrov and Evgeny Erofeev condemned in Ukraine for participation in military operations on the party of the unrecognized republics.

All the time while in Russia there was a consequence and court, foreign policy departments of Ukraine and mass media conducted active propaganda work, demanding its immediate release. Sitting in prison, Nadezhda Savchenko managed to become the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the member of the Ukrainian delegation of PACE. The European Parliament and the US Department of State recognized her as a political prisoner.

About her movies, her support was made by artists, school children wrote her letters and studied her biography. Even Lenin square in the County town of Vatutino, Cherkasy region was renamed in honor of Savchenko.

In less than two years it became world famous. Savchenko’s recognition rating in Ukraine was 99 percent.

Did not come to court

However after return to Ukraine it became clear that the Ukrainian power would prefer to see Savchenko in the Russian prison, instead of in the Ukrainian Parliament. In 2014-2016, all Ukrainian politicians openly PR on her behalf. Her arrest and a high-profile criminal case played a role in strengthening the crisis between Russia and the West.

Yes, the first months after the liberation Savchenko was the hero of all the airs. However, it soon became clear that the Ukrainian media created an ideal image that has little to do with a real person. Hope Savchenko was quite conflicted. Already four months after homecoming Savchenko left nominated her to the deputies of the faction of the Batkivshchyna party.

Savchenko repeatedly and very critically spoke about the Ukrainian government. Blamed her for the war in the Donbass, corruption. Publicly supported the establishment of dictatorship and criticized the prospects of the current government. A year ago she allegedly urged the Ukrainian military to overthrow the power. However, the matter was hushed up.

Nadezhda had a chance to become a corrupt Deputy or to be marginalized, as some “heroes” of the Maidan. Apparently, it was not satisfied with both, and she decided to go her own way.

What’s your evidence?

The story of Savchenko’s arrest on charges of preparing a coup leaves more questions than answers. The main ones are: who benefits from this story and what dividends the interested parties will receive.

Thus, with regard to the plans for the attack on the government quarter and the seizure of the Parliament, Nadiya Savchenko does not deny his participation. However, the version presented by the attorney — General is highly questionable and the evidence inconclusive.

Statements that Savchenko alone or as a part of group of several people was going to seize Parliament and to kill all people’s deputies, look not quite plausible. And the evidence is not credible.

The audio recordings published by the Prosecutor General do not directly indicate the preparation of the terrorist attack by Nadezhda Savchenko. On Savchenko’s videos though speaks about intention to make above-mentioned act of terrorism, but the format of conversation reminds dreamy chatter in kitchen, rather than step-by-step preparation of a coup more.

However, the quality of the evidence in this case is secondary. Petro Poroshenko, as a result of several judicial reforms, was able to subordinate the judicial branch of power, so that if necessary, Nadiya Savchenko can be imprisoned in the presence of any evidence.

According to the Ukrainian political scientist Ruslan Bortnik, the government hoped that Nadiya Savchenko would not return to Ukraine (at the time of the statement about her involvement, She was in Europe). However, back than upped the ante. As a result, the government outsmarted itself and found itself between a bad and a very bad decision.

On very bad, according to Ruslan Bortnik, insisted Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman and representatives of one of the two ruling parties — the Popular front. The essence of this decision was to recognize Hope Savchenko mentally deranged. The Prime Minister made a very specific point.

Such a decision would be a direct reference to Soviet punitive psychiatry and would obviously not be supported either domestically or internationally.

However, the recognition of Savchenko insane and placing her in a psychiatric hospital would play into the hands of opponents Poroshenko from the current government. First, it would have caused a huge reputational blow personally to the President, who just two years ago handed Savchenko the star of the Hero of Ukraine.

Secondly, Savchenko at any time could be recognized healthy and released with uncertain consequences for the government, first of all — again for the President.

This scenario was promoted by the Popular front and the Prime Minister, probably for the following reasons. The popular front, to which the party belongs ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, NSDC Secretary Alexander Turchinov and interior Minister Arsen Avakov, has a rating at the level of statistical error. The popular front will not pass to the Parliament in the elections of 2019 and therefore is now actively looking for opportunities for bargaining with the team of the President on, let’s say, interesting conditions for cooperation in the elections.

The creation of difficulties within the country and in foreign policy weakens the President’s negotiating position and, accordingly, strengthens the position of the Popular front. For the same reason, the “very bad option” was supported by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who strengthens his position within the power vertical and thinks about his own political future after the elections.

The authorities chose a bad option, that is, arrest and probably imprisonment. This option, as well as any other, will in any case cause reputational damage to the current government. The arrest of the hero of Ukraine, a national favorite, which was worn only two years ago and glorified by the whole of Ukraine, will clearly cause misunderstanding and rejection in society.

Ukrainian political expert Kirill Molchanov believes that if the government doesn’t put the case Savchenko on the brakes as it was with the case of bribery of the people’s Deputy Igor Mosiychuk, the loss of reputation would be even greater. Weak procedural provision for the prosecution and, obviously, the daring behavior of Savchenko will undermine the authority remains of the Ukrainian authorities. A year before the election, it is quite undesirable.

There is another unpleasant feature in the case of Savchenko. Power in the eyes of Ukrainian society has not become an innocent victim of bloody conspirators, around which it is necessary to unite to protect. On the contrary, if society does not support Savchenko directly, it certainly does not consider her a bad man and a criminal. The people were frankly tired of economic problems, disorder and constant scandals at the top. Therefore, the preparation of an armed coup is perceived with a certain understanding.

Twist the nuts

This feature is a very dangerous signal for the Ukrainian authorities. This week, the ratings of potential presidential candidates and political parties were published. According to them, the level of support for the government is at the lowest level since 2014. Petro Poroshenko, apparently, has no prospects to be re-elected in 2019, and his party has very shaky prospects to pass to Parliament. The second ruling party, the popular front, has long lost these prospects and has a rating of 0.6 percent.

In the conditions of loss of trust of the absolute majority of citizens of Ukraine, the authorities were challenged in the form of a coup attempt. And let it passed under the control of special services and it was succeeded to prevent, the fact of preparation of revolution generates fear. The government understands that if something happens, it will have no one to rely on.

In such a situation, we can assume that the government uses the coup attempt to tighten the screws. Ukrainian political analysts believe that to the case Savchenko has the potential to connect anyone. And Yulia Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko’s main competitor in the presidential race, and Igor Kolomoisky, who suffered in the fight against the President, and Viktor Medvedchuk, who is regularly called “an agent of the Kremlin.”

The crackdown could also affect the less technically weak players. It is about the Ukrainian nationalists, military, participants of military operations in Donbass. Nadezhda Savchenko enjoys considerable authority among these people. Potentially, they could support the coup.

So the government’s actions against the opposition of the radicals is to be expected. For example, during the trial Savchenko police blocked the headquarters of the National corps in Kiev.

Pre-election creative

Ukrainian politics is characterized by a high level of conspiracy. Almost every opposition politician or public figure is suspected of working or cooperating with the presidential administration. Nadezhda Savchenko did not stay aside.

So, the political expert Dmitry Korneychuk is sure that Savchenko is “Bank project” (administration of the President of Ukraine). In his opinion, Petro Poroshenko uses Savchenko as a point of Assembly of conditionally “Patriotic” oppositionists. It is possible to assume that within such scenario there is a Sewerage of ultra-right protest in Ukraine.

A similar view is shared by Ukrainian political scientist Valentin Gaidai. “The scandal with Savchenko draws attention from the main leaders of the presidential race, in particular, from the strongest competitor — Yulia Tymoshenko, — the expert believes. — It is possible that the administration is seriously thinking over the promotion of Savchenko as a possible candidate for President in order to divert votes from Tymoshenko. Still, the appearance of another bright odious woman in politics removes from Yulia Tymoshenko monopoly on the role of a certain iron lady, the only woman-politician.”

This version is confirmed by the data of sociological surveys. In February of this year, Yulia Tymoshenko’s rating was 9.8 percent, which makes her the leader in the presidential race. President Petro Poroshenko has only 3.9 percent, he is in fourth place in the ranking. So Poroshenko’s desire to weaken his main competitor is quite understandable.

However Ruslan Bortnik doesn’t agree with such interpretation of actions of the power. According to the expert, Savchenko is not suitable as a competitor Tymoshenko for two reasons. First, the electorate is little overlap, so there are conditions to support Savchenko as a counterweight to Tymoshenko.

Secondly, Nadezhda Savchenko has almost no rating. Immediately after her release, the level of her support was colossal, but it was not converted into a political rating. In December 2016, six months after returning home, its rating was 2.7 percent. A little more than a year later, in February 2018, Nadezhda Savchenko does not appear in the presidential ranking.

Ruslan Bortnik compares the version about the pre-pumping of Nadezhda Savchenko with the same in respect of Mikheil Saakashvili. In the autumn of 2017, it was also a popular point of view that it can delay the votes of the opposition-minded electorate. However, six months later, shortly before his expulsion from the country, Mikheil Saakashvili was politically completely marginalized.

Political scientist Kirill Molchanov also doubts that the administration of the President of Ukraine entered into any agreement with Savchenko. According to the expert, she is a hard-to-control person who creates chaos around herself. Accordingly, to negotiate with her about anything dangerous.

However, it is too early to draw definite conclusions. It took a little more than a week, as Savchenko was accused of attempting a coup. Only after a few months it will be possible to say whether Savchenko’s case was a pre-election project or the Ukrainian authorities set themselves some other goals.

It is possible that Savchenko’s case is the government’s desire to distract society from social and economic problems. According to the former adviser to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Anatolii Peshko, the government creates more and more new information reasons that switch people’s attention. Maintaining a constant sense of threat due to the fighting in the Donbas, the attempts of the coup of Mikhail Saakashvili and Nadezhda Savchenko, the government distracts public opinion from the failures in the economy and the fall in the quality of life.

The real problems are really enough: the increase in prices and tariffs, the constant devaluation of the hryvnia, unemployment. Here it should be noted that at the height of scandal with Savchenko the head of National Bank of Ukraine Valery Gontareva was dismissed. Against the background of the news about the failed coup, the news about the dismissal of Gontareva went almost unnoticed, and it was she (along with other high-ranking officials) is guilty of a catastrophic fall of the hryvnia.

So far, the events only unfold, and to make definite conclusions about all the stakeholders of Nadezhda Savchenko’s case clearly before. The only thing that can be said for sure is that Ukrainian politics will continue to live with scandals and, probably, this is not the last conspiracy against the current Ukrainian authorities.


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