Savchenko: Putin is not eternal
Ukraine's pilot and MP Savchenko tells about her life behind the bars, about Russia and Putin, and her political plans (part 1)
Read the original text at svoboda.org.
- How do you feel at liberty? Are you tired of it?
- I am dead tired, but I must work till a victorious end.
- What does it mean to "a victorious end"?
- The enemy must go away from our land. Ukraine should be free, independent, solitary state, including Crimea and Donbas. Definitely.
- I understand what you are saying. But you also know that today it is difficult to imagine. Putin would never let this, right?
- Putin is not eternal.
- Many Maidan participants are today disappointed. Here you are back. What feelings do you have? What were your expectations and how did they materialize?
- Stop talking about the disillusionment. We have witnessed several Maidan movements. And after each Maidan we were disappointed. Despair is the greatest sin, the Bible says. We are tired of despair. We are looking forward. We must wait. We need to act. My people will not tolerate frustration. You always want to get more. But in order to get more, do something yourself. If everyone does something himself, we will succeed. I am just one person. I will do everything that depends on me.
- You seem to be careful in your statements about those who are in power.
- I would not call it “careful.” I said that I would not criticize until I do it better. Now you judge me by my words. Man should be judged not by words but by his deeds. It is easy to criticize.
- According to the latest polls, you are the most popular politician in Ukraine. Have you already articulated your political goals and how do you intend to achieve them?
- I have been a politician in absentia for two years, and I really work for some two weeks only. I have never worked in the legislative sphere. I have to learn very quickly. I have an abstract goal: better life for Ukraine and its people. Literally every day I am learning how to achieve it.
- What have changed in Ukraine after two years of your absence?
- People have more pride, more self-confidence. This is the result of Maidan and the ATO. Yes, corruption has not disappeared. There are not that much politicians and oligarchs. I believe in people. I do not want to criticize other politicians. We are now working together. We have to forgive each other and try to return the occupied territories. Russia would never be our brother again. However, it has never been our brother. But I hope we still have a chance to be good neighbors. It is better to be good neighbors than bad brothers. We need to talk more with people in Donbas, where Russian propaganda is brainwashing. I want to save our people, to raise their consciousness. I do not want them to be sheeple.
- After returning to Ukraine, do you realize that you are a threat to some politicians?
- After returning, I realized that politics and everything that happens in the media, it is when people have have something in mind, say something else, and do something completely different. Do I believe in the good things that people say about me? Do I think I about what people think about me? No, I do not think. I need to deal with blocks of issues. Some grandmother calls me and asks to screw a light bulb in the stairwell. I explain that now I need to screw in a light bulb in the whole country. But every grandmother expects me to come and screwed a bulb. I need to try to avoid populism.
- Is Putin is your personal enemy?
- I do not know him personally. Putin is the enemy of Ukraine. So, he is my enemy, too.
- What was the most terrifying moment of your life in the last two years? Did you lose your hope?
- I have never lost my hopes. The first months were the most frightening ones. When I was in captivity, and the war erupted in Donbas. The battles, the victims, and blood. I saw that the defense strategy and tactics were wrong.
- Were you ready to die in a Russian prison?
- Yes, I was ready to die there. I was prepared for being killed there. I'm not a person who clings to life just to live. I do not think that Putin initially gave the order to start a case against Savchenko. He simply ordered to do bad for Ukraine.
- What was the most terrible in the Russian prison?
- I do not think that Ukrainian jail is better. My cell was two to two and a half meters. It was crowded with furniture welded to the wall, from which I was taken out once a day. I could not sit in a cage. I could not stay in Russia. I do not like this country. I feel disgusted with white birch trees... To be frank, I do not want to hate Russia that much. If I were invited to visit this country as a tourist, I would have perceived it otherwise. Yeah. I remember my first five letters of support that I received in prison; three of them were from Russia. There are no bad nations. There are bad people. I hope that someday I will see the beauty of Russia, and I this nausea would disappear...
- This was your first visit to Russia, right?
- It was my first "trip" abroad after Iraq.
- Were you beaten and tortured in prison?
- I was not treated in that way as other Ukrainian guys. They quickly realized that it is impossible to influence me in any way and tortures are useless. Above and beyond, my popularity grew very quickly. They could hit me, yes, it happened. But they did not dare to torture me. Another person would have cried that his handcuffs are tightly tightened. I was beaten only in captivity, only when captured. But it is common. And I was wounded [shows the scars of wounds through the left arm above the wrist].
- An what about a psychological pressure?
- Of course I have suffered from psychological pressure. Continuous surveillance, interception of correspondence, fake information, calls for interviews, and constant pressure… They did not say anything like “you will die here.” But they said "you have no future. No one needs you. You'd better confess.". They wanted me to confess. Once they asked me: "What is the purpose of crossing the border?". I said I was kidnapped. Those killed journalists were not very important for them. They killed those journalists… Their actions would be judged in The Hague. The European Court. I will not just forgive them. I was not tortured with electric shocks, like Karpyuk (case of "Ukrainian nationalists"). I was not tortured with psychotropic [drugs] like Klykh (case of "Ukrainian nationalists"), I was not beaten like like Chyrniy, Afanasiev, Sentsova, Kolchenko ("Crimean hostages").
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