Read the original text on DW.
In the first months of Nadia Savchenko’s in a Russian prison it was still possible to find an explanation for the current situation. Yes, probably, she is held in prison just in case to exchange with someone. Yes, no one believes in the official version of crossing the border illegally, but she is not a prisoner of war, and Russian state has to play with the law. Yes, it is an ugly game, but also Russia’s role in Donbas conflict is stupid, and the law ... Well, let's not pretend that the Russian authorities have ever worried about how they look from the point of view of the law. Ugly, but understandable - so it was possible to describe the behavior of the Russian state against Savchenko in 2014 and partly in 2015. By the spring of 2016 all the arguments format "well, you know," ceased to operate.
There have not been such prisoners yet
Becoming a national hero of Ukraine - it was a natural way to Nadia Savchenko from the first days of Russian captivity. Nearly two years after the captivity she turns into an important symbol for Russia. There have not been such prisoners yet. Russia's repressive system has trained only on its inner subjects, and in the case of Savchenko, it went to the international level.
Keeping in the prison a famous PACE member… it is just unbelievable! It is like with pilot Powers or Mathias Rust. But they at least really have crossed the Soviet border and were sent home as soon as possible. The most similar situation is probably the case of Raoul Wallenberg, but in his case the Soviet authorities recognized the fact of the abduction and arrest only in the late eighties, but here everything is defiantly: she was arrested, and judged by a court trial.
Traditional Russian practice means that the law has been a part of the social contract. No one seriously disputes that there is something above the law in Russia: the interests of law enforcement agencies that are ready to throw the drugs and lie because of the political need.
Case of Savchenko put this practice into an international context. The argument "here it goes" and good police winks only works with compatriots. Savchenko’s case demonstrates to the world the real nature of Russia and Russian court (in case somebody had some doubts). The problem is not only that official Russia does not hesitate for a long time politically motivated cases. Much more important in terms of describing the perverse features of the existing system is that it is now Savchenko’s case could not be called as politically motivated, because all possible political reasons has been lost in the last two years.
Savchenko or Bastrykin?
There is no possibility to “bargain” Nadia Savchenko in the Minsk process or in negotiations of the "Norman Quartet". There is no person to change her for, the Kremlin's propaganda needs at this time have changed, it does not need the myth about "The Punisher from Aydar Battalion", like two years ago; now permanently shadowed by the Middle Eastern theme.
Everything looks like Savchenko is kept in prison for nothing - just the system has no reverse option, and the mechanism of the state cannot rotate back. Having lost all rational explanation, the case Savchenko has become a symbol of dumb senselessness of Russia's repressive machine, and Savchenko is not only Ukrainian, but also Russian symbol of resistance to these vessels, these investigators to the State, a living illustration of the slogan "For your freedom and ours" .
How many times the political reality gives Russian society the most unpleasant questions in the format of "either-or", requiring a clear answer. Bastrykin or Savchenko? Of course, Savchenko. Here is the nationalist from the Battalion "Aydar", here is the living symbol of Ukrainian "anti-terrorist operation", a woman who embodies all or almost all of which in real life does not accept the average anti-Putin intellectual. Thanks to the talents of Russian security services and courts, even such a controversial figure turned in a major anti-Putin symbol.
If the Russian authorities have behaved less horrible, Savchenko figure could cause Russia to answer some unpleasant questions. But (and this is not the first time) the Russian authorities were able to put themselves in such a way that even the Battalion "Aydar" in their background looks a little more decently than they do.