The U.S. is seriously interested in Savchenko's case
Russia's "NO" to the demands to release Nadia is not satisfied, and the conversation does not end
See the original text on Facebook of Illya Novikov.
I do not know reliably about the link between prank man Vovan and Lexus with the FSB and the Kremlin. Maybe yes and maybe no. In order to do what they have done, this is not necessary. And I'm not going to throw a stone at my colleague Mark Feigin. I understand perfectly that there are many claims to him in connection with this story. But you are free from the collegiality of law, and I am not. We work together. I will not discuss this aspect of the case.
Nadia Savchenko started to drink water, and this is important. The previous week I had a bad feeling like a timer was ticking near my ear. It is difficult to live and to work. Now we have at least another 10 days - plenty of time to think of it. Our lawyers' work in court ended with a debate on March 3 but it is only in the court. Now the focus has shifted to diplomacy. Those who recalled film "Spy Bridge" in connection with the case of Savchenko, hardly realize how close they are to the reality. This is exactly the case: as a lawyer, I represent only my client, and I can speak much more freely than any Ukrainian diplomat. We took advantage of this to determine the position of the Americans, whose voice could be decisive. For almost three weeks (with a break in the debate in the Donetsk court), I am in the United States. Since the end of February I had up to three dozen interviews with American politicians and diplomats. Initially, everybody spoke very guardedly. Yes, they are generally aware of the situation (Congress) and monitor it continuously (the State Department), but it is too early to talk about concrete steps.
The breakthrough came earlier this week. Secretary of State Kerry and Vice President Biden both made very strong statements. The U.S. does not recognize the trial of Nadia Savchenko as an internal affair of Russia, it is believed that after the capture of the militants "Luhansk People’s Republic" she was taken to Russia by force, and demand her immediate release without any conditions. During the week after that I asked at every meeting the same question: "The administration is really meant what Kerry said?". Today I received a response from the person who is in the course of the whole situation: “Yes, we really mean it”. It is very much here: "Yes, we really mean it". Foreign Ministry has difficulties with English, but I hope that at least this phrase will be translated for them.
In Congress there are people much more aggressive. One of my friends called Minister Lavrov "a cruel bastard, whose place in the sanctions list of Magnitsky". But sanctions are managed the State Department, not by the Congress, although Congress may encourage the administration to act more resolutely. September 2015, Congress adopted a bipartisan resolution demanding the release of Nadia Savchenko. It was before the court. Now it is over, and judging by the reaction, there are no here supporters of the Russian version of events in Washington. They are familiar with the plot, aware that a Russian court refused to appoint key expertise, and also they highlight the fact that Savchenko was taken to Russia secretly, not arrested on the spot or not extradited formally.
They are very well aware of the difference between the special operation and clumsy lies, as well as between these accusations and fabricated ones. And here we are all accustomed to, that appeals to stand up for the arrested person means almost always a muddy lining. The police illegally arrested and beat up a black teenager? Yes, this time illegally, but earlier he had twenty reasons to be detained, for hooliganism and cush. Guantánamo detainees? Not too constitutionally, but still they were fighting for "Al-Qaeda". Now people realize that Savchenko’s case is not just a performance "Take the accident", but really a Hollywood plot, where on the one hand, everything is white, and on the other, everything is black, and it touches them. History begins to diverge.
When I returned to the U.S. after the debate, we discussed how to make Savchenko’s issue be discussed during the presidential campaign. Maybe contact with the headquarters of Hillary? Woman, fighting for the rights... Or is it more the theme of the Republicans? Savchenko is a veteran of Iraq. And this week the four remaining candidates in the race of the five expressed the support. Ted Cruz: "Russia must release unjustly arrested Ukrainian pilot Savchenko. Enough means "enough". John Richard Kasich: “I call on Russia to release Savchenko immediately and return her to Ukraine”. Hillary Clinton: "I add my voice to those who require immediate liberation of Ukrainian politician and the former pilot Nadia Savchenko from the illegal and unjust arrest in Russia". Bernie Sanders: "We need to know when to stop. Savchenko should be freed".
The main outcome of today: Russia's "no" to the demands to release Nadia is not satisfied, and the conversation does not end. Savchenko’s case in not more an internal affair of the Russian court. Verbal protest is not limited. In the remaining days before March 21, before the verdict, political wheels continue to spin, but there would be nothing pleasant for Russian leadership. There is still an opportunity to stop and fix the damages at the current level.
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