A new breath of Nadia Savchenko: political rebranding

Author : Mariana Pietsuh

Source : 112 Ukraine

Former political prisoner intends to “activate” Ukraine’s national-democratic party Narodnyi Rukh
10:25, 1 December 2016

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"Let me be the fire that will burn, but will give Ukraine the future. I’m ready for it," announced MP Nadia Savchenko about the start of her independent political career.

Related: Nadiya Savchenko announced the start of her independent political career

The metaphor of "fire" indicates not on Joan of Arc, but on Vyacheslav Chornovil, the leader of "People's Movement of Ukraine," which in the late 80s of the last century led process of national revival.

Savchenko made her statement exactly six months after her release from a Russian prison.

After returning to Ukraine, she emphasized that she needed six months to integrate into politics, or go away.

Despite massive criticism during this time, despite misunderstanding and mistakes, Savchenko decided that she should continue her political career.

Political Loner

The idea of Savchenko to create a separate political path was clear on the third day after her release, during her first press conference, when she announced her readiness to become president.

Over 6 month Savchenko did not find like-minded among key players in politics or colleagues in Parliament to work with on her own project.

Some called her "Trojan horse", criticized for statements clear to Russian positions contrary to national interests. Others urged not to pay attention to her statements, because she needs time to adapt after captivity.

Related: Savchenko may be kicked off from Batkivshchyna party

Many of her colleagues noted that Savchenko operates independently, she does not agree her actions with them.

November 25, in the air of "Shuster Live", she declared that "there is no need to create something new, we should just remember the forgotten old."

This forgotten brand was "People's Movement of Ukraine" (Narodnyi Rukh Ukrajiny - NRU).

"I will lead  Rukh" as a party that is forgotten, and which was not well understood by people (...)I will bring this party to the parliament," declared Savchenko.

However, her explanation about her place and role in the NRU sounded quite confusing: "I will not enter the party. I am an independent politician. I will open a fund. NRU is a party. But apart from the party, it is also a public organization. Here I am for this public organization."

"Movement" without moving

To understand the logic of statements Savchenko, we addressed to the head of Rukh Vasyl Kuybida.

Related: Savchenko urges Trump to strengthen US support in fight against Russia’s aggression

The leaders of Rukh said that these words of Savchenko were unexpected, and it is not clear what relation she has to the NRU.


Kuybida also assured that Savchenko did not approve her application with the NRU. However, he quite normally responded to the "appropriation" of NRU brand.

Last time Rukh as an independent unit participated in the parliamentary elections in 1998, takig second place after the Communist Party - 9.4%.

Then NRU merged with other parties to power - first with Viktor Yushchenko in the "Our Ukraine", Yulia Tymoshenko. After all, the Rukh as a parliamentary force left the political arena.

During the last decade, NRU has taken a niche of retired romantics political parties. Even though it has an extensive network of "junior" organizations. More ambitious young politicians left NRU in the search of ranking political platforms.

Related: Verkhovna Rada to amend Savchenko’s law

However, there are exceptions - in April 2016 two MPs Pavlo Kyshkar and Victor Kryvenko entered Rukh after they were expelled from their faction "Samopomic" (for voting for amendments to the Constitution in matters of decentralization).

"She called me and said she wanted to meet"

For some time, Kuybida admitted that Nadia Savchenko still came to the NRU office "in order to talk."

"A few weeks ago she called me and said she wanted to meet. We met and talked. Then she wanted to meet with the Political Council, we invited her. What was the purpose of her visit? Well, it was not quite appropriate to ask: "Why did you come?" Our doors are opened for everyone. Moreover, it is the People's deputy of Ukraine," adds chairman of NRU.

Related: Third is a crowd? Why do Savchenko's former lawyers quarrel?

We recalled chairman of NRU about alarming accusations towards Savchenko, that she Kremlin's or Viktor Medvedchuk’s hand. Kuybida noted: "I do not know whose hand is she, I want to believe that it is an independent politician."

"She just did not say that she wanted to be the head of Rukh, she even did not say about these intentions. She said that she read our program, she was impressed, in particular that Rukh was trying to unite the Ukrainian people on the basis of national interests," says Kuybida.

At the same time, Savchenko has announced a Ukrainian tour under the banner of Rukh.

"I'm going to trip abroad. During this time, my colleagues and I would gather like-minded people (...) Then I will go to Ukraine and go out to people with flags of NRU! Our work has begun! The struggle continues!" wrote Savchenko on her page on Facebook.

Related: Savchenko's visit to Russia: Detailed story from its organizer

So, it is obvious that a certain agreement between Kuybida and Savchenko still exists. But he does not want to talk about it. Presumably, because not all 35,000 party members are sympathetic to this controversial politician and her provocative statements, which some perceive as "play of the Kremlin."

Kuybida confirmed the assumption that Savchenko, not being a member of the NRU, may lead the party list for parliament.

"She does not have to be a member of the party or its chairman to head the list. Congress has to vote for the first number of the list. If she is able to do it, let us wish her success," summed up Kuybida, adding that Rukh has intends to participate as an independent unit at the next parliamentary elections.

Related: Vira Savchenko testifies against LPR leader Plotnitsky

That is the first time in almost twenty years that "Rukh" has a claim on its own to win the parliamentary elections, using the rating of Savchenko.

However, the question of Savchenko’s rating and her ability to hold a party in the parliament now looks very blurry.

Social networks and political environment do not perceive her as a "perspective of politician," although in June the level of trust to Savchenko was the highest among the other contenders - 35%.

According to the latest rankings, 1,7% of voters would like to see Savchenko as a president.

Related: “Putin is a nit:” Savchenko’s most scandalous statements


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