Kuzheev: Today our guest is Ukraine’s MP of eights convocation, Hero of Ukraine Nadia Savchenko.
In your life, you had many circumstances that radically changed both your biography and your lifeline.
Savchenko: Let us call it fate. I never could have thought that the government for me would mean not only an army but also a prison. Many things happen in my life that direct me, but each time I make a choice myself.
For example, the Revolution of Dignity.
Yes. Skip the Revolution of Dignity, declare that the army is out of politics, and hide somewhere in a warm place, or become a labor migrant. When the war began, one could not become a volunteer, but just sit and wait for better times. During the war, one had time to have children, get an apartment as part of the army state program, get a certificate of participation in the hostilities, etc.
Do you admit that then-President Yanukovych and his entourage would not interfere in the presidential election in the 2015 year and allow someone to win the election from him?
I believe that at every moment one could make a mistake and correct it. Zelensky has exactly the same thing now: making a mistake, correction of this mistake. So does every president. From the beginning of its independence, Ukraine did not start developing but went to destruction. Our first mistakes, we should not give up over national interests - the nuclear potential, and ending with the last mistake - it is not necessary to sell land for debts. I do not think that people can see this, especially those, who are in power today. I don’t understand what leads them when they don’t want to correct mistakes.
Do you regret that you are not the MP now?
I do not regret it. I believe that at the moment there is nothing to do in Verkhovna Rada.
Why did Ukraine begin losing its managerial sovereignty?
It happened a long time ago. The first loss of statehood was connected with safety. Ukraine emerged from the Soviet Union as a very powerful country. But as soon as we became independent, our number of enemies increased. Any advice from foreign politicians meant the destruction of Ukraine. We wanted to get out of the communist totalitarian guardianship, but we had to get out with our own brains. It seems to me that the first sprouts began to germinate under president Yushchenko because president Kuchma was still creating his own Ukrainian, local oligarchy, which began to destroy statehood. The Constitution was demolished - I’m talking about the subsoil law. He broke article 13 of the Constitution.
They accepted that subsoil could go into private hands. And after that, we lost the basic security that the Ukrainian people should have used. Even the Constitutional Court could not stop this law, then a system of pressure on the judicial system went, and then love for the freedoms of the West began. Then we began to instill tolerance, change some basic approaches, concepts. I once heard that Jews carry their Bible as their figurative fatherland. So, the Western world bears its democracy as its figurative fatherland, because wherever they put democracy, the statehood and essence of the country itself are destroyed. At the moment, we are losing statehood also because people do not live in Ukraine. Now there are fewer people in urban transport. This means that the poor class, which cannot get into cars, is simply leaving the country. When people leave the country, and the governing bodies consider other states, then this is the destruction of the state itself.
Why is there such a rush with solving the Donbas issue?
It seems to me that this is no longer a hurry - we are already late with Donbas. Hurry would mean if reverse events would begin in 2016. Donbas issue seems more painful and more close than it actually is at the moment. Physically, people have learned to survive, they are used to the circumstances. And at the moment, the solution to this issue lays another mine in slow motion. “Donetsk People’s Republic” begins to invent the borders of some unrecognized republics. These borders affect the unoccupied territory of Ukraine, and this means that when we start selling agricultural land in unoccupied territories, Russia’s claims will immediately begin that we can go to defend the “Russian world.” Everyone wants to believe that it’s not too late. Someone says that these territories are already lost, someone believes that there could be a miracle. For the newly elected president, this is one of the important tasks, and Zelensky really would like to achieve peace in Ukraine. Politically, if he could win the war, even a compromise victory, it would probably give Ukraine hope for development.
The power promised to start putting corrupt officials behind the bars, but it turns out that it is pressing the media.
They began to give them good offices. And pressing freedom of speech is a marker of the essence of man. When a person is not in power - he shouts one thing, and when he comes to power – declares something different.
But what about those people who did not support the Revolution of Dignity, Euromaidan, although they were not on the side of Anti-Maidan.
This is the average Ukrainian, a realist, who stands firmly on the ground, who is not a dreamer, not a fanatic. Such people do not change history, but they are just a labor force. And if they really had enough mind, and not the vileness of that very Poroshenko and his elite, seizing power on the Maidan’s blood, then they would have to start building a really adequate Ukraine. Switzerland is an example of an adequate society. They had a certain period of wars, but one day they decided that was enough! Now, this is absolutely static, stable society.
We also see a threat to state sovereignty from neighboring countries. It is not only about the Russian Federation. See what conversations are on the western borders.
If you are weak, then they want to take something from you. People only are patriots in only a token way. If everyone understood that this is my border, and I am a proud Ukrainian, and so people understand that I am a patriot of the country, it is better to live here.
Ukraine has many political parties today. And this blanket is pulled from one place to another.
And here political forces will never find an agreement. Therefore, here who is fortunate enough to pick up a mace, he must use it quickly, just to achieve a result. This time Zelensky managed to take this great result. I want optimism, but reality shows that one does not have to be such a fool to be an optimist.
And how do you like the idea of abolishing the institute of the presidency?
I believe that it is necessary to cancel it after changing the political system. When we write down clear rules, put clear barriers, put democracy in the hands of people, not politicians, political parties and parliament, when a referendum becomes mandatory, like Brexit, for example, then you can cancel the presidency. Ukrainians, although a freedom-loving people, but perceive a strong, authoritative hand.
If we look at the lack of high-quality roads, extensive transport links, can this contribute to communication between different regions?
When someone talks about roads, I remember one thing: Germany is a country where roads are built without kickbacks. Even in France, there are about 10% of kickbacks, in Ukraine, we have 50% kickbacks.
Propaganda and information - how do you distinguish these two things?
When I want to get information, I need to watch 20 TV channels, read a press, and only the average that I feel will be information for me. In order to understand whether a journalist is a propagandist or not, it is necessary to distinguish whether a person voices facts or his own mind. Usually, Ukrainians learn to feel intuitive. But very often people are deceived on this because sometimes propaganda is much sweeter than information, and one wants to consume more than consuming the truth. I can understand this, but I can’t pass this knowledge on to someone.
Where did you learn this? Because people say that you were brainwashed in a Russian prison.
That prison was another school of life, and I learned to understand it. You begin to understand this from childhood when you are faced with the fact that you are being deceived. When watching Russian television, it was necessary to filter out the information. Life teaches.
What’s the difference between the conscious Ukrainian in Lviv and in Odesa?
There is no difference. We do not take the rhetoric of Poroshenko, Parubiy (Ukraine’s ex-parliamentary speaker, - ed.) to describe a conscious Ukrainian. A conscious Ukrainian is a person who has learned manipulation from truth and propaganda. A man who realized that it was better to find a common language than to mix it up and burn the bridge over. And such conscious Ukrainians live in Lviv, Donetsk, Odesa.