Uladzimir Matskevich: I'm afraid that Nadiya Savchenko was too fast with her presidential ambitions

Aliaksei Yurych, EuroBelarus Information Service

Savchenko’s attempts to oppose Poroshenko right now, not at the forthcoming elections, will only be beneficial for Kremlin.

What political future awaits Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has returned from Russian captivity? Will she have enough will powerto go through fire and water with dignity? Are the concerns that Kremlin could use Savchenko for further destabilize of the situation in Ukraine justified?

Philosopher and methodologist Uladzimir Matskevich answers the questions of the EuroBelarus Information Service.

— After a two-year captivity in Russia Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko returned home as a Hero of Ukraine and a politician. Will Nadiya Savchenko be able to go through fire and water with dignity?

— Savchenko demonstrated her best qualities in the Russian prison. Going through fire and water is the hardest test of all these, and I wish she would be able to go through them just the same. History knows many examples when fame and popularity had bad influence on people.

— Psychologists say that Nadiya Savchenko needs serious and long-term rehabilitation after captivity. In your opinion, will she take a “sick-leave” or will she immediately rush into a fight, risking the authority she earned in captivity?

— As a former psychologist, who has been practicing in his youth, I share the fears of experts as even non-professionals can notice that Nadiya Savchenko is somewhat exalted, though in her position this state is quite understandable. Moreover, it is her emotional state and excitement that helped her to endure all prison ordeals. But a strong excitement is followed by lack of energy and decreased vitality — one needs to get out of this state. And rehabilitation takes time: it is necessary to calm down, look at the changed situation, and understand how Ukraine changed over the two years.

It is the attempts to involve Savchenko in political games and use her that worry me. It's too dangerous a game for both Nadiya Savchenko and Ukraine.

— What hopes does the Ukrainian society connect with Savchenko?

— There are very different views on the role and place of Savchenko in the Ukrainian society: some admire her and praise her, others are skeptical about her prospects, and some suspect that she may be manipulated by the shadow oligarchic powers.

— Nadiya Savchenko has already declared her presidential ambitions. Is the recent prisoner capable of becoming an anti-Poroshenko?

— I am very skeptical about the political future of the national heroes. I'm afraid that Nadiya Savchenko was too fast with her presidential ambitions and made this statement in a temper. It’s very undesirable for her to immediately jump from prison to the upper echelons of political life. The attempts to promote Savchenko as an alternative to Poroshenko right now, all the more as his opponent, who is capable to replace him as Ukraine president or become a reason for his persecution, implies a very bad scenario for Ukraine. However, Savchenko’s participation in a normal political process is the lesser of two evils; one can even understand her political ambitions if they are aimed at the future — at the presidential elections.

— Many experts express concern that Kremlin might use Savchenko as a tool for further destabilization of the situation in Ukraine. Is Savchenko a FSB’ project and how big is the probability of its realization?

— Savchenko cannot be a FSB’ project on her own; I think that the Moscow political technologists of the third generation could easily develop “Savchenko’s project”: keep her behind bars, let journalists come to her, expand her popularity in Ukraine, and later use her for their own purposes. Kremlin won’t miss this opportunity and will be trying to do it.

Politics doesn’t stand exaltation and romanticism: if a politician doesn’t retain a share of pragmatism and cynicism, it’s a naive politician. I hope that the Ukrainian society is clever enough not to fall for populism. After all, Savchenko is not Poroshenko’s opponent: her popularity and public trust might be higher than the rate of the incumbent president; however, her political weight and political wisdom can hardly side with her fervor and radical-romantic aspirations.

Savchenko’s attempts to oppose Poroshenko right now, not at the forthcoming elections, will only be beneficial for Kremlin. I think Moscow bases its strategy on that.

— Is Savchenko’s release a turning point in the war or a significant event?

— It is unlikely that Savchenko’s release can be considered a turning point in the war, but there’s no doubt it’s a landmark. Both international pressure, the enthusiasm of the Ukrainian nation, and irritation of the sensible, though scarce, part of the Russian society resulted in Savchenko’s liberation. Putin was well aware that sooner or later Savchenko would still have to be released. But Kremlin had to choose a convenient time for her release. Personally, I don’t have enough information to make a univocal conclusion as to who benefits from Savchenko’s exemption now. It seems that her release wasn’t initiated by Kremlin. And though Moscow is losing tactically, it will try to take revenge.