What will become of Nadiya Savchenko?
Russia detains 114 people on political grounds, according to the organization for human rights Inostrannij Agent. The alleged offenses are often generic and pretentious. And in some cases they are victims of misuse of psychiatry, just like it used to happen in the USSR. Among the 114 names on the list, there is Nadiya Savchenko.
- Friday, 31 October 2014
The Dutch activist Robert van Voren, released on 30 October in Vilnius a list of 114 people detained in Russia. All of them are, according to the organization founded by van Voren, Inostrannij Agent, political prisoners accused of specious violations. By scrolling the list well-known faces and names appear among many others less known. There is Alexey Navalny, the so-called leader of nonexistent Russian opposition, and Anna Lepeshkina, one of the four free climbers last August have painted the big Soviet star on the " Stalin tower" in Moscow with the colors of the Ukrainian flag. As well as many guys who were arrested after the Bolotnaya clashes in 2012. There is also Eston Kohver, the Estonian Border Guard kidnapped last September by the FSB and still in pretrial detention. And there's Nadiya Savchenko.
I already wrote the story of Nadiya've more than three months ago in a post I titled "Her hardest fight". And that’s exactly the reason why I want to tell it again, just because more than three months have gone and with each passing day it seems that she is going to lose her battle.
Lieutenant Nadezhda Savchenko was captured by separatist in the east of Ukraine and imprisoned in Lugansk. A prisoner of war, at least until it re-appeared in the court of Voronezh, Russia. She is accused of murder and illegal immigration. If true, the story would be nothing short of incredible. According to the Russian Investigative Committee, a kind of superpower of attorney directly subordinate to the Kremlin, Nadiya – a proud soldier of the Ukrainian army, an anti-tank helicopter co-pilot – would have run away from his own fellow soldiers seeking refuge in Russia. There, police found her without documents during a random control and arrested her for illegal immigration. Only later, as it happens, the Russian police would have noticed whom they had in their hands. Therefore, she was charged with the murder of Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, two Russian journalists killed by mortar fire on June 17 in Metalist, near Lugansk. According to the prosecution, in short, Nadiya guided from her helicopter the mortar fire fatal to the two journalists.
A Soviet-style repressive system
Nadiya is in custody since then. The Basm anny court of Moscow, where she had since been transferred, extended her detention several times, and the last deadline of October 27 was postponed by four months and a half more, till February 13, 2015. Nadiya is not serving her detention in a prison, but in the Serbsky psychiatric hospital in Moscow. It is a public institute for mental illnesses infamous since the Soviet Union as a center of detention of dissidents, who were often declared mentally ill and subjected to inhumane "psychiatric treatment." No need to say that Nadiya – already quite popular in Ukraine before for being the only female helicopter pilot in the country – has never had any mental health problem.
The Association of Ukrainian psychiatrists signed an appeal asking for Nadiya not to be subjected to the "treatment", referring to the ethics and scientific standards. The "Ukrainian crisis" has nothing to do with it.
Robert van Voren is not only an activist, but also a psychiatrist of international repute, one of the founders of the International Association on the Political Use of Psychiatry (now Global Initiative on Psychiatry). He is also a Sovietologist and author of books on the political use of psychiatry in the Soviet Union. In short, is one who knows what he talks about when he says that, with the publication of the list, "we want to point to the similarity between the situation then and today and draw attention to the continuity of Soviet-style repressions in Russia".
Meanwhile Nadiya, a candidate by Yulia Tymoshenko with her party Batkyvshchyna, was elected to the Rada. It’s hard to say whether being a MP will help her win her battle.