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Zoya Svetova: 'Why President Putin won’t release Nadezhda Savchenko' (Ekho Moskvy)

posted 9 Mar 2015, 00:21 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Mar 2015, 01:15 ]
5 March 2015

By Zoya Svetova, journalist, member of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission 

Photo: Ekho Moskvy

Source: Ekho Moskvy 

Nadezhda Savchenko will not be released from custody by either the court or the investigators. This fact becomes more obvious with every day that passes. I think that even Savchenko is starting to realise this, judging by the decision which her lawyers say she took yesterday (that she will "end her hunger strike if she starts to feel very ill.")

The heaps of letters – published and unpublished, from the well-known and the unknown – which have piled up at Putin’s offices all call on him to show clemency and release Savchenko from custody, and he is well aware of their contents. Perhaps he has even made a list of all the Western politicians who have appealed to him in this matter, and perhaps he orders them by rank and laughs into his (non-existent) beard.

Indeed, why should he break the law and call up Bastrykin or ask Volodin, Sechin or who knows who else to bother Olga Egorova, Chair of the Moscow City Court? Why on earth should he, merely because that’s what Voinovich and Ulitskaya want? Or Yelena Masiuk and the entire Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights?

Or Poroshenko, whose letter sent from Kiev by diplomatic channels has no chance of reaching Putin’s desk? (According to what the journalist Dmitry Peskov said today).

All of these people say and write that Savchenko is dying, but this is a claim laden with emotions and apparently contradicted by the medical findings; various doctors, both Russian and Western, are monitoring her condition and carrying out a great many tests, ultrasounds and so on. Their verdict is that the condition of Prisoner Savchenko is satisfactory, and she can even be taken to court.

She is not dying. So what is the problem? Why should the president of such a huge country squander use his invaluable “telephone justice” to intercede on behalf of someone accused of murder?

The fact that she was recently named a Hero of Ukraine, a country with which we are at war, merely makes matters worse.

You can welcome Western politicians to the Kremlin and promise them that “the Savchenko case will soon be resolved,” and they will leave your fairytale palace enchanted and encouraged. Maybe you’ll even give the investigators a quick slap on the wrist so that they hurry things along, close the case and pass it over to the court a little quicker.

This is a smart and well-considered Chekist-style solution which stands to benefit both sides.

First and foremost, Savchenko’s demands will be met. Is she fed up of the investigation? Is that why she’s lost 20 kg? Well then! Let’s close the investigation and hold the trial so that the hunger strike will no longer be news.

Secondly, the Investigative Committee will keep face. It is independent. No one – not even Mikhail Fedotov and his Presidential Council – can influence the investigative process.
And during the trial we will see who’s right and who’s guilty. We’ll see what Bastrykin’s “eagles” have unearthed – or not, as the case may be.

Are you saying that she’s dizzy? That she’s vomiting bile and her kidneys will soon fail? Those are matters for the doctors, not for the President of Russia. Have you heard something about the poor conditions under which she’s being detained? Has she really lodged an appeal with the Strasbourg court about a lack of medical assistance?

She’s being kept in a special block, with five cells all to herself, she’s being looked after by doctors, and polite women in prison officer uniforms bring her food every day. She might not be eating yet, but she will.

Don’t forget that the president of such a large country has many other demands on his time, with many other events which demand an immediate response – take the shooting dead of Nemtsov for example, just 50 metres from the Kremlin. And yet you still go on about Savchenko…

Let her starve…

Translated by Frances Robson