Ukrainian national hero Savchenko in custody

Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko, a national hero since she was jailed in Russia in 2014, has been arrested. Ukraine's chief prosecutor has said that there was incontrovertible proof that together with separatists she was planning an attack on the parliament and a coup against the government. What does the case mean for Ukrainian politics?

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Ukrajina Moloda (UA) /

Behind bars she could be even more popular

Savchenko has reacted to the accusations with her own accusations aimed at Ukrainian politicians and parliament. Ukrayina Moloda believes she will continue to play an important role in the country's politics:

“By arresting Nadiya, the state power has created an adversary who is not to be taken lightly. Because that's our mentality: we like to hear from those who are behind bars. At any rate the political clout of Yuriy Lutsenko [the prosecutor general] and [former prime minister] Yulia Tymoshenko increased when they went to jail. And given Savchenko's sharp tongue and rebellious character, within a year she could even become another presidential candidate.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

An alarm for the country's leadership

The incident highlights the sorry state of Ukrainian politics, Rzeczpospolita comments:

“Confronted with the accusations Savchenko said with unbelievable malicious glee: 'I have never seen such shocked eyes in parliament! Not even when the police attacked the people. ... Not even when reports came of problems on the front. ... For the first time the members felt personally threatened. It was good to learn that the powerful are aware of their mortality!' This can hardly be seen as some kind of political programme or manifesto, but at most as an expression of utter frustration with the country's situation. ... Yet this murky incident has greater significance: when even heroes like Savchenko turn against the country's leadership it demonstrates what a tragic state Ukrainian politics is in. This should act as a final wake-up call for those in power.”

Iswestija (RU) /

Paradoxical change of roles

Despite Russia's strong reservations there are some positive aspects to Savchenko's case, political scientist Alexander Vedrussov writes in Izvestia:

“For me she's first and foremost a participant in the criminal punitive action in Donbass, someone who's been convicted of a serious offence by a Russian court. She was pardoned, but not acquitted (that should not be forgotten). But when you look at the rest of the Ukrainian political quagmire into which Savchenko has fallen she seems dignified in fact, as paradoxical as that may be. ... Ukrainian experts are already joking that the slogan 'Free Savchenko' is now coming from the other direction, namely Moscow. Not likely.”