Nadezhda Savchenko: “Corruption in Ukraine is good for our Western partners”

Ukrainian politician and former aviation pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, in a recent appearance on the Ukrainian TV channel Zik, said that corruption in Ukraine is a good thing for Ukraine’s Western partners.

“It is not acceptable to prevent Ukraine from getting rid of corruption. We have to understand here that corruption in Ukraine is very lucrative for our Western partners because everyone is profiting from it, beginning from Biden who worked with Poroshenko and ending with anyone, everyone is finding ways to make money here”, said Savchenko.

“The West needs to understand that it is necessary to investigate corrupted officials here. Zelensky needs to do this not because of some subordination to the West, but to gain the trust of the Ukrainian people”, she added.

“If we speak about geopolitics we need to understand that the International Monetary Fund left our Treasury empty, they took away the budget, the pensions, the salaries of state employees and Zelensky generally is aware of this.”

Nadezhda Savchenko, the first female Ukrainian pilot, became known to a wider public, both in Ukraine and in the rest of the world, when she joined the war in the Donbass in the ranks of the notorious Aidar battalion and was captured by the pro Russian forces in June 2014. Accused of being involved in the murder of two Russian journalists, Savchenko was subsequently extradited to Russia. While imprisoned and waiting for her trial, she was elected a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

In Ukraine, Europe and America demonstrations of solidarity against her imprisonment grew rapidly, and on social media the hashtag #FreeSavchenko became very popular. In 2015 she was awarded by Ukrainian President Poroshenko the honour of Hero of Ukraine. Western journalists were talking of Savchenko as a possible future Ukrainian president, given her popularity.

However, when Savchenko was released in prisoner exchange in 2016, she suffered a rapid fall from grace. Her celebrity gave her the license to speak out of her mind and she gained a reputation for being unpredictable, often aggressively criticising President Poroshenko. When she referred to the citizens of the Donbass as normal people, Ukrainians like everyone else, she attracted the vehement criticism of many more nationalistic-minded Ukrainians.

After a particular colourful appearance in the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in March 2018, when she declared she would come there with grenades (later she would say she meant the pomegranates), she was accused of plotting a terrorist attack, was stripped of parliamentary immunity, and was imprisoned again, this time in her own country. She was released between the two rounds of the presidential election last year. However, her bid to regain a seat as a member of parliament was unsuccessful. She frequently appears on Ukrainian talk shows as an pundit.

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