Nadiya Savchenko: I Dream of a Great Ukraine

.

When the war in the Donbass started, she joined the battalion that fought to retain the territory for the country. She was arrested by Russian separatists in June 2014, and, after one month, taken away to Russia. Nadiya Savchenko is one of the most recognised Ukrainians; a pilot-navigator, a deputy of the Supreme Council of Ukraine and, first of all, a symbol of the fight for the freedom and independence of Ukraine. She talked to Krzysztof Tadej about what kept her alive during the 706 days she spent in a Russian prison.

What was the worst thing after you were arrested in 2014?

Desolation. Being alone in prison is one of the worst and most difficult challenges for anyone. Few can endure it. It was one of the methods they used on me in Russia. They isolated me and said Ukraine did not exist anymore, that there was no one who was waiting for me. I had to fight it. I looked into their eyes and replied: “I am Ukraine!”

Were you terrified when separatists threatened you with beating and rape?

I tried to tell myself that this is just an indication of human aggression. When they take you into captivity, this is what they do: they beat you and threaten you with rape. I tried to convince myself that it was only temporary, that it would not last forever. In such a situation, you need to remain calm and not to provoke the enemy.

Did your faith in God help you in those difficult situations?

I cannot say I am very religious or that I observe all the duties and obligations that come with faith. But I know that God exists. This helped me in prison. I knew that I was not alone, that there was a power that kept me in this world.

You once said that your parents’ attitude, and your childhood, had a huge impact on your personality.

Well, I often rebelled. But it was during my childhood that my parents taught me that it is me who is responsible for my life; no one else. In this way, courage was born in me.

My parents were people of their era. They lived in the Soviet Union, in a system, whose goal was to brainwash people. But in every human being, regardless of their circumstances, something humane remains. I am glad that my parents were able to preserve some beautiful virtues that proved their humanity, their morality. And independent thinking – my father was in the [Communist] Party but in difficult moments he would say: “Oh God, oh my God…” Mother often reproved: “You appeal to God even though you belong to the Party?!” But he was in the Party only because he wanted to have a job; to earn a living and support us.

Nadiya Savchenko The Parliament of Ukraine, 31.05.16 Photo by Vadim Chuprina
Nadiya Savchenko at the Ukrainian Parliament in May 2016 Photo by Vadim Chuprina

We are having this conversation at a time when Ukraine is being discussed less and less in the international media. It is as if the world has forgotten that in some parts of your country there is still a war, and some of its parts are still occupied.

The worst thing is that the conflict that was previously a regular war has become “frozen” now. It is a very bad scenario. With Ukraine’s problems with the economy and corruption, this conflict will be holding up the country’s development. This can be solved, but – in my opinion – it is impossible with the politicians who ruling both Ukraine and Russia today.

At the same time we shouldn’t forget that nothing lasts forever. I hope that soon we will take a giant leap forward, and that awareness that nothing is impossible will be born in people’s minds. My dream is that soon Ukraine will unite with all territories that are occupied today.

In your opinion, is it realistically possible, that Crimea will be recovered?

If we look at it within the context of various historical processes, this will be a short period of time, but for us, contemporary people, this may take long years.

Are you going to run for the presidential elections in Ukraine?

Fate has cast me into this fight, but you know… I do not really like this job. Today, Ukraine needs a person who will not be afraid of responsibility and who will be willing to devote all their power to make people’s lives more dignified. I am not this kind of person. We have a young team and a number of wise and active people. But if it is necessary, and if the citizens of the Ukraine consider it is me, I will not refuse. I am not afraid of hard work.

Joe Biden, former US vice-president, said of you that “your strength sets the example for Ukrainians and for the world”. After you had been set free and come back to the country, you were honoured with the Order of the Gold Star as a Hero of Ukraine. How has all of what you endured – imprisonment, threatening, isolation – changed you? Do you still have aversion or suspicions towards others?

Imprisonment and war make people more brutal, and tougher. But the most important thing is to remain human and not become an animal.

Yes, I still feel some discomfort and what I have experienced is still in me. But when I am with other people, I try not to show anger. Quite the contrary – I want to show good feelings. I go to people with an optimistic attitude. I have something that is of the utmost importance in my heart: love for Ukraine and a dream that it remains great and wonderful.

_______________

The article was originally published by Polish Niedziela. It has been edited, translated and reprinted with permission.

RELATED ARTICLES

Investigations Into the Corrupt Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Sectors

Ukrainian money hryvnia. The national currency. Corruption in Ukraine

Economy Minister: Internationalisation Is the Key To the Slovenian Economy

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Focussing on Stability and Business Climate

Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina - August 23 2015. View of Miljacka River in Sarajevo city

Valga and Valka – Where Estonia and Latvia Work Together

Valga valka emerging europe

Mayor: Armenia And Its Capital Yerevan Offer Safe Investment And Tourism To a Growing World

World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 Resume For Emerging Europe

Prospering Czechia Still Needs a Bigger Workforce

prague emerging europe

Non-Financial Reporting No Longer a Secondary Consideration in CEE

Do Your Homework First and Starting Business in Poland is Easier

Moldova Launces New e-Procurement System In Search For Positive Change

Photo team work process, holding contract hand, signs documents. Account managers young crew works with startup project.New idea presentation, analyze marketing reports.Blurred, film effect, horizontal.

Poland Is Set To Become a Large Economic Zone

Aerial view over the building materials processing factory. View from above.

Effective Policies Have Strengthened the Georgian Economy

TBILISI GEORGIA Jul. 18 2017: Bridge of Peace is a bow-shaped pedestrian bridge a steel and glass construction over the Kura River in downtown Tbilisi capital of Georgia

Air Passenger Volumes Reach Record High in the Baltics

airbaltic

Doing Business Across Eurasia Could Be Easier

Eurasia emerging europe schneider group

After Economic Shocks Armenia Plans for Macroeconomic Stability

yerevan armenia minister of finance

A Risky Evaluation of Croatia’s Economy?

ZAGREB, CROATIA - JULY 17, 2017: Square Ban Josip Jelacic with tourists and trams on a summer day in Zagreb. City of Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.

PE and VC Investment In CEE Is At an Eight-Year High

venture capital

Western Ukraine Could Be an Entry Point into the Country

Croatian Salaries Are Growing in Line With Other CEE Countries

Dubrovnik Croatia emerging europe

EY: Belarus’ IT Scene Is Thriving

High tech park minsk

Estcoin: Estonia’s Own Digital Currency?

1 euro coin money (EUR) currency of European Union Estonia over blue background

Poland’s Q2 2017 Growth Is Stronger Than Expected

WARSAW, POLAND - MAY 07, 2016: Building Palace of Culture and Science among the modern buildings of the city

GE Inaugurates Its New Bucharest Software Centre

Asian Outsource Developer Team Sitting At Desk Working Laptop Computer Mobile Application Software Real Office

21st century Manufacturing Arrives at Great Stone

Great stone

SEE Link — Sharing SEE Europe’s Hopes for a Brighter Investment Future

Derek Chollet: There Is a Resurgence of Supporters of the Transatlantic Relationship

white house

Belarus’ Economy Is Slowly Recovering From Past Declines

Meghri Becomes Armenia’s Third FEZ

armenia emerging europe

Ukraine to Restart Privatisation to Realise Profits

Pricatisation electricity ukraine

Romanian Economy Grows Fast in 2017

Brasov cityscape panoramic and aerial view over medieval architecture of Brasov town, in Transylvania Romania

Fitch And the World Bank: Economic Growth To Remain Solid Within CEE In 2016

Lithuania Gives Innovation a StartUp

MILAN ITALY - MAY 2: People visit Lithuania pavilion at Expo universal exposition on the theme of food on MAY 2 2015 in Milan.

Albania’s Construction Sector Supports the Country’s Growth

SARANDA, ALBANIA - MAY 18: View of the city Saranda, most important tourist attraction of the Albanian Riviera on May 18, 2017 in Saranda, Albania.

Jadranka Joksimović: Serbia Takes Its Candidacy of the EU Seriously

bigstock-Joint-Press-Conference-Of-Serb-155400338.jpg

The Reality in Romania Exposes False Perceptions Of The Country

Business Standards Are High in SEE But Vary Widely

Aerial view of The Cathedral of the Assumption in Varna

World Bank: Brexit Hides Greater Challenges to the European Union and the CEE Region

Changes Are Making Ukrainian Banking More Aligned with International Standards

Macedonia — Stepping Out Of the Shadow Of the Balkans

EU Membership and Transition into Market Economies Have Helped CEE Achieve Social Progress

Lech Wałęsa: Hard Options Can Force Nations to Get Down to Work

More Brexit Fears As the UK Proves To Be A Needed Member

City of London view from Waterloo Bridge. This view includes: St. Paul`s Cathedral The Gherkin Tower 42 and Blackfriars Bridge.

Digital Business Space Gives All Businesses an Office in Sarajevo

Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina - August 24 2015. View from Vraca Memorial Park with building of Avaz Twist Tower

Chris Lowney — What Jesuit Spirituality Can Teach Us About Global Leadership

Kosovo: A Population of Talented Young Entrepreneurs Waits at Europe’s Door

Ukraine Is Offering Europe Unique Combat and Technological Experience

CEE Emigrants Could Boost Their Countries’ Economies

Londoners walking through Millennium Bridge with St.Paul's Cathedral at the background after sunset - London, UK

Hungary Today: Potential and Challenge

Chain bridge on Danube river in Budapest city. Hungary. Urban landscape panorama with old buildings and domes of opera

Putin Urges Belarus to End Oil Transit Through Lithuania

Athens Greece - May 27 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers

Ukraine’s Q2 Growth Climbs

kyiv ukraine emerging europe

Automotive and Transport Companies Dominate the CEE Region

Car bodies on the production line inside automobile factory

Lviv Is the Pearl and the Soul of Ukraine

Sarajevo Stock Exchange Connected to SEE Link

sarajevo stock exchange

Larisa Manastirli: Where is Bulgaria After Ten Years in the EU?

EconMin: Bulgaria — Number One Outsourcing Destination And an Island of Stability in Europe

Poland’s Business Constitution Must Be Finalised

Front of finance ministry in Warsaw Poland with a fountain framing the entrance. Could be used for images about Euro currency problems

Serbia, Belarus and Ukraine Ranked Lowly by Wharton Business School

Kyiv Ukraine - April 172017: The postal square in Kiev on Podol the Dnipro river. view of the square from the river panorama

Latvia Urged Not to Increase Expenditure As Economy Grows

Riga, Latvia - August, 2010: Panorama view from Riga cathedral on old town of Riga, Latvia

Polish Labour Market Deficits Are Impacting All

Construction site with crane and building. Construction site in western europe - in Poland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *