Free Savchenko

HSH Prince Shadow Dragu-Mihai supports the #freesavchenko campaign.
Free Savchenko

The United States has repeatedly called for the release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko... Russia... committed to 12 points when they signed the Minsk Protocol on September 5. In Point 5 of the Protocol,  Russia agreed to immediately free all hostages and illegally held persons. Yet Russia and the separatists it backs continue to hold at least 500 hostages. They include Savchenko, as well as Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, both of whom were captured by separatists on Ukrainian soil and illegally transported against their will to Russia.

-- from official White House Response to petition respecting action to free Nadiya Savchenko

The wiki page for Nadiya Savchenko sets out fairly the facts of her detention. Prince Shadow explains his support for her release:

"If anyone in NATO or the White House professes to have been surprised by the continued conflict in the Ukraine, and Russia's blatant military support of the pro-Russian separatists after the invasion of the Crimea, they are being disingenuous in the extreme.

Nadiya Savchenko is a former Ukrainian pilot and soldier, and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. In July, 2014 she was captured by Russian separatists in the Ukraine and illegally transported to Russia, where she remains as a political prisoner.

I support the #freesavchenko movement to show support to the Ukrainian people in their current struggle. I do it in opposition to Russian support for those trying to destabilize Ukraine. I do it also in opposition to the callous and frankly stupid expansion of NATO to the extent that it is nothing if not an intentional provocation of Russia, which I think threatens the lives of a great many people.

The abduction of Nadiya Savchenko took place within the context of deliberate attempts to re-ignite the Cold War (by both east and west), and the permanent partition of the Ukraine by Russia's occupation of the Crimea. Taken by "pro-Russian separatists" and handed illegally over to Russia, the Russians justify Savchenko's detention by accusations of murder which are demonstrably false.

Holding Savchenko can hardly be turning out the way the Russians hoped. Nadiya Savchenko has become a symbol of freedom, bravery and nobility to the Ukrainian people. If the Russians release her now, she will become a rallying point around which a stronger Ukraine will coalesce. But keeping her is a problem, too; the longer she remains in Russian custody, the more celebrated and central a national symbol she will be when she is released. As this is written, she is in the Russian court system, and her lawyers say that a murder conviction is a foregone conclusion because the court must follow 'political orders.'

I will assert though, that there must be some way for Russia to release Nadiya Savchenko in a show of good will. I expect this would require some equally good-faith gesture on the part of Ukraine, NATO and the west; I am not holding my breath.

Today, as at nearly the same time in the last century, diplomats with no apparent sense of personal accountability are playing the same paleolithically brainless game of geopolitics which dragged Europe over the abyss in 1914. The names and titles have changed, but the players still treat states as if they are important, and still treat human beings as if they are not.

NATO, in a clear strategy of encirclement (after the Soviet threat dissolved), has systematically pushed as close to the Russian bear as possible. Regardless of one's assessment of the character of Putin or the Russian state, it is hardly surprising that Russia feels it is being surrounded and has to take defensive measures. To pretend that Russia has no reason to fear the west is to ignore the last 200 years of history.

NATO and the United States has been especially happy to use the increased tensions with Russia as rationale for further expansion (there's a tautology for you - NATO build-up causes tension with Russia, then NATO justifies further build-up on the grounds that there is tension with Russia). Now, as Russia points out, countries such as Romania and Poland, which will host NATO's advance military command, strike forces and missile bases, have become initial military targets should war break out (and does anyone think it would remain a 'conventional' war?).

Thus, NATO has made the people in these countries far LESS safe and LESS secure, while telling them they are safer. I do not agree with the methods or use of geopolitical analysis. The NATO expansion has turned millions of people into targets - it is treating the people of Eastern Europe as lightning rods for aggression by a foe who need not be a foe. If anyone in NATO, the White House or Downing Street  professes to disagree with me, they are being disingenuous (I do not think they are stupid, so they would have to be lying).

And Ukraine is a potential flash point. Like little Sarajevo in 1914, most people in the west can not find it on a map. Yet, the tensions there can ignite a much larger conflict. The more so because Ukraine seems so far away and out of people's minds. Real people are not paying close attention to it, so what little control we have over our bureaucrats and politicians, it is less effective in this case because we are simply unaware of what is going on. Do not expect them to enlighten you. Good little politicians and bureaucrats are always happy to keep people in the dark. They get to do what they want that way.

So, Free Savchenko. Do what has to be done to get her home. Do what has to be done to ease tensions in the Ukraine, to stop the killing, the confrontation and the escalation of the new cold war. For Ukraine, for Savchenko, and for all of us.

Join the #freesavchenko effort. Use the hashtag on twitter and elsewhere. Read up on the conflict, write a blog or tweet about it. Every bit of publicity and solidarity will help."

-- HSH Prince Shadow Dragu-Mihai