: Could Poroshenko's flattery tarnish Nadiya Savchenko's political career?

15:16 May. 30, 2016

Could Poroshenko's flattery tarnish Nadiya Savchenko's political career?

Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko is surrounded by media upon her arrival at Kyiv Boryspil Airport on May 25, 2016 in Boryspil, Ukraine. (Getty Images)

American political analysts comment on war hero's potential presidential aspirations

Several prominent political analysts think Ukrainians may soon change their attitude towards Nadiya Savchenko. The reason behind the shift - Savchenko's career in politics, which analysts predict will play a crucial role in how she is perceived by the people of Ukraine.

On May 27, upon her release from Russian prison, the Ukrainian pilot had her very first media conference in Kyiv. The reaction of the academic community to what Savchenko had to say during the presser was somewhat mixed.

‘Strikes me as poor idea-quick to lose hero status,' writes Edward W. Walker, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of California.

Matthew Kupfer, the former Research Assistant at Carnegie, added his comment at the request of the Voice of America. Kupfer said: ‘My gut tells me that war hero will not necessarily be a capable president. I could be wrong. There are fears that the desire to swap prisoners or to set them free will decrease in Russia, as soon as the first released will become president. It is worrying, whether the person who experienced so many sufferings in Russia, will be a great leader for the Minsk negotiations and the conflict with Russia. Ukraine needs honest and capable leaders. I think Savchenko is honest. I don't think we know if she's a capable political leader. If Savchenko becomes a president, I hope that all my fears will prove unfounded.'

Another international politics expert echoed concerns over Savchenko's emotional state ‘I'm always concerned about emotional situations when a hero on a white horse, who is an outsider for the political class, gets involved in politics,' wrote Mark Galeotti, Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and expert on transitional crime and Russian security affairs.

The conflict between ‘Savchenko-hero and Savchenko-moral-model' is inevitable, according to Mark Galeotti.

‘Today, Ukraine has a honeymoon with Savchenko. Both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko want to be associated with Nadiya and hope to bask in her glory… In her turn, Nadiya does not want to become a possession of any of the political leaders. That is why, it will be interesting to see the way they will react to her position, and the way she'll respond to them. That will be really a significant factor,' Galeotti added.

Read also Savchenko to join Rada's National Security and Defense Committee – MP

Radio Liberty's Senior Editor and Russia Analyst Brian Whitmore thinks it is important to pay attention to Savchenko's actions in the Ukrainian Parliament. ‘Can't wait to see the way she will approve herself when the next fight takes place in Verkhovna Rada.'

Mistakes and scandals may follow Savchenko in the future as they follow any political leader. Although, her straightforwardness and determination may help her to fill the niche of Ukrainian Havel (the last president of Czechoslovakia), Walesa (the second President of Poland) or Mandela, according to Whitmore who claims that ‘In 25 years of Ukraine's Independency, we have not seen such figure at the national level.'

Read also After 708 days in captivity Ukrainian pilot is back in Ukraine

Mark Galeotti underscores, that in general, the alarming situation in Ukraine is observable, first of all, because of political leaders' failure to realize people's wishes and aspirations.

‘What will people do when their hopes are betrayed? Will they sit helplessly in disbelief? They think that nothing will change in this generation. The Yanukovych's authorities have relied on the fact that everything will remain the same. But the situation has suddenly changed. What if people seek the alternative and, probably, radical ways out of this situation? At such times the outsiders of the political system, who call for unconventional methods, do attract attention. In this situation emerges the risks of something like fascist, to some extent, development of the situation…Although, I don't think that somebody thinks about fascism in Ukraine,' Galeotti stated.

Read also Back off from Ukraine! Savchenko urges Putin to get out from her country

‘It seems that Savchenko is ready to work within the system…It is a positive sign. There is a chance that she can become a figure that could bring together these two worlds. The world of people that aspire to do things for the good of Ukraine and the world of people that are ready to run the political machine in order to achieve the goals,' added the Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and expert on transitional crime and Russian security affairs.

Galeotti also reiterated that the atmosphere in today's Ukraine is much more hostile and complex than during the times of Lech Walesa in Poland or Vaclav Havel in already nonexistent Czechoslovakia.

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