17:16 Nov. 4, 2016
How Kremlin media started to treat Nadiya Savchenko with respect, affection, and loyalty
Once she was portrayed as a crazy nationalist and a brutal killer of Russian journalists. Now she's referred to as a member of Ukrainian Parliament and a prominent opposition member.
This shift didn't take long.
Just half a year ago the Russian Army's TV channel Zvezda called Savchenko a butcher. Now she's a former Ukrainian servicewoman. Other Russian media follow this trend.
Other popular definitions are a Member of Parliament and a lawmaker. The same media that laughed at Savchenko being elected to Rada now are deadly serious with this title. It's used almost in every case her name is mentioned and often without any hint of irony.
The unexpected visit Savchenko made to Moscow last week made a lot of media noise in Russia. It was turned into a TV show almost like her hearings before.
Nadiya Savchenko came to the Russian capital to support two Ukrainians Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh sentenced to long terms for fighting alongside Chechen rebels. They made an appeal and were rejected by the Supreme court. But the mainstream Russian media weren't interested in their story. They followed Savchenko instead.
‘Look, she's wearing vyshyvanka to the Court!', ‘LOL, she's falling asleep' - NTV channel reported.
The notorious tabloid LIFE covered Savchenko's visit with lots of paparazzi-styled footage. ‘Savchenko had khachapuri and tea for dinner'
‘She couldn't find the registration desk. Then she had a cat nap. We have exclusive footage', ‘Looks like she's not flying business class', "She took her ticket, she's boarding'.
Was this visit important? asked the TV channels. And answered: No, not at all. ‘Nobody was interested in her' claimed the 1st channel. ‘There's nothing to react to' - the conservative orthodox Tsargrad channel quoted the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The Russian media declare Savchenko isn't important but can't just let her go. They follow her words even outside Russia. But not all the words, only those that are critical to the Ukrainian government.
‘Poroshenko is a weak president' - Nadiya told the Ukrainian news channel 112. The message was repeated by numerous Russian media (even by liberal ones):
"Rada looks like a swamp, there's no one to fight. The more you knead it the deeper you stick' - these words were quoted many times as well.
Unsurprisingly, the last Savchenko's words didn't go unnoticed too: ‘This government got its power through the Maidan's blood. You all have a right for a new Maidan. Shall I show you where to stand?'
Nadya Savchenko is a former Ukrainian army pilot. During the 2014 war in Donbas Savchenko served as an instructor with a volunteer infantry unit, battalion Aidar. In June 2014 she was captured by pro-Russia forces and handed over to Russia. She was accused of killing two Russian journalists and illegal border crossing. The Russian court sentenced Savchenko to 22 years in prison. She was freed in a prisoner swap on 25 May 2016. Nadya Savchenko in a member of the Verkhovna Rada and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.