Nadezhda Sachenko, a Ukrainian fighter pilot captured by Russia, was released Wednesday after nearly two years of imprisonment. The implications are huge and have sparked a flame of rebellion amongst the already volatile citizens of both countries. Riots continue, rumors are spreading and everyone in the region is preparing for war.
Not that anger hasn’t already been boiling in the huge black cauldron that is Eurasia for some time, Ukraine and Russia were already at odds, since the beginning of the protests surrounding Ukraine’s rejection of an EU deal. This deal aimed to open up more trade opportunities between Ukraine and members of the EU.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, at the counsel of Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, declined this deal in order to maintain its economic relationship with Russia. The citizens of Ukraine were not happy and took to the streets, disavowing a government that valued powerful connections over the welfare of its citizens. Yanukovych, his capital and residence overrun by rebels, fled the country and took respite in Russia. Russia joined Yanukovych’s team and sent their own troops into the Ukraine to help fan out the protests. Russia, including Yanukovych, is now virtually at war with the people of Ukraine and the fighting is only escalating.
In walks Nadezhda Sachenko. A war hero, a patriot, somebody who withstood all the trials and tribulations of Russian jail and a newly appointed, female, member of parliament. The people love her and she knows it. Immediately after landing in Kiev, Sachenko released the following statement:
“Thank you everyone for fighting for me! You fought for everyone behind bars. Politicians would have kept silent if people had been silent. I would like to say thank you to everyone who wished me well: I have survived because of you.”
Sachenko has experienced grief, loneliness, interrogation, and probably torture, but these are not the things she talks about. She has a plan and it stemmed with her appointment to parliament while under Russian captivity. An entire nation was pleading for the release of one woman, even though she was a complete stranger to them. Her tactic is being personal and identifying with the problems of the people, and she’s good at it. She’s good at it because she is one of the people and she’s been at the brunt of all the mistreatment.
Her plan might just work. It has become increasingly evident in countries other than Ukraine that there is a desire for a ruler who is a man of the people. Ben Carson, with zero experience in politics, had a long run in the Republican primaries this year. Donald Trump, with his pomp and bombast, is the Republic nominee for President of the United States, with no political experience. Perhaps, the Ukr