Leading Russian Affairs expert, Dr Andrew Foxall, Director of the Russian Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, has highlighted the increasing interference of the Kremlin in Russia’s legal system
The release of Ukrainian pilot, Nadiya Savchenko, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being falsely accused of killing two Russian journalists in Eastern Ukraine, has been met with celebration in her home country. However Dr Foxall warns that while her pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin is good news, it corroborates the alarming increase in the Kremlin’s muscle over Russia’s justice system.
“Vladimir Putin’s pardoning of Nadiya Savchenko is to be welcomed, but we mustn’t forget that the case against her was an utter sham. She was abducted in eastern Ukraine, illegally smuggled into Russia, and charged with being complicit in the murder of two Russian journalists, both of whom were alive when she was abducted.
“Beyond the specifics of the case against Savchenko, however, her release highlights yet again that, in Russia, the rule of law is entirely subordinate to the Kremlin. President Putin has made grand gestures before, including the pardoning of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2013, but he rarely does so without getting something significant in return. The release of two Russian prisoners by Ukraine is not that significant.”