Vladimir Putin's regime clearly has a bad case of Savchenkophobia.
It's true. The Kremlin is absolutely terrified of its hostage.
The Kremlin is terrified of Nadia Savchenko in captivity, where she is a potent symbol of the Putin regime's petty and cruel brutality and of Ukraine's resistance.
But the Kremlin is even more terrified of what Savchenko would become if she were freed.
This became abundantly clear yesterday when the Russian Justice Ministry announced that a long-awaited prisoner exchange to release the kidnapped Ukrainian military pilot will not happen.
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The Putin regime appears to have concluded that it cannot release its hostage -- because the costs of doing so are just too high.
Because if Savchenko is released, she would quickly become something that Ukrainians have never had -- a leader with clear and unambiguous moral authority.
It would have a leader unsullied by the past and uncompromised by the current corrupt elite.
It would have a leader who took herself to the brink of death for the sake of Ukraine and who flipped the bird at Vladimir Putin's kangaroo court.
Ukraine would have its Vaclav Havel; it would have its Nelson Mandela.
Savchenko wouldn't even need to formally enter politics to claim this mantle.
Her mere presence on Ukrainian soil would do the trick.
And that would be the Kremlin's worst nightmare.
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