On 13.08.2014, the advocates Dmitry Dinze, Svetlana Sidorkina and Vladimir Samokhin circulated an appeal to the presidents of Ukraine and Russia, proposing to ‘‘take a decision on a mutual exchange of Ukrainians and Russians arrested on the territories of both countries’’. The Open Dialogue Foundation which, in cooperation with Russian advocates Mark Feygin, Nikolay Polozov and Ilya Novikov, provides defence to the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko (kidnapped by Russian security services) in Russia, denies taking any part in statements and agreements of such kind.
Because of this, we want to highlight that the statements used by Russian mass media – ‘’Savchenko’s defenders are asking to exchange her for the Russian journalist Andrey Stenin’’ – are inaccurate and groundless. The advocate Ilya Novikov last visited Nadiya on 12.08.2014, less than 24 hours before the publication of the statement about the ‘‘exchange’’, and no agreements were made about such measures.
The Open Dialogue Foundation emphasises that the only information that can be regarded as official is the information received directly from the advocates Mark Feygin, Nikolay Polozov and Ilya Novikov, as well as from representatives of the Foundation.
Here is the official statement by the advocates defending Nadiya Savchenko:
«Exchange negotiations should be initiated by the official authorities, even when they are held unofficially. Should the Russian authorities ask us to convey propositions for the exchange of Savchenko to Ukrainian authorities, we shall do so. And we shall act accordingly if the proposition should come from the other party. In any case, we shall bring this information to Nadiya and give her our advice if she asks for it. And yes, we think that, from a practical point of view, an exchange would be the quickest and the most efficient solution to the problem.
But we did not ask anybody to organise an exchange, nor did we suggest any candidates for it, and we will not do so. This is the wrong thing to do. We believe that, being advocates, we should not initiate such discussions on our own initiative. If the governments of both countries should want to find a solution, we will gladly help them,but idle talk, not backed up by real political will only diminishes the prospects of coming to an agreement.
Nadiya Savchenko herself did not ask us to launch such an initiative either. Those who know her understand that she would never ask for such a thing. We realise that if the Russian government takes a decision, she might be exchanged without her consent, just as she was brought to Russia without her consent. In any case, until this happens, we intend to defend Nadiya in her criminal case in accordance with the regular procedure, without regard for the rumours about a possible exchange.’’
For further information, please contact:
Andrey Shumsky, Head of the Press Office of the Open Dialogue Foundation,