Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian legislator, ex-fighter pilot, and ex-prisoner of Russia, promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in an interview Saturday with a Ukrainian television station.
“I have nothing against Jews,” Savchenko said in the interview with the 112 station, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I do not like ‘kikes.’
Savchenko invoked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jewish world domination, claiming that Jews control “80 percent of the power” in the world “when they only account for 2 percent of the population.”
Elected to parliament in 2014 while serving time in a Russian prison on charges of having killed two journalists, Savchenko is a tough-looking figure with close-cropped hair. In the Ukraine, she is known as “Lady Dynamite,” according to an October 2016 NY Times report. Savchenko returned to Ukraine after her release from prison in May 2016.
Some Ukrainians have defended Savchenko’s anti-Semitic comments by stating that “Zhid,” the term used by Savchenko to describe Jews, is the standard way of referring to Jews in Ukrainian. Jewish Telegraphic Agency noted, however, that Savchenko used the word “zhidiv,” a pejorative for Jews in Russian equal to the slur “kike” in English.
Possibly adding on to her conspiracy theory of Jewish world control, Savchenko noted in the interview that Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Volodymr Groysman, is Jewish, and claimed Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has Jewish roots as well.
In a March 21 interview with Ukraine’s One News, Savchenko expressed agreement with a caller who claimed that Jews were taking over the country.
“Indeed, part of the ruling establishment in Ukraine does not possess distinctly Ukrainian blood and we need to talk about it and act,” Savchenko responded.
During her trial in Russia, Savchenko was defended by Mark Feigin, a Jewish lawyer who said he had been detained and harassed by Russian authorities for representing her.
In an op-ed for Tablet magazine, Odessa Review editor-in-chief Vladislav Davidzon said he felt it was “extraordinarily disappointing to see a national heroine [like Savchenko] succumb to the toxin of racism and anti-Semitism.”