We continue our publication of the prison writings delivered to us by Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian pilot who was abducted by pro-Russian separatists on June 18, 2014, and who has been in prison ever since. La Règle du Jeu, in partnership with Kyiv Post, Ukraina Pravda, The Huffington Post/WorldPost, and other magazines and newspapers, is launching a double appeal: Do not forget Nadiya, and do everything you can–everything–to obtain her release.–BHL
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Fire, Water, and Brass Pipes, Part 2
By Nadiya Savchenko
Letter to my sister from prison
When I was put here I immediately started to clean the cell and, noticing a spider, chased after it to kill it. Then I thought, what am I doing!? It’s now my only friend, a living creature. Since then the spider has lived with me and sometimes climbs on the table and takes a stroll when I have dinner. The spider is interesting to watch. It is really tiny. It occurred to me that you probably wouldn’t be happy to have a neighbor like this, but for me even this tiny thing is a source of joy. It looks like I had a moment of inspiration in writing that. I hope you will have the time to read it. I usually have very little time to read your letters and, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to take them back to my cell.
Second letter to my sister from prison
It’s been a week. The lawyers should be coming soon. It rained all day. Finally! The heat had really gotten to me. In the morning I walked in the courtyard, the walls of which are concrete, the ground asphalt, the ceiling iron wire and mesh. A bird flew in. It was small, like a sparrow, but with a thin beak. It spent some time here, though not very long. Maybe it will come back. It’s the first time a bird has come in. Now I have another friend, in addition to the spider. They’re going to keep me here for another two months, the bastards!
Third letter to my sister from prison
In here I all the time in the world! But the time I used to spend with you–that I miss a lot. My lawyer pals don’t stay for long when they come, and there is always so much business to take care of, so many letters to read, that I don’t have time to answer you properly. I prepare drafts in advance, like this one, but as time passes they become irrelevant, and on top of it all I have to talk in a roundabout way so that no one but us will understand… What worries me the most now is that you have no money.
Fourth letter to my sister from prison
I’m sorry that you’ve had to quit architecture. Right now everything is being destroyed, but later it will have to be rebuilt. I firmly believe that you’ll have bridges to build soon enough: in Luhansk, « Ukrainian Nationalists Bridge »; in Donetsk, « Right Sector Bridge »!
I envy you a little. You are gaining a tremendous life experience, while I, « an imaginary hero, » spend half a year in prison–and in solitary confinement at that. If I were in a cell with other prisoners I could at least pick up some prison wisdom. But what does not kill us makes us stronger! Each of us will learn this in our turn, so that eventually, together, we’ll be invincible!
Fifth letter to my sister from prison
In writing my appeal for people not to send money but instead to support me in spirit I wasn’t thinking about you–because I believed you were still working. I wanted you to understand that you didn’t have to work so hard for my release. The devil won’t get me! But maybe you’re right; if I were in your place I’d be worried sick and would be doing everything I could.
Translated from Ukrainian by Vladislav Davidzon with Vitaly Chernetsky.