Bershidsky really doesn't get the subtlety of the Russian move. Nadia Savchenko is not only a neo-Nazi (Aidar battalion), she is a rabid one. Russia just unleashed a nuclear weapon on Ukraine by returning her. She is immensely popular on the right and a petition is already circulating to make her president of Ukraine instead of Poroshenko. She is slated to be a star.
Having an internationally prominent neo-Nazi in a high position in Ukraine is going to be a bitter pill for Ukraine's liberal allies to swallow. The US will be able to cover it up largely through control of the US media, but that will not be the case in Europe — and Putin is aiming to pry Europe out of the US-UK orbit by embarrassing the European countries for their subservience.
With respect to persuasion, this was a move by a master persuader. It will pay off big, although it will lead to the Ukrainian right being bolder militarily toward Russia. This, too, plays into Russia's hands, since it reveals Ukraine to be the aggressor.
I was thinking from the very beginning that this would be the smart strategic move.
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