Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Back in school, Ukrainian pilot and Member of Parliament from the “Batkivshchyna” [“Fatherland”] party, Nadiya Savchenko, was nicknamed “Xena the Warrior” after the heroine of the then-popular television series, because she always tried to uphold justice, says Nadiya’s former classmate Tatiana Pivovar.
“If she thought something was unjust, she always fought and defended her views,” Tatiana says.
Furthermore, says her friend, Nadiya Savchenko was “very bold and stubborn.” “If she wanted something, she would do it,” tells Tatiana.
She recalls how in her final years of school, Nadiya, together with another classmate, swam across the Dnieper River, in the spot near the Moscow Bridge where the girls would go to relax.
“We told them – don’t go swimming there, it’s dangerous. There are boats passing through, and whirlpools. But they decided to swim, and they did. We were very worried, but after a while they came back,” – says Tatiana.
In addition, according to Tatiana, Nadiya Savchenko was a good painter, and always had the “best paintings” in her class. And in high school, she learned to play the accordion.
Nadiya’s classmate Yehor Vasilenko recalls how in high school Nadiya organized a tour for the class. He can’t remember where they were all headed – probably to the local cinema – along the way they met their school’s Principal, who believed that the students should have been in class at that time.
“Nadiya was the organizer of this process, and she spoke with the Principal that day, and took the stance that it was our class’ day trip, and we had to go somewhere,” – says Yehor about that meeting.
“She was in charge then, even though she was never class president,” – says Yegor.
Nadiya Savchenko was the only woman in the flight department of the Kharkiv Air Force University in 2005.
Dmitro Pavlyuk, who was in the same group with Nadiya Savchenko, said she was never nervous during exams.
“Among all of us, she showed the greatest desire to fly,” – said Dmitry. He says that everyone perceived the only woman in their department as a “brother in arms,” and some guys “could envy her character and stamina.”
“A woman of steel character” – was his first impression of Nadiya Savchenko.
“When I first saw her, I thought she was a man, because she came to us from the airborne troops, already wearing a uniform, while we came [to the University] as nothing but yesterday’s schoolboys,” – said Dmitry.
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