Sun Tzu or Machiavelli wouldn't recommend it. But last week Tsar Vlad has just done it. Created a martyr of an enemy hero. Well, not quite, yet. Lieutenant Savchenko is not yet dead for the alleged crime. But the 22 years years in a Russian penal colony might just be the finish (there was also a fine of 30,000 roubles i.e. about $500).
Savchenko, a 34 year old Ukrainian helicopter pilot was captured in 2014 by pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine, smuggled into Russia and put on trial. The charge was directing artillery fire that resulted in the deaths of two Russian journalists. The other charge was illegally entering Russia, despite being abducted by Ukrainian rebels.
W&D might argue the Prisoner-of-War case. But the real point is that this was a show trial, directed by the Kremlin. But the defendant is a foreign national and a war hero in that country. The Ukrainians are very, very grumpy about this.
In one fell swoop Tsar Vlad has successfully united Ukraine's political factions, galvanised its people and drawn international attention to Russia's corrupt judiciary.
What's worse, comparisons with Joan of Arc are emerging. Y'see, Lieutenant Savchenko is a woman.