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Russian nationalist Critic Igor sentenced to four years in prison due to extremism

Russian nationalist Critic Igor sentenced to four years in prison due to extremism

Russian nationalist Critic Igor sentenced to four years in prison due to extremism

Russian nationalist Critic Igor sentenced to four years in prison due to extremism

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  • The court sentenced Igor Girkin, a former rebel commander and nationalist, to four years in prison.
  • The court declared Girkin guilty of “public calls to carry out extremist activities.”
  • Girkin’s wife and lawyer criticized the sentence as “an ugly judicial act” 
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The Moscow City Court in Russia has sentenced prominent nationalist and former rebel commander Igor Girkin to four years in a penal colony for “inciting extremism.” Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, has repeatedly criticized the Kremlin for its war strategy in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

On Thursday, the court declared Girkin guilty of “public calls to carry out extremist activities.” After reading out the verdict, Girkin shouted, “I serve the Fatherland!” Outside the court, his followers gathered, and police detained three of them, the news agency reported.

His wife Miroslava Reginskaya said, “The accusation is absolutely absurd.” His lawyer Alexander Molokhov called the sentence “an ugly judicial act” and said it would be appealed immediately.”

Special military operation:

The Kremlin closely monitored Girkin’s case as an indicator of its tolerance for aggressive criticism of its war effort in Ukraine. Since the conflict’s onset, described by Russia as a “special military operation,” the Kremlin has focused on persecuting antiwar activists.

In July last year, authorities remanded Girkin in custody after he established the “Club of Angry Patriots,” aiming to protect Russia from what he claimed was the threat of systemic turmoil due to military failures in Ukraine and power struggles within the elite to eventually succeed Putin.

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One of Girkin’s most outspoken rants occurred on July 18, posted on his Telegram channel followed by more than 760,000 people. In the post, he directed personal insults at Putin and urged him to relinquish power “to someone truly capable and responsible.”

A former officer for Russia’s FSB security service and a battlefield commander, Girkin played a role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and subsequently organized pro-Russian militias that seized parts of eastern Ukraine, initiating the current conflict.

In 2022, a Dutch court sentenced Girkin to life in absentia for his alleged involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, resulting in the deaths of all 298 passengers and crew. At the time, he denied any wrongdoing.

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