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Pro-War Putin Critic and Nationalist Girkin Detained in Moscow

Pro-War Putin Critic and Nationalist Girkin Detained in Moscow

Pro-War Putin Critic and Nationalist Girkin Detained in Moscow

Pro-War Putin Critic and Nationalist Girkin Detained in Moscow

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  • Russian investigators detain prominent nationalist Igor Girkin for criticizing Putin and military leadership.
  • Authorities appear weary of Girkin’s dissenting views on Russia’s military actions.
  • Girkin played a significant role in Crimea’s annexation and organizing pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.
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Russian investigators detained Igor Girkin, a prominent Russian nationalist, who openly criticized President Vladimir Putin and the military leadership for their handling of the war in Ukraine.

The move, reported by his wife, lawyer, and RBC news outlet, suggests that the authorities are growing tired of his dissenting views on Russia’s military actions.

This detention follows an unsuccessful rebellion led by another outspoken critic, Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary force, who has since toned down his own criticisms while remaining free. Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, played a significant role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the organization of pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

In 2022, Igor Girkin, a former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, was sentenced to life in absentia by a Dutch court for his alleged involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, which resulted in the tragic loss of 298 passengers and crew. Despite his background and connections to the authorities, Girkin had been considered untouchable by many but had recently become more vocal in expressing his views.

In May, Girkin announced the formation of the “Club of Angry Patriots,” with the aim of entering politics to safeguard Russia from what he perceived as the dangers of potential turmoil caused by military failures in Ukraine.

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In response to questions about his belief that he could launch a political movement without the approval of the Kremlin, Igor Girkin stated, “I hope you wouldn’t call me naive.”

On July 18, in a strongly worded post on his official Telegram channel, which reached over 760,000 people, Girkin launched a scathing attack on President Putin, insulting him personally and urging him to relinquish power to “someone truly capable and responsible.”

Girkin’s wife, Miroslava Reginskaya, reported that representatives from the Investigative Committee came to their house and took her husband away. She stated that she was unaware of his whereabouts and that he had not contacted her. Girkin was reportedly charged with extremism, but the exact reason for his detention remains unclear.

Sources suggest that Girkin’s Moscow home was being searched, and the detention may have been triggered by a complaint made against him by a former employee of the Wagner mercenary force.

Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the R.Politik analysis firm, believes that the powerful figures in Russia’s law enforcement and power ministries had long wanted to arrest Girkin, as he had repeatedly crossed the line in his criticism. She sees his detention as a direct consequence of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s attempted mutiny, which has given the army’s command more political leverage to suppress its opponents in public discourse.

Stanovaya views Girkin’s arrest as a warning to others who might be the most vocal critics of Russia’s actions in the ongoing war, signaling that they too could face prosecution.

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