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Russia jails nationalist critic Girkin, who referred to as Putin cowardly, for 4 years


Russian distinguished nationalist, former navy commander and Kremlin critic Igor Girkin, often known as Igor Strelkov, who’s charged with inciting extremist exercise, sits behind a glass wall of an enclosure for defendants earlier than a courtroom listening to in Moscow, Russia on January 25, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Russian nationalist and ex-rebel commander Igor Girkin, whose pro-Moscow militants sparked a decade-long armed battle in east Ukraine, was jailed for 4 years on January 25 after repeatedly criticising the Kremlin.

Girkin, who additionally goes by the pseudonym “Strelkov”, was instrumental in fomenting the battle between Kremlin-backed separatists and Kyiv’s armed forces in Ukraine’s Donbas area in 2014.

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The Moscow City Court stated it had discovered the 53-year-old responsible of “public calls to carry out extremist activities”, and that he would serve his sentence in a common regime colony.

“I serve the Fatherland!” Girkin yelled out after the decision was learn out. His followers had gathered outdoors the courtroom earlier.

He was arrested final yr on “extremism” fees after months of public assaults on Russia’s navy leaders and President Vladimir Putin, whom he chided for not pushing a extra aggressive offensive in opposition to Ukraine.

Girkin had referred to as Mr. Putin an “old idiot” and stated “the country will not survive another six years of this cowardly mediocrity in power” in a few of his ultimate social media posts earlier than his arrest.

His sharp criticism, printed every day in hours-long video blogs on his social media channels, was tolerated by the authorities for months, even because the Kremlin’s liberal opponents had been handed extreme jail sentences for going in opposition to the marketing campaign.

But the temper in Moscow modified after Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin and a whole lot of his troops launched an aborted mutiny final June to oust Russia’s navy management.

Girkin’s arrest was a high-profile demonstration that Russia was reining within the nationalist critics.

‘Dubious’ extremist

Behind bars in pre-trial detention, he mounted a doomed marketing campaign to run in opposition to Mr. Putin in March’s presidential elections, doubling down on his anti-Kremlin place.

In an interview with Russian media from jail, he stated the nation had “entered a period of acute instability” and confronted “imminent catastrophe”.

Miroslava Reginskaya, wife of Russian prominent nationalist, former military commander and Kremlin critic Igor Girkin, who is charged with inciting extremist activity, stands in front of journalists after a hearing outside a court building in Moscow.

Miroslava Reginskaya, spouse of Russian distinguished nationalist, former navy commander and Kremlin critic Igor Girkin, who’s charged with inciting extremist exercise, stands in entrance of journalists after a listening to outdoors a courtroom constructing in Moscow.
| Photo Credit:

Girkin had cultivated a picture as the important thing determine behind Moscow’s preliminary navy foray into Ukraine in 2014.

Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula that yr following a pro-European revolution in Kyiv that toppled the nation’s Moscow-friendly president.

Girkin, a former FSB officer, fashioned and commanded Moscow-backed forces in Donbas, marshalling troops out of a base within the captured metropolis of Sloviansk. There, he reportedly ordered executions for minor crimes akin to petty theft.

Convicted over Flight MH17

He was certainly one of three males sentenced by a courtroom within the Netherlands final yr to life imprisonment in absentia for the capturing down of Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH17 over jap Ukraine in July 2014.

Some 298 individuals had been killed when a missile fired from rebel-held territory hit the jet. The Kremlin has all the time denied its involvement and refused to extradite Girkin to the Netherlands.

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“In the West, I have already been recognised as a terrorist… and in my homeland, I have the dubious notoriety as an extremist,” he stated after his arrest.

He left jap Ukraine shortly after MH17 was downed, turning into a ultra-nationalist blogger and backer of the hardline “Novorossiya” ideology that referred to as for Russia to subsume huge swathes of Ukraine.

When Russia despatched troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022 he stated your complete nation wanted to be captured in a “swift and decisive victory”.

But inside days he had turn out to be disillusioned at what he referred to as Russia’s “major mistakes”, turning into an unflinching critic of how Moscow was prosecuting the offensive.

He needed Russia’s complete political system to be placed on a hardened navy footing and for considerably extra males and assets to be thrown on the marketing campaign.

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