Published On: Sat, Jul 22nd, 2023

Russia’s Rigid Stance Russia Arrests Gen. Strelkov for being a Putin Opponent


Igor Girkin, an outspoken blogger who advocates for war and has been harshly critical of Russia’s military approach in Ukraine, was ordered to remain in detention by the judiciary in Moscow on the grounds that he is an extremist and has committed a crime.

The radical nationalist, referred to as Igor Strelkov, faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison for his actions.

According to his wife, he was taken into custody on Friday inside their apartment in Moscow while she had been out.

Strelkov, who served as a colonel in the FSB’s intelligence division in the past, was instrumental in Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

After that, he went on to command Russia’s proxies in the conflict that broke out in eastern Ukraine.

Igor Strelkov was a member of the three men found guilty of murder by a Dutch court in absentia in November of last year.

The court found him guilty of being involved in a missile attack in 2014 that brought down a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over the conflict region, resulting in the deaths of all 298 persons on board. The trial was held in absentia because the men were in the Netherlands at the time of the incident.

Strelkov’s condemnation of military failures and the army’s commander-in-chief of staff, President Vladimir Putin, got louder as the large-scale incursion of the previous year became progressively bogged down.

He informed those who follow him on social media from the previous year that we have already been defeated.

According to Steve Rosenberg, the managing editor of BBC Russia, the man recently stated that the leader of the Kremlin was “a nonentity” as well as a “cowardly squander of space.”

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Alexander Molokhov, who represents Strelkov, stated that his client’s apartment was investigated after he was taken into custody.

According to sources from the Ria Novosti agency, Strelkov later made an appearance in the Meshchansky district court located in the northeastern part of the capital. There, the judge denied his request for the proceedings to be held in private. Following this, he will continue to be held in pre-trial custody until a minimum of September 18th.

It is unclear what prompted Russia’s Investigation Committee to prosecute the war blogger for making use of the internet to urge extremist action at this stage given that he has been granted free reign to criticize the president along with the military for a considerable amount of time.

Critics of Russia’s known special military campaign in Ukraine are being sentenced to significant prison terms ever since the conflict began, even for comments that were much less severe.

However, Vladimir Kvachkov, a former Russian intelligence officer, was arrested last week for “discrediting” the Russian armed forces. He and Strelkov formed the “Club of Furious Patriots” to publicly criticize Russia’s political as well as military establishment.

Ilya Barabanov of BBC Russian believes that Strelkov, now 53, was invincible for a long time.

In part, this was due to his prior position as a colonel within the FSB security service; however, his conviction for downing aircraft MH-17 while serving as leader of Russia’s surrogate force in occupied Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, also played a role.

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According to the Russian investigative website Agentstvo, the government has rewritten an unstated regulation permitting pro-war bloggers to express their rage freely.

Tatiana Stanovaya, a political commentator, noted that many members of the presidency’s inner circle (the siloviki) have been waiting for this time.

She stated that Strelkov had “overstepped all possible boundaries” a long time ago; nonetheless, the defeat of mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had given the army command additional ability to suppress its opponents.

Since the failed rebellion a month ago, Prigozhin’s Wagner squad has experienced its powers reduced, and the lord of war himself has toned down his previous expletive-filled rants against the defense minister and the army chief.

This past week, he made an appearance in a video that appeared to have been produced in Belarus. In the video, he greeted his fighters and stated that Russia’s operation in Ukraine was a shame that they did not want any part of.

According to recent reports, just 10,000 of the approximately 25,000 Wagner mercenaries are making their way to Belarus, while the rest are allegedly going “on leave.” According to one source that was independently compiled, Vladimir Putin had taken the conclusive determination that Wagner would be eliminated from Russia itself.

The primary intelligence directorate in Ukraine expressed satisfaction with the arrest of Strelkov because it indicated that those working inside the Kremlin were moving closer to an active stage of internal conflict.