NewsFormer separatist leader Girkin challenges Putin in upcoming election

Former separatist leader Girkin challenges Putin in upcoming election

Igor Girkin wants to be the president of Russia, even though he is still in a Moscow prison.
Igor Girkin wants to be the president of Russia, even though he is still in a Moscow prison.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2023 Anadolu Agency
8:53 PM EST, November 25, 2023

Igor Girkin, also known as "Strelkov," is vying for the presidency in Russia, intending to defeat Vladimir Putin in the upcoming spring elections. However, Girkin's current imprisonment and the lack of indications for his release are major obstacles. Experts speculate that this separatist and terrorist might ultimately meet the same fate as Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Though having collaborated in the past, Vladimir Putin now holds clear enmity towards Girkin. Girkin's previous actions helped destabilize Ukraine, and he represented the authorities in occupied territories as a separatist. As of present, his aspirations are set on the presidency of Russia, all the while, still detained in Moscow's Lefortovo prison.

As the war in Ukraine erupted, the paths of the two men diverged. Girkin became a staunch critic of the President and his team, highlighting errors on the battlefield and the ensuing chaos within the country. His criticism led to his arrest, viewed as a threat to national security.

Suddenly, Girkin announced his intention to run for the presidency. This is something Putin simply cannot tolerate.

Girkin has amassed a wide circle of supporters in Russia who aid his campaign from behind bars and prepare for the election. Despite the anticipated victory for Vladimir Putin, "Strelkov" urges his supporters to collect signatures and aid his campaign, directly challenging the current rulers.

As highlighted by the independent portal Vot Tak, Girkin's current predicament mimics the situation once faced by Aleksei Navalny. However, his fate can quickly change as he awaits trial and judgment.

Girkin claims to have the ability to improve Russia better than Putin. He accuses the authorities of planning a "mock election" and prompts support for forces that can instigate a power shift in the Kremlin. His criticism landed him in prison, yet he hasn't refrained from speaking his mind. He'll be tried for "incitement to extremist activities."

Miroslava Reginaka, wife of the 'terrorist' Igor Girkin aka Strelkov, expresses grave concerns for her husband's life. She previously sent a special letter to Vladimir Putin, requesting fair and lawful treatment for her husband in prison. Girkin's physical abuse in jail confirms her fears for his life.

Experts analyze that imprisonment might be the most favorable scenario for Girkin. He is often compared to Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is now deceased. Both Prigozhin and Girkin fought for Russia and Putin, but later followed their separate paths. Following such paths makes them a potential threat to the Kremlin, which could lead to a death sentence.

The story of 'Terrorist' Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov

Former FSB agent and intelligence officer, Girkin, is perceived as a terrorist in the West.

Girkin commanded the pro-Russian separatist forces in Donbas during the summer of 2014. On July 17, 2014, the MH17 Malaysia Airlines plane was brought down near the village of Grabowo in the Donetsk region by a 9K37 BUK system, resulting in the death of all 298 passengers, primarily Dutch nationals.

Netherlands' courts sentenced Girkin to life imprisonment for masterminding the terrorist attack. In Ukraine, Girkin is facing the death penalty due to proven charges of torture and execution of captured soldiers. The International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague pursues him. He was a favorable commentator on Ukraine's invasion for a long time and was often featured as an expert in the media. Problems arose when he outwardly criticized Putin.

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