June 17, 2024

Russian Ultranationalist Arrested After Calling Putin ‘Cowardly’

  • A prominent Russian war blogger was arrested Friday after months of criticizing Putin.
  • Igor Girkin, a former FSB operative, had long criticized Russian laws that banned wartime criticism.
  • But the pro-war blogger was detained this week after calling Putin a “cowardly mediocrity”.

A prominent Russian ultra-nationalist with far-reaching consequences for his criticism of the Kremlin was arrested this week after taking his criticisms of Russian President Vladimir Putin too far this time.

Igor Girkin, a pro-war former FSB security operative who goes by the nom de guerre Stelkov, which is Russian for the shooter, was detained in his apartment on Friday on charges of extremism. Girkin’s wife posted news of her husband’s arrest Telegram message of his previous nearly 900,000 followers Russian state media confirmed his detention.

But for all his criticisms of the conflict in Ukraine, Girkin is adamantly pro-war, pointing out that Putin and his generals have not gone far enough, and wanting the total mobilization of the Russian population.

Girkin’s arrest reflects a Kremlin crackdown on critics for speaking out about Russia’s war effort in Ukraine a month after Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin installed a short-lived presidency that represented the most serious threat to Putin’s power in more than two decades.

For months, Girkin and other wartime figures like himself have been allowed to vilify the Russian government and military on Telegram, the social media platform that the Kremlin has yet to crack, in reactions and reactions that violate the country’s ultra-strict laws banning wartime criticism.

The high-profile war blogger, who once led a Russian militant group in Donetsk, said in a YouTube video in April that Russia was heading “towards military defeat,” and accused the Russian media of glorifying the war’s negative effects on Russia.

In recent months, these bloggers have resorted to what they see as the incompetence of Russian generals, the oligarchs, and after the failed Wagner coup, even Putin himself.

Girkin’s vitriol toward Putin seemed to increase even more after Wagner’s outburst. In a Telegram post on June 25, Girkin suggested that if Putin cannot win in Ukraine, “he needs to transfer his powers legally.”

Girkin’s arrest on Friday comes three days after Girkin made his boldest denunciation of Putin yet, saying, “The country will not survive another 6 years of this cowardly middle-power,” in power. telegram post.

In court on Friday, Girkin was charged with “making public calls to engage in extremist activities on the internet,” The Financial Times reported. He was remanded in custody until mid-September amid an ongoing investigation and faces up to five years in prison, according to the outlet.

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