A Moscow court ruled that a prominent hardline nationalist who accused the Russian president Vladimir Putin of weakness and indecisiveness in Ukraine must remain in prison on charges of extremism.
Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, also known by his alias Strelkov, is a retired security officer who led Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and was convicted of murder in the Netherlands for his role in the downing of a passenger plane malaysian airlines that year, in addition to having previously been sanctioned by the United States, he has argued that full mobilization is necessary for Russia to achieve victory.
Previously he criticized Putin as a “nonentity” and a “cowardly mediocrity”. The Moscow District Court ordered that “Strelkov”52 years old, remained in custody until September 18.
Girkin was arrested on July 21 and faces charges for calling for extremist activities. He could be sentenced to five years in prison.
The defendant’s legal team had advocated that he be kept in house arrestalleging health problems.
Strelkov’s wife, Miroslava Reginskayadeclared after the sentence: “The decision of the court is unfair and we will appeal it.”
Kremlin hard line
Strelkov’s arrest has been interpreted as a sign that the Kremlin has toughened its stance on critics of hard line after the frustrated rebellion of the company of mercenaries Wagner, of Yevgeny Prigozhinin June.
“Strelkov” was arrested almost a month after the riot launched at the end of June by Prigozhinin which Wagner’s troops seized the military headquarters in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don and then drove 200 kilometers from Moscow to demand the removal of top Russian military commanders.
Prigozhin died on August 23 when the plane he was traveling in crashed.. US intelligence services have claimed that the accident was probably intentional and several Western leaders have suggested that Putin was behind it.
The revolt posed the most serious threat to Putin’s 23-year rule, eroding his authority and exposing the government’s weakness.
Like Prigozhin, Girkin strongly criticized Russian military leaders for their incompetencebut also denounced Wagner’s boss and called his action treason and a great threat to the Russian state.
The two repeatedly insulted each other, and supporters of the radical nationalist claimed that one of Wagner’s mercenaries has launched a criminal investigation into his statements.
Wagner Group mercenaries gathered at the funeral of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s head of logistics
The video in which Prigozhin predicted his possible death in a plane crash: “Better kill me, but I will not lie”
Prigozhin’s disappearance raises uncertainty about Putin and the war in Ukraine
Ukraine warned that the Wagner Group “is broken” and that Prigozhin’s death weakened Putin