Girkin: Putin will be murdered like the Tsar, or die in prison like Milosevic

In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s widely speculated disappearance from the public eye, retired FSB colonel and terrorist “Defense Minister” Igor “Strelkov” Girkin has reemerged offering his own personal insight, but this time criticism of the Russian leader.

Girkin had recently arrived in Yekaterinberg, Russia’s fourth largest city, to announce the founding of a new cell of his “New Russia” (Novorossiya) movement in the Urals. A day prior, a large rally was held in public view to send off 50 Russian recruits to fight in Ukraine. Local organizers have acknowledged that these “volunteer” mercenaries can earn between $1,500-2,500 to participate in the war against Ukraine.

During a press conference (documented by local news site Znak) held in the Ural Mining University, Girkin touched on a number of subjects, not the least of which brazed the current rumors circulating of a potential palace coup in the Kremlin.

In a culmination of public frustration against the Russian president, Girkin predicts, “not only liberals, but the patriots (nationalists – ed.) will turn against Putin. Then he will repeat the fate of Slobodan Milosevic, who was overthrown [by] liberals & patriots, since he conducted a policy that was neither yours nor ours.” Girkin lays out two conclusions for Putin’s fate following such an overthrow: he can either be executed like Russian Emperor Nicholas II, or die in prison as Milosevic did awaiting his trial in The Hague.

Girkin

Feuding & criticism

Previously Girkin has spoken out about an alleged “fifth column,” vowing to protect Putin from any possible power shift. “The West and the ‘fifth column’ are making no secret of their plans to overthrow Putin. Their path is that of dragging out the war [in Ukraine] as long as possible,” Strelkov told reporters in September. “I support Putin and am against the ‘fifth column.’ Russian people need to completely reject any opposition activity,” he said.

The root of new frustration for Girkin was due in part to Putin’s war policy, as he lambasted the “fifth column” derailing the war effort; personally calling out Putin’s own presidential advisor Vladislav Surkov, known otherwise as the ‘grey cardinal’ and for being the architect of not only Russia’s frozen conflicts but its entire current political system. Surkov is of Chechen descent and is considered a counterweight to FSB-KGB security service hawks dominating Putin’s inner circle. The “fifth column” label, as described by Girkin, applies to all state actors and industrialists who view Russia as a resource base, namely those who live in Russia but keep wealth, property, and family abroad (such a label would apply to Putin and many of those he has enriched during his rule). It has been reported that Surkov was instrumental in pulling Girkin and his associates out of Ukraine as part of an ongoing feud between rival political camps.

He also took effort to criticize Putin’s strategy in the Donbas, saying he could have “freed all of New Russia” with virtually no blood spilled if he had acted more decisively in the spring of 2014. Instead, he blames the “fifth column” for convincing Putin to change course and, as a result, “we have not stopped and the war is more bloody,” while lamenting the ever increasing international sanctions and pressure that have come since.

This indecisive course by Putin was elaborated on, with Girkin incensed with the flip-flopping nature of official advocacy for the “Russian World,” and also the self-declared republics it has created, blasting the Kremlin’s use then disuse of the term ‘New Russia’ (Novorossiya) to describe the conflict region, then its alternating use in media to describe the Donetsk and Luhansk republics as legitimate, then self-declared, or ultimately as regions of Ukraine.

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On the war

Girkin accuses ‘the West’ of setting its sights on repeating the events of World War I, drawing loose parallels between Russia entering the war on the side of Serbia; and later blaming the current war on instigation by the United States. During WW1, the U.S., Serbia, and Russian Empire were all Allied members.

As a ‘tool’ of the U.S., he continues that even if Russia had not occupied Crimea, and even if war did not take place in the Donbas (which he has fully admitted to igniting himself), then “still the Kyiv government would lead to war with Russia.”

In fact many people are waiting for Russia in Kyiv

However, for the former Donetsk Republic’s minister of defense, the war will soon resume against Ukraine: “We conclude that this year the fighting will resume in the Donbas, and will resume soon enough. The war will unfold even more widespread than it was conducted during the fall and winter campaigns.” Just how widespread he predicts the war will escalate may coincide with his imperialist ambitions of creating ‘New Russia’. For him, Ukraine “is part of Russia” and names Odesa, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Mykolaiv as potential targets. “In fact many people are waiting for Russia in Kyiv.”

 

'Strelkov' resigns from post following news of severe injury

Following yesterday’s tumultuous and contradictory news that Donetsk terrorist leader Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, a former Russian agent, had been “seriously injured” in a battle near the MH17 crash site in the Torez area, former Donetsk Republic (DPR) ‘prime minister’ Alexander Borodai has told Russian media that Girkin has resigned from his post as “minister of defense.” The DPR’s ‘council of ministers’ approved Girkin’s resignation, “in connection with his transfer to another job,” said the press center for the DPR. Borodai denied that Girkin had been injured yesterday, but did not give a reason for his disappearance.

I just recently parted with Igor, he’s all right. You probably already know it as well as I do, he resigned from his post. Already there is a new Minister of Defense for the DPR. Just like all the members of the government, except for me and Alexander Zakharchenko, he has been dubbed acting ‘Tsar’- that’s his call sign.

The real name of the ‘Tsar’, according to the DPR press center, is Vladimir Kononov, whose job as chief of defense will be approved tomorrow by the separatist ‘Supreme Soviet’. Girkin will also be recommended to the position of “First Deputy Minister/Chief of General Staff” at tomorrows meeting.

Speaking at a press conference, ‘people’s governor’ Pavel Gubarev said Kononov was “recommended as an old and reliable volunteer,” and declined to comment on Girkin’s alleged injury. If Girkin was indeed last seen in the Torez-Snizhne area, this would imply he was far away from the city of Donetsk, closer to Luhansk Republic forces. With Ukrainian forces strengthening their positions around the city, it’s possible a new military leader was needed.

Update:

It appears Girkin is still missing in action

Igor Girkin reported "seriously injured"

Igor “Strelkov” Girkin is seriously wounded. This is what was reported by the separatist media outlet, Novoros Inform. The short briefing cites a source in the leadership of the New Russia (‘Novorossiya’) separatist group.

“Igor Strelkov was seriously wounded. This is what was reported by a source in the leadership of New Russia. The condition of the Minister of Defence of the [Donetsk Republic] DPR – severe”, – the report says.

Self-declared Deputy Prime Minister of the Donetsk Republic, Andrei Purgin, could not directly confirm the report, but did admit that Girkin had recently been in an area of intense combat.

“I do not have accurate information. But most likely it’s true. According to my information, he was not in Donetsk, and near Shakhtarsk, Torez and Snizhne. In this area is very intense fighting,” he told Russian state media ITAR-TASS.

Denis Pushilin, who served as the ‘Prime Minister’ of the DPR before resigning and returning to Moscow, issued a video address confirming the news.

Separate DPR representatives, Vladislav Brig and Sergei Kavtaradze, issued identical statements calling the report “nonsense” in a talks with the Russian media outlets RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS, respectively, which both labelled as an attempt at deliberate disinformation. The press office of the DPR would not confirm either. Former Ukrainian MP Oleg Tsarov also weighed in, saying he was not injured, though this was prior to the statements of Purgin and Pushilin.

This story will be updated as information develops.

Strelkov still in Donetsk, but not Borodai – killed mercenaries "of the negroid race"

Contrary to reports by Obozrevatel that the two Igors, Girkin (aka “Strelkov”) and Bezler, had fled Donetsk, it appears the exodus is only half true. Girkin, currently embattled internally against Vostok Battalion commander Olexander Khodakovsky and possibly self-declared ‘Commander in Chief’ Vladimir Antyufeyev, remains in the city.

According to the BBC’s Daniel Sandford, the Russian security chief Antyufeyev admitted today that self-declared prime minister Alexander Borodai had also escaped the city to Moscow, and did not indicate if he would return. The move also shifted Antyufeyev from deputy to acting prime minister, and “Commander in Chief” – a similar title to Girkin’s, who has also engaged in a powerplay.

Partially putting questions to rest on his whereabouts, a sullen and dishevelled Girkin held a private press conference today for Russian journalists. The discussion centered mostly on battle reports, the heightening of attacks from Ukrainian forces, and continued denial of MH17 involvement, but notably mentioned that his men had killed four mercenaries operating Ukrainian tanks near the Russian border – “from the negroid race,” as he put it. In total, he says his forces have killed 165 American mercenaries, and 139 Polish.

Girkin has been known to make controversial and baseless statements, recently espousing a conspiracy theory that MH17 was full of corpses, drained of their blood, and detonated in a plot to discredit his men.

Police exhume more ‘mass dumping sites’ of executed victims in Sloviansk

A number of journalists, including VICE News’ Simon Ostrovsky, who has done some of the best reporting on the crisis in eastern Ukraine to date, posted photos today of an exhumation being conducted by police. Police informed Ostrovsky that the dig site he witnessed was used as a ‘mass dumping site’ for victims executed by men under Russian terrorist Igor Girkin’s command. At the mass grave, skeletal remains of those from the Russian-Ukrainian civil war also turned up during the dig for bodies.

Recall that previous mass graves were discovered in the city, notably containing priest’s and their families, and documents have shown Girkin to have carried out summary executions on residents of the city.


Update from CNN:

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Malaysian airline shot down by 'Buk' missile system, verified in possession of pro-Russian militants

Map of the area
Map of the area
CNN map of Hrabove
CNN map of Hrabove

Following today’s tragic news that a Malaysian airliner carrying 295 passengers had crashed in eastern Ukraine, Interior Ministry advisor Anton Herashchenko stated that the plane was in fact hit by a Buk surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher. Buk SAM systems can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).

Reports indicate that the plane has crashed in the town of Hrabove, Donetsk region, which is near the occupied towns of Snizhne and city of Torez. Both locales are roughly 20km from the crash site in Hrabove.

Do Russian insurgents have access to these missile systems?

Security and Defense Council spokesperson Andriy Lysenko informed that near Snizhne a Buk SAM was seen not belonging to the Ukrainian army. The presence of a Buk-type SAM in the town was verified by Associated Press journalists earlier Thursday.

Russian terrorist Igor “Strelkov” Girkin admitted that they had shot down a plane today over the city of Torez, but have claimed it to be a similarly large Antonov An-26 transport aircraft.

[quote style=”boxed”]”In the vicinity of Torez, we just downed a plane, an AN-26. It is lying somewhere in the Progress Mine. We have issued warnings not to fly in our airspace. We have video confirming. The bird fell on a waste heap. Residential areas were not hit. Civilians were not injured,” he was quoted.[/quote]

While Girkin issued a statement saying that they shot down the “transport aircraft,” he later denied having weaponry to take down the Boeing 777 at that altitude.

Despite denials to the contrary, on June 29 press service representatives of Girkin’s “Donetsk People’s Republic” organization told Russia’s ITAR-TASS that they had “taken control” of multiple Buk missile defense systems.

The U.S. Department of State has said this week that more advanced air defense systems are beginning to arrive to deployment sites which have then been transferring equipment from Russia to its proxies in Ukraine. Also, the DoS notes that Russian insurgents have been actively looking to recruit volunteers with experience operating heavy weapons such as air defenses.

Taken together, it appears abundantly clear that insurgents have access to, and use Buk SAMs and have openly admitted to engaging aircraft with them.

[hr]

'Strelkov' apologizes for Donetsk looting

Military commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russian operative Igor “Strelkov” Girkin has made a public plea to the people of Donetsk, calling to ‘severely punish’ his men for committing “serious crimes and banditry” in an attempt to save face following the city’s increased occupation by his militia.

“I ask the people of Donetsk for understanding of what people arrived here, who for months lived in a state of stress and deadly threat. Not all of the men were prepared to enter a peaceful city after being in the trenches,” he said.

[quote]”Perpetrators of such crimes will immediately be court martialed, regardless of their relationship to the militia.”[/quote]

In a separate interview, he suggested that increasing wages and compensation for militiamen would increase local enlistment. He had previously made public statements decrying a lack of local support in the Donetsk area.

After retreating en masse from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk and ceding the key cities to Ukrainian forces, Strelkov’s militia took up positions in Donetsk, the region’s largest city and capital. Looting had already been a problem in the past for Donetsk, with members of the Vostok Battalion from Russia seizing the Regional State Administration building and detaining offenders from the Donbass People’s Militia.

‘Strelkov’ has been described by Ukraine’s security service as a Russian colonel and resident of Moscow. He is currently a target of European Union sanctions, and was named by the EU’s Official Journal to be on the staff of the Russian foreign military intelligence agency (GRU), and a key figure involved in the military takeover of Crimea as an assistant on security matters to Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea’s self-declared prime minister.

The Donetsk Republic remains legally classified as a terrorist organization in Ukraine.