Igor Strelkov

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Person.png Igor Strelkov  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Born12 December 1970
Moscow, Russian SSR, Soviet Union
Interests • 2014 Ukraine coup/Civil war
• Anti-Terrorist-Operation
Former commander of the armed forces of the Donetsk People's Republic. In 2024 sentenced to jail by Russian court, in most likelihood because of his criticism of the "mediocre organization at the strategic, operational and tactical level" of the 2022 the war in the Ukraine and questioning the competence and patriotic loyalty of the high Russian leadership, including President Putin.

Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, better known by the alias Igor Strelkov, was a commander of the armed forces, Minister of Defense and head of the Security Council of the Donetsk Peoples Republic in eastern Ukraine after April 2014. Strelkov, a self-described Russian nationalist, held the military line in what soon turned to a stalemate, but was dismissed from the leadership of the breakaway republics in August 2014, after only a few months.

In 2024, he was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment by a Russian court, in most likelihood because of his criticism of the "mediocre organization at the strategic, operational and tactical level" of the 2022 the war in the Ukraine and questioning the competence and patriotic loyalty of the high Russian leadership, including President Putin.

MH 17

Full article: MH 17

On 17 November 2022, following a trial in absentia in the Netherlands, Girkin, along with another Russian and a Ukrainian, was found guilty of murdering all 298 people on board flight MH17 by participating in shooting it down. The Dutch court also ruled that Russia was in control of the separatist forces fighting in eastern Ukraine at the time.[1]

He allegedly made a post on VK on the day of the shoot down in which he acknowledged shooting down an aircraft at approximately the same time that the civilian airliner was reported to have crashed.[2][3][4] The post specifically referenced how warnings were issued for planes not to fly in their airspace and the downing of a Ukrainian military Antonov An-26 transport plane which the Ukraine Crisis Media Center suggested was a case of misidentification with the MH17. This post was deleted later in the day and the account behind it claimed that Girkin has no official account on this social service.[5][6]

Strelkov was the author of an alternative version of the incident, wherein "no living people were aboard the plane as it flew on autopilot from Amsterdam, where it had been loaded with "rotting corpses".[citation needed]

Leadership in Donbass Peoples Republic

Strelkov established military tribunals that sentenced people to death for minor infractions like stealing/looting.[7]

He was dismissed from his position in August 2014. On 22 August a former rebel Anton Raevsky ("Nemetz") said in an interview in Rostov-on-Don that Girkin and his supporters are being cleansed from the DNR by the FSB, because of this insufficient compliance with Kremlin's policy on the republic.[8]

Strelkov is sanctioned by the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, and Ukraine for his leading role in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.[9][10]

Feud with Prigozhin

Girkin has made various critical comments about Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group. In an interview with "National Service News" (NSN) in January 2023, he criticized the leadership of the PMC Wagner for "wasting excellent assault infantry in frontal attacks in the most mediocre way", and made several attacks on Prigozhin, noting that he "should not be allowed into public space because of his background as a criminal".[11] Responding to these attacks, Prigozhin invited Girkin to join the ranks of the Wagner PMC at that time fighting in Ukraine.[12] After Girkin declined, Prigozhin accused him of having made a secret deal in 2014 with Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov to surrender Sloviansk to Ukraine in exchange for money and safe passage to Donetsk.[13] In turn, Girkin accused the leadership of PMC Wagner of having carried out the murder of LPR commander Aleksey Mozgovoy in May 2015 on behalf of the Russian government.[14]

Criticism of Putin

After returning from the Donbass to Russia in late 2014, he started criticizing members of Putin's inner circle, namely Vladislav Surkov and Sergei Shoigu, for having betrayed the people of the Donbass, but for a time he abstained from criticizing Putin in person.[15][16]

In April 2023, Igor Strelkov’s Club of Angry Patriots published a manifesto[17], which included point such as:

  • The opportunity for a quick and bloodless victory over the Ukrainian state, which has become a weapon of NATO, was missed back in 2014 by the signing of the treacherous Minsk agreements. The military operation launched in 2022 could have gone according to a completely different scenario, but mediocre organization at the strategic, operational and tactical level led our country to a war of attrition.
  • Defeat in the war will lead Russia to catastrophic consequences. The United States and NATO states do not hide their intentions to dismember the Russian Federation and bring the Russian people into submission under a new [Western] yoke.
  • The military-political leadership of Russia does not realize the gravity of the situation.
  • Those who have transferred their capital and their loyalty to the West continue to remain in power and big business. They are ready for sabotage, as well as for direct collusion with the enemy and, therefore, betrayal. We do not rule out that they are preparing a pro-Western coup, capitulation and, consequently, the dismemberment of Russia.
  • We will counter this scenario [betrayal by those loyal to the West] with all available means.[18]
  • On 25 June 2023, he said that if Putin "is not ready to take the leadership over the creation of war-ready conditions" in Russia, "then he really needs to transfer the powers, but legally, to someone who is capable of such hard work."[19]
  • On 18 July 2023, Girkin urged Putin to transfer power "to someone truly capable and responsible",[20] saying that "For 23 years, the country was led by a lowlife who managed to 'blow dust in the eyes' of a significant part of the population. Now he is the last island of legitimacy and stability of the state. But the country will not survive another six years of this cowardly mediocrity in power."[19] Girkin said that "A lot of empty talk, the minimum of action and the utter lack of responsibility for failures — that is Putin's style of late."[21]

Arrest and conviction

On 21 July 2023, Girkin was arrested by Russian authorities. The official reason was charges of inciting extremism stemming from two posts on Telegram.[22][23]

On January 25 2024, Strelkov was sentenced to four years in prison after a secret trial.[24]

His farewell message on Telegram was a warning:

First of all, the verdict against me is evidence that the Russian authorities seriously believe that the crisis has been overcome and there is no need to stand on ceremony with the "jingoists", "whiners" and "all-overs" on the eve of a brilliant geopolitical victory that will write off everything. Apparently, they do not consider the possibility of defeat in the war at all.

At the same time, assessing the situation in the rear and at the front, I come to a completely different conclusion. In my opinion, the United States and its allies really no longer believe in the possibility of a "victory" for Ukraine. However, with no less reason, they do not believe in the possibility of a Russian victory.

In this situation, the bet of Russia’s external and internal enemies is on the further degradation of the country’s socio-economic sphere, which sooner or later (in the absence of a decisive military victory) will lead to internal political cataclysms and a unilateral cessation of military actions by Moscow with a subsequent deepening of the Troubles.

The so-called "Ukraine" does not care about its owners and never has. The simultaneous collapse of the Russian Federation and Ukraine is perhaps the most desirable scenario for the collective West.

We remember that a strong central government, alas, did not in any way prevent the collapse of one state in 1991... Moreover, the very presence of a nuclear arsenal can become a convincing reason for NATO countries to support intervention on Russian territory in order to take it under control followed by liquidation.

Regarding one’s own destiny in the context of the next national tragedy that we are already experiencing (there is no other way to call the civil war between Russians and Russians on the territory of Ukraine), I can only say that the understandable bitterness in my soul is mixed with a certain sense of satisfaction … I cannot help but note that for the first time in 10 years after the events of 2014, the authorities stopped ignoring me. […]

In the end, my [time in prison] will definitely be beneficial to the enemies of Russia, because, on the one hand, I will be "neutralized" by the forces of my potential allies, and on the other hand, my example will be an excellent "demotivator" for everyone who is ready to defend the country at the call of his soul, and not by order of his superiors.[25]


A Document by Igor Strelkov

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:Address by Igor Strelkov 11 September 2014address11 September 2014Globalisation
The Great Game
2014 Ukraine coup/Civil war
Igor Strelkov breaks his silence: A brutally honest, MUSt-READ address by the former commander of the NAF, about Russia, the civil war and the influence of traitorous elements of the Russian establishment in betraying the Novorussian rebellion


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Igor Strelkov interviewinterview26 April 2014Komsomolskaya PravdaCommander Igor Strelkov of the Eastern Ukrainian Peoples' Militia in Slavyansk gives his first open interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda
Document:Interview with Igor Strelkov - 8 July 2014interview transcript8 July 2014First Republic TV channelTranscript of video interview with DPR Militia commander Igor Strelkov following the militia breakout and evacuation from Slavansk, Eastern Ukraine
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  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20221229062851/https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/17/three-men-found-guilty-of-murdering-298-people-in-flight-mh17-bombing
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20140718154345/http://www.businessinsider.com/igor-strelkov-comments-on-malaysia-mh17-2014-7
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20170819190420/http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-airplane-idUSKBN0FM22N20140717
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20140718045941/http://www.rferl.org/content/ukraine-separatist-leader-boasts-downing-plane/25460930.html
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20140720135158/http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/wiadomosci/1,114912,16341438,Katastrofa_malezyjskiego_samolotu_na_granicy_rosyjsko_ukrainskiej_.html#MT
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20140718193245/http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2014/0717/Web-evidence-points-to-pro-Russia-rebels-in-downing-of-MH17-video
  7. https://www.rferl.org/a/the-executioners-of-slovyansk/30743132.html
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUqNzQzgpK8
  9. https://web.archive.org/web/20140510185712/http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/eu-slaps-sanctions-russia-ukraine-23497064
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20220419190339/https://www.opensanctions.org/entities/Q16474356/
  11. https://nsn.fm/ukraine/ugolovnik-i-prisluga-strelkov-prizval-ne-dopuskat-prigozhina-v-publichnoe-prostranstvo
  12. https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/01/26/7386616/
  13. https://www.dp.ru/a/2023/01/28/Prigozhin_obvinil_Strelkov
  14. https://web.archive.org/web/20230710034516/http://novorossia.pro/strelkov/7729-igor-strelkov-segodnya-ocherednaya-godovschina-rasstrela-boevikami-chvk-vagner-a-mozgovogo.html
  15. https://t.me/s/Slavyangrad?before=8259
  16. https://www.forbes.com/sites/siladityaray/2023/02/21/putin-says-hell-suspend-russias-involvement-in-last-nuclear-treaty-with-us-after-bidens-visit-to-kyiv/
  17. https://t.me/KRPRus/2
  18. https://edwardslavsquat.substack.com/p/fear-and-loathing-on-the-home-front
  19. a b https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/21/europe/igor-girkin-arrest-russia-intl/index.html
  20. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/7/21/russia-detains-ex-separatist-commander-igor-girkin
  21. https://www.dw.com/en/igor-girkin-russian-officials-detain-nationalist-critic/a-66311949
  22. https://news.ru/society/stalo-izvestno-chto-ugolovnoe-delo-strelkova-zasekretili/
  23. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-investigators-detain-pro-war-nationalist-putin-critic-igor-girkin-wife-2023-07-21/
  24. https://www.interfax-russia.ru/main/mosgorsud-prigovoril-strelkova-girkina-k-4-godam-kolonii-za-prizyvy-k-ekstremizmu
  25. https://edwardslavsquat.substack.com/p/a-farewell-message-from-convicted<