Blogger who called Vladimir Putin ‘soft on Ukraine’ sought by Russian authorities

 Igor Girkin - Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

Igor Girkin – Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

A prominent Russian blogger who has accused Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, of losing the war by being too soft on Ukraine may be facing criminal charges for “discrediting” the army.

Igor Girkin is arguably Russia’s most influential cheerleader for the invasion and has hundreds of thousands of online followers.

A former intelligence officer and rebel commander who was among the first to invade Ukraine in 2014, he was last year convicted by a Dutch court over the murder of nearly 300 people shot down on flight MH17.

He has a major online following among Russia’s imperialist, Right-wing activists and is known for his uncompromising views that essentially deny the very existence of Ukraine and suggest it should be part of the Russian state, a claim too radical even for the Kremlin.

But Girkin has also used his online presence to shed light on the mismanagement, corruption and lack of care in the Russian army.

He has been scathingly critical of Russia’s military leadership, famously nicknaming Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister, a “cardboard marshal”.

Putin ‘behaving like a doormat’

Now he appears to have been accused of “discrediting the Russian armed forces”, a criminal offence usually levelled at anti-war activists that can lead to a fine or a prison sentence if committed twice.

On Friday, the authorities reportedly launched a preliminary investigation into Girkin after a private citizen from Moscow filed a complaint, according to several Russian media outlets quoting unnamed police officials.

Police in St Petersburg earlier this week were approached by a woman identified as Tatyana who claims she watched Girkin’s online show on March 20 and found his remarks to be offensive to the Russian army, the media outlet Mash reported.

The hour-long show that day saw Girkin accuse Putin of “behaving like a doormat, not the president of a country with a millenia-long history” and suggesting he blew the chance to capture Kharkhiv and Odessa in 2014 “practically without a single shot”.

He also blasted the Russian leadership for dragging their feet on the offensive in eastern Ukraine.

When contacted by Mash, Tatyana confirmed her complaint, saying that she works in law enforcement.

The complaint also alleges that Girkin may have been embezzling the funds he has been raising to help Russian forces in Ukraine.

Girkin has dismissed the accusations and said he has not been notified of any formal charges.

“No matter what the authorities do next, I’m going to speak out the same way and do the things the same way I have been doing until now,” he said on Friday.

“They are not going to scare me.”

The growing influence of “total war” cheerleaders like Girkin has reportedly been worrying the Kremlin for a while. The threat of charges against the former rebel commander could be a warning sign to him to tone down his criticism.

Girkin famously admitted to “pulling the trigger on the war in Ukraine” after he led a unit of Russian volunteers into Donetsk in spring 2014 and captured several towns. They proceeded to set up their own separatist government, triggering a conflict that simmered for eight years before Russia’s full-scale invasion last year.

A Dutch court last year convicted Girkin and two other men of murdering 298 people aboard the MH17 plane from Amsterdam that was shot down by a Russian missile while it was flying over separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine in July 2014.

He was the commander of the separatist forces in Donetsk until he left eastern Ukraine some time that summer, later claiming he was pushed out by the Kremlin for his uncompromising stance.

Want to get worth reading articles in your email? want to catch what's going on in the world?

We do not spam but sent you only important news stories 🙂

News Agencies

About Author

The latest news from the News Agencies

You may also like

Prince Harry and Meghan

Prince harry and Meghan closed their Instagram account

London: Royal Couple Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have signed off on their royal Instagram account. Prince
boris johnson

Boris Johnson has been transferred to the ICU

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in ICU Tweeted Sky News Boris Johnson has been moved to an ICU after