Igor Girkin, a prominent Russian pro-war blogger and former KGB officer, was arrested for “extremist activity” after openly criticizing President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military’s operations in Ukraine. His arrest comes after a series of online comments in which he berated the state, Putin, and the military, even co-founding a political group named the Angry Patriots Club and calling for grave internal political changes.
- Igor Girkin, also known by his nom de guerre Igor Strelkov, is a well-known Russian “milblogger” and former KGB officer who was previously convicted of mass murder for his involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
- He was arrested on charges of “extremist activity” following his public criticisms of President Putin and Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. Girkin had called Putin a “lowlife” and a “cowardly bum” in a recent online post.
- Girkin’s criticisms have escalated recently; he co-founded the ultra-nationalist political group the Angry Patriots Club, and suggested Russia was on the verge of “very grave internal political changes of a catastrophic character”.
- Girkin’s arrest is considered to be a direct outcome of the Wagner mercenary rebellion, which was the most significant challenge to Putin in more than two decades.
- His arrest has sparked speculation about growing disputes within the Kremlin and raised concerns about Russia’s commitment to freedom of speech.