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Russia. Former separatist leader Igor Girkin suggests he would support Vladimir Putin’s removal from power

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Igor Girkin, a former leader of the pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas, has clearly suggested that he would support Vladimir Putin’s removal from power, the American Institute for War Studies (ISW) reported on Tuesday. Girkin, now a popular online commentator on the war in Ukraine, was said to have criticized the Russian leader so directly for the first time. “Who else can you blame on the brink of defeat in war?” he asked in his recent statements.

Igor Girkin under the pseudonym Igor Strelkov gained wide recognition in 2014 as the leader of pro-Russian separatists in Ukrainian Donetsk. Currently, he is followed by hundreds of thousands of people, a Russian military blogger commenting on the ongoing one war in Ukraine.

Removal of Vladimir Putin

As noted by the Institute for War Studies (ISW) on December 10, Girkin in his recent posts in “the most direct way yet” criticized Vladimir Putin for failing to remove Russian commanders and civil officials responsible for “frequent and catastrophic military defeats.” He noted that the common factor connecting these “incompetent” people, according to him, is Putin’s decision to appoint them.

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“They were all appointed by the president – all those grossly incompetent, thieving, hedonistic officials with business interests, relatives and assets abroad. – their exchange (let alone punishment!) was not “at all” carried out – then who else can you blame on the verge of defeat in WAR?” Girkin wrote. “Who else is to blame for the (persistently maintained against common sense) current personnel policy that underlies all strategically flawed decisions?” – added.

Igor Girkin (pseudonym Igor Strelkov)SERGEI ILNITSKY/PAP/EPA

SEE ALSO: Why are the Russians fighting so hard for Bakhmut? White House source on the purpose of the creator of the Wagner group

ISW: Russian frustration is growing

According to ISW, Girkin referred to, among other things, until Tuesday General Aleksander Łapin was appointed Chief of Staff of the Land Forcesafter he was dismissed from the post of commander of the Central Military District in October 2022. The dismissal followed a wave of criticism over the failures of the Russian army on the Ukrainian front.

Igor Girkin, according to ISW, “softened his call for Vladimir Putin to leave office”, claiming that he was against changing the leadership in Russia during the war, because it would lead to a military and civil “catastrophe”. At the same time, however, he added: “The problem is that if the president’s personnel policy is not changed, a military defeat, unfortunately, awaits us in any case.” Girkin expressed the hope that his criticism “will trigger changes, even if they have ‘suicidal’ consequences”, reports the ISW. “This indicates that growing frustration over the war may be reaching boiling point after nearly a year of aggression,” the report added, prompting “some bloggers to reduce their self-censorship.”

Vladimir Putin criticized for wrong personnel policyContributor/Getty Images

Igor Girkin, pseudonym Strelkov

Igor Girkin, a former colonel in the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russian special forces, also used the pseudonym Igor Strelkov for many years. In 2014, he was the commander-in-chief of the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, and then the “defense minister” of the separatist so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. According to the Dutch prosecutor’s office, Girkin is one of those responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 in eastern Ukraine.

Girkin, now a popular Russian military blogger, has repeatedly criticized the Russian authorities for their strategy in the war with Ukraine, including accused Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of “criminal negligence”. In May 2022, he also stated that the Russians “missed the golden days” during which “blitzkrieg” or “blitzkrieg” could be carried out. In August, Igor Girkin also claimed that “Russian defeat is obvious.” As the Institute of Internal Affairs notes, although he had previously criticized Russian military commanders and the Russian Ministry of Defence, at the same time Igor Girkin had so far supported Vladimir Putin as an effective military leader.

SEE ALSO: Russian helicopters in Belarus. British Department of Defence: Unlikely to be a credible offensive force

ISW, Telegram – strelkovii, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Contributor/Getty Images

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