• Russian former intelligence officer and leading nationalist mil-blogger Igor Girkin was almost certainly arrested for ‘extremism’ on 21 July 2023. Girkin has long been a critic of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s conduct of the war. However, in recent days his comments turned to direct criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his time in power.
  • The move is likely to infuriate fellow members of the mil-blogger community - and elements within the serving military - who largely see Girkin as an astute military analyst and patriot. He played a major role in Russia’s war in the Donbas from 2014 and spent months on the front line in 2022.
  • While Girkin is no ally of the Wagner Group, he was likely only prepared to push the limits of public criticism in the context of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s June 2023 abortive mutiny. The taboo against unmasked criticism of the Putin regime has significantly weakened.
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