Igor Girkin who was arrested after repeatedly categorizing Vladimir Putin as being weak and indecisive has declared that he intends to stand in the 2024 Russian presidential election.

Who is Igor Girkin?

Girkin, who uses the nom de guerre “Strelkov,” is a former member of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

He actively participated in Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, where he’s been charged with war crimes including ordering the torture and killing of civilians.

Girkin was also found guilty in absentia by the District Court of The Hague for his part in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in August 2014.

He remains a strong advocate for Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine but recently has grown critical of Russia’s military and political leadership, with his language becoming increasingly inflammatory and intemperate. In July the Kremlin apparently reached the end of its patience with his diatribes after, on July 18 he wrote on Telegram:


“For 23 years, the country has been led by a lowlife who managed to throw dust in the eyes of a large part of the population, and although he is now the last island of legitimacy and stability of the state, the country will not survive another six years of this cowardly incompetent's rule.”

He also claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin should “ensure the transfer of power to someone truly capable and responsible.”

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He was detained on Friday, July 21, and charged with “incitement of extreme activities.” On Tuesday, Aug. 29, Moscow’s District Court ordered the 52-year-old to be placed in custody until Sep. 18.

On Thursday, Aug 31 he announced that he intended to run for Russia’s president in the elections that are planned for next year.

Strelkov’s “Manifesto”

His announcement was accompanied by the following statement (translated by Telegram translator):



My advantages compared to the current president in the circumstances of the SVO (the so-called “special military operation”):

1. The President refuses to lead military operations [as he] considers himself incompetent in military affairs. I consider myself more competent in military affairs than the incumbent president, and definitely more than the incumbent defense minister, so I could fulfill the duty of the supreme commander in chief as required by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

2. Our president is an extremely trusting person, he was led by the nose together and separately by Obama, Trump, Macron, Merkel, Poroshenko and Zelensky. They controlled (meetings) in Minsk, in the Normandy format, in Istanbul and many other places. For my part, I can say: since 2014, I have never called those people who led the incumbent president by the nose dear and respected partners, on the contrary, I never believed them for a second.

3. The current president is too kind. When the SVO began a year and a half ago, he was able to quickly make sure that he was misled not only by respected Western and Kyiv partners but also by the leaders of our law enforcement agencies, intelligence and the military-industrial complex. It turned out that neither the country, nor the army, nor the industry of Russia were ready for war, and the so-called Ukraine is not at all a straw man in military terms. Nevertheless, all the heads of these structures (as well as others, for example, the Central Bank) remained in their places and continue to surprise us with their incompetence. I'm not at all so kind, which I have proved in practice. 


4. Our president has a lot of friends among billionaires and other businessmen, whom he cannot (because of his kindness and breadth of soul) refuse anything. As a result, the export of capital from the Russian Federation continues, military production is growing much more slowly than the capital of the president's friends is growing. I don’t have a single friend, even a millionaire, it’s tight with entrepreneurial friends, there are few friends in general, and basically, they are all poor people. Accordingly, I will not have to give in to the wishes of my friends to the detriment of the Russian economy.

5. Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] is a highly moral person, always true to his word and firmly fulfilling the promises given to those who brought him to power in the late nineties. I have promised nothing to anyone and can therefore ignore all the personal guarantees of all the presidents of the Russian Federation from 1991 to the present, I consider that this is useful for the people and the state.


6. I’m not as athletic and healthy as Vladimir Vladimirovich was at my age, so I won’t be able to bother you, dear voters, purely physically for more than 20 years, even if I suddenly have a desire to mess with you after the eternal crisis and its greatest crisis and its most severe challenges.

Is he serious?

Who can tell but his statement has brought him to the attention of political and social commentators: 

Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine posted a copy of Strelkov’s announcement with no comment but a number of his followers did:

Simon Bowden, a frequent commentator on the war and probably in reference to the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, said the announcement was: “The longest suicide note in history.”

Anton Barbashin, an editor from the Moscow Times said: “Strelkov supporters are trying to sign him up for presidential race-2024. It is likely an attempt to keep him alive by making as much noise as possible.”

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