The Russian prosecutor is requesting a lengthy prison sentence for Girkin, a critic of Putin.
A request was made by a Russian state prosecutor to a Moscow court on Thursday to imprison prominent nationalist Igor Girkin for almost five years. Girkin has accused President Vladimir Putin and top army officials of not adequately handling the Ukraine war.
According to state prosecutors, Girkin is being accused of inciting extremism, an allegation he denies. He is also viewed as a war criminal in the Western world due to his involvement in the 2014 downing of a passenger plane in eastern Ukraine.
The situation is being closely monitored to see how far the Kremlin will allow strong criticism of its actions in Ukraine, which it refers to as a “special military operation.”
The Moscow court released a statement on Thursday stating that the prosecutor requested a sentence of four years and 11 months in a prison colony for Girkin, as well as a three-year ban on internet usage.
The decision for the case will be announced on January 25th.
In July of last year, Girkin, who is 53 years old, was detained and placed in custody. This occurred after he had openly considered the possibility of running against Putin in the upcoming presidential election.
In May, he and his cohorts established the “Club of Angry Patriots” in an effort to protect Russia from potential chaos caused by military setbacks in Ukraine and competition among the ruling class to eventually replace Putin.
In a recent and particularly vocal outburst, on July 18th, on his verified Telegram account with over 760,000 followers, Girkin directly insulted Putin and implored him to hand over control to a more competent and responsible individual.
A former officer for Russia’s FSB security service and battlefield commander also known as Igor Strelkov, Girkin helped Russia to annex Crimea in 2014 and, soon after, to organize pro-Russian militias who wrested part of eastern Ukraine out of Kyiv’s control — events that started Russia’s war on Ukraine.
He was accused by Ukrainian officials and Western human rights groups of committing war crimes in the region, but he denied these accusations.
In 2022, a Dutch court sentenced him to life in prison for his suspected involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The incident resulted in the tragic death of 298 people. He had previously denied any wrongdoing.